30 September 2014

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Riddles in Hinduism Why Gods Fight against one another

Riddles in Hinduism Why Gods Fight against one another
Riddles in Hinduism – Riddle No. 10

Why did the Brahmins make their Gods Fight against one another?

The Hindu theology regarding the world is based upon the doctrine of Trimurti.
According to this doctrine the world undergoes three stages.
It is created, preserved and destroyed.
It is endless series of cycles which goes on without stoppage.
The three functions which comprise the cycle are discharged by three Gods, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. Brahma creates the world, Vishnu -preserves and Mahesh destroys it for the purpose of creation.
These gods are spoken of as forming what is called Trimurti.
The doctrine of Trimurti postulates that three gods are co-equal in
Status and are engaged in functions which are contemporary and not competitive.
They are friends and not rivals.
They are allies of one another and not enemies.

When,  however,  one studies  the  literature which  depicts  the deeds  of  these  three  gods  one finds  a  complete  difference  between  the  theory  and  the  practice.

The  Gods  far  from being friends  appear  to  be worse enemies of  one another,  competing  for supremacy  and sovereignty among themselves. A few illustrations from the Puranas will make the matter clear.

At  one  time  Brahma  appears  to  be  the  most  supreme  god  as  compared  to  Shiva  and  Vishnu.

Brahma is said to be the creator of the universe—the first Prajapati.  He is the progenitor of Shiva.

Vishnu Purana. Muir.lb id. p. 392.]
And the master of Vishnu because if Vishnu became the preserver
of  the universe it  was  because  Brahma  commanded  him  to  do  it.
So supreme was Brahma that he was the arbitrator in the conflicts that took place between Rudra and Narayan and between Krishna and Shiva.

Equally  certain is  the  fact  that at  a subsequent stage  Brahma  came  into  conflict  with  Shiva and  Vishnu  and  strangely  enough  lost  his  position  and  supremacy  to  his  rivals.
Two illustrations of his conflict with Vishnu may be given

The Story of Avatars

The first may well be the story of the Avatars.
On  the  issue  of  the  Avatars  there  is  a  rivalry between Brahma and Vishnu.

The theory of Avatars or incarnation assumed by God to save humanity from a calamity began with Brahma.
He was said to have assumed two Avatars
(1) Boar
(2) Fish.
But the followers of Vishnu refused to allow this.
They asserted that these Avatars were not the Avatars of Brahma but that they were the Avatars of Vishnu.
Not only did they appropriate these Avatars of Vishnu they gave to Vishnu many more Avatars.

The Puranas have run riot with the Avatars of Vishnu and different Puranas have given different lists of Avatars as will be seen from the following:

Avatars of Vishnu –

According No. to Hari Vamsa Avatars of Vishnu –

According to Narayani Akhyan Avatars of Vishnu –

According to Varaha Purana Avatars of Vishnu –

According to Vayu Purana Avatars of Vishnu –

According to Bhagwat Purana Avatars of Vishnu –
16-Ved Vyas

The Issue of First Born

The second story may well be the issue of the first born.
It is related in the Skanda Purana.
The story says that at one time Vishnu lay asleep on the bosom of Devi, a lotus arose from his navel,

And its ascending flower soon reached the surface of the flood. Brahma sprang from flower, and
looking round without any creature on the boundless expanse, imagined himself to be first born, and  entitled  to  rank  above  all  future  beings;  yet  resolved  to  investigate  deep  and  to  ascertain whether any being existed in its universe who could controvert his preeminence, he glided down the  stock of  the  lotus and  finding  Vishnu asleep,  asked  loudly  who he  was  'I  am  the  first  born' answered  Vishnu;  and  when  Brahma  denied  his  preprogeniture,  they  engaged  in  battle,  till
Mahadeo pressed between them in great wrath, saying’
It is I who am truly the first born '.
But I will  resign my  place  to  either  of  you,  who shall  be  able  to  reach and behind  the summit  of my head,  or  the  soles  of  my  foot.

Brahma instantly ascended but having fatigued himself to no
Purpose in the regions of immensity yet loath to abandon his claim, returned to Mahadeo declaring that he had attained and seen the crown of his head, and called as his witness the first born cow.

