Tvam Devi Jaganmata Yoni Mudre Namastu te ll
"Oh Goddess Kamakhya, the bestower of boons, the resident of Nilachal hillock (in Kamrup), prostrations to thee, the universal mother, who displays Yoni Mudra."
May Mother Kamakhya, the Kamarupa Shaktipeeth personifide, dwell in the Nilachal hillock of our intellect for ever. May She, the slayer of Narkasur, be pleased with us.
With this prayer to Mother Goddess, I begin my article.
Krishna is Avatar of Lord Shiva
Dear reader(s), I am aware that the very title of the article is baffling. It’s not your fault at all. We all have grown up believing Lord Krishna is the eighth Avatar of Lord Vishnu. Now you must be thinking “the blogger has gone crazy”. But I am not. I am drafting this article in full consciousness, and I have come across some points that I think are sufficient to prove that Lord Krishna is an Avatar of Lord Shiva.
Well, before we begin, I would like all of you to question yourselves, what according to you is an Avatar? What opinion do you have regarding this concept? I know, the most obvious answer is “Avatar is referent to a deity incarnating and playing a Messianic role”. Think it otherwise. People often have a misconception regarding the word “Avatar” because people try to relate the very concept itself with the Avatars of Lord Vishnu. People say “Vamana, Parshuram, Ram, Balaram,
Buddha and Kalki are Avatars of Lord Vishnu, and all of them were born humans.”
If you are thinking the same thing, then question yourself about the other
Avatars of Lord Vishnu.
Q.) Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narasimha, Mohini and Hayagriva are also Avatars of Lord Vishnu. But who are their parents? To whom were these Avatars of Lord Vishnu born?
I know, you don’t have the answer of this basic question.
The Sanskrit word “Avatar” means “to descend”. The word is referent to the act of a celestial from the spiritual realm to a world lower. A deity, when he/she manifests himself/herself in a lower world is known as an Avatar. So an Avatar can be a purely spiritual being, or an entity who has taken birth. But how is Lord Krishna, who has been accepted as an Avatar of Lord Vishnu, is actually an Avatar of Lord Shiva?
The following is a verse from Bhagavad Gita, which is often quoted by Vaishnavas to prove Lord Krishna’s “superiority” over Lord Shiva:
"rudrAnAm sankaraschAsmi |" (Bhagavad Gita 10:23)
"Among the Rudras I'm Shankara".
Vaishnavas often misinterpret the verse as “Among the Rudras I’m Lord Shiva.” However, there’s a folly in this interpretation. No doubt Shankara is one of Lord Shiva’s names, but it has to be taken in consideration that Shankara is also the name of the fourth Rudra. Mahabharata gives the following list of Rudras in the current Kalpa:
1. Mahadeva, 2. Shiva, 3. Maha Rudra, 4. Shankara, 5. Neelalohita, 6. Eshana Rudra, 7. Vijaya Rudra, 8. Bheema Rudra, 9. Devadeva, 10. Bhavodbhava and 11. Adityatmaka Srirudra.
So the fourth among eleven Rudras is Shankara. But who are the eleven Rudras? The answer is, the eleven Rudras are Avatars of Lord Shiva:
“adityaam jaj~nire devaaH trayaH tri.mshat ari.ndama | aadityaa vasavo rudraa ashvinau ca para.mtapa |” (Valmiki Ramayana 3-14-14)
“Aditi gave birth to twelve Aditya-s, the Sun-gods, eight Vasu-s, the Terrestrials-gods, eleven Rudraa-s, the Fury-gods, and two Ashvinis, the medicine-gods, total thirty-three of them”.
“surabhI kashyapAt rudrAn ekAdasha vinirmame | mahAdeva prasAdena tapasA bhAvitA satI |” (Mahabharata Harivamsa Parva 1:3:49-50 )
“Hallowed by her own ascesis and by the grace of mahadeva, the daughter of daskha prajApati, and the wife of kashyapa prajApati, lady surabhi, moulded eleven rudrA-s”.
