It is said Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva are the same and they both are supreme god, then why there is difference between them. Why was Lord Shiva called as a Vairagi and Lord Vishu as a sansaric vishnu?

  • Well, not all Hindus believe that Vishnu and Shiva are in fact the same. Commented Aug 2, 2014 at 21:00
  • hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/2577/65 this answer of mine may address this!
    – pbvamsi
    Commented Aug 3, 2014 at 17:37
  • Lord Harihara is combigned form of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu.
    – prem30488
    Commented May 21, 2016 at 11:54

2 Answers 2


Think about this.

To go from point A to point B, you just need a vehicle.

one can take car, bike, boat , plane , helicopter, bus.

all are vehicles but YOU are the one who chose to specify car, bus etc rather than "vehicle".

coming to technicality, siva is FORMLESS as mahadeva he is acetic, as mahaesvara he is lord of uma, as aghora he is dispeller of darkness, as vamadeva he is instructor to whole world. so not truely vairagi..but nevertheless adheres to it in certain aspects.

Narayana : formless ,Vishnu sansaric: as vamana avatar a sanyasi, as kapila deva a sanyasi as matsya and kurma avatar no sansaric as parasurama no sansara..only as vishnu, krishna , rama ,narasimha, varaha etc.

clearly netiher title si applicable to them entirely why are you worrying about this?

worship shiva on monday, vishnu on wednesday and friday, skanda on tuesday, devi on friday , hanuman on sat, grahas on sunday. Everyday ganesha.. so simple, no need to go into details just be happy.

both are one and same but people chose to look at them differently. just like your friend call your birth name in home and your mother call you pet name at home. Does that make you 2 different person?


Although both water and ice are essentially the same (they consist of nothing but water) then why is there a difference between them? You can't separate water from ice - ice is basically just water, but still they are different - different yes, but separable from each other - no - they are one but different in same time. Similarly Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu are one and the same in essence, yet they are - different - you cannot separate one from the other, but they are different from each other. It is said that Vishnu is like milk and Siva is like yogurt (Brahma Samhita 5.45): "Just as milk is transformed into curd by the action of acids, but yet the effect curd is neither same as, nor different from, its cause, viz., milk, so I adore the primeval Lord Govinda of whom the state of Sambhu is a transformation for the performance of the work of destruction."

Yogurt is a transformation of milk (when milk comes into contact with yogurt culture, it turns into yogurt). Also, you cannot separate milk from yogurt, yogurt is a transformed form of milk, yet milk and yogurt are different from each other. Different yes, separable no. Similarly, Vishnu never has contact with material energy (nature, prakriti), and Shiva does - Shiva is an incarnation of Vishnu that has come into contact with material nature, prakriti, and just as milk turns into yogurt in contact with yogurt culture, so Vishnu manifests (transforms into) like Shiva when he comes in contact with material nature. Both are transcendental, but the transcendental position of Shiva and the transcendental position of Vishnu are different, not same - even though they are essentially the same.

Shiva manifests 84% of Krishna's qualities, Vishnu or Narayana manifests 96% of Krishna's qualities, Only Krishna manifests all 100% of His qualities. They are all the same, but there is a difference in the degree of manifestation of the characteristics that the Lord has. I have 100 dolars you have 1.000.000 dolars, we both have dollars, but the amount, degree is different.

Brahma Samhita 5.1 says: "Krishna who is known as Govinda is the Supreme Godhead. He has an eternal blissful spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin and He is the prime cause of all causes"

"He is the origin of all"!!! - He is the source of Vishnu and Brahma and Shiva, and everything that exists. Everything and everyone owes their existence and life - to Krishna - only and only He has no other cause and source, only He does not owe His existence and life to anyone, He is self-owned and self-existent - "He is the prime cause of all causes". Thus, Vishnu and Siva are one essence, yet different, just as water and ice are one and the same essence, yet different of each other. Both Vishnu and Shiva have divine qualities, but they differ in the degree of manifestation of those qualities, so their transcendental positions are not the same, even though they are one essence.

  • Can you site the source of Shiva manifests 84% of Krishna's qualities, Vishnu or Narayana manifests 96% of Krishna's qualities, Only Krishna manifests all 100% of His qualities.
    – Sid M
    Commented May 25, 2023 at 12:19
  • My source is quotes from the lessons, lectures and commentaries on Srimad Bḫagavatam, Bhagavad-gita... by Swami Prabḫupada. He mentions it in many places (if you want I can quote it all here, or send it to you, - there are about 3 pages of A4 format of these quotes). He cites the source of these claims as Bḫakti-Rasamrita-Sindḫu by Srila Rupa Gosvami (and possibly some of Srila Jiva Gosvami's Sandḫarbs - but primarily Rupa Gosvami - one of the six Gosvamis of Vrindavana, an immediate disciple of Sri Chaitanya Mahāprabḫu. Commented May 26, 2023 at 7:13
  • As for the percentage for Narayana, in various places he states various data - 93, 94, 96 or 98%. It need not be a contradiction or a mistake because there are different forms of Narayana. For example Karanodakasayi Vishnu, Garbhodakasayi Vishnu and Ksirodakasayi Vishnu - all are forms that manifest the material world and arise from each other, so it is possible that they have different percentages of properties and powers ... eg Karanodakasayi Vishnu 96%, Garbhodakasayi Vishnu 94, Ksirodakasayi Vishnu 93% - that's just my guess, I don't have a quote for it. Commented May 26, 2023 at 7:13

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .