Posted by: adbhutam | May 25, 2015


Veda Vyāsa was not a Bigot

Veda Vyāsa, true to his loyalty to the Veda, has, in the Mahābhārata (MB) and the various purāṇas, has portrayed both Viṣṇu and Śiva as the Supreme Brahman. While it is well known that the vaiṣṇavas have undertaken a lot of pains to highlight the Hari-supremacy and oftentimes explicitly showing Śiva in poor light, sometimes using the Mahābhārata and other purāṇas, the authentic Śiva-supremacy portions have by and large not highlighted or even obfuscated without showing them at all. The intolerance of those bigots goes to the extent of caricaturing Śiva as a ‘tāmasa devatā’, not correctly understanding the purport of those references in the MB that speak of Śiva’s emergence/manifestation from the ‘wrath’ of Viṣṇu or Brahmā. Sri Appayya Dikṣita is the one who brought out the correct understanding of the term ‘wrath’ to set right the propaganda of the bigots. Here is an endeavor to bring to the fore just a sample of those portions from the Mahābhārata that speak of Śiva’s supreme personality. A few excerpts from Sri Appayya Dikṣita’s ‘Brahma tarka stava’ are also provided in this regard as further supportive material to show the Śiva supremacy.

Here are a few verses from the Mahābhārata, 13 Ānuśāsanika parva:

13014182a स एष भगवान्देवः सर्वतत्त्वादिरव्ययः

13014182c सर्वतत्त्वविधानज्ञः प्रधानपुरुषेश्वरः

13014183a योऽसृजद्दक्षिणादङ्गाद्ब्रह्माणं लोकसंभवम्

13014183c वामपार्श्वात्तथा विष्णुं लोकरक्षार्थमीश्वरः

13014183e युगान्ते चैव संप्राप्ते रुद्रमङ्गात्सृजत्प्रभुः

13014184a स रुद्रः संहरन्कृत्स्नं जगत्स्थावरजङ्गमम्

13014184c कालो भूत्वा महातेजाः संवर्तक इवानलः

13014185a एष देवो महादेवो जगत्सृष्ट्वा चराचरम्

13014185c कल्पान्ते चैव सर्वेषां स्मृतिमाक्षिप्य तिष्ठति

13014186a सर्वगः सर्वभूतात्मा सर्वभूतभवोद्भवः

13014186c आस्ते सर्वगतो नित्यमदृश्यः सर्वदैवतैः

//Thou art he that hadst created from thy right side the Grandsire Brahma, the Creator of all things. Thou art he that hadst created from thy left side Vishnu for protecting the Creation. Thou art that puissant Lord who didst create Rudra when the end of the Yuga came and when the Creation was once more to be dissolved. That Rudra, who sprang from thee destroyed the Creation with all its mobile and immobile beings, assuming the form of Kāla of great energy, of the cloud Samvartaka (charged with water which myriads of oceans are not capacious enough to bear), and of the all consuming fire. Verily, when the period comes for the dissolution of the universe, that Rudra stands, ready to swallow up the universe. Thou art that Mahadeva, who is the original Creator of the universe with all its mobile and immobile entities. Thou art he, who, at the end of the Kalpa, stands, withdrawing all things into thyself. Thou art he that pervadest all things, that art the Soul of all things, thou art the Creator of the Creator of all entities.Incapable of being seen by even any of the deities, thou art he that exists, pervading all entities. //

This description, especially the statement that Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Rudra are created from Mahādeva, corresponds to the Atharvashikha shruti that has been cited by Rāmanuja too. It can be noticed that while Ramanuja, only after a struggle, could identify the ‘Śambhu’ of that mantra with Viṣṇu, Appayya Dikṣita has no difficulty in identifying the Śambhu with Lord Mahadeva, Paramaśiva, the consort of Pārvati.

The MB continues:

//He is indestructible and Supreme Brahman. He is both existent and non-existent. Agitating both Prakriti and Purusha by means of His energy, He created therefrom the universal lord of creatures, viz., Brahma. Who is there that is competent to tell the virtues of that god of gods, that is endued with supreme Intelligence? Man is subject to conception (in the mother’s womb), birth, decrepitude, and death. Being such, what man like me is competent to understand Bhava? Only Narayana, O son, that bearer of the discus and the mace, can comprehend Mahadeva. He is without deterioration. He is the foremost of all beings in attributes. He is Vishnu, because of his pervading the universe. He is irresistible. Endued with spiritual vision, He is possessed of supreme Energy. He sees all things with the eye of Yoga. It is in consequence of the devotion of the high-souled Krishna to the illustrious Rudra whom he gratified. O Bharata, in the retreat of Badari, by penances, that he has succeeded in pervading the entire universe. O king of kings, it is through Maheswara of celestial vision that Vāsudeva has obtained the attribute of universal agreeableness,–an agreeableness that is much greater than what is possessed by all articles included under the name of wealth. 1 For a full thousand years this Madhava underwent the austerest penances and at last succeeded in gratifying the illustrious and boon-giving Siva, that Master of all the mobile and the immobile universe. In every new Yuga has Krishna (by such penances) gratified Mahadeva. In every Yuga has Mahadeva been gratified with the great devotion of the high-souled Krishna. How great is the puissance of the high-souled Mahadeva,–that original cause of the universe,–has been seen with his own eyes by Hari who himself transcends all deterioration, on the occasion of his penances in the retreat of Badari undergone for obtaining a son. 2 I do not, O Bharata, behold anyone that is superior to Mahadeva. To expound the names of that god of gods fully and without creating the desire of hearing more, only Krishna is competent. This mighty-armed one of Yadu’s race is alone competent to tell the attributes of the illustrious Siva. Verily, O king, only he is able to discourse on the puissance, in its entirety of the Supreme deity’

Says the MB:

//Thou art Kāla or Time which is the universal destroyer……Thou art the mighty ape Hanuman that aided Vishnu in the incarnation of Rama in his expedition against Ravana. …. Thou art eternal and immutable as also dependent on thyself….Thou art that Brahma who was unable to see thy end….. Thou art he who is endued with innumerable rays of light, who brings forth the universe, and who is of the form of that Soma which is drunk in sacrifices. Thou art Vyasa, the author of the Puranas and other sacred histories….Thou art he who rescues thy creatures from death (by granting them Emancipation). Thou art the cleanser of all including Brahma himself.. Endued with omnipotence, he it is that gives Emancipation to those that worship him. Thou art of terrible wrath (which thou displayest at the time of the universal dissolution). Thou ownest for thy offspring, beings higher than men and deities (viz., Brahma and Vishnu).Thou art of the form of that Vishnu who floats on the waters after the universal dissolution.(markandeya vision)//

[While there is a popular belief that it is Viṣṇu that is seen on the pipal leaf at the time of dissolution, here Vyasa says it is the form of Shiva. Shiva is the Lord of Dissolution, Pralya, as stated in the foregoing.]

