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Siva (SB canto 4)
SB Canto 4
Anasūyā, the wife of Atri Muni, gave birth to three very famous sons—Soma, Dattātreya and Durvāsā—who were partial representations of Lord Viṣṇu, Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā. Soma was a partial representation of Lord Brahmā, Dattātreya was a partial representation of Lord Viṣṇu, and Durvāsā was a partial representation of Lord Śiva.
In this verse we find the words ātma-īśa-brahma-sambhavān. Ātma means the Supersoul, or Viṣṇu, īśa means Lord Śiva, and brahma means the four-headed Lord Brahmā. The three sons born of Anasūyā—Dattātreya, Durvāsā and Soma—were born as partial representations of these three demigods.
The Supersoul, Viṣṇu, is the seed-giving father of all living entities, including Brahmā and Lord Śiva.
In Bhagavad-gītā the individual souls are also described as parts of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, or Supersoul, so why not accept that Dattātreya was one of those parts? Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā are also described here as parts, so why not accept all of them as ordinary individual souls? The answer is that the manifestations of Viṣṇu and those of the ordinary living entities are certainly all parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord, and no one is equal to Him, but among the parts and parcels there are different categories.
The Viṣṇu svāṁśa expansions of the Supreme Lord in different Viṣṇu forms are like lamps, Lord Śiva is also like a lamp, and the supreme candle power, or the one-hundred-percent light, is Kṛṣṇa. The viṣṇu-tattva has ninety-four percent, the śiva-tattva has eighty-four percent, Lord Brahmā has seventy-eight percent, and the living entities are also like Brahmā, but in the conditioned state their power is still more dim. There are gradations of Brahman, and no one can deny this fact. Therefore the words ātmeśa-brahma-sambhavān indicate that Dattātreya was directly part and parcel of Viṣṇu, whereas Durvāsā and Soma were parts and parcels of Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā.
After hearing this, Vidura inquired from Maitreya: My dear master, how is it that the three deities Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva, who are the creator, maintainer and destroyer of the whole creation, became the offspring of the wife of Atri Muni?
The inquisitiveness of Vidura was quite fitting, for he understood that when the Supersoul, Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva all appeared through the person of Anasūyā, the wife of Atri Muni, there must have been some great purpose. Otherwise why should they have appeared in such a way?
According to Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, the fire of prāṇāyāma is mental satisfaction. That fire was perceived by the Supersoul, Viṣṇu, and thereby Lord Brahmā and Śiva also perceived it. Atri Muni, by his breathing exercise, concentrated on the Supersoul, or the Lord of the universe. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā, the Lord of the universe is Vāsudeva (vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti (BG 7.19)), and, by the direction of Vāsudeva, Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva work. Therefore, on the direction of Vāsudeva, both Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva perceived the severe penance adopted by Atri Muni, and thus they were pleased to come down, as stated in the next verse.
It is advised in the Vedic literatures that one should take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the Lord of the universe and the master of creation, maintenance and dissolution. He is known as the Supersoul, and when one worships the Supersoul, all other deities, such as Brahmā and Śiva, appear with Lord Viṣṇu because they are directed by the Supersoul.
Atri Ṛṣi offered his respect to the three deities in that way. They were identified by their different carriers and different symbolic representations. In that connection it is stated here that Lord Viṣṇu was sitting on Garuḍa, a big aquiline bird, and was carrying in His hand a disc, Brahmā was sitting on a swan and had in his hand kuśa grass, and Lord Śiva was sitting on a bull and carrying in his hand a small drum called a ḍamaru. Atri Ṛṣi recognized them by their symbolic representations and different carriers, and thus he offered them prayers and respects.
But since his heart was already attracted by the deities, somehow or other he gathered his senses, and with folded hands and sweet words he began to offer prayers to the predominating deities of the universe. The great sage Atri said: O Lord Brahmā, Lord Viṣṇu and Lord Śiva, you have divided yourself into three bodies by accepting the three modes of material nature, as you do in every millennium for the creation, maintenance and dissolution of the cosmic manifestation. I offer my respectful obeisances unto all of you and beg to inquire whom of you three I have called by my prayer.
If someone constructs a big building, this indicates that he must have existed before the building was constructed. Therefore the Supreme Lord, the creator of the universe, must be transcendental to the material modes of nature. But it is known that Viṣṇu takes charge of the mode of goodness, Brahmā takes charge of the mode of passion, and Lord Śiva takes charge of the mode of ignorance. Therefore Atri Muni said, "That jagad-īśvara, the Lord of the universe, must be one of you, but since three of you have appeared, I cannot recognize whom I have called. You are all so kind. Please let me know who is actually jagad-īśvara, the Lord of the universe."
Mahā-Viṣṇu, from whose breathing millions of universes emanate and into whom they are again withdrawn, may be accepted as the Lord of the universe. Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, from whose abdomen sprouted the lotus flower which is the birthplace of Brahmā, may also be considered the Lord of the universe. Similarly, Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, who is the Supersoul of all living entities, may also be considered the Lord of the universe. Then, under the order of Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, the Viṣṇu form within this universe, Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva may also be accepted as the Lords of the universe.
Viṣṇu is the Lord of the universe because He is its maintainer. Similarly, Brahmā creates the different planetary systems and the population, so he also may be considered the Lord of the universe. Or Lord Śiva, who is ultimately the destroyer of the universe, also may be considered its Lord. Therefore, since Atri Muni did not specifically mention whom he wanted, all three—Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Lord Śiva—came before him.
Thus, while the couple looked on, the three deities Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara disappeared from that place after bestowing upon Atri Muni the benediction.
Thereafter, from the partial representation of Brahmā, the moon-god was born of them; from the partial representation of Viṣṇu, the great mystic Dattātreya was born; and from the partial representation of Śaṅkara (Lord Śiva), Durvāsā was born. Now you may hear from me of the many sons of Aṅgirā.
One of the remaining two daughters was given in charity to the Pitṛloka, where she resides very amicably, and the other was given to Lord Śiva, who is the deliverer of sinful persons from material entanglement. The names of the thirteen daughters of Dakṣa who were given to Dharma are Śraddhā, Maitrī, Dayā, Sānti, Tuṣṭi, Puṣṭi, Kriyā, Unnati, Buddhi, Medhā, Titikṣā, Hrī and Mūrti. These thirteen daughters produced the following sons: Śraddhā gave birth to Śubha, Maitrī produced Prasāda, Dayā gave birth to Abhaya, Sānti gave birth to Sukha, Tuṣṭi gave birth to Muda, Puṣṭi gave birth to Smaya, Kriyā gave birth to Yoga, Unnati gave birth to Darpa, Buddhi gave birth to Artha, Medhā gave birth to Smṛti, Titikṣā gave birth to Kṣema, and Hrī gave birth to Praśraya. Mūrti, a reservoir of all respectable qualities, gave birth to Śrī Nara-Nārāyaṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The sixteenth daughter, whose name was Satī, was the wife of Lord Śiva. She could not produce a child, although she always faithfully engaged in the service of her husband.
The reason is that Satī's father, Dakṣa, used to rebuke Lord Śiva in spite of Śiva's faultlessness. Consequently, before attaining a mature age, Satī gave up her body by dint of yogic mystic power.
Lord Śiva, being the head of all mystic yogīs, never even constructed a home for his residence. Sati was the daughter of a great king, Dakṣa, and because his youngest daughter, Sati, selected as her husband Lord Śiva, King Dakṣa was not very much satisfied with her. Therefore whenever she met her father, he unnecessarily criticized her husband, although Lord Śiva was faultless. Because of this, before attaining a mature age Sati gave up the body given by her father, Dakṣa, and therefore she could not produce a child.
Vidura inquired: Why was Dakṣa, who was so affectionate towards his daughter, envious of Lord Śiva, who is the best among the gentle? Why did he neglect his daughter Satī?
In the Second Chapter of the Fourth Canto, the cause of the dissension between Lord Śiva and Dakṣa, which was due to a great sacrifice arranged by Dakṣa for the pacification of the entire universe, is explained. Lord Śiva is described here as the best of the gentle because he is not envious of anyone, he is equal to all living entities, and all other good qualities are present in his personality. The word śiva means "all auspicious." No one can be an enemy of Lord Śiva's, for he is so peaceful and renounced that he does not even construct a house for his residence, but lives underneath a tree, always detached from all worldly things. The personality of Lord Śiva symbolizes the best of gentleness. Why, then, was Dakṣa, who offered his beloved daughter to such a gentle personality, inimical towards Lord Śiva so intensely that Satī, the daughter of Dakṣa and wife of Lord Śiva, gave up her body?
Lord Śiva, the spiritual master of the entire world, is free from enmity, is a peaceful personality, and is always satisfied in himself. He is the greatest among the demigods. How is it possible that Dakṣa could be inimical towards such an auspicious personality?
Lord Śiva is described here as carācara-guru, the spiritual master of all animate and inanimate objects. He is sometimes known as Bhūtanātha, which means "the worshipable deity of the dull-headed." Bhūta is also sometimes taken to indicate the ghosts. Lord Śiva takes charge of reforming persons who are ghosts and demons, not to speak of others, who are godly; therefore he is the spiritual master of everyone, both the dull and demoniac and the highly learned Vaiṣṇavas. It is also stated, vaiṣṇavānāṁ yathā śambhuḥ: Śambhu, Lord Śiva, is the greatest of all Vaiṣṇavas. On one hand he is the worshipable object of the dull demons, and on the other he is the best of all Vaiṣṇavas, or devotees, and he has a sampradāya called the Rudra-sampradāya.
The word satī means "the most chaste." Whenever there is consideration of chastity, Sati, this wife of Lord Śiva and daughter of Dakṣa, is considered first. Vidura, therefore, was astonished. "Dakṣa is such a great man," he thought, "and is the father of Sati. And Lord Śiva is the spiritual master of everyone. How then could there possibly be so much enmity between them that Sati, the most chaste goddess, could give up her body because of their quarrel?"
Upon being asked by Vidura, the sage Maitreya began to explain the cause of the misunderstanding between Lord Śiva and Dakṣa, because of which the goddess Satī gave up her body. Thus begins the history of a great sacrifice performed by the leaders of the universal creation, namely Marīci, Dakṣa and Vasiṣṭha. These great personalities arranged for a great sacrifice, for which demigods like Indra and the fire-gods assembled with their followers. Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva were also present.
Influenced by his personal bodily luster, all the fire-gods and other participants in that great assembly, with the exceptions of Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, gave up their own sitting places and stood in respect for Dakṣa.
Before taking his seat, however, Dakṣa was very much offended to see Lord Śiva sitting and not showing him any respect. At that time, Dakṣa became greatly angry, and, his eyes glowing, he began to speak very strongly against Lord Śiva.
Lord Śiva, being the son-in-law of Dakṣa, was expected to show his father-in-law respect by standing with the others, but because Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva are the principal demigods, their positions are greater than Dakṣa's. Dakṣa, however, could not tolerate this, and he took it as an insult by his son-in-law. Previously, also, he was not very much satisfied with Lord Śiva, for Śiva looked very poor and was niggardly in dress.
In speaking against Lord Śiva, Dakṣa tried to pacify the assembly by presenting in a very tactful way that he was going to speak about the manners of gentle persons, although naturally this might affect some unmannerly upstarts and the assembly might be unhappy because they did not want even unmannerly persons to be offended. In other words, he was in complete knowledge that he was speaking against Lord Śiva in spite of Śiva's spotless character. As far as envy is concerned, from the very beginning he was envious of Lord Śiva; therefore he could not distinguish his own particular envy.
Śiva has spoiled the name and fame of the governors of the universe and has polluted the path of gentle manners. Because he is shameless, he does not know how to act.
Dakṣa wanted to impress upon the minds of all the great sages assembled in that meeting that Śiva, being one of the demigods, had ruined the good reputations of all the demigods by his unmannerly behavior. The words used against Lord Śiva by Dakṣa can also be understood in a different way, in a good sense. For example, he stated that Śiva is yaśo-ghna, which means "one who spoils name and fame." So this can also be interpreted to mean that he was so famous that his fame killed all other fame. Again, Dakṣa used the word nirapatrapa, which also can be used in two senses. One sense is "one who is stunted," and another sense is "one who is the maintainer of persons who have no other shelter."
Generally Lord Śiva is known as the lord of the bhūtas, or lower grade of living creatures. They take shelter of Lord Śiva because he is very kind to everyone and is very quickly satisfied. Therefore he is called Āśutoṣa. To such men, who cannot approach other demigods or Viṣṇu, Lord Śiva gives shelter. Therefore the word nirapatrapa can be used in that sense.
Dakṣa's statement that Lord Śiva pretended to be an honest person means that Śiva was dishonest because in spite of accepting the position of Dakṣa's son-in-law, he was not respectful to Dakṣa.
According to the estimation of Dakṣa, Śiva was unclean in habits and not worthy to have the hand of his daughter, Sati, who was so enlightened, beautiful and chaste. The word used in this connection is bhinna-setave, which refers to one who has broken all the regulations for good behavior by not following the Vedic principles. In other words, according to Dakṣa the entire transaction of the marriage of his daughter with Śiva was not in order.
He lives in filthy places like crematoriums, and his companions are the ghosts and demons. Naked like a madman, sometimes laughing and sometimes crying, he smears crematorium ashes all over his body. He does not bathe regularly, and he ornaments his body with a garland of skulls and bones. Therefore only in name is he Śiva, or auspicious; actually, he is the most mad and inauspicious creature. Thus he is very dear to crazy beings in the gross mode of ignorance, and he is their leader.
Those who do not regularly bathe are supposed to be in association with ghosts and crazy creatures. Lord Śiva appeared to be like that, but his name, Śiva, is actually fitting, for he is very kind to persons who are in the darkness of the mode of ignorance, such as unclean drunkards who do not regularly bathe. Lord Śiva is so kind that he gives shelter to such creatures and gradually elevates them to spiritual consciousness. Although it is very difficult to raise such creatures to spiritual understanding, Lord Śiva takes charge of them, and therefore, as stated in the Vedas, Lord Śiva is all-auspicious. Thus by his association even such fallen souls can be elevated.
Lord Viṣṇu takes charge of persons who are advanced Kṛṣṇa conscious Vaiṣṇavas, and Lord Brahmā takes charge of persons who are very much attached to material activities, but Lord Śiva is so kind that he takes charge of persons who are in gross ignorance and whose behavior is lower that that of the animals. Therefore Lord Śiva is especially called auspicious.
In anger one forgets everything, and thus Dakṣa, in anger, not only accused the great Lord Śiva, but criticized his own father, Lord Brahmā, for his not very astute advice that Dakṣa hand over his daughter to Lord Śiva.
The sage Maitreya continued: Thus Dakṣa, seeing Lord Śiva sitting as if against him, washed his hands and mouth and cursed him in the following words.
The demigods are eligible to share in the oblations of sacrifice, but Lord Śiva, who is the lowest of all the demigods, should not have a share.
Because of this curse, Śiva was deprived of his share in the oblations of Vedic sacrifices. It was due to the curse of Dakṣa, Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī comments in this connection, that Lord Śiva was saved from the calamity of taking part with other demigods, who were all materialistic. Lord Śiva is the greatest devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and it is not fitting for him to eat or sit with materialistic persons like the demigods. Thus the curse of Dakṣa was indirectly a blessing, for Śiva would not have to eat or sit with other demigods, who were too materialistic.
The conclusion is that Lord Śiva behaved in his own way to avoid materialistic persons who might disturb him in his prosecution of devotional service.
Maitreya continued: My dear Vidura, in spite of the requests of all the members of the sacrificial assembly, Dakṣa, in great anger, cursed Lord Śiva and then left the assembly and went back to his home.
The very name Dakṣa suggests that he was expert in all material activities, but still, because of his aversion towards such a saintly personality as Śiva, he was attacked by these three enemies—anger, lust and passion. Lord Caitanya, therefore, advised that one be very careful not to offend Vaiṣṇavas.
Upon understanding that Lord Śiva had been cursed, Nandīśvara, one of Lord Śiva's principal associates, became greatly angry. His eyes became red, and he prepared to curse Dakṣa and all the brāhmaṇas present there who had tolerated Dakṣa's cursing Śiva in harsh words.
There is a long-standing dissension among some of the neophyte Vaiṣṇavas and Śaivites; they are always at loggerheads. When Dakṣa cursed Lord Śiva in harsh words, some of the brāhmaṇas present might have enjoyed it because some brāhmaṇas do not very much admire Lord Śiva. This is due to their ignorance of Lord Śiva's position. Nandīśvara was affected by the cursing, but he did not follow the example of Lord Śiva, who was also present there. Although Lord Śiva could also have cursed Dakṣa in a similar way, he was silent and tolerant; but Nandīśvara, his follower, was not tolerant. Of course, as a follower it was right for him not to tolerate an insult to his master, but he should not have cursed the brāhmaṇas who were present. The entire issue was so complicated that those who were not strong enough forgot their positions, and thus cursing and countercursing went on in that great assembly.
Anyone who has accepted Dakṣa as the most important personality and neglected Lord Śiva because of envy is less intelligent and, because of visualizing in duality, will be bereft of transcendental knowledge.
Those who have become as dull as matter by cultivating materialistic education and intelligence are nesciently involved in fruitive activities. Such men have purposely insulted Lord Śiva. May they continue in the cycle of repeated birth and death.
The three curses mentioned above are sufficient to make one as dull as stone, void of spiritual knowledge and preoccupied with materialistic education, which is nescience. After uttering these curses, Nandīśvara then cursed the brāhmaṇas to continue in the cycle of birth and death because of their supporting Dakṣa in blaspheming Lord Śiva.
May those who are envious of Lord Śiva, being attracted by the flowery language of the enchanting Vedic promises, and who have thus become dull, always remain attached to fruitive activities.
One who takes a vow to satisfy Lord Śiva or who follows such principles will certainly become an atheist and be diverted from transcendental scriptural injunctions.
It is sometimes seen that devotees of Lord Śiva imitate the characteristics of Lord Śiva. For example, Lord Śiva drank an ocean of poison, so some of the followers of Lord Śiva imitate him and try to take intoxicants like gāñjā (marijuana). Here the curse is that if someone follows such principles he must become an infidel and turn against the principles of Vedic regulation. It is said that such devotees of Lord Śiva will be sacchāstra-paripanthinaḥ, which means "opposed to the conclusion of śāstra, or scripture." This is confirmed in the Padma Purāṇa also.
Lord Śiva was ordered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead to preach the impersonal, or Māyāvāda, philosophy for a particular purpose, just as Lord Buddha preached the philosophy of voidness for particular purposes mentioned in the śāstras.
Sometimes it is necessary to preach a philosophical doctrine which is against the Vedic conclusion. In the Śiva Purāṇa it is stated that Lord Śiva said to Pārvatī that in the Kali-yuga, in the body of a brāhmaṇa, he would preach the Māyāvāda philosophy. Thus it is generally found that the worshipers of Lord Śiva are Māyāvādī followers. Lord Śiva himself says, māyāvādam asac-chāstram. Asat-śāstra, as explained here, means the doctrine of Māyāvāda impersonalism, or becoming one with the Supreme. Bhṛgu Muni cursed that persons who worshiped Lord Śiva would become followers of this Māyāvāda asat-śāstra, which attempts to establish that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is impersonal. Besides that, among the worshipers of Lord Śiva there is a section who live a devilish life. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Nārada-pañcarātra are authorized scriptures that are considered sat-śāstra, or scriptures which lead one to the path of God realization. Asat-śāstras are just the opposite.
Those who vow to worship Lord Śiva are so foolish that they imitate him by keeping long hair on their heads. When initiated into worship of Lord Śiva, they prefer to live on wine, flesh and other such things.
In the initiation into the Śiva mantra there are mudrikāṣṭaka, in which it is sometimes recommended that one make his sitting place on the vagina and thus desire nirvāṇa, or dissolution of existence. In that process of worship, wine is needed, or sometimes, in place of wine, palm tree juice which is converted into an intoxicant. This is also offered according to Śiva-āgama, a scripture on the method of worshiping Lord Śiva.
Śaṅkarācārya has accepted that Nārāyaṇa and Kṛṣṇa are transcendental, and in Bhagavad-gītā also Lord Kṛṣṇa has established, ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate: (BG 10.8) "I am the origin of everything; everything emanates from Me." This material creation, including Brahmā and Śiva and all the demigods, has been created by Him, for everything has emanated from Him.
It is stated that formerly the sages followed this system; therefore to follow the Vedic system is to follow the standard etiquette of society. But the followers of Lord Śiva, who are drunkards, who are addicted to intoxicants and sex life, who do not bathe and who smoke gāñjā, are against all human etiquette. The conclusion is that persons who rebel against the Vedic principles are themselves the evidence that the Vedas are authoritative, because by not following the Vedic principles they become like animals. Such animalistic persons are themselves evidence of the supremacy of the Vedic regulations.
