There's a popular Śloka found in the Bṛhaddharma Purāņa.

बृहद्धर्म पुराण

नास्ति गंगासमं तीर्थं नास्ति विष्णुसमःप्रभु ।
नास्ति शम्भुसमः पूज्यो
नास्ति मातृसमो गुरुः॥ १.२.३४ ॥

  1. There's no tirtha (pilgrimage) more sacred than the Ganges,
    There's no god greater than Viṣṇu,
    There's none more worshipable than Śiva,

    and there's no guru greater than a Mother.

Bṛhaddharma Purāņa 1.2.34

I'm failing to understand the two bold lines. I don't see any difference between the two lines. Obviously, one view is both are one and the same, a fact which has been repetitively reiterated in most scriptures.


  • How are those two lines any different from each other? Doesn't it imply one and the same thing? Or some difference does exist?

  • Is there anything more significant to this verse, possibly from sectarian perspectives which may have been expounded upon by some acāryas, etc.? Please explain this Śloka preferably in light of authoritative personalities' opinions.

  • Also, any other similar verse in the scriptures, with either the above deities reversed in their epithets or completely different sets of deities with those epithets?


2 Answers 2


Srimad Bhagavatam 12.13.16

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

"Just as the Gaṅgā is the greatest of all rivers, 𝗟𝗼𝗿𝗱 𝗔𝗰𝘆𝘂𝘁𝗮 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗦𝘂𝗽𝗿𝗲𝗺𝗲 𝗮𝗺𝗼𝗻𝗴 𝗱𝗲𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗟𝗼𝗿𝗱 Ś𝗮𝗺𝗯𝗵𝘂 [Ś𝗶𝘃𝗮] 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗴𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝗩𝗮𝗶ṣṇ𝗮𝘃𝗮𝘀, so Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the greatest of all Purāṇas."

The greatest devotee of Bhagavan Vishnu is Siva, so

From Padma Purana as quoted in Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.11.31 and in Rupa Goswami's Laghu Bhagavatamrita Uttarakhanda (https://archive.org/details/LaghuBhagavatamrta.VenkatesvarPress/page/n275/mode/2up)

[In the present day,a Similar verse is in the Motilala Banarasidas edition of Padma Purana 6.253.175-79 ]

ārādhanānāṁ sarveṣāṁ viṣṇor ārādhanaṁ param tasmāt parataraṁ devi tadīyānāṁ samarcanam

𝗟𝗼𝗿𝗱 𝗦𝗶𝘃𝗮 𝘀𝗮𝗶𝗱 “𝗢𝗳 𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝘆𝗽𝗲𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗽, 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗽 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗦𝘂𝗽𝗿𝗲𝗺𝗲 𝗟𝗼𝗿𝗱 𝗩𝗶ṣṇ𝘂 𝗶𝘀 𝗯𝗲𝘀𝘁, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗯𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗽 𝗼𝗳 𝗟𝗼𝗿𝗱 𝗩𝗶ṣṇ𝘂 𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗽 𝗼𝗳 𝗛𝗶𝘀 𝗱𝗲𝘃𝗼𝘁𝗲𝗲, 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗩𝗮𝗶ṣṇ𝗮𝘃𝗮.”

again from Srimad Bhagavatam 11.19.21


𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐮𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐦𝐞 𝐏𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐎𝐟 𝐆𝐨𝐝𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐒𝐫𝐢 𝐊𝐫𝐬𝐧𝐚 𝐬𝐚𝐢𝐝:- "𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗽 𝗼𝗳 𝗠𝘆 𝗱𝗲𝘃𝗼𝘁𝗲𝗲𝘀 𝗶𝘀 𝗯𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝗻 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗽 𝗼𝗳 𝗠𝗲."


Vishnu as a greater god because.:

The Drona Parva of the Mahabharata and the Harivamsa reveal the boon given by lord shiva to lord vishnu after 66000 celestial years of penance as thus:

matprasādān manuṣyeṣu devagandharvayoniṣu aprameyabalātmā tvaṃ nārāyaṇa bhaviṣyasi ( Mahabharata 7 : 172: verse No. 74 ).

By the grace of me you will become Nārāyaṇa with unending strength among the deities, humans and Gandharvas.

kaś cit tava rujaṃ kartā matprasādāt kathaṃ cana api cet samaraṃ gatvā bhaviṣyasi mamādhikaḥ ( Mahabharata 7 : 172: verse No. 78 ).

“Through my grace, none shall ever be able to cause thee pain by the weapon of thunderbolt or with any object that is wet or dry, or with any mobile or immobile thing. Thou shalt be superior to myself if thou ever goest to battle against me.'”

This was again confirmed by Lord Siva to Lord Krishna before Lord Krishna was about to appear in battle against Vanasura as stated in the Harivamsa.:

yathA mainAkamAshritya tapastvamakaroH prabho | tathA mama varaM kR^iShNa saMsmR^itya sthairyamApnuhi ||2-74-37.

O lord ! O kR^iShNa! As you did penance staying on mainAka, you received a boon from me. Be firm in your mind, remembering that boon.

avadhyastvamajeyashcha mattaH shUratarastathA | bhavitAsItyavochaM yattattathA na tadanyathA || 2-74-38.

You can not be killed, you can not be conquered, you will be more valiant than me. All this will happen as told by me. None will be able to change this. Otherwise, who else is able to dare appear before Lord Siva in the battlefield when He holds His trident?

So, it was Bhagawan Shiva only who gave Lord Vishnu the boon to become superior.

Shiva Puja is the greatest because.:

“tato ‘rjunaḥ prītamanā vavande vṛṣabhadhvajam |dadarśotphulla nayanaḥ samastaṃ tejasāṃ vidhim ||” (Mahabharata Drona Parva 7:57:60)“taṃ copahāraṃ svakṛtaṃ naiśaṃ naityakam ātmanaḥ |dadarśa tryambakābhyāśe vāsudeva niveditam ||” (Mahabharata Drona Parva 7:57:61)“.

Sanjaya said, ‘Then Partha, with a cheerful soul and joined hands and eyes expanded (in wonder), gazed at the god having the bull for his mark and who was the receptacle of every energy. And he beheld the offerings he made every night to Vasudeva lying by the side of the (lotus feets of the) Three-eyed deity”. (Book 7, Section LXXXI in translation by K.M. Ganguly).

According to $Nirvana Upanishad,* how a yogi achieves Nirvana aka Moksha is given.:

विष्णुविद्यादिशताभिधानलक्ष्यम् ।

The (worship of) gods named Vishnu, Brahma and a hundred others culminates (in Brahman). (Verse 29).

And Who is that Brahman after oneness with whom a yogi gets nirvana.:

परापवादमुक्तो जीवन्मुक्तः | शिवयोगनिद्रा च ।

Liberated while alive, as they are freed from denial of the highest (Brahman). The oneness with Siva is their sleep. (Verse 24-25).

I hope this clarifies all your queries. Prd..


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