Question: Is there any pūjā or any kind of prayers for a family that has converted from Vaiṣṇava to Śaivite earlier?
Answer: There is no pūjā for that. The only solution is to convert back to Vaiṣṇavism. If they remain Śaivites, then no pūjā will help.
Question: Also what are the effects of such conversion?
Answer: If they convert back to Vaiṣṇavism, past offenses are forgiven.
Question: Lord Śiva is often equated with dark forces and tamasic practices. Are those who worship Śiva, in the millions in India alone, asuras?
What about the many millions that worship Mā Durgā etc. Are they considered asuric as well?
How should we offer respects to Śiva, Durgā and the many devas in a way that is in alignment with Vedic philosophy without disrespect?
Answer: In Bhagavad Gītā 17.4, Kṛṣṇa gives the nature of people who worship different beings. So from this verse,sāttvikapeople worship Śiva because he is a deva.
But from the history found in the Purāṇas, most of the asuras, such as Bāṇāsura, Bhasmāsura, etc., worshiped Śiva. But this does not imply that those who worship Śiva are asuras. Please try to understand the logic. In other words, all types of people worship Śiva.
Lord Rāma worships Śiva at Rāmeśvara to get his blessings to build a bridge and fight against Rāvaṇa. Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa worshiped Śiva to get a son from his wife Jāmbavatī.
Question: That is the catch here. What is the proper mood of a worshiper towards Śiva?
Answer: Śiva is a Vaiṣṇava:
nimna-gānāṁ yathā gaṅgā
devānām acyuto yathā
vaiṣṇavānāṁ yathā śambhuḥ
purāṇānām idam tathā
“Just as the Gaṅgā is the greatest of all rivers, Acyuta the supreme among the devas and Śambhu [Śiva] the greatest of Vaiṣṇavas, so Śrīmad BhāgavataPurāṇais the greatest of all Purāṇas.” (SB 12.13.16).
He holds Gaṅgā, which is the foot-wash of Trivikrama, on his head. This is the proof that he is a Vaiṣṇava. If someone worships him as Supreme God, then it is not pleasing to him. Śiva himself is always meditating on Viṣṇu/ Kṛṣṇa. So Śiva can be worshipped as a Vaiṣṇava but not as the Supreme Person. We should not disrespect Śiva. Disrespecting Śiva is a big offense.
So those who worship Śiva as a great Vaiṣṇava have the proper mood and will get a proper result. Those who worship him as Supreme God will remain materialistic, even if they are sāttvikain nature or even if they are devas. For more on this, please refer to verses 4.4.28-31 of Bhāgavata Purāṇa:
tat paśyatāṁ khe bhuvi cādbhutaṁ mahad
hā heti vādaḥ sumahān ajāyata
hanta priyā daivatamasya devī
jahāv asūn kena satī prakopitā
“A tumultuous cry arose from those in the sky and on earth who saw how Satī annihilated her body. Alas, Satī, the beloved wife of Śiva, the best of the devas, gave up her life and quit her body out of anger for Dakṣa.”
aho anātmyaṁ mahad asya paśyata
prajāpater yasya carācaraṁ prajāḥ
jahāv asūn yad-vimatātmajā satī
manasvinī mānam abhīkṣṇam arhati
“Just see Dakṣa, this person without a soul, who is a Prajāpati and has all living beings as his offspring. His own daughter Satī, who deserves all respect but was disrespected by him, has given up her life.”
so ‘yaṁ durmarṣa-hṛdayo brahma-dhruk ca
loke ‘pakīrtiṁ mahatīm avāpsyati
yad-aṅgajāṁ svāṁ puruṣa-dviḍ udyatāṁ
na pratyaṣedhan mṛtaye ‘parādhataḥ
“Hardhearted Dakṣa, who is unworthy to be a brāhmaṇa, will gain great infamy in the world because of his offenses of not having prevented the death of his daughter, and because of hating Śiva.”
vadaty evaṁ jane satyā
dakṣaṁ tat-pārṣadā hantum
“While people were thus talking among themselves, having seen the amazing voluntary death of Satī, the attendants of Śiva stood up with raised weapons to kill Dakṣa.”
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