Vishnu & Shiva, who is the Supreme?

Who is Supreme, Shiva or Vishnu/Krishna? The discussion rages on, and some will never accept. But what do the authoritative sources say?

Harish V, 28 Nov 2018

Hare Krishna !
Please accept my humble obeisances!

All Glories to Sri Sri Guru & Gauranga!

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!

I would like to know, how the incarnation of Lord Narasimha came to an end after slaying Hiranyakashipu. I read in SB 7.10.31 that the Lord disappeared after being worshipped by Brahmā,

SB 7.10.31 — Nārada Muni continued: O King Yudhiṣṭhira, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is not visible to an ordinary human being, spoke in this way, instructing Lord Brahmā. Then, being worshiped by Brahmā, the Lord disappeared from that place.

This query was asked by my friend who came across an article which describes the story of Sharabha (Shiva’s form), GandaBerunda (Vishnu’s form) and Pratyankira (Durga’s form). Apparently Lord Narasimha was calmed down by defeat, by Sharabha (Shiva’s form) and Pratyankira (Durga’s form). It is stated that Lord Narasimha became the devotee of Shiva after the fight.

These incidents are described in the literatures relating to Lord Shiva.

He questioned me about the supremacy of Krishna based on this story which I could not effectively answer.

Request your guidance.

your servant,
Harish V

Filip Misic, 29 Nov 2018

Dear Harish,

Your question is very intellectually satisfying and is one worth asking. Even though I myself am not very learned in all the scriptures, especially those relating to the devatas, I shall make an attempt to shed some light into this topic and thus make a ground from which devotees may also further elaborate on the subject.

This story of Lord Nrisimhadeva, becoming calmed down by defeat from Lord Siva and Durga and then praising Lord Siva, is indeed a remarkable story, considering that we as devotees of Sri Krishna worship Sri Nrisimhadeva as the Supreme Lord. But in order to analyse this narration (which will be incomplete because we would have to read the full story to get the full picture), we have to state the facts that we already know from shastras, and in this light observe this narration of Lord Shiva.

Actually, from the narrations of the Bhagavat-Purana, Lord Shiva is known as a pure devotee of Lord Krishna, if not the purest. Just like Srila Prabhupada is a pure devotee of Krishna, and could hereby produce millions of Vaishnavas by his presence, similarly Lord Shiva is a pure Vaishnava. So just see how devoted Shiva must be to Lord Vishnu; in fact, Lord Shiva is often depicted as being fixed in samadhi, meditation. But who or what is he meditating on? He is meditating on Lord Narayana, paramesvara, the Supreme Controller.

We may refer to the prayers given by Lord Shiva to Krishna in the 8th Canto of the Bhagavatam to support these statements. When Lord Shiva heard of the pastimes of Hari where He appered as a woman to captivate the demons and enable the devatas to drink the nectar, he went to meet Lord Hari. After arriving, Shiva offered respect to Vishnu and spoke as follows:
śrī-mahādeva uvāca
deva-deva jagad-vyāpiñ
jagad-īśa jagan-maya
sarveṣām api bhāvānāṁ
tvam ātmā hetur īśvaraḥ
“Lord Mahādeva said: O chief demigod among the demigods, O all-pervading Lord, master of the universe, by Your energy You are transformed into the creation. You are the root and efficient cause of everything. You are not material. Indeed, You are the Supersoul or supreme living force of everything. Therefore, You are Parameśvara, the supreme controller of all controllers.”
This is very remarkable, because Shiva is himself addressing the Lord as the Supreme (sarvesam api bhavanam tvam atma hetur isvaraha): “You are the supreme living force of everything and therefore you may be called isvara.” In a following verse, Shiva also states: (ananda-matram avikaram ananyad anyat) “You are always in transcendental bliss, You are changeless, You are seperated from everything but yet You are everything.” These statements given by Shiva are very significant. Also, it is not that he is speaking allegorically or that there is some hidden meaning to this. No. He is addressing the Lord like this in order to show his position as subordinare to Lord Hari. Remarkably enough, soon after this, wishing to see the beautiful female form of the Lord that he had heard of, Shiva becomes captivated by Mohini-murti. It is actually narrated s follows: “His sense became agitated, Lord Shiva, victimized by lusty desires, began to follow Her, just as a lusty elephant follows a she-elephant.” (SB.8.1.27) How could it be that if Shiva was the source of all material and spiritual, that he becomes captivated by his own energy? This is actually not possible for the Supreme Lord. Shiva was running like a dog after Mohini-murti and he even discharged semen uncontrollably due to the amazing features of Srimati Mohini. Actually it is not that Siva was covered by maha maya, the material energy, because being a pure devotee of Krishna he is firmly fixed in transcendence. Rather, this was a show of Krishna´s yoga-maya, internal energy, which so captivated Siva. After this event Lord Siva understood his position and that of Lord Vishnu completely, and after circumambulating the Lord, Siva took permission and returned to his abode. So there is not really anything unclear about this, Shiva is subordinate to Krishna, who is the source of all that exists.

However, now one may question why this narration of Nrisimhadeva being defeated by Shiva is at all there? If Krishna is the Supreme Lord, how can His expansion become defeated by a jiva? It is actually very simple. Lord Siva is not just any ordinary jiva, but he is a pure Krishna-bhakta. And because Krishna is so pleased by the devotional service of His pure devotees, He is owned by these devotees. Just like in the First Canto Krishna wishes to glorify His devotee Bhishma by allowing Yudhisthira to be perplexed just so he can hear the council of Bhishmadeva and become relieved. In fact, when Krishna arrived at Bhishma´s deathbed with arrows in him, He even bowed down to Him (SB 1.9.4). So Krishna will sometimes allow Himself to be seemingly degraded in order to glorify His pure devotee. So similarly, this narration of Sri Nrisimhadeva and Lord Siva can be examined in this light. Nrisimhadeva put himself in a low position and allowed Siva to conquer Him just in order to glorify Siva. Lord Siva is a greta mahatma and he is know to be the destroyer of cosmic manifestation at the time of annihilation. So his strength is truly remarkable. But even though Sri Nrisimhadeva allowed Hiself to be beaten by Shiva, it does not mean that therefore Siva is higher than Narayana. This would be a conclusion made by somebody who is not receiving the Vedas from a bona fide authority and is concocting his on mental speculations about the narrations of the shastras, while not even studying the Srimad Bhagavatam and Srimad Bhagavad-gita. This is a very intimate topic, and we as sadhikas cannot really understand the transcendental relationships between Krishna and his devotees. We have the tendency to analyse stories from a material perspective, when in fact the narrations of the Vedas are transcendental.

Narrations like this are not so much read by Vaishnavaas, but they are very pleasing to devotees of Lord Shiva. Vaishnavas do not read stories like this, beacause they wish to rather read narrations which glorify the Lord. Just like the compiler of the Vedas Sri Vyasadeva arranged the Srimad Bhagavatam, which is filled with topics related to Lord Hari and His devotees. Bhagavatam is considered to be the ripended fruit of Vedic literature. This is the opinion of the great devotee Suta Goswami (nigama kalpa-taror galitam phalam (SB 1.1.3)) and all the acharyas like Ramanujacharya, Vishnu Swami, Madhvcarya, coming down from the disciplic succession started by Krishna Himself. These personalities were situated on the highest platform of transcendence, namely love of God, and therefore we choose to follow in their footsteps. And as for the converstaion you had with your friend, we should be aware with whom we have philosophical discussions. Just like Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu advised that we should not associate with mayavadis, because they can illusion our intelligence by their false conclusion of the Vedas. So similarly we should not associate, or at least consult, with people who are not performing sravanam kirtanam (unless we are very learned in shastra and can defeat their arguments). Because without the regulatory chanting of the Lords Holy Names a person should be known to possess a demoniac mentality. In this mentality nobody can come to the perfect conclusion of the Vedic literature (vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyo (BG 15.15)), which is to surrender ones life to Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead (aham adir hi devanam (BG 10.2)).

I hope my explanation and my view of this matter has not been expressed in too much length. I hold this subject a very important topic amongst devotees of Krishna and therefore have chosen to speak on this matter. I encourage anybody to further elaborate on this.

Hoping this proves to be helpful to you,

your servant, Filip

Harish V Menon, 30 Nov 2018

Hare Krishna Filip Prabhuji,

Please accept my humble obeisances!

Thank you so much for your enlightening explanation !

your servant,
Harish V

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 01 Dec 2018
Hare Krishna!

Thank you for the question and the heartfelt answer.

Here is my (short) response:

  1. Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead per Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam
  2. Sri Veda Vyasa composed 18 Puranas, 6 are in mode of ignorance, 6 in the mode of passion, and 6 in the mode of goodness
  3. Of the 6 in the mode of goodness, 1, Srimad Bhagavatam is in the mode of pure goodness
  4. Bhagavad Gita is regarded even by Adi Shankara (widely accepted as an incarnation of Lord Shiva, and also with scriptural evidence) as the topmost Upanishad – please read the introduction of Bhagavad Gita As It Is.
  5. Something beneficial can certainly be learned from all Puranas and all Vedic literature, but not the Supreme Absolute Truth, which is available perfectly only in Srimad Bhagavatam
  6. In the Bhagavad gita, it is clearly mentioned about faith in the various modes, how faith in the mode of ignorance accepts religion to be irreligion and irreligion to be religion.

But we don’t want to argue anything with anyone – we follow the authority of the disciplic succession – we are like the soldiers in a minefield walking behind the minesweeper, we step exactly where the soldier in front of us has stepped, we don’t deviate from the realized Acharyas in our disciplic succession. If someone wants to follow, good, otherwise they are welcome to stay in the material world until they come to their senses.