[One can also notice the correct meaning of ‘wrath’, which is personified by Rudra, the power that brings about the praḷaya, cosmic dissolution. Not knowing this, the vaiṣṇavas have erred by portraying Śiva as tāmasa and try to show that Viṣṇu alone is sāttvic. The negative sense attributed to ‘wrath’ has been corrected by Appayya Dikṣita by specifically delving on this topic in his work ‘Brahmatarka stava’.]

Says the MB:

“Vasudeva said, ‘Upamanyu, who seemed to blaze with effulgence like the Sun, said unto me,–Those sinful men that are stained with unrighteous deeds, do not succeed in attaining to Isana. Their dispositions being stained by the attributes of Rajas and Tamas, they can never approach the Supreme Deity. It is only those regenerate persons who are of cleansed souls that succeed in attaining to the Supreme Deity. Even if a person lives in the enjoyment of every pleasure and luxury, yet if he be devoted to the Supreme Deity, he comes to be regarded as the equal of forest recluses of cleansed souls. If Rudra be gratified with a person, he can confer upon him the states of ether Brahma or of Kesava or of Sakra with all the deities under him, or the sovereignty of the three worlds. Those men, O sire, who worship Bhava even mentally, succeed in freeing themselves from all sins and attain to a residence in heaven with all the gods. A person who raises houses to the ground and destroys tanks and lakes indeed, who devastates the whole universe, does not become stained with sin, if he adores and worships the illustrious Deity of three eyes. A person that is destitute of every auspicious indication and that is stained by every sin, has all his sins destroyed by meditating upon Siva. Even worm and insects and birds, O Kesava, that devote themselves to Mahadeva, are enabled to rove in perfect fearlessness. Even this is my settled conviction that those men who devote themselves to Mahadeva become certainly emancipated from rebirth. After this, Krishna again addressed Yudhishthira the son of Dharma in the following words.

[There is an erroneous notion among some sectarians that Shiva cannot grant mokṣa. This is dispelled by the above statement of Veda Vyasa through the words of Kṛṣṇa. ]

Veda Vyasa was not intolerant. He has given the status of Supreme Brahman to both Shiva and Narayana. He is the foremost Hari-Hara abheda vādin.

‘Rudro nārāyaṇaścaiva ekatattvam dvidhākṛtam…’ रुद्रो नारायणश्चैव सत्त्वमेकं द्विधाकृतम् |लोके चरति कौन्तेय व्यक्तिस्थं सर्वकर्मसु ||२४|| [Rudra and Nārāyaṇa are one Principle appearing as two.]

In innumerable places in the Bhagavata and other puraṇas Veda Vyasa has brought out the trimūrti aikya too apart from Hari-Hara abheda. While he has said in the MB that Rudra and Brahma are expressions of Vishnu, he has also said that the trimurtis emanate from Shiva. In other puranas such as the Śiva and Liṅga, he has narrated the story of Brahma and Vishnu going in search of the Head and Feet of Shiva.

