by Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
There are three considerations (vicaras) from which to understand the relationship between Lord Krsna and Lord Siva. One is called tattva-gata-vicara – the consideration of their relationship by established philosophical truth. Another is called aisvarya-gata-vicara – the consideration of their relationship in the Supreme Lord’s pastimes of majesty, and the third is naravat-gata-vicara – the consideration of their relationship in the Supreme Lord’s sweet, human-like pastimes.
According to philosophical truth (tattva), Sri Krsna’s plenary portion is Sadasiva, and Sadasiva’s partial manifestation is Lord Siva. From the perspective of Lord Krsna’s pastimes in opulence and majesty (aisvarya), Lord Krsna is Siva’s worshipful Deity, who is always loved, honored and respected by him. However, in naravat-gata-vicara, Krsna plays another role – that of an ordinary human being. He performs pastimes as a very young, small child who cannot do anything independently. His mother, Srimati Yasoda devi, feeds Him and tends to all His needs. During these human-like pastimes, Lord Siva might come and give Him benedictions. In the scriptures called the Puranas it is stated that when Krsna resided in Dvaraka, He worshiped Siva to beget a child from the womb of His wife Jambavati. Although Siva is worshiped by Krsna in those pastimes, he never thinks himself superior. He is always conscious that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and that he is Krsna’s eternal servant.
It is essential to have a clear understanding of these truths. One who knows these three perspectives or considerations can understand the relationship between Lord Siva and his Lord.
There is another semblance called Yoni, and this is the shadow of Rama-devi. Rama-devi is the spiritual potency of Maha-Visnu, and in Vaikuntha She is Lord Narayana’s beloved consort Laksmi-devi. This is Her original transcendental form, and Her shadow is the limited conceiving potency – Yoni.
Maha-Visnu has two types of potency with which He creates the material worlds. One type of potency is called nimitta – the instrumental cause of creation, and the other is called upadana – the ingredient cause. Instrumental and ingredient causes can be explained in this way: Suppose I say, “I killed a snake with a stick.” The person who desired and performed the activity is the instrumental cause (nimitta), and the stick is the ingredient cause (upadana). In another example, a potter makes a pot. The desire or will of the potter to make the pot is the instrumental cause. The sum total of all the instruments used to create it, like the wheel, clay, mud and water, is the ingredient cause.
Maha-Visnu’s eternal instrumental potency takes its reflected form as Yoni, the limited shadow potency, and the ingredient cause assumes the reflection-form of Sambhu-linga. Creation then takes place by the union of Sambhu-linga and his female consort Yoni. Sambhu is called the linga of the Supreme Lord, which means that he is the manifest symbol of the Lord’s male generative capacity, and he appears for the purpose of preparing the cosmic manifestation. That potency which gives birth to the material creation is the energy called Maya, and her intrinsic form is Yoni.
Actually, the original instrumental and ingredient cause is not Yoni and Sambhu; it is Maha-Visnu. Material nature, as Yoni, desires to create by dint of the kama-bija (desire seed) impregnated in her, and she is therefore the secondary instrumental cause. The desire-seed gave her the urge to create, and because she then wanted to create, she is called the instrumental cause. Sambhu supplies the materials of creation, and he is therefore called the ingredient cause. Sambhu, the dim reflection of the Supreme Lord’s own divine desire-filled glance, consummates his union with Yoni. However, he can do nothing independent of the desire of Maha-Visnu.
Maha-Visnu is the Supreme personified Will, and it is He who brings about the union of the two – Yoni and Sambhu. He is the divine dominating person, the plenary portion of Lord Krsna and the creator of the mundane world. In order for creation to take place, there must be the desire of the Supreme Doer. He must be present. The instrumental cause and ingredient cause must be mixed with the desire or glance of Maha-Visnu.
The initial form of the creation is mahat-tattva, the sum-total twenty-four elements. [*See Endnote 1] This mahat-tattva is the reflection of the kama-bija, the original desire-seed in Goloka Vrndavana. The seed of amorous creative desire in Goloka is the embodiment of pure cognition. It is a prototype of the sex desire in this mundane world, though it is located far from it. The seed of the mundane sex desire is thus the perverted reflection of the seed of the original creative desire in Goloka Vrndavana.