In general, there is one saying I heard from one of our spiritual masters in ISKCON…
“you can lead the horse to the water, you can’t make him drink,
you can lead a man to wisdom, you can’t make him think”.

Urging everyone to please carefully read the Bhagavad Gita As It Is and Srimad Bhagavatam ourselves. Or at least this article http://www.krishna.com/brahma-vishnu-shiva

your servant,
Mahabhagavat Das
dasadas.com

Filip Misic, 01 Dec 2018
Yes, this is nicely said.

your servant, Filip

Priya Harinath, 01 Dec 2018


Jaya!! Thank you Harish Prabhuji for the wonderful question and thank you Filip Prabhu and Mahabhagavat Das Prabhu for the enlightening and amazing answers. We are really fortunate to be part of this wonderful Vaisnava sanga.

your humble servant
Priya Harinath

Nikhil Mishra, 02 Dec 2018

Hare Krsna
All glories to Srila Guru and vaishnava devotees

It was wonderful to read conversations over this topic. I am unable to stop myself to put my points also here, which are not directly from Srimad Bhagavatam, but somehow I loved them while I researched this topic during my own dilemma.

Kindly forgive me and correct me if you find any discrepancy or offensive here.

Indeed relation between Lord Hari and Lord Shiva is very sweet. Both try to belittle themselves in order to glorify other. And I thoroughly love reading such kathaa/stories.

I see Adi shankaracharya (incarnation of Lord Shiva) saying
“bhaja govindam bhaja govindam govindam bhaja mudha mate”
I.e.
Worship Govinda, worship Govinda,
Worship Govinda, oh fool

And in in another revered scripture “Ram Charit Manas” by Goswami Tulsidas , i read Lord Ram proclaiming
“shiva darohi mama bhagata kahava so nara sapanehu mohi na pava
sankar bimukh bhagati chaha mori so naraki mudha mati thori”

Summary Translation :
one who consider himself/herself devotee of Mine but have repellency from Lord Shiva, such person can not find Me even in his/her dreams. If a person insult Shiva and desires My devotion , then he is a fool and worth going to hell.

So I bow down to Lord Hari and Lord Shiva who play Lila’s which are inconceivable by my little intellect.

Hari bol
Nikhil


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When did the Kali Yuga start?

When exactly did the current age we live in, kaliyuga, the age of quarrel and hypocrisy begin?

Nikhil Mishra, 23 March 2018

Hare Krsna
Humble obeisance unto feet of Guru and Gauranga.

I was reading book ” KRSNA”. In chapter 52, it is stated that King Muchukunda after coming out of cave realised that current yuga was kaliyuga. Therefore he decided to go to badrikashram.

but i had heard that kaliyuga started when King Parikshit left his body.

i think that king muchukunda episode had happened before mahabharat and king Parikshit time was after Mahabharat.

so how to understand when kaliyuga started? Kindly put some light in this matter.

Sincerely
nikhil

Eshwar rao javvadhi, 23 March 2018

Hare Krishna Prabhuji,
Please accept My dandavat pranams
All glories to srila prabhupada
all glories to sri guru and gauranga.

My Answer is subjected to seniors corrections prabhuji.

As far as My knowledge is concern, King Muchukunda after fighting a war on behalf of demigods he was very tired and he slept in that cave for a very long time by which the yuga got changed.

Kali yuga started after the death of parikshat maharaja.

Thank you
your servant
Isvara Puri Dasa

Nikhil Mishra, 23 March 2018

yes prabhu ji..he was asleep for long. later woke up by kalyavan and thus angered king muchukunda turned kalyavan into ashes just by mere glacing.
but as i could understand reading upto this chapter 52 , this pastime of Lord is enacted before mahabharat began. thats why i amconfused.
hare krsna

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 24 March 2018

Dear Sriman Nikhil,

Hare Krishna!

You are referring to this passage from the Krishna Book, Chapter 52:

” When Mucukunda, the celebrated descendant of the Ikṣvāku dynasty, was favored by Lord Kṛṣṇa, he circumambulated the Lord within the cave and then came out. On coming out of the cave, Mucukunda saw that the human species had surprisingly been reduced in stature to pygmy size. Similarly, the trees had also been far reduced in size, and Mucukunda could immediately understand that the current age was Kali-yuga. Therefore, without diverting his attention, he began to travel north. “

The Krishna Book is a summary of the 10th Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam – when summarizing, it may be necessary to leave out certain details or be unclear about specifics even though the essence was not lost in Srila Prabhupada’s summarization.

On the cosmic scale changes between ages appear like quick cutoffs, but when we are looking at it from our scale, changes happen relatively gradually. Even though there is certainly a specific cut-off time for yugas, the changes are gradual – for example, we are currently in the first 500 years of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Golden Age that will last for another 9500 years… but the full descriptions of this Age are not immediately manifested. So does that mean the Golden Age has not begun? No, not at all.

Elsewhere it is stated that as long as Sri Giri Govardhan is still visible above the ground, the effects of Kali Yuga will not be fully manifested, By Sri Govardhan’s potency… so does that mean that Kali Yuga has not started?

Also, the first years of the Dvapara yuga were not like the last years of Dvapara yuga, for example – it was not homogenous that one fine day everything suddenly changed.

From descriptions of our parents and grandparents, we can understand that times have indeed changed – what was once considered rude is today considered gentlemanly, for example.

For example, an extract from the chapter summary of SB 10.52, is as follows

” King Mucukunda, shown mercy by Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, offered obeisances and circumambulated Him. The King then left the cave and saw that humans, animals, trees and plants were all smaller than when he had fallen asleep. From this he could understand that the Age of Kali was at hand. Thus, in a mood of detachment from all material association, the King began worshiping the Supreme Lord, Śrī Hari.”

The specific verse is SB 10.52.2:

saṁvīkṣya kṣullakān martyān
 paśūn vīrud-vanaspatīn
matvā kali-yugaṁ prāptaṁ
 jagāma diśam uttarām

” Seeing that the size of all the human beings, animals, trees and plants was severely reduced, and thus realizing that the Age of Kali was at hand, Mucukunda left for the north.”

In the previous verse 10.52.1:

śrī-śuka uvāca
itthaṁ so ’nagrahīto ’nga
 kṛṣṇenekṣvāku nandanaḥ
taṁ parikramya sannamya
 niścakrāma guhā-mukhāt

” Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: My dear King, thus graced by Lord Kṛṣṇa, Mucukunda circumambulated Him and bowed down to Him. Then Mucukunda, the beloved descendant of Ikṣvāku, exited through the mouth of the cave.”

King Muchukunda was personally graced by Sri Krishna, and was highly intelligent.

We can see that he did not want to get infected by the dark effects of the Kali yuga and departed immediately to purify and meditate and be Krishna conscious.

Intelligent man, King Muchukunda, compared to me, who inspite of first-hand observing the ill effects of this age, haven’t fully removed material desires from my heart!

Sincerely,
Mahabhagavat Das

Rahul Mangla, 24 March 2018

Hare Krishna!

It all happened during end of dvaparyuga, when effects of kaliyuga started appearing. We can understand it to be during overlap period ie. dvaparyiga ending and kaliyuga about to start.

Others please may correct.

Sincerely,
Rasika Krishna Das

Nikhil Mishra, 24 March 2018

Hare Krishna
Thank you all devotees and specially Mahabhagvat prabhu for detailed answer and giving me further knowledge regarding relation between Sri GovardhanJi and intensity of kaliyuga.
Translation of following verse written in your mail clears doubts in my mind where it is stated that “Age of Kali was at hand”.
-The specific verse is SB 10.52.2:

saṁvīkṣya kṣullakān martyān
 paśūn vīrud-vanaspatīn
matvā kali-yugaṁ prāptaṁ
 jagāma diśam uttarām

“Seeing that the size of all the human beings, animals, trees and plants was severely reduced, and thus realizing that the Age of Kali was at hand, Mucukunda left for the north.”

thank you so much
your servant
Nikhil

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The Dark Well of the Material World

Material existence is compared to a dark well… why such a dark analogy? Well read on!

Vasudevan K, 4 December 2017

Respected devotees,

Hare Krishna,

Please accept my humble obeisanaces.

All glories to Srila prabhupada

All glories to srila gurudeva and gurumathaji

I have heard that there is a sloka in bhagavatham which describes material world as dark well and living entity who has fallen into the well is catching a creeper and that creeper is constantly chewed by 2 rats – One white and one black. Insdie the darkwell there is a phython with it’s mouth wide open and on top of the well there is a tiger which is ready to devour the living entity if he comes out. At that time some few drops of honey falls on the mouth of the person and he completely forgets his precarious condition.

The creeper is the life span, 2 rats (black and white ) are the day and night, phython is the jaws of death and tiger is the liberation.

Can you please let me know the sloka for it with it’s sloka number?

Always an insignificant servant,

Hare Krishna,

Vasudevan K

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 29 January 2018

Dear Sriman Vasudevan,

Hare Krishna!

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

Sorry for the extreme delay in getting back to you. As a group, we are guilty of ignoring your sincere question and we beg your forgiveness for our tardiness.

The analogies you mention, at least most of them, are included in the later conversation between Jada Bharat, the great realized soul, and Maharaja Rahugana, a-proud-but-receptive-king-turned-disciple.

These analogies are mentioned in the 13th Chapter of the 5th Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam.

https://www.vedabase.com/en/sb/5/13

Summary text of the chapter is as follows:

“The brāhmaṇa Jaḍa Bharata became very kind to King Rahūgaṇa, and to disassociate him from the material world, he spoke figuratively of the forest of the material world. He explained that this material world is like a great forest in which one becomes entangled due to association with material life. In this forest there are plunderers (the six senses) as well as carnivorous animals like jackals, wolves and lions (wife, children and other relatives) who are always anxious to suck the blood from the head of the family. The forest plunderers and the carnivorous blood-sucking animals combine to exploit the energy of a man within this material world. In this forest there is also a black hole, covered by grass, into which one may fall. Coming into the forest and being captivated by so many material attractions, one identifies himself with this material world, society, friendship, love and family. Having lost the path and not knowing where to go, being harassed by animals and birds, one is also victimized by many desires. Thus one works very hard within the forest and wanders here and there. He becomes captivated by temporary happiness and becomes aggrieved by so-called distress. Actually one simply suffers in the forest from so-called happiness and distress. Sometimes he is attacked by a snake (deep sleep), and due to the snakebite he loses consciousness and becomes puzzled and bewildered about discharging his duties. Sometimes he is attracted by women other than his wife, and thus be thinks he enjoys extramarital love with another woman. He is attacked by various diseases, by lamentation and by summer and winter. Thus one within the forest of the material world suffers the pains of material existence. Expecting to become happy, the living entity changes his position from one place to another, but actually a materialistic person within the material world is never happy. Being constantly engaged in materialistic activities, he is always disturbed. He forgets that one day he has to die. Although he suffers severely, being illusioned by the material energy, he still hankers after material happiness. In this way he completely forgets his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

It is risky to read verses or chapter summaries without context – especially without Srila Prabhupada’s purports, so I invite everyone to please read the entire interaction from start to finish.

https://www.vedabase.com/en/sb/5/10

https://www.vedabase.com/en/sb/5/11

https://www.vedabase.com/en/sb/5/12

and of course

https://www.vedabase.com/en/sb/5/13

and for better understanding, followed by

https://www.vedabase.com/en/sb/5/14

However, everyone one of us is meant to study Srila Prabhupada’s books in great detail. To this end, we have the Bhagavata Online Academy, the 2017 class of which is about to stop accepting applications and the 2018 class is about to begin accepting applications.

Sincerely,
Mahabhagavat Das

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Is Krishna Govardhana or Meru? One or the other, or both?

Krishna says He is Meru. Krishna also says He is Govardhan? And in some places it is mentioned that Govardhan is a devotee of Krishna. How is all this possible?

Brajanath Das, 12 November 2016

Hare Krishna Dear Devotees,

I offer to you my respectful obeisances!

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

All glories to Srila Gurudeva!

Please help me to understand –

In Bg 10.23 Krishna says “… and of mountains I am Meru.” Then who is Govardhana? Govardhana is Krishna or His devotee?

your servant,
Brajanath Das

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 03 December 2016

Dear Brajanath Prabhu,

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

Wrt. “In Bg 10.23 Krishna says “… and of mountains I am Meru.” Then who is Govardhana? Govardhana is Krishna or His devotee?”

It is incorrect to think that Krishna can be either one or the other. Krishna is unlimited.

In SB 10.24.35, this is the direct statement of Krishna:

kṛṣṇas tv anyatamaṁ rūpaṁ
 gopa-viśrambhaṇaṁ gataḥ
śailo ’smīti bruvan bhūri
 balim ādad bṛhad-vapuḥ

“Kṛṣṇa then assumed an unprecedented, huge form to instill faith in the cowherd men. Declaring “I am Govardhana Mountain!” He ate the abundant offerings.”

The purport states this:

quote
In Chapter Twenty-four of Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrīla Prabhupāda writes: “When everything was complete, Kṛṣṇa assumed a great transcendental form and declared to the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana that He was Himself Govardhana Hill in order to convince the devotees that Govardhana Hill and Kṛṣṇa Himself are identical. Then Kṛṣṇa began to eat all the food offered there. The identity of Kṛṣṇa and Govardhana Hill is still honored, and great devotees take rocks from Govardhana Hill and worship them exactly as they worship the Deity of Kṛṣṇa in the temples. The followers of the Krsna consciousness movement may therefore collect small rocks or pebbles from Govardhana Hill and worship them at home, because this worship is as good as Deity worship.”

Lord Kṛṣṇa had induced the residents of Vṛndāvana to assume a significant risk on His behalf. He convinced them to neglect a sacrifice to what is, after all, the powerful government of the universe and to worship a hill called Govardhana instead. The cowherd community did all this simply out of love for Kṛṣṇa, and now to convince them that their decision was correct, Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared in an unprecedented, huge transcendental form and demonstrated that He Himself was Govardhana Hill.

unquote

Also, in the 10th chapter of Bhagavad Gita, Krishna is answering these questions by Arjuna:

Bg 10.16 — Please tell me in detail of Your divine opulences by which You pervade all these worlds.
Bg 10.17 — O Kṛṣṇa, O supreme mystic, how shall I constantly think of You, and how shall I know You? In what various forms are You to be remembered, O Supreme Personality of Godhead?
Bg 10.18 — O Janārdana, again please describe in detail the mystic power of Your opulences. I am never satiated in hearing about You, for the more I hear the more I want to taste the nectar of Your words.

The words of Krishna describe His opulences. But His opulences are unlimited, still Krishna wants to give a hint of His greatness.
For example, it is not that Krishna is every shark or every banyan tree, or the Gandharva named Chitraratha…
But we can understand that the opulence of every shark, every banyan tree, that is a spark of Krishna’s splendor.

Srila Prabhupada writes this in the purport to BG 10.40:

“As stated in the Vedic literature, although the opulences and energies of the Supreme are understood in various ways, there is no limit to such opulences; therefore not all the opulences and energies can be explained. Simply a few examples are being described to Arjuna to pacify his inquisitiveness.”

Srila Prabhupada writes in the purport to BG 10.42:

“The Supreme Lord is represented throughout the entire material universes by His entering into all things as the Supersoul. The Lord here tells Arjuna that there is no point in understanding how things exist in their separate opulence and grandeur. He should know that all things are existing due to Kṛṣṇa’s entering them as Supersoul. From Brahmā, the most gigantic entity, on down to the smallest ant, all are existing because the Lord has entered each and all and is sustaining them.”

your servant,
Mahabhagavat Das

Shyamapriya devi dasi, 19 December 2016

Hare Krishna! Brajanath Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari Srila Gurudeva.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
By the mercy of Sri Guru and Gauranga, I had a great fortune to go on Vraj Mandal Parikrama this year. On the day of Govardhan Parikrama (22 0ct 2016), all devotees (about 1200 in number) reached Govind Kund. And we had a Srimad Bhagavatam class there. The speaker was His Holiness Prabodhananda Sarasvati Swami Maharaj and His Holiness Radha Raman Swami Maharaj and His Holiness Bhakti Narasimha Swami Maharaj were among the audience.

The question Prabodhanana Sarasvati Swami Maharaj ji put to the audience was

“Is Govardhan- Krishna or Bhakta? Or both?”

Maharaj ji asked us to raise hands. Many hands were in the air for Govardhan is ‘Krishna’. Many hands again for Govardhan is ‘bhakta’. And of the few hands raised for Govardhan is both-Krishna and His devotee, my hand (hesitatingly!) was up too. I remember from a lecture that Govardhan is both Krishna and His devotee but apparently, forgot the details.

Maharaji beautifully explained how Sri Giri Govardhan is both Bhagavan and bhakta.

Inconceivable, but a fact! And this is how we can understand.

[Please note that I am writing on the strength of what I noted down in my journal during the SB class (mentioned above), personal query to His Holiness Lokanath Swami Maharaj and from various lectures I came across (by His Holiness Radhanath Swami Maharaj, His Holiness Giriraj Swami Maharaj, His Holiness Radha Govind Swami Maharaj and His Holiness Lokanath Swami Maharaj)]

Sri Giri Govardhan – Sri Krishna Himself

Mahabhagavat Prabhu has already quoted and given many references to explain this in detail.

Also, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gives a Govardhan shila to Srila Raghunath Das Goswami (with the thumb impression of Mahaprabhu on it) and says, He could see this Giriraj Shila as Brajendra Nandan, Lord Himself. Even today one can visit Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda Temple in Vrindavan and have darshan of this shila. I remember, Srila Gurudeva and Srimati Gurumataji took all of us to this temple during their Vrindavan visit last kartik (year 2015).

Sri Giri Govardhan – devotee

The simple-hearted Gopi-girls of Vraja say:

hantayam adrir abala hari-dasa-varyo
yad rama-krsna-carana-sparasa-pramodah
manam tanoti saha-go-ganayos tayor yat
paniya-suyavasa-kandara-kandamulaih

“Of all the devotees, this Govardhana Hill is the best! O my friends, this hill supplies Krsna and Balarama, along with Their calves, cows and cowherd friends, with all kinds of necessities water for drinking, very soft grass, caves, fruits, flowers and vegetables. In this way the hill offers respects to the Lord. Being touched by the lotus feet of Krsna and Balarama, Govardhana Hill appears very jubilant.” (SB 10.21.18)

Srila Prabhupada translates, hanta, “oh” (expression reflecting how Gopis were so happy and with great joy talking with other Gopi girls) ayam adrir, “this hill (Govardhan)” is hari-dasa-varyah, “the best among the servants of the Lord (Hari)”, “which is touched by the lotus feet of Sri Krishna and Sri Balaram”- rama-krishna-carana-sparasa. And “he appears very jubilant” (pramodah).

