There are many similar incidents in His childhood. As a naughty boy He sometimes used to tease the orthodox brāhmaṇas who used to bathe in the Ganges. When the brāhmaṇas complained to His father that He was splashing them with water instead of attending school, the Lord suddenly appeared before His father as though just coming from school with all His school clothes and books. At the bathing ghāṭa He also used to play jokes on the neighboring girls who engaged in worshiping Śiva in hopes of getting good husbands. This is a common practice amongst unmarried girls in Hindu families. While they were engaged in such worship, the Lord naughtily appeared before them and said, "My dear sisters, please give Me all the offerings you have just brought for Lord Śiva. Lord Śiva is My devotee, and Pārvatī is My maidservant. If you worship Me, then Lord Śiva and all the other demigods will be more satisfied." Some of them refused to obey the naughty Lord, and He would curse them that due to their refusal they would be married to old men who had seven children by their previous wives. Out of fear and sometimes out of love the girls would also offer Him various goods, and then the Lord would bless them and assure them that they would have very good young husbands and that they would be mothers of dozens of children. The blessings would enliven the girls, but they used often to complain of these incidents to their mothers.
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Siva (SB cantos 1 - 3)
SB Preface and Introduction
Nimāi Paṇḍita at once memorized all the ślokas without an error. He quoted the sixty-fourth śloka and pointed out certain rhetorical and literary irregularities. He particularly questioned the paṇḍita's use of the word bhavānī-bhartuḥ. He pointed out that the use of this word was redundant. Bhavānī means the wife of Śiva, and who else can be her bhartā, or husband? He also pointed out several other discrepancies, and the Kashmir paṇḍita was struck with wonder.
In the Padma Purāṇa it is stated that the Personality of Godhead ordered His Lordship Śiva to deviate the human race from Him (the Personality of Godhead). The Personality of Godhead was to be so covered so that people would be encouraged to generate more and more population. His Lordship Śiva said to Devī: "In the Kali-yuga, I shall preach the Māyāvāda philosophy, which is nothing but clouded Buddhism, in the garb of a brāhmaṇa."
SB Canto 1
As the supreme controller of both the material and spiritual worlds, the Lord has different incarnations of unlimited categories. Incarnations like Brahmā, Rudra, Manu, Pṛthu and Vyāsa are His material qualitative incarnations, but His incarnations like Rāma, Narasiṁha, Varāha and Vāmana are His transcendental incarnations. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the fountainhead of all incarnations, and He is therefore the cause of all causes.
The transcendental Personality of Godhead is indirectly associated with the three modes of material nature, namely passion, goodness and ignorance, and just for the material world's creation, maintenance and destruction He accepts the three qualitative forms of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva. Of these three, all human beings can derive ultimate benefit from Viṣṇu, the form of the quality of goodness.
The Viṣṇu or the Deity of the quality of goodness in the material world is the puruṣa-avatāra known as Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu or Paramātmā. Brahmā is the deity of rajas (passion), and Śiva of ignorance. They are the three departmental heads of the three qualities of this material world. Creation is made possible by the goodness of Viṣṇu, and when it requires to be destroyed, Lord Śiva does it by the tāṇḍavanṛtya. The materialists and the foolish human beings worship Brahmā and Śiva respectively. But the pure transcendentalists worship the form of goodness, Viṣṇu, in His various forms.
The prison house of the material world is created by Brahmā under instruction of the Personality of Godhead, and at the conclusion of a kalpa the whole thing is destroyed by Śiva.
Lord Viṣṇu is worshiped by devotional service only, and if anyone has to continue prison life in the material world, he may ask for relative facilities for temporary relief from the different demigods like Śiva, Brahmā, Indra and Varuṇa. No demigod, however, can release the imprisoned living being from the conditioned life of material existence. This can be done only by Viṣṇu. Therefore, the ultimate benefit may be derived from Viṣṇu, the Personality of Godhead.
The separated parts and parcels have different positions in the estimation of material powers, and some of them are like Kāla-bhairava, Śmaśāna-bhairava, Śani, Mahākālī and Caṇḍikā. These demigods are worshiped mostly by those who are in the lowest categories of the mode of darkness or ignorance. Other demigods, like Brahmā, Śiva, Sūrya, Gaṇeśa and many similar deities, are worshiped by men in the mode of passion, urged on by the desire for material enjoyment. But those who are actually situated in the mode of goodness (sattva-guṇa) of material nature worship only viṣṇu-tattvas.
There are innumerable powerful demigods who look over the external management of the material world. They are all different assisting hands of Lord Vāsudeva. Even Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā are included in the list of demigods, but Lord Viṣṇu, or Vāsudeva, is always transcendentally situated.
Viṣṇu, being transcendental to all the modes, is always aloof from materialistic affection. This has already been explained. From Brahmā there is Rudra (Śiva), who is in charge of the mode of ignorance or darkness. He destroys the whole creation by the will of the Lord. Therefore all three, namely Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva, are incarnations of the Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu.
In different millennia there are different incarnations, and they are innumerable, although some of them are very prominent, such as Matsya, Kūrma, Varāha, Rāma, Nṛsiṁha, Vāmana and many others. These incarnations are called līlā incarnations. Then there are qualitative incarnations such as Brahmā, Viṣṇu, and Śiva (or Rudra) who take charge of the different modes of material nature.
Lord Viṣṇu is nondifferent from the Personality of Godhead. Lord Śiva is in the marginal position between the Personality of Godhead and the living entities, or jīvas. Brahmā is always a jīva-tattva. The highest pious living being, or the greatest devotee of the Lord, is empowered with the potency of the Lord for creation, and he is called Brahmā.
Lord Śiva is not an ordinary living being. He is the plenary portion of the Lord, but because Lord Śiva is in direct touch with material nature, he is not exactly in the same transcendental position as Lord Viṣṇu. The difference is like that between milk and curd. Curd is nothing but milk, and yet it cannot be used in place of milk.
The Lord incarnated Himself as Dattātreya, the son of Ṛṣi Atri and Anasūyā. The history of the birth of Dattātreya as an incarnation of the Lord is mentioned in the Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa in connection with the story of the devoted wife. It is said there that Anasūyā, the wife of Ṛṣi Atri, prayed before the Lords Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva as follows: "My lords, if you are pleased with me, and if you desire me to ask from you some sort of blessings, then I pray that you combine together to become my son." This was accepted by the lords, and as Dattātreya the Lord expounded the philosophy of the spirit soul and especially instructed Alarka, Prahlāda, Yadu, Haihaya, etc.
Learned scholars in transcendental subjects have carefully analyzed the summum bonum Kṛṣṇa to have sixty-four principal attributes. All the expansions or categories of the Lord possess only some percentages of these attributes. But Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the possessor of the attributes cent percent. And His personal expansions such as svayam-prakāśa, tad-ekātmā up to the categories of the avatāras who are all viṣṇu-tattva, possess up to ninety-three percent of these transcendental attributes. Lord Śiva, who is neither avatāra nor āveśa nor in between them, possesses almost eighty-four percent of the attributes. But the jīvas, or the individual living beings in different statuses of life, possess up to the limit of seventy-eight percent of the attributes. In the conditioned state of material existence, the living being possesses these attributes in very minute quantity, varying in terms of the pious life of the living being.
The standard of perfection for a human being is to develop the attributes up to seventy-eight percent in full. The living being can never possess attributes like Śiva, Viṣṇu or Lord Kṛṣṇa. A living being can become godly by developing the seventy-eight-percent transcendental attributes in fullness, but he can never become a God like Śiva, Viṣṇu or Kṛṣṇa.
Bharata Mahārāja was obliged to take his birth as a stag due to his intimate attachment to a stag. He thought of this stag when he died. As such, in the next birth he became a stag, although he did not forget the incident of his previous birth. Similarly, Citraketu also fell down due to his offenses at the feet of Śiva. But in spite of all this, the stress is given here to surrendering unto the lotus feet of the Lord, even if there is a chance of falling down, because even though one falls down from the prescribed duties of devotional service, he will never forget the lotus feet of the Lord.
Aśvatthāmā, the murderer of the princes, seeing from a great distance Arjuna coming at him with great speed, fled in his chariot, panic stricken, just to save his life, as Brahmā fled in fear from Śiva.
According to the reading matter, either kaḥ or arkaḥ, there are two references in the Purāṇas. Kaḥ means Brahmā, who once became allured by his daughter and began to follow her, which infuriated Śiva, who attacked Brahmā with his trident. Brahmājī fled in fear of his life. As far as arkaḥ is concerned, there is a reference in the Vāmana Purāṇa. There was a demon by the name Vidyunmālī who was gifted with a glowing golden airplane which traveled to the back of the sun, and night disappeared because of the glowing effulgence of this plane. Thus the sun-god became angry, and with his virulent rays he melted the plane. This enraged Lord Śiva. Lord Śiva then attacked the sun-god, who fled away and at last fell down at Kāśī (Vārāṇasī), and the place became famous as Lolārka.
The Lord is the all-powerful, all-perfect Personality of Godhead. The Lord is cent percent perfect, whereas others, namely Nārāyaṇa, Brahmā, Śiva, the demigods and all other living beings, possess only different percentages of such perfection. No one is equal to or greater than Him. He is unrivaled.
Gṛtsamada: One of the sages of the heavenly kingdom. He was a close friend of Indra, the King of heaven, and was as great as Bṛhaspati. He used to visit the royal assembly of Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, and he also visited the place where Bhīṣmadeva breathed his last. Sometimes he explained the glories of Lord Śiva before Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira.
Asita: There was a king of the same name, but herein the Asita mentioned is the Asita Devala Ṛṣi, a great powerful sage of the time. He explained to his father 1,500,000 verses from the Mahābhārata. He was one of the members in the snake sacrifice of Mahārāja Janamejaya. He was also present during the coronation ceremony of Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira along with other great ṛṣis. He also gave Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira instructions while he was on the Añjana Hill. He was also one of the devotees of Lord Śiva.
Bhīṣma wanted to impress upon Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira that since time immemorial no one, including such demigods as Śiva and Brahmā, could ascertain the real plan of the Lord. So what can we understand about it?
O King, Lord Śiva, Nārada the sage amongst the demigods, and Kapila, the incarnation of Godhead, all know very confidentially about His glories through direct contact.