LiP, 1, 18

viṣṇur uvāca

ekākṣarāya rudrāya akārāyātmarūpiṇe

ukārāyādidevāya vidyādehāya vai namaḥ // LiP_1,18.1 //

tṛtīyāya makārāya śivāya paramātmane

sūryāgnisomavarṇāya yajamānāya vai namaḥ // LiP_1,18.2 //

agnaye rudrarūpāya rudrāṇāṃ pataye namaḥ

śivāya śivamantrāya sadyojātāya vedhase // LiP_1,18.3 //

vāmāya vāmadevāya varadāyāmṛtāya te

aghorāyātighorāya sadyojātāya raṃhase // LiP_1,18.4 //

īśānāya śmaśānāya ativegāya vegine

namo ‘stu śrutipādāya ūrdhvaliṅgāya liṅgine // LiP_1,18.5 //

hemaliṅgāya hemāya vāriliṅgāya cāṃbhase

śivāya śivaliṅgāya vyāpine vyomavyāpine // LiP_1,18.6 //

vāyave vāyuvegāya namaste vāyuvyāpine

tejase tejasāṃ bhartre namastejo ‘dhivyāpine // LiP_1,18.7 //

jalāya jalabhūtāya namaste jalavyāpine

pṛthivyai cāntarikṣāya pṛthivīvyāpine namaḥ // LiP_1,18.8 //

śabdasparśasvarūpāya rasagandhāya gandhine

gaṇādhipataye tubhyaṃ | guhyādguhyatamāya te // LiP_1,18.9 //

anantāya virūpāya anantānāmayāya ca

śāśvatāya variṣṭhāya | vārigarbhāya yogine // LiP_1,18.10 //

saṃsthitāyāmbhasāṃ madhye āvayormadhyavarcase

goptre hartre sadā kartre | nidhanāyeśvarāya ca // LiP_1,18.11 //

acetanāya cintyāya cetanāyāsahāriṇe

arūpāya surūpāya | anaṅgāyāṅgahāriṇe // LiP_1,18.12 //

bhasmadigdhaśarīrāya bhānusomāgnihetave

śvetāya śvetavarṇāya | tuhinādricarāya ca // LiP_1,18.13 //

suśvetāya suvaktrāya namaḥ śvetaśikhāya ca

śvetāsyāya mahāsyāya | namaste śvetalohita // LiP_1,18.14 //

sutārāya viśiṣṭāya namo dundubhine hara

śatarūpavirūpāya | namaḥ ketumate sadā // LiP_1,18.15 //

ṛddhiśokaviśokāya pinākāya kapardine

vipāśāya supāśāya | namaste pāśanāśine // LiP_1,18.16 //

suhotrāya haviṣyāya subrahmaṇyāya sūriṇe

sumukhāya suvaktrāya | durdamāya damāya ca // LiP_1,18.17 //

kaṅkāya kaṅkarūpāya kaṅkaṇīkṛtapannaga

sanakāya namastubhyaṃ | sanātana sanandana // LiP_1,18.18 //

sanatkumārasāraṅgam āraṇāya mahātmane

lokākṣiṇe tridhāmāya | namo virajase sadā // LiP_1,18.19 //

śaṅkhapālāya śaṅkhāya rajase tamase namaḥ

sārasvatāya meghāya | meghavāhana te namaḥ // LiP_1,18.20 //

suvāhāya vivāhāya vivādavaradāya ca

namaḥ śivāya rudrāya | pradhānāya namonamaḥ // LiP_1,18.21 //

triguṇāya namastubhyaṃ caturvyūhātmane namaḥ

saṃsārāya namastubhyaṃ | namaḥ saṃsārahetave // LiP_1,18.22 //

mokṣāya mokṣarūpāya mokṣakartre namonamaḥ

ātmane ṛṣaye tubhyaṃ | svāmine viṣṇave namaḥ // LiP_1,18.23 //

namo bhagavate tubhyaṃ nāgānāṃ pataye namaḥ

oṅkārāya namastubhyaṃ | sarvajñāya namo namaḥ // LiP_1,18.24 //

sarvāya ca namastubhyaṃ namo nārāyaṇāya ca

namo hiraṇyagarbhāya | ādidevāya te namaḥ // LiP_1,18.25 //

namo ‘stvajāya pataye prajānāṃ vyūhahetave

mahādevāya devānām | īśvarāya namo namaḥ // LiP_1,18.26 //

śarvāya ca namastubhyaṃ satyāya śamanāya ca

brahmaṇe caiva bhūtānāṃ | sarvajñāya namo namaḥ // LiP_1,18.27 //

mahātmane namastubhyaṃ prajñārūpāya vai namaḥ

citaye citirūpāya | smṛtirūpāya vai namaḥ // LiP_1,18.28 //

jñānāya jñānagamyāya namaste saṃvide sadā

śikharāya namastubhyaṃ | nīlakaṇṭhāya vai namaḥ // LiP_1,18.29 //

ardhanārīśarīrāya avyaktāya namonamaḥ

ekādaśavibhedāya | sthāṇave te namaḥ sadā // LiP_1,18.30 //

namaḥ somāya sūryāya bhavāya bhavahāriṇe

yaśaskarāya devāya | śaṅkarāyeśvarāya ca // LiP_1,18.31 //

namo ‘ṃbikādhipataye umāyāḥ pataye namaḥ

hiraṇyabāhave tubhyaṃ | namaste hemaretase // LiP_1,18.32 //

nīlakeśāya vittāya śitikaṇṭhāya vai namaḥ

kapardine namastubhyaṃ | nāgāṅgābharaṇāya ca // LiP_1,18.33 //

vṛṣārūḍhāya sarvasya hartre kartre namonamaḥ

vīrarāmātirāmāya | rāmanāthāya te vibho // LiP_1,18.34 //

namo rājādhirājāya rājñāmadhigatāya te

namaḥ pālādhipataye | pālāśākṛntate namaḥ // LiP_1,18.35 //

namaḥ keyūrabhūṣāya gopate te namonamaḥ

namaḥ śrīkaṇṭhanāthāya | namo likucapāṇaye // LiP_1,18.36 //

bhuvaneśāya devāya vedaśāstra namo ‘stu te

sāraṅgāya namastubhyaṃ | rājahaṃsāya te namaḥ // LiP_1,18.37 //

kanakāṅgadahārāya namaḥ sarpopavītine

sarpakuṇḍalamālāya | kaṭisūtrīkṛtāhine // LiP_1,18.38 //

vedagarbhāya garbhāya viśvagarbhāya te śiva


virarāmeti saṃstutvā | brahmaṇā sahito hariḥ // LiP_1,18.39 //

etatstotravaraṃ puṇyaṃ sarvapāpapraṇāśanam

yaḥ paṭhecchrāvayedvāpi | brāhmaṇān vedapāragān // LiP_1,18.40 //

sa yāti brahmaṇo loke pāpakarmarato ‘pi vai

tasmājjapetpaṭhennityaṃ | śrāvayedbrāhmaṇāñchubhān // LiP_1,18.41 //

sarvapāpaviśuddhyarthaṃ viṣṇunā paribhāṣitam // LiP_1,18.42 //

A gist, not exact translation, of the above is:

The Linga

The sages said, “We know that a linga is Shiva’s image. But why is Shiva worshipped in the form of a linga?”

Lomaharshana recounted the following story.

Many years ago, at the end of a destruction, there was water everywhere in the universe and the universe was shrouded in darkness. Vishnu slept on the water in his form of Narayana.

Brahma discovered Vishnu sleeping thus and woke him up. Failing to recognize Vishnu, he asked, “Who are you and what are you doing here?”

Vishnu woke up and noticed Brahma standing there. He smiled and said, “How are you, Brahma? Is everything well with my son?’

“How dare you call me your son?’ demanded Brahma. “I am Brahma, the lord of everything. I am the creator of the universe. How dare anyone call me his son?”

“You seem to have forgotten everything,” said Vishnu. “I am Vishnu and you were born from me. That is the reason why I addressed you as my son.”

Brahma did not accept this and started to fight with Vishnu. While the two were thus grappling, a shining linga suddenly appeared. It was almost as if the linga had emerged to settle Brahma and Vishnu’s dispute. The linga rose way up into the sky and it seemed to have no beginning or end.

“What on earth is this pillar of fire doing here?” Vishnu asked Brahma. “Let us investigate it. Why don’t you go up and see where it ends? As for me, I shall proceed downwards. Let us meet after a while and compare notes.”

Brahma agreed to do this. He adopted the form of a swan and flew up. Vishnu adopted the form of a boar and went down. No matter how further down Vishnu went, he could find no end to the linga. Nor could Brahma discover its upper extremity.