By blaspheming the principles of the Vedas, which are the pure and supreme path of the saintly persons, certainly you followers of Bhūtapati, Lord Śiva, will descend to the standard of atheism without a doubt.
Lord Śiva is described here as bhūta-rāṭ. The ghosts and those who are situated in the material mode of ignorance are called bhūtas, so bhūta-rāṭ refers to the leader of the creatures who are in the lowest standard of the material modes of nature. Another meaning of bhūta is anyone who has taken birth or anything which is produced, so in that sense Lord Śiva may be accepted as the father of this material world. Here, of course, Bhṛgu Muni takes Lord Śiva as the leader of the lowest creatures. The characteristics of the lowest class of men have already been described—they do not bathe, they have long hair on their heads, and they are addicted to intoxicants. In comparison with the path followed by the followers of Bhūtarāṭ, the Vedic system is certainly excellent, for it promotes people to spiritual life as the highest eternal principle of human civilisation. If one decries or blasphemes the Vedic principles, then he falls to the standard of atheism.
The sage Maitreya said: When such cursing and countercursing was going on between Lord Śiva's followers and the parties of Dakṣa and Bhṛgu, Lord Śiva became very morose. Not saying anything, he left the arena of the sacrifice, followed by his disciples.
Here Lord Śiva's excellent character is described. In spite of the cursing and countercursing between the parties of Dakṣa and Śiva, because he is the greatest Vaiṣṇava he was so sober that he did not say anything. A Vaiṣṇava is always tolerant, and Lord Śiva is considered the topmost Vaiṣṇava, so his character, as shown in this scene, is excellent. He became morose because he knew that these people, both his men and Dakṣa's, were unnecessarily cursing and countercursing one another, without any interest in spiritual life. From his point of view, he did not see anyone as lower or higher, because he is a Vaiṣṇava. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (5.18), paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ: one who is perfectly learned does not see anyone as lesser or greater, because he sees everyone from the spiritual platform. Thus the only alternative left to Lord Śiva was to leave in order to stop his follower, Nandīśvara, as well as Bhṛgu Muni, from cursing and countercursing in that way.
After Lord Śiva and, previously, Dakṣa, left the arena of sacrifice, the sacrifice was not stopped; the sages went on for many years in order to satisfy the Supreme Lord. The sacrifice was not destroyed for want of Śiva and Dakṣa, and the sages went on with their activities. In other words, it may be assumed that if one does not worship the demigods, even up to Lord Śiva and Brahmā, one can nevertheless satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Maitreya continued: In this manner the tension between the father-in-law and son-in-law, Dakṣa and Lord Śiva, continued for a considerably long period.
The previous chapter has already explained that Vidura questioned the sage Maitreya as to the cause of the misunderstanding between Lord Śiva and Dakṣa. Another question is why the strife between Dakṣa and his son-in-law caused Sati to destroy her body. The chief reason for Satī's giving up her body was that her father, Dakṣa, began another sacrificial performance, to which Lord Śiva was not invited at all. Generally, when any sacrifice is performed, although each and every sacrifice is intended to pacify the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, all the demigods, especially Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva and the other principal demigods, such as Indra and Candra, are invited, and they take part. It is said that unless all the demigods are present, no sacrifice is complete. But in the tension between the father-in-law and son-in-law, Dakṣa began another yajña performance, to which Lord Śiva was not invited. Dakṣa was the chief progenitor employed by Lord Brahmā, and he was a son of Brahmā, so he had a high position and was also very proud.
Although he was envious and was inimical towards Lord Śiva, Dakṣa was appointed the chief of all Prajāpatis. That was the cause of his excessive pride.
In the Vedas it is prescribed that before performing a bṛhaspati-sava sacrifice, one should perform the sacrifice named vājapeya. While performing these sacrifices, however, Dakṣa neglected great devotees like Lord Śiva. According to Vedic scriptures, the demigods are eligible to participate in yajñas and share the oblations, but Dakṣa wanted to avoid them. All sacrifices are intended to pacify Lord Viṣṇu, but Lord Viṣṇu includes all His devotees. Brahmā, Lord Śiva and the other demigods are all obedient servants of Lord Viṣṇu; therefore Lord Viṣṇu is never satisfied without them. But Dakṣa, being puffed up with his power, wanted to deprive Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva of participation in the sacrifice, understanding that if one satisfies Viṣṇu, it is not necessary to satisfy His followers. But that is not the process. Viṣṇu wants His followers to be satisfied first. Lord Kṛṣṇa says, mad-bhakta-pūjābhyadhikā: (SB 11.19.21) "The worship of My devotees is better than worship of Me." Similarly, in the Padma Purāṇa, it is stated that the best mode of worship is to offer oblations to Viṣṇu, but better than that is to worship the devotees of Kṛṣṇa. Thus Dakṣa's determination to neglect Lord Śiva in the sacrifices was not fitting.
It appears that the residence of Lord Śiva was not on this planet but somewhere in outer space, otherwise how could Sati have seen the airplanes coming from different directions towards this planet and heard the passengers talking about the great sacrifice being performed by Dakṣa?
Satī said: My dear Lord Śiva, your father-in-law is now executing great sacrifices, and all the demigods, having been invited by him, are going there. If you desire, we may also go.
Satī knew of the tension between her father and her husband, but still she expressed to her husband, Lord Śiva, that since such sacrifices were going on at her father's house and so many demigods were going, she also desired to go.
In the material world there is an attraction between woman and man. This is the arrangement of conditional life. A woman attracts a man, and in that way the scope of material activities, involving house, wealth, children and friendship, increases, and thus instead of decreasing one's material demands, one becomes entangled in material enjoyment. Lord Śiva, however, is different; therefore his name is Śiva. He is not at all attracted by material enjoyment, although his wife, Satī, was the daughter of a very great leader and was given to him by the request of Brahmā. Lord Śiva was reluctant, but Satī, as a woman, the daughter of a king, wanted enjoyment. She wanted to go to her father's house, just as her other sisters might have done, and meet them and enjoy social life.
It was fortunate for Satī that Lord Śiva did not take the ornaments from his wife and spend them for gāñjā, because those who imitate Lord Śiva in smoking gāñjā exploit everything from household affairs; they take all of their wives' property and spend on smoking, intoxication and similar other activities.
Dākṣāyaṇī, Sati, knew very well that her husband, Lord Śiva, was not very much interested in the glaring manifestation of the material world, which is caused by the interaction of the three modes of nature. Therefore she addressed her husband as aja, which refers to one who has transcended the bondage of birth and death, or one who has realized his eternal position.
One who has attraction for his birthplace, for his body, and for other such items mentioned in the Bhāgavatam is considered to be like an ass or a cow. Satī might have heard all this many times from her husband, Lord Śiva, but because she was a woman, yoṣit, she still hankered after the same material objects of affection.
Here Lord Śiva is addressed as abhava, which means "one who is never born," although generally he is known as bhava, "one who is born." Rudra, Lord Śiva, is actually born from between the eyes of Brahmā, who is called Svayambhū because he is not born of any human being or material creature but is born directly from the lotus flower which grows from the abdomen of Viṣṇu. When Lord Śiva is addressed here as abhava, this may be taken to mean "one who has never felt material miseries."
Lord Śiva is addressed here as blue throated. Lord Śiva drank an ocean of poison and kept it in his throat, not swallowing it or allowing it to go down to his stomach, and thus his throat became blue. Since then he has been known as nīlakaṇṭha, or blue throated. The reason that Lord Śiva drank an ocean of poison was for others' benefit. When the ocean was churned by the demigods and the demons, the churning at first produced poison, so because the poisonous ocean might have affected others who were not so advanced, Lord Śiva drank all the ocean water.
O immortal Śiva, please be kind towards me and fulfill my desire. You have accepted me as half of your body; therefore please show kindness towards me and accept my request.
The great sage Maitreya said: Lord Śiva, the deliverer of the hill Kailāsa, having thus been addressed by his dear wife, replied smilingly, although at the same time he remembered the malicious, heart-piercing speeches delivered by Dakṣa before the guardians of the universal affairs.
When Lord Śiva heard from his wife about Dakṣa, the psychological effect was that he immediately remembered the strong words spoken against him in the assembly of the guardians of the universe, and, remembering those words, he was sorry at heart, although to please his wife he smiled.
In Bhagavad-gītā it is said that a liberated person is always in mental equilibrium in both the distress and the happiness of this material world. Therefore the question may now be raised why a liberated personality like Lord Śiva was so unhappy because of the words of Dakṣa. The answer is given by Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura. Lord Śiva is ātmārāma, or situated in complete self-realization, but because he is the incarnation in charge of the material mode of ignorance, tamo-guṇa, he is sometimes affected by the pleasure and pain of the material world.
Since everything in the spiritual world is absolute, in the spiritual varieties of apparent pleasure and pain there is no perception other than eternal bliss, whereas in the material world, because everything is contaminated by the modes of material nature, there are feelings of pleasure and pain. Therefore because Lord Śiva, although a fully self-realized person, was in charge of the material mode of ignorance, he felt sorrow.
Lord Śiva could foresee that as soon as Sati reached her father's house, her father, Dakṣa, being too puffed up because of bodily identification, would be angry at her presence, and although she was innocent and faultless, he would be mercilessly angry towards her. Lord Śiva warned that since her father was too puffed up by his material possessions, he would be angry, and this would be intolerable for her. Therefore it was better that she not go. This fact was already experienced by Lord Śiva because although Lord Śiva was faultless, Dakṣa had cursed him in so many harsh words.
Lord Śiva continued: If one is hurt by the arrows of an enemy, one is not as aggrieved as when cut by the unkind words of a relative, for such grief continues to rend one's heart day and night.
Satī might have concluded that she would take the risk of going to her father's house, and even if her father spoke unkindly against her she would be tolerant, as a son sometimes tolerates the reproaches of his parents. But Lord Śiva reminded her that she would not be able to tolerate such unkind words because natural psychology dictates that although one can suffer harm from an enemy and not mind so much because pain inflicted by an enemy is natural, when one is hurt by the strong words of a relative, one suffers the effects continually, day and night, and sometimes the injury becomes so intolerable that one commits suicide.
Lord Śiva put forward the argument that even if Sati proposed to go alone, without her husband, still she would not be received well because she was his wife. There was every chance of a catastrophe, even if she wanted to go alone. Therefore Lord Śiva indirectly requested her not to go to her father's house.
The real reason for the enmity between Lord Śiva and Dakṣa is explained here. Dakṣa was envious of Lord Śiva because of Śiva's high position as an incarnation of a quality of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and because Śiva was directly in contact with the Supersoul and was therefore honored and given a better sitting place than he. There were many other reasons also. Dakṣa, being materially puffed up, could not tolerate the high position of Lord Śiva, so his anger at Lord Śiva's not standing up in his presence was only the final manifestation of his envy.
Lord Śiva is always in meditation and always perceives the Supersoul, as expressed here by the words pūruṣa-buddhi-sākṣiṇām. The position of one whose intelligence is always absorbed in meditation upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very great and cannot be imitated by anyone, especially an ordinary person. When Dakṣa entered the arena of yajña, Lord Śiva was in meditation and might not have seen Dakṣa enter, but Dakṣa took the opportunity to curse him because Dakṣa had maintained an envious attitude towards Lord Śiva for a long time.
When one offers respect to the body, it is not to the material body but to the presence of the Supreme Lord. Thus one who is always in meditation upon the Supreme Lord is always offering Him obeisances. But since Dakṣa was not very elevated, he thought that obeisances were offered to the material body, and because Lord Śiva did not offer respect to his material body, Dakṣa became envious. Such persons, being unable to rise to the standard of self-realized souls like Lord Śiva, are always envious.
It may be argued that since Dakṣa was the father-in-law of Lord Śiva, it was certainly the duty of Lord Śiva to offer him respect. In answer to that argument it is explained here that when a learned person stands up or offers obeisances in welcome, he offers respect to the Supersoul, who is sitting within everyone's heart. It is seen, therefore, among Vaiṣṇavas, that even when a disciple offers obeisances to his spiritual master, the spiritual master immediately returns the obeisances because they are mutually offered not to the body but to the Supersoul.
A Vaiṣṇava sees the body as a temple of Viṣṇu. Since Lord Śiva had already offered respect to the Supersoul in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, offering respect to Dakṣa, who identified with his body, was already performed. There was no need to offer respect to his body, for that is not directed by any Vedic injunction.
Lord Śiva said that since his heart was always filled with the conception of Vāsudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, because of the Supreme Lord's presence within his mind and heart, he was always offering obeisances unto that Supreme Godhead. In other words, Lord Śiva is always in trance, samādhi.
The husband is the protector of a woman during her youthful life, whereas the father is her protector during her childhood. Thus both are worshipable, but especially the father because he is the giver of the body. Lord Śiva reminded Satī, "Your father is undoubtedly worshipable, even more than I am, but take care, for although he is the giver of your body, he may also be the taker of your body because when you see your father, because of your association with me, he may insult you. An insult from a relative is worse than death, especially when one is well situated."
The sage Maitreya said: Lord Śiva was silent after speaking to Satī, seeing her between decisions. Satī was very much anxious to see her relatives at her father's house, but at the same time she was afraid of Lord Śiva's warning. Her mind unsettled, she moved in and out of the room as a swing moves this way and that.
Satī's mind was divided about whether to go to her father's house or obey the orders of Lord Śiva. The struggle between the two decisions was so strong that she was pushed from one side of the room to another, and she began to move just like the pendulum of a clock.
Satī felt very sorry at being forbidden to go see her relatives at her father's house, and due to affection for them, tears fell from her eyes. Shaking and very much afflicted, she looked at her uncommon husband, Lord Śiva, as if she were going to blast him with her vision.
Lord Śiva has no equal in the material world in regard to equality towards everyone. His wife, Satī, knew that her husband was equal towards everyone, so why in this case was he so unkind to his wife that he did not allow her to go to her father's house? This distressed her more than she could tolerate, and she looked at her husband as if she were ready to blast him with her vision. In other words, since Lord Śiva is the ātmā (śiva also means ātmā), it is indicated here that Satī was prepared to commit suicide. Another meaning of the word apratipūruṣa is "the personality who has no rival." Since Lord Śiva could not be persuaded to give her permission, Satī took shelter of a woman's last weapon, weeping, which forces a husband to agree to the proposal of his wife.
Thereafter Satī left her husband, Lord Śiva, who had given her half his body due to affection. Breathing very heavily because of anger and bereavement, she went to the house of her father. This less intelligent act was due to her being a weak woman.
According to the Vedic conception of family life, the husband gives half his body to his wife, and the wife gives half of her body to her husband. In other words, a husband without a wife or a wife without a husband is incomplete. Vedic marital relationship existed between Lord Śiva and Satī, but sometimes, due to weakness, a woman becomes very much attracted by the members of her father's house, and this happened to Satī. In this verse it is specifically mentioned that she wanted to leave such a great husband as Śiva because of her womanly weakness
Sometimes there may be misunderstandings between husband and wife, as found even in such an elevated family relationship as that of Satī and Lord Śiva, but a wife should not leave her husband's protection because of such a misunderstanding.
When they saw Satī leaving alone very rapidly, thousands of Lord Śiva's disciples, headed by Maṇimān and Mada, quickly followed her with his bull Nandī in front and accompanied by the Yakṣas.
Satī was going very fast so that she might not be checked by her husband, but she was immediately followed by the many thousands of disciples of Lord Śiva, headed by the Yakṣas, Maṇimān and Mada. The word gata-vyathāḥ, used in this connection, means "without fear." Satī did not care that she was going alone; therefore she was almost fearless. The word anucarāḥ is also significant, for it indicates that Lord Śiva's disciples were always ready to sacrifice anything for Lord Śiva. All of them could understand the desire of Śiva, who did not want Satī to go alone.
The disciples of Lord Śiva arranged for Satī to be seated on the back of a bull and gave her the bird which was her pet. They bore a lotus flower, a mirror and all such paraphernalia for her enjoyment and covered her with a great canopy. Followed by a singing party with drums, conchshells and bugles, the entire procession was as pompous as a royal parade.
Satī was the youngest child of Dakṣa, and she knew that she was his pet. But now, because of her association with Lord Śiva, Dakṣa forgot all his affection for his daughter, and this very much aggrieved her.
Present in the arena of sacrifice, Satī saw that there were no oblations for her husband, Lord Śiva. Next she realized that not only had her father failed to invite Lord Śiva, but when he saw Lord Śiva's exalted wife, Dakṣa did not receive her either. Thus she became greatly angry, so much so that she looked at her father as if she were going to burn him with her eyes.
By offering oblations in the fire while chanting the Vedic mantra svāhā, one offers respect to all the demigods, great sages and Pitās, including Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva and Lord Viṣṇu. It is customary that Śiva is one of those who are offered respects, but Satī, while personally present in the arena, saw that the brāhmaṇas did not utter the mantra offering oblations to Lord Śiva, namaḥ śivāya svāhā. She was not sorry for herself, for she was ready to come to her father's house without being invited, but she wanted to see whether or not her husband was being respected.
The followers of Lord Śiva, the ghosts, were ready to injure or kill Dakṣa, but Satī stopped them by her order. She was very angry and sorrowful, and in that mood she began to condemn the process of sacrificial fruitive activities and persons who are very proud of such unnecessary and troublesome sacrifices. She especially condemned her father, speaking against him in the presence of all.
One who has developed love for Viṣṇu must develop love and respect for Viṣṇu's devotees. Lord Śiva is considered the foremost personality amongst the Vaiṣṇavas. Vaiṣṇavānāṁ yathā śambhuḥ. Thus when Satī saw that her father was performing great sacrifices but had no respect for the greatest devotee, Lord Śiva, she was very angry. This is fitting; when Viṣṇu or a Vaiṣṇava is insulted, one should be angry.
The blessed goddess said: Lord Śiva is the most beloved of all living entities. He has no rival. No one is very dear to him, and no one is his enemy. No one but you could be envious of such a universal being, who is free from all enmity.
In Bhagavad-gītā (9.29) the Lord says, samo'haṁ sarva-bhūteṣu: "I am equal to all living entities." Similarly, Lord Śiva is a qualitative incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, so he has almost the same qualities as the Supreme Lord. Therefore he is equal to everyone; no one is his enemy, and no one is his friend, but one who is envious by nature can become the enemy of Lord Śiva. Therefore Satī accused her father, "No one but you could be envious of Lord Śiva or be his enemy." Other sages and learned brāhmaṇas were present, but they were not envious of Lord Śiva, although they were all dependent on Dakṣa. Therefore no one but Dakṣa could be envious of Lord Śiva. That was the accusation of Satī.
Twice-born Dakṣa, a man like you can simply find fault in the qualities of others. Lord Śiva, however, not only finds no faults with others' qualities, but if someone has a little good quality, he magnifies it greatly. Unfortunately, you have found fault with such a great soul.
Lord Śiva is also called Āśutoṣa, which refers to one who is satisfied very easily and who offers to any person the highest level of benediction. For example, once a devotee of Lord Śiva wanted the benediction that whenever he touched someone on the head, that person's head would at once be separated from his trunk. Lord Śiva agreed. Although the benediction asked was not very commendable because the devotee wanted to kill his enemy, Lord Śiva considered the devotee's good quality in worshiping and satisfying him and granted the benediction. Thus Lord Śiva accepted his bad qualities as magnificently good qualities. But Satī accused her father, "You are just the opposite. Although Lord Śiva has so many good qualities and no bad qualities at all, you have accepted him as bad and found fault with him. Because of your accepting his good qualities to be bad, instead of your becoming the most exalted soul you have become the most fallen.
King Dakṣa was deeply engrossed in a misconception because he identified the body with the soul. He offended the lotus feet of Lord Śiva because he thought that his body, being the father of the body of Satī, was superior to Lord Śiva's. Generally, less intelligent men misidentify in that way, and they act in the bodily concept of life. Thus they are subject to commit more and more offenses at the lotus feet of great souls. One who has such a concept of life is considered to be in the class of animals like cows and asses.
Satī continued: My dear father, you are committing the greatest offense by envying Lord Śiva, whose very name, consisting of two syllables, śi and va, purifies one of all sinful activities. His order is never neglected. Lord Śiva is always pure, and no one but you envies him.