As the Lord has innumerable expansions of His plenary form, there are innumerable pure devotees of the Lord, who are engaged in the exchange of service of different humors. Ordinarily there are twelve great devotees of the Lord, namely Brahmā, Nārada, Śiva, Kumāra, Kapila, Manu, Prahlāda, Bhīṣma, Janaka, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, Bali Mahārāja and Yamarāja.
All these glories of the Lord are especially known to the great mahājanas like Brahmā, Śiva, Nārada, Kapila, Kumāra and Bhīṣma, as mentioned above, and one is able to grasp it by their grace.
The human beings live on earth and similar other planets in the Bhūr and Bhuvar group of planets, but the demigods live in the Svar, or heavenly planets, and all of them knew Bhīṣmadeva as a great warrior and devotee of the Lord. As a mahājana (or authority) he was on the level of Brahmā, Nārada and Śiva, although he was a human being. Qualification on a par with the great demigods is possible only on attainment of spiritual perfection.
In the Śruti-mantra it is said that only Viṣṇu, the Supreme Lord, existed before the creation, and there was no Brahmā, Śiva or other demigods.
Although the queens' beautiful smiles and furtive glances were all spotless and exciting, and although they could conquer Cupid himself by making him give up his bow in frustration, and although even the tolerant Śiva could fall victim to them, still, despite all their magical feats and attractions, they could not agitate the senses of the Lord.
The path of salvation or the path going back to Godhead always forbids the association of women, and the complete sanātana-dharma or varṇāśrama-dharma scheme forbids or restricts association with women. How, then, can one be accepted as the Supreme Personality of Godhead who is addicted to more than sixteen thousand wives? This question may be relevantly raised by inquisitive persons really anxious to know about the transcendental nature of the Supreme Lord. And to answer such questions, the sages at Naimiṣāraṇya have discussed the transcendental character of the Lord in this and in following verses. It is clear herein that the feminine attractive features which can conquer Cupid or even the supermost tolerant Lord Śiva could not conquer the senses of the Lord.
Cupid's provocations are going on, even among beastly societies who are all ugly-looking in the estimation of the civilized nations. Thus Cupid's influence is exerted even amongst the ugliest forms, and what to speak of the most perfect beauties. Lord Śiva, who is considered to be most tolerant, was also struck by Cupid's arrow because he also became mad after the Mohinī incarnation of the Lord and acknowledged himself to be defeated. Cupid, however, was himself captivated by the grave and exciting dealings of the goddesses of fortune, and he voluntarily gave up his bow and arrow in a spirit of frustration. Such was the beauty and attraction of the queens of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Yet they could not disturb the transcendental senses of the Lord.
Lord Rāmacandra is the ideal king for maintaining and protecting the highest culture of humanity, known as brahmaṇya-dharma. The Lord is specifically the protector of the cows and the brāhmaṇas, and hence He enhances the prosperity of the world. He rewarded the administrative demigods by effective weapons to conquer the demons through the agency of Viśvāmitra. He was present in the bow sacrifice of King Janaka, and by breaking the invincible bow of Śiva, He married Sītādevī, daughter of Mahārāja Janaka.
Queen Kuntīdevī could call for any one of the demigods, and thus she called Indra, and Arjuna was born by him. Arjuna is therefore a plenary part of the heavenly King Indra. He was born in the month of Phalguna (February-March), and therefore he is also called Phalguni. When he appeared as the son of Kuntī, his future greatness was proclaimed by air messages, and all the important personalities from different parts of the universe, such as the demigods, the Gandharvas, the Ādityas (from the sun globe), the Rudras, the Vasus, the Nāgas, the different ṛṣis (sages) of importance, and the Apsarās (the society girls of heaven), all attended the ceremony.
Sometimes he underwent severe types of penances, and later on he was rewarded by Indradeva. Lord Śiva also wanted to try the strength of Arjuna, and in the form of an aborigine, Lord Śiva met him. There was a great fight between the two, and at last Lord Śiva was satisfied with him and disclosed his identity. Arjuna prayed to the lord in all humbleness, and the lord, being pleased with him, presented him the paśupata weapon.
This child will be like his grandfather Yudhiṣṭhira or Brahmā in equanimity of mind. He will be munificent like the lord of the Kailāsa Hill, Śiva. And he will be the resort of everyone, like the Supreme Personality of Godhead Nārāyaṇa, who is even the shelter of the goddess of fortune.
Lord Śiva is a celebrated demigod who awards gifts to beggars. His name is therefore Āśutoṣa, or one who is pleased very easily. He is also called the Bhūtanātha, or the lord of the common folk, who are mainly attached to him because of his munificent gifts, even without consideration of the aftereffects. Rāvaṇa was very attached to Lord Śiva, and by easily pleasing him, Rāvaṇa became so powerful that he wanted to challenge the authority of Lord Rāma. Of course, Rāvaṇa was never helped by Lord Śiva when he fought with Rāma, the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the Lord of Lord Śiva. To Vṛkāsura, Lord Śiva awarded a benediction which was not only awkward, but also disturbing. Vṛkāsura became empowered, by the grace of Lord Śiva, to vanish anyone's head simply by touching it. Although this was awarded by Lord Śiva, the cunning fellow wanted to make an experiment of the power by touching the head of Lord Śiva. Thus the lord had to take shelter of Viṣṇu to save himself from trouble, and the Lord Viṣṇu, by His illusory potency, asked Vṛkāsura to make an experiment with his own head. The fellow did it and was finished himself, and so the world was saved from all sorts of trouble by such a cunning beggar of the demigods. The excellent point is that Lord Śiva never denies anyone any sort of gift. He is therefore the most generous, although sometimes some kind of a mistake is made.
Gāndhārī: The ideal chaste lady in the history of the world. She was the daughter of Mahārāja Subala, the King of Gāndhāra (now Kandahar in Kabul), and in her maiden state she worshiped Lord Śiva. Lord Śiva is generally worshiped by Hindu maidens to get a good husband. Gāndhārī satisfied Lord Śiva, and by his benediction to obtain one hundred sons, she was betrothed to Dhṛtarāṣṭra, despite his being blind forever.
Drupada performed a great sacrifice under the superintendence of the sage Yaja. By his first offering, Dhṛṣṭadyumna was born, and by the second offering, Draupadī was born. She is therefore the sister of Dhṛṣṭadyumna, and she is also named Pāñcālī. The five Pāṇḍavas married her as a common wife, and each of them begot a son in her. Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira begot a son named Pratibhit, Bhīmasena begot a son named Sutasoma, Arjuna begot Śrutakīrti, Nakula begot Śatānīka, and Sahadeva begot Śrutakarmā. She is described as a most beautiful lady, equal to her mother-in-law, Kuntī. During her birth there was an aeromessage that she should be called Kṛṣṇā. The same message also declared that she was born to kill many a kṣatriya. By dint of her blessings from Śaṅkara, she was awarded five husbands, equally qualified.
According to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, anyone who is conversant in the transcendental knowledge, or the science of Godhead, be he a brāhmaṇa or a śūdra, a householder or a sannyāsī, is eligible to become a spiritual master. Even in the ordinary moral codes (maintained by Cāṇakya Paṇḍita, the great politician and moralist) there is no harm in taking lessons from a person who may be by birth less than a śūdra. This is one part of the answer. The other is that Vidura was not actually a śūdra. He was to play the part of a so-called śūdra for one hundred years, being cursed by Maṇḍūka Muni. He was the incarnation of Yamarāja, one of the twelve mahājanas, on the level with such exalted personalities as Brahmā, Nārada, Śiva, Kapila, Bhīṣma, Prahlāda, etc. Being a mahājana, it is the duty of Yamarāja to preach the cult of devotion to the people of the world, as Nārada, Brahmā, and other mahājanas do.
A living being is placed in a particular position by the order of the Supreme Lord, and he is again shifted from that place by the order of the Supreme Lord or His authorized agents. Brahmā, Śiva, Indra, Candra, Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira or, in modern history, Napoleon, Akbar, Alexander, Gandhi, Shubhash and Nehru all are servants of the Lord, and they are placed in and removed from their respective positions by the supreme will of the Lord. None of them is independent. Even though such men or leaders rebel so as not to recognize the supremacy of the Lord, they are put under still more rigorous laws of the material world by different miseries.
Since he possessed demoniac qualities from birth, naturally he became a great devotee of Lord Śiva, who is the lord of all ghostly and demoniac men. Rāvaṇa was a great devotee of Lord Śiva, and so also King Jarāsandha. He used to sacrifice all arrested kings before Lord Mahābhairava (Śiva) and by his military power he defeated many small kings and arrested them to butcher before Mahābhairava.
Durvāsā Muni: A powerful mystic brāhmaṇa determined to observe the principles of religion with great vows and under strict austerities. His name is associated with many historical events, and it appears that the great mystic could be both easily satisfied and easily annoyed, like Lord Śiva. When he was satisfied, he could do tremendous good to the servitor, but if he was dissatisfied he could bring about the greatest calamity. Kumārī Kuntī, at her father's house, used to minister all kinds of services to all great brāhmaṇas, and being satisfied with her good reception Durvāsā Muni blessed her with a power to call any demigod she desired. It is understood that he was a plenary incarnation of Lord Śiva, and thus he could be either easily satisfied or annoyed. He was a great devotee of Lord Śiva, and by Lord Śiva's order he accepted the priesthood of King Śvetaketu because of the King's performance of sacrifice for one hundred years.
It was by His influence only that in a fight I was able to astonish the personality of god Lord Śiva and his wife, the daughter of Mount Himalaya. Thus he (Lord Śiva) became pleased with me and awarded me his own weapon. Other demigods also delivered their respective weapons to me, and in addition I was able to reach the heavenly planets in this present body and was allowed a half-elevated seat.
By the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa, all the demigods, including Lord Śiva, were pleased with Arjuna. The idea is that one who is favored by Lord Śiva or any other demigod may not necessarily be favored by the Supreme Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Rāvaṇa was certainly a great devotee of Lord Śiva, but he could not be saved from the wrath of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Rāmacandra. And there are many instances like that in the histories of the Purāṇas. But here is an instance where we can see that Lord Śiva became pleased even in the fight with Arjuna.
