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Brahman , the all prevailing , the endless , the formless , the all-loving and merciful the seed soul of us all . And Brahma , Vishnu and Mahesh are just the names given by us to HIM performing his duties of creation (Brahma) , protection (Vishnu) and Destruction (Mahesh) as and when necessary .

While I was listening to Morari Bapus katha , he took a topic of whether Lord Rama was a human or Brahman (a question asked by mata Parvati to Mahadev) to which lord replies with the story of how the lord took human form for destruction of evil (Esp. Ravana) and said (in simple language) - I along with all the Devtas were worried about what to do with Ravana and then we approached Brahma , for he had given boons to Ravana , he too was helpless . Then we decided to approach Brahmana for solution of this trouble and as he is all prevailing we meditated upon him with love as He listens where love and selflessness is and ...... (Fast forwarding) Rama was born .

And as Rama (also Krsna) is Brahman himself and all the three god heads meditate upon him lord Shiva to serve him took form of Lord Hanumana .

This is the conclusion I have reached after reading upanishads and Gita (Vedas are too high level for me yet) . Also I have read on certain forums that in ancient times the three god heads were not worshiped (or were not there at all) and were created (either in reality or in names) for humans of kalyuga so as to help them worship God ("one who is subtler than subtle" as upanishads state).

Please answer my question dropping your natural inclinations , I too was inclined towards Lord Shiva and during that phase (few years back) refused to accept any other God being greater than Him .

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  • Welcome to Hinduism.SE! Are you asking whether Vishnu is supreme or not? That wouldn't be allowed on the site because it would lead to too much argument, since it's something that different sects of Hinduism obviously disagree about. Jun 19 '15 at 14:29
  • @KeshavSrinivasan no not exectly . I am asking if we are confusing between the three god heads and the Brahman (source soul)
    – yashC
    Jun 19 '15 at 14:42
  • So are you just asking about what the relationship between Brahman and the gods is? Jun 19 '15 at 14:43
  • 1
    Well, why don't you edit your post to make it clearer, and focus on a single question, like "Are Rama and Krishna incarnations of Vishnu or Brahman?" and take out the other stuff in your post? Jun 19 '15 at 15:43
  • 3
    Lord Krishna and Lord Rama are incarnations of Brahman. As per Advaita, that attributeless and formless Brahman, when perceived by a bhakta, takes up qualities (apparent) and behaves in ways which are very human-like (for a human devotee). In an Advaitic sense, Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, etc. are all different forms of the same Brahman. This is called Saguna Brahman. God comes down to the level of the devotee (so to speak) to elevate Him to higher levels. So in short, from an advaitic perspective, Lord Krishna is avatar of Brahman, Vishnu as well as Lord Shiva, for all three are One. All d best
    – Sai
    Jun 22 '15 at 14:42
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Swami Prabhavananda's The Spiritual Heritage of India (1962) contains this (emphasis mine):

In Rama and Sita, according to the Adhyatma Ramayana, we behold the embodiment of Brahman in his dual aspect, the unmanifest and the manifest [...] Ravana, even, hating Rama as he does, robbing him of Sita and fighting against him -- even Ravana worships them. Indeed, his very enemity is a form of worship.

So there you have an answer: Rama is an embodiment of Brahman.

Here is one similar passage on Krsna:

And in the Gita we find stress laid not on Krsna as an individual personality, but on Krsna in his transcendental aspect, as the Soul of all souls, as the great 'I AM' [...]

P.S. I am frequently citing this book these days, because I am still reading.

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  • So you mean to say that Rama and Krsna are Brahman himself in a manifested form ? Then were does the avatars of Vishnu come in to picture ?
    – yashC
    Jun 22 '15 at 13:26
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    @Drux Insofar as Prabhavananda is saying that, he's implicitly equating Vishnu with (Saguna) Brahman. Jun 22 '15 at 17:21
  • @KeshavSrinivasan Yes, of course.
    – Drux
    Jun 23 '15 at 6:40
  • Both were incarnation of Lord VIshnu, you should not decide anything about Lord Rama based on except Valmiki Ramayan because only Valmiki Ramayan is written in the same time of Rama while all others almost 300 Ramayan written in modern days, which may have alternation. Jun 29 '15 at 12:47
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+50

In some kalp Vishnu assumes the form of Ram and in one kalp supreme Form of Vishnu which is Called Parambrahm himself appear as Ram.

Vishnu and Ram are nondiffrent so this create more confusion that is called Lord's maya which can delude greatest Gods like Brahma, Shiva, Sati/Parvati, Garud, Narad, Indra etc then how we short minded kaliyug soul can understand this so our all saints of kaliyug have been said that

Hari anant Hari katha ananta.