So here is a devotee, who descended from Goloka (a wonderful story of Sri Govardhan’s appearance on planet Earth is described in Garga samhita), only to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna. And he is considered the best of the devotees of Sri Krishna (hari-dasa-varyo) because he dedicates his entire body in the service of the Lord and His associates (cowherd boys, girls and cows etc.) He supplies them nourishment by providing clean, refreshing drinking water, different varieties of fruits and roots to eat. The caves and green lustrous pastures on the hill became the sporting grounds for the Lord to play with His friends and for herding His cows and calves. And it is very significant to note here that Gopis mention that Sri Govardhan was so happy and joyfully rendering this service (pramodah). The servant is so happy serving his master and the master is so happy that His servant is so happy serving Him as if a transcendental competition is set between the duo.

This wonderful reciprocation between the Lord and his devotee is further seen in the Govardhan lila- the puja of Govardhan followed by the attack by Indra and how Lord lifts Govardhan on His little (pinky) finger and how Govardhan faced the brunt of the ferocious, thunderous attacks by the ‘pralaya’ clouds (I forgot the name of the clouds summoned during the devastation of the material creation) with great joy just for the Lord and to protect His devotees.

So the conclusion is Giriraj is both Sri Krishna and His devotee simultaneously.

Then the obvious question may arise:

What mood we sadhakas should develop so we get full mercy of Sri Krishna or Sri Giri Govardhan?

Being followers of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who came in the mood of Lord Hari’s servant and taught us gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah, by becoming and serving the servant of the servant of the Lord, we become recipients of Sri Krishna’s full mercy. And sastras show many pastimes of the Lord where a devotee of the Lord exhibited more mercy and compassion.

No doubt, it is equally potent to worship Sri Govardhan as both Sri Krishna or His devotee, but by following the mood of Lord Chaitanya, the mood of the gopis, the mood of becoming the servant of the servants of the Lord we will always get more mercy and please Sri Guru and Sri Krishna is the conclusion of the lecture.


In the same regard, couple of years ago, in a personal meeting (myself with my brother and parents) I had an opportunity to ask a question to His Holiness Lokanath Swami Maharaj.

(The following is based on what little I could remember from the conversation with His Holiness Lokanath Swami Maharaj, on evening walk outside his asrama, at the foot hill of Sri Govardhan, and also from a lecture by His Holiness on Govardhan Puja, this year 2016 at Barsana)

Q: What is the significance of Govardhan Pastime? (My doubt was why this pastime had to take place for 7 days and nights when the All Mighty, Sri Krishna could have stopped it immediately)

A: It gave an opportunity to all the living entities of Vrindavan to have personal and close association of Sri Krishna. They all spent 7 days and nights at the lotus feet of Sri Krishna. And there were many reciprocations between Krishna and every devotee (which of course were very special and unique to each individual.)

And while remembering and writing all this, it suddenly dawned on me what the above answer meant. This pastime clearly shows- when we take shelter of a devotee (Sri Govardhan) we get direct shelter of the Lotus feet of Sri Krishna.

Brajanath Prabhu, I thank you very much and appreciate for asking this wonderful question on this forum, for while attempting this exercise, it helped me drive home with the following message that Indirectly we get the direct benefit of associating with Lord Sri Krishna, when we serve the devotee(s) of the Lord.

Hope this answer is of some help.

And if further inputs or corrections needed in the above, I humbly beg the readers to add/ point them out for better understanding.

Your servant,

Shyamapriya devi dasi


Nashvin, 20 December 2016

Hare Krsna!

Yes, an important aspect of the reason for the Govardhana pastime is that Krsna wanted to associate with all His various devotees. Generally, He associates with different groups of devotees at different times (with cowherd boys during the day, gopis during the night etc). However, during this pastime, He was able to exchange loving glances and feelings with all the residents of Vrndavana, simultaneously.

your servant,
Nashvin

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What is the difference between occupational duty and prescribed duty?

What is the duty of a human being? What is prescribed? What about our ability? How to ensure that we can do what’s most important, what’s most urgent, and what’s most urgent and important? How to prioritize?

Bhakta Sunil, 06th January 2016

Hare Krishna every one,

Please accept my humble respects
All Glories to Vaishnavas

Please enlighten about occupational duty and prescribed duty , are both same or different?

Thanks in anticipation,
sunil

Prasadj dube, 08th January 2016

Hare Krishna!

Occupational duty means to attend the works of his livelihood. Prescribed duty means doing the eternal service to the Supreme Lord by devotedly chanting his name hare krishna hare krishna .

Prasadj dube

Shyamapriya devi dasi, 08th January 2016

Hare Krishna,

Thank you for this question!

The English dictionary says ‘occupation’ means job or profession and the word ‘prescribed’ means advisable or authorized.

And as per vedic understanding-

Occupational duties or Varnasrama-dharma are duties related to the four divisions of material— (namely brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya and śūdra) and and spiritual life (brahmacarya, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa).[SB 4.20.9] and

Prescribed duties or Sva-dharma mean duties enjoined according to one’s psychophysical condition, under the influence of three modes of material nature. [Bg 3.35]

Srila Prabhupada, explains more on prescribed duties as follows in the purport of Bg 3.35 :

“One should therefore discharge his prescribed duties in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness rather than those prescribed for others. Materially, prescribed duties are duties enjoined according to one’s psychophysical condition, under the spell of the modes of material nature. Spiritual duties are as ordered by the spiritual master for the transcendental service of Kṛṣṇa. But whether material or spiritual, one should stick to his prescribed duties even up to death, rather than imitate another’s prescribed duties. Duties on the spiritual platform and duties on the material platform may be different, but the principle of following the authorized direction is always good for the performer. When one is under the spell of the modes of material nature, one should follow the prescribed rules for his particular situation and should not imitate others. For example, a brāhmaṇa, who is in the mode of goodness, is nonviolent, whereas a kṣatriya, who is in the mode of passion, is allowed to be violent. As such, for a kṣatriya it is better to be vanquished following the rules of violence than to imitate a brāhmaṇa who follows the principles of nonviolence. Everyone has to cleanse his heart by a gradual process, not abruptly. However, when one transcends the modes of material nature and is fully situated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he can perform anything and everything under the direction of a bona fide spiritual master. In that complete stage of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the kṣatriya may act as a brāhmaṇa, or a brāhmaṇa may act as a kṣatriya. In the transcendental stage, the distinctions of the material world do not apply. For example, Viśvāmitra was originally a kṣatriya, but later on he acted as a brāhmaṇa, whereas Paraśurāma was a brāhmaṇa but later on he acted as a kṣatriya. Being transcendentally situated, they could do so; but as long as one is on the material platform, he must perform his duties according to the modes of material nature. At the same time, he must have a full sense of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.” [ Purport Bg 3.35]

From the above reading we understand that, since every living entity (in human form) has acquired a particular nature (under the influence of three modes of nature -goodness, passion and ignorance), the vedic injunction accordingly prescribes one of his duty (through the institution of varna and asrama) by which one can gradually elevate oneself to the stage of transcendence, where one is free from the influence of these three modes.

Now, coming back to your question- both occupational and prescribed duties in vedic sense mean one and the same. i.e the vedic authorities prescribe a living entitiey to take up a certain profession or occupation (as a brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya or sudra) based on one’s pscho-physical condition (a consequence of three modes of nature). Along with this, it also reminds us to perform such duties not with the motive of material gain but to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead ultimately, then only can one be happy and content.

In conclusion, whatever our occupational or prescribed duties may be, the essence remains the same Jivera svarupa haya krsnera nitya dasa. The real occupation duty or Santana-dharma of a spirit soul or a living entity as prescribed by the authorized sources/scriptures like Bhagavad-gita is ultimately to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna by eternally serving Him with love.

I would appreciate if others can fill in the lacunae in the above explanation.

Sincerely,
Shyamapriya devi dasi

Guru Vandana devi dasi, 09th January 2016

Hare Krishna!

Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.6, Suta Goswami says, “The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self.”

Here Srila Prabhupada purposefully translates the word ‘dharma’ as occupation and not as religion. He says the word religion is misunderstood. It is taken as faith which can change but dharma or occupation is which cannot change.

When one is on bodily platform he manufactures some occupation to earn his livelihood according to his body, mind and circumstances. As a medical doctor one may have a livelihood by medical practice, as a civil servant one may serve his country etc.. But these occupations are temporary. It is finished as soon as the body is finished.

The question asked here is to describe about occupational duty. We must now inquire and understand what is our real occupational duty?

In verse 1.2.6 it is mentioned as ‘paro dharma’. Para means transcendental . Suta Goswami explains ‘bhaktih adhoksaje’. Our real dharma is -loving devotional service.

Krishna came to teach us this real occupational duty. The merciful Lord says to just give up all bodily occupation, mental occupation, intellectual occupation and surrender unto Him. It doesn’t mean these occupational duties as an engineer, lawyer, doctor, householder, etc .are not of real consideration and to be given up thinking that devotional service is executed under whatever circumstances we may whimsically decide. Arjuna performed his occupational duty not as a material obligation but as a devotional service.

Prescribed duty- Just like animals if we are simply interested only in eating, sleeping, mating and defending then there are no prescribed duties. But who wants to rise above animal life for him prescribed duties are there. According to the modes of nature Krishna has given prescribed duties in verses BG 18.42, 18.43,18.44

Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom and religiousness—these are the natural qualities by which the brahmanas work.

Heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity and leadership are the natural qualities of work for the ksatriyas.

Farming, cow protection and business are the natural work for the vaisyas, and for the sudras there is labor and service to others.