Since Lord Śiva is the greatest soul among the living entities within this material world, his name, Śiva, is very auspicious for persons who identify the body with the soul. If such persons take shelter of Lord Śiva, gradually they will understand that they are not the material body but are spirit soul. Śiva means maṅgala, or auspicious. Within the body the soul is auspicious. Ahaṁ brahmāsmi: "I am Brahman." This realization is auspicious. As long as one does not realize his identity as the soul, whatever he does is inauspicious. Śiva means "auspicious," and devotees of Lord Śiva gradually come to the platform of spiritual identification, but that is not all. Auspicious life begins from the point of spiritual identification. But there are still more duties—one has to understand one's relationship with the Supreme Soul. If one is actually a devotee of Lord Śiva, he comes to the platform of spiritual realization, but if he is not intelligent enough, then he stops at that point, only realizing that he is spirit soul (ahaṁ brahmāsmi). If he is intelligent enough, however, he should continue to act in the way of Lord Śiva, for Lord Śiva is always absorbed in the thought of Vāsudeva. As previously explained, sattvaṁ viśuddhaṁ vasudeva-śabditam: Lord Śiva is always in meditation on the lotus feet of Vāsudeva, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Thus the auspicious position of Lord Śiva is realized if one takes to the worship of Viṣṇu, because Lord Śiva says in the Śiva Purāṇa that the topmost worship is worship of Lord Viṣṇu. Lord Śiva is worshiped because he is the greatest devotee of Lord Viṣṇu. One should not, however, make the mistake of considering Lord Śiva and Lord Viṣṇu to be on the same level. That is also an atheistic idea. It is also enjoined in the Vaiṣṇavīya Purāṇa that Viṣṇu, or Nārāyaṇa, is the exalted Supreme Personality of Godhead, and no one should be compared to Him as equal, even Lord Śiva or Lord Brahmā, not to speak of other demigods.
You are envious of Lord Śiva, who is the friend of all living entities within the three worlds. For the common man he fulfills all desires, and because of their engagement in thinking of his lotus feet, he also blesses higher personalities who are seeking after brahmānanda (transcendental bliss).
Ordinarily there are two classes of men. One class, who are grossly materialistic, want material prosperity, and their desires are fulfilled if they worship Lord Śiva. Lord Śiva, being very quickly satisfied, satisfies the material desires of the common man very quickly; therefore it is seen that ordinary men are very much apt to worship him. Next, those who are disgusted or frustrated with the materialistic way of life worship Lord Śiva to attain salvation, which entails freedom from material identification. One who understands that he is not the material body but is spirit soul is liberated from ignorance. Lord Śiva also offers that facility.
These four principles of material life—religion, economic development, sense gratification and liberation—exist, and Lord Śiva is the friend of both the ordinary man and the man who is elevated in spiritual knowledge. Thus it was not good for Dakṣa to create enmity towards him. Even Vaiṣṇavas, who are above both the ordinary and the elevated men in this world, also worship Lord Śiva as the greatest Vaiṣṇava. Thus he is the friend of everyone—the common men, the elevated men and the devotees of the Lord—so no one should disrespect or create enmity towards Lord Śiva.
Do you think that greater, more respectable personalities than you, such as Lord Brahmā, do not know this inauspicious person who goes under the name Lord Śiva? He associates with the demons in the crematorium, his locks of hair are scattered all over his body, he is garlanded with human skulls and smeared with ashes from the crematorium, but in spite of all these inauspicious qualities, great personalities like Brahmā honor him by accepting the flowers offered to his lotus feet and placing them with great respect on their heads.
It is useless to condemn a great personality like Lord Śiva, and this is being stated by his wife, Satī, to establish the supremacy of her husband. First she said, "You call Lord Śiva inauspicious because he associates with demons in crematoriums, covers his body with the ashes of the dead, and garlands himself with the skulls of human beings. You have shown so many defects, but you do not know that his position is always transcendental. Although he appears inauspicious, why do personalities like Brahmā respect the dust of his lotus feet and place on their heads with great respect those very garlands which are condemned by you?" Since Satī was a chaste woman and the wife of Lord Śiva, it was her duty to establish the elevated position of Lord Śiva, not only by sentiment but by facts. Lord Śiva is not an ordinary living entity. This is the conclusion of Vedic scripture.
Brahmā is in almost all cases an ordinary living entity. Sometimes, when there is no ordinary living entity available, the post of Brahmā is occupied by an expansion of Lord Viṣṇu, but generally this post is occupied by a greatly pious living entity within this universe. Thus Lord Śiva's position is constitutionally higher than that of Lord Brahmā, although Lord Śiva appeared as the son of Brahmā. Here it is mentioned that even personalities like Brahmā accept the so-called inauspicious flowers and the dust of the lotus feet of Lord Śiva. Great sages like Marīci, Atri, Bhṛgu and the others among the nine great sages who are descendants of Brahmā also respect Lord Śiva in such a way because they all know that Lord Śiva is not an ordinary living entity.
Lord Śiva is described in the Brahma-saṁhitā to be like curd or yogurt. Curd is not different from milk. Since milk is transformed into curd, in one sense curd is also milk. Similarly, Lord Śiva is in one sense the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but in another sense he is not, just as curd is milk although we have to distinguish between the two. These descriptions are in the Vedic literature.
Here Lord Śiva is praised by Satī, partially due to her personal respect for Lord Śiva, since he is her husband, and partially due to his exalted position, which exceeds that of ordinary living entities, even Lord Brahmā.
The position of Lord Śiva is accepted by Lord Brahmā, so Dakṣa, Satī's father, should also recognize him. That was the point of Satī's statement. She did not actually come to her father's house to participate in the function, although before coming she pleaded with her husband that she wanted to see her sisters and her mother. That was a plea only, for actually at heart she maintained the idea that she would convince her father, Dakṣa, that it was useless to continue being envious of Lord Śiva. That was her main purpose. When she was unable to convince her father, she gave up the body he had given her, as will be seen in the following verses.
The argument offered by Satī is that a person who vilifies a great personality is the lowest of all creatures. But, by the same argument, Dakṣa could also defend himself by saying that since he was a Prajāpati, the master of many living creatures and one of the great officers of the great universal affairs, his position was so exalted that Satī should accept his good qualities instead of vilifying him. The answer to that argument is that Satī was not vilifying but defending. If possible she should have cut out Dakṣa's tongue because he blasphemed Lord Śiva. In other words, since Lord Śiva is the protector of religion, a person who vilifies him should be killed at once, and after killing such a person, one should give up one's life. That is the process, but because Dakṣa happened to be the father of Satī, she decided not to kill him but to give up her own life in order to compensate for the great sin she had committed by hearing blasphemy of Lord Śiva.
Women, laborers and the mercantile class are on the same level. Thus since it is recommended that vaiśyas and śūdras should immediately give up their bodies upon hearing blasphemy of an exalted person like Lord Śiva, she decided to give up her life.
Therefore I shall no longer bear this unworthy body, which has been received from you, who have blasphemed Lord Śiva. If someone has taken food which is poisonous, the best treatment is to vomit.
Although the most dear Lord Śiva appears not to observe all the rules and regulations of the Vedas, he is not affected by such disobedience, but a common man who wants to imitate Lord Śiva is mistaken. A common man must observe all the rules and regulations of the Vedas which a person who is in the transcendental position does not need to observe. Dakṣa found fault with Lord Śiva for not observing all the strict rules and regulations of the Vedas, but Satī asserted that he had no need to observe such rules. It is said that for one who is powerful like the sun or the fire, there is no consideration of purity or impurity. The sunshine can sterilize an impure place, whereas if someone else were to pass such a place he would be affected. One should not try to imitate Lord Śiva; rather, one should strictly follow one's prescribed occupational duties. One should never vilify a great personality like Lord Śiva.
Lord Śiva is in the transcendental position because, as stated before, he is always absorbed in the thought of Lord Vāsudeva within himself. Therefore neither the activities of the gṛhastha nor those of the sannyāsī in the renounced order can be applicable for him. He is in the paramahaṁsa stage, the highest perfectional stage of life. The transcendental position of Lord Śiva is also explained in Bhagavad-gītā (2.52-53).
He possessed all opulences, but he did not like to exhibit them. Therefore such opulences are called avyakta, or unmanifested. But if required, simply by willing, Lord Śiva can show his wonderful opulences, and such an event is predicted here, for it would soon occur. The opulence Lord Śiva possesses is enjoyable in renunciation and love of God, not in material exhibition of sense gratificatory methods. Such opulences are possessed by personalities like the Kumāras, Nārada and Lord Śiva, not by others.
Whether or not King Dakṣa and his flatterers could understand the position of Lord Śiva, Satī wanted to impress upon her father that he should not think her husband to be without opulence. Satī, being the devoted wife of Lord Śiva, offers all kinds of material opulences to the worshipers of Lord Śiva. This fact is explained in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, in the Tenth Canto. Lord Śiva's worshipers sometimes appear more opulent than the worshipers of Lord Viṣṇu because Durgā, or Satī, being the superintendent in charge of material affairs, can offer all material opulences to the worshipers of Lord Śiva in order to glorify her husband, whereas the worshipers of Viṣṇu are meant for spiritual elevation, and therefore their material opulence is sometimes found to decrease.
You are an offender at the lotus feet of Lord Śiva, and unfortunately I have a body produced from yours. I am very much ashamed of our bodily relationship, and I condemn myself because my body is contaminated by a relationship with a person who is an offender at the lotus feet of the greatest personality.
Lord Śiva is the greatest of all devotees of Lord Viṣṇu. It is stated, vaiṣṇavānāṁ yathā śambhuḥ. Śambhu, Lord Śiva, is the greatest of all devotees of Lord Viṣṇu. In the previous verses, Satī has described that Lord Śiva is always in a transcendental position because he is situated in pure vasudeva. Vasudeva is that state from which Kṛṣṇa, Vāsudeva, is born, so Lord Śiva is the greatest devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and Satī's behavior is exemplary because no one should tolerate blasphemy against Lord Viṣṇu or His devotee. Satī is aggrieved not for her personal association with Lord Śiva but because her body is related with that of Dakṣa, who is an offender at Lord Śiva's lotus feet. She feels herself to be condemned because of the body given by her father, Dakṣa.
Because of our family relationship, when Lord Śiva addresses me as Dākṣāyaṇī I at once become morose, and my jolliness and my smile at once disappear. I feel very much sorry that my body, which is just like a bag, has been produced by you. I shall therefore give it up.
The word dākṣāyaṇī means "the daughter of King Dakṣa." Sometimes, when there was relaxed conversation between husband and wife, Lord Śiva used to call Satī "the daughter of King Dakṣa," and because this very word reminded her about her family relationship with King Dakṣa, she at once became ashamed because Dakṣa was an incarnation of all offenses. Dakṣa was the embodiment of envy, for he unnecessarily blasphemed a great personality, Lord Śiva. Simply upon hearing the word dākṣāyaṇī, she felt afflicted because of reference to the context because her body was the symbol of all the offensiveness with which Dakṣa was endowed.
Satī was the wife of Lord Śiva, who is known as Yogeśvara, the best among all yogīs, because he knows all the mystic processes of yoga, so it appeared that Satī also knew them. Either she learned yoga from her husband or she was enlightened because she was the daughter of such a great king as Dakṣa. The perfection of yoga is that one can give up one's body or release oneself from the embodiment of material elements according to one's desire.
Thus, in order to give up her body, which had been so respectfully and affectionately seated on the lap of Lord Śiva, who is worshiped by great sages and saints, Satī, due to anger towards her father, began to meditate on the fiery air within the body.
Lord Śiva is described herein as the best of all great souls. Although Satī's body was born of Dakṣa, Lord Śiva used to adore her by sitting her on his lap. This is considered a great token of respect. Thus Satī's body was not ordinary, but still she decided to give it up because it was the source of unhappiness because of its connection with Dakṣa.
Satīdevī decided to quit the body she had obtained from Dakṣa's body, and she wanted to transfer herself to another body so that she might have completely uncontaminated association with Lord Śiva. Of course, it is understood that in her next life she would take birth as the daughter of the Himalayas, Pārvatī, and then she would again accept Lord Śiva as her husband. Satī and Lord Śiva are eternally related; even after she changes her body, their relationship is never broken.
Satī concentrated all her meditation on the holy lotus feet of her husband, Lord Śiva, who is the supreme spiritual master of all the world. Thus she became completely cleansed of all taints of sin and quit her body in a blazing fire by meditation on the fiery elements.
Satī at once thought of the lotus feet of her husband, Lord Śiva, who is one of the three great personalities of Godhead in charge of the management of the material world, and simply by meditating on his lotus feet she derived such great pleasure that she forgot everything in relationship with her body.
When Satī annihilated her body in anger, there was a tumultuous roar all over the universe. Why had Satī, the wife of the most respectable demigod, Lord Śiva, quit her body in such a manner?
There was a tumultuous roaring all over the universe in the societies of the demigods of different planets because Satī was the daughter of Dakṣa, the greatest of all kings, and the wife of Lord Śiva, the greatest of all demigods. Why did she become so angry that she gave up her body? Since she was the daughter of a great personality and wife of a great personality, she had nothing to desire, but still she gave up her body in dissatisfaction. Certainly this was astonishing.
Brāhmaṇas are generally very softhearted and forbearing because they have the power to control the senses and the mind. Dakṣa, however, was not forbearing. For the simple reason that his son-in-law, Lord Śiva, did not stand up to show him the formality of respect, he became so angry and hardhearted that he tolerated even the death of his dearest daughter.
Maitreya said: When Lord Śiva heard from Nārada that Satī, his wife, was now dead because of Prajāpati Dakṣa's insult to her and that his soldiers had been driven away by the Ṛbhu demigods, he became greatly angry.
Lord Śiva understood that Satī, being the youngest daughter of Dakṣa, could present the case of Lord Śiva's purity of purpose and would thus be able to mitigate the misunderstanding between Dakṣa and himself. But such a compromise was not attained, and Satī was deliberately insulted by her father by not being received properly when she visited his house without being invited.
When Satī passed away, giving up her body, the news was conveyed by Nārada to Lord Śiva. Nārada always carries the news of such events because he knows their import. When Lord Śiva heard that his chaste wife, Satī, was dead, he naturally became exceedingly angry.
Thus Lord Śiva, being extremely angry, pressed his lips with his teeth and immediately snatched from his head a strand of hair which blazed like electricity or fire. He stood up at once, laughing like a madman, and dashed the hair to the ground.
When that gigantic demon asked with folded hands, "What shall I do, my lord?" Lord Śiva, who is known as Bhūtanātha, directly ordered, "Because you are born from my body, you are the chief of all my associates. Therefore, kill Dakṣa and his soldiers at the sacrifice."
Here is the beginning of competition between brahma-tejas and śiva-tejas. By brahma-tejas, brahminical strength, Bhṛgu Muni had created the Ṛbhu demigods, who had driven away the soldiers of Lord Śiva stationed in the arena. When Lord Śiva heard that his soldiers had been driven away, he created the tall black demon Vīrabhadra to retaliate. There is sometimes a competition between the mode of goodness and the mode of ignorance. That is the way of material existence.
Although pure goodness, or śuddha-sattva, is the basic principle in the spiritual world, pure manifestation of goodness is not possible in this material world. Thus, the struggle for existence between different material qualities is always present. This quarrel between Lord Śiva and Bhṛgu Muni, centering around Prajāpati Dakṣa, is the practical example of such competition between the different qualitative modes of material nature.
Maitreya continued: My dear Vidura, that black person was the personified anger of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and he was prepared to execute the orders of Lord Śiva. Thus, considering himself capable of coping with any power offered against him, he circumambulated Lord Śiva.
Many other soldiers of Lord Śiva followed the fierce personality in a tumultuous uproar. He carried a great trident, fearful enough to kill even death, and on his legs he wore bangles which seemed to roar.
The dust storm created by the soldiers and assistants of Lord Śiva resembled the situation at the time of the dissolution of this world. When there is a need for the dissolution of the material creation, this function is conducted by Lord Śiva. Therefore the situation now created by him resembled the dissolution of the cosmic manifestation.
Satī had been present along with the other daughters, and Dakṣa had purposely received all of them but her because she happened to be the wife of Lord Śiva. This consideration convinced the wife of Dakṣa of the danger which was now ahead, and thus she knew that Dakṣa must be prepared to die for his heinous act.
At the time of dissolution, Lord Śiva's hair is scattered, and he pierces the rulers of the different directions with his trident. He laughs and dances proudly, scattering their hands like flags, as thunder scatters the clouds all over the world.
Prasūti, who appreciated the power and strength of her son-in-law, Lord Śiva, is describing what he does at the time of dissolution. This description indicates that the strength of Lord Śiva is so great that Dakṣa's power could not be set in comparison to it. At the time of dissolution, Lord Śiva, with his trident in hand, dances over the rulers of the different planets, and his hair is scattered, just as the clouds are scattered over all directions in order to plunge the different planets into incessant torrents of rain. In the last phase of dissolution, all the planets become inundated with water, and that inundation is caused by the dancing of Lord Śiva. This dance is called the pralaya dance, or dance of dissolution. Prasūti could understand that the dangers ahead resulted not only from Dakṣa's having neglected her daughter, but also because of his neglecting the prestige and honor of Lord Śiva.
My dear Vidura, all the followers of Lord Śiva surrounded the arena of sacrifice. They were of short stature and were equipped with various kinds of weapons; their bodies appeared to be like those of sharks, blackish and yellowish. They ran all around the sacrificial arena and thus began to create disturbances.
Maṇimān, one of the followers of Lord Śiva, arrested Bhṛgu Muni, and Vīrabhadra, the black demon, arrested Prajāpati Dakṣa. Another follower, who was named Caṇḍeśa, arrested Pūṣā. Nandīśvara arrested the demigod Bhaga.
Vīrabhadra immediately caught Bhaga, who had been moving his eyebrows during Bhṛgu's cursing of Lord Śiva, and out of great anger thrust him to the ground and forcibly put out his eyes.
Just as Baladeva knocked out the teeth of Dantavakra, the King of Kaliṅga, during the gambling match at the marriage ceremony of Aniruddha, Vīrabhadra knocked out the teeth of both Dakṣa, who had shown them while cursing Lord Śiva, and Pūṣā, who by smiling sympathetically had also shown his teeth.
Now all of them—Dakṣa and the demigods Bhaga and Pūṣā and Bhṛgu Muni—were punished by the soldiers of Lord Śiva, but later everything would come to a peaceful end. So this spirit of fighting between one another was not exactly inimical. Because everyone was so powerful and wanted to show his strength by Vedic mantra or mystic power, all these fighting skills were very elaborately exhibited by the different parties at the Dakṣa yajña.
Upon seeing the action of Vīrabhadra, the party of Lord Śiva was pleased and cried out joyfully, and all the bhūtas, ghosts and demons that had come made a tumultuous sound. On the other hand, the brāhmaṇas in charge of the sacrifice cried out in grief at the death of Dakṣa.
Vīrabhadra then took the head and with great anger threw it into the southern side of the sacrificial fire, offering it as an oblation. In this way the followers of Lord Śiva devastated all the arrangements for sacrifice. After setting fire to the whole arena, they departed for their master's abode, Kailāsa.
All the priests and other members of the sacrificial assembly and all the demigods, having been defeated by the soldiers of Lord Śiva and injured by weapons like tridents and swords, approached Lord Brahmā with great fear. After offering him obeisances, they began to speak in detail of all the events which had taken place.
Lord Brahmā explained to the demigods that although Dakṣa wanted to enjoy the results of fruitive sacrificial activities, it is not possible to enjoy when one offends a great personality like Lord Śiva.
You have excluded Lord Śiva from taking part in the sacrificial results, and therefore you are all offenders at his lotus feet. Still, if you go without mental reservations and surrender unto him and fall down at his lotus feet, he will be very pleased.
Lord Śiva is also called Āśutoṣa. Āśu means "very soon," and toṣa means "to become satisfied." The demigods were advised to go to Lord Śiva and beg his pardon, and because he is very easily pleased, it was certain that their purpose would be served. Lord Brahmā knew the mind of Lord Śiva very well, and he was confident that the demigods, who were offenders at his lotus feet, could mitigate their offenses by going to him and surrendering without reservation.
Lord Brahmā also advised them that Lord Śiva is so powerful that by his anger all the planets and their chief controllers can be destroyed immediately. Also, he said that Lord Śiva was especially sorry because he had recently lost his dear wife and was also very much afflicted by the unkind words of Dakṣa. Under the circumstances, Lord Brahmā suggested, it would behoove them to go at once and beg his pardon.
Lord Brahmā said that no one, not even himself, Indra, all the members assembled in the sacrificial arena, or all the sages, could know how powerful Lord Śiva is. Under the circumstances, who would dare to commit an offense at his lotus feet?.
After Lord Brahmā advised the demigods to go to Lord Śiva and beg his pardon, it was suggested how he should be satisfied and how the matter should be placed before him. Brahmā also asserted that none of the conditioned souls, including himself and all the demigods, could know how to satisfy Lord Śiva. But he said, "It is known that he is very easily satisfied, so let us try to satisfy him by falling at his lotus feet."
The Lord asks everyone to give up all kinds of concocted occupations and simply surrender unto Him. That will protect the conditioned souls from all sinful reactions. Similarly, in this case Brahmā also suggested that they go and surrender unto the lotus feet of Lord Śiva, for since he is very kind and easily satisfied, this action would prove effective.
After thus instructing all the demigods, the Pitās and the lords of the living entities, Lord Brahmā took them with him and left for the abode of Lord Śiva, known as the Kailāsa Hill.
The abode of Lord Śiva, which is known as Kailāsa, is described in the fourteen verses which follow.
According to the commentary called Śrī-Bhāgavata-candra-candrikā, the water in which Satī used to bathe was Ganges water. In other words, the Ganges flowed through the Kailāsa-parvata. There is every possibility of accepting such a statement because Ganges water also flows from the hair of Lord Śiva. Since Ganges water rests on the head of Lord Śiva and then flows to the other parts of the universe, it is quite possible that the water in which Satī bathed, which was certainly very nicely scented, was Ganges water.
In Brahma-saṁhitā we learn about the desire tree which is found in the spiritual world, especially in Kṛṣṇaloka, the abode of Lord Kṛṣṇa. We learn here that such desire trees are also found in Kailāsa, the residence of Lord Śiva, by the grace of Kṛṣṇa. It thus appears that Kailāsa has a special significance; it is almost like the residence of Lord Kṛṣṇa.
The demigods saw Lord Śiva sitting under that tree, which was competent to give perfection to mystic yogīs and deliver all people. As grave as time eternal, he appeared to have given up all anger.
Lord Śiva sat there, surrounded by saintly persons like Kuvera, the master of the Guhyakas, and the four Kumāras, who were already liberated souls. Lord Śiva was grave and saintly.
The personalities sitting with Lord Śiva are significant because the four Kumāras were liberated from birth. It may be remembered that after their birth these Kumāras were requested by their father to get married and beget children in order to increase the population of the newly created universe. But they refused, and at that time Lord Brahmā was angry. In that angry mood, Rudra, or Lord Śiva, was born. Thus they were intimately related. Kuvera, the treasurer of the demigods, is fabulously rich. Thus Lord Śiva's association with the Kumāras and Kuvera indicates that he has all transcendental and material opulences. Actually, he is the qualitative incarnation of the Supreme Lord; therefore his position is very exalted.
The demigods saw Lord Śiva situated in his perfection as the master of the senses, knowledge, fruitive activities and the path of achieving perfection. He was the friend of the entire world, and by virtue of his full affection for everyone, he was very auspicious.
Lord Śiva is full of wisdom and tapasya, austerity.
Lord Śiva is described here as adhīśvara. Īśvara means "controller," and adhīśvara means particularly "controller of the senses." Generally our materially contaminated senses are apt to engage in sense gratificatory activities, but when a person is elevated by wisdom and austerity, the senses then become purified, and they become engaged in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Lord Śiva is the emblem of such perfection, and therefore in the scriptures it is said, vaiṣṇavānāṁ yathā śambhuḥ: Lord Śiva is a Vaiṣṇava. Lord Śiva, by his actions within this material world, teaches all conditioned souls how to engage in devotional service twenty-four hours a day. Therefore he is described here as loka-maṅgala, good fortune personified for all conditioned souls.
Lord Śiva's symptoms of austerity are not exactly those of a Vaiṣṇava. Lord Śiva is certainly the number one Vaiṣṇava, but he exhibits a feature for a particular class of men who cannot follow the Vaiṣṇava principles. The Śaivites, the devotees of Lord Śiva, generally dress like Lord Śiva, and sometimes they indulge in smoking and taking intoxicants. Such practices are never accepted by the followers of Vaiṣṇava rituals.
Nārada was asking Lord Śiva about devotional service, and Śiva, being the topmost Vaiṣṇava, was instructing him. In other words, Lord Śiva and Nārada were discussing the knowledge of the Veda, but it is to be understood that the subject matter was devotional service. Another point in this connection is that Lord Śiva is the supreme instructor and the great sage Nārada is the supreme audience. Therefore, the supreme subject matter of Vedic knowledge is bhakti, or devotional service.
Lord Śiva is called yogīśvara, the master of all yogīs, and Kṛṣṇa is also called yogeśvara. Yogīśvara indicates that no one can surpass the yoga practice of Lord Śiva, and yogeśvara indicates that no one can surpass the yogic perfection of Kṛṣṇa.
All the sages and demigods, headed by Indra, offered their respectful obeisances unto Lord Śiva with folded hands. Lord Śiva was dressed in saffron garments and absorbed in trance, thus appearing to be the foremost of all sages.
Samādhi means particularly concentrated attention, so one who has achieved the qualification of always meditating on the Personality of Godhead is to be understood to be always in trance and enjoying brahma-nirvāṇa, or brahmānanda. Lord Śiva exhibited those symptoms, and therefore it is stated that he was absorbed in brahmānanda.
Lord Śiva is described in this verse as the chief of all thinkers. Lord Śiva, of course, does not engage in useless mental speculation, but as stated in the previous verse, he is always thoughtful regarding how to deliver the demons from their fallen condition of life.
It is said that during the advent of Lord Caitanya, Sadāśiva appeared as Advaita Prabhu, and Advaita Prabhu's chief concern was to elevate the fallen conditioned souls to the platform of devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa. Since people were engaged in useless occupations which would continue their material existence, Lord Śiva, in the form of Lord Advaita, appealed to the Supreme Lord to appear as Lord Caitanya to deliver these illusioned souls. Actually Lord Caitanya appeared on the request of Lord Advaita. Similarly, Lord Śiva has a sampradāya, the Rudra-sampradāya. He is always thinking about the deliverance of the fallen souls, as exhibited by Lord Advaita Prabhu.
Lord Śiva's lotus feet were worshiped by both the demigods and demons, but still, in spite of his exalted position, as soon as he saw that Lord Brahmā was there among all the other demigods, he immediately stood up and offered him respect by bowing down and touching his lotus feet, just as Vāmanadeva offered His respectful obeisances to Kaśyapa Muni.
Kaśyapa Muni was in the category of the living entities, but he had a transcendental son, Vāmanadeva, who was an incarnation of Viṣṇu. Thus although Lord Viṣṇu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He offered His respects to Kaśyapa Muni. Similarly, when Lord Kṛṣṇa was a child He used to offer His respectful obeisances to His mother and father, Nanda and Yaśodā. Also, at the Battle of Kurukṣetra, Lord Kṛṣṇa touched the feet of Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira because the King was His elder. It appears, then, that the Personality of Godhead, Lord Śiva and other devotees, in spite of their being situated in exalted positions, instructed by practical example how to offer obeisances to their superiors. Lord Śiva offered his respectful obeisances to Brahmā because Brahmā was his father, just as Kaśyapa Muni was the father of Vāmana.
All the sages who were sitting with Lord Śiva, such as Nārada and others, also offered their respectful obeisances to Lord Brahmā. After being so worshiped, Lord Brahmā, smiling, began to speak to Lord Śiva.
Lord Brahmā was smiling because he knew that Lord Śiva is not only easily satisfied but easily irritated as well. He was afraid that Lord Śiva might be in an angry mood because he had lost his wife and had been insulted by Dakṣa. In order to conceal this fear, he smiled and addressed Lord Śiva as follows.
Lord Brahmā said: My dear Lord Śiva, I know that you are the controller of the entire material manifestation, the combination father and mother of the cosmic manifestation, and the Supreme Brahman beyond the cosmic manifestation as well. I know you in that way.
Although Lord Brahmā had received very respectful obeisances from Lord Śiva, he knew that Lord Śiva was in a more exalted position than himself. Lord Śiva's position is described in Brahma-saṁhitā: there is no difference between Lord Viṣṇu and Lord Śiva in their original positions, but still Lord Śiva is different from Lord Viṣṇu. The example is given that the milk in yogurt is not different from the original milk from which it was made.
In this verse the word śiva-śakti is significant. Śiva means "auspicious," and śakti means "energy." There are many types of energies of the Supreme Lord, and all of them are auspicious. Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara are called guṇa-avatāras, or incarnations of material qualities.
Generally it is prescribed that performers of pious activities are promoted to the higher planetary systems, devotees are promoted to the Vaikuṇṭhas, or spiritual worlds, and impersonal speculators are promoted to the impersonal Brahman effulgence; but it sometimes so happens that a miscreant like Ajāmila is immediately promoted to the Vaikuṇṭhaloka simply by chanting the name of Nārāyaṇa. Although when Ajāmila uttered this vibration he intended to call his son Nārāyaṇa, Lord Nārāyaṇa took it seriously and immediately gave him promotion to Vaikuṇṭhaloka, despite his background, which was full of sinful activities. Similarly King Dakṣa was always engaged in the pious activities of performing sacrifices, yet simply because of creating a little misunderstanding with Lord Śiva, he was severely taken to task. The conclusion is, therefore, that the supreme will is the ultimate judgment; no one can argue upon this.
Persons who are materialistic and always engaged in fruitive activities for material profit cannot endure seeing the flourishing life of others. Except for a few persons in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the entire world is full of such envious persons, who are perpetually full of anxieties because they are attached to the material body and are without self-realization. Since their hearts are always filled with anxiety, it is understood that they have already been killed by providence. Thus Lord Śiva, as a self-realized Vaiṣṇava, was advised not to kill Dakṣa.
My dear Lord Śiva, you are a shareholder of a portion of the sacrifice, and you are the giver of the result. The bad priests did not deliver your share, and therefore you destroyed everything, and the sacrifice remains unfinished. Now you can do the needful and take your rightful share.
O Lord Śiva, may the demigods and the priests whose limbs have been broken by your soldiers recover from the injuries by your grace.
After the yajña was performed by Dakṣa, all the demigods expected prasāda, the remnants of foodstuffs offered to Viṣṇu. Lord Śiva is one of the demigods, so naturally he also expected his share of the prasāda from the yajña. But Dakṣa, out of his envy of Lord Śiva, neither invited Śiva to participate in the yajña nor gave him his share after the offering. But after the destruction of the yajña arena by the followers of Lord Śiva, Lord Brahmā pacified him and assured him that he would get his share of prasāda. Thus he was requested to rectify whatever destruction was caused by his followers.
In Bhagavad-gītā (3.11) it is said that all the demigods are satisfied when one performs yajña. Because the demigods expect prasāda from yajñas, yajña must be performed. Those who engage in sense gratificatory, materialistic activities must perform yajña, otherwise they will be implicated. Thus Dakṣa, being the father of mankind, was performing yajña, and Lord Śiva expected his share. But since Śiva was not invited, there was trouble. By the mediation of Lord Brahmā, however, everything was settled satisfactorily.
One should invite people, chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, and then distribute prasāda. This yajña will satisfy all the demigods, and thus there will be peace and prosperity in the world. Another difficulty in performing the Vedic rituals is that if one fails to satisfy even one demigod out of the many hundreds of thousands of demigods, just as Dakṣa failed to satisfy Lord Śiva, there will be disaster. But in this age the performance of sacrifice has been simplified. One can chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, and by pleasing Kṛṣṇa one can satisfy all the demigods automatically.
The sage Maitreya said: O mighty-armed Vidura, Lord Śiva, being thus pacified by the words of Lord Brahmā, spoke as follows in answer to Lord Brahmā's request.
Lord Śiva said: My dear father, Brahmā, I do not mind the offenses created by the demigods. Because these demigods are childish and less intelligent, I do not take a serious view of their offenses, and I have punished them only in order to right them.
Lord Śiva is by nature a Vaiṣṇava, a great devotee, and his name in this connection is Āśutoṣa. He is always satisfied, and therefore he did not become angry as if he were an enemy. He is not inimical to any living entity; rather, he always wishes the welfare of all. Whenever he chastises a person, it is just like a father's punishment of his son. Lord Śiva is like a father because he never takes seriously any offense by any living entities, especially the demigods.
Lord Śiva continued: Since the head of Dakṣa has already been burned to ashes, he will have the head of a goat. The demigod known as Bhaga will be able to see his share of sacrifice through the eyes of Mitra.
The demigod Pūṣā became dependent on his disciples for chewing. Otherwise he was allowed to swallow only dough made of chickpea flour. Thus his punishment continued. He could not use his teeth for eating, since he had laughed at Lord Śiva, deriding him by showing his teeth. In other words, it was not appropriate for him to have teeth, for he had used them against Lord Śiva.
It will be found in the verses ahead that after Dakṣa's head was replaced by the goat's head, he was as intelligent as he had previously been. He prayed very nicely to satisfy Lord Śiva and Lord Viṣṇu, which is not possible for a goat to do. Therefore it is definitely concluded that the brain substance is not the center of intelligence; it is the consciousness of a particular soul that works intelligently.
The great sage Maitreya said: My dear Vidura, all the personalities present were very much satisfied in heart and soul upon hearing the words of Lord Śiva, who is the best among the benedictors.
In this verse Lord Śiva is described as mīḍhuṣṭama, the best of the benedictors. He is also known as Āśutoṣa, which indicates that he is very quickly satisfied and very quickly angered. It is said in Bhagavad-gītā that less intelligent persons go to the demigods for material benedictions. In this connection, people generally go to Lord Śiva, and because he is always quickly satisfied and gives benedictions to his devotees without consideration, he is called mīḍhuṣṭama, or the best of the benedictors. Materialistic persons are always anxious to get material profit, but they are not serious about spiritual profit.
Sometimes, of course, it so happens that Lord Śiva becomes the best benedictor in spiritual life. It is said that once a poor brāhmaṇa worshiped Lord Śiva for a benediction, and Lord Śiva advised the devotee to go to see Sanātana Gosvāmī. The devotee went to Sanātana Gosvāmī and informed him that Lord Śiva had advised him to seek out the best benediction from him (Sanātana). Sanātana had a touchstone with him, which he kept with the garbage. On the request of the poor brāhmaṇa, Sanātana Gosvāmī gave him the touchstone, and the brāhmaṇa was very happy to have it. He now could get as much gold as he desired simply by touching the touchstone to iron. But after he left Sanātana, he thought, "If a touchstone is the best benediction, why has Sanātana Gosvāmī kept it with the garbage?" He therefore returned and asked Sanātana Gosvāmī, "Sir, if this is the best benediction, why did you keep it with the garbage?" Sanātana Gosvāmī then informed him, "Actually, this is not the best benediction. But are you prepared to take the best benediction from me?" The brāhmaṇa said, "Yes, sir. Lord Śiva has sent me to you for the best benediction." Then Sanātana Gosvāmī asked him to throw the touchstone in the water nearby and then come back. The poor brāhmaṇa did so, and when he returned, Sanātana Gosvāmī initiated him with the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. Thus by the benediction of Lord Śiva the brāhmaṇa got the association of the best devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa and was thus initiated in the mahā-mantra, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.
Thereafter, Bhṛgu, the chief of the great sages, invited Lord Śiva to come to the sacrificial arena. Thus the demigods, accompanied by the sages, Lord Śiva, and Lord Brahmā, all went to the place where the great sacrifice was being performed.
The whole sacrifice arranged by King Dakṣa had been disturbed by Lord Śiva. Therefore all the demigods present there, along with Lord Brahmā and the great sages, specifically requested Lord Śiva to come and revive the sacrificial fire. There is a common phrase, śiva-hīna-yajña: "Any sacrifice without the presence of Lord Śiva is baffled." Lord Viṣṇu is Yajñeśvara, the Supreme Personality in the matter of sacrifice, yet in each yajña it is necessary for all the demigods, headed by Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, to be present.
After everything was executed exactly as directed by Lord Śiva, Dakṣa's body was joined to the head of the animal meant to be killed in the sacrifice.
This time, all the demigods and great sages were very careful not to irritate Lord Śiva. Therefore whatever he asked was done. It is specifically said here that Dakṣa's body was joined to the head of an animal (a goat).
When the animal's head was fixed on the body of King Dakṣa, Dakṣa was immediately brought to consciousness, and as he awakened from sleep, the King saw Lord Śiva standing before him.
Dakṣa was killed, and his head was taken away and burned to ashes. His body was lying dead, but by the grace of Lord Śiva, as soon as the head of a goat was joined to the body, Dakṣa came back to consciousness again. This indicates that consciousness is also individual. Dakṣa actually took another body when he took on the head of a goat, but because consciousness is individual, his consciousness remained the same although his bodily condition changed. Thus bodily construction has nothing to do with the development of consciousness. Consciousness is carried with the transmigration of the soul.
At that time, when Dakṣa saw Lord Śiva, who rides upon a bull, his heart, which was polluted by envy of Lord Śiva, was immediately cleansed, just as the water in a lake is cleansed by autumn rains.
Here is an example of why Lord Śiva is called auspicious. lf anyone sees Lord Śiva with devotion and reverence, his heart is immediately cleansed. King Dakṣa was polluted by envy of Lord Śiva, and yet by seeing him with a little love and devotion, his heart immediately became cleansed. In the rainy season, the reservoirs of water become dirty and muddy, but as soon as the autumn rain comes, all the water immediately becomes clear and transparent. Similarly, although Dakṣa's heart was impure because of his having slandered Lord Śiva, for which he was severely punished, Dakṣa now came to consciousness, and just by seeing Lord Śiva with veneration and respect, he became immediately purified.
King Dakṣa wanted to offer prayers to Lord Śiva, but as he remembered the ill-fated death of his daughter Satī, his eyes filled with tears, and in bereavement his voice choked up, and he could not say anything.
At this time, King Dakṣa, afflicted by love and affection, was very much awakened to his real senses. With great endeavor, he pacified his mind, checked his feelings, and with pure consciousness began to offer prayers to Lord Śiva.
King Dakṣa said: My dear Lord Śiva, I committed a great offense against you, but you are so kind that instead of withdrawing your mercy, you have done me a great favor by punishing me. You and Lord Viṣṇu never neglect even useless, unqualified brāhmaṇas. Why, then, should you neglect me, who am engaged in performing sacrifices?
Although Dakṣa felt defeated, he knew that his punishment was simply the great mercy of Lord Śiva. He remembered that Lord Śiva and Lord Viṣṇu are never neglectful of the brāhmaṇas, even though the brāhmaṇas are sometimes unqualified.
Dakṣa proved himself to be a brahma-bandhu. He was born of a great brāhmaṇa father, Lord Brahmā, but his treatment of Lord Śiva was not exactly brahminical; therefore he admitted that he was not a perfect brāhmaṇa. Lord Śiva and Lord Viṣṇu, however, are affectionate even to an imperfect brāhmaṇa. Lord Śiva punished Dakṣa not as one does his enemy; rather, he punished Dakṣa just to bring him to his senses, so that he would know that he had done wrong. Dakṣa could understand this, and he acknowledged the great mercy of Lord Kṛṣṇa and Lord Śiva towards the fallen brāhmaṇas, including even himself. Although he was fallen, his vow was to execute the sacrifice, as is the duty of brāhmaṇas, and thus he began his prayers to Lord Śiva.
My dear great and powerful Lord Śiva, you were created first from the mouth of Lord Brahmā in order to protect the brāhmaṇas in pursuing education, austerities, vows and self-realization. As protector of the brāhmaṇas, you always protect the regulative principles they follow, just as a cowherd boy keeps a stick in his hand to give protection to the cows.
Lord Śiva is called paśupati because he protects the living entities in their developed consciousness so that they may follow the Vedic system of varṇa and āśrama. The word paśu refers to the animal as well as to the human entity. It is stated here that Lord Śiva is always interested in protecting the animals and the animalistic living entities, who are not very advanced in the spiritual sense. It is also stated that the brāhmaṇas are produced from the mouth of the Supreme Lord. We should always remember that Lord Śiva is being addressed as the representative of the Supreme Lord, Viṣṇu. In the Vedic literature it is described that the brāhmaṇas are born from the mouth of the universal form of Viṣṇu, the kṣatriyas are born from His arms, the vaiśyas from His abdomen or waist, and the śūdras from His legs. In the formation of a body, the head is the principal factor. The brāhmaṇas are born from the mouth of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in order to accept charity for worship of Viṣṇu and to spread Vedic knowledge. Lord Śiva is known as paśupati, the protector of the brāhmaṇas and other living entities. He protects them from the attacks of non-brāhmaṇas, or uncultured persons who are against the self-realization process.
In the beginning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is confirmed that even though one performs the rituals of the Vedas, if he does not develop a sense of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then all his labor in performing Vedic rituals is considered to be simply a waste of time. Lord Śiva's aim in destroying the Dakṣa yajña was to punish Dakṣa because by neglecting him (Lord Śiva), Dakṣa was committing a great offense. Lord Śiva's punishment was just like that of a cowherd boy, who keeps a stick to frighten his animals. It is commonly said that to give protection to animals, a stick is needed because animals cannot reason and argue. Their reasoning and argument is argumentum ad baculum; unless there is a rod, they do not obey. Force is required for the animalistic class of men, whereas those who are advanced are convinced by reasons, arguments and scriptural authority. Persons who are simply attached to Vedic rituals, without further advancement of devotional service, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, are almost like animals, and Lord Śiva is in charge of giving them protection and sometimes punishing them, as he punished Dakṣa.
