“One who holds Shankara dear but hates me or is my devotee and hates Shankara – Shri Rama says such a man lives in the most ghastly hellish place for an entire kalpa.” (Dohavali, 101)
sa:nkara priya mama drohī siva drohī mama dāsa |
te nara karahiṃ kalapa bhari ghora naraka mahu’ bāsa ||
Shiva, Brahma, or Vishnu? The three deities are well-known to those growing up in the Vedic tradition. Not mythological characters. Not figments of the imagination. Not images symbolic of higher concepts. These three deities preside over the material creation and beyond.
That creation consists of three modes: goodness, passion and ignorance. These are material elements, which subsequently lead to variety in ways of living, such as sacrifice, austerity, charity, desires and so forth. Each mode has its corresponding deity.
Brahma is in charge of passion. He is the creator, which requires some passion within. Populating the many planets with creatures is not a job for the passive mind. Brahma takes the three base ingredients and displays his artistry in the resulting 8,400,000 different species.
Shiva is in charge of ignorance. Passion leads to creation and ignorance destruction. Therefore, when the time is fit, the great god, Mahadeva, gets to work on destroying the creation that first came into being through Brahma’s work.
Vishnu controls the mode of goodness. He is the maintainer. Not surprisingly, goodness leads to good things. The mode of goodness is doing things the right way; leading to advancement, both in the present life and the future. Lord Vishnu maintains effortlessly, while lying down in rest.
So which one is superior? Are they equal? Can a person approach any one of them and get the same result? Bhrigu Muni made a test of this many years back. He decided he would offend each of the three deities and assess their reactions. Brahma was offended through thoughts and Shiva through words. Both became angry, but somehow Bhrigu was spared punishment.
The saint then offended Lord Vishnu with deeds, kicking the chest of the maintainer. Surprisingly, Vishnu did not get offended. Instead, He was worried that Bhrigu’s foot might be hurt, since Vishnu’s transcendental body is so strong.
From this test it was determined that Vishnu possesses the mode of goodness in full. In fact, He is beyond the creation. He actually expands into the three deities to manage the affairs of the material world. The original Vishnu lies down in rest, and through His breathing, which we consider an involuntary activity, the universes manifest and dissolve.
In the above referenced verse from the Dohavali, Goswami Tulsidas passes on the sentiments of the Supreme Lord Rama, who is non-different from Vishnu. Hearing about the different forms, expansions, avataras, or what have you can certainly get confusing, but know that the Supreme Lord is not limited to a specific manifestation. It is not that if you are devoted to Vishnu, Rama is neglected. If Krishna is your deity of choice, it is the same as if you were worshiping Rama.
That is not to say that every divine figure is equal. Vishnu and His non-different expansions are always above. Still, from Rama’s opinion we see that those who are dear to Him must be respected. If a person is a dasa, or servant, of Rama, but at the same time holds enmity for Shiva, then there is no hope for them.
The inverse situation holds true, as well. Mahadeva is known as the greatest Vaishnava, or devotee of Vishnu. In fact, his worshipable deity of choice, the ishta-deva, is Shri Rama, the one who holds the bow in His hand and protects the interests of His friends like Sugriva and Vibhishana. Rama is the life and soul of the brother Lakshmana, the wife Sita, and the dedicated representative Hanuman.
If a person loves Shiva but hates Rama, they are doomed to hell for an entire kalpa. The word ghora is used. This means “ghastly.” It is not just any hell the person goes to. The sentence is for the worst kind of hellish region, and for an entire age.
Such a punishment only frightens the materialists, as the pure devotees don’t mind going anywhere as long as they get to practice their devotion. Only the materialist would meet such qualifications as preferring one deity, while having intense hatred for the other.
The real devotee of Rama loves the entire creation, from sinner to saint. Naturally, they will have affection for Mahadeva, his wife Parvati, and their beloved child Ganesha. Such devotion to Rama is so powerful that other gods are automatically satisfied and honored; a separate effort is not required.
Deities presiding over material modes three,
Picture of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva to see.
Brahma in passion the creation,
Over ignorance Shiva’s destruction.
Vishnu maintaining all along,
Glorified in Vedas songs.
Love for Rama, for others too offer,
Otherwise in worst hell to suffer.
Categories: dohavali 81-120