When I asked Srila Gurudeva what my prescribed duty is , His Grace replied, “Your prescribed duties are what I give you.”

Are both same or different?

One’s occupational duties are prescribed in scriptures and by Guru and Vaishnavas. So for those who are interested in real occupation both occupational duties and prescribed duties are one and the same.

your servant
Guru Vandana devi dasi

Premananda das, 12th January 2016

Thank you for the wonderful question by Bhakta Sunil and beautiful answers by Mother Guruvandana and Mother ShyamaPriya.

your servant
Premananda Das

Premananda das, 13th January 2016

Hare Krishna

My apologies for the major and very careless typo error .I had written But Krishna was married to Draupati and Subhadara.
I was referring to Arjuna.
This is certainly my fault and only due to kindness and due diligence of Mahabhagavata prabhu I am glad to be corrected.Hare Krishna

Occupational duty is the external activities people are engaged for example a traveling monk,student ,businessman,housewife etc.
Prescibed duty means to make the purpose behind these responsibilities one with the purpose of loving God (Krishna).
This becomes natural when we are in association with saintly people who are already doing that.
It means to give up separate motives.
Lord Krishna told Arjuna .”You should surrender unto me .”But Arjuna was a married man.He was married to Draupadi and Subhadra and he had eight children and even grand children.He was a warrior.After hearing Bhagavat-Gita he did not become a sannyasi, a person in the renounced order.
He performed his duty of fighting because he was a military man and he continued to maintain his family.But he did all these in the spirit of service rather than spirit of greed and exploitation .He did it as an expression of love for God.
In this way he rightly oriented his occupation and domestic situation.He did not renounce it but renounced greed,envy pride and lust .
With a pure state of consciousness and a desire to serve he aspired for the ideal love of God through the situation he was in.
In conclusion as Srimati Gurumata and Srila Gurudeva always instructs that all actives should be dovetailed in Krishna consciousness.Krishna is the Centre of all our activities.Krishna is the Supreme enjoyer and we are His servants who are enjoyed by Him.Jivera swarupa Hoya Nitya Krishna Das. Our constitutional position is that we are all servants of Krishna.In this situation only we will be happy.

your servant
Premananda Das

Dra Varni, 15th January 2016

Hare Krsna, Thanks you for all the wonderful insight. For a contribution I would say to remember “you are not this body”

drv

Bhakta Sunil, 17th February 2016

A delayed but hearty Thank you very much! to prasadj dube Prabhu , Shyamapriya devi mataji , Guru Vandana Devi Mataji , Premananda Prabhu , Dra Varni ji and every one who contributed to enlighten on this nectar which at my stage , i could not dive deeply into , and relish as much as it actually is

All Glories to your replies!

your insignificant servant,
Bhakta Sunil

Please subscribe to daily inspirational emails from His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari (Writings and lectures archived at www.sda-archives.com), written fresh every day from his travels around the world sharing the highest spiritual knowledge with everyone. Sign up now at www.joincourse.com

How old is the Universe? When will it all end?

How old is the Universe? When will the Universe end? What transitions take place? Do we have a way beyond speculation?

There is a lot of speculation about the age of the Universe. Every little while, there is some new number, with language like “research suggests”, or “new evidence reveals”, etc. Numbers like 9 Billion years, 13.8 Billion years, etc., are thrown around. All speculative.

Then there’s the Biblican/Abrahamic version, which puts the age of the Universe to just a few thousand years.

There is authoritative information available, however, as to:

  • How old is the Universe presently
  • When will the Universe be dissolved
  • What transitions take place in the Universe
  • How big is the Universe
  • One Universe or more than one Universe

According to the Srimad Bhagavatam https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/3/11/advanced-view/, which gives information from the perspective of the Creator of the Universe, this particular universe has a total lifespan of approximately 311 Trillion Years. https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/8/17/

Of that lifespan, approximately 50% is completed. So the present age of the Universe is 155 Trillion Years. http://www.krishna.com/how-he-creates

This Universe is one of innumerable, just like bubbles in the foam of the waves of the ocean.

There is a partial dissolution of the Universe periodically, every 4.32 Billion Years.

No matter how long all this may seem to be, in the context of eternity, this is but a flash in the pan.

Our Universe, The Source of the Universe is practically Infinite. We are each an infinitesimal part of The Infinite. What does that make us then? Why should we be attached to one particular situation on one particular planet in one particular Universe in one particular iteration of the Creation?

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How do I become pure and sinless?

How do I become pure and sinless? Do I fear God? What do I do to be pure and sinless? How do I avoid doing things that are sinful?

Deepak A, 25th March 2016

Hare Krishna devotees

Please accept my humble obeisances
All Glories to Srila Gurudeva
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada

Am not a devotee! But i believe god is there in all things.I fear for him.

I always will be correct to my conscience and do things right.

But i have did some things wrong suddenly i feel like am away from god and he is angry on me for deeds i did.

Please tell me what Lord Krishna say about committing sin and how to come out from that.

I want to be pure as god both in deeds and heart .

Please help me!!!

your humble servant
Deepak Appu

Sridhar Das, 25th March 2016

Hare Krishna Deepak!

Please accept my humble obeisances!
All glories to Srila Gurudeva!
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Many answers that shall fully clarify all your doubts are coming up. I however just wanted to state:

I’m sure our understanding of God is that Krishna is the Supreme Person–ality of Godhead, who is one without a second, the rest being his servants/representatives.

We must try to confirm our understanding/sentiments from Vedas to assure we’re understanding correct which you’ve done sincerely.

When we read Bhagavad Gita with the mood of a devoted learner, an aspiring devotee, we will understand what is right, what is wrong, what Krishna wants, what pleases Him, what displeases Him.

When you feel Lord’s anger for you, I wish to correct that this is Krishna’s actual nature confirmed from His statements:

samo ‘haḿ sarva-bhūteṣu

na me dveṣyo ‘sti na priyaḥ

ye bhajanti tu māḿ bhaktyā

mayi te teṣu cāpy aham

I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all. But whoever renders service unto Me in devotion is a friend, is in Me, and I am also a friend to him.(BG 9.29).

The solution to sins is:

sarva-dharmān parityajya

mām ekaḿ śaraṇaḿ vraja

ahaḿ tvāḿ sarva-pāpebhyo

mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ

Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear. (18.66)

And if one simply accepts that I’m a servant of God or Krishna and I must obediently serve Him then whether one be the most sinful person addicted to most sinful activities but if He accepts this truth, Krishna guarantees to not only forgive their sins but even remove them and liberate the person like a caring father. For such a soul Krishna says:

api cet su-durācāro

bhajate mām ananya-bhāk

sādhur eva sa mantavyaḥ

samyag vyavasito hi saḥ

“Even if one commits the most abominable action, if he is engaged in devotional service he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated in his determination.” (BG 9.30)

When we serve the Lord and His devotees, automatically their godly qualities descend upon us if they’re pleased.

So the conclusion is to engage in some devotional service to Krishna in association of His devotees and all your problems (not current but complete lifetime) shall be solved.

Thank you for the nice question.

your servant
Shridhar Das

Bhakta Sunil, 27th March 2016

Hare Krishna Deepak bhai,

Please accept my humble respects,
All Glories to Vaishnavas,

If one does something wrong and feel away from God, it indicates that one has to purify oneself to prevent mistakes and misdeeds which can prick the conscience,

As long one has impurities in heart, one is forced to act in a way depending on the modes of material nature which one has acquired from one’s past desires and actions,

“Bhagavad Gita As It Is” Chapter 3 Verse 5 helps us to understand this point, as follows :

Translation :

Everyone is forced to act helplessly according to the qualities he has acquired from the modes of material nature; therefore no one can refrain from doing something, not even for a moment.

Purport :

It is not a question of embodied life, but it is the nature of the soul to be always active. Without the presence of the spirit soul, the material body cannot move. The body is only a dead vehicle to be worked by the spirit soul, which is always active and cannot stop even for a moment. As such, the spirit soul has to be engaged in the good work of Krishna consciousness, otherwise it will be engaged in occupations dictated by the illusory energy. In contact with material energy, the spirit soul acquires material modes, and to purify the soul from such affinities it is necessary to engage in the prescribed duties enjoined in the sastras. But if the soul is engaged in his natural function of Krishna consciousness, whatever he is able to do is good for him. The Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.5.17) affirms this:

tyaktva sva-dharmam caranambujam harer
bhajann apakvo ’tha patet tato yadi
yatra kva vabhadram abhud amusya kim
ko vartha apto ’bhajatam sva-dharmatah

“If someone takes to Krishna consciousness, even though he may not follow the prescribed duties in the sastras or execute the devotional service properly, and even though he may fall down from the standard, there is no loss or evil for him. But if he carries out all the injunctions for purification in the sastras, what does it avail him if he is not Krishna conscious?” So the purificatory process is necessary for reaching this point of Krishna consciousness. Therefore, sannyasa, or any purificatory process, is to help reach the ultimate goal of becoming Krishna conscious, without which everything is considered a failure.

Regarding your asking about freedom from sins, please read the Question-Answer taken from daily “Thought for the Day” emails , dated 7th June 2015 :

Question: Freedom from My Many Sins?

I am 23 years old. Now when I look back I can recollect many sins which I have done. The reason that I was not aware until now that this was sinful is due to my own karma from my previous birth. So even though I did not have the knowledge of right and wrong, I am solely responsible for this because it was my choice to be in ignorance. If in this birth I do good, is it possible that I may get spiritual knowledge in my next birth?

What is initiation? What is the complete process for getting initiated?

