Shiva Worship

It is well known that amongst the Pandavas, Arjuna was the closest to Krishna and that is why Gitopadesa was given by Krishna to Arjuna only. But what is bewildering me is that why did Arjuna go alongwith the other Pandavas to Kailash(Himalayas) the abode of Lord Shiva in the final destination of his life. Should not have he gone to Mathura/Dwaraka to spend his final days. Also, Lord Krishna tells his Yadu clan to pray to the demi gods just before his demise from Dwaraka. When the Lord himself has endorsed Demi god worship then why does Srila Prabhupada condemn it? I am asking these questions not with the intention of hurting anybody but with a genuine urge to understand KCON. 

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  • Hare Krishna to all Vaishnavas,
    As described in Vedic Scriptures Shiva is the topmost Vaishnava. Those who want to please Shiva or other demiGods like Ganesha,Durga Devi etc still should worship Krishna only with all devotion because Krishna is even worshiped by these Demigods ,so demogods will be more pleased to see us worshiping their Lord. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says "Ekal Ishwara Krishna, aar sab Bhritya" meaning that only Krishna is supreme controller and rest all are His eternal servitors. Servitor is happy if his master is happy , so if we want to please Shiva, Durga Mata, etc then we should still worship Krishna only. If we want our own happiness even then we should try to please Krishna only. Krishna is known as Hrishikesh ---'Hrishik + Ish' meaning controller of everyone's senses. So if we want our own happiness then we have to please Krishna because unless controler of our senses is happy how we can be happy??

    DemiGods themselves have no power of their own. They get all power from Krishna only that's why Krishna is known as "Ishwarah Paramah Krishnah". Suppose we go to any shop and consider a servant to be shop-owner and ask something from Him, then somebody told us that that person is servant and real shop-owner is somebody else. If we are truely intelligent then we would afterwards approach the real shop-owner not the servant......

    Today everybody is hankering for material happiness and do not know their real identity "Jivera Swaroop hoy Krishna nitya-das" --living beings' real identity is that he is krishna's eternal servant. Since materialists people don't know this they get attracted to demiGod's worship. But this is not preffered in Vedic Scriptures....we must only follow the path shown by devotees in Parampara

    your servant
  • Hare Krishna Bhaktin maral , Aravind R. Prabhu,

    Please accept my humble obeisances!

    All glories to Srila Prabhupada

    Very good question. I was thinking of the same thing, to add I love the worship of Krishna.I Intend no disrespect to you Bhaktin Maral this comment maybe due my lack of knowledge, but i dont believe the demi gods do not care about our wellbeings i like to think that Krishna is apart of all beings inc the demi gods and i think the title demi GOD wont be given to beings that DONT care, this is meant in no disrespect to you and i respect you as a devotee of the lord and am always love engaging with fellow devotees like you in the hope that i might correct my misunderstandings and learn more. I worship Lord krishna and chant everyday but i also worship other forms of the superior being, like Lord Rama, Lord Balaji,lord Vishnu includes all the avatars. I also worship other gods like lord Shiva, Lord ganesh, Lord Muruga (skanda), mother lakshmi and sarawathi, all the gods i worship is to show respect and love with no aim of acheving any material plessure I just do so with love for all gods. is this a wrong practice in iskcon movment and is this not suited to Krishna worship an reaching krishna. Please i mean no disrespect but i love some clarity

    hare krishna
    all Glories to you my fellow devotees
  • Volunteer

      Hare Krsna Prabhu.  Shiva works for the benefit of everyone, and tries to help the living beings make spiritual advancement. This is why he has his own line of disciplic succession. This is also why he says to the sons of King Pracinibarhi, “Any person who is surrendered to the Supreme Personality of God, Lord Krishna, the controller of everything, is very dear to me.”1

           The sons of the King were going to practice austerities to worship Lord Vishnu and while searching for a suitable place happened to find Lord Shiva. His bodily luster was like molten gold, his throat was bluish, he had three eyes, and was accompanied by musicians who were glorifying him. Shiva is the protector of the pious and those of gentle behavior. So he was pleased to speak to the princes the way he did. He continued in this way:

           “A person who is directly surrendered to Lord Krishna, or Vishnu, in unalloyed devotional service is immediately promoted to the spiritual planets. I, Lord Shiva, and other demigods attain these planets only after the destruction of the material world. You are all devotees of the Lord, and as such I appreciate that you are as respectable as the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. I know in this way that the devotees also respect me and that I am dear to them. Thus no one can be as dear to the devotees as I am.”2

