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.
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.
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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What is happiness? Although we are all looking for it, we may not know the definition of it. Happiness is an outcome of an action that is pleasing to our senses. This is material happiness. Sri Rupa Gosvami lists two more type of happiness, the one that comes from Brahman realization, and the other that comes by engaging in loving service to Bhagavan.