Can we live a grihastha (married) life after getting initiated?

Your reader

Answer: Surrender to Krishna Frees You from All Karma

There is no need to wait until your next birth to get spiritual knowledge and live a pure life. You can be born again right through the process known as initiation. In this way you will qualify to enter the eternal abode of Lord Sri Krishna at the time of death.

Initiation is when you take a vow to strictly follow the principles of Krishna consciousness for your entire life. This means that you agree to chant at least 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra every day on japa mala beads and that you also agree to strictly avoid illicit sex, meat eating, intoxication, and gambling for your entire life. At the time of initiation you also accept a highly advanced devotee who is fixed in Krishna consciousness as your spiritual master and you agree to always abide by whatever instructions he gives you. By becoming initiated and keeping your vow, you are a fully surrendered devotee of Krishna. The spiritual master and Krishna free you from the reactions from all of your previous sinful activities for millions of lifetimes in this material world. Initiation is essential for one who wants to attain genuine happiness.

Srila Prabhupada emphasizes the importance of initiation in his purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 10.2.18:

“Unless one is initiated by the right person, who always carries within his heart the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one cannot acquire the power to carry the Supreme Godhead within the core of one’s own heart.”

He also writes in his purport to Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya Lila, 24. 331:

“As far as the time of diksha (initiation) is concerned, everything depends on the position of the guru. As soon as a bonafide guru is received by chance or by a program, one should immediately take the opportunity to receive initiation.”

Regarding your question about married (grihastha) life, many of our disciples are married and are progressing very nicely in Krishna consciousness. This option remains open to you. If you like, you can marry a nice Krishna conscious girl who is already a dedicated member our Krishna consciousness movement and raise children in Krishna consciousness.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
www.joincourse.com

Hope this helps,

Sincerely,

Bhakta Sunil

Shyamapriya devi dasi, 30th March 2016

Hare Krishna

Actually, you are a devotee! We all are devotees. Even the trees, animals, birds, every living entity. However, we all are in a state of forgetfulness, just like a man who has lost his memory has difficulty to identify himself and where he belongs to. Then with the help of a doctor the patient is made to remember his past life (i.e. his real life) with the help of pictures, videos,etc. Slowly the patient recovers. But this is a very crude example to make us understand of our actual position.

A mango will be called a mango, whether it is at an unriped stage or at a completely ripened, sweet nectarean stage. Just like an unriped mango also has to work its way towards that ripened stage, we all devotees, slowly and slowly have to work on removing those layers and layers, heaps and heaps of dust (ignorance) covering our hearts under the expert guidance of a doctor i.e. a spiritual master to come to that mature, pure devotee stage. So if you haven’t found a doctor yet, this is a very good time to find one (from the wonderful list of spiritual masters in ISKCON and one of them, as you know, is our Srila Gurudeva) and start working your way to becoming completely pure as your wonderful desire is to be.

Sridhar Prabhu has already given well researched answer to your question.

But if you still feel to enquire further, our many experts on board are always there to help you.

Thankyou
Sincerely,
Shyamapriya devi dasi

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Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 01st April 2016

Dear Deepak,

Hare Krishna!

The scriptural references you have, and also encouragement from the devotees.

Krishna is not some mean-bully-in-the-sky type personality.
Krishna is your best friend and supreme well-wisher.

If Krishna gives you correction, it will be in the mood of a loving parent who gives some punishment to a child, not some vindictive revenge-seeker-mentality.

Anyways, you know that what you did was not right, so you are feeling some remorse and guilt, but use this to go closer to Krishna by taking up some activity that will reduce the chance of you performing similar actions again.
Guilt is useless, but if we leverage remorse to lead us in the right direction, then that is ideal. Doing something practical that uplifts our consciousness is the key:

kecit kevalayā bhaktyā
 vāsudeva-parāyaṇāḥ
aghaṁ dhunvanti kārtsnyena
 nīhāram iva bhāskaraḥ

Only a rare person who has adopted complete, unalloyed devotional service to Kṛṣṇa can uproot the weeds of sinful actions with no possibility that they will revive. He can do this simply by discharging devotional service, just as the sun can immediately dissipate fog by its rays. SB 6.1.15

This is the final answer of Sukadeva Goswami to the question of Maharaja Parikshit which was as follows:

kvacin nivartate ’bhadrāt
 kvacic carati tat punaḥ
prāyaścittam atho ’pārthaṁ
 manye kuñjara-śaucavat

Sometimes one who is very alert so as not to commit sinful acts is victimized by sinful life again. I therefore consider this process of repeated sinning and atoning to be useless. It is like the bathing of an elephant, for an elephant cleanses itself by taking a full bath, but then throws dust over its head and body as soon as it returns to the land. SB 6.1.10.

The verses from SB 6.1.10 to SB 6.1.15 are a wonderful exchange. Please consider reading at http://www.vedabase.com/sb/6/1/10

Have you carefully read any of the books of Srila Prabhupada, even if it is a small book? Have you tried chanting Hare Krishna? Have you rendered any practical devotional service to the devotees?

Sincerely,
Mahabhagavat Das

Deepak, 26th May 2015

Hare Krishna to all
Please accept my humble obeisances.
All Glories to GuruDev.
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.

My question is :- which Yajnas should be perform in this Kaliyug and how to perform it

Hare Krishna

Rathin Mandal, 27th May 2015

Hare Krishna Deepak,

Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Srila Gurudeva and Srimati Gurumataji,

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.

For this age only Sankirtana Yajna is recommended. For doing the yajnas that were recommended in other ages, neither do we have that much of life span, nor physical strength and not enough resources. That is why other yajnas are not recommended.

your Servant
Rathin

Sridhar Das, 06th June 2015

Hare Krishna Deepak,

My humble obeisances to you,
All Glories to Srila Gurudeva and Srimati Gurumata!
All Glories to His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada!

You have correctly read that Sankirtan Yajna is the recommended Yajna for this age as confirmed below:

kṛte yad dhyāyato viṣṇuṁ
 tretāyāṁ yajato makhaiḥ
dvāpare paricaryāyāṁ
 kalau tad dhari-kīrtanāt

“Whatever result was obtained in Satya-yuga by meditating on Viṣṇu, in Tretā-yuga by performing sacrifices, and in Dvāpara-yuga by serving the Lord’s lotus feet can be obtained in Kali-yuga simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra.” (SB 12.3.52)

It can be performed by anyone irrespective of any past qualifications, irrespective of family backgrounds and can be chanted anytime and any place (we don’t carry beads in the bathroom though).

your servant
Sridhar Das

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Randomness is a Myth

Randomness is a myth. Randomness does not exist. But we can learn to free ourselves from the complexities of what appears to be random

You heard that right! Yes. Randomness is another one of those things that doesn’t exist, just like nothingness. Nothing is ever random. Randomness is one of these (or a variant) in every single case:

  1. A figment of imagination
  2. A sign of ignorance
  3. A device, tool, a starting point

Randomness as Imagination – it is very tempting, for someone who wants to pretend that their actions have no consequences, or someone who does not want to take responsibility for their actions, to pretend that the Universe is random. But of course, imagination goes only so far – it is not true.

Randomness as Ignorance – If I gave you an extremely complex mathematical formula, and asked you to show someone else the results of that formula with different hidden inputs, those results can very well appear to be random. But they are not random to someone who knows the equation and the inputs, in this case, you and me. So the outputs simply appear random, they are not so.

Randomness as a tool, a starting point – In many mathematical and scientific disciplines, just like the square root of -1, “i“, to pretend that the space is populated with random values helps to “seed” certain algorithms. This process implicitly acknowledges that randomness is simply a tool, a starting point to reach a model or understanding that is not random.

So if everything is not random, then why does it appear to be? Complexity. The laws of material nature, which are anything but random, are the creation of God, who is above the laws of material nature. The laws themselves are quite simple, but when the laws interact with themselves over and over again, the complexity they generate is mind-boggling.

Take a simple example of me planting one apple seed, just one seed. Not all seeds sprout but if/when this one does, it brings forth a seedling. Not all seedlings grow to be a tree, but if/when this one does, it bears flowers. Not all flowers turn to fruit, but some do. Not all fruits have seeds in them, but most of them do. When these seeds disperse, many sprout, give rise to trees, and this process endlessly continues, as long as the material circumstances are favourable.

After just a few decades, it will be impossible for a person who didn’t witness me planting the first apple seed to detect which apple tree was the first one. It will be impossible, even for me, to tell which tree an apple came from… or to tell for sure which specific seed caused which specific tree to grow.

Which brings us to the oft-heard saying, humans can count the fruits in a tree or the seeds in a fruit, but only God knows how many trees there are inside one seed. God is infinite, and therefore, it is possible for God to know all the permutations, with vision undisturbed by time.

Karma, the law of action and reaction has been described in the Vedic scriptures many millenia ago. A more recent rediscovery of the principles of Karma is by Isaac Newton “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction“. Sometimes, people say “what goes around, comes around“.

I heard that Lord Buddha said that if one were to stack the skeletons of all the bodies one soul has inhabited, those bones will block out the sun! Every soul inhabiting the material world has had many many actions (seeds), giving rise to many many beginning to sprout (seedlings), with many different resultant symptoms (flowers and fruits). It is hard to take one particular symptom of one’s life today and try to ascertain what specific action caused it. But just because it is hard doesn’t mean that randomness is the answer.

