Reconciling Conflicting Statements

Question: As you often cite Gītā verse 7.14 to support that only bhakti to Kṛṣṇa delivers one from the material world, what would you say about the following verse from Śiva Purāṇa?

“One who takes refuge with you, has surely taken refuge with me.

The one who thinks that you (Hari) are different from me surely falls into hell.” 10.14||(Rudra Samhitā, Sṛṣti Khaṇda)

Here is Gītā 7.14 for reference: 

“Those who take refuge in Me alone will cross this māyā”.

Also, a couple of preceding verses offer a different creative view on guṇa composition of Brahmā, Viṣṇu, and Harā. I am wondering how it can be reconciled with the Bhāgavatam view?

Answer: The first reply is that Śrimad Bhāgavatam (SB) overrides anything that contradicts it. SB is the last word of Vyāsa. What comes later, supersedes.

Śiva and Pārvatī

Secondly, Śiva Purāṇa is one among the tāmasika Purāṇas. This is described in Tattva Sandarbha. Thus it may not give the ultimate truth.

The third reply is that the names Śiva and Parameśvar (as used here in Śiva Purāṇa) originally mean Kṛṣṇa. This is explained in Paramātma Sandarbha. So these types of verses (that speak of Śiva as supreme) are to be taken as spoken by Kṛṣṇa. Viṣṇu is an expansion of Kṛṣṇa and thus there is no conflict.

The fourth reply is that “Those who take refuge in Me alone will cross this māyā.”

Question:  It seems that Śiva Purāṇa applies the same principle that the Bhāgavatam does. The Bhāgavatam accepts Brahman but installs Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme. Likewise, Śiva Purāṇa accepts Hari but installs Śiva as the Ultimate.

Answer: Read the verse carefully. First it speaks of taking refuge in Hari and not Śiva. So a devotee of Hari is naturally devoted to Śiva, who is a Vaiṣṇava. The very third offence against the Name of Kṛṣṇa is to see the difference between Kṛṣṇa and Śiva. This is our principle. Nobody is different from Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is the advaya-tattva–-non-dual Reality. So we have no problem with this verse.

Moreover, the word “Īśvara” is used for Śiva and “Parameśvara” for Kṛṣṇa. So as I have said above, the verse is actually spoken by Parameśvara and not Īśvara.

Free Will

Question:  Viśvanātha Cakravartī writes in his ṭīkā of SB 4.25.25 – avidyā vṛttyā jīvaḥ svam icchayāiva badhnāti na tu tam īśvaras tayā balātkārena badhnāti iti vaktum tayoḥ sambandhasya prakāram āha. Bhanu Swami translates as follows: “The jiva by his free will becomes bound by the working of ignorance. To show that the Lord does not bind the jīva to ignorance by force, how they establish a relationship is explained.” What does free will mean in this context?

Answer: Icchayāiva means by his desire. There is no Sanskrit word for free will. In Viśvanātha Cakravartī’s comment the word used is icchayā eva, which means only by His desire or will. It is a Christian concept. Icchayā (instrumental case singular) is a function of ignorance; in the verse, avidyā vṛttyā modifies it. (avidyā vṛttyā icchayā means by desire which is a state of ignorance).



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Comments ( 7 )
  1. Indira dasi

    Is ‘free will’ a Christian concept? I remember from SB purport by Svami Maharaja (Prabhupada), that only on the Earth is free will and that hIgher systems are bound by goodness and lower systems by ignorance. And that therefore Earth is the only place to choose for a destiny higher or lower or stay here – or endeavor to attain the eternal world. And that the last option is possible only from the Earth platform. Am I out of context here?

    • Babaji Post author

      Free will seems to be a Christian concept. We use the word “choice”. What Svami Maharaja (Prabhupada) says is right, except that I would prefer to use the word “choice” in place of free will.

    • Samiran Kumar Das

      Sorry to interfere. Srimad Bhagvat is not the ultimate one. Hinduism dwells on many scriptures which do not teach us to lower any God or Goddess. Gita is taken from the Mahabharata. In Mahabharata, Lord Krishna says that he worships Lord Shiva daily. What do you say about it? Lord Rama worshipped Lord Shiva. You are saying that Vishnu is an expansion of Krishna. Srimad Bhagvat says when mother earth went to Lord Brahma, Brahma went to Vishnu alongwith other Gods. Lord Vishnu says that he will take incarnation.

      Why are you ranking our holy scriptures and Gods. Sometimes it appears that you people have travelled across the whole universe and have seen all the Gods and Goddesses.

    • Babaji Post author

      Your first line is: “Sorry to interfere. Srimad Bhagvat is not the ultimate one.”
      Sorry to say that from your statement it is clear that you have not read Srimad Bhagavata. Please read the fourth chapter of the first skandha. Then we can decide if we are ranking our holy scriptures and Gods or it is the scriptures themselves ranking them.
      From your statements, it appears that you have missed some important statements in Gita, otherwise you would not write like this. Krsna clearly says that He is the source of all devas, and He also showed His virat-svarupa as proof of this.

  2. Kubara Das

    What a peculiar situation. Jivas (which are ignorance-bound by definition) can desire only that which is rooted in their ignorance. Then, when they receive the Lord’s grace and are under His spell, they have no choice but to follow Him. Both ways no choice and still we make choices every day.

  3. Dave

    Though Lord Siva in the material world is regarded as a material demigod and the greatest devotee of Lord Krishna, in the spiritual world, the original form of Lord Siva is there also, but the nature of Lord Siva there is entirely spiritual and is stated to be a direct expansion of Lord Krishna, I think this is what Sri Brahma Samhita states anyway.

    • Srinivas

      There are devatas who have similar forms to material devas in Vaikuntha. The difference is that these gods are associates of the Supreme Lord and their forms are transcendental unlike the gods of the material universes. Associates named Indra, Agni, Shiva etc. are all present in Vaikuntha.

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