For this union of pride and falsehood, the angry God Shiva ordained that no sacred rites should be performed to Brahma and that the mouth of cow should be defiled.

When  Vishnu  returned,  he acknowledged  that  he had  not been  able  to see  the  feet of  Mahadeo who  then  told  him  that he was the first born among the Gods, and should be raised above all.

It was after this Mahadeo cut off the fifth head of Brahma who thus suffered the loss of his pride, his power and his influence.

According to this story Brahma's claim to be the first born was false. He was punished by Shiva for making it.

Vishnu gets the right to call himself the first born.
But that is allowed to him by the grace of Shiva.
The followers of Brahma had their revenge on Vishnu for stealing.

What rightfully belonged to him with the help of Shiva
So they manufactured another legend according to which
Vishnu emanated from Brahma's nostrils in the shape of a pig and grew naturally into a boar—a very mean explanation of Vishnu's Avatar as a boar.

After this Brahma tried to create enmity between Shiva and Vishnu evidently to better his own position.

This story is told in the Ramayana.
It says: "When King Dasaratha was returning to his capital,  after  taking  leave  of  Janaka,  the  king  of  Mithila,  whose  daughter  Sita  had  just  been married  to  Rama,  he  was  alarmed  by  the  ill-omened  sounds  uttered  by  certain  birds,  which however were counteracted, as the sage Vasishtha assured the king, by the auspicious sign of his being perambulated by the wild animals of the forest.

The alarming event indicated was the arrival of Parasurama, preceded by a hurricane which shook the earth and prostrated the trees, and by
Thick darkness which veiled the sun.
He was fearful to behold, brilliant as fire, and bore the axe
And a bow on his shoulder.

Being received with honour, which he accepted, he proceeded to say
to Rama, the son of Dasaratha that he had heard of his prowess in breaking the bow produced by Janaka and had brought another which he asked Rama to bend, and to fit an arrow on the string; and  if  he  succeeded  in  doing  so,  he  (Parasurama)  would  offer  to  engage  with  him  in  single combat.

Dasaratha  is  rendered  anxious  by  this  speech,  and  adopts  a  suppliant  tone  towards Parasurama,  but  the  latter  again  addresses Rama,  and  says  that  the  bow  he  had broken  was Siva's, but the one he himself had now brought was Vishnu's.

Two celestial bows, he proceeds, were made by Visvakarma of which one was given by.  The gods to Mahadeva, the other to Vishnu".
The narrative then proceeds:
"The gods then all made a request to Brahma desiring to find out the strength and weakness of Sitikantha (Mahadeva) and Vishnu.
Brahma, most excellent of the three learning the purpose of
The gods, created enmity between the two.
In this state of enmity a great and terrible fight ensued between  Sitikantha  and  Vishnu  each  of  whom  was  eager  to  conquer  the  other.

Siva's  bow  of dreadful  power  was  then  relaxed  and  the  three-eyed  Mahadeva  was  arrested  by  a  muttering.
These  two  eminent  deities  being  entreated  by  the  assembled  gods,  rishis,  and  Charanas  then became pacified.
Seeing  that  the  bow  of  Siva  had  been  relaxed by  the  prowess  of  Vishnu,  the gods and  rishis  esteemed  Vishnu  to  be superior."
Thus Brahma managed to avenge the wrong done to him by Mahadeo.

Even this stratagem did not avail Brahma to maintain his position against Vishnu.

Brahma lost his position so completely to Vishnu that Vishnu who at one time was at the command of Brahma became the creator Of Brahma.
 In  his  contest  with  Shiva  for  supremacy  Brahma  suffered  equal  defeat.

Here again, the position became completely inverted.
Instead  of  being  created  by  Brahma,  Shiva  became  the  creator  of
Brahma lost the power of giving salvation.
The god who could give salvation was Shiva and Brahma became  no more  than  a  common  devotee  worshipping  Shiva  and  his  Linga  in  the hope  of getting salvation.
[Mahabharata quoted in Muir IV p. 192.]
He was reduced to the position of a servant of Shiva doing the work of charioteer
[Mahabharata quoted in Muir IV p. 199.] Of Shiva.