           In this way, a devotee of Krishna does not disrespect Lord Shiva, but worships him as the greatest of devotees of Lord Krishna. A Krishna bhakta also prays to Lord Shiva, but asks Shiva to assist him in attaining the favor of Lord Krishna, and not merely for material benefits. As we find in the Tulasi Ramayana (Uttara-Kanda, Doha 45), Lord Rama says “With joined palms I lay before you another secret doctrine: without adoring Sankara (Lord Shiva) man cannot attain devotion to Me.” So in this way, Shiva can assist us in attaining devotion to Lord Krishna and His expansions.

           After Lord Shiva had spoken to the sons of King Pracinabarhi, he relates a particular mantra for their benefit, which is pure and auspicious for anyone who wants to attain the ultimate goal of life. This mantra is called Shiva’s Song, and consists of verses 33 to 79 of the Twenty-fourth Chapter of the Forth Canto in Srimad-Bhagavatam. He starts his prayer with this verse:

           “O Supreme Personality of Godhead, all glories unto You. You are the most exalted of all self-realized souls. Since You are always auspicious for the self-realized, I wish that You be auspicious to me. You are worshipable by virtue of the all perfect instructions You give. You are the Supersoul; therefore I offer my obeisances unto You as the supreme living bring.”

           Through the remaining 45 verses of this prayer, Lord Shiva praises the many qualities, characteristics, and powers of the Supreme Being in the form of Lord Krishna. At the end of many years in which the sons of the King, called the Pracetas, repeated this prayer everyday, Lord Vishnu Himself appeared to them. He said, “Those who will offer Me the prayers composed by Lord Shiva, both in the morning and in the evening, will be given benedictions by Me. In this way they can both fulfill their desires and attain good intelligence.”3

           Also in the Bhagavatam (4.6.42-53), we can see Lord Shiva’s greatness among the demigods. During the disastrous ritual of Daksha, who displayed great dislike toward Shiva and Shiva’s wife, Durga (Sati) immolated herself in fire. Sati was Daksha’s own daughter and could not tolerate the insults her father made toward her husband, Shiva. So while in meditation she burst into flames. Thereafter, Lord Brahma and the demigods went to pacify Lord Shiva. Brahma consoled Shiva and addressed him as “My dear Lord,” and called him the controller of the entire universe, the combination of mother and father of the universe, and the Supreme Brahman, beyond this creation. Therein we can see that Brahma, the partial creator of the universe, offers praises to Lord Shiva as a superior. This is to appease Lord Shiva, since it is known that his anger can annihilate the universe.

           When the ritual was able to continue and Daksha offered the clarified butter with the mantras from the Yajur-veda, Lord Vishnu appeared there in His original form as Narayana. As described in the Bhagavatam (4.7.18-29) as soon as Lord Vishnu appeared, all the demigods, including Lord Brahma, Shiva, the Gandharvas and sages, immediately offered their respectful obeisances. In the presence of Lord Vishnu’s glaring effulgence from His body, everyone else’s luster faded. Everyone offered their prayers to Him. Therein, Lord Shiva addresses Lord Vishnu, “My dear Lord, my mind and consciousness are always fixed on Your lotus feet, which, as the source of all benediction and the fulfillment of all desires, are worshiped by all liberated sages because Your lotus feet are worthy of worship. With my mind fixed on Your lotus feet, I am no longer disturbed by persons who blaspheme me, claiming that my activities are not purified. I do not mind their accusations, and I excuse them out of compassion, just as You exhibit compassion toward all living entities.”

           After all the personalities had offered their prayers to Lord Vishnu, He replied to Daksha, “Brahma, Shiva and I are the supreme cause of the material manifestation. I am the Supersoul, the self-effulgent witness. But impersonally there is no difference between Brahma, Lord Shiva and Me. I am the original Personality of Godhead, but in order to create, maintain and annihilate this cosmic manifestation, I act through My material energy, and according to different grades of activity, My representations are equally named. One who is not in proper knowledge thinks that the demigods like Brahma and Shiva are independent, or he even thinks that the living entities are independent. A person with average intelligence does not think the head and other parts of the body to be separate. Similarly, My devotee does not differentiate Vishnu, the all-pervading Personality, from anything or any living entity. One who does not consider Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva or the living entities in general to be separate from the Supreme, and who knows Brahman, actually realizes peace; others do not.” 4