So what is the solution? How does one get out of the dense forest of karmic actions and reactions? The Bhagavad Gita defines a particular type of action and classifies it as “akarma” – “inaction”. This inaction is not some sort of inert “do nothing / sit still / renounce all action” practiced by the immature spiritualists or lazy materialists, but it is those actions that are spiritual in nature – that which serve to reconnect spirit to the Supreme Spirit, God.

The intricacies of action are very hard to understand. Therefore one should know properly what action is, what forbidden action is and what inaction is.” BG 4.17

There is no randomness, everything is actually quite ordered and structured, it is simply a matter of the choices we have made in the past. And just as our present circumstances may appear complex, we can unravel and simplify just as someone pieces together a jumbled up jigsaw puzzle, with time, patience, and determination.

aprarabdha-phalam papam
kutam bijam phalonmukham
kramenaiva praliyeta
vishnu-bhakti-ratatmanam
 
Persons who are completely engaged in the devotional service of the Lord Vishnu the Personality of Godhead—becomes completely extinct from all sorts of vicious reactions which either potential, germinating, seedling or current by a gradual process. (from Padma Purana)
 
असत्यमप्रतिष्ठं ते जगदाहुरनीश्वरम् ।
अपरस्परसंभूतं किमन्यत्कामहैतुकम् ॥ १६.८ ॥
asatyam apratiṣṭhaṁ te
jagad āhur anīśvaram
aparaspara-sambhūtaṁ
kim anyat kāma-haitukam
 
They say that this world is unreal, with no foundation, no God in control. They say it is produced of sex desire and has no cause other than lust. BG 16.8 https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/16/8/
 
कर्मणो ह्यपि बोद्धव्यं बोद्धव्यं च विकर्मणः ।
अकर्मणश्च बोद्धव्यं गहना कर्मणो गतिः ॥ ४.१७ ॥
karmaṇo hy api boddhavyaṁ
boddhavyaṁ ca vikarmaṇaḥ
akarmaṇaś ca boddhavyaṁ
gahanā karmaṇo gatiḥ
 

The intricacies of action are very hard to understand. Therefore one should know properly what action is, what forbidden action is and what inaction is. BG 4.17 https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/4/17/

 
BG 4.17:
The intricacies of action are very hard to understand. Therefore one should know properly what action is, what forbidden action is and what inaction is.
BG 4.18:
One who sees inaction in action and action in inaction is intelligent among men, and he is in the transcendental position, although engaged in all sorts of activities.

What could possibly be unknown to You, O master? With vision undisturbed by time, You witness the minds of all living beings. Nevertheless, on Your order I will speak. SB 10.64.11 https://www.vedabase.com/en/sb/10/64/11

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How did we fall into the material world?

Rathin Mandal, 14th May 2013

Hare Krishna,

Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Srila Gurudeva and Gurumataji,
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

We say that modes of material nature is there only in the material world,
But when we decided to enjoy separately from Krishna, look for our identity separate of Krishna and to lord the Manifestation ourself.
How should this nature of us be understood which is independent of modes of material nature?

your Servant
Rathin

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 15th May 2013

Dear Rathin Mandal,

Hare Krishna,

Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Gurudeva.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Yes, it is correct that the modes of material nature do not exist in the spiritual world.
But free will, that exists in the spiritual world. The desire to enjoy separately and independently from Krishna is the root cause of the living entity’s bondage in the material world. When the living entity desires to enjoy in this way, then the living entity then comes under the modes of material nature and is transferred to the material world.

In purport to SB 4.29.65, Srila Prabhuda wrote:

kṛṣṇa-bahirmukha hañā bhoga-vāñchā kare

nikaṭa-stha māyā tāre jāpaṭiyā dhare

(Prema-vivarta)

Actually the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, is the supreme enjoyer. When a living entity wants to imitate Him, he is given a chance to satisfy his false desire to lord it over material nature. That is the beginning of his downfall. As long as he is within this material atmosphere, he has a subtle vehicle in the form of the mind, which is the stockpile of all kinds of material desires. Such desires become manifest in different bodily forms. Śrīla Nārada Muni requests the King to accept this fact from him because Nārada is an authority. The conclusion is that the mind is the storehouse of our past desires, and we have this present body due to our past desires. Similarly, whatever we desire in this present body will be expressed in a future body. Thus the mind is the source of different kinds of bodies.

If the mind is purified by Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one will naturally in the future get a body that is spiritual and full of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Such a body is our original form, as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu confirms, jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya — kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’: [Cc. Madhya 20.108] “Every living entity is constitutionally an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa.” If a person is engaged in the devotional service of the Lord, he is to be considered a liberated soul even in this life. This is confirmed by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī:

īhā yasya harer dāsye

karmaṇā manasā girā

nikhilāsv apy avasthāsu

jīvan-muktaḥ sa ucyate

“One who engages in the transcendental service of the Lord in body, mind and words is to be considered liberated in all conditions of material existence.” (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.187) The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is based on this principle. We must teach people to absorb themselves always in the service of the Lord because that position is their natural position. One who is always serving the Lord is to be considered already liberated. This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (14.26):

māḿ ca yo ‘vyabhicāreṇa

bhakti-yogena sevate

sa guṇān samatityaitān

brahma-bhuyāya kalpate

“One who always engages in the spiritual activities of unalloyed devotional service at once transcends the modes of material nature and is elevated to the spiritual platform.” The devotee is therefore above the three modes of material nature and is even transcendental to the brāhmaṇa platform. A brāhmaṇa may be infected by the two baser modes — namely rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa. A pure devotee, who is free from all material desires experienced on the mental platform and who is also free from empiric philosophical speculation or fruitive activity, is always above material conditioning and is always liberated.

——end purport —-
Plus, Srila Gurudeva’s answer here is very instructive, worth meditating on.

This is from TTFD dated 4th Nov 2009.
Have the category of souls known as nitya-baddha always been in the material hemisphere, hence the term “eternally conditioned”?

According to the philosophy of some Gaudiya Vaisnava groups this is the case. They say that the nitya-baddhas have never ever been in the spiritual world, thus the term “eternally conditioned” and that the nitya-siddhas have never left Krishna’s association. They say that the nitya-baddhas have been in a place known as the tatashta-shakti from where they descended into the material world of their own free choice. However, His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada states that we were once face to face with Sri Krishna in the spiritual planets, that we fell down to become little imitation lords here, and that we are then known as nitya-baddha, eternally conditioned. What is the exact situation of the living being?

Question No.2 : The jivatmas in the spiritual world decided by their own free will to depart. They were sac-cid-ananda vigraha: eternally in full knowledge and bliss. How and why could they they have decided by their own free will to leave Krishna’s association, since everything in the spiritual world is fully spiritual and the material influence of maya or illusion is conspicuous by her absence? Though he has a free choice to depart as he desires [Free-will always been the prerogative of the living being as well as his dharma- pure loving servants of the Supreme Person Krishna,], how could he have possibly been influenced to do so? For example, a split second second decision to leave due to temptation of being an enjoying over lord in the heavenly planets. Is this not some kind of material maya? Would he not have known the consequences due to his higher spiritual aware state of knowledge? Why would he have wanted to leave Krishna’s blissful association?

Answer:

The reason that many devotees get confused over the terms nitya siddha (eternally liberated) and nitya baddha (eternally conditioned) is that they consider them from within the context of time. In other words in material consciousness we are conditioned by kala or time into thinking that there are such things as past, present, and future. If we remember that in the liberated state there is no influence of time, that there is simply the eternal present with no past or future, then we can begin to understand how one can be eternally conditioned or eternally liberated and can switch from one status to the other.

To say that the conditioned souls have never been in the spiritual world with Krishna is anti-sastric and absurd when we consider that Lord Caitanya states that the constitutional nature of every living being is that he is the eternal servant of Krishna.

The eternally liberated souls in the spiritual existence have the independence to either love Krishna or leave Krishna. There has to be a choice. Otherwise love cannot exist, because love is voluntary. As long as the independence of free choice is there, there has to be a possibility of misusing that free choice. And possibility means that there must be certain degree of probability as well. Of course in this case the probability would be smallest possible percentage of 1 divided by infinity (1/?). But if we apply this infinitesimal percentage against the infinite number of living beings who inhabit the spiritual world, guess what we get. We get an infinite number of living beings who misuse their free will and give up the Lord’s association. (1/? x ? = ?)

At the boundary between the spiritual and material worlds time does not exist. Therefore the crossing of the living being over this boundary cannot be measured in time. This means that there is no moment in time when he entered the material world. In other words, if he is in the material world there is no moment in time when he entered it and he has therefore been there eternally. Hence, the term “eternally conditioned”. And when he chooses to surrender to Krishna and go back to Godhead he enters into that realm where there is no past or future. Therefore when he goes back to Godhead, he was always there. Hence the term “eternally liberated”.

Of course, as long as our thought patterns are conditioned by time we cannot fully comprehend these things. But if you will chant Hare Krishna regularly with love and devotion your consciousness will be liberated from the constraints of time, and you will be able to gradually realize these things in full.

And another answer from TTFD dated 29 July 2012:

“In this regard it is confirmed by Srila Prabhupada in a lecture he gave in Mayapur on 11 February 1976 that every living entity is originally nitya-siddha or eternally liberated. But sometimes just as a king may fall asleep and dream that he is a pauper, the eternally liberated soul, because of his marginal nature, may fall into the illusion that he can enjoy separately from Krishna or God. And just as a dream of only a few seconds can appear to be going on forever, when the soul forgets his identity, his illusioned dream-like state seemingly goes on forever and he is thus designated as nitya-baddha or eternally conditioned. Therefore when the living being does not misuse his free will he is known as nitya-siddha and when he misuses his free will he is known as nitya-baddha. “

Sincerely,
Mahabhagavat Das

Rathin Mandal, 15th May 2013

Hare Krishna,

Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Srila Gurudeva and Gurumataji,
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you very much for the answer Prabhuji. This helps me to understand the subject more clearly.

your Servant
Rathin

Update: Q&A from Thought for the Day Dated 09 Apr 2020

Question:  Why Did We Leave the Spiritual World?  

