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Prabhupāda, starts a lecture in August, 1972 by quoting a verse from the Śiva Purāṇa. To strengthen his argument he cites another verse (ārādhanānāṁ sarveṣāṁ viṣṇor ...) supposedly from the Padma Purāṇa.

There are two kinds of bhāgavata: book Bhāgavata and devotee bhāgavata. So in the Śiva Purāṇa, there was a question by Pārvatī to Lord Śiva. Lord Śiva and Pārvatī, husband and wife. Pārvatī means the material nature. Sṛṣṭi-sthiti-pralaya-sādhana-śaktir ekā chāyeva yasya bhuvanāni bibharti durgā (Bs. 5.44). Durgā-devī.

Durgā-devī is in charge of this material world. It is called durga, durga, just like fort. And the superintendent of this fort is Durgā. You cannot go out of this fort; you are imprisoned. Such Durgā-devī, who is so powerful energy—she can create, annihilate, maintain, sṛṣṭi-sthiti-pralaya-sādhana—she is always sitting by the side of her husband, Lord Śiva, and questioning about spiritual enquiries. Just see. Such powerful deity is also ignorant about spiritual life. So the husband, Lord Śiva, is Vaiṣṇava, and she's always asking, and sitting down underneath a bael tree. She can create so many universes, but for her, no building; only underneath a tree.

So the question was, "Which worship is best?" So Lord Śiva replied, ārādhanānāṁ sarveṣāṁ viṣṇor ārādhanaṁ param (Padma Purāṇa): "My dear Pārvatī, of all methods of worship, Viṣṇu worship is the topmost." There are many demigods' worship, even Lord Śiva's worship, but Lord Śiva says, "Viṣṇu worship is the best." Then he says again, tasmāt parataraṁ devi: "My dear Devi, better than that Viṣṇu worship is tadīyānāṁ aradhanam." Tadīya.

Tadīya means those who are in relationship with Viṣṇu, tadīya. Just like His devotee, tadīya. Tulasī-vṛkṣa. Tulasī is tadīya. Or temple tadīya, preaching tadīya. Tadīyānāṁ samarcanam. This is bhāgavata. So Lord Śiva recommends that "Of all methods of worship, Viṣṇu worship is the best, and better than Viṣṇu worship is to worship His devotee or things in relationship with Him." Tadīyānām, that is bhāgavata.

However, in a previous lecture from 1966, he states the same verse is from Śiva Purāṇa:

So from this verse, Lord Caitanya wants to impress upon us that "Don't be misguided for worshiping different demigods. The ultimate issue—the Viṣṇu is worshipable." Ārādhanānāṁ sarveṣāṁ viṣṇor ārādhanaṁ param. Even in the Śiva Purāṇa it is stated that Pārvatī, the wife of Lord Śiva, she was asking Lord Śiva that "Sir, worship... Which worship is the best?" There are different kinds of worship mentioned in the Vedic literatures. So Lord Śiva replied, ārādhanānāṁ sarveṣāṁ viṣṇor ārādhanaṁ param: "There are different kinds of worship, but the best and the supreme worship is worship of Viṣṇu." Then again he gives more stress, ārādhanānāṁ sarveṣāṁ viṣṇor ārādhanaṁ param, tasmāt parataraṁ devī tadīyānām ārādhanam: "And more than Viṣṇu worship is to worship devotee of Viṣṇu." Tasmāt parataraṁ. Viṣṇu ārādhanam is the best. And better than the best worship is to worship the devotees of Viṣṇu, Vaiṣṇavas. This is recommended in the Śiva Purāṇa.

What is the actual source of this verse? Do both Śiva and Padma Purāṇas contain it?

  • Padma-Purana and in fact all the Puranas for that matter are secteriaan books and especially the Uttarakhanda is full of interpolations. So I could not understand why you are interested in finding this sloka! This contradicts the Vedas and therefore is of NO value. In Shiva-Purana, Vishnu worshipped Shiva!! – user17294 May 1 at 4:50
  • @As oer Dr,vMahanamvrata Brahmachari, one of the most famous Gaudiya Vaishnana-scholars of the recent times, the direct disciples of Mahaprabhu avoided quoting from the Padma-Purana btw. – user17294 May 1 at 11:38
  • 1. There is no proof that even a single verse is interpolated in the Padma Purana, or any other Purana. There are people who like to speculate a lot, and they are fond of interpolation theories which they think explain the differences in the texts. But still there is no firm proof that interpolation theories are correct. There are other possible explanations of why the texts differ which do not involve any interpolations. So interpolation is not the only explanation. 2. There are no verses in the Padma Purana which contradict Sruti. ... – brahma jijnasa May 1 at 22:00
  • ... 3. Early Gaudiya Vaishnavas quoted verses from the Padma Purana Uttarakhanda section, and some of those verses are quoted even in the Caitanya Caritamrita. – brahma jijnasa May 1 at 22:00
  • @brahmajijnasa The Srutis order to speak the Truth and not to have hatred.What the Padma-Purana write about Adi Shankara supports the Srutis? Startling indeed!Its very well known that the Puranas are full of interpolations!! – user17294 May 2 at 5:42
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The verse is to be found in the Padma Purana Motilal Vol. 3 through Vol. 10, Uttarakhanda chapter 253, verses 175-179 (precisely it's verse 176 actually), page 3322.

However it seems that the Motilal translation is slightly different.

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EDIT:

The verse, slightly different than the question, from Padma Purana in Sanskrit:

śrīpadma purāṇam

uttarakhaṇḍe prathamo'dhyāyaḥ

oṃ śrīviṣṇave namaḥ

oṃ śrīvedavyāsāya namaḥ

...

tripañcāśadadhikadviśatatamo'dhyāyaḥ

śrīpārvatyuvāca -

...

śrīrudrauvāca -

...

ārādhanānāṃsarveṣāṃviṣṇorārādhanaṃparam

tasmātparataraṃdevitadīyānāṃsamarcanam 176

...

iti śrīpādmamahāpurāṇepaṃcapaṃcāśatsāhasrayāṃsaṃhitāyāmuttarakhaṃḍe
umāmaheśvarasaṃvādeviṣṇupūjāvidhānavaiṣṇavācārakathanaṃnāma
tripaṃcāśadadhikadviśatatamo'dhyāyaḥ 253

  • Good find. Does this mean it's not found in Śiva Purāṇa or that possibility is still open? – sv. May 1 at 3:42
  • @sv. I don't have any info about where is the verse located in the Shiva Purana. – brahma jijnasa May 1 at 3:53
  • @sv. Yes early gaudiya literature quote this from Padma Purana. I think Prabhupada saying it from Siva Purana is just a mistake. The transcript that's why gives in brackets as Padma Purana. Some mistakes are possible in lectures like sometimes he interchanged lines in Gita verses in lectures etc.. – Krishna Varna May 1 at 4:10
  • @sv. Here it is the LaghuBhagavatamrita written by Rupa Goswami, direct disciple of Chaitanya.. The verse is quoted from Padma, Uttarakhanda: archive.org/details/LaghuBhagavatamrta.VenkatesvarPress/page/… – Krishna Varna May 1 at 16:22

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