They returned and were amazed to find that neither had been able to find the end of the linga. They realized that they must be in the presence of a power that was greater than their own. They therefore began to pray to the linga and the sound of the mantra (incantation) om echoed all around the linga. Shiva appeared from within the linga in the form of a sage named Vedanama. He told them that it was the linga which was the origin of the universe. It was from the linga that the primordial egg (anda), the origin of the universe, had been created.

//As per the sixth chapter titled Liṅgapratiṣṭhāvarṇanam of the Kedārakhaṇḍa within the Māheśvarakhaṇḍa of Skandapurāṇa, the Ketakī flower gave a false testimony that Brahmā had seen the top of the cosmic and ever-expanding Liṅga. As a result Śiva cursed the flower that it will never be used in the worship of Śiva.//

The verse describing the curse is (Sk.Pu.

सुगन्धकेतकी चापि अयोग्या त्वं शिवार्चने।

भविष्यसि न सन्देहो अनृता चैव भामिनी॥

There are accounts in the Devī Bhāgavata and the Śiva Purāṇa also.//

//In the Devī Bhāgavata, the account occurs in the thirty-third Adhyāya of the fifth Skandha. The curse of Śiva is described in the verses (DB 5.33.44-47)//

तदाकर्ण्य हरेर्वाक्यं महादेवः सनातनः॥ कुपितः केतकीं प्राह मिथ्यावादिनि मा वद। गच्छतो मध्यतः प्राप्ता पतिता मस्तकान्मम॥ मिथ्याभिभाषिणी त्यक्ता मया त्वं सर्वदैव हि। ब्रह्मा लज्जापरो भूत्वा ननाम मधुसूदनम्॥ शिवेन केतकी त्यक्ता तद्दिनात्कुसुमेषु वै।

Translation by Svāmī Vijñānānanda under

//32-39. The Risi said :– O King! Hearing thus the divine word, both of them became ready and began energetically to measure the length of the wonderful Lingam that stood in front of them. Visnu went down to Pâtâla and Brahmâ went up to Âkâs’a to measure the Lingam and thus to ascertain their superiority. Going down some distance Visnu got tired and doing his best, when he could not find out the end of the Lingam, he returned and remained at the desired meeting place. On the other hand, Brahmâ was ascending to the skies when he got one Ketakî flower dropping from the head of the Lingam. He became over glad and returned also to the desired meeting place. Brahmâ became very much elated with vanity and when he returned, he at once showed that flower to Visnu and spoke thus the false words :– “O Visnu! This Ketakî flower has been obtained from the head of the Lingam. I have brought this to you simply that you would recognise it and be convinced in your heart.” Hearing these words of Brahmâ, Visnu saw the Ketakî flower and said :– “O Brahmâ! Who is your witness in this matter? He whose words are true, who is equal to all, who is intelligent, pure, and always of good conduct, he can be the witness in such matters of dispute.”//

The eternal Mahâ Deva, hearing the words of Visnu, spoke thus to Ketakî with great anger, “O Liar! Do not utter such false words; You dropped down from My head and Brahmâ while ascending up, picked you up on the way. Now as you have told a lie, I will never take you; you are henceforth forsaken by Me.” Brahmâ was then very much put to shame; he bowed down to Visnu; Mahâ Deva, forsook the Ketakî flower from that date.

English translation of the whole chapter can be read under the above link.

A Mahatmā is the one who unifies the various beliefs/followings. Veda Vyasa was the pioneer in that. He explicitly denounced the differentiation/fight over the supremacy of Hari or Hara:

Veda Vyasa says in the Sūtasamhitā 4 yajñavaibhavakhaṇḍa, sūtagītā 2nd chapter:

अस्ति रुद्रस्य विप्रेन्द्रा अन्तःसत्त्वं बहिस्तमः

विष्णोरन्तस्तमः सत्त्वं बहिरस्ति रजोगुणः

अन्तर्बहिश्च विप्रेन्द्रा अस्ति तस्य प्रजापतेः

अतोऽपेक्ष्य गुणं सत्त्वं मनुष्या विवदन्ति च

हरिः श्रेष्ठो हरः श्रेष्ठ इत्यहो मोहवैभवम्

सत्त्वाभावात्प्रजानाथं वरिष्ठं नैव मन्वते (40 -42)

The above cited last verse says: Deluded people dispute whether Hari or Hara that is superior. Brahmaa, the progenitor, is not considered great because there is no sattva (guna) in him since he is acting with rajas for creating. Alas! What a play of delusion!! Exclaims Veda Vyasa. Sridhara Swamin says at the end of that set of verses/commentary:

तत्तद्भक्तानां तु कलहो मोहमात्रम् इति (Bhāgavatam 10.88.5-7)

[‘the disputes between the devotees of trimurtis, however, is mere delusion.] And Vamśīdhara, another commentator to the Śrīmadbhāgavatam who elucidates Śrīdhara Swamin too, explains this line as: since there is none that is lesser among the three, the disputes among their bhaktas in the form of: one is superior and the other is inferior – is just ignorance, ajñānam.

amakrishna Paramahamsa: Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna: p.165 : //There was fighting even between Shiva and Rama. Shiva was Rama’s spiritual Guru. After a little fighting, they made it up and became once more as good friends as ever. But the fighting went on among their followers. The gibbering of the ghosts and the chattering of the monkeys could not so easily be quieted down.//

//How wonderful is its power! It entangles even a Divine Incarnation and makes Him Delusive pow- suffer from hunger, thirst, sorrow, power of Maya, misery, like an ordinary mortal. Do you not see how Rama, the Divine Incarnation, suffered for Sita? How with great sorrow, He wept bitterly when Sita was stolen away from Him ? In the Hindu mythology there is a story that Vishnu incarnated in the form of a boar to

Vishnu. He did not care to return to his Heaven, “He wanted to live as a boar. He had some little ones and He was happy with them. The Devas of the heaven thought: “How is it that our Lord does not comeback? What has happened ?” Then they went to Shiva and asked Him to persuade Vishnu to return to His heaven. Shiva came and entreated Him, but He was taking care of His young ones and paid no heed. Then Shiva tore open His body with His triad and freed Him from His self-delusion. Vishnu then laughed and returned to His heavenly abode. Such is the power of Maya! To go beyond its realm and rise above the Gunas (qualities) is extremely difficult. He who has attained to God has transcended Maya with its qualities. p.260//

Shankaracharya says in his ‘māyāpañcakam’:


Batha virachayya budhānapi prakāmam,

Bhramayati hari-hara-bhedha-bhavā,

Nagaṭhitaghaṭanāpaṭīyasī māyā. 5

5. Alas! Maya, which is adept at making the impossible happen, creates in Brahman which is homogeneous, without any parts, distinctions such as Brahma, Vishnu and Siva and thereby perplexes even the learned by making them look upon Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva as different from one another.

Thus it is clear that it is out of delusion that people think Hari-Hara bheda is absolute.

Vamśīdhara, commenting on the Srimadbhāgavatam says that all acts of Vishnu involving slaying the wicked has a Shiva-amśa in it since it is done in krodha:

In the above document the author has given innumerable references from the shruti, smrti, bhāgavatam and other puranas to establish that One Brahman alone, with a view to engage in the creation, sustenance and dissolution takes up the form of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Rudra. These three deities represent rajas, sattva and tamas. The author hastens to add that the very mention of tamas should not remind the reader of sloth, sleep, etc. that are the effects of tamas. The tamas mentioned here is the power that is essential to the work of destruction. Hence, the author says, even in the widely-admitted Viṣṇu acts of slaying of the wicked and establishing order, the slaying aspect is done not without the role of Rudra and only the establishing order is that of Viṣṇu. Hence, as taught in the Bhāgavatam Dakṣa yajna episode by Bhagavan that the knowledge of the oneness of the three: Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Rudra, alone is conducive to mokṣa, peace. And therefore the difference between the three is mere ignorance.

Shankara Bhagavatpāda too, in the footsteps of Veda Vyasa, never encouraged sectarianism. For him Hari and Hara were one and the same: In his Viṣṇu sahasranāma bhāṣya Shankara says:

While commenting on the name ‘Śiva’ occurring as the 27th name in the Viṣṇu sahasra nāma (VS), Sri Shankaracharya says: निस्त्रैगुण्यतया शुद्धत्वात् शिवः ‘स ब्रह्मा स शिवः..’ (कै.उ.८) इत्यभेदोपदेशात् शिवादिनामभिः हरिरेव स्तूयते । [being free of the three guṇas (sattva, etc.), He is Śiva. Since the Kaivalyopaniṣat instructs that He is non-different from Brahmā, Śiva…’ by the names Śiva, etc. Hari Himself is praised.

Shankara says for the name ‘bhūtakṛt’ (5th name), तमोगुणमास्थाय स रुद्रात्मना भूतानि कृन्तति कृणोति हिनस्तीति भूतकृत् [(Viśṇu) as Rudra, assuming Tamoguṇa, destroys all beings. Hence He is called ‘bhūtakṛt’.]

Shankara does not speak of a ‘separate’ Shiva/Rudra here; he makes it clear that the Vishnu about whom he is commenting in the VS, is assuming tamoguṇa to destroy the world. The word kṛntati, hinasti, show the cruelty involved in the act of killing/destroying. None can wish away these natural emotions manifesting when one engages in slaying the opponent.

For the name ‘Rudra’ (114) of the VS, Shankara cites the following Shivapurana verse:

रुद्दुःखं दुःखहेतुर्वा तद्रावयति नः प्रभुः ॥ रुद्र इत्युच्यते सद्भिः शिवः परमकारणम् ॥ 6.9.14 to say that Shiva is the Supreme Cause of the creation.

From MB Drona parva:

Also available in:

The translations given below are not very perfect; they are only indicative. One may read the available translations from the appropriate source.

व्यास उवाच||

महान्तमेतमर्थं मां यं त्वं पृच्छसि विस्मयात् |

तत्प्रवक्ष्यामि ते सर्वं समाधाय मनः शृणु ||५०||

[Ashvathāma had asked Vyasa: ‘Why, with what power, did the Āgneya astra go in vain?’ To this Vyāsa replied: I shall reply this great question of yours.]

योऽसौ नारायणो नाम पूर्वेषामपि पूर्वजः |

अजायत च कार्यार्थं पुत्रो धर्मस्य विश्वकृत् ||५१||

[This Nārāyaṇa is born before all. He was born for a particular purpose as son of Dharma, the Viśvakṛt]

स तपस्तीव्रमातस्थे मैनाकं गिरिमास्थितः |

ऊर्ध्वबाहुर्महातेजा ज्वलनादित्यसंनिभः ||५२||

[He engaged in severe penance on the Maināka mountain. He held up his hands.]

षष्टिं वर्षसहस्राणि तावन्त्येव शतानि च |

अशोषयत्तदात्मानं वायुभक्षोऽम्बुजेक्षणः ||५३||

[For sixty thousand years and hundreds by surviving on air]

अथापरं तपस्तप्त्वा द्विस्ततोऽन्यत्पुनर्महत् |

द्यावापृथिव्योर्विवरं तेजसा समपूरयत् ||५४||

स तेन तपसा तात ब्रह्मभूतो यदाभवत् |

ततो विश्वेश्वरं योनिं विश्वस्य जगतः पतिम् ||५५||

ददर्श भृशदुर्दर्शं सर्वदेवैरपीश्वरम् |

अणीयसामणीयांसं बृहद्भ्यश्च बृहत्तरम् ||५६||

[As a result of such severe penance Nārāyaṇa beheld that being most difficult to be seen, who is smaller/subtler than the subtlest and greater than the great.]

रुद्रमीशानमृषभं चेकितानमजं परम् |

गच्छतस्तिष्ठतो वापि सर्वभूतहृदि स्थितम् ||५७||

[That is Rudra, the Lord who dwells in everyone’s heart. One is reminded of the BG 18.xx ‘Īśvaraḥ sarvabhūtānām..’ verse]

दुर्वारणं दुर्दृशं तिग्ममन्युं; महात्मानं सर्वहरं प्रचेतसम् |

दिव्यं चापमिषुधी चाददानं; हिरण्यवर्माणमनन्तवीर्यम् ||५८||

[Rudra’s great prowess is stated here]

पिनाकिनं वज्रिणं दीप्तशूलं; परश्वधिं गदिनं स्वायतासिम् |

सुभ्रुं जटामण्डलचन्द्रमौलिं; व्याघ्राजिनं परिघं दण्डपाणिम् ||५९||

शुभाङ्गदं नागयज्ञोपवीतिं; विश्वैर्गणैः शोभितं भूतसङ्घैः |

एकीभूतं तपसां संनिधानं; वयोतिगैः सुष्टुतमिष्टवाग्भिः ||६०||

जलं दिवं खं क्षितिं चन्द्रसूर्यौ; तथा वाय्वग्नी प्रतिमानं जगच्च |

नालं द्रष्टुं यमजं भिन्नवृत्ता; ब्रह्मद्विषघ्नममृतस्य योनिम् ||६१||

यं पश्यन्ति ब्राह्मणाः साधुवृत्ताः; क्षीणे पापे मनसा ये विशोकाः |

स तन्निष्ठस्तपसा धर्ममीड्यं; तद्भक्त्या वै विश्वरूपं ददर्श ||६२||

दृष्ट्वा चैनं वाङ्मनोबुद्धिदेहैः; संहृष्टात्मा मुमुदे देवदेवम् ||६२||

अक्षमालापरिक्षिप्तं ज्योतिषां परमं निधिम् |

ततो नारायणो दृष्ट्वा ववन्दे विश्वसम्भवम् ||६३||

वरदं पृथुचार्वङ्ग्या पार्वत्या सहितं प्रभुम् |

अजमीशानमव्यग्रं कारणात्मानमच्युतम् ||६४||

[Beholding the Rudra, the Viśvarūpa, Nārāyaṇa, bowed to Him. He appeared with His consort Pārvatī. He is the Cause. One is reminded of the Atharvaśikhopaniṣad where Shambhu is taught as the Jagatkāraṇam from whom Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Rudra emerged.]

अभिवाद्याथ रुद्राय सद्योऽन्धकनिपातिने |

पद्माक्षस्तं विरूपाक्षमभितुष्टाव भक्तिमान् ||६५||

[The lotus-eyed one, Hari, bowed respectfully the odd-formed-eyed Hara.]

त्वत्सम्भूता भूतकृतो वरेण्य; गोप्तारोऽद्य भुवनं पूर्वदेवाः |

आविश्येमां धरणीं येऽभ्यरक्षपुराणां तव देव सृष्टिम् ||६६||

सुरासुरान्नागरक्षःपिशाचान्नरान्सुपर्णानथ गन्धर्वयक्षान् |

पृथग्विधान्भूतसङ्घांश्च विश्वांस्त्वत्सम्भूतान्विद्म सर्वांस्तथैव ||६७||

[The entire variegated creation has sprung from You, O Rudra]

ऐन्द्रं याम्यं वारुणं वैत्तपाल्यं; मैत्रं त्वाष्ट्रं कर्म सौम्यं च तुभ्यम् ||६७||

रूपं ज्योतिः शब्द आकाशवायुः; स्पर्शः स्वाद्यं सलिलं गन्ध उर्वी |

कामो ब्रह्मा ब्रह्म च ब्राह्मणाश्च; त्वत्सम्भूतं स्थास्नु चरिष्णु चेदम् ||६८||

अद्भ्यः स्तोका यान्ति यथा पृथक्त्वंताभिश्चैक्यं सङ्क्षये यान्ति भूयः |

एवं विद्वान्प्रभवं चाप्ययं च; हित्वा भूतानां तत्र सायुज्यमेति ||६९||

दिव्यावृतौ मानसौ द्वौ सुपर्णा; ववाक्षाखः पिप्पलः सप्त गोपाः |

दशाप्यन्ये ये पुरं धारयन्ति; त्वया सृष्टास्ते हि तेभ्यः परस्त्वम् ||७०||

भूतं भव्यं भविता चाप्यधृष्यं; त्वत्सम्भूता भुवनानीह विश्वा ||७०||

भक्तं च मां भजमानं भजस्व; मा रीरिषो मामहिताहितेन |

आत्मानं त्वामात्मनोऽनन्यभावो; विद्वानेवं गच्छति ब्रह्म शुक्रम् ||७१||

अस्तौषं त्वां तव संमानमिच्छ; न्विचिन्वन्वै सवृषं देववर्य |

सुदुर्लभान्देहि वरान्ममेष्टानभिष्टुतः प्रतिकार्षीश्च मा माम् ||७२||

[Grant me boons that are dear to my heart – so asked Hari of Hara]

तस्मै वरानचिन्त्यात्मा नीलकण्ठः पिनाकधृक् |

अर्हते देवमुख्याय प्रायच्छदृषिसंस्तुतः ||७३||

[Nīlakanṭha obliged Nārāyaṇa with the boons]

नीलकण्ठ उवाच||

मत्प्रसादान्मनुष्येषु देवगन्धर्वयोनिषु |

अप्रमेयबलात्मा त्वं नारायण भविष्यसि ||७४||

[[Nīlakanṭha said: By My grace, you Nārāyaṇa, will be of unequalled strength among humans, gods and other divine beings.]

न च त्वा प्रसहिष्यन्ति देवासुरमहोरगाः |

न पिशाचा न गन्धर्वा न नरा न च राक्षसाः ||७५||

न सुपर्णास्तथा नागा न च विश्वे वियोनिजाः |

न कश्चित्त्वां च देवोऽपि समरेषु विजेष्यति ||७६||

न शस्त्रेण न वज्रेण नाग्निना न च वायुना |

नार्द्रेण न च शुष्केण त्रसेन स्थावरेण वा ||७७||

कश्चित्तव रुजं कर्ता मत्प्रसादात्कथञ्चन |

अपि चेत्समरं गत्वा भविष्यसि ममाधिकः ||७८||

[Due to My grace, You, Nārāyaṇa, will not be harmed/killed by any of the beings or weapons of this creation. Also in the event of your entering a battle, you will be more powerful than Me, Rudra.]

व्यास उवाच||

एवमेते वरा लब्धाः पुरस्ताद्विद्धि शौरिणा |

स एष देवश्चरति मायया मोहयञ्जगत् ||७९||

Vyāsa concluded his reply to Ashwatthāma’s question: These boons were secured by Shourie (Hari) (from Rudra). Hari, wanders this earth deluding beings with Māyā. ]

तस्यैव तपसा जातं नरं नाम महामुनिम् |

तुल्यमेतेन देवेन तं जानीह्यर्जुनं सदा ||८०||

[Of His (Nārāyaṇa’s) penance has Arjuna, the Nara, been born. Arjuna is equal to Nārāyana. Thus Vyāsa answered Ashvatthāma’s question on how/why indeed Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna remained unaffected by the Āgneya missile that was released against them.]