Service in Pastimes of Majesty
Lord Siva granted this benediction, and Vrkasura immediately rushed forward to use it against Lord Siva.
Siva asked, “What are you doing?” He replied, “Now I am applying my benediction.” He did not say, “I want Parvati.” He simply looked at Parvati and then ran towards Lord Siva. Fearful, Siva ran away, and Vrkasura immediately chased after him. Lord Siva was attired in a deerskin, which fell off, and then his damaru drum also fell. He kept running, however, and he remembered his Lord. Who was the Lord he remembered? It was Sri Krsna. This is aisvarya-gata-vicara.
Lord Siva fled from the land to the sky and from the sky to other planets, until he reached the limits of the universe, but Vrkasura continued to chase him. The predominating deities of higher planets, such as Brahma, Indra and Candra, were not able to save him from the impending danger, and finally he approached Krsna’s incarnation, Lord Visnu in Svetadvipa.
In order to protect His devotee, Lord Visnu appeared as a perfect brahmacari, and the effulgence emanating from His body was attractive to both Siva and the demon. After stopping Vrkasura by offering obeisances to him, and winning his confidence by speaking sweet and reassuring words, Lord Visnu asked, “Why are you running after Siva?”
Vrkasura replied, “He has given me the benediction that when I put my hand on someone’s head it will split open. Now I will use the benediction on him.” Lord Visnu in the dress of a brahmacari said, “You are very foolish. You believe the benediction of this man who smokes ganja, takes all types of intoxication and lives in crematoriums? Do you believe that he is authorized and powerful enough to give benedictions? His benediction will prove futile. He is just fooling you. You are running after him, but in the end you will find that his benediction is ineffective. Try it on yourself; put your hand on your head. You will see that nothing happens.”
Vrkasura agreed, “Yes, I will try.”
In this way, by Lord Visnu’s sweet words and by the expansion of His illusory energy, the demon became bewildered. He forgot the power of Lord Siva and his benediction. He therefore put his hand on his own head, it immediately split open, and he died. This pastime gives evidence that Lord Siva is not independent; his worshipable Deity is Krsna. [*See Endnote 2]
Thereafter, when the demons began to destroy the higher planetary systems, the rulers of those planets went to Lord Siva, surrendered unto him and said, “Dear Lord, we demigods are about to be vanquished. We are your followers. Kindly save us.”
Lord Siva reassured them and said, “Do not be afraid.” He fixed his arrows to his bow and released them toward the three residences occupied by the demons, and all the demons were killed. The great mystic Maya Danava then dropped the bodies of the demons into a nectarean well he had created, making the demons return to life and become practically invincible.
Siva became very worried. Seeing this, Lord Krsna in His form as Lord Visnu considered how to help him destroy the demons. Lord Visnu became a cow and Lord Brahma became a calf, and they entered the residences and drank all the nectar in the well. Then, by His personal potency of religion, knowledge, renunciation, opulence, austerity, education and so on, Krsna equipped Lord Siva with everything he needed for the battle. He manifested a chariot, a charioteer, a flag, horses, elephants, a bow, a shield and arrows, and Lord Siva sat down on the chariot to fight. He destroyed three residences of the demons, the inhabitants of the higher planets glorified and worshipped him, and he became known as Tripurari, the annihilator of the three dwellings of the demons.
So don’t fear. Krsna will save you if you offer yourself to Him. He Himself has promised this in Bhagavad-gita. If you hand over your complete responsibility in life to Him – not only your bodily maintenance, but your intelligence, your senses and everything else you possess – He will take full care and responsibility for you. Don’t fear. No suffering or sorrow of any kind will be able to touch you. Moreover, you will be able to enter the realm of bhakti and be happy forever.
Siva’s Worshipable Deity
Krsna was informed by Sri Narada that Banasura and his army had fought with and arrested Aniruddha for intimately meeting with Banasura’s daughter, Usa. Therefore, in order to save Aniruddha, He called upon His own army, the Yadu dynasty, and advanced on Banasura’s city. When Banasura saw Lord Krsna’s army, he immediately ordered his men to fight.