Ultimately  Brahma  was  knocked  out  of  the  field  of  worship  on  a  charge  of  having committed adultery with his own daughter.
The charge is set out in the Bhagwat Purana in the following terms:
"We  have  heard,  O  Kshatriya,  that  Swayambhu  (Brahma)  had a passion  for  Vach,  his slender and enchanting daughter, who had no passion for him.
The Munis, his sons, headed by Marichi, seeing their father bent upon wickedness, admonished him with affection; 'This is such a thing as
has not been done by those before you, nor will those after you do it,— that you, being the lord, should  sexually  approach  your  daughter,  not  restraining  your  passion.
This,  0  preceptor  of  the world,  is  not  a  laudable  deed  even  in  glorious  personages,  through  limitation  of  whose  actions men  attain  felicity.
Glory  to  that  divine  being  (Vishnu)  who  by  his  own  lustre  revealed  this (universe)  which  abides  in  himself,  he  must  maintain  '  righteousness  '.
Seeing  his  sons,  the Prajapatis,  thus  speaking  before  him  the  lord  of  the  Prajapatis  (Bramha)  was  ashamed,  and abandoned his body.
This dreadful body the regions received and it is known as foggy darkness."

The result of this degrading and defamatory attacks on Brahma was to damn him completely.
No wonder  that  his  cult  disappeared  from  the  face  of  India  leaving  him  a  nominal  and  theoretical member of the Trimurti.

After  Brahma  was  driven out  of  the  field  there  remained  in  the  field  Shiva  and  Vishnu.  The
Two however were never at peace. The rivalry and antagonism between the two is continuous.

The  Puranas  are  full  of  propaganda  and  counter-propaganda  carried  on  by  the  Brahmins, protagonists  of  Shiva  and  Vishnu.
How well matched the propaganda and counter-propaganda was, can be seen from the following few illustrations:

Vishnu is connected with the Vedic God Sun.
The worshippers of Shiva connect him with Agni.
The motive was that if Vishnu has a Vedic origin Shiva must also have Vedic origin as well.
One cannot be inferior to the other in the matter of nobility of origin.

Shiva  must  be greater  than  Vishnu  and  Vishnu must  not  be less  than  Shiva.
Vishnu has thousand [See Vishnu Sahasranama.]  Names.
So Shiva must have thousand names and he has them.
[They are mentioned in the Padma Purana.]
Vishnu has his emblems.
They are four.
So Shiva must have them and he has them.
They are
(1) Flowing Ganges
(2) Chandra (moon)
(3) Shesh (snake)
(4) Jata (walled hair)

The  only  point  on  which  Shiva  did  not  compete  with  Vishnu  was  the  matter  of  Avatars.
The reason  is  not  that  there  was  no  desire  to  compete  but  that  philosophically  there  was  an impediment  in  the  way  of  Shiva  taking  Avatars.
The Saivas and Vaisnavas differed fundamentally in their conceptions of immortal bliss.
As has been pointed out by Mr. Ayyer:
"To the Saiva the goal to be reached was final liberation from all fetters, bodily and mental, by their total annihilation.
Hence he conceived of Rudra as the inextinguishable, one who could never be destroyed, but who extinguished or destroyed everything else. That was why Rudra came to be called the Destroyer.
In the final stage of the spiritual development of an individual, there ought to be no separateness at all from the supreme Shiva.
He ought to transcend his body and mind, pleasure and pain, and all opposites or dualities.
He should attain union or SA yujya with Shiva in which condition he would not be able to regard himself as separate from Shiva.
Till he reached that  stage,  he  was  imperfect,  however  pure he might  be,  however  eligible  he might  be,  for  the highest state of Sayujya: for, those who were eligible had attained only the subordinate stages of
Salokya, Samipya and Sarupya.
That  was also  the  reason  why  the  doctrine  of  Avatars  did  not
Appeal to the Saiva.
God  as  an  Avatar  was  only  a  limited  being,  one  who  had  the  capacity perhaps,  of  releasing  himself  from  his  fetters  but  not  one  without letters.
The Vaisnava believed differently.
He had also an equally clear conception of the highest state that could be reached, and that ought to he reached.
But there was, according to him, nothing appealing in the idea of losing
one's own individuality totally.
One should be united with the supreme, and yet be conscious of the
He should be united with the universe which again should be regarded as the other aspect of the supreme imperishable being.
He was not, in other words, for the extinction of the universe as  if  it  were something  separate  and  distinct  from  the  Supreme  Purusha.  He was rather in favour of the preservation of the universe which was neither more nor less than the manifestation of the Purusha so manifested.
That  was  the  reason  why  Vishnu  was  given  the  name  of  the
After all, it is but a difference in the way in which the truth is perceived or viewed.