Bhīma caught hold of Jayadratha and beat him very severely, almost dead. Then all but five hairs were cut off his head and he was taken to all the kings and introduced as the slave of Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira. He was forced to admit himself to be the slave of Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira before all the princely order, and in the same condition he was brought before Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira. Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was kind enough to order him released, and when he admitted to being a tributary prince under Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, Queen Draupadī also desired his release. After this incident, he was allowed to return to his country. Being so insulted, he went to Gaṅgotri in the Himalayas and undertook a severe type of penance to please Lord Śiva. He asked his benediction to defeat all the Pāṇḍavas, at least one at a time. Then the Battle of Kurukṣetra began, and he took sides with Duryodhana. In the first day's fight he was engaged with Mahārāja Drupada, then with Virāṭa and then with Abhimanyu. While Abhimanyu was being killed, mercilessly surrounded by seven great generals, the Pāṇḍavas came to his help, but Jayadratha, by the mercy of Lord Śiva, repulsed them with great ability.
At this, Arjuna took a vow to kill him, and on hearing this, Jayadratha wanted to leave the warfield and asked permission from the Kauravas for this cowardly action. But he was not allowed to do so. On the contrary, he was obliged to fight with Arjuna, and while the fight was going on Lord Kṛṣṇa reminded Arjuna that the benediction of Śiva upon Jayadratha was that whoever would cause his head to fall on the ground would die at once. He therefore advised Arjuna to throw the head of Jayadratha directly onto the lap of his father, who was engaged in penances at the Samanta-pañcaka pilgrimage.
The Lord, being all that is described above, maintains the affairs of the creation, and by His so doing He gives salvation even to His enemies who are killed by Him. He is attractive even to the topmost liberated soul, and thus He is worshipable even by Brahmā and Śiva, the greatest of all demigods.
The sages of Naimiṣāraṇya were practically sufferers from the smoke of a sacrificial fire and were doubtful about the result, but by hearing from a realized person like Sūta Gosvāmī, they were fully satisfied. In the Brahma-vaivarta Purāṇa, Viṣṇu tells Śiva that in the age of Kali, men full of anxieties of various kinds can vainly labor in fruitive activity and philosophical speculations, but when they are engaged in devotional service, the result is sure and certain, and there is no loss of energy. In other words, nothing performed for spiritual realization or for material benefit can be successful without the devotional service to the Lord.
The Personality of Godhead, Lord Kṛṣṇa (Govinda), is the exclusive shelter for all great living beings, and His transcendental attributes cannot even be measured by such masters of mystic powers as Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā. Can anyone who is expert in relishing nectar (rasa) ever be fully satiated by hearing topics about Him?
Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā are two chiefs of the demigods. They are full of mystic powers. For example, Lord Śiva drank an ocean of poison of which one drop was sufficient to kill an ordinary living being. Similarly, Brahmā could create many powerful demigods, including Lord Śiva. So they are īśvaras, or lords of the universe. But they are not the supreme powerful. The supreme powerful is Govinda, Lord Kṛṣṇa. He is the Transcendence, and His transcendental attributes cannot be measured even by such powerful īśvaras as Śiva and Brahmā. Therefore Lord Kṛṣṇa is the exclusive shelter of the greatest of all living beings.
Who can be worthy of the name of the Supreme Lord but the Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa? Brahmājī collected the water emanating from the nails of His feet in order to award it to Lord Śiva as a worshipful welcome. This very water (the Ganges) is purifying the whole universe, including Lord Śiva.
The living entities are not as powerful as the Lord's plenary expansions, and therefore there are two different types of expansions. Lord Brahmā is generally one of the living entities, and Lord Śiva is the via medium between the Lord and the living entities. In other words, even demigods like Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, who are the chief amongst all demigods, are never equal to or greater than Lord Viṣṇu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The goddess of fortune, Lakṣmī, and all-powerful demigods like Brahmā and Śiva are engaged in the worship of Viṣṇu or Lord Kṛṣṇa; therefore who can be more powerful than Mukunda (Lord Kṛṣṇa) to be factually called the Supreme Personality of Godhead?
The goddess of fortune, Lakṣmījī, Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva are not independently powerful; they are powerful as expansions of the Supreme Lord, and all of them are engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, and so also are the living entities. There are four sects of worshipful devotees of the Lord, and the chief amongst them are the Brahma-sampradāya, Rudra-sampradāya and Śrī-sampradāya, descending directly from Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva and the goddess of fortune, Lakṣmī, respectively.
The river (Ganges, by which the King sat to fast) carries the most auspicious water, which is mixed with the dust of the lotus feet of the Lord and tulasī leaves. Therefore that water sanctifies the three worlds inside and outside and even sanctifies Lord Śiva and other demigods. Consequently everyone who is destined to die must take shelter of this river.
By the blessings of Parāśara, Satyavatī became fragrant for miles. He was present also during the time of Bhīṣma's death. He was spiritual master of Mahārāja Janaka and a great devotee of Lord Śiva. He is the author of many Vedic scriptures and sociological directions.
SB Canto 2
By chanting the Lord's holy name, one can derive all the stipulated energy synchronized from all sources. Therefore, one should not equalize the supreme holy name of the Lord with any other name. Brahmā, Śiva or any other powerful god can never be equal to the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu.
The effulgent luminary planets like the sun and the moon are situated almost in the midplace of the universe, and as such they are to be known as the chest of the original gigantic form of the Lord. And above the luminary planets, called also the heavenly places of the universal directorate demigods, are the Mahar, Janas and Tapas planetary systems, and, above all, the Satyaloka planetary system, where the chief directors of the modes of material nature reside, namely Viṣṇu, Brahmā and Śiva. This Viṣṇu is known as the Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, and He acts as the Supersoul in every living being. There are innumerable universes floating on the Causal Ocean, and in each of them the representation of the virāṭ form of the Lord is there along with innumerable suns, moons, heavenly demigods, Brahmās, Viṣṇus and Śivas, all of them situated in one part of the inconceivable potency of Lord Kṛṣṇa, as stated in the Bhagavad-gītā (10.42).
The principle of matter (mahat-tattva) is the consciousness of the omnipresent Lord, as asserted by the experts, and Rudradeva is His ego. The horse, mule, camel and elephant are His nails, and wild animals and all quadrupeds are situated in the belt zone of the Lord.
In the Vedic hymns, it is clearly said that first of all Nārāyaṇa cast a glance over matter and thus there was creation. Before creation, there was neither Brahmā nor Śiva, and what to speak of others.
One who desires to be absorbed in the impersonal brahmajyoti effulgence should worship the master of the Vedas (Lord Brahmā or Bṛhaspati, the learned priest), one who desires powerful sex should worship the heavenly King, Indra, and one who desires good progeny should worship the great progenitors called the Prajāpatis. One who desires good fortune should worship Durgādevī, the superintendent of the material world. One desiring to be very powerful should worship fire, and one who aspires only after money should worship the Vasus. One should worship the Rudra incarnations of Lord Śiva if he wants to be a great hero. One who wants a large stock of grains should worship Aditi. One who desires to attain the heavenly planets should worship the sons of Aditi. One who desires a worldly kingdom should worship Viśvadeva, and one who wants to be popular with the general mass of population should worship the Sādhya demigod. One who desires a long span of life should worship the demigods known as the Aśvinī-kumāras, and a person desiring a strongly built body should worship the earth. One who desires stability in his post should worship the horizon and the earth combined. One who desires to be beautiful should worship the beautiful residents of the Gandharva planet, and one who desires a good wife should worship the Apsarās and the Urvaśī society girls of the heavenly kingdom. One who desires domination over others should worship Lord Brahmā, the head of the universe. One who desires tangible fame should worship the Personality of Godhead, and one who desires a good bank balance should worship the demigod Varuṇa. If one desires to be a greatly learned man he should worship Lord Śiva, and if one desires a good marital relation he should worship the chaste goddess Umā, the wife of Lord Śiva.
Rāvaṇa was made a very powerful man by worshiping Lord Śiva, and he used to offer severed heads to please Lord Śiva. He became so powerful by the grace of Lord Śiva that all the demigods were afraid of him, until he at last challenged the Personality of Godhead Śrī Rāmacandra and thus ruined himself. In other words, all such persons who aspire after gaining some or all of the material objects of enjoyment, or the gross materialistic persons, are on the whole less intelligent, as confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā (7.20).
The system of pañca-upāsanā, recommending five mental attitudes for the common man, is also enacted for this purpose, namely gradual development, worship of the superior that may be in the form of fire, electricity, the sun, the mass of living beings, Lord Śiva and, at last, the impersonal Supersoul, the partial representation of Lord Viṣṇu. They are all nicely described in the Second Chapter, but in the Third Chapter further development is prescribed after one has actually reached the stage of Viṣṇu worship, or pure devotional service, and the mature stage of Viṣṇu worship is suggested herein in relation to the change of heart.
The research scholar finds out the cause and the effect of everything, but research scholars as great as Brahmā, Śiva, Indra and many other demigods are sometimes bewildered by seeing the wonderful creative energy of the Lord, so what to speak of the tiny mundane scholars dealing in petty things.
Brahmā and Śiva (and what to speak of other demigods) are bhūtas, or powerful created demigods who manage universal affairs, much like ministers appointed by a king. The ministers may be īśvaras, or controllers, but the Supreme Lord is maheśvara, or the creator of the controllers.
This material world is a manifestation of the three modes goodness, passion and ignorance, and the Supreme Lord, for the creation, maintenance and destruction of the material world, accepts three predominating forms as Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śaṅkara (Śiva).
He is the Supersoul and the Supreme Lord of all self-realized souls. He is the personification of the Vedas, religious scriptures and austerities. He is worshiped by Lord Brahmā and Śiva and all those who are transcendental to all pretensions. Being so revered with awe and veneration, may that Supreme Absolute be pleased with me.
The examples of Brahmā and Lord Śiva are specifically cited here because Brahmājī, Lord Śiva, Śrīmatī Lakṣmījī and the four Kumāras (Sanaka, Sanātana, etc.) are leaders of the four desireless Vaiṣṇava sampradāyas. They are all freed from all pretensions.
Brahmā is the representation of the mode of passion, and Viṣṇu is the representation of the mode of goodness, while the mode of ignorance is represented by Lord Śiva, the father of material activities. Material nature is called the mother, and the initiator for materialistic life is the father, Lord Śiva. All material creation by the living entities is therefore initiated by the mode of passion.
