At the end of the Banasura fight, Krishna says to Siva:


When he had concluded, Govinda, dismissing his resentment against the Asura, looked graciously on the lord of Umā, the wielder of the trident, and said to him, “Since you, Śaṅkara, have given a boon unto Bāṇa, let him live: from respect to your promises, my discus is arrested: the assurance of safety granted by you is granted also by me. You are fit to apprehend that you are not distinct from me. That which I am, thou art; and that also is this world, with its gods, demons, and mankind. Men contemplate distinctions, because they are stupified by ignorance.

Is he saying Siva, Krishna,the world with its gods, demons, and mankind are all Brahman, without distinctions? By "ignorance", does he mean what Advaitists call Maya?

2 Answers 2


The original word used in the Sanskrit is 'avidya' which Wilson translates as 'ignorance'. The term 'avidya' is not unique to Advaita BTW.

The phrase Brahman, without distinctions can parse out to give a meaning not present in the original Sanskrit (or in the translation).

Krishna is saying that avidya-affected men see differences between different entities in the world like devas, asuras, humans, Krishna and Siva. He has not mentioned Brahman here.

Whether He is saying Advaita or not is a point of interpretation based on whether one wishes to bring in other priors/conclusions.

  • E.g. One can deny the objective reality of the universe and interpret Solipsism here.
  • Or one could interpret "avidya-affected men see differences" as seeing "only differences and not similarities"
  • 1
    According to Vishnu Purana, the speaker of these words IS Brahman. From that standpoint - it is quite clear what the message is in this passage. But interpretational acrobatics can be applied to anything @hashable
    – S K
    Commented Aug 24, 2023 at 16:01
  • 2
    If it is clear, why did you ask this question @sk
    – hashable
    Commented Aug 24, 2023 at 16:03

Radhe Radhe,

The thing with the question you are asking is that it can be interpreted in many different ways by many different sampradayas. While some can claim that it means Krishna, Shiva, other gods, and everything in the world is one Brahman, others can interpret it to mean they are the one due to Krishna as parmatma residing in them. Others can further interpret it to mean that they are all the one only for the purpose of the boon, as everything that happens occurs due to Krishna. That is why when undertaking studies, it is recommended that one has a guru so that when questions arise, they can be easily dispelled. Self-studying scriptures is a great thing and mandatory in scriptures for Bhramacharya but should be done under some sort of guidance of a guru as scriptures can be very confusing and tricky.

Now the fun part, since it is the lord himself who creates these sampradayas it's foolish to say other views are false. As the Vedas are a vast ocean of knowledge and through the viewpoint of sampradaya, they are condensed. The other view is that different sampradaya are created so people of different sadhana can attain moksha. Like Advaita followers say that Dvaita and vashista-Advaita is a path that ultimately leads to Advaita while the followers of Dvaita say the opposite and claim when enough bhakti is reached, they will also believe in Dvaita.

So, find yourself a guru, surrender to his lotus feet and believe in everything he says as the absolute truth. Many might try to tell you their view is right, just think of them as the lord trying to test Parvati's trust in her guru Narada.

Radhe Radhe,

Good luck in finding a Satgurudev Bhagwan and studying the scriptures under his guidance.

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