Kalp kalp lihi Hari avtaara ramayan shatkoti apara.

To simplify ultimate truth Lord Shiv show hint in Ramacharitmanas in which Lord Shiv told about Ram avtaar of 4 different kalp:

In one kalp ramavtaar happened due to sharap of sankadi to jai vijay then Vaikunthnath Vishnu who is beyond all universes himself appeared as Ram then Aadishesh became Lakshman shankh and chakra became bharat and shatrughan this ramvataar refer to ramvataar of padam kalp mention in padam puran.

In 2nd kalp ramavtaar happened due to moh of narad muni then shivgan became rakshass and here swetdwweep vishnu came as Ram , sheshnaag cames as Lakshman, shatrughan and bharat was shankh and chakra.

In 3rd kalp ramavtaar happened due to shrap of tulsi and jalandhar became Ravan and again swetdweep Vishnu appear as Ram.

But in 4th kalp manu and shatrupa do tapasya to see the god in his ultimate orignal form which is cause of all causes who is parbrahm who is MahaVishnu who is seed of all bhagvat swarups and avtaars in which lord shiv always meditated who is origin of unlimted Shiva Brahmas and Vishnu. For this reason they do difficult strong tap for 12000 divya years, in that point Brahma Shiva and vishnu appears before manu shatrupa to stop tap and ask any boon from them in for take thier pariksha but manu and shatrupa didnot open their eyes then at last rahm vani begin in sky and by this amaritvani they became again youth and more beautifull. then akshvani ask them to take any boon then they replied we want to see the orignal form of Lord who created unlimted Brahma shiva and himself became Vishnu who is called neti neti in vedas who is called nirakaar then finaly they saw the ultimate parabrahm form of god then they lost thier consiousness after seeing the form of GOD which can not be measure by mind, eyes. then lord again ask take your var then manu and shatrupa replied i want son like you. then lord smiled then say none is simillar to me in both material and spiitual world so i will come as your son in future then my parashakti will also come . Till that time go to amravati of Indra then you will Dashrath and kaushalya and I will come as your son. In this kalp pratapbhanu became Ravan and devta pray to supreme lord hari to remove dukh of dharti ma. then through akashvani lord the paratpar parbrahm said to all dev that dont worry I will himself come to punish these evil rakshashs with my ansh. then question arrise who are these ansh. Then see the namkaran of Ram Lakshman Bharat Shatrughan. Vasishta muni said

vishva bharan kar joi

means who is palankarta of whole world he appears as Bharat so palankarta vishnu became bharat.

then

shubh lakshan ke dham

means kalyankari means shiva appear as Lakshman in this kalp lord Hanuman was avtaar of Vayu, saprun vedon k parakshak shatrughan and finaly in the fist who is ultimate goal of all yogis means paramanand jo sabhi ko swayam me ramate hain wo Ram kahayenge this indicates here Parbrahm appeard as Ram and Vishnu appear as Bharat here tridev appeared to do seva of parbrahma mahavishnu.

This reference is from Ramcharitmans and Padam Puran and some other text also give hint other more reason for Ram avtaar.

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    – Kiran RS
    Sep 3 '15 at 7:38
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no one can find origin of lord hari due to various type of works he the lord without beginning or end assumes various forms. as shastra clearly mention that there are inuumerable forms of lord hari in unlimited type of universes no one can count the number of these universes.these universes have own brahma , shiv and vishnu and comes under material world made of panch tatva or persihible tatva bt there are three main forms of vishnu in material world 1st is aadinarayan who created unlimted universe through his supreme power mahamaya. mahamaya united with concousness to create mahatatva this concoiusness is called aadishambhu or mahashiv these two powers created mahatatva 24 elements panch mahabhut and other basic elemnts as shiv puran also mention and vishnu and brahma's fight is later added by some ignorant peoples . brahma was born in lotus bud of viraat purush not palankarta vishnu so it was imposible for brahma to see his origin then how can he converse with and fight with that supreme power this make no sence and not match with orignal teaching of ved and other puran but lingodbhav story is true and indicates how lord'maya and lord's gyan swarup shiv created basic of universes and then aadinarayan created unlimited big universes from his body.and enter into each universes through his second form virat purush which is mentioned in ved as sahstrasheersa purush who created brahma from his navel and then due to anger of brahma avtaar of shiv named rudra appear and then lord himself created his replica and named as palankarta vishnu then this vishnu enter into each atom of universe as parmatma or anteryami and in visible form created palce name swetdweep vaikunth in material world on the bank of khseer sagaar. here virat purush reside in each universe with his three primary forms brahma shiv and his own swarup vishnu . abbove this material world there are seven layers which is also called seven void or shunya above there is unlimited sea of spiritual water called virja sagar or karan sagar here aadinarayan resides alone without any shesh or lakshmi he is bigger than biggest above there unlimtied world of light some yogis merge into this light after moksha bt there is another world above that which is called spiritual world of lord and our eternal home. there are unlimted palnnets each one is more bigger than our universe their exist innumerable incarnation or avtaars of lord and each one is called mahavaikunth in fact spiritual world is real and material world is tempoarary here are many divya loks like mahaviakunth of lord hari , mahashivlok of lord sadashiva who is none bt mahavishnu himself. goddess durga in manipur are these lok are parbrahm lok when avtaar appears in material world then avtaar comes from this world aadivishnu or aadimahavishnu who is source of all avtaars himself comes in material world in the three form only lord narsingh , lord krishna, lord ram . then it is called parbrahm has taken avtaar

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Lord Rama and Lord Krishna are the avatars of Brahman. Even we are also the avatars of Brahman only.

Let me explain how.:

Parambramha Definition.:

" R ^ itam satyaM paraM brahman purushha.n KR ^ ishhNapi ~ Ngalam.h | uurdhvareta.n viruupaakshan vishvaruupaaya vai namo namah 1 " ( Taittiriya Aranyaka 10.23.1 ) "

Supreme Brahman" , the Absolute Righteousness ( rita ) and Truth ( satyam ) , is the androgynous purusha the Ardhanareeshwara (Uma Maheshwara), dark blue and reddish brown in hue , absolutely chaste ( having semen raised up ) and possessing uneven eyes ( three eyed ) . Salutations to him / her."

10 Avatars of Lord Vishnu.:

According to Padma Purana Uttarkhanda chapter 71.26-29

Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narsimha, Vamana, so also Parasurama, Rama, Krsna, Buddha, and after him is said to be (the incarnation of) Kalki. These ten are said to be (Visnu's) ten incarnations on the earth.

Lord Narayana as Brahman being the part of Brahman.:

According to Ishwar Gita Chapter 6.:

योऽपि नारायणोऽनन्तो लोकानां प्रभवाव्ययः । ममैव परमा मूर्तिः करोति परिपालनम् ॥ ६.१४॥ Meaning: - The endless Narayana, origin of world(s), is my (Lord Shiva's) best form and by my blessings he sustains entire creation.

Lord Krishna as Brahman.:

According to Mahabharata Drona Parva.:

“sa eṣa rudra bhaktaś ca keśavo rudra saṃbhavaḥ | kṛṣṇa eva hi yaṣṭavyo yajñaiś caiṣa sanātanaḥ |

sarvabhūtabhavaṃ jñātvā liṅge ‘rcayati yaḥ prabhum | tasminn abhyadhikāṃ prītiṃ karoti vṛṣabhadhvajaḥ |” (MBH 7:172:89-90)”

“Kesava is that devoted worshipper of Rudra who has sprung from Rudra himself. Kesava always worship the Lord Siva, regarding his Phallic emblem to be the origin of the universe. In Kesava is always present that knowledge, in consequence of which he views the identity of Brahman with the: universe and that other knowledge by which the Past, the Present and the Future, the near and the remote, are all seen, as if the whole are before his eyes. The gods, the Siddhas and the great Rishis, adore Kesava for obtaining that highest object in the universe, viz., Mahadeva. The Lord Kesava always worshippeth Siva in the Phallic emblem as the origin of all creatures. The God having the bull for his mark cherisheth greater regard for Kesava”.

Lord Rama as Brahman.:

According to Rama Rahasya Upanishad.:

"raama.n trinetra.n somaardhadhaariNa.n shuulinaM param.h

bhasmoddhuulitasarvaa~Nga.n kapardinamupaasmahe " (Rama Rahasya Upanishad 2:32)

I worship that Rama, Who has three eyes, Who wears the crescent, Who holds the trident, Who is anointed all over by ash, And who is with matted hair".

The Shanti Parva (Chapter 342) of the Mahabharata

“ahamAtmA hi lokAnAM vishvAnAM pANDunandana tasmAdAtmAnamevAgre rudraM sampUjayAmyaham yadyahaM nArchayeyaM vai IshAnaM varadaM shivam AtmAnaM nArchayetkashchiditi me bhAvitaM manaH”

“I(Krishna/Vishnu) am the Soul, O son of Pandu, of all the worlds, of all the universe. Rudra, again, is my Soul. It is for this that I always adore him. If I do not adore the auspicious and boon-giving Isana nobody would then adore my own self.”