Lord Siva arrived there at that time, but instead of praying to his Lord, he apparently took the side of his own devotee, Banasura. He personally began fighting with Krsna as Banasura’s commander-in-chief. He shot many weapons at Krsna, including his Pasupata-astra and his ultimate weapon, the Siva-jvara, but all of them failed.
During the battle, Banasura showered his weapons upon Sri Krsna with his one thousand arms. Krsna then cut off his arms with His Sudarsana cakra, leaving him with only four. Finally Lord Siva, realizing that he was helpless to save his devotee, surrendered to Lord Krsna and offered his heartfelt prayers.[*See Endnote 3]
After hearing Siva’s prayers, Lord Krsna told him that because Banasura was the son of Bali Maharaja and the great-grandson of Prahlada Maharaja, and because he was favored by Lord Siva himself, He would not only spare Banasura’s life, but would give him immortality.
Siva Takes Shelter
The King of Kasi was a staunch devotee of Lord Siva, and he took the side of Paundraka Vasudeva. He had previously received a benediction from Lord Siva to be able to defeat Krsna in combat, but in this battle he was not only defeated, but killed. With the assistance of His Sudarsana cakra Sri Krsna killed Paundraka, and by His arrows He killed the king of Kasi. Having cut off the head of the king, He then arranged to throw it into the city of Kasi.
The King had a son named Sudaksina, who was determined to avenge the death of his father. Sudaksina thus worshiped the lord of Kasi, Visvanatha – Lord Siva – who then instructed him to perform a special ritualistic ceremony that calls forth a fire demon for the purpose of killing one’s enemy. Lord Siva also sanctioned his ghostly companions to accompany the fire demon, and Dvaraka then fell under attack.
Krsna called for his Sudarsana cakra, which froze the demon and forced him to return to Kasi and destroy his creators. Moreover, following behind the demon, the Sudarsana cakra burned the entire city to ashes.
At that time even Lord Siva himself had to run from the city. Where his deerskin fell, he did not know. He also left his trident and everything else, including his wife, and quickly fled. He arrived at a place in Navadvipa [*See Endnote 3] called Harihara-ksetra, and there he took shelter of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. [*See Endnote 5] From Navadvipa he went to Ekamra-kanana (now Bhuvanesvara) near Puri, in Orissa, where he took shelter of Sri Krsna in His form as Lord Jagannatha. This pastime is aisvarya-gata-vicara, and it also reveals that the worshipable Deity of Lord Siva is Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, or Sri Krsna.
Service in Human-like Pastimes
The pastimes of Lord Rama are found in Ramayana, Srimad-Bhagavatam, the Puranas and Rama-carita-manasa, and they take place in a previous Age, called Treta-yuga. The demonic king Ravana had kidnapped Lord Rama’s wife, Sita devi, and taken Her to Lanka. Before Rama knew where Sita had been taken, He was weeping profusely, and Laksmana was trying to console Him. The more Laksmana tried to pacify Him, however, the more bitterly He wept. In this state of mind, He was beseeching the trees and creatures of the forest, and even the Godavari River. He appealed to the trees of Panjatavi forest, “O Panjatavi, have you seen Sita? Where has She gone? O deer, have you seen Sita? O Godavari, have you seen My dear Sita? Why has She left Me?” Lord Rama became maddened from inconsolable grief.
At this time Lord Siva and his wife Sati came to Dandakaranya Forest, where Lord Rama had been living with Sita and His brother Laksmana for fourteen years, following the order of His father, King Dasaratha. Siva was thus present to witness Lord Rama’s divine pastimes, and seeing them, he was moved; his heart melted. He offered full obeisances, with all the limbs of his body touching the ground, and glorified Rama: “Oh! These pastimes are so beautiful and marvelous that they will melt the heart of anyone who sees them.” He then circumambulated the outer precincts of that area, weeping due to the transcendental emotions of grief in separation exhibited in his Lord’s pastimes.