If we see Bhagavad Gita 10:23 carefully, Lord Krishna says among Rudras he is Shankara. If Bhagavad Gita 10:23 means Lord Krishna is Lord Shiva and not vice versa, why did he mention the eleven Rudras anyway? Had Lord Krishna meant what Vaishnavas say, he would have said something like “Among deities I am Lord Shiva.” The mention of eleven Rudras is crucial and has to be taken into consideration.
Hence from the above analysis we come to the conclusion that Lord Krishna is the fourth among eleven Rudras, who are eleven Avatars of Lord Shiva. In support of this, I would like to quote some Vedic verses:
"Namo bhavaya cha rudraya cha
namah sharvaya cha pashupataye cha
namo girishaya cha shipivishhtaya cha |" (Sri Rudram Anuvaka 5)
"Salutations to Him who is the source of all things. And to Him who is the destroyer of all ills. Salutations to the destroyer and to the protector of all beings in bondage. Salutations to Him who dwells on the
and who is in the
form of Shipivista (Vishnu)". mount
For those who do not know what Sri Rudram is, let me tell you Sri Rudram is a Yajurvedic hymn consisting of eleven Shlokas, occurring in the Taittiriya Aranyaka.
“sá yád dhruva´? dísam ánu vyácalad ví??
vira´jam annadi´? kr?tva´ |” (Atharva Veda
Rudra Suktam 15:14:5) ur
“He, when he went away to the steadfast region, went away having become Vishnu and having made Viraj an eater of food”.
In the above verses, we see that the seer of the hymn is extolling Lord Shiva as Nirguna Brahman dwelling on Mt. Kailash as Saguna Shiva and has also assumed a Saguna form known as Shipivista (Vishnu) (Sri Rudram Anuvaka 5), and also as the one who became Vishnu upon going to the steadfast region. These aren’t some random verses but verses which show the non-duality of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu, and if we adhere to the Brahmasutra Bhasya of Shankaracharya, these verses clearly show that Nirguna Brahman who can be addressed as both Shiva and Vishnu, is root cause of creation, the medium of sustenance and also the mass destruction. In other words, as per the devotion of the devotee, Nirguna Brahman can be perceived as either Shiva or Vishnu, and it is that Brahman who is all in all; creator, protector and destroyer. In support of this, I would like to quote an Upanishadic verse:
“eko hi rudro na dvitiyaya tasthur
ya ima?l lokan isata isanibhi?
pratya? jana?s ti??hati sañcukocanta-kale
sa?s?jya visva bhuvanani gopa?” (Svetasvatara Upanishad 3.2)
“Rudra is truly one; for the knowers of Brahman do not admit the existence of a second, He alone rules all the worlds by His powers. He dwells as the inner Self of every living being. After having created all the worlds, He, their Protector, takes them back into Himself at the end of time.”
In the above verse, Brahman has been addressed as Rudra (Lord Shiva), the one Lord who is creator as Prajapati Tatva, sustainer as Vishnu Tatva and annihilator as Samhar Tatva.
If we dive deeper, we’ll get a number of instances where the oneness of Hari-Hara has been attested. Following are some of them:
“uru? yajñaya cakrathur uloka? janayanta suryam u?asam aghnim |
dasasya cid v??asiprasya maya jaghnathur
p?tanajye?u |” (Rig
Veda 7:99:4) nara
"Ye have made spacious room for sacrificing by generating Surya, Dawn, and Agni. O Heroes, ye have conquered in your battles even the bull-jawed Dasa's wiles and magic".
“soma? pavate janita matina? janita divo janita p?thivya?
janitaghnerjanita suryasya janitendrasya janitota vi??o? ” (Rig Veda 9.96.5)
"Father of sacred chants, Soma flows onwards, the Father of the Earth, Father of the Celestial region: Father of Agni, the creator of Surya, the Father who gave birth to Indra and Vishnu".