The above episode of the MB is also reflected in the Harivamśa:

“yathA mainAkamAshritya tapastvamakaroH prabho |

tathA mama varaM kR^iShNa saMsmR^itya sthairyamApnuhi |

avadhyastvamajeyashcha mattaH shUratarastathA |

bhavitAsItyavochaM yattattathA na tadanyathA |” (Harivamsa Purana 2:74:37-38)

“O kRiShNa! As you did penance staying on mainAka, you received a boon from me. Be firm in your mind, remembering that boon. You can not be killed, you can not be conquered, and you will be more valiant than me. All this will happen as told by me. None will be able to change this”.

It is because of this that wherever there is a ‘fight’ reported between Rudra and Nārāyaṇa, in the MB or the Vālmiki Rāmāyaṇa or anywhere else, where Nārāyāna is invariably the winner. This is the boon granted by Shiva to Nārāyaṇa: you will be more valiant than me.

Obfuscating this fact, the bigoted ones try to show Śiva as someone inferior who is subdued by Nārāyaṇa.

Here is a comment by a blogger:

//That Appayya was under severe attack can be seen in his own works where he frequently contradicts himself – in one place, he says Sri Rama was suffering the effects of karma, while in another place, he negates it by saying Rama is verily Parabrahman. In one place, he says the Ganga from Shiva’s hair is different from the one emerging from Trivikrama’s foot – the former being “pure” Ganga and latter being “impure” (shows his hatred for Vishnu here) – but contradicts it elsewhere by saying Ganga on Shiva’s head comes from Vishnu’s feet.

He also contradicts himself philosophically – at times arguing for a “sadA shiva” above nArAyaNa by arguing that it is “nArAyaNAt param brahma” in the nArAyaNa sUkta, at times equating nArAyaNa to shiva and declaring nArAyaNa is Parabrahman, at times saying Uma and Vishnu are “shaktis” of Shiva, etc. This shows his utter inability to prove shiva paratva in any manner whatsover.//

Response to the above:

It can easily be appreciated that the ‘objections’, if that is what they are, stated above, actually apply to Veda Vyāsa rather than Appayya Dikṣita. As someone who is not a bigot, Veda Vyasa has portrayed both Śiva and Nārayana as the Supreme. In the Vālmiki Ramayana itself we see a set of verses where Rama laments on his misfortunes, blaming his past karma. We also see Rama being spoken of as the Supreme in that text itself.

Aranya Kandam sarga 63:

स लक्ष्मणं शोकवशाभिपन्नं शोके निमग्नो विपुले तु रामः।

उवाच वाक्यं व्यसनानुरूपमुष्णं विनिश्श्वस्य रुदंत्सशोकम्।।3.63.2।।

विपुले शोके in intense grief, निमग्नः plunged, सः that, रामः Rama, सशोकम् with sorrow, रुदन् crying, शोकवशाभिपन्नम् who was caught in sorrow, लक्ष्मणम् Lakshmana, उष्णम् hot, विनिश्वस्य sighing, व्यसनानुरूपम् in his grief, वाक्यम् these words, उवाच said.

Plunged in deep grief, Rama heaved hot sighs and said these words to griefstricken Lakshmana, weeping:

न मद्विधो दुष्कृतकर्मकारी मन्ये द्वितीयोऽस्ति वसुन्धरायाम्।

शोकेन शोको हि परम्पराया मा मेति भिन्दन्हृदयं मनश्च।।3.63.3।।

I think there is none on earth like me who has performed such forbidden acts. One grief after the other is successively piercing my heart and my mind.

पूर्वं मया नूनमभीप्सितानि पापानि कर्माण्यसकृत्कृतानि।

तत्रायमद्यापतितो विपाको दुःखेन दुःखं यदहं विशामि।।3.63.4।।

In the past I had certainly done some sinful deeds I often liked the consequences of which have descended on me now as I am experiencing one sorrow after another. [Here is where the ‘anapahatapāpmatvam’ (lack of freedom from sins) of Rāma is brought out by Himself. The blogger’s tirade on Shiva in the śatapathabrāhmaṇa is replayed, and returned with compliments by Vālmiki, with some changes though, in this episode of the Rāmāyaṇa.]

राज्यप्रणाशस्स्वजनैर्वियोगः पितुर्विनाशो जननीवियोगः।

सर्वाणि मे लक्ष्मण शोकवेगमापूरयन्ति प्रविचिन्तितानि।।3.63.5।।

O Lakshmana, loss of kingdom, separation from kith and kin, death of father, separation from mother–all these thoughts augment my sorrow faster and in greater measure.

It is only those who are bigoted that cannot rise to the heights of Veda Vyasa and Appayya Dikshita by not subscribing to the often-paraded bigoted view: Hari alone is the Supreme.

The above blogger’s remark that Appayya did not succeed in proving Shiva-paratva also is misguided. Appayya has very clearly stated why he undertook the task of bringing to light Shiva-supremacy:

// viShNurvA shankaro vA shruti-shikhara-girAmastu tAtparya-bhUmiH

na-asmAkam tatra vAdaH prasarati kimapi spaShTam-advaita-bhAjAm |

kintu-Isha-dveSha-gADhAnala-kalita-hRRidAm durmatInAm duruktIH

bhanktum yatno mama-ayam nahi bhavatu tato viShNu-vidveSha-shankAm ||

The meaning of the above beautiful verse is:

‘I have not the slightest objection, to anyone coming to any conclusion, that the spirit of the Vedas and the Vedantas, declare either Vishnu or Shiva as the First God. I am a follower of the Advaita doctrine. I have no difference between Shiva and VishNu. But if in order to establish Vishnu as the main God, if somebody starts abusing Shiva or hates him, I cannot bear it. There are as many proofs or pramanas in the Vedas, Vedantas, Puranas and Agamas to establish that Shiva is a mighty God, as there are to prove that Vishnu is a powerful one. However, I am propagating my religion and indulging in debate and disputation, only to persuade everyone not to hate Shiva. Let no one have the slightest doubt that I either hate or wish to denigrate Lord Vishnu simply because I praise the grace and greatness of Lord Shiva.’

The sublime devotion of Dikshita to Lord Vishnu is fully seen from his great work ‘Varadaraja stava’ where he has sung in ecstatic poetry about Lord Varadaraja of Kanchipuram. Vaishnavas declare that Vishnu is the supreme being and that Shiva has a lower status, being a mere jiva. Sri Dikshita however proves in his ‘Ratna-traya-parIkShA’ that Shiva, Vishnu, Ambika, all the three are the same, viz., the supreme reality, and proves it with the pramanas taken from the puranas, vedas and agamas. //

The above is quoted from the book: ‘Sri Appayya Dikshita’ (p.66,67) by Dr.N.Ramesan, IAS.

At the beginning of his ‘brahmatarka stava’ too Appayya Dikṣita clarifies: तत्र साधकोपन्यासेन बाधकोद्धारेण च प्रतिपादनीयः । [It is incumbent upon me to establish the Shiva-supremacy by both supporting evidence and also negating/refuting those views that deny supremacy to Shiva.] He has also dwelt upon the topic of some misguided elements portraying Shiva as a tāmasa deity by analyzing the meaning/purport of the tamoguṇa that is associated with the cosmic destruction-function of the creation.

The blogger says: // This shows his utter inability to prove shiva paratva in any manner whatsoever.//

Again, the purpose with which Appayya Dikṣita ventured into this endeavor is missed by the blogger. It is not with a view to establish ‘Shiva-alone-is supreme’. His intention, as stated by himself in the above-cited verse, is to show that the scriptures afford enough support to both Shiva and Vishnu supremacy. This is exactly what Veda Vyasa also has done through his various works. In fact it was the non-Advaitic Acharyas that came after Shankaracharya that utterly failed in their efforts to establish the bigoted Vishnu-alone-supreme doctrine. This is proved by the fact that the largest following among vaidikas, the smarthas, have never subscribed to such bigoted views. Their Hari-Hara abheda acceptance is reflected amply in their culture, daily worship, temple association, maṭha affiliations, giving both Shiva and Vishnu names to children, etc. The bigoted view is confined to a separate section of the vaidikas and not by the smartha community that is inclusive in its character. For the vaishnavas giving Shiva-related names to children is reprehensible. So, the failure is only of those who tried to push the Vishnu alone is supreme ideas into society, resulting in the dividing of the vaidika community on sectarian lines. Their achievement is only this, by doing that which is antithetical to what Veda Vyasa and Shankara did.

Appayya Dikshita in the Brahmatarka stave has also eminently established that the entire Vishvarupa darshana (not just the destruction-related part) had by Arjuna as depicted in the Bhagavadgita, is that of Lord Shiva alone. One can read those portions from the work which has ample supporting evidences given by the author himself. He has analyzed the tamas attributed to Shiva and proved with innumerous citations from the Ramayana, Mahabharata, etc. that Rama and Krishna/Vishnu were subject to sloth, wrath, etc. Dikshita has also proved in that work that there is not a single instance of Shiva being born of a womb or disappearing/dying whereas Rama and Krishna/Vishnu have undergone womb-stay before birth and also disappeared/died. However, Appayya never shows Rama or Krishna or Vishnu in a negative way; he hastens to add that they were none other than the Supreme Brahman, ever omniscient, etc. That is what sets apart Appayya Dikshita from all others who only ended up painting Shiva in poor light in their bigotry to parade Vishnu as the only-supreme. Thus, contrary to the blogger’s erroneous assessment, Appayya Dikṣita’s efforts have met tremendous success in that the time-immemorial Hari-Hara abheda of the Veda, MB, puranas, etc. have been given a further boost, a rejuvenation, a greater strength, for the non-vaiṣṇava vaidikas.

Madhusudana Saraswati too, in that tradition of Veda Vyasa, has only upheld Hari-Hara abheda. He has written a detailed commentary to the Shiva mahimna stava where twin-commentary to verses are given, one for Shiva and another for Vishnu. At the end of the commentary he explicitly says that he has with great pains done this kind of a commentary only to convey the message to those deluded people that there is absolutely no difference between Hari and Hara, an undeniable feature repeatedly coming from the words of Veda Vyasa. Narayana himself, in the MB tells Shiva: There is absolutely no difference between us.

Thus, it can be easily seen that it is the illustrious Advaita tradition alone, starting from Shankaracharya (whose very name, as reiterated by Sureshwaracharya, is that of Shiva, which name the bigoted elements would not even like to take or give to their children), Vidyaranya, Madhusudana Saraswati, Appayya Dikṣita right up to the Acharyas of the smartha following, both pontiff and scholar, have upheld and nurtured, protected and handed down to the subsequent generations the Hari-Hara abheda enshrined in the Veda, brought out ably by Veda Vyāsa. None other than the Advaita tradition can truly claim to be part of this Veda Vyāsa tradition.

For more details on the several concepts covered above one can read the following articles:  (all these articles are available in the ‘archives’ of this blog: adbhutam.  By suitably navigating or by copying the article name to the browser and giving a search, it will show up:

The Role of Lord Śiva in the Bh.Gītā 11th Chapter











’Tad-viṣṇoḥ paramam padam’



The ‘Bhāratamanjari’ of Kshemendra



All the above articles bring out the true tradition initiated by the Veda and Veda Vyasa.

Om Tat Sat


  1. Sri Rudram says that Shiva himself takes the form of Vishnu. Hence all instances of Shiva vs Vishnu is in reality Shiva vs Shiva.

    Wrath or Manyu is again one and only Rudra. Rudra springing from the wrath of Brahma or Vishnu indirectly conveys that He is Self born or Swayambhu.


    • What you say is correct.

  2. When people do not have the knowledge of sadashiva tatwam and their eyes are shrouded by shAmbhavI mAyA they fail to appreciate Appayya Deekshita and fail to catch the pulse of his heart.

    Agreed 100% with Arun’s thoughts. There is none except Rudra and all forms including Vishnu are his forms. (eko rudro na dwitiyaya…).

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