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I see so many toxic shaivas blame EVERYTHING on ISKCON, even tho very little of us are iskcon and most are Sri Vaishnavas. Shiva worships and loves Vishnu and vice versa. If we as a religion can’t come United how do we defend for our rights against other religions?

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  • It's just Newton's 3rd law i guess. Toxicity give rise to toxicity and respect give rise to respect. It's same for all, be it, Shaivas, Vaishnavas, Shaktas, every human beings. Commented Feb 15 at 6:20
  • There are some Śaivas who do nindā of Viṣṇu, just like there are some Vaiṣṇavas who do nindā of Śiva. There are some (not all) Śrī Vaiṣṇavas & Dvaitins, who really do nindā of Śiva. But not all Śaivas/Vaiṣṇavas do nindā of Viṣṇu/Śiva. It's not fair to say that all Śaivas do nindā of Viṣṇu, just like it's not fair to say all Vaiṣṇavas do nindā of Śiva. Those who do nindā of either, commit pāpa (regardless of who their iṣṭadevatā is). I personally have no problem in accepting that Śiva and Viṣṇu are non-different in svarūpa and that they reside in each other's hṛdaya.
    – Bingming
    Commented Feb 15 at 7:27
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    Also, Iskcon has really indulged in quite serious nindā of Śiva, Rāma, etc., so the accusations of it being a devanindaka aren't baseless. Since, some leaders and spokespersons of the organization behave like that, the followers indirectly bear the blame too, even though not all of them might be Śivanindaka.
    – Bingming
    Commented Feb 15 at 7:28
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    @SanatanaDhara I’m not cherry picking at all. Being ignorant to a situation that is very present and common and labeling it as an “isolated event” is very one sided if you. Most shaivas do this. Commented Mar 12 at 15:37
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    @TanaiKoduru Derogatory things exist in ALL sects without exception. I have seen Sri Vaishnavas tell stories of Shiva getting humiliated and defeated by one of the Alvārs, Mādhvas having stories of Shiva getting humiliated by Vayu avatāra Vaishnavottama Bheema and so on...thereby putting Shiva not just below Vishnu but even Vishnu's devotees!. So it's not just something exclusive to ISKCON. If one keeps focusing on the derogatory aspects of the rival sects, there's simply no possibility of attaining the unity which you espouse in the question.
    – user33953
    Commented Mar 13 at 7:48

1 Answer 1

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DISCLAIMER - Shaiva POV ahead. Ignore if you disagree


Do Shaivas reject the fact that Shiva worships Vishnu?

No, Genuine Shaivas do not reject the fact that Shiva worships Vishnu. However as per Shaiva matam, that is only due to his own bhaktavatsalata.

As the brihaNNAradIya purAnam states, Shiva despite himself being the Supreme lord and the Origin of trImurtIs (brahmA,Visnu,kAlAgni rudra) is still a devotee of his own devotees.

भक्ताय निजभक्तानां भुक्तिमुक्तिप्रदायिने ।।विवाससे निवासाय विश्वेषां पतये नमः ।। २२७ ।। त्रिमूर्तिमूलभूताय त्रिनेत्राय त्रिशूलिने ।।त्रिधाम्ने धामरूपाय जन्मदाय नमोनमः ।। २२८ ।। देवासुरशिरोरत्नकिरीटारुणितांघ्रये ।।कांताय निजकांतायै दत्तार्द्धाय नमोनमः ।। २२९ ।।

Obeisance, obeisance to the one who is a devotee to his own devotees, to one who is the bestower of worldly enjoyment and liberation, to the lord of all worlds, to one who is without garments and to one who is the final resort.

Obeisance, obeisance to the origin of Trimurtis (the three deities of Brahma, Visnu and Rudra) to one with three eyes, to the light of three lights (sun, moon and fire), to the remover of the cycle of births.

~ brihannAradiyapurAnam - purvArdham - Adhyaya 91

(The above stutih is also found in several tantra sAstras such as the sAradatilaka.)

Since Keshava is the foremost devotee of Shiva, Hence Shiva at times acts like a Vaishnavottama to worship Vishnu as his foremost devotee.

नास्ति शैवाग्रणीर्विष्णोर्नास्ति रक्षा विभूतितः ।। नास्ति भक्तेः सदाचारो नास्ति रक्षाकराद्गुरुः ।। ५६ ।।

There is no greater Shaiva than Vishnu

~ SkandapurAnam-mAhesvarakhandam-arunAchalmahatmyam-2-Adhyaya 4

10007060c क्षान्त्या भक्त्या च धृत्या च बुद्ध्या च वचसा तथा 10007061a यथावदहमाराद्धः कृष्णेनाक्लिष्टकर्मणा 10007061c तस्मादिष्टतमः कृष्णादन्यो मम न विद्यते

~ BORI Mahabharatam

However The truth as per Shaiva matam is, Shiva doesn't worship just vishnu, In reality he worships all his (true) devotees, proportionate to their grade of devotion.