Dear Sankarshan Das Prabhu,   Haribol.   Why did we souls in the material universe leave the spiritual universe in the first place?  

Mayur  

Answer:  We Wanted to Become God

From: ISKCON Austin, Texas USA
My Dear Mayur, 

Please accept my blessings.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.  

In this connection Srila Prabhupada explains as follows in his purport to Srimad Bhagavatam, Fourth Canto, Chapter 28, Text 54 as follows:  

“The original home of the living entity and the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the spiritual world. In the spiritual world both the Lord and the living entities live together very peacefully. Since the living entity remains engaged in the service of the Lord, they both share a blissful life in the spiritual world. However, when the living entity wants to enjoy himself, he falls down into the material world. ”  

In conversation recorded in Washington, D.C. on 8 July 1976 Srila Prabhupada also explains:   “So even in the Vaikuntha, if I desire that ‘Why shall I serve Krishna? Why not become Krishna?” I immediately fall down. That is natural. A servant is serving the master, sometimes he may think that ‘If I could become the master.’ They are thinking like that, they are trying to become God. That is delusion. You cannot become God. That is not possible.”  

I hope this meets you in the best of health and in an ecstatic mood.

Your ever well-wisher, 
Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Please subscribe to daily inspirational emails from His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari (Writings and lectures archived at sda-archives.com), written fresh every day from his travels around the world sharing the highest spiritual knowledge with everyone. Sign up now at www.backtohome.com

Pray to Lord Krishna or others?

Meenakshi, 03 April 2013

Hare Krishna,

Please accept my humble obeisances
All glories to Sarila Prabhupada,

After reading Gita I came to know that Lord Krishna is Supreme. Prior to that i used to worship Lord Shiva and Maa Durga. Now I am confused, I feel guilty if I stop worshiping Lord Shiva and Maa Durga  but at the same time feel very doubtful if I worship them knowing that Krishna is Supreme personality of Godhead. Please advice.

ys
Meenakshi

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 03 April 2013

Hare Krishna!

Meenakshi Mataji, please don’t worry… Lord Shiva and Mother Durga are father and mother of this material world. Loving parents are always happy to send their children to a good school, good college, good Guru, etc., in fact, parents who are in Krishna consciousness feel themselves successful if their children get the shelter of a pure devotee, and become initiated disciples of a Guru.

Similarly, it is not the purpose of Lord Shiva and Mother Durga to keep sincere devotees of Krishna in this material world. In fact, they have taken up this  very difficult task of taking charge of Krishna’s foolish misguided children. Such misguided persons are kept in the material world so that they don’t cause any impediment in the service of the pure devotees in the spiritual worlds. So, those who get the real mercy (loving mercy or in the form of kicks of Maya) of Mother Durga and Lord Shiva, then they become devotees of Lord Krishna.

So, please kindly throw away this useless feeling of guilt, and make Lord Shiva and Mother Durga very very happy and proud of you by serving Krishna nicely and going back home to Godhead to Krishna – become discharged from this hospital called the material world 🙂

For your personal situation, you can get personal guidance of Srila Gurudeva by writing the specific personal situation to Srila Gurudeva, at sda@backtohome.com. We request that personal situations should not be discussed publicly in this group as personal situation requires specific personal advice and support, and this is not possible in a public forum. Srila Gurudeva and Srimati Gurumata will be in Vrindavan, you please make an attempt to meet them personally there.

Sincerely,
Mahabhagavat Das

Trivikrama Das, 03 April 2013

Hare Krishna!

Thank you for the wonderful explanation, Mahabhagavat Prabhu!

Actually, a devotee of Lord Shiva is not dear to him, but a devotee of Krishna is dear to him.

This is clearly given in the below purport.

quote
SB 4.24.28

yaḥ paraṁ raṁhasaḥ sākṣāt
tri-guṇāj jīva-saṁjñitāt
bhagavantaṁ vāsudevaṁ
prapannaḥ sa priyo hi me

Translation:
Lord Śiva continued: Any person who is surrendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, the controller of everything — material nature as well as the living entity — is actually very dear to me.

Purport:
Now Lord Śiva explains the reason he has personally come before the princes. It is because all the princes are devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (7.19):

bahūnāṁ janmanām ante
jñānavān māṁ prapadyate
vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti
sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ

“After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.”

Lord Śiva is rarely seen by common men, and similarly a person who is fully surrendered unto Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa, is also very rarely seen because a person who is fully surrendered unto the Supreme Lord is very rare (sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ). Consequently, Lord Śiva came especially to see the Pracetās because they were fully surrendered unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vāsudeva. Vāsudeva is also mentioned in the beginning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in the mantra oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Since Vāsudeva is the ultimate truth, Lord Śiva openly proclaims that one who is a devotee of Lord Vāsudeva, who is surrendered to Lord Kṛṣṇa, is actually very dear to him. Lord Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa, is worshipable not only by ordinary living entities but by demigods like Lord Śiva, Lord Brahmā and others. Yaṁ brahmā-varuṇendra-rudra-marutaḥ stunvanti divyaiḥ stavaiḥ (Bhāg. 12.13.1): Kṛṣṇa is worshiped by Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva, Varuṇa, Indra, Candra and all other demigods. That is also the situation with a devotee. Indeed, one who takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness immediately becomes very dear to anyone who is simply finding out and beginning to understand what Kṛṣṇa consciousness actually is. Similarly, all the demigods are also trying to find out who is actually surrendered to Lord Vāsudeva. Because the Pracetā princes were surrendered to Vāsudeva, Lord Śiva willingly came forth to see them.

Lord Vāsudeva, or Kṛṣṇa, is described in Bhagavad-gītā as Puruṣottama. Actually He is the enjoyer (puruṣa) and the Supreme (uttama) as well. He is the enjoyer of everything — the prakṛti and the puruṣa. Being influenced by the three modes of material nature, the living entity tries to dominate material nature, but actually he is not the puruṣa (enjoyer) but prakṛti, as described in Bhagavad-gītā (7.5): apareyam itas tv anyāṁ prakṛtiṁ viddhi me parām. Thus the jīva, or living entity, is actually prakṛti, or the marginal energy of the Supreme Lord. Being associated with material energy, he tries to lord it over the material nature. This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (15.7):

mamaivāṁśo jīva-loke
jīva-bhūtaḥ sanātanaḥ
manaḥ-ṣaṣṭhānīndriyāṇi
prakṛti-sthāni karṣati

“The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.”

By endeavoring to dominate material nature, the living entity simply struggles hard for existence. Indeed, he struggles so hard to enjoy himself that he cannot even enjoy the material resources. Thus he is sometimes called prakṛti, or jīva, for he is situated in the marginal potency. When the living entity is covered with the three modes of material nature, he is called jīva-saṁjñita. There are two kinds of living entities: one is called kṣara, and the other is akṣara. Kṣara refers to those who have fallen down and become conditioned, and akṣara refers to those who are not conditioned. The vast majority of living entities live in the spiritual world and are called akṣara — they are in the position of Brahman, pure spiritual existence. They are different from those who have been conditioned by the three modes of material nature.

Being above both the kṣara and akṣara, Lord Kṛṣṇa, Vāsudeva, is described in Bhagavad-gītā (15.18) as Puruṣottama. The impersonalists may say that Vāsudeva is the impersonal Brahman, but actually the impersonal Brahman is subordinate to Kṛṣṇa, as confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (14.27): brahmaṇo hi pratiṣṭhāham. That Kṛṣṇa is the source of the impersonal Brahman is also confirmed in Brahma-saṁhitā (5.40): yasya prabhā prabhavato jagadaṇḍa-koṭi. The impersonal Brahman is nothing but the effulgence or bodily rays of Kṛṣṇa, and in those bodily rays there are innumerable universes floating. Thus in all respects Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa, is the Supreme Lord, and Lord Śiva is very satisfied with those who are completely surrendered to Him. Complete surrender is desired by Kṛṣṇa, as He indicates in the last chapter of Bhagavad-gītā (18.66): sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja.

The word sākṣāt, meaning “directly,” is very significant. There are many so-called devotees, but actually they are only karmīs and jñānīs, for they are not directly devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa. The karmīs sometimes offer the results of their activities to Lord Vāsudeva, and this offering is called karmārpaṇam. These are considered to be fruitive activities, for the karmīs consider Lord Viṣṇu to be one of the demigods like Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā. Because they consider Lord Viṣṇu to be on the same level with the demigods, they contend that surrendering to the demigods is as good as surrendering unto Vāsudeva. This contention is denied herein because if it were true, Lord Śiva would have said that surrender unto him, Lord Vāsudeva, Viṣṇu or Brahmā is the same. However, Lord Śiva does not say this because he himself surrenders unto Vāsudeva, and whoever else surrenders unto Vāsudeva is very, very dear to him. This is expressed herein openly. The conclusion is that a devotee of Lord Śiva is not dear to Lord Śiva, but a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa is very dear to Lord Śiva.
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Hence, Meenakshi Mataji, Please rest assured that you have taken the best decision since  The conclusion is that a devotee of Lord Śiva is not dear to Lord Śiva, but a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa is very dear to Lord Śiva.

your servant,
Trivikrama Das

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