The Saiva viewed the universe as an object of pain and misery—as Pasha or fetters (and one bound  by  it  to  be  Pasu)  which  had  to  be  broken  and  destroyed.
The Vaisnava regarded it as evidencing the greatness of the Purusa and so to be preserved.

The  Saiva,  with  his superior  pessimism  (if  it  could  be so  called) was  not  likely  to  respect  the.

Dharma  Shastras,  the  Artha  Shastras  and  other  scriptures  all  of  which  were  framed  with  the purpose of establishing orderliness in the world, inevitable for its welfare.
He was bound to be a non-conformist, disdaining rules and conventions. Ideas of caste rigidity would be repugnant to the highly-evolved Saiva who would at best tolerate such notions in others who had not reached his own stage of development.
He would pay respect to and cultivate the society of only such people,
to  whatever  caste  they  might  belong,  as  were  eligible  for  Samipya,  Salokya,  Sarupya  and Sayujya, with Siva.
The Vaisnava, on the other hand, was more concerned with the preservation of all rules and regulations which would have the effect of promoting peace and happiness in the world.

If ' Dharma 'perished, the world would perish too, and since the world ought not to perish, for it was a manifestation of the glory of the cosmic Purusa, his duty consisted in doing everything he could for preserving the Dharma.

If things went beyond his control he was sure Vishnu would
Take the matter up himself; for he would come into the world as an Avatar. But when Vishnu did come upon the earth, it would be to destroy the wicked, that is, all those who were instrumental in upsetting  the  Dharma,  and so it  was  necessary  that  one should be  careful  not  to  deserve  that terrible punishment from Vishnu.
Hence, the Agamas or rules laid down for the guidance of Siva
Bhaktas did not emphasise caste, and were concerned only with the duties of b haktas in general,  the proper fulfilment of which would render them fit to gain God vision, and ultimately union with
These were regarded as impure by the others because they were subversive of caste ideas, and as stated before, they were not alluded to in the orthodox scriptures."

In the performance of deeds of glory the propaganda in favour of Shiva is fully, matched by counter-propaganda in favour of Vishnu.

One  illustration  of  this  is  the  story  regarding  the  origin  of  the  holy  river  Ganges.  [Page:  106 Moore's. Hindu Pantheon pp. 40-41.]
The devotees of Shiva attribute its origin to Shiva.
They take its origin from Shiva's hair.
But the Vaishnavas will not allow it.
They have manufactured another legend.
According  to  the  Vaishnavite  legend  the  blessed  and  the  blessing  river  flowed  originally  out  of Vaikunth (the abode of Vishnu) from the foot of Vishnu, and descending upon Kailasa fell on the head of Shiva. There is a two-fold suggestion in the legend.
In the first place Shiva is not the source of the Ganges.
In the second place Shiva is lower than Vishnu and receives on his head water which flows from the foot of Vishnu.

Another illustration is furnished by the story which relates to the churning of the oceans by the Devas and the Asuras.
They used the Mandara Mountain as the churning rod and mighty serpant Shesha as a rope to whirl the mountain.
The earth began to shake and people became afraid that the world was coming to an end.
Vishnu took the Avatar of Kurma (Tortoise) and held the earth on
His back and prevented the earth from shaking while the churning was going on.

This story is told in glorification of Vishnu. To this the Shaivites add a supplement.
According to this supplement the churning brought out fourteen articles from the depth of the ocean which are called fourteen jewels.
Among these fourteen a deadly poison was one.
This deadly poison would have destroyed the earth unless somebody was prepared to drink it.
Shiva was the only person who came forward to drink it.
The  suggestion  is  that  Vishnu's  act  was  foolish  in  allowing  the
Rivals— the Gods and Demons—to bring out this deadly poison.
Glory to Shiva for he drank it and saved the world from the evil consequences of the folly of Vishnu.

