My question is that Lord Shiva is also Vaishnava (Devotee of Lord Vishnu). Because I read this fact before from one scripture, so anybody can attach that scripture which claimed that Siva is greatest Vaishnav.

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    I dont think it is wise to indulge in such comparative ventures. Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 14:41
  • @AmitSaxena : Yes it is true,brother and answer already given by ram look out the answer.. Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 14:46
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    Yes, there are many scriptural statements about Shiva being the greatest Vaishnava. So that's pretty much a universal belief among Vaishnavas. But the notion that Shiva is the "first" Vaishnava is something that's unique to Vallabhacharya and his followers. That's because they trace their origin to the Rudra Sampadayam. You see, Vishnu is said to have taught the principles of Vaishnavism to four disciples: Brahma, Lakshmi, Shiva, and Sanat Kumara. Sri Vaishnavism traces its origin to Lakshmi, which is why we're called "Sri" Vaishnavas. Vallabacharya's sect traces its origins to Shiva. Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 1:25
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    @KeshavSrinivasan : exactly, Keshav ,now days Everybody interrupt the scriptures as per their own speculation, and not understand from the actual scriptures and accept the truth, anyway good comment. Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 5:56
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    yes shiva & vishnu r each other's greatest devotee & each other's guru & each other's deity & even that's why shiva being tamasik lord he is white & vishnu being satvic is dark...but yet parvati is dark like ma kaali & is sister of vishnu so white r shiva & saraswati who r bro sis & so r lakshmi & brahma yellow...:)
    – Shivam Ner
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 11:20

5 Answers 5


Srimad Bhagavatam 12.13.16

nimna-gānāṁ yathā gaṅgā
devānām acyuto yathā
vaiṣṇavānāṁ yathā śambhuḥ
purāṇānām idam tathā

Just as Ganga among rivers, Achyuta among gods, Shambu among Vaishnavas, This (Bhagavatam) is the same among Puranas.


Whether Lord Shiva is greatest Vaishnava or greatest Shaivite or greatest Shakta or greatest any other, depends on scripture which you read.

As per Shiva Purana:

In Koti Rudra Samhita Shiva Purana chapter 42, Suta states:

सर्वे रुद्रं भजन्त्येव रुद्रः कंचिद् भजेन्न हि ।
स्वात्मना भक्तवात्सल्याद् भजत्येव कदाचन ।।

All worship Rudra but Rudra worships none. But for the sake of devotees sometimes he worships/meditates upon Himself.

Thus as per this Lord Shiva is neither greatest Vaishnava nor Shakta nor Iskcon.. etc.. But he is Shaivite himself.

As per Srimad Bhagvatam:

Srimad Bhagvat Purana in 12.13.16 states:

निम्न-गानां यथा गङ्गा देवानाम् अच्युतो यथा ।
वैष्णवानां यथा शम्भुः पुराणानाम् इदम् तथा ।।

Just as Ganga among rivers, Achyuta among gods, Shambu among Vaishnavas, This (Bhagavatam) is the same among Puranas.

So, as per this Lord Shiva is greatest Vaishnava here.

As per Devi Bhagvatam:

Devi Bhagvatam in 3.5.22-23 states:

Brahmâ said :-- When Shiva of wonderful fire and energy, said this, the Devî Ambikâ clearly uttered the nine lettered mantra. Mahâdeva accepted the mantra and became very glad. He fell down at the feet of the Devî, and then and there began to repeat the nine-lettered mantra together with Vîja (seed) that yields desires and liberation and can be easily pronounced.

So, here we see Lord Shiva is a greatest Shakta here.


I haven't read Brahma Vaivarta Purana yet, but I'm sure there **Lord Shiva is a greatest Gaudiya. Similarly in Padma Purana Uttara Khanda (and also in Ramcharitmanas) Lord Shiva is greatest Ramanandi. Similarly in some chapters of Uttara khanda of Padma Purana, Lord Shiva is greatest deceiver also ... and so on.. the list continues.


Srimad Bhagvatam is best among Puranas and summary of Vedas itself. What it says is always true and other are false.

We Reply:

If we see towards end part of each Purana we find every Purana say that Purana is best among the Purana. And every Purana repeat many many times they are expanding Shrutis.

Possible Solutions:

Here are possible solutions to solve this matter:

1) As every Purana are sectarian in literature so each of them try to make deities devotee of their Supreme Lord.

2) Every God worship all Gods and oneself too. And thus every Purana only keep part of this truth in it. Eg. Lord Shiva is greatest Shaivite, Vaishnava, Shakta, Gaudiya etc.. and all. But Puranas only keep part of truth in needed segments.