There are many powerful kings, leaders, learned scholars, scientists, artists, engineers, inventors, excavators, archaeologists, industrialists, politicians, economists, business magnates, and many more powerful deities or demigods like Brahmā, Śiva, Indra, Candra, Sūrya, Varuṇa and Marut, who are all protecting the interest of the universal affairs of maintenance, in different positions, and all of them are different powerful parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord.
Beginning from me (Brahmā) down to you and Bhava (Śiva), all the great sages who were born before you, the demigods, the demons, the Nāgas, the human beings, the birds, the beasts, as well as the reptiles, etc., and all phenomenal manifestations of the universes, namely the planets, stars, asteroids, luminaries, lightning, thunder, and the inhabitants of the different planetary systems, namely the Gandharvas, Apsarās, Yakṣas, Rakṣas, Bhūtagaṇas, Uragas, Paśus, Pitās, Siddhas, Vidyādharas, Cāraṇas, and all other different varieties of living entities, including the birds, beasts, trees and everything that be, are all covered by the universal form of the Lord at all times, namely past, present and future, although He is transcendental to all of them, eternally existing in a form not exceeding nine inches.
The material energy is a potency of the Lord which is displayed in time, accepting the three qualities of goodness, passion and ignorance in the forms of Viṣṇu, Brahmā and Śiva. The material energy thus works under the supreme spell of His Lordship, although He is always transcendental to all such material activities.
By His will, I create, Lord Śiva destroys, and He Himself, in His eternal form as the Personality of Godhead, maintains everything. He is the powerful controller of these three energies.
The Lord is nirasta-sāmya-atiśaya; in other words, no one is greater than or equal to the Supreme Lord. So the living entities, including even such great personalities as Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, are all subordinate to the Lord. In the material world also, in His eternal form of Viṣṇu, He maintains and controls all the affairs of the demigods, including Brahmā and Śiva.
Since neither Lord Śiva nor you nor I could ascertain the limits of spiritual happiness, how can other demigods know it? And because all of us are bewildered by the illusory external energy of the Supreme Lord, we can see only this manifested cosmos according to our individual ability.
We have many times mentioned the names of twelve selected authorities (dvādaśa-mahājana), of which Brahmā, Nārada and Lord Śiva head the list as the first, second and third in order of merit of those who know something of the Supreme Lord.
Brahmā, Nārada and Lord Śiva know about the Lord to a considerable extent, and therefore one should follow the instructions of these great personalities instead of being satisfied with a tiny brain and its playful discoveries such as spacecraft and similar products of science. As the mother is the only authority to identify the father of a child, so the mother Vedas, presented by the recognized authority such as Brahmā, Nārada or Śiva, is the only authority to inform us about the Absolute Truth.
The Causal Ocean is created by the Lord as the mahat-tattva, as a cloud in the spiritual sky, and is only a part of His different manifestations. The spiritual sky is an expansion of His personal rays, and He is the mahat-tattva cloud also. He lies down and generates the universes by His breathing, and again, by entering into each universe as Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, He creates Brahmā, Śiva and many other demigods for maintenance of the universe and again absorbs the whole thing into His person as confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā (9.7):
- sarva-bhūtāni kaunteya
- prakṛtiṁ yānti māmikām
- kalpa-kṣaye punas tāni
- kalpādau visṛjāmy aham
"O son of Kuntī, when the kalpa, or the duration of the life of Brahmā, is ended, then all the created manifestations enter into My prakṛti, or energy, and again, when I desire, the same creation takes place by My personal energy."
I myself (Brahmā), Lord Śiva, Lord Viṣṇu, great generators of living beings like Dakṣa and Prajāpati, yourselves (Nārada and the Kumāras), heavenly demigods like Indra and Candra, the leaders of the Bhūrloka planets, the leaders of the earthly planets, the leaders of the lower planets, the leaders of the Gandharva planets, the leaders of the Vidyādhara planets, the leaders of the Cāraṇaloka planets, the leaders of the Yakṣas, Rakṣas and Uragas, the great sages, the great demons, the great atheists and the great spacemen, as well as the dead bodies, evil spirits, satans, jinn, kūṣmāṇḍas, great aquatics, great beasts and great birds, etc.—in other words, anything and everything which is exceptionally possessed of power, opulence, mental and perceptual dexterity, strength, forgiveness, beauty, modesty, opulence, and breeding, whether in form or formless—may appear to be the specific truth and the form of the Lord, but actually they are not so. They are only a fragment of the transcendental potency of the Lord.
Those in the list given above, beginning from the name Brahmājī, the first living creature within the universe, down to Lord Śiva, Lord Viṣṇu, Nārada and other powerful demigods, men, supermen, sages, ṛṣis, and other lower creatures of extraordinary strength and opulence, including the dead bodies, satans, evil spirits, jinn, aquatics, birds and beasts, may appear to be the Supreme Lord, but factually none of them is the Supreme Lord; every one of them possesses only a fragment of the great potencies of the Supreme Lord.
The modern scientist is also captivated by the wonderful actions and reactions of natural phenomena and therefore is also a śākta. These lower-grade persons gradually rise to become saurīyas (worshipers of the sun-god) or gāṇapatyas (worshipers of the mass of people as janatā janārdana or daridra-nārāyaṇa, etc., in the form of Gaṇapati) and then rise to the platform of worshiping Lord Śiva in search for the ever-existing soul, and then to the stage of worshiping Lord Viṣṇu, the Supersoul, etc., without any information of Govinda, Lord Kṛṣṇa, who is the original Lord Viṣṇu.
One should know the Lord as much as can be known by our limited knowledge. It is impossible for the Lord to be known perfectly as He is, even by such liberated persons as Śiva or Brahmā, so what to speak of other demigods or men in this world. Still, by following the principles of the great devotees and the instructions available in the scriptures, one can know to a considerable extent the features of the Lord.
Great stalwarts like Lord Śiva can, by their wrathful glances, overcome lust and vanquish him, yet they cannot be free from the overwhelming effects of their own wrath. Such wrath can never enter into the heart of Him (the Lord), who is above all this. So how can lust take shelter in His mind?
When Lord Śiva was engaged in severely austere meditation, Cupid, the demigod of lust, threw his arrow of sex desire. Lord Śiva, thus being angry at him, glanced at Cupid in great wrath, and at once the body of Cupid was annihilated. Although Lord Śiva was so powerful, he was unable to get free from the effects of such wrath. But in the behavior of Lord Viṣṇu there is no incident of such wrath at any time.
Originally Lord Rāmacandra is the incarnation of Vāsudeva, Lakṣmaṇa is the incarnation of Saṅkarṣaṇa, Bharata is the incarnation of Pradyumna, and Śatrughna is the incarnation of Aniruddha, expansions of the Personality of Godhead. Lakṣmījī Sītā is the internal potency of the Lord and is neither an ordinary woman nor the external potency incarnation of Durgā. Durgā is the external potency of the Lord, and she is associated with Lord Śiva.
But Indra, not knowing Lord Kṛṣṇa in Vrajabhūmi, was angry at the inhabitants of Vrajabhūmi and tried to avenge the offense. But, competent as the Lord was, He saved the inhabitants and animals of Vrajabhūmi by His personal energy and proved definitely that anyone directly engaged as a devotee of the Supreme Lord need not satisfy any other demigods, however great, even to the level of Brahmā, or Śiva. Thus this incident definitely proved without a doubt that Lord Kṛṣṇa is the Personality of Godhead and that He was so in all circumstances, as a child on the lap of His mother, as a boy 7 years old, and as an old man of 125 years of age. In either case He was never on the level of the ordinary man, and even in His advanced age He appeared a young boy 16 years old. These are the particular features of the transcendental body of the Lord.
At the beginning of creation there are penance, myself (Brahmā), and the Prajāpatis, the great sages who generate; then, during the maintenance of the creation, there are Lord Viṣṇu, the demigods with controlling powers, and the kings of different planets. But at the end there is irreligion, and then Lord Śiva and the atheists full of anger, etc. All of them are different representative manifestations of the energy of the supreme power, the Lord.
At last, when the creation is preparing to wind up, there is first the principle of irreligion, then Lord Śiva along with the atheists, full of anger. But all of them are but different manifestations of the Supreme Lord. Therefore Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Mahādeva (Śiva) are different incarnations of the different modes of material nature. Viṣṇu is the Lord of the mode of goodness. Brahmā is the lord of the mode of passion, and Śiva is the lord of the mode of ignorance.
O Nārada, although the potencies of the Lord are unknowable and immeasurable, still, because we are all surrendered souls, we know how He acts through yogamāyā potencies. And, similarly, the potencies of the Lord are also known to the all-powerful Śiva, the great king of the atheist family, namely Prahlāda Mahārāja, Svāyambhuva Manu, his wife Śatarūpā, his sons and daughters like Priyavrata, Uttānapāda, Ākūti, Devahūti and Prasūti, Prācīnabarhi, Ṛbhu, Aṅga the father of Vena, Mahārāja Dhruva, Ikṣvāku, Aila, Mucukunda, Mahārāja Janaka, Gādhi, Raghu, Ambarīṣa, Sagara, Gaya, Nāhuṣa, Māndhātā, Alarka, Śatadhanve, Anu, Rantideva, Bhīṣma, Bali, Amūrttaraya, Dilīpa, Saubhari, Utaṅka, Śibi, Devala, Pippalāda, Sārasvata, Uddhava, Parāśara, Bhūriṣeṇa, Vibhīṣaṇa, Hanumān, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, Arjuna, Ārṣṭiṣeṇa, Vidura, Śrutadeva, etc.
There are many yogeśvaras having different proficiencies in these wonderful powers, and the topmost of all of them is Lord Śiva. Lord Śiva is the greatest yogī, and he can perform such wonderful things, far beyond the ordinary living beings.
The energies are acting by combination and permutation by the indication of the Lord, and the acting agents, like Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva, are also different incarnations of the Lord. In other words, there is nothing but the Lord, and still the Lord is different from all such manifestive activities.
By the inconceivable energy of the Lord, every creative element has its own potencies, known as the potency of the element, potency of knowledge and potency of different actions and reactions. By a combination of such potential energies of the Lord there is the manifestation of creation, maintenance and annihilation in due course of time and by different agents like Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara. Brahmā creates, Viṣṇu maintains, and Lord Śiva destroys. But all such agents and creative energies are emanations from the Lord, and as such there is nothing except the Lord, or the one supreme source of different diversities.