Third illustration is an attempt to show that Vishnu is a fool and that it is Shiva who with his greater wisdom and greater power saves Vishnu from his folly.
It is the story of Akrurasura. [Page:  108 this story is told in Vishnu Agama and is quoted in Moore's Hindu Pantheon pp. 19-20.]
Akrur was a demon  with  the  face  of  a  bear,  who,  nevertheless,  was  continuously  reading  the  Vedas  and performing acts of devotion. Vishnu was greatly pleased and promised him any boon that he would
Care to ask.
Akrurasura requested that no creature, then existing in three worlds, might have power to deprive him of life, and Vishnu complied with his request; but the demon became so insolent that the Devatas, whom he oppressed, were obliged to conceal themselves, and he assumed the dominion of the  world.  
Vishnu  was  then  sitting  on  a  bank  of  the  Kali,  greatly  disquieted  by  the  malignant ingratitude  of  the  demon;  and  his  wrath  being  kindled,  a  shape,  which  never  before  had  existed, sprang from his eyes.
It was Mahadeva, in his destructive character, who dispelled in a moment the anxiety of the Vishnu.

This  is  countered  by  the  story  of  Bhasmasura  intended  to  show  that  Shiva  was  a  fool  and Vishnu saved him from his folly. Bhasmasura having propitiated Shiva asked for a boon.
The boon was to be the power to burn any one on whose head Bhasmasura laid his hands.
Shiva granted the boon. Bhasmasura tried to use his boon power against Shiva himself. Shiva became terrified and ran to Vishnu for help.  Vishnu promised to help him.  Vishnu took the form of a beautiful
woman  and  went  to  Bhasmasura  who  became  completely  enamoured  of  her.
Vishnu asked Bhasmasura to agree to obey him in everything as a condition of surrender.
Bhasmasura agreed.
Vishnu then asked him to place his hands on his own head which Bhasmasura did with the result that  Bhasmasura  died  and  Vishnu got  the  credit  of saving  Shiva  from  the  consequences of  his folly.

"Is  Isa  (Mahadeva)  the  Cause  of  causes  for  any  other  reasons?
We  have  not  heard  that  the linga  (male  organ)  of any  other  person  is worshipped  by  the  gods.
Declare,  if  thou  hast  heard, what  other  being's  linga  except  that  of  Mahesvara  is  now  worshipped,  or  has  formerly  been worshipped, by the gods?
He whose linga Brahma and Vishnu, and thou (Indra), with the deities,
Continually worship, is therefore then most eminent.
Since children bear neither the mark of the lotus (Brahma's), nor of the discus (Vishnu's), nor of the thunderbolt (Indra's), but are marked with
the  male  and  the  female  organs,—therefore  offspring  is  derived  from  Mahesvara.  All women produced from the nature of Devi as their cause, are marked with the female organ, and all males are manifestly marked with the linga of Hara.
He  who  asserts  any  other  cause  than  lsvara (Mahadeva)  or  (affirms)  that  there  is  any  (female)  not  marked  by  Devi  in  the  three  worlds,
Including all things movable or immovable, let that fool be thrust out.  Know everything which is male to be Isara. And all that is female to be Uma: for this whole world, movable and immovable, is pervaded by (these) two bodies."

The Greek Philosopher Zenophanes insists that polytheism or plurality of Gods is inconceivable and contradictory.
That the only true doctrine was monotheism.
Considered from a philosophical point of view, Zenophanes might be right.
But from the historical point of view both are natural.
Monotheism is natural where society is a single community.
Where society is a federation of many communities polytheism is both natural and inevitable.
Because  every  ancient  community consisted  not  merely  of  men  but  of  men  and  its  Gods  it  was  impossible  for  the  various communities to merge and coalesce except on one condition that its God is also accepted by the rest.
This is how polytheism has grown.

Consequently the existence of many Gods among the Hindus is quite understandable because the  Hindu  Society  has  been  formed  by  the  conglomeration  of  many  tribes  and  many communities  each  of whom  had  their  own  separate  Gods.
What  strikes  one  as  a strange phenomenon  is  the  sight  of  the  Hindu  Gods.  Struggling one against the other, their combats and feuds and the ascriptions by one God to the other, all things that are a shame
And disgrace to common mortals.

This is what requires explanation.

Reality views by sm

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tags – Riddle No. 10 Riddles in Hinduism Gods Fight