Lord Krishna to Lord Shiva in Harivamsa Parva.:

ahaM brahmA kapilo yo.apyanantaH

putrAH sarve brahmaNashchAtivIrAH |

tvattaH sarve devadeva prasUtA evaM sarveshaH kAraNAtmA tvamIDyaH ||2-74-34]”

O the lord of lord (Shiva)! Myself:(Krishna/Vishnu), brahma, kapila, ananta (sheSha), all the valiant sons of brahma who conquered over the internal enemies - all are created from you. Hence you are the lord of all. Hence you, the lord of all, are only worthy of praise and worship.

That's why Dashavataras are the incarnations of Brahman only.:

According to Padma Purana Uttarkhanda Chapter 229 40-41.

Thus the state of the inner controllership of self consists in his being the innermost soul. Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narasimha, Vamana, Rama, Parasurama, Krishna, Buddha and Kalki are the ten incarnations of Brahman, the highest soul.

We mortals as Brahman.:

The Self is None other then Lord Shiva.:

देहो देवालयः प्रोक्तः स जीवः केवलः शिवः ।त्यजेदज्ञाननिर्माल्यं सोऽहम्भावेन पूजयेत् ॥ (Maitreyi Upanishad II:1)“The body is said to be the temple; the individual Self (Jiva) is Shiva alone. One should discard the faded flowers in the form of spiritual ignorance and worship God (with the conviction) ‘He and I are one’.

Ishwar Gita Chapter 2.:

सर्वकामः सर्वरसः सर्वगन्धोऽजरोऽमरः ।

सर्वतः पाणिपादोऽहमन्तर्यामी सनातनः ॥ २.४७॥

Meaning: -Know me to be antaryamin (inner self of all beings), eternal, desire (ultimate destination to reach) of all, fragrance (outcome) of all (actions), essence of all (veda), unborn, immortal and having hands and feet in every direction.

It is Lord Shiva who exist in the form of Jivaatma-Inner Self of all.

” (Sri Rudram, Yajurveda IV:5:8:o)“Salutations to Him (Rudra) who is born again and again in Samsara and who tastes the fruits of Karmas in the form of Jiva”.

पशुपतिरहङ्काराविष्टः संसारी जीवः स एव पशुः । (Jabali Upanishad 1.2)“Jeeva (being) is nothing but Shiva (the Lord of all beings – Pasupathi) himself who is acting the role of egoism”.

Atmasa.nj~naH shivaH shuddha eka evAdvayaH sadA | brahmarUpatayA brahma kevalaM pratibhAsate |” (Atma Upanishad 2:1) “The Atman – the Shiva, is pure, one and non-dual always, in the form of Brahman. Brahman alone shines forth”.

“maayaa.n tu prakR^iti.n vidyaanmaayina.n cha maheshvaram.h | tasyavayavabhuutaistu vyaapta.n sarvamida.n jagat.h |” (Swetasvatara Upanishad 4:10) “Know then Prakriti (nature) is Mâyâ (art), and the Maheshwara the Mâyin (maker); the whole world is filled with what are his members (forms)”.

CONCLUSION: - It is clear that Lord Shiva exist as innerself of all. And as this Jiva is nothing but Shiva, hence it is eternal. That's why we say "Aham Brahmasmi" (I AM BRAHMAN) or "Shivohom" (I AM SHIVA).

I hope this clears your doubts...

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The Devas, Maharishis, Siddhas and Gandharvas requested God Brahma to save the 3 worlds from the tyranny of Ravana. God Brahma's said due to His boon, only a human could kill the wicked Rakshasa. The deities then requested God Vishnu who agreed to be born on Earth. He chose King Dasharatha as His father for His earthly avatara, and later killed Ravana [Ref: Valmiki Ramayana 1.15].

God Krishna who is Brhmn (Paramatma or the Supreme Soul), appeared on planet Earth with His 1/6th potency [Ref: Shiva Purana Shatarudra-samhita 5.44; Devi Bhagavatam 4.18].

In the traditions of the Vaishnava sect, God Krishna is Brhmn (the Supreme Soul) Himself. God Krishna is the cause of the creation of the universe, its sustainer and dissolver. He is the un-manifested and indestructible. He is the creator of Prakriti (primordial nature). The sapta-rishis (7 sages), 4 Sanat-kumaras and Manu, came from God Krishna’s essence. And then from them, all the creatures in the world originated and are sustained [Ref: Bhagavad Geeta 10.6; Bhagavata Purana 7.15.79, 11.16.37; Brahma-vaivarta Purana Brahma khanda chapters 2-3; Vayu Purana 2.42.44-53; Skanda Purana 2.9.32.17; Mahabharata 3.12, 6.23, 6.67, 12.44, 12.207, 12.210; Brahma Samhita 5.1; Devi Bhagavatam 9.1].

Source: 'Essence of the Fifth Veda' by Gaurang Damani pgs 80, 89

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