The first verse Rig Veda 7:99:4 extols Vishnu as the generator of Surya and Agni. The second verse Rig Veda 9.96.5 extols Soma as the generator of Surya and Agni as well. Soma is an aspect of Lord Shiva in which He is united with His consort Uma (Sa+Uma=Soma):
Rudra became Soma:
“sá yád údici? dísam ánu vyácalat sómo ra´ja bhutva´nuvyàcalat saptar?íbhir hutá a´hutim annadi´? kr?tva´ |” (Atharva Veda Rudra Suktam 15:14:4)
“He, when he went away to the northern region, went away having become Soma and having made the Seven Rishis' oblation an eater of food”.
Hence the above two verses prove that the same Nirguna Brahman can be perceived as either Shiva or Vishnu as per the devotion of the devotee.
"dhAmno yasya hariragro.atha vishvo brahmA putraiH sahitashcha dvijAshcha |
parAbhUtA bhavane yasya somo juShatveSha shreyase sAdhu goptA |” (Harivamsa Parva 2-72-58)
“For our benefit, let lord Shiva along with Uma be pleased with us, whose splendour's main parts are lord Vishnu and Brahma, along with his sons, the sages such as sanaka, marIcha, whose abode they are unable to enter and who protects the good men”.
“sa e?a rudra bhaktas ca kesavo rudra sa?bhava? |sarvabhutabhava? jñatva li?ge 'rcayati ya? prabhum | tasminn abhyadhika? priti? karoti v??abhadhvaja? |” (Mahabharata 7:172:89-90)
“Kesava is that devoted worshipper of Rudra who has sprung from Rudra himself. The Lord Kesava always worshipped Siva in the Linga as the origin of all creatures. The God having the bull for his mark cherished greater regard for Kesava”.
“yo 's?jad dak?i?ad a?gad brahma?a? lokasa?bhavam | vamaparsvat tatha vi??u? lokarak?artham isvara? | yugante caiva sa?prapte rudram a?gat s?jat prabhu? |” (Mahabharata 13:14:183)
“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”.
“sarvadevaatmako rudraH sarve devaaH shivaatmakaaH |
rudrasya dakshiNe paarshve ravirbrahmaa trayo.agnayaH |”(Rudra Hridayopanishad 1:04)
“Rudra is the embodiment of all Devas. All devas are merely different manifestations of Sri Rudra Himself. On the right side of Rudra, there is the sun, then the four-headed Brahma, and then three Agnis (fires).”
“vaamapaarshve umaa devii vishhNuH somo.api te trayaH |
yaa umaa saa svaya.n vishhNuryo vishhNuH sa hi chandramaaH |”(Rudra Hridayopanishad 1:05)
“On the left side, there exist Sri Umadevi, and also Vishnu and Soma. Uma Herself is in the form of Vishnu. Vishnu Himself is in the form of the moon”.
“rudramagnimayaM vidyAdviShNuH somAtmakaH smR^itaH |
agnIShomAtmakaM chaiva jagatsthAvaraja~Ngamam |” (Harivamsa Parva 2-125-35)
“Remember that rudra has the aspect of fire and viShNu has the aspect of soma. All the world including the fixed and movable beings have the combined aspects of fire and soma”.
"srisHtistHityantakaraNI brahmavishnushivAtmikAm |
sa sangyAm yAti bhagavAnEka eva janArdanah |" (Vishnu Purana 1:2:66)
"That god Janardana alone assumes the forms of Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra for the tasks of creation, maintenance and destruction".
“brahma vi??us ca rudras ca skandendrau savita yama? | varu?endu manur dhata vidhata tva? dhanesvara? |” (Mahabharata 13:16:22)
“Thou art the Grandsire Brahma, thou art Rudra, thou art Vishnu, thou art Skanda, thou art Indra, thou art Savitri, thou art Yama, thou art Varuna, Soma, thou art Dhatri, thou art Manu, thou art Vidhatri and thou art Kuvera, the Lord of treasures”.
