Why Lord Shiva – Topmost Vaishnava – is not being worshiped by us?‏

Harish V Menon, 18th March 2013

Hare Krishna!

Please kindly accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Gurudeva.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
All glories to devotees.

I have a doubt which I wish to ask. Please forgive me if my question is inappropriate.

While we acknowledge Lord Shiva as a devotee of Lord Krishna or as the top most vaishnava, why are we not acknowledging Shiva by having his picture or deity in our temples. I have heard in many sathsangs, being said by our devotees that Lord Shiva is the top most vaishnava. Why do we ignore Shiva from being worshiped? Is there any specific reason in the shastras? Kindly enlighten.

Haribol !

Harish V Menon

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 19th March 2013

Dear Harish,

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Gurudeva.

On the altar, we only have the specific Deity being worshiped along with that Deity’s associates and the disciplic succession, and that too, not the entire disciplic succession. The spiritual masters are usually on the altar of Sri Sri Gaura Nitai because we can approach Sri Sri Gaura Nitai only through our disciplic succession, and we can approach Krishna through Sri Sri Gaura Nitai.

Lord Shiva is not part of our direct disciplic succession. It is not possible to include every great personality on the altar, I mean, Lord Brahma is not on our altar even though he is the originator of our Sampradaya. Krishna alone has millions and billions of forms, those forms are not on the altar. Just because a personality is not on the altar does not mean we do not respect that personality. For example, one of our dearest Acharyas, Narottama Dasa Thakura is not on the altar, Baladeva Visyabhushana, to whom Srila Prabhupada dedicated his Bhagavad Gita As It Is, is not on the altar. Does that mean we do not consder them worshipable?

However, here is one interesting pastime which you should kindly take note of… there were some ecstatic Kirtanas going on in the ISKCON temple in London, England. Srila Prabhupada instructed his disciples to place 2 more Vyasasanas in the temple room, for Lord Shiva and Narada Muni, who were coming to attend the ecstatic Kirtanas. Srila Prabhupada could see who was coming for Kirtanas. Even today, it is said that at Brahma Muhurta, when the altar doors open, the demigods come to the temple room to take Darshan of Krishna, maybe we can have purified vision that we can perceive their presence. 🙂 Another thing is that in Kirtana, Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda and their associates are personally present. Krishna is personally present in His name… do all of us perceive His presence?

But you know, the spiritual master is very exalted, because the spiritual master is sum total of all the demigods, and the spiritual master is the external manifestation of Krishna in this material world. When can we have the eyes to see the glory of the spiritual master who is there on the altar and sometimes also in person, that we don’t see who is not present, but see actually who is present?

Ultimately, watering the root gives water to the entire tree, we do not have to water every single leaf and branch separately and this is the key reason why, even though we respect the demigods greatly, we do not worship them.

Mahabhagavat Das

Srivatsa Das, 19th March 2013

Hare Krishna
Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Srila Gurudeva

Though Mahabhagavat Das Prabhu has clearely explained, below is the quote from Bhagavatam  (just for additional information):


SB 1.2.26

mumukṣavo ghora-rūpān
hitvā bhūta-patīn atha
nārāyaṇa-kalāḥ śāntā
bhajanti hy anasūyavaḥ

mumukṣavaḥ — persons desiring liberation; ghora — horrible, ghastly; rūpān — forms like that; hitvā — rejecting; bhūtapatīn — demigods; atha — for this reason; nārāyaṇa — the Personality of Godhead; kalāḥ — plenary portions; śāntāḥ — all-blissful; bhajanti — do worship; hi — certainly; anasūyavaḥ — nonenvious.
Those who are serious about liberation are certainly nonenvious, and they respect all. Yet they reject the horrible and ghastly forms of the demigods and worship only the all-blissful forms of Lord Viṣṇu and His plenary portions.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna, who is the original person of the Vishnu categories, expands Himself in two different categories, namely integrated plenary portions and separated parts and parcels. The separated parts and parcels are the servitors, and the integrated plenary portions of vishnu-tattvas are the worshipful objects of service.

All demigods who are empowered by the Supreme Lord are also separated parts and parcels. They do not belong to the categories of vishnu-tattva. The vishnu-tattvas are living beings equally as powerful as the original form of the Personality of Godhead, and They display different categories of power in consideration of different times and circumstances. The separated parts and parcels are powerful by limitation. They do not have unlimited power like the vishnu-tattvas. Therefore, one should never classify the vishnu-tattvas, or the plenary portions of Näräyana, the Personality of Godhead, in the same categories with the parts and parcels. If anyone does so he becomes at once an offender by the name päsandi. In the age of Kali many foolish persons commit such unlawful offenses and equalize the two categories.

The separated parts and parcels have different positions in the estimation of material powers, and some of them are like Käla-bhairava, Smasäna-bhairava, Sani, Mahäkäli and Candikä. These demigods are worshiped mostly by those who are in the lowest categories of the mode of darkness or ignorance. Other demigods, like Brahmä, Siva, Sürya, Ganesha 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-guna) of material nature worship only vishnu-tattvas. Vishnu-tattvas are represented by various names and forms, such as Näräyana, Dämodara, Vämana, Govinda and Adhokshaja.

The qualified brähmanas worship the vishnu-tattvas represented by the sälagräma-silä, and some of the higher castes like the kshatriyas and vaisyas also generally worship the vishnu-tattvas.

Highly qualified brähmanas situated in the mode of goodness have no grudges against the mode of worship of others. They have all respect for other demigods, even though they may look ghastly, like Käla-bhairava or Mahäkäli. They know very well that those horrible features of the Supreme Lord are all different servitors of the Lord under different conditions, yet they reject the worship of both horrible and attractive features of the demigods, and they concentrate only on the forms of Vishnu because they are serious about liberation from the material conditions. The demigods, even to the stage of Brahmä, the supreme of all the demigods, cannot offer liberation to anyone. Hiranyakasipu underwent a severe type of penance to become eternal in life, but his worshipful deity, Brahmä, could not satisfy him with such blessings. Therefore Vishnu, and none else, is called mukti-päda, or the Personality of Godhead who can bestow upon us mukti, liberation. The demigods, being like other living entities in the material world, are all liquidated at the time of the annihilation of the material structure. They are themselves unable to get liberation, and what to speak of giving liberation to their devotees. The demigods can award the worshipers some temporary benefit only, and not the ultimate one.

It is for this reason only that candidates for liberation deliberately reject the worship of the demigods, although they have no disrespect for any one of them.


your servant
Srivatsa Das

Geetha, 19th March 2013

Hare Krishna

Thank you so much for enlightening me in this matter.


Geetha Rao

Harish V Menon, 19th March 2013

Hare Krishna Prabhujis,

Please kindly accept my humble obeisances.

Thank you so much for enlightening me !

your servant,
Harish V Menon

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Author: Mahabhagavat Das SDA

I am a formally initiated disciple of His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari. My spiritual master was initiated by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1971. He is the author of the famous Ultimate Self Realization Course. Check it out at www.joincourse.com.

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