As I discuss in this answer, one of the early movements that was important to the development of Vaishnavism was the ancient Pancharatra movement, whose sacred texts consisted of detailed procedures to worship the sage Narayana, an ancient incarnation of Vishnu. Since the Pancharatra texts originated from Narayana himself, they're followed by pretty much all Vaishnavas today. But there was a time when some people, especially those belonging to the Purva Mimamsa school, questioned the validity of the Pancharatra texts because they believed the Vedas were the only legitimate Hindu scriptures. So as I discuss in this question, the early Sri Vaishnava Acharya Yamunacharya, who was Ramanujacharya's guru's guru, composed a work called the Agama Pramanya to defend the scriptural authority of the Pancharatra texts.

Now the Purva Mimamsa school believed that Vishnu is not competent to compose a scripture (!), because he would not have the requisite knowledge to do so. So in this excerpt from the Agama Pramanya, Yamunacharya demonstrates the omniscience of Vishnu by quoting various scriptures which describe Vishnu as the supreme soul or Paramatma. Some of these scriptures are Vaishnava texts like the Vishnu Purana and the Narasimha Tapaniya Upanishad, which you'd expect to speak favorably of Vishnu. But interestingly, Yamunacharya also quotes the Linga Purana!

Likewise in the Linga Purana,

"Janardana is the sole spirit, the highest One, the Supreme Soul, from whom Brahma was born; from Him Rudra and from Him all the world." ...

Likewise in the Linga Purana,

"For there is no recourse ordained but Vishnu; this the Vedas constantly declare no doubt about it."

It's shocking to me that the Linga Purana, a quintessentially Shaiva Purana, would praise Vishnu as the supreme soul and the only recourse ordained by the Vedas.

So my question is, where exactly are these two quotes in the Linga Purana? You can read the Linga Purana through the links in my answer here.

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    One need be surprised that tamasa purana like Linga purana talks aboout supreme Vishnu, because, even tamasa puranas does have some sattva aspects.
    – user808
    Commented Jul 4, 2015 at 9:17
  • 2
    Similarly, Vaishnava Khanda of Skandha purana talks of greatness and supremacy of Vishnu. Likewise acharya Ramanuja and Shankara also quote some contents from tamasa puranas, too, which dont contradict vedas.
    – user808
    Commented Jul 4, 2015 at 9:17
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    @Krishna Well, the Skanda Purana is different because it has a section called the Vaishnava Khanda. But the Shiva Purana and the Linga Purana are known for focusing exclusively on the greatness of Shiva (in contrast to other Tamasa Puranas, which discuss a variety of different gods). Commented Jul 4, 2015 at 13:32
  • @Krishna By the way, have you seen my question here, which is also about quotes in the Agama Pramanya discussing Vishnu's supremacy? hinduism.stackexchange.com/q/7689/36 Commented Jul 4, 2015 at 15:02
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    @KeshavSrinivasan see my similar question and answer here: hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/13645/…
    – Tezz
    Commented Jun 13, 2016 at 2:53

2 Answers 2


Uttara Bhaga of Linga Purana consists a section called Vishnu Mahatmya which talks about greatness Vishnu. 1st chapter to 8th chapter of UttaraBhaga describes the greatness of Lord Vishnu:

The first quote comes from UttaraBhaga chapter 1 verse 7. Sage Markandaye states that verse:

य एकः पुरुषः श्रेष्ठ: परमात्मा जनार्दन ।।
यस्माद्ब्रह्मा ततः सर्वं समाश्रित्यैव मुच्यते ।

Janardana is the only Purusha, excellent being and highest soul (Paramatma). Brahma and all other are born from him.

The second quote comes from Linga Purana Chapter 24 "Incarnations of Lord Shiva". Lord Brahma states that verse there. The verse is 24.143 and it is:

न हि विष्णुमया काचिद्गतिरन्या विधियते ।
इत्येवं सततं वेदा गायन्ति नात्र संशयः ।।

There is no other Gods besides that of Vishnu. This is what has been ordained daily by the Vedas.

  • 4
    Janardhana could have been used as a title to refer to Lord Shiva. According to Wikipedia Janardana means "One who inflicts suffering on evil men." Alternatively, it means, "He to whom all devotees pray for worldly success and liberation,". Though the term is used to describe Vishnu, it could have been used in a broader sense
    – Good Guy
    Commented Jul 11, 2016 at 10:52
  • @GoodGuy What about the second quote?
    – user9969
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 10:10
  • FWIW the word 'vishnu' is also an attribute meaning 'pervasiveness' (similar to 'shiva' meaning 'peace / happiness'. So if one attaches attributes of one commonly used name to another, there will either be a lot of confusion or no confusion (belief that the trinity is one). There are practically no names in Sanskrit that can be completely split into a final root that refers to any Lord. Commented Dec 1, 2017 at 1:47

The verses are out of context and incomplete. Linga Purana 1.24.141-143 says "All devas and Ganas are identical with Vishnu. There is no goal equal to the goal of attaining Vishnu. Thus sing the Vedas perpetually. Then how did this happen that the Lord of Devas(Vishnu) worshipped you in the Linga and remained ever devoted to you? " Shiva answers as the verses continue. Vishnu Mahamya is indeed there but that doesn't mean he is superior to Shiva. Linga Purana 2.1.6-8 indeed praises Vishnu as source of Brahma and other Gods but Linga Purana 2.5.33-38 says "......... You are the primordial Lord, O Lord of the Universe, bowed by the worlds, you have no begining. You are the eternal Purusha, you are Lord Vishnu, the incomprehensible Lord, you are Govinda, the lotus eyed Lord. YOU ARE BORN OF MAHESHVARA.... " And it continues

  • Namaste Welcome to HSE! You can have a look the help centre on answering questions as well as guidelines for new users. Your answer is okay but since you’re new it’s good to give further details too.
    – Adiyarkku
    Commented May 8, 2021 at 5:05
  • @Archit Thanks and I'll keep that in mind
    – Paramshiva
    Commented May 15, 2021 at 9:49

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