Above are some verses which support the fact that Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu are truly one and same Nirguna Brahman.
In Rama Rahasya Upanishad, Lord Ram (Vishnu) and Devi Sita (Lakshmi) have been directly associated with Lord Shiva and Devi Bhuvaneshvari:
"raama.n trinetra.n somaardhadhaariNa.n shuulinaM param.h
bhasmoddhuulitasarvaa~Nga.n kapardinamupaasmahe " (Rama Rahasya Upanishad Ch 2, Verse 32)
"I worship that Rama, Who has three eyes, Who wears the crescent,
Who holds the trident, Who is anointed all over by ash, And who is with matted hair".
"raamaabhiraamaa.n saundaryasiimaa.n somaavata.nsikaam.h
paashaa~NkushadhanurbaaNadharaa.n dhyaayettrilochanaam.h " (Rama Rahasya Upanishad Ch 2, Verse 33)
"I worship the three eyed one, Who is Abhirama, the pinnacle of beauty,
Who wears the crescent as ear ring, And who holds the noose, the goad, the bow and the arrow".
The above mentioned attributes are unique to Lord Shiva and Devi Bhuvaneshvari. But the seer of Rama Rahasya Upanishad invokes Lord Shiva and Devi Bhuvaneshvari as Ram-Sita since they are non-dual to each other. Shiva/Ram is Brahman and Bhuvaneshvari/Sita is Shakti.
Now let us see some verses from Rudra Hridaya Upanishad and Vishnu Purana where Brahman has been addressed as Shiva-Parvati and Lakshmi-Narayana interchangeably:
“rudro.artha aksharaH somaa tasmai tasyai namo namaH |” (Rudra hridayopanishat 1:23a)
“Rudra is the meaning and Uma is the word, prostrations to him and her”.
“arthO vishNuriyam vANI |” (Vishnu Purana 1:8:18b)
“Vishnu is the meaning and Lakshmi is the word”
“rudro vahnirumaa svaahaa tasmai tasyai namo namaH |” (Rudra hridayopanishat 1:21a)
“Rudra is Agni and Uma is Swaha, prostrations to him and her”.
“swahA lakshmIrjagannAthO vAsudEvO hutashanah | (Vishnu Purana 1:8:22b)
“Lakshmi is Swaha and lord of the world viz. Vasudeva is Agni”
“rudro vishhNurumaa lakshmiistasmai tasyai namo namaH |” (Rudra Hridayopanishad 1:18b)
“Rudra is Vishnu and Uma is Lakshmi, prostrations to him and her”.
“shankarO bhagawAnchHourIgourI lakshmIrdwijottama |” (Vishnu Purana 1:8:23a)
“O best of the brahmana! Vishnu is Shankara and Lakshmi is Gowri”
“rudraH suurya umaa chhaayaa tasmai tasyai namo namaH |” (Rudra Hridayopanishad 1:19a)
“Rudra is Sun and Uma is dawn, prostrations to him and her”.
“maitrEya kEshavah sUryastatprabhA kamalAlayA |” (Vishnu Purana 1:8:23b)
“O Maitreya! Keshava is the sun and lotus goddess Kamala is the Dawn”.
“rudraH soma umaa taaraa tasmai tasyai namo namaH |” (Rudra hridayopanishat 1:19b)
“Rudra is Moon and Uma is Tara, prostrations to him and her”.
“shashAnkah shrIdharah kAntih shrIshthaivAnapAyinI |” (Vishnu Purana 1:8:24a)
“Vishnu is the moon and Lakshmi is the light.”
“rudro vR^iksha umaa vallii tasmai tasyai namo namaH |” (Rudra hridayopanishat 1:22a)
“Rudra is the tree and Uma is the creeper, prostrations to him and her”.