In reality though, Shiva worships no one.

शङ्कर उवाच -

ध्याये न किञ्चिद्गोविन्द न नमस्येह किञ्चन २४७। नोपास्ये कञ्चन हरे न जपिष्येह किञ्चन ।

किन्तु नास्तिकजन्तूनां प्रवृत्त्यर्थमिदं मया २४८। दर्शनीयं हरे ते स्युरन्यथा पापकारिणः ।

तस्माल्लोकोपकारार्थमिदं सर्वं कृतं मया २४९। ओमित्युक्त्वा हरिरथ तं नत्वा समतिष्ठत ।

अथ ते गौतमगृहं प्राप्ता देवगणर्षयः २५०। सर्वे पूजामथो चक्रुर्देवदेवे पिनाकिने ।

O govinda! I don’t meditate on anyone & I don’t salute anyone, Oh hari! I don’t do upāsya on anything, nor I do japa, but for the sake of the improvement/enhancement of nonbelievers I’ve shown thus otherwise they will be sinners. Hence for the benefit of the world, I have done this all.

~ padmapurAnam/pAtalakhandam/ch 144

~ brihannAradiya/pUrvArdha/ch 79

All worship Rudra but Rudra does not worship any one. Yet due to his favourable attitude to his devotees sometimes he worships himself.

~ SivapurAna, kotirudrasamhitA, ADHYaYA 42

The points above have been taken from the books of Srouta Saivacharya, Mudigonda Nagalinga Sastry


Is it correct to indict only Shaivas for Not following Hari-Hara abhedam?

This perspective while may seem offensive to those with a harihara-vAdi outlook, is no different from the vaishnavite perspective which states that Vishnu doesn't worship shiva in reality, he only worships his own self /antaryami who resides within Shiva. Or that he worships shiva merely for the sake of keeping a boon as said in some of the Vainavapuranani. So if the Vaisnavas are correct by following their perspective as given in their sAstras, saivas too are correct in their own perspective which is laid down in their own Sastras.

Moreover, The Questioner, in the process of indicting Shaivas for not following Hari-Hara Abhedam, seems to have overlooked the fact nearly all Vaishnavacharyas (that inculdes gaudiya, srivaishnava, madhva, nimbarka, vallabha) themselves have rejected the concept of Harihara Abhedam/Trimurti sAmayam and Advocated for the sole supremacy of srImannArAyana.

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu continued, “To say nothing of ordinary living entities, even Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva cannot be considered on the level of Viṣṇu or Nārāyaṇa. If one considers them as such, he is immediately considered an offender and atheist.A person who considers demigods like Brahmā and Śiva to be on an equal level with Nārāyaṇa is to be considered an offender, a pāṣaṇḍī.’ ”

~ Chaitanya Charitamrita . Madhya. 25.79-80

Therefore, other views such as the following:— “ The gods of the trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva), are of equal greatness”; “ The three gods of the Trinity are only one ”, “Iswara is above and beyond the Trinity " “ Either Brahma or Rudra among the Trinity is the Supreme Lord “—these views stating equality, identity, the exis tence of an entity superior to all the three of the Trinity and the supremacy of a different member of the Trinity, are against the pramanas. That Brahma, Rudra, and the like are created beings subject to karma may be seen in the following passages:— “ The* purusha or person created by Him (Narayana) is called Brahma in the world”. “ Having caused the dissolution of the worlds before, you lay on the waters of the great ocean and created me at first by your Maya (will).", “ Brahma’s name 'is Ka and I, Isa role over all embodied beings. We two were born from your limbs. Therefore you are called Kevava (Ka and Is'a)” Further Brahma says, " I was 'born from His graciousness for some reason and you, from His wrath, for some other reason, in one of the earlier creations.” The very words of these rival gods, which are, so to say, a deed of release written with their own hands, declare this truth. That Brahma and Rudra are subject to karma and attained their high status, because of having worshipped the Lord of all with special rites...

~ Srivaishnavacharya Vedanta Desikan (Rahasya Traya)

Furthermore in the Tattvateeka, commentary to Sri Ramanuja's Sribhasya Desika rejects the idea of non difference between the trinity.

परमपुरुषोक्तिः ईश्वरोत्तीर्णताव्युदासाय | अर्थात् त्रिमूर्तिसाम्योत्तीर्णतादिपक्षापोहः |

The term ‘paramapuruSha’ is to refute the idea of a transcendental Ishwara, which extends to the refutation of the idea of Trimurti saamyam, that is, holding the Triad of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as of the same status, non-difference and an Ishwara who transcends the three.