           What this indicates is the interdependence of the demigods on Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu is the ultimate cause of the universal creation. Lord Brahma was born out of Lord Vishnu, and Lord Shiva was born from Lord Brahma. It is the energy that comes from Lord Vishnu, in the form of Lord Brahma and Shiva, that creates and annihilates the universe. Lord Brahma is manifested for the continuation of the creation, while Lord Shiva assists in the annihilation. In this way, they are interconnected and work together like parts of a single body. Yet, they all play distinct and significant roles in the affairs of the cosmos, but are dependent on Lord Vishnu. When we see that all living beings are expansions from the Supreme Lord and His energy, then one can achieve real peace.

           In fact, it is said that these sages and devotees who see with such equal vision become worshipable by Lord Shiva, Brahma and Lord Vishnu. Once when Lord Shiva was traveling, he met the great sage Markandeya as he was coming out of his yogic trance. At that time, Markandeya offered prayers to Lord Shiva who blessed the sage and then asked if there were any benedictions that the sage wanted. As described in the Bhagavatam (12.10.19-22) Suta Gosvami said: “Lord Shiva, the foremost demigod and the shelter of the saintly devotees, was satisfied by Markandeya’s praise. Pleased, he smiled and addressed the sage. Lord Shiva said: Please ask me for some benediction, since among all givers of benedictions, we three--Brahma, Vishnu and I--are the best. Seeing us never goes in vain, because simply by seeing us a mortal achieves immortality. The inhabitants and ruling demigods of all planets, along with Lord Brahma, the Supreme Lord Hari and I, glorify, worship and assist those brahmanas who are saintly, always peaceful, free of material attachment, compassionate to all living beings, purely devoted to us, devoid of hatred and endowed with equal vision. These devotees do not differentiate between Lord Vishnu, Lord Brahma and me, nor do they differentiate between themselves and other living beings. Therefore, because you are this kind of saintly devotee, we worship you.”


    • Dear Gopaldasji, I have only one word in response to your comment and it is this:"EXCELLENT". Your reply has given me peace. Thank You so much.

  • hare krishna hare hare

    you r saying "limitted desire'. what is this ? a desire is a desire. desire means a unlimited one. i think u will acept this. if u want to achieve desire then pray any one but u what to reach krish then dont pray krish just love him krish dont like "bhaya bhakthi' he like only love "bhakthi yutha prem" . AM I RIGHT ?
  • I remember from the Bhagavatam that when the Pandavas travelled north to the Himalayas, Krishna had already departed, as His pastimes were finished. Why would Arjuna not have gone with his brothers? Krishna appeared as an ordinary mortal during His manifest pastimes, and accordingly He would give His example to others. He didn't condone worship of Indra when the cowherd men were preparing to worship Indra for rain. Where does it say that Krishna engaged in demigod worship? We are not to worship demigods because the fruits of such worship are limited and temporary. Bhagavad Gita says this.  Prabhupada says that worship of Krishna includes everything because all benedictions are ultimately coming from Him.