“latAbhUtA jaganmAtA shrIvishNurdrumasangitah |” (Vishnu Purana 1:8:30b)
“Vishnu is the tree and Lakshmi is the creeper”.
“rudro divaa umaa raatristasmai tasyai namo namaH |” (Rudra hridayopanishat 1:20a)
“Rudra is the day and Uma is the night, prostrations to him and her”.
“vibhAvarI shrIrdivasO dEvaschakragadAdharah |” (Vishnu Purana 1:8:31a)
“Vishnu is the day and Lakshmi is the night”.
In the above verses the pairs Shiva-Parvati and Lakshmi-Narayana share the similar attributes. Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu have been addressed as meaning, fire, sun, moon, tree and day while Devi Parvati and Devi Lakshmi have been addressed as word, Svaha, Dawn, light, creeper and night. Moreover, Lord Shiva & Lord Vishnu and Devi Parvati & Devi Lakshmi have been identified with each other. Apart from that, we also see that Lord Vishnu has been identified as the fourth Avatar of Lord Shiva, Shankara in Vishnu Purana 1:8:23a.
The above verses are actually addressed to the Nirguna Brahman perceived as either Shiva or Vishnu by the devotee and Brahman’s Shakti, identified as Parvati or Lakshmi. The below verses confirm this fact once again:
“pu.nli~Nga.n sarvamiishaana.n striili~NgaM bhagavatyumaa |
umaarudraatmikaaH sarvaaH grajaaH sthaavaraja~NgamaaH |” (Rudra hridayopanishad 1:9-10)
“The masculine gender is Lord Siva. The feminine gender is Sri Bhavani Devi. All the mobile and immobile creation of this universe is filled up with Uma and Rudra”.
“kim chAtibahunOktEna sankshEpENEdamuchyatE |
dEvatiryakmanushyAdOu punnAmA bhagawAn harih |
strInAmnI shrIshcha vigyEyA nAnayOrvidhyatE param |”(Vishnu Purana 1:8:34-35)
“What else can I tell you about their forms? In summary, among all the deities, creatures and humans, all the beings of masculine gender are Hari’s forms and all the beings of feminine forms are Lakshmi’s forms. There is nothing else in this world apart from these two”.
“yalli~NgA~NkaM tryambakaH sarvamIsho bhagali~NgA~Nkam yaddhyumA sarvadhAtrI |
nAnyattR^itIyaM jagatIhAsti ki~nchitmahAdevAtsarvasarveshvaro.asau |” (Harivamsa Parva 2-72-60)
“All bodies in the world with masculine gender are forms of three eyed lord shiva. All bodies in the world with feminine gender are forms of universal mother Uma. There is nothing else in the world other than these two. Lord Shiva is the lord of all”.
“yalli~NgA~NkaM yachcha loke bhagA~NkaM | sarvaM soma tvaM sthAvaraM ja~NgamaM cha | prAhurviprAstvAM guNinaM tattvavij~nA-stathA dhyeyAmambikAM lokadhAtrIm |” (Harivamsa Parva 2-74-32)
“O the great lord accompanied by umA! The fixed and movable entities of this world marked by masculine and feminine genders are the manifestations of both of you. The wise brahmins, knowledgeable about the principles, call you the one with qualities and worship Ambika, as the mother of the world”.
Well, one more thing has been noticed that often from ISKCON claim Lord Krishna as superior to Lord Vishnu and that Lord Vishnu is an Avatar of Krishna, not vice versa. In support of this they quote Srimad Bhagavatam, a so-called Purana commissioned by the Gaudiya sect:
"sattvam´ rajas tama iti prakr?ter gun?as tair | yuktah? parah? purus?a eka ihasya dhatte | sthity-adaye hari-viriñci-hareti sam´jñah? | sreyam´si tatra khalu sattva-tanor nr?n?am´ syuh? |" (Srimad Bhagavatam 1:2:23)
“The transcendental Personality of Godhead is indirectly associated with the three modes of material nature, namely passion, goodness and ignorance, and just for the material world's creation, maintenance and destruction He accepts the three qualitative forms of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Of these three, all human beings can derive ultimate benefit from Vishnu, the form of the quality of goodness”.
Bhagavad Gita is one of the canonical texts for ISKCON. But to their utter dissapointment, Mahabharata, which Bhagavad Gita is a part of, contradicts the above verse from Srimad Bhagavatam and gives the accurate relationship between Vishnu and
“yas tu naraya?o nama devadeva? sanatana? | tasya?so manu?e?v asid vasudeva? pratapavan | se?asya?sas tu nagasya baladevo mahabala? |” (Mahabharata 1:61:90-91)
“And he, called Vasudeva, endued with great valour, was among men a portion of him called Narayana--the god of gods--eternal. And Valadeva of exceeding strength was a portion of the Naga, Sesha”.
Mahabharata holds the presticeous position of the "fifth Veda", and being a Veda itself, Mahabharata is obviously superior to Srimad Bhagavatam. Harivamsa Purana, the most authentic biography of Lord Krishna also attests the truth in Mahabharata:
“devakyajanayadviShNuM yashodA tAM tu dArikAm |
muhUrte.abhijiti prApte sArdharAtre vibhUShite |” (Harivamsa Purana 2:4:14)
“In the midnight, at the auspicious time of abhijit, devakI gave birth to Vishnu and yashodA gave birth to a girl”.
Point to be noted, Harivamsha is no ordinary Purana but an appendix to the fifth Veda, Mahabharata. So it has to be given far more importance than Srimad Bhagavatam.
Hence it is proved that Shiva and Vishnu are two aspects of the same Nirguna Brahman. Now coming back to the topic, in Bhagavad Gita 10:23, Lord Krishna identifies himself as an Avatar of Lord Shiva. Bhagavad Gita is one of the best and finest Moksha Shastra, and it is also extolled as the Upanishad derived from Mahabharata, since Mahabharata itself due to its spiritual importance holds the position fifth Veda. However, due to their arrogance and sinful dualistic philosophy, most Vaishnavas have reduced the importance of Bhagavad Gita to a mere piece of writing used as a puny weapon in meaningless debates. The main intention of Vaishnavas is to prove superiority of Lord Vishnu and his Avatars over Lord Shiva and Bhagavati. But their misfortune, that our scriptures do not support their Vishnu Sarvottamottama thinking in any way. My intention was not to prove either Shiva or Vishnu superior to one another, but an attempt to show the non-dual nature of Hari-Hara. The Supreme Brahman can be perceived as Shiva, Shakti, Vishnu, Ganapati and Surya, and our great tradition Varnashrama Dharma has provision for each and everyone to approach Almighty the way they perceive Him as. The below verse is addressed to all those in the vicinity who are into duality:
“ye namasyanti govinda.n te namasyanti sha~Nkaram.h |
ye.archayanti hariM bhaktyaa te.archayanti vR^ishhadhvajam.h |
ye dvishhanti viruupaaksha.n te dvishhanti janaardanam.h |
ye rudra.n naabhijaananti te na jaananti keshavam.h |” (Rudra Hridayoanishat 1:6-7)
“Those who adore Govinda, are adoring Sankara. They, who worship Hari with devotion, are worshipping the bull-bannered deity in reality. Those who hate the three eyed lord, they are hating Janardana, and those who do not understand Rudra do not understand Kesava”.
Therefore we can say that Lord Krishna is an Avatar of Lord Shiva because Lord Krishna is an Avatar of Lord Vishnu, who in return is an Avatar of Lord Shiva. But ultimately Lord Shiva is Brahman and so is Lord Vishnu and his Avatar, Lord Krishna.