Offering his final respects, Siva was ready to return to Kailasa, when Sati asked him, “My dear husband, to whom are you offering obeisances?” Lord Siva replied, “Sri Rama is my worshipful Deity. I worship Him always.” Sati said, “I see that Rama is like an ordinary man weeping for his wife. Even I know where Sita is, but He does not know? Why is He grieving? He appears to be a weak person. Is He not strong enough to bring Sita back? He must be an ordinary man, not God. Why are you honoring Him so?”
“You are ignorant,” Lord Siva told his doubting wife. “You do not understand that Rama is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” He told her that if she did not believe him she could conduct a test of some sort, to determine Sri Rama’s position.
Lord Siva rested under a banyan tree a little distance away, and Sati, by her inherent mystic power, changed to a form like Sita’s. She went to the area where Sri Rama was piteously searching for Sita. She thought that if she would appear before Rama as Sita, He would come and embrace her in joyous relief, believing that He had found His wife. However, although she appeared before him again and again, He ignored her each time. He simply looked away. Finally He said to her, “Mother, why are you roaming alone here in the forest? Where is your husband, Siva?”
Sati became astonished and fearful, and wondered how Rama knew who she really was. She knelt in reverence, and at that time she no longer saw the trees, plants, and wildlife of the forest as before. She saw Sita-Rama everywhere and in everything. Wherever she looked in the forest – here, there and everywhere – she saw only Sita-Rama, Sita-Rama, Sita-Rama.
In this manner, Sri Rama showed Sati that He and Sita are eternally inseparable, that He was performing this dramatic pastime to captivate the minds of human beings by its remembrance, and that He is, in fact, the Personality of Godhead. She reflected, “My husband is never ignorant. He was right and I was wrong.” Rising to her feet, she saw that Rama was still there alone in the forest with Laksmana, weeping, “Oh Sita, where are You, where are You?”
Then, reassuming her own form, she returned to the spot where Siva was waiting under the banyan tree. He asked her, “Did you test Him to see who He is?”
Sati lied, “Most respected husband, I believed you; so there was no need to test Him.”
Lord Siva saw in a trance what had actually happened and silently vowed, “Sati has taken the form of Sita, my mother; therefore she is no longer my wife. She is now my mother, and from now on I will treat her as such.”
When he made this vow, the demigods at once showered flowers from heaven, and they praised him, “You have made a remarkable vow.”
Sati asked, “What vow did you make?”
Siva remained silent.
The bona fide disciple always has faith in his self-realized guru. Lord Siva was the Guru of Sati, but she had not believed him when he told her that Rama is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If a disciple does not obey his gurudeva, his bhakti and spiritual life will diminish. If a disciple lies to his gurudeva, he again goes to hell.
When Lord Siva and Sati-devi returned to their cottage in Kailasa, Siva placed her seat facing him. In Vedic culture a wife sits on the left side of her husband and a mother, respected as guru, sits in front of her son, facing him.
A disciple does not offer obeisance to his gurudeva from his guru’s right or left side, but always in front of him. A true disciple does not remain silent, but respectfully asks relevant questions of his guru and serves him. He does not ask questions in a challenging mood, but rather to learn. It is stated in Bhagavad-gita (4.34):
tad viddhi pranipatena
upadeksyanti te jnanam
[“Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.”]Lord Siva entered a trance for thousands of years, and Sati felt severe separation from him. She thought, “Siva has left me. He is treating me like his mother because I took the form of Sita. As long as I am in this body he will not accept me as his wife, so I will have to give up this body.”
After some time, Sati’s father Daksa, the son of Lord Brahma and great progenitor of the universe, began a sacrifice. Although every sacrifice is intended to please the Supreme Lord Visnu, all the demigods, especially Lord Brahma, Lord Siva and the other principal demigods, are invited and take part. However, Lord Siva was not invited to Daksa’s sacrifice.