As usual, a devotee in an adverse condition of life accepts such a condition to be the mercy of the Lord. Factually, the insulting words used by Dakṣa against Lord Śiva were enough to have him thrown perpetually into a hellish life. But Lord Śiva, being kind toward him, awarded him punishment to neutralize the offense. King Dakṣa realized this and, feeling obliged for Lord Śiva's magnanimous behavior, wanted to show his gratitude. Sometimes a father punishes his child, and when the child is grown up and comes to his senses, he understands that the father's punishment was not actually punishment but mercy. Similarly, Dakṣa appreciated that the punishment offered to him by Lord Śiva was a manifestation of Lord Śiva's mercy. That is the symptom of a person making progress on the path of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
The great sage Maitreya said: Thus being pardoned by Lord Śiva, King Dakṣa, with the permission of Lord Brahmā, again began the performance of the yajña, along with the great learned sages, the priests and others.
Thereafter, in order to resume the activities of sacrifice, the brāhmaṇas first arranged to purify the sacrificial arena of the contamination caused by the touch of Vīrabhadra and the other ghostly followers of Lord Śiva. Then they arranged to offer into the fire the oblations known as puroḍāśa.
Lord Śiva's followers and devotees, headed by Vīrabhadra, are known as vīras, and they are ghostly demons. Not only did they pollute the entire sacrificial arena by their very presence, but they disturbed the whole situation by passing stool and urine. Therefore, the infection they had created was to be first purified by the method of offering puroḍāśa oblations. A viṣṇu-yajña, or an offering to Lord Viṣṇu, cannot be performed uncleanly.
The yajña arena was desecrated by the presence of Lord Śiva's followers, headed by Vīrabhadra, and therefore the entire arena had to be sanctified. Although Lord Śiva was present and he is all-auspicious, it was still necessary to sanctify the place because his followers had broken into the arena and committed so many obnoxious acts. That sanctification was possible only by chanting the holy name of Viṣṇu, Trikapāla, which can sanctify the three worlds. In other words, it is admitted herein that the followers of Lord Śiva are generally unclean. They are not even very hygienic; they do not take baths regularly, they wear long hair, and they smoke gāñjā. Persons of such irregular habits are counted amongst the ghosts. Since they were present in the sacrificial arena, the atmosphere became polluted, and it had to be sanctified by trikapāla oblations, which indicated the invocation of Viṣṇu's favor.
As soon as Lord Viṣṇu was visible, all the demigods—Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, the Gandharvas and all present there—immediately offered their respectful obeisances by falling down straight before Him.
It appears that Lord Viṣṇu is the Supreme Lord even of Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā, what to speak of the demigods, Gandharvas and ordinary living entities. It is stated in a prayer, yaṁ brahmā varuṇendra-rudra-marutāḥ: all the demigods worship Lord Viṣṇu. Similarly, dhyānāvasthita-tad-gatena manasā paśyanti yaṁ yoginaḥ: (SB 12.13.1) yogīs concentrate their minds on the form of Lord Viṣṇu. Thus Lord Viṣṇu is worshipable by all demigods, all Gandharvas and even Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā. Tad viṣṇoḥ paramaṁ padaṁ sadā paśyanti sūrayaḥ: Viṣṇu is therefore the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Even though Lord Śiva was previously referred to in prayers by Lord Brahmā as the Supreme, when Lord Viṣṇu appeared, Śiva also fell prostrated before Him to offer respectful obeisances.
The priests addressed the Lord, saying: O Lord, transcendental to material contamination, by the curse offered by Lord Śiva's men we have become attached to fruitive activities, and thus we are now fallen and therefore do not know anything about You. On the contrary, we are now involved in the injunctions of the three departments of the Vedic knowledge under the plea of executing rituals in the name of yajña. We know that You have made arrangements for distributing the respective shares of the demigods.
Lord Śiva said: My dear Lord, my mind and consciousness are always fixed on Your lotus feet, which, as the source of all benediction and the fulfillment of all desires, are worshiped by all liberated great sages because Your lotus feet are worthy of worship. With my mind fixed on Your lotus feet, I am no longer disturbed by persons who blaspheme me, claiming that my activities are not purified. I do not mind their accusations, and I excuse them out of compassion, just as You exhibit compassion toward all living entities.
Lord Śiva expresses herein his regret at having been angry and having disturbed the sacrificial activities of Dakṣa. King Dakṣa had insulted him in many ways, and thus he had become angry and had frustrated the entire sacrificial ceremony. Later, when he was pleased, the yajña performances were reinstituted, and therefore he regretted his activities. Now he says that because his mind is fixed on the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, Viṣṇu, he is no longer disturbed by the ordinary critics of his way of life. From this statement by Lord Śiva it is understood that as long as one is on the material platform one is affected by the three modes of material nature. As soon as one is in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, however, one is no longer affected by such material activities. One should therefore always be fixed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, busy in the transcendental loving service of the Lord.
The recommendation of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is that one should always be Kṛṣṇa conscious and should never forget his transcendental relationship with the Lord. This program has to be followed strictly by everyone. From the statement of Lord Śiva it is understood that he was always in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and thus he remained free from material affliction. The only remedy, therefore, is to continue Kṛṣṇa consciousness rigidly, in order to get out of the contamination of the material modes.
Bhṛgu Muni was conscious of the scandalous behavior exhibited by each and every one of them, including Brahmā and Lord Śiva, in the sacrificial ceremony of Dakṣa. By mentioning Brahmā, the chief of all living entities within this material world, he wanted to state that everyone, including also Brahmā and Lord Śiva, is under the concept of the body and under the spell of material energy—all but Viṣṇu. That is the version of Bhṛgu.
The wives of the performers of the sacrifice said: My dear Lord, this sacrifice was arranged under the instruction of Brahmā, but unfortunately Lord Śiva, being angry at Dakṣa, devastated the entire scene, and because of his anger the animals meant for sacrifice are lying dead. Therefore the preparations of the yajña have been lost. Now, by the glance of Your lotus eyes, the sanctity of this sacrificial arena may be again invoked.
Unfortunately, when Dakṣa's sacrifice was devastated by Lord Śiva, some of the animals were killed. (One was killed just to replace the head of Dakṣa.) Their bodies were lying about, and the sacrificial arena was turned into a crematorium. Thus the real purpose of yajña was lost.
Lord Viṣṇu, being the ultimate objective of such sacrificial ceremonies, was requested by the wives of the priests to glance over the yajña arena with His causeless mercy so that the routine work of the yajña might be continued. The purport here is that animals should not be unnecessarily killed. They were used to prove the strength of the mantras and were to have been rejuvenated by the use of the mantras. They should not have been killed, as they were by Lord Śiva to replace the head of Dakṣa with an animal's head. It was pleasing to see an animal sacrificed and rejuvenated, and that pleasing atmosphere had been lost. The wives of the priests requested that the animals be brought back to life by the glance of Lord Viṣṇu to make a pleasing yajña.
The demigods, including Brahmā and Lord Śiva, were produced after the creation, but Lord Viṣṇu existed before the creation. He is addressed, therefore, as amṛta.
Both the internal and external potencies are under the control of the Supreme, so He does not come under the control of either of these potencies. Rather, everything is under His control. In order to manifest His transcendental name, form, quality, pastimes and paraphernalia, He brings into action His internal energy. On account of the variegatedness of the external potency, there are manifestations of many qualitative demigods, beginning with Brahmā and Lord Śiva, and people are attracted to these demigods according to their own material quality.
The positive transcendental qualitative manifestation is unknown to the students of the Vedas as well as to the great stalwart demigods like Brahmā and Śiva. Actually, the transcendental qualities are manifested only to the devotees. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā, simply by discharging devotional service one can understand the transcendental position of the Supreme Lord.
The Gandharvas said: Dear Lord, all the demigods, including Lord Śiva, Lord Brahmā, Indra and Marīci and the great sages, are all only differentiated parts and parcels of Your body. You are the Supreme Almighty Great; the whole creation is just like a plaything for You. We always accept You as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and we offer our respectful obeisances unto You.
In the Brahma-saṁhitā it is said that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There may be many gods, from Brahmā, Lord Śiva, Indra and Candra down to the rulers of the lower planetary systems, the presidents, ministers, chairmen and kings. In fact, anyone can think that he is God. That is the false, puffed-up conviction of material life. Actually Viṣṇu is the Supreme Lord, but there is even one above Viṣṇu, for Viṣṇu is also the plenary portion of a part of Kṛṣṇa.
The performance of yajña by Dakṣa was obstructed by the disciples and followers of Lord Śiva. The brāhmaṇas indirectly criticized the followers of Lord Śiva, but because the brāhmaṇas were always protected by Lord Viṣṇu, Śiva's followers could not do any harm to their prosecution of the sacrificial process. There is a saying that when Kṛṣṇa protects someone, no one can do him harm, and when Kṛṣṇa wants to kill someone, no one can protect him. The vivid example was Rāvaṇa. Rāvaṇa was a great devotee of Lord Śiva, but when Lord Rāmacandra wanted to kill him, Lord Śiva could not protect him. If some demigod, even Lord Śiva or Lord Brahmā, wants to do harm to a devotee, Kṛṣṇa protects the devotee. But when Kṛṣṇa wants to kill someone, such as Rāvaṇa or Hiraṇyakaśipu, no demigod can protect him.
Śrī Maitreya said: After Lord Viṣṇu was glorified by all present, Dakṣa, his consciousness purified, arranged to begin again the yajña which had been devastated by the followers of Lord Śiva.
As the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu has nothing to demand from anyone. He is self-satisfied, self-sufficient, but He accepts the offerings of yajña because of His friendly attitude toward all living entities. When His share of the sacrificial results was offered to Him, He appeared very pleased. It is said in Bhagavad-gītā (9.26), patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ yo me bhaktyā prayacchati: if any devotee offers Him even a small leaf, or a flower or water, if it is offered with love and affection, the Lord accepts it and is pleased. Although He is self-sufficient and does not need anything from anyone, He accepts such offerings because, as Supersoul, He has such a friendly attitude toward all living entities. Another point here is that He does not encroach upon another's share. In the yajña there is a share for the demigods, Lord Śiva, and Lord Brahmā, and a share for Lord Viṣṇu. He is satisfied with His own share and does not encroach upon others'. Indirectly, He indicated that He was not satisfied with Dakṣa's trying to deny Lord Śiva his share. Maitreya addressed Vidura as sinless because Vidura was a pure Vaiṣṇava and never committed any offense to any demigod. Although Vaiṣṇavas accept Lord Viṣṇu as the Supreme, they are not prone to offend demigods. They give the demigods proper respect. Vaiṣṇavas accept Lord Śiva as the best Vaiṣṇava. For a Vaiṣṇava there is no possibility of offending any demigods, and the demigods are also pleased with the Vaiṣṇava because they are faultless devotees of Lord Viṣṇu.
Lord Viṣṇu replied: Brahmā, Lord Śiva and I are the supreme cause of the material manifestation. I am the Supersoul, the self sufficient witness. But impersonally there is no difference between Brahmā, Lord Śiva and Me.
Lord Brahmā was born out of the transcendental body of Lord Viṣṇu, and Lord Śiva was born out of the body of Brahmā. Lord Viṣṇu, therefore, is the supreme cause. In the Vedas also it is stated that in the beginning there was only Viṣṇu, Nārāyaṇa; there was no Brahmā or Śiva. Similarly, Śaṅkarācārya confirmed this: nārāyaṇaḥ paraḥ. Nārāyaṇa, or Lord Viṣṇu, is the origin, and Brahmā and Śiva are manifested after creation. Lord Viṣṇu is also ātmeśvara, the Supersoul in everyone. Under His direction, everything is prompted from within. For example, in the beginning of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is stated, tene brahma hṛdā: He first educated Lord Brahmā from within.
In Bhagavad-gītā (10.2) Lord Kṛṣṇa states, aham ādir hi devānām: Lord Viṣṇu, or Kṛṣṇa, is the origin of all demigods, including Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva.
In the highest vision, nothing is beyond Brahman, and therefore Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva are certainly nondifferent from Him.
For the purpose of creation, Brahmā is manifested, and for annihilation there is Lord Śiva. As far as the spiritual entrance into the material world is concerned, all beings are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, but under the covering of different material qualities they have different names. Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva are qualitative incarnations of Viṣṇu, as guṇa-avatāras, and Viṣṇu with them accepts control of the quality of goodness; therefore He is also a qualitative incarnation like Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā. Actually the different names exist for different directions, otherwise the origin is one only.
The Lord continued: One who is not in proper knowledge thinks that demigods like Brahmā and Śiva are independent, or he even thinks that the living entities are independent.
The living entities, including Brahmā, are not independently separated, but are counted within the marginal potency of the Supreme Lord. The Supreme Lord, being the Supersoul in every living entity, including Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, is directing everyone in the activities of the material modes of nature. No one can act independently of the sanction of the Lord, and therefore, indirectly, no one is different from the Supreme Person—certainly not Brahmā and Rudra, who are incarnations of the material nature's modes of passion and ignorance.
The Lord continued: One who does not consider Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Śiva or the living entities in general to be separate from the Supreme, and who knows Brahman, actually realizes peace; others do not.
Two words are very significant in this verse. Trayāṇām indicates "three," namely Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva and Lord Viṣṇu. Bhidām means "different." They are three, and therefore they are separate, but at the same time they are one. This is the philosophy of simultaneous oneness and difference, which is called acintya-bhedābheda-tattva. The example given in the Brahma-saṁhitā is that milk and yogurt are simultaneously one and different; both are milk, but the yogurt has become changed. In order to achieve real peace, one should see everything and every living entity, including Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, as nondifferent from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. No one is independent. Every one of us is an expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This accounts for unity in diversity. There are diverse manifestations, but, at the same time, they are one in Viṣṇu. Everything is an expansion of Viṣṇu's energy.
The sage Maitreya said: Thus Dakṣa, the head of all Prajāpatis, having been nicely instructed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, worshiped Lord Viṣṇu. After worshiping Him by performing the prescribed sacrificial ceremonies, Dakṣa separately worshiped Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva.
There are many temples of demigods around the main temple of Jagannātha, and the prasāda which is offered first to Jagannātha is distributed to all the demigods. The deity of Bhagālin is worshiped with the prasāda of Viṣṇu, and also, in the famous Lord Śiva temple of Bhuvaneśvara, the prasāda of Lord Viṣṇu or Lord Jagannātha is offered to the deity of Lord Śiva. This is the Vaiṣṇava principle.
With all respect, Dakṣa worshiped Lord Śiva with his share of the remnants of the yajña. After finishing the ritualistic sacrificial activities, he satisfied all the other demigods and the other people assembled there. Then, after finishing all these duties with the priests, he took a bath and was fully satisfied.
Lord Rudra, Śiva, was properly worshiped with his share of the remnants of the yajña. Yajña is Viṣṇu, and whatever prasāda is offered to Viṣṇu is offered to everyone, even to Lord Śiva. Śrīdhara Svāmī also comments in this connection, svena bhāgena: the remnants of the yajña are offered to all the demigods and others.
Ambikā (goddess Durgā), who was known as Dākṣāyiṇī (Satī), again accepted Lord Śiva as her husband, just as different energies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead act during the course of a new creation.
Sakti is feminine, and the Lord is puruṣa, masculine. It is the duty of the female to serve under the supreme puruṣa. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā, all living entities are marginal energies of the Supreme Lord. Therefore it is the duty of all living entities to serve this Supreme Person. Durgā is the representation in the material world of both the marginal and external energies, and Lord Śiva is the representation of the Supreme Person. The connection of Lord Śiva and Ambikā, or Durgā, is eternal. Satī could not accept any husband but Lord Śiva. How Lord Śiva remarried Durgā as Himavatī, the daughter of the Himalayas, and how Kārttikeya was born, is a great story in itself.
Maitreya said: My dear Vidura, I heard this story of the Dakṣa yajña, which was devastated by Lord Śiva, from Uddhava, a great devotee and a disciple of Bṛhaspati.
The Lord is sometimes described as śiva-viriñci-nutam (SB 11.5.33), which means that Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā also offer their respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa.
Dhruva Mahārāja went to the northern direction of the Himalayan range. In a valley he saw a city full of ghostly persons who were followers of Lord Śiva.
In this verse it is stated that the Yakṣas are more or less devotees of Lord Śiva. By this indication the Yakṣas may be taken to be the Himalayan tribes like the Tibetans.
In this material world, the Lord incarnates in three forms—as Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva—by which He takes charge of the three modes of material nature. By His incarnation of Brahmā He creates, as the incarnation of Viṣṇu He maintains, and by. His incarnation of Śiva, He also annihilates. But the original source of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva—Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu—is always apart from these actions and reactions of material nature.
The supreme authority and inconceivable power of the Supreme Personality of Godhead can be minutely studied from this verse. He is always unlimited. That means that He has no creation or end. He is, however, death (in the form of time), as described in Bhagavad-gītā. Kṛṣṇa says, "I am death. I take away everything at the end of life." Eternal time is also without beginning, but it is the creator of all creatures. The example is given of touchstone, which creates many valuable stones and jewels but does not decrease in power. Similarly, creation occurs many times, everything is maintained, and, after a time, everything is annihilated—but the original creator, the Supreme Lord, remains untouched and undiminished in power. The secondary creation is made by Brahmā, but Brahmā is created by the Supreme Godhead. Lord Śiva annihilates the whole creation, but at the end he is also annihilated by Viṣṇu. Lord Viṣṇu remains. In the Vedic hymns it is stated that in the beginning there is only Viṣṇu and that He alone remains at the end.
My dear Dhruva, you thought that the Yakṣas killed your brother, and therefore you have killed great numbers of them. But by this action you have agitated the mind of Lord Śiva's brother Kuvera, who is the treasurer of the demigods. Please note that your actions have been very disrespectful to Kuvera and Lord Śiva.
Lord Manu stated that Dhruva Mahārāja had been offensive to Lord Śiva and his brother Kuvera because the Yakṣas belonged to Kuvera's family. They were not ordinary persons. As such, they have been described as puṇya janān, pious men. Somehow or other the mind of Kuvera had been agitated, and Dhruva Mahārāja was advised to pacify him.
Generally people are interested in worshiping the demigods, especially Lord Śiva, in order to obtain material benefits, but a pure devotee, who engages in preaching the principles of devotional service, as prescribed in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, does not need to separately worship the demigods; the demigods are automatically pleased with him and offer all the blessings within their capacity. As by watering the root of a tree the leaves and branches are automatically watered, so, by executing pure devotional service to the Lord, the branches, twigs and leaves of the Lord, known as demigods, are automatically pleased with the devotee, and they offer all benedictions.
Lord Viṣṇu; Lord Brahmā; Lord Śiva; Lord Indra; Vāyu, the master of air; Yama, the superintendent of death; the sun-god; the director of rainfall; Kuvera, the treasurer; the moon-god; the predominating deity of the earth; Agni, the fire-god; Varuṇa, the lord of waters, and all others who are great and competent to bestow benedictions or to curse, all abide in the body of the king. For this reason the king is known as the reservoir of all demigods, who are simply parts and parcels of the king's body.
There are different types of incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the śāstras it is said that Garuḍa (the carrier of Lord Viṣṇu) and Lord Śiva and Ananta are all very powerful incarnations of the Brahman feature of the Lord. Similarly, Śacīpati, or Indra, the King of heaven, is an incarnation of the lusty feature of the Lord. Aniruddha is an incarnation of the Lord's mind. Similarly, King Pṛthu is an incarnation of the ruling force of the Lord.
Lord Śiva presented him with a sword within a sheath marked with ten moons, and his wife, the goddess Durgā, presented him with a shield marked with one hundred moons. The moon-demigod presented him with horses made of nectar, and the demigod Viśvakarmā presented him with a very beautiful chariot.
It is stated that Ananta, an incarnation of the Lord who has unlimited mouths, cannot reach the end of His glorification of the Lord, although Ananta has been describing the Lord since time immemorial. So what to speak of demigods like Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva and others? It is said that the Lord is śiva-viriñci-nutam (SB 11.5.33)-always worshiped by demigods like Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā. If the demigods cannot find adequate language to express the glories of the Lord, then what to speak of others? Consequently reciters like the sūta and māgadha felt inadequate to speak about King Pṛthu.
By glorifying the Lord with exalted verses, one becomes purified. Although we are unable to offer prayers to the Lord in an adequate fashion, our duty is to make the attempt in order to purify ourselves. It is not that we should stop our glorification because demigods like Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva cannot adequately glorify the Lord. Rather, as stated by Prahlāda Mahārāja, everyone should glorify the Lord according to his own ability. If we are serious and sincere devotees, the Lord will give us the intelligence to offer prayers properly.
There are four Vaiṣṇava sampradāyas (systems) of disciplic succession. One sampradāya comes from Lord Brahmā, one from the goddess of fortune, one from the Kumāras, headed by Sanat-kumāra, and one from Lord Śiva. These four systems of disciplic succession are still going on.
As far as this material world is concerned, Lord Brahmā, Lord Viṣṇu and Lord Śiva are all emanations from Kṛṣṇa. These three incarnations of Kṛṣṇa are called guṇa-avatāras. The material world is governed by three material modes of nature, and Lord Viṣṇu, Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva respectively take charge of the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance.
Having arrived at a conclusion, the King took up his bow and arrow and aimed them at the earth, exactly like Lord Śiva, who destroys the whole world out of anger.
Then the Yakṣas, Rākṣasas, ghosts and witches, who are habituated to eating flesh, transformed Lord Śiva's incarnation Rudra (Bhūtanātha) into a calf and milked out beverages made of blood and put them in a pot made of skulls.
The leaders of such degraded men known as Yakṣas, Rākṣasas, bhūtas and piśācas, are all in the mode of ignorance. They have been placed under the control of Rudra. Rudra is the incarnation of Lord Śiva and is in charge of the mode of ignorance in material nature. Another name of Lord Śiva is Bhūtanātha, meaning "master of ghosts." Rudra was born from between Brahmā's eyes when Brahmā was very angry at the four Kumāras.
The four-legged animals like the cows made a calf out of the bull who carries Lord Śiva and made a milking pot out of the forest. Thus they got fresh green grasses to eat. Ferocious animals like tigers transformed a lion into a calf, and thus they were able to get flesh for milk. The birds made a calf out of Garuḍa and took milk from the planet earth in the form of moving insects and nonmoving plants and grasses.
When Lord Viṣṇu appeared in the sacrificial arena, Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva and all the chief predominating personalities of every planet, as well as their followers, came with Him. When He appeared on the scene, the residents of Gandharvaloka, the great sages, and the residents of Apsaroloka all praised Him.
Vedic literature states that a person who puts Lord Nārāyaṇa on the level with Lord Śiva or Lord Brahmā immediately becomes a pākhaṇḍī. As stated in the Purāṇas:
- yas tu nārāyaṇaṁ devaṁ
- samatvenaiva vīkṣeta
- sa pāṣaṇḍī bhaved dhruvam
- (CC Madhya 18.116)
In Kali-yuga the pākhaṇḍīs are very prominent. However, Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has tried to kill all these pākhaṇḍīs by introducing His saṅkīrtana movement. Those who take advantage of this saṅkīrtana movement of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness will be able to save themselves from the influence of these pākhaṇḍīs.
Although it is forbidden, there are many pāṣaṇḍīs who coin terms like daridra-nārāyaṇa and svāmi-nārāyaṇa, although not even such demigods as Brahmā and Śiva can be equal to Nārāyaṇa.
In Calcutta there are many butcher shops which keep a deity of the goddess Kālī, and animal-eaters think it proper to purchase animal flesh from such shops in hope that they are eating the remnants of food offered to goddess Kālī. They do not know that goddess Kālī never accepts nonvegetarian food because she is the chaste wife of Lord Śiva. Lord Śiva is also a great Vaiṣṇava and never eats nonvegetarian food, and the goddess Kālī accepts the remnants of food left by Lord Śiva. Therefore there is no possibility of her eating flesh or fish. Such offerings are accepted by the associates of goddess Kālī known as bhūtas, piśācas and Rākṣasas, and those who take the prasāda of goddess Kālī in the shape of flesh or fish are not actually taking the prasāda left by goddess Kālī, but the food left by the bhūtas and piśācas.
Śrīla Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī Prabhu, a great devotee of Lord Caitanya, described that kaivalya is no better than a hellish condition of life, and as for the delights of the heavenly planets, they are factually will-o'-the-wisps, or phantasmagoria. They are not wanted by devotees. Devotees do not even care for the positions held by Lord Brahmā or Lord Śiva, nor does a devotee desire to become equal with Lord Viṣṇu.
The best way to mold one's life is to follow in the footsteps of the authorized personalities like those mentioned herein by Pṛthu Mahārāja, beginning with Svāyambhuva Manu. The safest path in life is to follow such great personalities, especially those mentioned in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. The mahājanas, or great personalities, are Brahmā, Lord Śiva, Nārada Muni, Manu, the Kumāras, Prahlāda Mahārāja, Bali Mahārāja, Yamarāja, Bhīṣma, Janaka, Śukadeva Gosvāmī and Kapila Muni.
The question may be raised that since the Lord is supposed to be worshiped by great demigods like Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva and others, how can an ordinary human being on this planet serve Him? This is clearly explained by Pṛthu Mahārāja by the use of the word yathādhikāra, "according to one's ability." If one sincerely executes his occupational duty, that will be sufficient. One does not need to become like Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva, Indra, Lord Caitanya or Rāmānujācārya, whose capabilities are certainly far above ours. Even a śūdra, who is in the lowest stage of life according to the material qualities, can achieve the same success.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is described herein as mahattama-agraṇīḥ. Within this material world, the mahattamas, or great personalities, are Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, but He is above them all.
The four Kumāras are paramparā spiritual masters of the Vaiṣṇava sampradāya. Out of the four sampradāyas, namely Brahma-sampradāya, Śrī-sampradāya, Kumāra-sampradāya and Rudra-sampradāya, the disciplic succession of spiritual master to disciple known as the Kumāra-sampradāya is coming down from the four Kumāras.
The four great sages were elder to Lord Śiva, and when they were seated on the golden throne, they appeared just like fire blazing on an altar. Mahārāja Pṛthu, out of his great gentleness and respect for them, began to speak with great restraint as follows.
The Kumāras are described herein as the elder brothers of Lord Śiva. When the Kumāras were born out of the body of Lord Brahmā, they were requested to get married and increase the population. In the beginning of the creation there was a great need of population; therefore Lord Brahmā was creating one son after another and ordering them to increase. However, when the Kumāras were requested to do so, they declined. They wanted to remain brahmacārī throughout life and be engaged fully in the devotional service of the Lord. The Kumāras are called naiṣṭhika-brahmacārī, meaning they are never to marry. Because of their refusal to marry, Lord Brahmā became so angry that his eyes became reddish. From between his eyes, Lord Śiva, or Rudra, appeared. The mode of anger is consequently known as rudra. Lord Śiva also has a sampradāya party, known as the Rudra-sampradāya, and they are also known as Vaiṣṇavas.
Any person upon whom the brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas are pleased can achieve anything which is very rare to obtain in this world as well as after death. Not only that, but one also receives the favor of the auspicious Lord Śiva and Lord Viṣṇu, who accompany the brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas.
The Lord is already in the heart of everyone, but the Vaiṣṇavas and the brāhmaṇas actually perceive and see Him always in ecstasy. Therefore brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas are carriers of Viṣṇu. Wherever they go, Lord Viṣṇu, Lord Śiva or the devotees of Lord Viṣṇu are all carried.
Pṛthu Mahārāja continued: Although you are traveling in all planetary systems, people cannot know you, just as they cannot know the Supersoul, although He is within everyone's heart as the witness of everything. Even Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva cannot understand the Supersoul.
In the beginning of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is said: muhyanti yat sūrayaḥ. Great demigods like Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva, Indra and Candra are sometimes bewildered trying to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Because the Lord does not give blessings of material opulence to His devotee, people are afraid of worshiping Lord Viṣṇu because they see that the Vaiṣṇavas, who are worshipers of Lord Viṣṇu, are poor in superficial material opulences. Such materialistic persons, however, get immense opportunity for economic development by worshiping Lord Śiva, for Lord Śiva is the husband of the goddess Durgā, the proprietor of this universe. By the grace of Lord Śiva, a devotee gets the opportunity to be blessed by the goddess Durgā. Rāvaṇa, for example, was a great worshiper and devotee of Lord Śiva, and in return he got all the blessings of goddess Durgā, so much so that his whole kingdom was constructed of golden buildings.
In his bodily strength and in the strength of his senses, Mahārāja Pṛthu was as strong as the wind, which can go anywhere and everywhere. As far as his intolerance was concerned, he was just like the all-powerful Rudra expansion of Lord Śiva, or Sadāśiva.
In this verse the word bhagavattamaḥ is very significant, for the word bhagavat is used especially to refer to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as the word bhagavān ("the Supreme Personality of Godhead") is derived from the word bhagavat. Sometimes, however, we see that the word bhagavān is used for great personalities like Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva and Nārada Muni. This is the case with Pṛthu Mahārāja, who is described here as the best of the bhagavāns, or the best of the lords. A person can be so addressed only if he is a great personality who exhibits extraordinary and uncommon features or who attains the greatest goal after his disappearance or who knows the difference between knowledge and ignorance. In other words, the word bhagavān should not be used for ordinary persons.
In the Śiva Purāṇa, Lord Śiva recommends Viṣṇu worship to be the topmost worship, and better than Viṣṇu worship is worship of the Vaiṣṇava or anything that is related to Viṣṇu. The fact is explained herein that hearing and chanting about a Vaiṣṇava is as good as hearing and chanting about Viṣṇu, for Maitreya has explained that anyone who hears about Pṛthu Mahārāja with attention also attains the planet which Mahārāja Pṛthu attained. There is no duality between Viṣṇu and the Vaiṣṇava, and this is called advaya-jñāna.
Materialistic persons who are very fond of money and great families worship different demigods to attain their desires, especially goddess Durgā, Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā. Such materialistic persons are called śriyaiśvarya-prajepsavaḥ. Śrī means "beauty," aiśvarya means "riches," prajā means "children," and īpsavaḥ means "desiring."
Not only the fire-god Agni but the heavenly god Indra and sometimes even Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva—all very highly situated demigods—are subject to being attracted by sex at any time. The sex drive is so strong in the living entities that the whole material world is running on sex attraction only, and it is due to sex attraction that one remains in the material world and is obliged to accept different types of bodies.
When all the sons of Prācīnabarhi left home to execute austerities, they met Lord Śiva, who, out of great mercy, instructed them about the Absolute Truth. All the sons of Prācīnabarhi meditated upon the instructions, chanting and worshiping them with great care and attention.
It is clear that to perform austerities or penances, or, for that matter, any form of devotional service, one has to be guided by a spiritual master. Here it is clearly stated that the ten sons of Mahārāja Prācīnabarhi were favored by the appearance of Lord Śiva, who, out of great kindness, gave them instructions regarding the execution of austerities. Lord Śiva actually became the spiritual master of the ten sons, and in turn his disciples took his words so seriously that simply by meditating upon his instructions (dhyāyantaḥ) they became perfect.
Vidura asked Maitreya: My dear brāhmaṇa, why did the Pracetās meet Lord Śiva on the way? Please tell me how the meeting happened, how Lord Śiva became very pleased with them and how he instructed them. Certainly such talks are important, and I wish that you please be merciful upon me and describe them.
As everyone is still eager to learn the subject of Bhagavad-gītā in order to become perfectly enlightened, Vidura was similarly eager to learn from the great sage Maitreya about the talks between Lord Śiva and the Pracetās.
The great sage Vidura continued: O best of the brāhmaṇas, it is very difficult for living entities encaged within this material body to have personal contact with Lord Śiva. Even great sages who have no material attachments do not contact him, despite their always being absorbed in meditation to attain his personal contact.
Since Lord Śiva does not incarnate himself unless there is some special reason, it is very difficult for an ordinary person to contact him. However, Lord Śiva does descend on a special occasion when he is ordered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this regard, it is stated in the Padma Purāṇa that Lord Śiva appeared as a brāhmaṇa in the age of Kali to preach the Māyāvāda philosophy, which is nothing but a type of Buddhist philosophy.
Lord Śiva, speaking to Pārvatī-devī, foretold that he would spread the Māyāvāda philosophy in the guise of a sannyāsī brāhmaṇa just to eradicate Buddhist philosophy. This sannyāsī was Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya.
Generally people worship Lord Śiva for some material benefit, and although they cannot see him personally, they derive great material profit by worshiping him.
Lord Śiva, the most powerful demigod, second only to Lord Viṣṇu, is self-sufficient. Although he has nothing to aspire for in the material world, for the benefit of those in the material world he is always busily engaged everywhere and is accompanied by his dangerous energies like goddess Kālī and goddess Durgā.
Lord Śiva is known as the greatest devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is known as the best of all types of Vaiṣṇavas (vaiṣṇavānāṁ yathā śambhuḥ). Consequently, Lord Śiva has a Vaiṣṇava sampradāya, the disciplic succession known as the Rudra-sampradāya. Just as there is a Brahma-sampradāya coming directly from Lord Brahmā, the Rudra-sampradāya comes directly from Lord Śiva. Lord Śiva is one of the twelve great personalities, as stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (6.3.20):
- svayambhūr nāradaḥ śambhuḥ
- kumāraḥ kapilo manuḥ
- prahlādo janako bhīṣmo
- balir vaiyāsakir vayam
These are twelve great authorities in preaching God consciousness. The name Śambhu means Lord Śiva. His disciplic succession is also known as the Viṣṇu Svāmī-sampradāya, and the current Viṣṇu Svāmī-sampradāya is also known as the Vallabha-sampradāya. The current Brahma-sampradāya is known as the Madhva-Gauḍīya-sampradāya. Even though Lord Śiva appeared to preach Māyāvāda philosophy, at the end of his pastime in the form of Śaṅkarācārya, he preached the Vaiṣṇava philosophy: bhaja govindaṁ bhaja govindaṁ bhaja govindaṁ mūḍha-mate. He stressed worshiping Lord Kṛṣṇa, or Govinda, three times in this verse and especially warned his followers that they could not possibly achieve deliverance, or mukti, simply by word jugglery and grammatical puzzles. If one is actually serious to attain mukti, he must worship Lord Kṛṣṇa. That is Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya's last instruction.
Herein it is mentioned that Lord Śiva is always accompanied by his material energy (śaktyā ghorayā). Material energy—goddess Durgā, or goddess Kālī—is always under his control. Goddess Kālī and Durgā serve him by killing all the asuras, or demons. Sometimes Kālī becomes so infuriated that she indiscriminately kills all kinds of asuras.
Asuras try to pacify the goddess Kālī, or Durgā, by worshiping her in material opulence, but when the asuras become too intolerable, goddess Kālī does not discriminate in killing them wholesale. Asuras do not know the secret of the energy of Lord Śiva, and they prefer to worship goddess Kālī or Durgā or Lord Śiva for material benefit.
Lord Śiva's duty is very dangerous because he has to employ the energy of goddess Kālī (or Durgā). In another popular picture the goddess Kālī is sometimes seen standing on the prostrate body of Lord Śiva, which indicates that sometimes Lord Śiva has to fall down flat in order to stop goddess Kālī from killing the asuras. Since Lord Śiva controls the great material energy (goddess Durgā), worshipers of Lord Śiva attain very opulent positions within this material world. Under Lord Śiva's direction, a worshiper of Lord Śiva gets all kinds of material facilities. In contrast, a Vaiṣṇava, or worshiper of Lord Viṣṇu, gradually becomes poorer in material possessions because Lord Viṣṇu does not trick His devotees into becoming materially entangled by possessions.
Lord Śiva is also in charge of the tamo-guṇa, or the mode of ignorance in this material world. His potency, the goddess Durgā, is described as keeping all living entities in the darkness of ignorance (yā devī sarva-bhūteṣu nidra-rūpaṁ saṁsthitā). Both Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva are incarnations of Lord Viṣṇu, but Lord Brahmā is in charge of the creation whereas Lord Śiva is in charge of the destruction, which he carries out with the help of his material energy, goddess Kālī, or goddess Durgā. Thus in this verse Lord Śiva is described as being accompanied by dangerous potencies (śaktyā ghorayā), and that is the actual position of Lord Śiva.
The place where the Pracetās arrived was the abode of Lord Śiva. Impersonalists are generally worshipers of Lord Śiva, but Lord Śiva is never without variety in his abode. Thus wherever one goes, whether to the planet of Lord Śiva, Lord Viṣṇu or Lord Brahmā, there is variety to be enjoyed by persons full in knowledge and bliss.
The Pracetās were fortunate to see Lord Śiva, the chief of the demigods, emerging from the water with his associates. His bodily luster was just like molten gold, his throat was bluish, and he had three eyes, which looked very mercifully upon his devotees. He was accompanied by many musicians, who were glorifying him. As soon as the Pracetās saw Lord Śiva, they immediately offered their obeisances in great amazement and fell down at the lotus feet of the lord.
The word vibudhānugaiḥ indicates that Lord Śiva is always accompanied by the denizens of the higher planets known as Gandharvas and Kinnaras. They are very expert in musical science, and Lord Śiva is worshiped by them constantly. In pictures, Lord Śiva is generally painted white, but here we find that the color of his skin is not exactly white but like molten gold, or a glowing yellowish color. Because Lord Śiva is always very, very merciful, his name is Āśutoṣa. Amongst all the demigods, Lord Śiva can be pacified even by the lowest class of men, who need only offer him obeisances and leaves of a bael tree. Thus his name is Āśutoṣa, which means that he is pleased very quickly.
Generally those who are very fond of material prosperity approach Lord Śiva for such benediction. The lord, being very merciful, quickly awards all the blessings the devotee asks of him. The demons take advantage of this leniency and sometimes take benedictions from Lord Śiva which can be very dangerous to others. For instance, Vṛkāsura took a benediction from Lord Śiva by which he could kill everyone he touched on the head. Although Lord Śiva sometimes very liberally gives such benedictions to his devotees, the difficulty is that the demons, being very cunning, sometimes want to experiment improperly with such benedictions. For instance, after receiving his benediction, Vṛkāsura tried to touch the head of Lord Śiva. Devotees of Lord Viṣṇu, however, have no desire for such benedictions, and Lord Viṣṇu does not give His devotees benedictions which would cause disturbance to the whole world.
Lord Śiva became very pleased with the Pracetās because generally Lord Śiva is the protector of pious persons and persons of gentle behavior. Being very much pleased with the princes, he began to speak as follows.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, or Kṛṣṇa, is known as bhakta-vatsala, and herein we find Lord Śiva described as dharma-vatsala. Of course, the word dharma-vatsala refers to a person who lives according to religious principles. That is understood. Nonetheless, these two words have additional significance. Sometimes Lord Śiva has to deal with persons who are in the modes of passion and ignorance. Such persons are not always very much religious and pious in their activities, but since they worship Lord Śiva for some material profit, they sometimes obey the religious principles. As soon as Lord Śiva sees that his devotees are following religious principles, he blesses them. The Pracetās, sons of Prācīnabarhi, were naturally very pious and gentle, and consequently Lord Śiva was immediately pleased with them. Lord Śiva could understand that the princes were sons of Vaiṣṇavas, and as such Lord Śiva offered prayers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead as follows.
Lord Śiva said: You are all the sons of King Prācīnabarhi, and I wish all good fortune to you. I also know what you are going to do, and therefore I am visible to you just to show my mercy upon you.
By these words Lord Śiva indicates that what the princes were going to do was known to him. It is a fact that they were going to worship Lord Viṣṇu by severe austerities and penances. Knowing this fact, Lord Śiva immediately became very pleased, as apparent by the next verse. This indicates that a person who is not yet a devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead but who desires to serve the Supreme Lord receives the benedictions of the demigods, headed by the chief demigod, Lord Śiva. Thus a devotee of the Lord does not need to try to please the demigods separately. Simply by worshiping the Supreme Lord, a devotee can please all of them.
Lord Śiva continued: Any person who is surrendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, the controller of everything—material nature as well as the living entity—is actually very dear to me.
Now Lord Śiva explains the reason he has personally come before the princes. It is because all the princes are devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa.
Lord Śiva is rarely seen by common men, and similarly a person who is fully surrendered unto Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa, is also very rarely seen because a person who is fully surrendered unto the Supreme Lord is very rare (sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ). Consequently Lord Śiva came especially to see the Pracetās because they were fully surrendered unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vāsudeva. Vāsudeva is also mentioned in the beginning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in the mantra, oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Since Vāsudeva is the ultimate truth, Lord Śiva openly proclaims that one who is a devotee of Lord Vāsudeva, who is surrendered to Lord Kṛṣṇa, is actually very dear to him. Lord Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa, is worshipable not only by ordinary living entities but by demigods like Lord Śiva, Lord Brahmā and others. Yaṁ brahmā-varuṇendra-rudra-marutaḥ stuvanti divyaiḥ stavaiḥ (SB 12.13.1). Kṛṣṇa is worshiped by Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva, Varuṇa, Indra, Candra and all other demigods. That is also the situation with a devotee. Indeed, one who takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness immediately becomes very dear to anyone who is simply finding out and beginning to understand what Kṛṣṇa consciousness actually is. Similarly, all the demigods are also trying to find out who is actually surrendered to Lord Vāsudeva. Because the Pracetā princes were surrendered to Vāsudeva, Lord Śiva willingly came forth to see them.