The form of the Lord, as seen by Brahmā, existed before the creation of Brahmā, and the material manifestation with all the ingredients and agents of material creation are also energetic expansions of the Lord, and after the exhibition of the Lord's energy comes to a close, what remains is the same Personality of Godhead. Therefore the form of the Lord exists in all circumstances of creation, maintenance and annihilation. The Vedic hymns confirm this fact in the statement vāsudevo vā idam agra āsīn na brahmā na ca śaṅkara eko nārāyaṇa āsīn na brahmā neśāna, etc. Before the creation there was none except Vāsudeva. There was neither Brahmā nor Śaṅkara. Only Nārāyaṇa was there and no one else, neither Brahmā nor Īśāna.
The demigods like Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Maheśvara, Indra, Candra and Varuṇa are undoubtedly different forms of the Lord for execution of different functions; the different elemental ingredients of material creation, as well as the multifarious energies, also may be of the same Personality of Godhead, but the root of all of them is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. One should be attached to the root of everything rather than bewildered by the branches and leaves. That is the instruction given in this verse.
This material world is created, maintained for some time, and again annihilated by the will of the Lord. The ingredients for creation and the subordinate creator, Brahmā, are first created by Lord Viṣṇu in His first and second incarnations. The first puruṣa incarnation is Mahā-Viṣṇu, and the second puruṣa incarnation is the Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, from whom Brahmā is created. The third puruṣa avatāra is the Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, who lives as the Supersoul of everything in the universe and maintains the creation generated by Brahmā. Śiva is one of the many sons of Brahmā, and he annihilates the creation. Therefore the original creator of the universe is Viṣṇu, and He is also the maintainer of the created beings by His causeless mercy.
All the controlling deities like Viṣṇu, Brahmā and Śiva are different manifestations of the Paramātmā feature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who exhibits himself in such manners by entering into each and every universe generated from Him.
The Lord as Viṣṇu, Brahmā and Śiva conducts the three modes of material nature. From Viṣṇu is born Brahmā, and from Brahmā is born Śiva.
Thereafter, at the end of the millennium, the Lord Himself in the form of Rudra, the destroyer, will annihilate the complete creation as the wind displaces the clouds.
This creation is very appropriately compared to clouds. Clouds are created or situated in the sky, and when they are displaced they remain in the same sky without manifestation. Similarly, the whole creation is made by the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His form of Brahmā, it is maintained by Him in the form of Viṣṇu, and it is destroyed by Him in the form of Rudra, or Śiva, all in due course.
SB Canto 3
O gentle one, does Sāmba fare well? He exactly resembles the son of the Personality of Godhead. In a previous birth he was born as Kārttikeya in the womb of the wife of Lord Śiva, and now he has been born in the womb of Jāmbavatī, the most enriched wife of Kṛṣṇa.
Lord Śiva, one of the three qualitative incarnations of the Personality of Godhead, is the plenary expansion of the Lord.
(Please tell me) whether Arjuna, whose bow bears the name Gāṇḍīva and who is always famous amongst the chariot warriors for vanquishing his enemies, is doing well. He once satisfied Lord Śiva by covering him with arrows when Śiva came as an unidentified false hunter.
Lord Śiva tested Arjuna's strength by picking a quarrel with him over a hunted boar. He confronted Arjuna in the false dress of a hunter, and Arjuna covered him with arrows until Lord Śiva was satisfied with Arjuna's fighting. He offered Arjuna the Pāśupati weapon and blessed him. Here Vidura inquired about the great warrior's well-being.
In His boyhood at Vṛndāvana, Lord Kṛṣṇa was notorious as a teasing friend in transcendental love to all the girls His age. His love for them was so intense that there is no comparison to that ecstasy, and the damsels of Vraja were so much attached to Him that their affection excelled that of the great demigods like Brahmā and Śiva.
The Lord, whose lotus feet are worshiped by demigods like Brahmā and Śiva, wanted to worship the feet of Vasudeva. Such instruction by the Lord to the world is quite appropriate. Even if one is the Supreme Lord, one must serve his parents.
Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is so mild and merciful, as described in the above verses, and yet He is the Lord of all kinds of threes. He is the Supreme Lord of the three worlds, the three qualities of material nature and the three puruṣas (Kāraṇodakaśāyī, Garbhodakaśāyī and Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu). There are innumerable universes, and in each and every universe there are different manifestations of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Rudra.
In the Skanda Purāṇa, Prabhāsa-khaṇḍa, in the topics between Lord Śiva and Gaurī, there is confirmation of His internal potential manifestations. There is mention of the Lord's meeting with sixteen thousand cowherd damsels although He is the Haṁsa (transcendental) Supersoul and maintainer of all living entities. The sixteen thousand cowherd damsels are a display of sixteen varieties of internal potencies. This will be more elaborately explained in the Tenth Canto.
Because everything that be is an emanation from the Personality of Godhead, He always exists alone without a second. He can so exist because He is all-perfect and omnipotent. Everything other than Him, including His plenary expansions, the viṣṇu-tattvas, is His part and parcel. Before the creation there were no Kāraṇārṇavaśāyī or Garbhodakaśāyī or Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇus, or was there Brahmā nor Śaṅkara.
For the creation, maintenance and dissolution of the cosmic manifestations there are three incarnations: Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara (Lord Śiva). They are the controllers or masters of the three modes of material nature, which cause the phenomenal manifestation. Viṣṇu is the master of the mode of goodness, Brahmā is the master of the mode of passion, and Maheśvara is the master of the mode of ignorance. There are different kinds of devotees according to the modes of nature. Persons in the mode of goodness worship Lord Viṣṇu, those in the mode of passion worship Lord Brahmā, and those in the mode of ignorance worship Lord Śiva. All three of these deities are incarnations of the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa because He is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead. The demigods directly refer to the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord and not to the different incarnations. The incarnation of Viṣṇu in the material world is, however, directly worshiped by the demigods. It is learned from various scriptures that the demigods approach Lord Viṣṇu in the ocean of milk and submit their grievances whenever there is some difficulty in the administration of universal affairs. Although they are incarnations of the Lord, Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva worship Lord Viṣṇu, and thus they are also counted amongst the demigods and not as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Persons who worship Lord Viṣṇu are called demigods, and persons who do not do so are called asuras, or demons. Viṣṇu always takes the part of the demigods, but Brahmā and Śiva sometimes take the side of the demons; it is not that they become one in interest with them, but sometimes they do something in order to gain control over the demons.
Thereafter the materialistic ego of the gigantic form separately manifested itself, and into it entered Rudra, the controller of false ego, with his own partial activities, by which the living entity transacts his objective actions.
The false ego of materialistic identity is controlled by the demigod Rudra, an incarnation of Lord Śiva. Rudra is the incarnation of the Supreme Lord who controls the mode of ignorance within material nature. The activities of the false ego are based on the objective of the body and mind. Most persons conducted by the false ego are controlled by Lord Śiva. When one reaches a finer version of ignorance, he falsely thinks of himself as the Supreme Lord. That egoistic conviction of the conditioned soul is the last snare of the illusory energy which controls the entire material world.
Living entities who are associates of Rudra develop in the third mode of material nature, or ignorance. They are situated in the sky between the earthly planets and the heavenly planets.
Of the three deities Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara, the first has the power to create, the second has the power to protect, and the third has the power to destroy.
The froggish calculator may raise the objection that if the Absolute is unknowable even by the controlling deities of speech, mind and ego, namely the Vedas, Brahmā, Rudra and all the demigods headed by Bṛhaspati, then why should the devotees be so interested in this unknown object? The answer is that the transcendental ecstasy enjoyed by the devotees in delineating the pastimes of the Lord is certainly unknown to nondevotees and mental speculators. Unless one relishes transcendental joy, naturally one will come back from his speculations and concocted conclusions because he will see them as neither factual nor enjoyable.
Please also describe the incarnations of the material modes of nature—Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara—and please describe the incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His magnanimous activities.
Although Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara, the three incarnations of the material modes of nature, are the principal deities for the creation, maintenance and destruction of the cosmic manifestation, they are not the final authority. The Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Kṛṣṇa is the ultimate goal, the cause of all causes. He is the āśraya, or the final rest of everything.
The three deities Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara (Śiva), the executive heads of the three modes of material nature (passion, goodness and ignorance), are all generated from Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, who is described herein by Brahmā. From the Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, many Viṣṇu incarnations expand at different ages in the duration of the cosmic manifestation. They are expanded only for the transcendental happiness of the pure devotees. The incarnations of Viṣṇu, who appear at different ages and times, are never to be compared to the conditioned souls. The viṣṇu-tattvas are not to be compared to deities like Brahmā and Śiva, nor are they on the same level.
"The principles of religion are initiated by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and no one else, including the sages and demigods, can manufacture any such principles. Since even great sages and demigods are unauthorized to inaugurate such principles of religion, what to speak of others—the so-called mystics, demons, human beings, Vidyādharas and Cāraṇas living in the lower planets? Twelve personalities—Brahmā, Nārada, Lord Śiva, Kumāra, Kapila, Manu, Prahlāda Mahārāja, Janaka Mahārāja, Bhīṣma, Bali, Śukadeva Gosvāmī and Yamarāja—are agents of the Lord authorized to speak and propagate the principles of religion." (SB 6.3.19-21)
Your Lordship is the prime root of the tree of the planetary systems. This tree has grown by first penetrating the material nature in three trunks—as me, Śiva and You, the Almighty—for creation, maintenance and dissolution, and we three have grown with many branches. Therefore I offer my obeisances unto You, the tree of the cosmic manifestation.
The Lord expands Himself into three—Viṣṇu, Brahmā and Śiva—for maintenance, creation and destruction respectively. Of the three principal agents controlling the three modes of material nature, Viṣṇu is the Almighty; even though He is within material nature for the purpose of maintenance, He is not controlled by the laws of material nature. The other two, Brahmā and Śiva, although almost as greatly powerful as Viṣṇu, are within the control of the material energy of the Supreme Lord.