The chaste Sati heard the heavenly denizens, who were flying in the sky, speaking about the great sacrifice being performed by her father. She saw that the wives of the heavenly denizens, dressed in fine clothing, were coming from all directions and were going to the sacrifice. She approached her husband and said, “My dear Lord, your father-in-law is now performing a great sacrifice. All the demigods who were invited by him are going. If you desire, we may also go.”
Lord Siva warned her not to go, due to her father’s enmity and envy towards him – an enmity that had begun long before, in a former Age. Lord Siva now remembered his father-in-law’s harsh words spoken at that time. Siva had come to Daksa’s council, where Daksa was being honored by many leaders of the universe. Daksa’s daughter was married to Lord Siva, so he considered Siva to be like his son. He offered obeisances to Brahma because Brahma was his father, but he did not show any respect to Siva. Lord Brahma welcomed Daksa, but Siva was absorbed in meditation and chanting the maha-mantra:
“Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.”
Insulted by Siva’s apparent neglect and considering himself Siva’s superior, Daksa publically criticized him. Many incidents took place as a result of that, and Siva returned to Kailasa. Previous to this, Daksa had often criticized Siva, being disturbed that his daughter had married such an ‘inferior person,’ but after this incident he considered Siva his enemy. Lord Siva, on the other hand, had never felt enmity towards Daksa.
Now Lord Siva told Sati, “A woman can go without an invitation to see her guru or her father and mother, but if her father thinks that her husband is his enemy, then she should not go to see him. You know that your father thinks I am his enemy, although I have never considered him as such.”
Despite her husband’s words, Sati was determined to go. She went, but upon her arrival she observed Daksa dishonoring him. She angrily condemned her father and glorified Lord Siva in front of all present. Then, while meditating on Lord Siva’s holy lotus feet, she gave up her body in a mystic fire that manifested from her heart.
By quitting her body, Sati was able to disconnect herself from her offensive father and transfer herself to another body in order to associate with Lord Siva without that contamination. However, her main motive was to become free from the result of her own offenses, and again be accepted as Lord Siva’s beloved wife. In her next life she took birth as Parvati, the daughter of the Himalayas. In that birth she performed austerities for many years and achieved her desired goal.
Here we see that Siva’s worshipable Deity is Rama, and because Sati took the form of Sita-devi, he left her. He is a chaste Vaisnava, always serving Lord Krsna and Lord Rama. Sati-devi is also a pure devotee. She is the Supreme Lord’s divine energy, but she was playing a role in order to give lessons to ordinary persons.
Both Siva and Sati served in Lord Rama’s human-like pastimes. Ravana had not actually taken the real Sita. He was not able to touch her. He could only take a maya-sita. The real Sita, the transcendental potency of Rama, was taken away and protected by the lord of fire, Agnideva. Rama’s crying and asking each and every plant, tree, mountain and river, “Where is my Sita?” was an exhibition of His human-like pastimes.
The great saint Tulsidasa has written in his Sri Rama-carita-manasa that we should accept Sri Siva-Parvati as our Guru, and they will give us love for the lotus feet of Rama. Those who worship Siva as an independent lord are like Vrkasura. They want to have sense gratification with Krsna’s potency. Instead of becoming Vrkasura, we should become devotees, and consider Siva-Parvati as our Guru in the matter of devotion to the Supreme Lord.
Consider further the identity of Lord Siva’s worshipable Deity. Siva’s mantra is Rama, and he always chants the holy name of Rama. To whom does this refer? Although this also refers to Sri Sita-Rama, the name he actually chants is that of Mula-Sankarsana, Balarama, the first expansion of Lord Krsna. Sri Ramacandra is also an expansion of mula-Rama (the original Rama) – Balarama – but the factual worshipable Deity of Lord Siva is Balarama.
Ultimately, in the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, Rama does not refer to Dasaratha’s son Rama, nor to Parasurama or Balarama. Lord Ramacandra, Lord Parasurama and Lord Balarama are all manifestations of Sri Radha-ramana.
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna
Krsna Krsna Hare Hare,
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
The meaning of Rama here is Radha-ramana, Sri Krsna who engages in ‘ramana’ with Radha. “Ramana” means playing or enjoying. Krsna enjoys playful pastimes with Radharani, and He is therefore called Ramana or Rama.
