The Vishnu Shiva Aparadha

By Mahanidhi Swami

One must have a clear conception of nama-tattva to chant the Holy Names of Bhagavan Sri Krishna without offense, and thereby attain the desired result of Krishna prema. The Padma Purana lists ten offenses to avoid in chanting which most devotees are aware of. However, because the second offense is a little confusing, many sincere yet uninformed Vaisnavas relegate Lord Shiva to an inferior position and thus commit nama aparadha. By closely examining the actual verse and the following sastric quotes, everyone will better understand the eternal identity of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu and thus avoid this offense to Sri Nama Prabhu.

While describing the second offense, the Padma Purana (Brahma Kanda, 25.15-18) says: sivasya sri-visnor ya iha guna-namadi-sakalam, dhiya bhinnam pasyet na khalu hari-namahita-karah.

Word for Word Meanings: sivasya: of Shiva; sri visnor: of Sri Vishnu; yah: anyone; iha: here/ certainly; guna-namadi: the qualities, names etc; sakalam: everything; dhiya: in meditation; bhinnam: separated; pasyet: sees/ considers; na khalu: most certainly not; hari-nama: the name of Hari; hita: benefit; karah: that does.

Translation of the Second Offense in Chanting Hare Krishna:

“To contemplate in one’s meditation or consider any difference or separation between the Holy Names, qualities etc. of Shiva and Vishnu will certainly destroy the benefits of chanting the name of Hari.”

Brihad Bhagavatamrita (1.2.86) concurs: shivasya bhedeksa maha-dosa-kari mata, ago bhagavata svasmin ksamyate na sive krtam, “One who sees any difference between Krishna and Shiva is committing a great offense. Krishna may excuse someone who commits aparadha to His own lotus feet, but Krishna will never excuse one who commits aparadha at the lotus feet of Shiva”.

In the Kurma purana (12.20) Vasistha Muni said, “The best thing for human beings to understand is that Shiva is non-different from Vishnu. Therefore Shiva and Vishnu must be worshiped simultaneously”.

The conception of Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva’s oneness is beautifully presented in the Hari Hara Kshetra Mandir in Navadvipa Dhama, West Bengal. This temple has ONE MURTI DEPICTING BOTH GODS with Lord Hari (Vishnu) on the right side and Lord Hara (Shiva) on the left of the same murti.

Of course, we are devotees of Radha and Krishna and should always chant Their Holy Names, knowing that in the consideration of rasa (rasa-vicara), the Divine Couple are the supreme, topmost manifestations of Bhagavan Shakti and Shaktiman. But in terms of spiritual truth (tattva-vicara), we should also clearly understand that Shiva is merely another form of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. Never disrespect Lord Shiva or think that Mahadeva Shiva is merely a devata of the material world involved with the mode of ignorance.

Hari Om Namo Shivaya!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

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