The tree of the material manifestation is described in the Fifteenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā as an aśvattha tree whose root is upward. We have actual experience of such a tree when we see the shadow of a tree on the bank of a reservoir of water. The reflection of the tree on the water appears to hang down from its upward roots. The tree of creation described here is only a shadow of the reality which is Parabrahman, Viṣṇu. In the internal potential manifestation of the Vaikuṇṭhalokas, the actual tree exists, and the tree reflected in the material nature is only the shadow of this actual tree. The impersonalists, theory that Brahman is void of all variegatedness is false because the shadow-tree described in Bhagavad-gītā cannot exist without being the reflection of a real tree. The real tree is situated in the eternal existence of spiritual nature, full of transcendental varieties, and Lord Viṣṇu is the root of that tree also. The root is the same—the Lord—both for the real tree and the false, but the false tree is only the perverted reflection of the real tree. The Lord, being the real tree, is here offered obeisances by Brahmā on his own behalf and also on behalf of Lord Śiva.
In the matter of material creation, maintenance and destruction, there are three incarnations of the material modes of nature—Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara. But the Lord's incarnation as Viṣṇu, in His internal potency, is the supreme energy for the total activities.
The dissolution of the three worlds is effected by the incarnation of darkness, Rudra, represented by the fire of eternal time which blazes over the three worlds.
Although Brahmā tried to curb his anger, he could not do so, even though he is the supreme being. Such anger in its true color came from between the eyebrows of Brahmā as Rudra, in a mixed color of blue (ignorance) and red (passion), because anger is the product of passion and ignorance.
Thereafter Brahmā said: O chief of the demigods, you shall be called by the name Rudra by all people because you have so anxiously cried.
The creation of Rudra from between the eyebrows of Brahmā as the result of his anger, generated from the mode of passion partly touched by ignorance, is very significant. In Bhagavad-gītā (3.37) the principle of Rudra is described. Krodha (anger) is the product of kāma (lust), which is the result of the mode of passion. When lust and hankering are unsatisfied, the element of krodha appears, which is the formidable enemy of the conditioned soul. This most sinful and inimical passion is represented as ahaṅkāra, or the false egocentric attitude of thinking oneself to be all in all. Such an egocentric attitude on the part of the conditioned soul, who is completely under the control of material nature, is described in Bhagavad-gītā as foolish. The egocentric attitude is a manifestation of the Rudra principle in the heart, wherein krodha (anger) is generated. This anger develops in the heart and is further manifested through various senses, like the eyes, hands and legs. When a man is angry he expresses such anger with red-hot eyes and sometimes makes a display of clenching his fists or kicking his legs. This exhibition of the Rudra principle is the proof of Rudra's presence in such places. When a man is angry he breathes very rapidly, and thus Rudra is represented in the air of life, or in the activities of breathing. When the sky is overcast with dense clouds and roars in anger, and when the wind blows very fiercely, the Rudra principle is manifested, and so also when the sea water is infuriated by the wind it appears in a gloomy feature of Rudra, which is very fearful to the common man. When fire is ablaze we can also experience the presence of Rudra, and when there is an inundation over the earth we can understand that this is also the representation of Rudra.
There are many earthly creatures who constantly represent the Rudra element. The snake, tiger and lion are always representations of Rudra. Sometimes, because of the extreme heat of the sun, there are cases of heatstroke, and due to the extreme coldness created by the moon there are cases of collapse. There are many sages empowered with the influence of austerity and many yogīs, philosophers and renouncers who sometimes exhibit their acquired power under the influence of the Rudra principle of anger and passion. The great yogī Durvāsā, under the influence of this Rudra principle, picked a quarrel with Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, and a brāhmaṇa boy exhibited the Rudra principle by cursing the great King Parīkṣit. When the Rudra principle is exhibited by persons who are not engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the angry person falls down from the peak of his improved position. This is confirmed as follows:
Lord Brahmā said: My dear boy Rudra, you have eleven other names: Manyu, Manu, Mahinasa, Mahān, Śiva, Ṛtadhvaja, Ugraretā, Bhava, Kāla, Vāmadeva and Dhṛtavrata.
O Rudra, you also have eleven wives, called the Rudrāṇīs, and they are as follows: Dhī, Dhṛti, Rasalā, Umā, Niyut, Sarpi, Ilā, Ambikā, Irāvatī, Svadhā and Dīkṣā.
Brahmā, as the father of Rudra, selected the wives of his son, his living places, and his names as well. It is natural that one should accept the wife selected by one's father, just as a son accepts the name given by the father or as he accepts the property offered by the father.
The most powerful Rudra, whose bodily color was blue mixed with red, created many offspring exactly resembling him in features, strength and furious nature.
The sons and grandsons generated by Rudra were unlimited in number, and when they assembled together they attempted to devour the entire universe. When Brahmā, the father of the living entities, saw this, he became afraid of the situation.
The generations of Rudra, the incarnation of anger, were so dangerous to the maintenance of universal affairs that even Brahmā, the father of the living entities, became afraid of them. The so-called devotees or followers of Rudra are also a menace. They are sometimes dangerous even to Rudra himself. Descendants of Rudra sometimes make plans to kill Rudra—by the grace of Rudra. That is the nature of his devotees.
Brahmā told Rudra: O best among the demigods, there is no need for you to generate living entities of this nature. They have begun to devastate everything on all sides with the fiery flames from their eyes, and they have even attacked me.
In the creation, maintenance and dissolution of the cosmic manifestation, the three deities Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara, or Śiva, are respectively in charge. Rudra was advised not to destroy while the period of creation and maintenance was going on, but to situate himself in penance and wait for the time of dissolution, when his services would be called for.
Rudra was advised by Brahmā to perform penance as an example to his sons and followers that penance is necessary for attaining the favor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In Bhagavad-gītā it is said that the common mass of people follow the path shown by an authority. Thus Brahmā, disgusted with the Rudra generations and afraid of being devoured by the increase of population, asked Rudra to stop producing such an unwanted generation and take to penance for attaining the favor of the Supreme Lord. We find, therefore, in pictures, that Rudra is always sitting in meditation for the attainment of the favor of the Lord. Indirectly, the sons and followers of Rudra are advised to stop the business of annihilation, following the Rudra principle while the peaceful creation of Brahmā is going on.
Śrī Maitreya said: Thus Rudra, having been ordered by Brahmā, circumambulated his father, the master of the Vedas. Addressing him with words of assent, he entered the forest to perform austere penances.
The whole process of the creation, maintenance and dissolution of the cosmic manifestation is meant to give the conditioned souls a chance to go back home, back to Godhead. Brahmā created Rudra to help him in his creative endeavor, but from the very beginning Rudra began to devour the whole creation, and thus he had to be stopped from such devastating activities. Brahmā therefore created another set of good children, who were mostly in favor of worldly fruitive activities. He knew very well, however, that without devotional service to the Lord there is hardly any benefit for the conditioned souls, and therefore he at last created his worthy son Nārada, who is the supreme spiritual master of all transcendentalists.
When the four previous sons of Brahmā, the sages Sanaka, Sanātana, Sanandana and Sanat-kumāra, refused to obey their father, Brahmā was mortified, and his anger was manifested in the shape of Rudra. That incident was not forgotten by Brahmā, and therefore the obedience of Manu Svāyambhuva was very encouraging.
Kaśyapa has already told his wife Diti to wait for a while, and now he warns her that failure to consider the particular time will result in punishment from the ghosts and evil spirits who move during this time, along with their master, Lord Rudra.
Lord Śiva, the king of the ghosts, sitting on the back of his bull carrier, travels at this time, accompanied by ghosts who follow him for their welfare.
Lord Śiva, or Rudra, is the king of the ghosts. Ghostly characters worship Lord Śiva to be gradually guided toward a path of self-realization. Māyāvādī philosophers are mostly worshipers of Lord Śiva, and Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya is considered to be the incarnation of Lord Śiva for preaching godlessness to the Māyāvādī philosophers. Ghosts are bereft of a physical body because of their grievously sinful acts, such as suicide. The last resort of the ghostly characters in human society is to take shelter of suicide, either material or spiritual. Material suicide causes loss of the physical body, and spiritual suicide causes loss of the individual identity. Māyāvādī philosophers desire to lose their individuality and merge into the impersonal spiritual brahmajyoti existence. Lord Śiva, being very kind to the ghosts, sees that although they are condemned, they get physical bodies. He places them into the wombs of women who indulge in sexual intercourse regardless of the restrictions on time and circumstance. Kaśyapa wanted to impress this fact upon Diti so that she might wait for a while.
Lord Śiva's body is reddish, and he is unstained, but he is covered with ashes. His hair is dusty from the whirlwind dust of the burning crematorium. He is the younger brother of your husband, and he sees with his three eyes.
Lord Śiva is not an ordinary living entity, nor is he in the category of Viṣṇu, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is far more powerful than any living entity up to the standard of Brahmā, yet he is not on an equal level with Viṣṇu. Since he is almost like Lord Viṣṇu, Śiva can see past, present and future. One of his eyes is like the sun, another is like the moon, and his third eye, which is between his eyebrows, is like fire. He can generate fire from his middle eye, and he is able to vanquish any powerful living entity, including Brahmā, yet he does not live pompously in a nice house, etc., nor does he possess any material properties, although he is master of the material world. He lives mostly in the crematorium, where dead bodies are burnt, and the whirlwind dust of the crematorium is his bodily dress. He is unstained by material contamination. Kaśyapa took him as his younger brother because the youngest sister of Diti (Kaśyapa's wife) was married to Lord Śiva. The husband of one's sister is considered one's brother. By that social relationship, Lord Śiva happened to be the younger brother of Kaśyapa. Kaśyapa warned his wife that because Lord Śiva would see their sex indulgence, the time was not appropriate. Diti might argue that they would enjoy sex life in a private place, but Kaśyapa reminded her that Lord Śiva has three eyes, called the sun, moon and fire, and one cannot escape his vigilance any more than one can escape Viṣṇu. Although seen by the police, a criminal is sometimes not immediately punished; the police wait for the proper time to apprehend him. The forbidden time for sexual intercourse would be noted by Lord Śiva, and Diti would meet with proper punishment by giving birth to a child of ghostly character or a godless impersonalist. Kaśyapa foresaw this, and thus he warned his wife Diti.
Lord Śiva regards no one as his relative, yet there is no one who is not connected with him; he does not regard anyone as very favorable or abominable. We respectfully worship the remnants of his foodstuff, and we vow to accept what is rejected by him.