  • hare krsna prabhu
    your statements are not clear
    for exmpl
    1] "In some ways it is easier for the Followers of monolithic religion like Islam or Christianity to accept the concept of a SINGLE SUPREME GOD than for the Followers of polythetic religion like Hindusim where so many Demigods are listed to achieve salvation. " according to all vedic scriptures MUKUNDA(the one who relieves you from the cycle of birth and death) is the one who gives salvation,obviously you haven't read the scriptures or you have read it from the wrong source.
    2] "There have been many saints in India who have said that it does not matter who you worship but what is more important is that you must be genuine in your worship and LOVE to all Humanity and other living beings is the underlying concept. An example is SHIRDI SAI BABA who did not advocate any particular GOD. As an aside, I am just wondering whether SHIRDI SAI BABA had said anything about Sri Krishna being the ultimate GOD. Also I want to know whether Srila Prabhupada had named anybody to be his disciplic GURU. My humble thanks to all of you once again."
    ...many saints and you mentioned only one SAI BABA .
    a very simple example ,lets say you want to go to DELHI from CHENNAI by train, you may go to the chennai central railway station and sit in any of the train available there and it will take you to delhi ,the only thing you need is a valid ticket to delhi and the heart to travel,isn't it prabhu?..but i do't agree to it because my intelligence would ask me to board the train to delhi only.
    knowledge is given to a particular type of audience according to time,place ,sircumstances and INTELLIGENCE. you cannot teach a less intelligent man in detail about ONE SINGLE GOD overnight, but slowly by the process of chanting one can understand as KRSNA reveals himself from within for the pure devotee. but i think everybody must try irrespective of being fallen ,risen or less intelligent or whatever . the effort matters .
    SRILA PRABHUPADA had left many disciplic gurus not just one because he knew many people in kaliyuga will have doubts on the supremacy of the lord . you can either go to the himalayas in search of the proper guru or approach a nearest ISKCON centre and find a guru in the disciplic succession of srila prabhupada...again its a matter of intelligence
  • Haribol to all Devotees who have spent their precious time in educating me about KCON. What I was trying to project that when eminent personalities like Arjuna or for that matter Lord Rama themselves had worshipped the Demigods at one point of time in their lives, then what to speak of fallen souls like me. I wanted my questions to inspire a whole lot of other Hindus who are conditioned to worship the various Demigods like Shiva, Shakthi etc., to understand KCON from a wider perspective and try to inculcate in them the habit of praying to Krishna through their current/existing practise of worshipping their respective Demigods. Otherwise, it is very difficult to expect these Hindus(fallen souls like me) to discard their time bound traditional practices at one go and at once accept Lord Krishna as THE ULTIMATE GOD and surrender to him. In some ways it is easier for the Followers of monolithic religion like Islam or Christianity to accept the concept of a SINGLE SUPREME GOD than for the Followers of polythetic religion like Hindusim where so many Demigods are listed to achieve salvation. There have been many saints in India who have said that it does not matter who you worship but what is more important is that you must be genuine in your worship and LOVE to all Humanity and other living beings is the underlying concept. An example is SHIRDI SAI BABA who did not advocate any particular GOD. As an aside, I am just wondering whether SHIRDI SAI BABA had said anything about Sri Krishna being the ultimate GOD. Also I want to know whether Srila Prabhupada had named anybody to be his disciplic GURU. My humble thanks to all of you once again.
  • Dear Arvind Prabhu,
    Hare Krsna. PAMHO. All glories to His Divine Grace, A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupad.
    Your question is interesting to contemplate and I am sure is very genuine as you have repeatedly stated. Thanks for the question and I have cherished the views of all the merciful vaishnava devotees, who have very humbly attempted to arrive at a convincing proposition for the stated confusion.
    Hari bol Maral mataji, your last reply is what I wanted to add to the discussion, which was fresh from one of our congregation discusion yesterday, which was fresh in my mind.

    Arvind Prabhu, we are all fallen souls and that is the primary reason we are here in the material world. Our merciful guru, his divine grace A C Bhaktivedanta swamy Srila Prabhupad, has adviced us to nourish the root, instead of the other parts of the tree, which anyways would happen when the roots are nourished.

    Krsna, is very merciful on his pure devotees. Many devotees come here on the material world who know the formula to cross the material ocean. They perform the passtime as per the will of the lord and cross the material world. Krsna is merciful and accepts this technique and considers this as bonafide, even though this is seen as something different from what the previous devotees had adviced. This legacy or the method is left behind by the acaryas, for the other lesser informed to follow. However, the acaryas would have thought about many angles before giving us the method. We should neither question their method, nor compare ourselves to other greater devotees like Shiva, Arjuna, Narada, etc. Dear guru Srila Prabhupada says in very less number of words that "you do not know what their journey is all about"... but this has a very large meaning. Since he is a very humble devotee, he does not chastise people who have asked these kind of questions before, but uses very less words and says "Do not compare yourself with the other devotees"

    However, Krsna when begining to advice Arjuna uses many strong words, just to bring back Arjuna to his consciousness, who was very much confused at that time (BG 2.2):

    kutastvaa kashmalam idam vishame samupasthitam
    anaaryajushtam asvargyam akeertikaram arjuna

    Why did Krsna advice Arjuna to go to Lord Shiva, why the yadavas were advised to worship the demigods, etc. is because the situations were different and the needs were different.

    We should only (blindly, submissively as suggested in BG 4.34) should take the shelter of our guru and go ahead in the yatra, back home, back to God head.

    Demigod worship is not wrong, it depends on what you want.

    My sincere apologies if I have gone on to any unwanted tangent and if my words have in an any way hurt any of you. I assure you that was not my intention.

    Hare Krsna.
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