The impersonal Brahman is nothing but the effulgence or bodily rays of Kṛṣṇa, and in those bodily rays there are innumerable universes floating. Thus in all respects Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa, is the Supreme Lord, and Lord Śiva is very satisfied with those who are completely surrendered to Him.
The karmīs sometimes offer the results of their activities to Lord Vāsudeva, and this offering is called karmārpaṇam. These are considered to be fruitive activities, for the karmīs consider Lord Viṣṇu to be one of the demigods like Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā. Because they consider Lord Viṣṇu to be on the same level with the demigods, they contend that surrendering to the demigods is as good as surrendering unto Vāsudeva. This contention is denied herein because if it were true, Lord Śiva would have said that surrender unto him, Lord Vāsudeva, Viṣṇu or Brahmā is the same. However, Lord Śiva does not say this because he himself surrenders unto Vāsudeva, and whoever else surrenders unto Vāsudeva is very, very dear to him. This is expressed herein openly. The conclusion is that a devotee of Lord Śiva is not dear to Lord Śiva, but a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa is very dear to Lord Śiva.
A person who executes his occupational duty properly for one hundred births becomes qualified to occupy the post of Brahmā, and if he becomes more qualified, he can approach Lord Śiva. A person who is directly surrendered to Lord Kṛṣṇa, or Viṣṇu, in unalloyed devotional service is immediately promoted to the spiritual planets. Lord Śiva and other demigods attain these planets after the destruction of this material world.
It is said, vaiṣṇavānāṁ yathā śambhuḥ: Lord Śiva is the best of all devotees. Therefore all devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa are also devotees of Lord Śiva. In Vṛndāvana there is Lord Śiva's temple called Gopīśvara. The gopīs used to worship not only Lord Śiva but Kātyāyanī, or Durgā, as well, but their aim was to attain the favor of Lord Kṛṣṇa. A devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa does not disrespect Lord Śiva, but worships Lord Śiva as the most exalted devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Consequently whenever a devotee worships Lord Śiva, he prays to Lord Śiva to achieve the favor of Kṛṣṇa, and he does not request material profit. In Bhagavad-gītā (7.20) it is said that generally people worship demigods for some material profit. Kāmais tais tair hṛta jñānāḥ. Driven by material lust, they worship demigods, but a devotee never does so, for he is never driven by material lust. That is the difference between a devotee's respect for Lord Śiva and an asura's respect for him. The asura worships Lord Śiva, takes some benediction from him, misuses the benediction and ultimately is killed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who awards him liberation.
Because Lord Śiva is a great devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he loves all the devotees of the Supreme Lord. Lord Śiva told the Pracetās that because they were devotees of the Lord, he loved them very much. Lord Śiva was not kind and merciful only to the Pracetās; anyone who is a devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very dear to Lord Śiva. Not only are the devotees dear to Lord Śiva, but he respects them as much as he respects the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Similarly, devotees of the Supreme Lord also worship Lord Śiva as the most dear devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. They do not worship him as a separate Personality of Godhead. It is stated in the list of nāma-aparādhas that it is an offense to think that the chanting of the name of Hari and the chanting of Hara, or Śiva, are the same. The devotees must always know that Lord Viṣṇu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and that Lord Śiva is His devotee. A devotee should be offered respect on the level of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and sometimes even more respect. Indeed, Lord Rāma, the Personality of Godhead Himself, sometimes worshiped Lord Śiva. If a devotee is worshiped by the Lord, why should a devotee not be worshiped by other devotees on the same level with the Lord? This is the conclusion. From this verse it appears that Lord Śiva blesses the asuras simply for the sake of formality. Actually he loves one who is devoted to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The word viviktam is very significant. No one should think of the prayers recited by Lord Śiva as being sectarian; rather, they are very confidential, so much so that anyone desiring the ultimate prosperity or auspicious goal of life must take the instructions of Lord Śiva and pray to and glorify the Supreme Personality of Godhead as Lord Śiva himself did.
The great sage Maitreya continued: Out of his causeless mercy, the exalted personality Lord Śiva, a great devotee of Lord Nārāyaṇa, continued to speak to the King's sons, who were standing with folded hands.
Lord Śiva voluntarily came to bless the sons of the King as well as do something beneficial for them. He personally chanted the mantra so that the mantra would be more powerful, and he advised that the mantra be chanted by the King's sons (rāja-putras). When a mantra is chanted by a great devotee, the mantra becomes more powerful. Although the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra is powerful in itself, a disciple upon initiation receives the mantra from his spiritual master, for when the mantra is chanted by the spiritual master, it becomes more powerful. Lord Śiva advised the sons of the King to hear him attentively, for inattentive hearing is offensive.
Lord Śiva addressed the Supreme Personality of Godhead with the following prayer: O Supreme Personality of Godhead, all glories unto You. You are the most exalted of all self-realized souls. Since You are always auspicious for the self-realized, I wish that You be auspicious for me. You are worshipable by virtue of the all-perfect instructions You give. You are the Supersoul; therefore I offer my obeisances unto You as the supreme living being.
When the individual soul is fixed in his knowledge of the Lord as the Supreme Being, he actually becomes established in an all-auspicious position. Lord Śiva prays herein that his auspicious position continue eternally by virtue of the Lord's mercy upon him.
Since the Lord gives instructions as sarvātmā, the Supersoul, Lord Śiva offers Him respect with the words sarvasmā ātmane namaḥ. The individual soul is called ātmā, and the Lord is also called ātmā as well as Paramātmā. Being situated in everyone's heart, the Lord is known as the supreme ātmā. Therefore all obeisances are offered unto Him.
The conclusion is that Lord Śiva wanted to remain a fixed devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vāsudeva. As explained in the following verses, Lord Śiva never desires to merge into the existence of the Supreme Lord like the impersonalists. Rather, he thinks that it would be good fortune for him to continue to be fixed in the understanding of the Lord as the Supreme Being. By this understanding, one realizes that all living entities—including Lord Śiva, Lord Brahmā and other demigods—are servants of the Supreme Lord.
Since Lord Śiva considers himself to be one of the products of the material world, his senses are under the control of the supreme creator. The Supreme Lord is also known as Hṛṣīkeśa, master of the senses, which indicates that our senses and sense objects are formed by the Supreme Lord. As such, He can control our senses and out of His mercy engage them in the service of the master of the senses. In the conditioned state, the living entity struggles in this material world and engages his senses for material satisfaction. However, if the living entity is graced by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he can engage these very senses in the service of the Lord. Lord Śiva desires not to be misled by the material senses but to engage always in the service of the Lord without being subject to contamination by materialistic influences. By the grace and help of Lord Vāsudeva, who is all-pervading, one can engage his senses in devotional service without deviation, just as the Lord acts without deviation.
The mind is the director of the senses, and Lord Aniruddha is the director of the mind. In order to execute devotional service, one has to fix his mind on the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa; therefore Lord Śiva prays to the controller of the mind, Lord Aniruddha, to be pleased to help him engage his mind on the lotus feet of the Lord.
Since the predominating deity of the sun is an expansion of Lord Aniruddha, Lord Śiva also prays to the sun-god in this verse.
Lord Kṛṣṇa, by His quadruple expansion (Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha), is the Lord of psychic action—namely thinking, feeling, willing and acting. Lord Śiva prays to Lord Aniruddha as the sun-god, who is the controlling deity of the external material elements which constitute the construction of the material body.
The word paramahaṁsa is applied to persons who are completely cleansed. When there is sufficient sunshine, the mind remains clear and transparent—in other words, the sun-god helps the mind of the living entity to become situated on the platform of paramahaṁsa. Thus Lord Śiva prays to Aniruddha to be kind upon him so that his mind will always be in the perfect state of cleanliness and will be engaged in the devotional service of the Lord. Just as fire sterilizes all unclean things, the sun-god also keeps everything sterilized, especially dirty things within the mind, thus enabling one to attain elevation to the platform of spiritual understanding.
Lord Śiva prays to Lord Aniruddha to give him strength so he can become free from all obligation to the Pitās, demigods, general living entities and saintly persons and completely engage himself in the devotional service of the Lord.
One becomes free from all obligations to the demigods, saintly persons, pitās, ancient forefathers, etc., if one is completely engaged in the devotional service of the Lord. Lord Śiva therefore prays to Lord Aniruddha to give him strength so that he can be free from such obligations and entirely engage in the Lord's service.
Soma, or the predominating deity of the moon, is responsible for the living entity's ability to relish the taste of food through the tongue. Lord Śiva prays to Lord Aniruddha to give him strength so that he will not taste anything but the prasāda of the Lord. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has sung a verse indicating that the tongue is the most formidable enemy among all the senses. If one can control the tongue, he can easily control the other senses. The tongue can be controlled only by eating prasāda offered to the Deity. Lord Śiva's prayer to Lord Aniruddha is meant for this purpose (tṛpti-dāya); he prays to Lord Aniruddha to help him be satisfied by eating only prasāda offered to the Lord.
As the individual body of the living entity is composed of millions of cells, germs and microbes, the universal body of the Supreme Lord similarly contains all the individual bodies of the living entities. Lord Śiva is offering his obeisances to the universal body, which includes all other bodies, so that everyone's body may fully engage in devotional service.
Lord Śiva is offering his prayers in so many different ways in order to show living entities how to engage in the devotional service of the Lord.
Lord Śiva is therefore praying to the Personality of Godhead to be kind to us so that simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra we can understand everything in both the material and spiritual worlds.
The purport is that one who has studied the Vedas perfectly, who is a perfect vipra, or knower of the Vedas, who knows what spiritual life actually is, speaks about Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Person, as one's sanātana-dharma. Lord Śiva therefore teaches us the principles of sanātana-dharma.
My dear Lord, You are the supreme controller of the worker, sense activities and results of sense activities (karma). Therefore You are the controller of the body, mind and senses. You are also the supreme controller of egotism, known as Rudra. You are the source of knowledge and the activities of the Vedic injunctions.
Everyone acts under the dictation of the ego. Therefore Lord Śiva is trying to purify false egotism through the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Since Lord Śiva, or Rudra, is himself the controller of egotism, he indirectly wants to be purified by the mercy of the Lord so that his real egotism can be awakened. Of course, Lord Rudra is always spiritually awake, but for our benefit he is praying in this way. For the impersonalist, pure egotism is ahaṁ brahmāsmi—"I am not this body; I am spirit soul." But in its actual position, the spirit soul has devotional activities to perform. Therefore Lord Śiva prays to be engaged both in mind and in action in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord according to the direction of the Vedas. This is the process for purifying false egotism. Cetaḥ means "knowledge." Without perfect knowledge, one cannot act perfectly. The real source of knowledge is the vācaḥ, or sound vibration, given by Vedic instructions. Here the word vācaḥ, or vibration, means the Vedic vibration. The origin of creation is sound vibration, and if the sound vibration is clear and purified, perfect knowledge and perfect activities actually become manifest. This is enacted by the chanting of the mahā-mantra, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. Thus Lord Śiva is praying again and again for the purification of body, mind and activities through the purification of knowledge and action under the pure directions of the Vedas. Lord Śiva prays to the Supreme Personality of Godhead so that his mind, senses and words will all turn toward devotional activities only.
One has to become free from all designation or false egotism and thus become purified. When we engage our senses in the service of the Lord, the desires or the inclinations of the senses can be perfectly fulfilled. Lord Śiva therefore wants to see the Lord in a form which is inconceivable to the Bauddha philosophers, or the Buddhists.
The impersonalists and the voidists also have to see the form of the Absolute. In Buddhist temples there are forms of Lord Buddha in meditation, but these are not worshiped like the forms of the Lord in Vaiṣṇava temples (forms like Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, Sītā-Rāma or Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa). Amongst the different sampradāyas (Vaiṣṇava sects) either Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa or Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa is worshiped. Lord Śiva wants to see that form perfectly, just as the devotees want to see it. The words rūpaṁ priyatamaṁ svānām are specifically mentioned here, indicating that Lord Śiva wants to see that form which is very dear to the devotees.
As stated in Brahma-saṁhitā (5.30):
- veṇuṁ kvaṇantam aravinda-dalāyatākṣaṁ
- barhāvataṁsam asitāmbuda-sundarāṅgam
- govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
"I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is adept at playing on His flute, whose eyes are blooming like lotus petals, whose head is bedecked with peacock feathers, whose beauty is tinged with the hue of blue clouds, and whose unique loveliness charms millions of Cupids." Thus Lord Śiva's desire is to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead as He is described in this way-that is, he wants to see Him as He appears to the bhāgavatas, the devotees. The conclusion is that Lord Śiva wants to see Him in complete perfection and not in the impersonalist or voidist way.
After the scorching heat of the summer season, it is very pleasing to see dark clouds in the sky. As confirmed in Brahma-saṁhitā: barhāvataṁsam asitāmbuda-sundarāṅgam. The Lord wears a peacock feather in His hair, and His bodily complexion is just like a blackish cloud. The word sundara, or snigdha, means "very pleasing." Kandarpa-koṭi-kamanīya. Kṛṣṇa's beauty is so pleasing that not even millions upon millions of Cupids can compare to it. The Lord's form as Viṣṇu is decorated in all opulence; therefore Lord Śiva is trying to see that most opulent form of Nārāyaṇa, or Viṣṇu.
In his description of Kṛṣṇa's beauty, Lord Śiva uses the words cārvāyata-catur-bāhu sujāta-rucirānanam, indicating the beautiful four-armed form of Nārāyaṇa, or Viṣṇu. Those who worship Lord Kṛṣṇa describe Him as sujāta-rucirānanam. In the viṣṇu-tattva there are hundreds and thousands and millions of forms of the Supreme Lord, but of all these forms, the form of Kṛṣṇa is the most beautiful. Thus for those who worship Kṛṣṇa, the word sujāta-rucirānanam is used.
The details of the bodily features of the Lord especially indicate the Personality of Godhead. Impersonalists cannot appreciate the beautiful body of the Lord, which is described in these prayers by Lord Śiva. Although the impersonalists are always engaged in the worship of Lord Śiva, they are unable to understand the prayers offered by Lord Śiva to the bodily features of Lord Viṣṇu. Lord Viṣṇu is known as śiva-viriñci-nutam (SB 11.5.33), for He is always worshiped by Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva.
Lord Śiva is one of the twelve great authorities mentioned in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (6.3.20). These authorities are Svayambhū, Nārada, Śambhu, Kumāra, Kapila, Manu, Prahlāda, Janaka, Bhīṣma, Bali, Vaiyāsaki, or Śukadeva Gosvāmī, and Yamarāja. The impersonalists, who generally worship Lord Śiva, should learn of the transcendental sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha (Bs. 5.1) of the Lord. Here Lord Śiva kindly describes the details of the Lord's bodily features. Thus the impersonalists' argument that the Lord has no form cannot be accepted under any circumstance.
Lord Śiva has thus described the bodily features of the Lord authoritatively. Now he wants to see the lotus feet of the Lord. When a devotee wants to see the transcendental form of the Lord, he begins his meditation on the Lord's body by first looking at the feet of the Lord. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is considered to be the transcendental sound form of the Lord, and the twelve cantos are divided in accordance with the transcendental form of the Lord. The First and Second Cantos of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam are called the two lotus feet of the Lord. It is therefore suggested by Lord Śiva that one should first try to see the lotus feet of the Lord. This also means that if one is serious about reading Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, he must begin by seriously studying the First and Second Cantos.
This verse refers to those who are completely liberated from the fearfulness of this material world. When one is so liberated, he can really understand the transcendental features of the form of the Lord. Lord Śiva therefore advises everyone to practice bhagavad-bhakti-yoga. As will be clear in the following verses, by doing so one can become really liberated and enjoy spiritual bliss.
The word "meditation" is very popular in this age amongst the common people, but they do not know the actual meaning of meditation. However, from Vedic literature we learn that the yogīs are always absorbed in meditation upon the lotus feet of the Lord. Dhyānāvasthita-tad-gatena manasā paśyanti yaṁ yoginaḥ (SB 12.13.1). This is the real business of the yogīs: to think of the lotus feet of the Lord. Lord Śiva therefore advises that one who is actually serious about purification must engage himself in this type of meditation or in the mystic yoga system, which will help him not only to see the Lord within constantly but to see Him face to face and become His associate in Vaikuṇṭhaloka or Goloka Vṛndāvana.
As stated in Brahma-saṁhitā: vedeṣu durlabham adurlabham ātma-bhaktauvedeṣu durlabham adurlabham ātma-bhaktau (Bs. 5.33). This indicates that it is very difficult for one to attain the ultimate goal of life and reach the supreme destination, Vaikuṇṭhaloka or Goloka Vṛndāvana, simply by studying Vedānta philosophy or Vedic literature. However, this highest perfectional stage can be attained by the devotees very easily. That is the meaning of vedeṣu durlabham adurlabham ātma-bhaktau. The same point is confirmed by Lord Śiva in this verse.
Śrīla Vṛndāvana dāsa Ṭhākura has sung that the devotees of Lord Caitanya are so powerful that each one of them can deliver a universe. In other words, it is the business of devotees to preach the glories of the Lord and deliver all conditioned souls to the platform of śuddha-sattva, pure goodness. Here the word su-sattva means śuddha-sattva, the transcendental stage beyond material goodness. By his exemplary prayers, Lord Śiva teaches us that our best course it to take shelter of Lord Viṣṇu and His Vaiṣṇava devotees.
In Vedic literature it is said that everything is Brahman and nothing else. The whole cosmic manifestation rests on the Brahman effulgence. The impersonalists, however, cannot understand how such a huge cosmic manifestation can rest on a person. Thus this inconceivable power of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is not understood by the impersonalists; therefore they are puzzled and always denying that the Absolute Truth is a person. This wrong impression is cleared by Lord Śiva himself, who says that the impersonal Brahman, which is spread all over the universe, is nothing but the Supreme Lord Himself.
In the Vedānta-sūtra it is stated: athāto brahma jijñāsā. This means that Brahman, Paramātmā or Parabrahman should be understood. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam also the Absolute Truth is described as the one without a second, but He is realized in three features—impersonal Brahman, localized Paramātmā and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the ultimate issue, and in this verse Lord Śiva confirms that ultimately the Absolute Truth is a person. He clearly says: tat tvaṁ brahma paraṁ jyotir ākāśam iva vistṛtam. Here is a common example: a successful businessman may have many factories and offices, and everything rests on his order. If someone says that the entire business rests on such-and-such a person, it does not mean that the person is bearing all the factories and offices on his head. Rather, it is understood that by his brain or his energetic expansion, the business is running without interruption. Similarly, it is the brain and energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead that carry on the complete manifestation of the material and spiritual worlds. The philosophy of monism, explained here very clearly, adjusts itself to the fact that the supreme source of all energy is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa.
When the living entity forgets the Supreme Lord and wants to enjoy himself independently, imitating the Supreme Lord, he is captured by the false notion that he is the enjoyer and is separated from the Supreme Lord. This material energy is therefore very much troublesome to the spiritual energy, the living entity, but the material energy is never troublesome to the Supreme Lord. Indeed, for the Supreme Lord, both material and spiritual energy are the same. In this verse Lord Śiva explains that the material energy is never troublesome to the Supreme Lord. The Supreme Lord is always independent, but because the living entities are not independent—due to their false idea of becoming independently happy—the material energy is troublesome. Consequently the material energy creates differentiation.
The various activities of the Lord must be very disturbing to the tiny living entities, but since the Lord is supremely great, He is never affected. Lord Śiva or any other pure devotee can see this clearly without being blinded by bheda-buddhi, or differentiation. For a devotee, the Lord is the supreme spirit soul. Since He is supremely powerful, His various powers are also spiritual. For a devotee, there is nothing material, for material existence only means forgetfulness of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
In a previous verse Lord Śiva wanted to see the form of the Lord which the devotees are always interested in. There are other forms of the Lord manifest in the material world, including Brahmā and other demigods, and these are worshiped by materialistic persons.