Kaśyapa informed his wife that just because Lord Śiva happened to be his brother-in-law, that should not encourage her in her offense towards him. Kaśyapa warned her that actually Lord Śiva is not connected with anyone, nor is anyone his enemy. Since he is one of the three controllers of the universal affairs, he is equal to everyone. His greatness is incomparable because he is a great devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is said that among all the devotees of the Personality of Godhead, Lord Śiva is the greatest. Thus the remnants of foodstuff left by him are accepted by other devotees as mahā-prasāda, or great spiritual foodstuff. The remnants of foodstuff offered to Lord Kṛṣṇa are called prasāda, but when the same prasāda is eaten by a great devotee like Lord Śiva, it is called mahā-prasāda. Lord Śiva is so great that he does not care for the material prosperity for which every one of us is so eager. Pārvatī, who is the powerful material nature personified, is under his full control as his wife, yet he does not use her even to build a residential house. He prefers to remain without shelter, and his great wife also agrees to live with him humbly. People in general worship goddess Durgā, the wife of Lord Śiva, for material prosperity, but Lord Śiva engages her in his service without material desire. He simply advises his great wife that of all kinds of worship, the worship of Viṣṇu is the highest, and greater than that is the worship of a great devotee or anything in relation with Viṣṇu.
Although no one in the material world is equal to or greater than Lord Śiva, and although his unimpeachable character is followed by great souls to dismantle the mass of nescience, he nevertheless remains as if a devil to give salvation to all devotees of the Lord.
Lord Śiva's uncivilized, devilish characteristics are never abominable because he teaches the sincere devotees of the Lord how to practice detachment from material enjoyment. He is called Mahādeva, or the greatest of all demigods, and no one is equal to or greater than him in the material world. He is almost equal with Lord Viṣṇu. Although he always associates with Māyā, Durgā, he is above the reactionary stage of the three modes of material nature, and although he is in charge of devilish characters in the mode of ignorance, he is not affected by such association.
Lord Śiva never accepts any luxurious dress, garland, ornament or ointment. But those who are addicted to the decoration of the body, which is finally eatable by dogs, very luxuriously maintain it as the self. Such persons do not understand Lord Śiva, but they approach him for luxurious material comforts. There are two kinds of devotees of Lord Śiva. One class is the gross materialist seeking only bodily comforts from Lord Śiva, and the other class desires to become one with him. They are mostly impersonalists and prefer to chant śivo'ham, "I am Śiva," or "After liberation I shall become one with Lord Śiva." In other words, the karmīs and jñānīs are generally devotees of Lord Śiva, but they do not properly understand his real purpose in life. Sometimes so-called devotees of Lord Śiva imitate him in using poisonous intoxicants. Lord Śiva once swallowed an ocean of poison, and thus his throat became blue. The imitation Śivas try to follow him by indulging in poisons, and thus they are ruined. The real purpose of Lord Śiva is to serve the Soul of the soul, Lord Kṛṣṇa. He desires that all luxurious articles, such as nice garments, garlands, ornaments and cosmetics, be given to Lord Kṛṣṇa only, because Kṛṣṇa is the real enjoyer. He refuses to accept such luxurious items himself because they are only meant for Kṛṣṇa. However, since they do not know this purpose of Lord Śiva, foolish persons either laugh at him or profitlessly try to imitate him.
Lord Śiva is the husband of Durgā, the controller of the material energy. Durgā is personified material energy, and Lord Śiva, being her husband, is the controller of the material energy. He is also the incarnation of the mode of ignorance and one of the three deities representing the Supreme Lord. As His representative, Lord Śiva is identical with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is very great, and his renunciation of all material enjoyment is an ideal example of how one should be materially unattached. One should therefore follow in his footsteps and be unattached to matter, not imitate his uncommon acts like drinking poison.
It appears from the talks of Kaśyapa with his wife that he was a worshiper of Lord Śiva, and although he knew that Lord Śiva would not be pleased with him for such a forbidden act, he was obliged to act by his wife's desire, and thus he offered his obeisances unto fate. He knew that the child born of such untimely sexual intercourse would certainly not be a good child, but could not protect himself because he was too obligated to his wife.
The beautiful Diti said: My dear brāhmaṇa, kindly see that my embryo is not killed by Lord Śiva, the lord of all living entities, because of the great offense I have committed against him.
Diti was conscious of her offense and was anxious to be excused by Lord Śiva. Lord Śiva has two popular names, Rudra and Āśutoṣa. He is very prone to anger as well as quickly pacified. Diti knew that because of his being quickly angered he might spoil the pregnancy she had so unlawfully achieved. But because he was also Āśutoṣa, she implored her brāhmaṇa husband to help her in pacifying Lord Śiva, for her husband was a great devotee of Lord Śiva. In other words, Lord Śiva might have been angry with Diti because she obliged her husband to transgress the law, but he would not refuse her husband's prayer. Therefore the application for excuse was submitted through her husband. She prayed to Lord Śiva as follows.
Let me offer my obeisances unto the angry Lord Śiva, who is simultaneously the very ferocious great demigod and the fulfiller of all material desires. He is all-auspicious and forgiving, but his anger can immediately move him to chastise.
Diti prayed for the mercy of Lord Śiva very cleverly. She prayed: "The lord can cause me to cry, but if he likes he can also stop my crying because he is Āśutoṣa. He is so great that if he likes he can immediately destroy my pregnancy, but by his mercy he can also fulfill my desire that my pregnancy not be spoiled. Because he is all-auspicious, it is not difficult for him to excuse me from being punished, although he is now ready to punish me because I have moved his great anger. He appears like a man, but he is the lord of all men."
Lord Śiva is the husband of Satī, one of the sisters of Diti. Diti invoked the pleasure of her sister Satī so that Satī would request her husband to excuse her. Besides that, Lord Śiva is the worshipable lord of all women. He is naturally very kind towards women, on whom even the uncivilized hunters also show their mercy. Since Lord Śiva is himself associated with women, he knows very well their defective nature, and he might not take very seriously Diti's unavoidable offense, which occurred due to her faulty nature. Every virgin girl is supposed to be a devotee of Lord Śiva. Diti remembered her childhood worship of Lord Śiva and begged his mercy.
The learned Kaśyapa said: Because of your lamentation, penitence and proper deliberation, and also because of your unflinching faith in the Supreme Personality of Godhead and your adoration for Lord Śiva and me, one of the sons (Prahlāda) of your son (Hiraṇyakaśipu) will be an approved devotee of the Lord, and his fame will be broadcast equally with that of the Personality of Godhead.
There are many foolish persons who say that one can chant Hare Kṛṣṇa or chant the name of Kālī or Durgā or Śiva because they are all the same. If one thinks that the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the names and activities of the demigods are on the same level, or if one accepts the holy name of Viṣṇu to be a material sound vibration, that is also an offense.
The four sages were the first-born sons of Brahmā. Therefore all other living entities, including Lord Śiva, are born later and are therefore younger than the four Kumāras.
The exquisite beauty of Nārāyaṇa, being many times magnified by the intelligence of His devotees, was so attractive that it defeated the pride of the goddess of fortune in being the most beautiful. My dear demigods, the Lord who thus manifested Himself is worshipable by me, by Lord Śiva and by all of you. The sages regarded Him with unsated eyes and joyously bowed their heads at His lotus feet.
The devotees of the Lord in the Vaikuṇṭha planets want to see the Lord as the most beautiful, but the devotees in Gokula or Kṛṣṇaloka want to see Rādhārāṇī as more beautiful than Kṛṣṇa. The adjustment is that the Lord, being bhakta-vatsala, or one who wants to please His devotees, assumes such features so that devotees like Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva and other demigods may be pleased. Here also, for the devotee-sages, the Kumāras, the Lord appeared in His most beautiful feature, and they continued to see Him without satiation and wanted to continue seeing Him more and more.
I am the master of My unobstructed internal energy, and the water of the Ganges is the remnant left after My feet are washed. That water sanctifies the three worlds, along with Lord Śiva, who bears it on his head. If I can take the dust of the feet of the Vaiṣṇava on My head, who will refuse to do the same?
In the Brahma-saṁhitā it is clearly stated that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the cause of all causes. There are undoubtedly many demigods, the chiefs of whom are Brahmā and Śiva. Lord Viṣṇu is the Lord of Brahmā and Śiva, not to speak of the brāhmaṇas in this material world. As mentioned in Bhagavad-gītā, the Supreme Lord is very favorable towards all activities performed according to brahminical culture, or the qualities of control of the senses and mind, cleanliness, forbearance, faith in scripture, and practical and theoretical knowledge. The Lord is the Supersoul of everyone. In Bhagavad-gītā it is said that the Lord is the source of all emanations; thus He is also the source of Brahmā and Śiva.
A cobra is very fierce before ordinary persons, but before an enchanter who can play with him, he is a plaything. Similarly, a demon may be very powerful in his own domain, but before the Lord he is insignificant. The demon Rāvaṇa was a fierce figure before the demigods, but when he was before Lord Rāmacandra he trembled and prayed to his deity, Lord Śiva, but to no avail.
The way of the demon is to take power from the demigods and then tease the demigods themselves. There is an instance of a great devotee of Lord Śiva who obtained a boon from Lord Śiva that the head of whomever he touched with his hand would come off its trunk. As soon as the boon was offered to him, the demon wanted to touch the very head of Lord Śiva. That is their way. The devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead do not, however, ask any favor for sense gratification. Even if they are offered liberation, they refuse it. They are happy simply engaging in the transcendental loving service of the Lord.
The Lord is worshiped by Brahmā, by Lord Śiva, by Garuḍa and other demigods with selected poems, and great sages worship Him with the hymns of Vedic literatures, such as the Upaniṣads and Sāma Veda.
For creation, maintenance and annihilation there are the three deities Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara (Śiva), but Brahmā and Maheśvara are qualitative expansions of Viṣṇu. Viṣṇu is the central figure. Viṣṇu, therefore, takes charge of maintenance. No one can maintain the whole creation but He. There are innumerable entities, and they have innumerable demands; no one but Viṣṇu can fulfill the innumerable demands of all the innumerable living entities. Brahmā is ordered to create, and Śiva is ordered to annihilate. The middle function, maintenance, is taken charge of by Viṣṇu.
