What makes Shiva both God and not God?

Hare Krishna.
28th Feb, 2015. Gurgaon.


“There are three things that are inconceivable: the position of Lord Siva, hladini sakti, and, yes, guru-tattva.” (BR Sridhara Swami)

Among all the spiritual personalities the position of Lord Siva is unique. In one of my previous blog I shared how I used to worship lord Shiva. After coming into Krishna consciousness I still retain a special corner in my heart for lord Shiva and now when I read and hear more lectures from senior devotees about him, the fog of ignorance over his exact position unfolds layer by layer, year by year.

Since last one month I am hearing a most wonderful seminar by HH Tamal Krishna Goswami Maharaj on Sri Brahma Samhita, it’s a series of 20 lectures spoken by Maharaj at Mayapur, each lecture is between 1 hour- 1.5 hours long. I never got a better clarity on subjects like prakriti, maya, yogamaya and Lord Shiva. It is pure nectar and I am now hearing the whole series again, hoping that my dumb brain may retain some portions.

Most of us have heard the example of `milk being transformed into curd and similarly Krishna transforms into Shiva’. Maharaj said this particular verse tell us what actually happens. Who actually is Shambhu ? Maharaj said that we often hear that Siva is God but not God, we hear that he is sort of in between position and in this particular purport there is a very nice description given on how he is constituted, what makes Shiva both God and not God.

Let us read BS 5.45 verse

kṣīraṁ yathā dadhi vikāra-viśeṣa-yogāt sañjāyate na hi tataḥ pṛthag asti hetoḥ
yaḥ śambhutām api tathā samupaiti kāryād govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

Just as milk is transformed into curd by the action of acids, but yet the effect curd is neither same as, nor different from, its cause, viz., milk, so I adore the primeval Lord Govinda of whom the state of Śambhu is a transformation for the performance of the work of destruction.

Maharaj first read the first part of the purport which says ” God becomes a distinct personality by the addition of a particular element of adulteration. Maharaj questioned `So what is this adulteration principle by which Krishna turns into to Shiva ?’

Srila Bhaktisidhanta Saraswati Thakura writes in his purport `The nondistinction is established by the fact that just as milk treated with acid turns into curd so Godhead becomes a subservient when He Himself attains a distinct personality by the addition of a particular element of adulteration. This personality has no independent initiative. The said adulterating principle is constituted of a combination of the stupefying quality of the deluding energy, the quality of nonplenitude of the marginal potency and a slight degree of the ecstatic-cum-cognitive principle of the plenary spiritual potency…..He is the lord of jīva but yet partakes of the nature of a separated portion of Govinda.’

Maharaj patiently unveiled its meaning in a manner we can all understand. Maharaj earlier said that he spent close to 1000 hours researching on the purports of Sri Brahma Samhita!

So coming back to our analogy, what is this adulteration which after being added turns milk into curd ? Here it is :

1. Lord Shiva has some part of that stupefying or bewildering quality of Maya. Maya stupefies people, she makes people bewilder, so some part of that bewildering quality is present in lord Shiva. This is one part of the constituent which makes Shiva no longer Krishna. Krishna has none of it but Shiva has some part of it.

2. The quality of nonplenitude of the marginal potency. Marginal potency means jivas and nonplenitude means limited, the jivas are limited. Maharaj explained that we say nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam… God is the supreme eternal but he is unlimited, we are also eternal but we are limited. We are limited and He is unlimited. Similarly, Lord Siva is not unlimited.
Apart from the above two qualities lord Shiva also takes two more qualities from Ramadevi (spiritual potency), these are

3. A slight degree of `anand’ or bliss.

4. A little bit of the `cit’ or congnitive principle of the plenary spiritual potency.

So lord Shiva has some portions of `cit and `anand’ (sat-cit-anand) too but not in full.

What does Krishna has ? Full portion!

So now we have this amazing detailed explanation of how `milk turns into curd’. We can not only understand our own self but now also easily explain to others as to what is this difference in detail.

If we read the purport we can see how these four points are clearly mentioned still it takes a pure devotee to unveil to us.

So this is the difference between Krishna and Shiva. The last line of the purport says `He is the lord of jīva but yet partakes of the nature of a separated portion of Govinda’. It means that although Shiva is the Lord of the jivas yet he partakes the nature of jivas (because of the various qualities he takes on).

When I had read this book earlier, I had somehow managed to read it but without any great realisations (other than the first verse). I had hurriedly gone over most of the purports. For a dimwit like me, even with a dictionary in hand, everything was way over my head! At that time just finishing this booked seemed like a great achievement! In my heart I thought `hopefully I will not have to read it again’! And I love it now. It is only due to insistence of Guru Maharaj, via his lectures, that devotees must carefully read and study Sri Brahma Samhita that I somehow gathered courage to hunt for some lectures on it and found this gem. HH Tamal Krishna Goswami Maharaj made the whole book, and its challenging purports, seem not unlike a coconut- extremely tough from outside and difficult to break, but once broken inside is pure nectar ! I request all the readers to listen to the seminar by clicking HERE.

All glories to lord Shiva.
All glories to Sri Brahma Samhita.
All glories to HH Tamal Krishna Goswami Maharaj.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

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