If the whole creation is one—that is, nothing but the Supreme Lord, or Viṣṇu—then why do the expert transcendentalists make such categories as are found in the above verse:? Why do learned and expert scholars distinguish between matter and spirit? In answer to these questions, Lord Śiva says that spirit and matter are not creations of various philosophers, but are manifested by Lord Viṣṇu, as described in this verse: tvam eka ādyaḥ puruṣaḥ. Spiritual and material categories are made possible by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but actually there are no such distinctions for the living entities who are eternally engaged in the service of the Lord. There is only a material world for those who want to imitate the Lord and become enjoyers. Indeed, the material world is nothing but forgetfulness of the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, the creator of everything. The distinction between matter and spirit is created by the sleeping energy of the Lord when the Lord wants to give some facility to those living entities who want to imitate the Lord in His enjoyment.
When Kṛṣṇa says that He is the origin of everything (ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ (BG 10.8)), He means that He is even the source of Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva, the puruṣa-avatāras, the material manifestation and all the living entities within the material world. Actually the word prabhava ("creation") only refers to this material world, for since the spiritual world is eternally existing, there is no question of creation.
My dear Lord, all actually learned persons know You as the Supreme Brahman and the Supersoul. Although the entire universe is afraid of Lord Rudra, who ultimately annihilates everything, for the learned devotees You are the fearless destination of all.
For the purpose of creation, maintenance and annihilation of this cosmic manifestation, there are three lords—Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva (Maheśvara).
The word rudra-bhaya is significant in this verse because Rudra himself, Lord Śiva, is speaking of "fear of Rudra." This indicates that there are many Rudras—eleven Rudras—and the Rudra (Lord Śiva) who was offering this prayer to the Supreme Personality of Godhead is different from the other Rudras, although he is as powerful as they are. The conclusion is that one Rudra is afraid of another Rudra because each and every one of them is engaged in the destruction of this cosmic manifestation. But for the devotee, everyone is afraid of Rudra, even Rudra himself. A devotee is never afraid of Rudra because he is always secure, being protected by the lotus feet of the Lord. As Śrī Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (9.31), kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati: "My dear Arjuna, you may declare publicly that My pure devotee will not be vanquished under any circumstances."
The prayers offered by Lord Śiva are very authoritative and significant. Simply by offering prayers to the Supreme Lord one can become perfect, even though engaged in his occupational duty.
Because the princes were ready to enter into some severe austerity in order to worship the Lord, Lord Śiva advised them to constantly chant of and meditate upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is significant that Lord Śiva personally offered his prayers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead just as he was taught by his father, Lord Brahmā. Similarly, he was also preaching to the princes according to the paramparā system. One not only should practice the instructions received from the spiritual master but should also distribute this knowledge to one's disciples.
There are so many rules and regulations for the haṭha-yoga system that it is practically impossible to perform it in this age. The alternative system of bhakti-yoga is very easy not only in this age but in others as well, for this yoga system was advocated long ago by Lord Śiva when he advised the princes, the sons of Mahārāja Prācīnabarhiṣat.
Lord Brahmā was created by Lord Viṣṇu; then Lord Brahmā created Lord Śiva and other great sages, headed by Bhṛgu Muni. These great sages included Bhṛgu, Marīci, Ātreya, Vasiṣṭha and others. All these great sages were in charge of creating population. Since there were not very many living entities in the beginning, Viṣṇu entrusted Brahmā with the business of creation, and Brahmā in his turn created many hundreds and thousands of demigods and great sages to continue with the creation. At the same time, Lord Brahmā cautioned all his sons and disciples by reciting the prayers now recited by Lord Śiva. The material creation means material engagement, but material engagements can be counteracted if we always remember our relationship with the Lord as that relationship is described in these prayers recited by Lord Śiva. In this way we can remain constantly in touch with the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Thus one can continue with his occupational duty, but if he worships the Supreme Personality of Godhead as Lord Śiva herein prescribes, he attains his perfection of life. Svanuṣṭhitasya dharmasya saṁsiddhir hari-toṣaṇam (SB 1.2.13). We should continue executing our occupational duties, but if we try to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead by our duties, then our lives will be perfected.
The nonsensical Darwinian theory of evolution is not applicable here. It is not that intelligent human beings did not exist millions of years ago. On the contrary, it is understood that the most intelligent creature, Lord Brahmā, was first created. Then Lord Brahmā created other saintly sages like Marīci, Bhṛgu, Ātreya, Vasiṣṭha and Lord Śiva. They in their turn created different types of bodies according to karma.
Any devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa can attain all perfection, material gains and liberation simply by offering prayers to Him. There are many varieties of prayers to Lord Kṛṣṇa chanted by great sages and great personalities such as Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva. Lord Kṛṣṇa is known as śiva-viriñcinutam (SB 11.5.33). Śiva means Lord Śiva, and viriñci means Lord Brahmā. Both of these demigods are engaged in offering prayers to Lord Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa.
The greatest danger is the danger of getting a body lower than that of a human being. It was with great difficulty that we attained this human form of life just to take advantage of this body and reestablish our relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda. Lord Śiva advises, however, that those who take advantage of his prayers will very soon become devotees of Lord Vāsudeva and thus will be able to cross the ocean of nescience and make life perfect.
It is especially significant that Lord Śiva is a pure devotee of Lord Vāsudeva. Vaiṣṇavānāṁ yathā śambhuḥ: "Amongst all Vaiṣṇavas, Lord Śiva is the topmost." Consequently Lord Śiva has a sampradāya, a Vaiṣṇava disciplic succession, called the Rudra-sampradāya. At the present moment those who belong to the Viṣṇu Svāmī-sampradāya of Vaiṣṇavas come from Rudra, Lord Śiva. To become a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa, Vāsudeva, is very, very difficult. The word especially used in this connection is durārādhyam. The worship of the demigods is not very difficult, but becoming a devotee of Lord Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa, is not so easy. However, if one adheres to the principles and follows in the footsteps of the higher authorities, as advised by Lord Śiva, one can easily become a devotee of Lord Vāsudeva. This is also confirmed by Prahlāda Mahārāja.
A faithful servant can fulfill any desire by the grace of the master, and one who engages in the transcendental loving service of the Lord has nothing to aspire for separately. All his desires are fulfilled simply by engaging constantly in the Lord's loving service. Lord Śiva shows us that any devotee can be successful simply by chanting the prayers which he has recited.
A devotee who rises early in the morning and with folded hands chants these prayers sung by Lord Śiva and gives facility to others to hear them certainly becomes free from all bondage to fruitive activities.
The great sage Maitreya continued speaking to Vidura: My dear Vidura, in this way Lord Śiva instructed the sons of King Barhiṣat. The sons of the King also worshiped Lord Śiva with great devotion and respect. Finally, Lord Śiva became invisible to the princes.
All the Pracetā princes simply stood in the water for ten thousand years and recited the prayers given to them by Lord Śiva.
My dear beautiful girl, you are exactly like the goddess of fortune or the wife of Lord Śiva or the goddess of learning, the wife of Lord Brahmā. Although you must be one of them, I see that you are loitering in this forest. Indeed, you are as silent as the great sages. Is it that you are searching after your own husband? Whoever your husband may be, simply by understanding that you are so faithful to him, he will come to possess all opulences. I think you must be the goddess of fortune, but I do not see the lotus flower in your hand. Therefore I am asking you where you have thrown that lotus.
Everyone thinks that his intelligence is perfect. Sometimes one employs his intelligence in the worship of Umā, the wife of Lord Śiva, in order to obtain a beautiful wife. Sometimes, when one wants to become as learned as Lord Brahmā, he employs his intelligence in the worship of the goddess of learning, Sarasvatī. Sometimes, when one wishes to become as opulent as Lord Viṣṇu, he worships the goddess of fortune, Lakṣmī. In this verse all these inquiries are made by King Purañjana, the living entity who is bewildered and does not know how to employ his intelligence.
The most powerful Lord Brahmā, the father of all progenitors; Lord Śiva; Manu, Dakṣa and the other rulers of humankind; the four saintly first-class brahmacārīs headed by Sanaka and Sanātana; the great sages Marīci, Atri, Aṅgirā, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Bhṛgu and Vasiṣṭha; and my humble self (Nārada) are all stalwart brāhmaṇas who can speak authoritatively on Vedic literature. We are very powerful because of austerities, meditation and education. Nonetheless, even after inquiring about the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whom we always see, we do not know perfectly about Him.
In the beginning of creation there was a very intelligent personality, Lord Brahmā, and from him emanated all the Manus, and the brahmacārīs like Sanaka and Sanātana, as well as Lord Śiva, the great sages and Nārada.
All Vedic knowledge is meant for searching out Kṛṣṇa because Kṛṣṇa is the origin of everything. Janmādy asya yataḥ (SB 1.1.1). In Bhagavad-gītā (10.2) Kṛṣṇa says, aham ādir hi devānāṁ: "I am the source of the demigods." Thus Kṛṣṇa is the origin and beginning of all demigods, including Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva and all others.
Vidura inquired from Maitreya: O brāhmaṇa, you formerly spoke about the sons of Prācīnabarhi and informed me that they satisfied the Supreme Personality of Godhead by chanting a song composed by Lord Śiva. What did they achieve in this way?
In the beginning, Maitreya Ṛṣi narrated the activities of the sons of Prācīnabarhi. These sons went beside a great lake, which was like an ocean, and fortunately finding Lord Śiva, they learned how to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead by chanting the songs composed by Lord Śiva.
The highest perfection is to return home, back to Godhead, so that one will not have to return to this material world and transmigrate from one body to another in the dream of material existence. By the grace of Lord Śiva, the Pracetās actually attained perfection and returned home, back to Godhead, after enjoying material facilities to the highest extent.
My dear Bārhaspatya, what did the sons of King Barhiṣat, known as the Pracetās, obtain after meeting Lord Śiva, who is very dear to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the bestower of liberation? Certainly they were transferred to the spiritual world, but apart from that, what did they obtain within this material world, either in this life or in other lives?
Actually, Lord Mahādeva (Śiva) is one of the great demigods within this material world. Generally his blessings bestowed on ordinary people mean material happiness. The predominating deity of this material world, Durgā, is under the control of Lord Mahādeva, Giriśa. Thus Lord Mahādeva can offer anyone any kind of material happiness. Generally people prefer to become devotees of Lord Giriśa to obtain material happiness, but the Pracetās met Lord Mahādeva by providential arrangement. Lord Mahādeva instructed them to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and he personally offered a prayer. As stated in the previous verse (rudra-gītena), simply by chanting the prayers offered by Lord Śiva to Viṣṇu, the Pracetās were transferred to the spiritual world.
The great sage Maitreya said: The sons of King Prācīnabarhi, known as the Pracetās, underwent severe austerities within the seawater to carry out the order of their father. By chanting and repeating the mantras given by Lord Śiva, they were able to satisfy Lord Viṣṇu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
One can offer prayers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly, but if one repeats the prayers offered by great devotees like Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā, or if one follows in the footsteps of great personalities, one can please the Supreme Personality of Godhead very easily.
The pure devotee never attempts to reach the Supreme Lord directly. The most important way to worship the Lord is to go through the disciplic succession of devotees. The prayers offered by Lord Śiva to the Supreme Personality of Godhead were thus repeated by the Pracetās, who were thus very successful in pleasing the Supreme Lord.
Lord Rudra, or Lord Śiva, is the original ācārya of the Vaiṣṇava sampradāya called the Rudra-sampradāya. Rudra-gītena indicates that under the disciplic succession of Lord Rudra, the Pracetās achieved spiritual success.
Those who will offer Me the prayers composed by Lord Śiva, both in the morning and in the evening, will be given benedictions by Me. In this way they can both fulfill their desires and attain good intelligence.
Dear Lord, we beg to offer our obeisances unto You. When the mind is fixed upon You, the world of duality, although a place for material enjoyment, appears meaningless. Your transcendental form is full of transcendental bliss. We therefore offer our respects unto You. Your appearances as Lord Brahmā, Lord Viṣṇu and Lord Śiva are meant for the purpose of creating, maintaining and annihilating this cosmic manifestation.
A devotee knows very well that everything within this material world is but a manifestation of the Supreme Lord's energy. To maintain the three modes of material nature, the Supreme Lord takes on different forms as Lord Brahmā, Lord Viṣṇu and Lord Śiva. Unaffected by the modes of material nature, the Lord takes on different forms to create, maintain and annihilate this cosmic manifestation.
In the previous verse it has been said (gṛhīta-māyā-guṇa-vigrahāya) that the Lord accepts three kinds of bodies (Viṣṇu, Brahmā and Śiva) for the purposes of creating, maintaining and annihilating the cosmic manifestation. The three predominating deities of the material universe (Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva) are called guṇa-avatāras. There are many kinds of incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the first incarnations within this material world are Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara (Śiva). Out of these three, Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva accept material bodies, but Lord Viṣṇu does not accept a material body. Lord Viṣṇu is therefore known as viśuddha-sattva. His existence is completely free from the contamination of the material modes of nature. One should therefore not think that Lord Viṣṇu is in the same category with Lord Brahmā and Śiva.
One who considers Lord Viṣṇu to be in the same category with devas like Lord Brahmā or Lord Śiva or who thinks Lord Brahmā and Śiva to be equal to Lord Viṣṇu is to be considered as pāṣaṇḍī (a faithless nonbeliever). Therefore in this verse Lord Viṣṇu is distinguished in the words namo viśuddha-sattvāya. Although a living entity like us, Lord Brahmā is exalted due to his pious activities; therefore he is given the high post of Brahmā. Lord Śiva is not actually like a living entity, but he is not the Supreme Personality of Godhead. His position is somewhere between Viṣṇu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and Brahmā, the living entity. Lord Śiva is therefore explained in Brahma-saṁhitā (5.45) in this way:
- kṣīraṁ yathā dadhi vikāra-viśeṣa-yogāt
- sañjāyate na hi tataḥ pṛthag asti hetoḥ
- yaḥ śambhutām api tathā samupaiti kāryād
- govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
Lord Śiva is considered to be like yogurt (dadhi). Yogurt is nothing but transformed milk; nonetheless, yogurt cannot be accepted as milk. Similarly, Lord Śiva holds almost all the powers of Lord Viṣṇu, and he is also above the qualities of the living entity, but he is not exactly like Viṣṇu, just as yogurt, although transformed milk, is not exactly like milk.
To say that everyone is a temple of Nārāyaṇa is correct, but to accept another human being as Nārāyaṇa is a great offense. The conception of daridra-nārāyaṇa (poor Nārāyaṇa), an attempt to identify the poor with Nārāyaṇa, is also a great offense. Even to identify Nārāyaṇa with demigods like Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva is an offense.
- yas tu nārāyaṇaṁ devaṁ
- samatvenaiva vīkṣeta
- sa pāṣaṇḍī bhaved dhruvam
- (CC Madhya 18.116)
"One who considers Lord Nārāyaṇa on a level with great demigods like Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva is immediately listed among nonbelievers."
Dear Lord, by virtue of a moment's association with Lord Śiva, who is very dear to You and who is Your most intimate friend, we were fortunate to attain You. You are the most expert physician, capable of treating the incurable disease of material existence. On account of our great fortune, we have been able to take shelter at Your lotus feet.
The Pracetās received the shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead by the grace of Lord Śiva. Lord Śiva is the supreme devotee of Lord Viṣṇu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Vaiṣṇavānāṁ yathā śambhuḥ: the most exalted Vaiṣṇava is Lord Śiva, and those who are actually devotees of Lord Śiva follow Lord Śiva's advice and take shelter at the lotus feet of Lord Viṣṇu. The so-called devotees of Lord Śiva, who are simply after material prosperity, are in a way deceived by Lord Śiva. He does not actually deceive them, because Lord Śiva has no business deceiving people, but because the so-called devotees of Lord Śiva want to be deceived, Lord Śiva, who is very easily pleased, allows them all kinds of material benedictions. These benedictions might ironically result in the destruction of the so-called devotees. For instance, Rāvaṇa took all material benediction from Lord Śiva, but the result was that he was ultimately destroyed with his family, kingdom and everything else because he misused Lord Śiva's benediction. Because of his material power, he became very proud and puffed up so that he dared kidnap the wife of Lord Rāmacandra. In this way he was ruined. To get material benedictions from Lord Śiva is not difficult, but actually these are not benedictions. The Pracetās received benediction from Lord Śiva, and as a result they attained the shelter of the lotus feet of Lord Viṣṇu. This is real benediction. The gopīs also worshiped Lord Śiva in Vṛndāvana, and the lord is still staying there as Gopīśvara. The gopīs, however, prayed that Lord Śiva bless them by giving them Lord Kṛṣṇa as their husband. There is no harm in worshiping the demigods, provided that one's aim is to return home, back to Godhead.
One enamored by material benefits is called hṛta jñāna ("one who has lost his intelligence"). In this connection it is to be noted that sometimes in revealed scriptures Lord Śiva is described as being nondifferent from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The point is that Lord Śiva and Lord Viṣṇu are so intimately connected that there is no difference in opinion. The actual fact is, ekale īśvara kṛṣṇa, āra saba bhṛtya: "The only supreme master is Kṛṣṇa, and all others are His devotees or servants." (CC Adi 5.142) This is the real fact, and there is no difference of opinion between Lord Śiva and Lord Viṣṇu in this connection. Nowhere in revealed scripture does Lord Śiva claim to be equal to Lord Viṣṇu. This is simply the creation of the so-called devotees of Lord Śiva, who claim that Lord Śiva and Lord Viṣṇu are one. This is strictly forbidden in the Vaiṣṇava-tantra: yas tu nārāyaṇaṁ devam (CC Madhya 18.116). Lord Viṣṇu, Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā are intimately connected as master and servants. Śiva-viriñci-nutam (SB 11.5.33). Viṣṇu is honored and offered obeisances by Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā. To consider that they are all equal is a great offense.
Dear Lord, even great yogīs and mystics who are very much advanced by virtue of austerities and knowledge and who have completely situated themselves in pure existence, as well as great personalities like Manu, Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, cannot fully understand Your glories and potencies. Nonetheless they have offered their prayers according to their own capacities. In the same way, we, although much lower than these personalities, also offer our prayers according to our own capability.
Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva, Manu (the father of mankind), great saintly persons and also great sages who have elevated themselves to the transcendental platform through austerities and penance, as well as devotional service, are imperfect in knowledge compared to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Beginning with Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva down to ourselves, everyone is the servant of the Supreme Lord. We are all situated in relative positions according to our own karma. Yet every one of us can offer prayers with heart and soul as far as we can appreciate the Lord's glories. That is our perfection.
My dear King, at the time of devastation, Lord Śiva emits fire and air from his mouth out of anger. To make the surface of the earth completely treeless, the Pracetās also emitted fire and air from their mouths.
Following the order of Lord Brahmā, all the Pracetās accepted the girl as their wife. From the womb of this girl, the son of Lord Brahmā named Dakṣa took birth. Dakṣa had to take birth from the womb of Māriṣā due to his disobeying and disrespecting Lord Mahādeva (Śiva). Consequently he had to give up his body twice.
King Dakṣa was the son of Lord Brahmā; therefore in a previous birth he was a brāhmaṇa, but because of his behaving like a non-brāhmaṇa (abrāhmaṇa) by insulting or disrespecting Lord Mahādeva, he had to take birth within the semen of a kṣatriya. That is to say, he became the son of the Pracetās. Not only that, but because of his disrespecting Lord Śiva, he had to undergo the tribulation of taking birth from within the womb of a woman. In the Dakṣa-yajña arena, he was once killed by Lord Śiva's servant, Vīrabhadra. Because that was not sufficient, he again took birth, from the womb of Māriṣā. At the end of the Dakṣa-yajña and the disastrous incidents there, Dakṣa offered his prayer to Lord Śiva. Although he had to give up his body and take birth from the womb of a woman impregnated by the semen of a kṣatriya, he received all opulence by the grace of Lord Śiva. These are the subtle laws of material nature.
The controversy of the Dakṣa-yajña took place in the Svāyambhuva manvantara period. As a result, Dakṣa was punished by Lord Śiva, but by virtue of his prayers to Lord Śiva he became eligible to regain his former opulence. According to Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, Dakṣa underwent severe penances up to the fifth manvantara. Thus at the beginning of the sixth manvantara, known as the Cākṣuṣa manvantara, Dakṣa regained his former opulence by the blessings of Lord Śiva.
In his prayers, Lord Śiva concentrated upon the personal features of Parabrahman, described in personal terms as snigdha-prāvṛḍ-ghana-śyāmam (SB 4.24.45). Following the instructions of Lord Śiva, the Pracetās also concentrated their minds on the Śyāmasundara form of the Supreme Brahman. Although impersonal Brahman, Paramātmā Brahman and Brahman as the Supreme Person are all on the same transcendental platform, the personal feature of the Supreme Brahman is the ultimate goal and last word in transcendence.
O master, may we inform you that because of our being overly attached to family affairs, we almost forgot the instructions we received from Lord Śiva and Lord Viṣṇu.