  • 3
    Why so many downvotes to such an correct answer???
    – Rickross
    Commented Oct 22, 2016 at 16:11
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    # 1-i think this question is asked with "the same ulterior motive",because ,it can not be that a vaishnava(who knows many other similar verses)isn't aware of this rather famous verse given in the selected answer.Now,if a devotee of a Ugra Devata gets fanatic or extremist in his behavior that can still be understood(however that does not even actually happens), but how can by worshiping the most benign(Soumya) of all Gods one get so much of fanaticism and hatred??When i used to do ekadashi fasts i did not have hatred even for my enemies.
    – Rickross
    Commented Oct 23, 2016 at 14:51
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    #2 I don't think that this "downvoting" serves any purpose unless the user is made to post his reasons alongwith.Only then the system becomes constructive.And,that's mainly y i have stopped downvoting entirely.
    – Rickross
    Commented Oct 23, 2016 at 14:51
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    @Tezz does Brahma vaivarta purana and RamCharitmanas call SHiva greatest Gaudiya nd Ramanandi resp.? If so pls attach some reference. Commented Oct 26, 2016 at 12:47
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    Is other part needed? Bhagavatam explicitly says Shiva is a greatest vaishnava. But no other text claim that he is a greatest shakta or something like that. There are only incidents worshipping devi and meditating on himself. Please do not add your opinions like greatest Ramanandi, gaudiya etc., You should not give speculations. You already know that. Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 18:14

Yes, Shiva & Vishnu are each other's greatest devotee & each other's guru & each other's deity.

That's why Shiva despite representing tamasic guna, is white in complexion while Vishnu representing the sattvic guna is dark in complexion. Moreover, despite that, Deví Parvatí is dark complexioned in her form of Mata Kaali & she is also the sister of Vishnu. Furthermore, Shiva & Saraswatí, who are siblings are white complexioned, & Lakshmi & Brahma are yellow in complexion.

  • From Durga Saptashati ( Murti & Vaikritika Rahasyam)

But we have Veda Vyasa saying in the Mahabharata:

तस्मिन्हि पूज्यमाने वै देवदेवे महेश्वरे।

संपूजितो भवेत्पार्थ देवो नारायणः प्रभुः ॥ (MB.12.328.20)

Krishna continues: If Śiva, the devadeva, maheśvara, is worshiped, Lord Nārāyaṇa stands well worshiped.

अहमात्मा हि लोकानां विश्वानां पाण्डुनन्दन। (MB.328.21a)

तस्मादात्मानमेवाग्रे रुद्रं संपूजयाम्यहम् ॥ (MB.328.21c)

I am the Self of all the worlds (beings), O Arjuna. Therefore, I worship My Self that is Rudra,first.

यद्यहं नार्चयेयं वै ईशानं वरदं शिवम्। (MB.12.328.22a)

आत्मानं नार्चयेत्कश्चिदिति मे भावितं मनः॥ (MB.12.328.22c)

If I do not worship Śiva, the Lord, the bestower of boons, no one will worship the Self. Such is my conviction.

मया प्रमाणं हि कृतं लोकः समनुवर्तते। (MB.12.328.22e)

प्रमाणानि हि पूज्यानि ततस्तं पूजयाम्यहम्॥ (MB.12.328.23a)

That which I place as a role model for people, they follow suit. Those which are the ideals are to be worshiped and hence I worship Śiva (who is such an ideal).

यस्तं वेत्ति स मां वेत्ति योऽनु तं स हि मामनु। (MB.12.328.23c)

रुद्रो नारायणश्चैव सत्त्वमेकं द्विधाकृतम् ॥ (MB.12.328.24a)

He who realizes Śiva, knows Me and he who realizes Me, realizes Śiva as well. For, Rudra and Nārāyaṇa are one Principle, manifesting as two.

And Sridhara Swamin, says:

माधवोमाधवावीशौ सर्वसिद्धिविधा यिनौ।

वन्दे परस्परात्मानौ परस्परनुतिप्रियौ॥

[invocation to the commentary to the Srimadbhāgavatam]

I bow to Mādhava and Umādhava (Shiva) who are both 'Isha-s' Supreme Lords. They are capable of bestowing all accomplishments (to their devotees). They are both the selves of each other and both love to engage in the stuti of each other.

And the Skandopanishad/ Sanda purana says:

शिवाय विष्णुरूपाय शिवरूपाय विष्णवे ।
शिवस्य हृदयं विष्णुः विष्णोश्च हृदयं शिवः ॥८॥
यथा शिवमयो विष्णुरेवं विष्णुमयः शिवः ।
यथान्तरं न पश्यामि तथा मे स्वस्तिरायुषि ॥९॥ यथान्तरं न भेदाः स्युः शिवकेशवयोस्तथा । [Skandopaniṣat]

Obeisance to Śiva who is of the form of Viḷṣṇu, and to Viṣṇu of the form of Śiva. Śiva's heart (self) is Viṣṇu and Viṣṇu's self is Śiva. Just as Viṣṇu is fully verily Śiva, so too Śiva is fully verily Viṣṇu. As I do not see any difference between them, let me be prosperous and long-lived. Let there be no difference between Śiva and Keśava.

(Sri Upaniṣad Brahma Yogin, an advaita Acharya, has written the commentary for this Upaniṣad as well along with the entire 108 Upaniṣads)

दक्षयज्ञविनाशाय हरिरूपाय ते नमः।

3.39.76 (हरिरुद्राय)

[These are the words of Arjuna to Lord Śiva.]