No Lust in Lord Siva
Lord Siva is immensely powerful and he has no lust. He may even be naked, and his wife Parvati may also be sitting naked on his lap, but they have no lusty desires. If an ordinary girl and boy stay close together, especially without clothes, lust will enter their hearts. However, this falldown does not take place in the hearts of Lord Siva and Parvati-devi under any circumstance.
In this regard, a transcendental pastime is described in the Sixth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Lord Siva was once giving a lecture in an assembly of great saintly persons, Parvati was sitting on his lap, and both of them were completely naked. At that time the exalted devotee King Citraketu came and said in a friendly way, “Just see the position in which you are giving your lecture.” Parvati thought that he was criticizing Lord Siva. Disturbed by the thought that anyone would think Lord Siva has lusty desires in his heart, she cursed him.
King Citraketu was on friendly terms with Lord Siva, and because Citraketu’s Guru is also Mula-Sankarsana, he and Siva were god-brothers. He never meant to say that lust was in Siva’s heart. He was simply saying that this was not the standard way to deliver a lecture.
Lord Siva chastized Parvati and said, “Why did you curse him? He is an exalted devotee. Look at his advancement in bhakti. Although he is quite competent to revoke your curse and curse you in retaliation, he has readily accepted your curse. This is his greatness – this is the behavior of a Vaisnava.”
Lust cannot remain near Lord Siva. Neither Lord Sadasiva nor His partial manifestation of Siva who stays with Parvati have lust in their hearts. When Kamadeva, Cupid, once came to disturb Lord Siva’s meditation, Siva simply opened his third eye and burned him to ashes.
How could it happen then, that Lord Siva was attracted to the beautiful form of Mohini-murti? Mohini is an incarnation of Lord Krsna Himself, and He can do anything. It was Lord Krsna who personally created the attraction within Lord Siva’s heart, and He who showed him this form of Mohini. In the course of serving Krsna’s pastimes, His internal bewildering energy, yogamaya, is so strong that it can do anything.
[*Endnote 1: mahat-tattva: the twenty-four elements are the five gross elements, the three subtle elements, ten senses, five sense objects, and the total material cause.
Endnote 2: “Thus by the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Narayana, who is transcendental to all material qualities, Lord Siva was saved from being killed by a demon. Anyone who hears this history with faith and devotion is certainly liberated from material entanglement as well as from the clutches of his enemies.” (Krsna, Chapter 88)
Endnote 3: Sukadeva Gosvami assured King Pariksit that the narration of the fight between Lord Siva and Lord Krsna is not at all inauspicious, like ordinary fights. On the contrary, if one remembers in the morning the narration of this fight between Lord Krsna and Lord Siva, and takes pleasure in the victory of Lord Krsna, he will never experience defeat anywhere in his struggle of life.” (Krsna, Chapter 63)
Endnote 4: Lord Nityananda said, “To the west of the Alakananda River see Kasi, where the followers of Siva and his consort endeavor for liberation. This Navadvipa Kasi, however, is superior to the other Kasi. Here, Siva is always dancing and chanting the name of Gaura , begging his followers to accept gaura-bhakti. The sannyasis who live for a thousand years in Kasi may attain liberation through the cultivation of jnana, but here the devotees kick away that liberation as they dance and chant the name of Gauranga. While leaving the body here, living entities are delivered by Lord Siva, who chants the name of Gauranga in their ears. This dhama is thus called Maha-Varanasi, for here there is no fear of death.” (Sri Navadvipa Mahatmya by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura)
Endnote 5: The identity of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is given as follows: “According to the Vedic literature, the foremost occupational duty for humanity in this Age of Kali is nama-sankirtana, or congregational chanting of the holy name of the Lord. The incarnation for this age especially preaches this process, but only Krsna Himself can explain the confidential loving service performed in the four principal varieties of loving affairs between the Supreme Lord and His devotees. Lord Krsna therefore personally appeared, with His plenary portions, as Lord Caitanya.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila, Chapter 3 Summary)]