Do Shaivas Not Worship and Respect Vishnu?

To Answer this question, there are Various grades of Shaivas. One type includes Samanya and Mishra shaivas who worship Vishnu and Shiva, while Veera and Shuddha shaivas reject the worship of all Devas other than Shiva including Vishnu.

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Saivacharya Sripati Padita also mentions mishra pAshupatas in his sutra bhasya by citing a verse from the Kurma purana. As per this citation, the Mishra Shaivas / Pashupatas literally do Panchayatana/Panchdevata Upasana of Shiva, Vishnu, Surya, Ganesha and devi just like modern day Smartas do.

Now As to why Veera Shaivas reject all other than Shiva? It is because just as Vaishnavas follow the words of Vaishnava shAstras, Shaivas too follow the words of their own Shaiva Shastras.

शिव एको ध्येयश्शिवंकरः सर्वमन्यत् परित्यज्य

Shiva alone is to be meditated upon, casting aside everything else.

~ Atharvashikha upanishad (Atharva Veda)

एक एव शिवो नित्यस्ततोऽन्यत्सकलं मृषा । तस्मात्सर्वान्परित्यज्य ध्येयान्विष्ण्वादिकान्सुरान् ॥ ३० ॥

Shiva alone is imperishable, all others are perishable. Hence, casting aside Vishnu and other devatas shiva alone is to be meditated upon.

~ Sarabhopanishat

(Both the Above Upanishads have been cited by Saivacharyas)

This idea of rejecting the worship of all the Gods other than one's chosen diety is found even in the Vaishnava sampradayas, where it is termed as 'ekAntika bhakti'.

In his treatise “Viveka-dhairya-ashraya” Vallabhacharya says that Anyasya bhajanam tatra, svato gamanameva ca; Prarthana-karyamatrepi, tatonyatra vivarjayet.

Meaning: > 1. One should worship no other gods or goddesses but Shri Krishna 2. One should never go, on one”s own accord, to other gods and goddesses with or without a purpose to have Darshana etc. 3. One should never pray to any other gods or goddesses to grant anything.

Similarly Sri Vaishnavacharya Vedanta Desikan too states in his Rahasya traya sara-

ADHIKARA 11: PARIKARA VIBHAGA ADHIKARA (The Accessories or Angas of Prapatti)

This chapter deals with the accessories or Angas for performing Prapatti. They are:-

(1) Aanukulya Sankalpam: Resolve to act only in accordance with the directives of the Lord and which would , therefore, be pleasurable to him. This includes- Following the duties enunciated for the Varna and Ashrama (i.e) Nitya and Naimittika karmas Respecting the devotees of the Lord (Bhagavatas and Acharyas) with the same ardor as while respecting the Lord himself. Exceptional and Unconditional devotion to Sri Narayana only to the exclusion of all other deities.

ADHIKARA 18 : APARADHA PARIHARA ADHIKARA

(4) Even major sins except what is stated in (5) below will be excused by the Lord by inflicting a light punishment in exercise of his patience, love and compassion towards the Prapanna.

(5) The only heinous and unpardonable sins which will nullify the effects of Prapatti are: (a) Disrespect to Bhagavatas and Acharyas and (b) Adherence to deities other than Bhagavan.

A very learned contemporary scholar of the Ramanuja school, Sri Velukkudi Krishnan, during one of his tours to the USA and Canada, while addressing his hosting groups, made this advice: 'You may be asked in society by others to visit Shiva temple by saying 'are we not visiting Vishnu temples?'. But you should not pay heed to such entreaties.' And he related the incident from the life of Ramanuja: While walking on a road there was a heavy downpour. Someone from a Shiva temple called Ramanuja to come inside for shelter from the rain. Ramanuja refused saying that just as a chaste woman would not go to another man, he would not step into a Shiva temple.


So, Just because devatas other than shiva are rejected for the sake of one pointed devotion to shiva does not mean it is out of hatred. Recently, In the Rama Mandira inauguration in Ayodhya several members of the Veerashaiva community of Jangamwadi matha, Kashi visited the Rama temple and conveyed their well wishes for the success of the inauguration.

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    +1. Very good and balanced answer.
    – user29449
    Commented Feb 16 at 12:40
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    It is a good answer, but still some aspects of Shaiva presentation of Vishnu can be considered insulting like Shiva killing Vishnu Avataras.
    – Haridasa
    Commented Mar 13 at 1:54
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    @Haridasa Analogous depictions of Shiva too occur in the Vaishnava Tantra-Agama literature, they just don't get talked about as much
    – user33953
    Commented Mar 13 at 4:56

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