In the Harivamśa, an extension of the Mahabharata, we have Markandeya's words:

मार्कण्डेय उवाच -

शिवाय विष्णुरूपाय विष्णवे शिवरूपिणे।

अथान्तरं न पश्यामि तेन ते दिशतः शिवम् ॥

Shiva is the form of Vishnu & Vishnu is the form of Shiva. Those who do not see any difference between these two, they become one one with the Supreme Auspiciousness.

Says the Mahabharata:

रुद्रो नारायणश्चैव सत्त्वमेकं द्विधा कृतम्।

लोके चरति कौन्तेय व्यक्तिस्थं सर्वकर्मसु।।

O Kaunteya, Rudra and Narayana are one principle manifesting as two going about in the world

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    Welcome to Hinduism.SE. Please format your answer, some links are broken. Please check this: How do I format my posts using Markdown or HTML? and this: How do I write a good answer?. Commented Aug 3, 2017 at 8:24
  • Very good answer. Can you please provide the list of Mahabharata chapters which you mentioned?
    – user22667
    Commented Jan 8, 2021 at 17:57
  • The verses from the Mahabharata have this notation at the beginning: 12328023c For example, here, 12 refers to the Parva/Canto. 328 refers to the Chapter there and 023 is the verse number. C is the part of the verse. Commented Mar 15, 2021 at 10:00

Yes, Rudra is the greatest Vaishnava and Vishnu is the greatest Shaiva this is ordained by Bhagawan Sadā Shiva himself to both Vishnu and Rudra.

Sri Shiva Purana 2.1:1:10.:

Lord Śiva said:—

1. O Viṣṇu of good rites, O Hari, listen to another pronouncement of mine. You will be worthy of honour and worship in all the worlds for ever.

2. Whenever a misery befalls the world created by Brahmā, you shall be eager for the destruction of all miseries.

3. In all difficult and unbearable activities I shall help you. I shall kill your indefatigable and fierce enemies.

4. O Viṣṇu, spread your glory in the worlds far and wide by taking up various incarnations. Strive for their succour. I am always Saguṇa when I become Rudra with this body.

5. Certainly I shall perform your activities for the sake of the worlds if they are impossible for you.

6. You are to be meditated upon by Rudra and Rudra is to be meditated upon by you. There is no difference between you and Rudra.


ŚB 12.13.16.:

निम्नगानां यथा गङ्गा देवानामच्युतो यथा । वैष्णवानां यथा शम्भु: पुराणानामिदं तथा ॥ १६ ॥

Just as the Gangā is the greatest of all rivers, Lord Acyuta the supreme among deities and Lord Śambhu [Rudra] the greatest of Vaiṣṇavas, so Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the greatest of all Purāṇas.


Sri Skanda Purana 1.3b.4.:

नास्ति शोणाद्रितः क्षेत्रं नास्ति पंचाक्षरान्मनुः ॥ ५४ ॥ नास्ति माहेश्वराद्धर्मो नास्ति देवो महेश्वरात् । नास्ति ज्ञानं शिवज्ञानान्नास्ति श्रीरुद्रतः श्रुतिः ॥ ५५ ॥ नास्ति शैवाग्रणीर्विष्णोर्नास्ति रक्षा विभूतितः । नास्ति भक्तेः सदाचारो नास्ति रक्षाकराद्गुरुः ॥ ५६ ॥

54b-56.: There is no greater holy place other than Śoṇādri. There is no greater Mantra than the five-syllabled Mantra (Namaḥ Śivāya). There is no cult (greater) than the cult of Maheśvara. There is no god greater than Maheśvara. There is no better knowledge than the realization of Śiva. There is no Veda greater than Śrī Rudra. There is no greater leader of the devotees of Śiva than Viṣṇu. There is no greater protective factor than the sacred ash. There is no greater good conduct than the practice of devotion.

I hope this clarifies all your queries. Prd..


It is often seen that Ram worshipping Shiva is referred to as Shiva is great, but the fact is in the avtara of Ram NY Vishnu, never ever shows he was great in whole Ramayana, hence Worshipping Shiva won't make him the great amoungst both. Further as per Bhagvata Vaishnavas (Madhwacharya ) Vishnu from his nabhi raised a lotus in which Bramha was created, once Bramha was very angry n he pinched his lalata (part between eyebrows where anger is represented) there Shiva was born. Hence as per us there is no surprise that Shiva was great Vaishnava, But he comes after Bramha, Madwa/Hanuma/Bhima, Vadiraja. N then SHIVA.

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    You should cite sources.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 18:25
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    Please register. Improve formatting to make your post easy for reading. Here is the editing help. Also cite sources for your claims Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 6:03
  • Here is an article where Rudra creating Brahmaa (the Four Faced) and imparting him the Vedic knowledge is explained on the authority of the Shvetashvataropanishat: adbhutam.wordpress.com/2021/03/09/… Commented Mar 15, 2021 at 10:03

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