Maitreya continued: After the departure of her parents, the chaste woman Devahūti, who could understand the desires of her husband, served him constantly with great love, as Bhavānī, the wife of Lord Śiva, serves her husband.
The specific example of Bhavānī is very significant. Bhavānī means the wife of Bhava, or Lord Śiva. Bhavānī, or Pārvatī, the daughter of the King of the Himalayas, selected Lord Śiva, who appears to be just like a beggar, as her husband. In spite of her being a princess, she undertook all kinds of tribulations to associate with Lord Śiva, who did not even have a house, but was sitting underneath the trees and passing his time in meditation. Although Bhavānī was the daughter of a very great king, she used to serve Lord Śiva just like a poor woman. Similarly, Devahūti was the daughter of an emperor, Svāyambhuva Manu, yet she preferred to accept Kardama Muni as her husband. She served him with great love and affection, and she knew how to please him. Therefore, she is designated here as sādhvī, which means "a chaste, faithful wife." Her rare example is the ideal of Vedic civilization. Every woman is expected to be as good and chaste as Devahūti or Bhavānī. Today in Hindu society, unmarried girls are still taught to worship Lord Śiva with the idea that they may get husbands like him. Lord Śiva is the ideal husband, not in the sense of riches or sense gratification, but because he is the greatest of all devotees. Vaiṣṇavānāṁ yathā śambhuḥ: Śambhu, or Lord Śiva, is the ideal Vaiṣṇava. He constantly meditates upon Lord Rāma and chants Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. Lord Śiva has a Vaiṣṇava sampradāya, which is called the Viṣṇu Svāmī-sampradāya. Unmarried girls worship Lord Śiva so that they can expect a husband who is as good a Vaiṣṇava as he. The girls are not taught to select a husband who is very rich or very opulent for material sense gratification; rather, if a girl is fortunate enough to get a husband as good as Lord Śiva in devotional service, then her life becomes perfect. The wife is dependent on the husband, and if the husband is a Vaiṣṇava, then naturally she shares the devotional service of the husband because she renders him service. This reciprocation of service and love between husband and wife is the ideal of a householder's life.
There are many instances wherein the husband becomes the spiritual master. Lord Śiva also is the spiritual master of his consort, Pārvatī. A husband should be so enlightened that he should become the spiritual master of his wife in order to enlighten her in the advancement of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
In order to get release from the false ego, one has to worship Saṅkarṣaṇa. Saṅkarṣaṇa is also worshiped through Lord Śiva; the snakes which cover the body of Lord Śiva are representations of Saṅkarṣaṇa, and Lord Śiva is always absorbed in meditation upon Saṅkarṣaṇa. One who is actually a worshiper of Lord Śiva as a devotee of Saṅkarṣaṇa can be released from false, material ego.
After the mind, the moon appeared. Intelligence appeared next, and after intelligence, Lord Brahmā appeared. Then the false ego appeared and then Lord Śiva, and after the appearance of Lord Śiva came consciousness and the deity presiding over consciousness.
The moon appeared after the appearance of mind, and this indicates that the moon is the presiding deity of mind. Similarly, Lord Brahmā, appearing after intelligence, is the presiding deity of intelligence, and Lord Śiva, who appears after false ego, is the presiding deity of false ego. In other words, it is indicated that the moon-god is in the mode of goodness, whereas Lord Brahmā is in the mode of passion and Lord Śiva is in the mode of ignorance. The appearance of consciousness after the appearance of false ego indicates that, from the beginning, material consciousness is under the mode of ignorance and that one therefore has to purify himself by purifying his consciousness. This purificatory process is called Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Those who are materially passionate or those who want to exhibit their intelligence for material advancement in life are generally worshipers of Lord Brahmā, and persons who are in the gross ignorance of identifying with the body worship Lord Śiva. Materialists like Hiraṇyakaśipu and Rāvaṇa are worshipers of Lord Brahmā or Lord Śiva, but Prahlāda and other devotees in the service of Kṛṣṇa consciousness worship the Supreme Lord, the Personality of Godhead.
Brahmā also entered His heart with intelligence, but even then the Cosmic Being could not be prevailed upon to get up. Lord Rudra also entered His heart with the ego, but even then the Cosmic Being did not stir.
The blessed Lord Śiva becomes all the more blessed by bearing on his head the holy waters of the Ganges, which has its source in the water that washed the Lord's lotus feet. The Lord's feet act like thunderbolts hurled to shatter the mountain of sin stored in the mind of the meditating devotee. One should therefore meditate on the lotus feet of the Lord for a long time.
In this verse the position of Lord Śiva is specifically mentioned. The impersonalist suggests that the Absolute Truth has no form and that one can therefore equally imagine the form of Viṣṇu or Lord Śiva or the goddess Durgā or their son Gaṇeśa. But actually the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the supreme master of everyone. In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta (CC Adi 5.142) it is said, ekale īśvara kṛṣṇa, ara saba bhṛtya: the Supreme Lord is Kṛṣṇa, and everyone else, including Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā—not to mention other demigods—is a servant of Kṛṣṇa. The same principle is described here. Lord Śiva is important because he is holding on his head the holy Ganges water, which has its origin in the foot-wash of Lord Viṣṇu. In the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, by Sanātana Gosvāmī, it is said that anyone who puts the Supreme Lord and the demigods, including Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā, on the same level, at once becomes a pāṣaṇḍī, or atheist. We should never consider that the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu and the demigods are on an equal footing.
It is specifically mentioned here, bhagavataś caraṇāravindam: one has to think of the lotus feet of the Lord. The Māyāvādīs imagine that one can think of the lotus feet of Lord Śiva or Lord Brahmā or the goddess Durgā to achieve liberation, but this is not so. Bhagavataḥ is specifically mentioned. Bhagavataḥ means "of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu," and no one else. Another significant phrase in this verse is śivaḥ śivo 'bhūt. By his constitutional position, Lord Śiva is always great and auspicious, but since he has accepted on his head the Ganges water, which emanated from the lotus feet of the Lord, he has become even more auspicious and important. The stress is on the lotus feet of the Lord. A relationship with the lotus feet of the Lord can even enhance the importance of Lord Śiva, what to speak of other, ordinary living entities.
It is also confirmed in the Vedic literature that before the creation there was only Nārāyaṇa; neither Lord Brahmā nor Lord Śiva existed. Only Nārāyaṇa, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, or Kṛṣṇa, is always in the transcendental position, beyond the influence of material creation.
Lord Viṣṇu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is clearly described in this passage. He is the supreme enjoyer, and all others are working as His servants. As stated in the Caitanya caritāmṛta (CC Adi 5.14), ekale īśvara kṛṣṇa: the only Supreme Lord is Viṣṇu. Āra saba bhṛtya: all others are His servants. Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva and other demigods are all servants.
The three modes of material nature, namely goodness, passion and ignorance, are under the control of three deities—Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Lord Śiva. Lord Viṣṇu is in charge of the mode of goodness, Lord Brahmā is in charge of the mode of passion, and Lord Śiva is in charge of the mode of ignorance. Similarly, there are many other demigods in charge of the air department, the water department, the cloud department, etc. Just as the government has many different departments, so, within this material world, the government of the Supreme Lord has many departments, and all these departments function in proper order out of fear of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Demigods are undoubtedly controlling all matter, animate and inanimate, within the universe, but above them the supreme controller is the Personality of Godhead.
As confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā, mamaivāṁśaḥ: both the living entity and the Supreme Lord are unborn, but it has to be understood that the supreme cause of the part and parcel is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Brahma-saṁhitā therefore says that everything has come from the Supreme Personality of Godhead (sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam (Bs. 5.1)). The Vedānta-sūtra confirms this also. Janmādy asya yataḥ: (SB 1.1.1) the Absolute Truth is the original source of everyone's birth. Kṛṣṇa also says in Bhagavad-gītā, ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ: (BG 10.8) "I am the source of birth of everything, including Brahmā and Lord Śiva and the living entities." This is self-realization. One should know that he is under the control of the Supreme Lord and not think that he is fully independent. Otherwise, why should he be put into conditional life?
Lord Brahmā's being captivated by the charms of his daughter and Lord Śiva's being captivated by the Mohinī form of the Lord are specific instances which instruct us that even great demigods like Brahmā and Lord Śiva, what to speak of the ordinary conditioned soul, are captivated by the beauty of woman. Therefore, everyone is advised that one should not freely mix even with one's daughter or with one's mother or with one's sister, because the senses are so strong that when one becomes infatuated, the senses do not consider the relationship of daughter, mother or sister.
That Brahmā becomes liberated is known to everyone, but he cannot liberate his devotees. Demigods like Brahmā and Lord Śiva cannot give liberation to any living entity. As it is confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā, only one who surrenders unto Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, can be liberated from the clutches of māyā.
Brahmā is entrusted with creation, Viṣṇu maintains and Rudra, Lord Śiva, destroys. The three of them are understood to be incarnations of the Supreme Lord in charge of the three different material modes of nature, but none of them is independent of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Here the word bheda-dṛṣṭyā occurs because Brahmā has a slight inclination to think that he is as independent as Rudra. Sometimes Brahmā thinks that he is independent of the Supreme Lord, and the worshiper also thinks that Brahmā is independent. For this reason, after the destruction of this material world, when there is again creation by the interaction of the material modes of nature, Brahmā comes back. Although Brahmā reaches the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the first puruṣa incarnation, Mahā-Viṣṇu, who is full with transcendental qualities, he cannot stay in the spiritual world.
The specific significance of his coming back may be noted. Brahmā and the great ṛṣis and the great master of yoga (Śiva) are not ordinary living entities; they are very powerful and have all the perfections of mystic yoga. But still they have an inclination to try to become one with the Supreme, and therefore they have to come back.
Taking shelter of demigods, even those in the highest positions, like Brahmā and Śiva, is not advised herein. One should take shelter of the Supreme Godhead.
As long as one is in the modes of material nature and is performing the duties prescribed in the scriptures, he can be elevated to higher planetary systems, where the predominating deities are material representations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, like the sun-god, the moon-god, the air-god, Brahmā and Lord Śiva. All the different demigods are material representations of the Supreme Lord.
It is understood herein, therefore, that although the modes of material nature are entrusted to different manifestations like Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva, each of whom is particularly invested with different kinds of power, the Supreme Lord is completely aloof from such activities.