11 October 2014

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Riddles in Hinduism why Hindu Gods Suffer to Rise and fall

Riddles in Hinduism why Hindu Gods Suffer to Rise and fall
Riddles in Hinduism – Riddle No. 11 -

Why did the Brahmins make the Hindu Gods Suffer to rise and fall

The Hindus are accused of idolatry.  But there is nothing wrong in idolatry.
Making  an  idol  is nothing more than having a photograph of the deity and if there can be no objection to keeping a photograph what objection  can  there be  to having an  image.
Real objection to Hindu idolatry is that it is not mere photography, not mere production of an image.
It is more than that. The Hindu idol is a living being and is endowed with all the functions of a human being.
A Hindu idol is given life by means of a ceremony called Pranapratishtha. The Buddhists also are idolatrous in as much as they too worship Buddha's idol.
But the idol they worship is only a photograph, a mere image.
There is no soul in it.
Why  the  Brahmins  endowed  the  Hindu  Gods  with souls  and made  them living  beings opens  out  an  inquiry  which  is  bound  to be  revealing.
But this inquiry is outside the scope of this Chapter.

The second charge generally levelled against the Hindus is that they are polytheists i.e., they worship many Gods.
Here again the Hindus are not the only people who are guilty of the practice of Polytheism.
Other  communities  have  also  been  known  to  have  practised  polytheism.
To mention only two.
The Romans and the Greeks were essentially polytheists.
They too worshipped many Gods.
There is therefore no force in this charge.

The  real  charge  which  can be levelled  against  the  Hindus most people seem  to  have  missed.
That charge is that the Hindus are never steadfast in their devotion to their Gods.
There is no such thing as loyalty or attachment or faith in one God.
In the history of Hindu Gods one finds it a very common  experience  that some  Gods have  been  worshipped  for  a  time  and subsequently  their worship  has  been abandoned  and  the  Gods  themselves  have  been  thrown  on  the scrap-heap.
Quite new Gods are adopted and their worship goes with an intensity of devotion which is full and overflowing.
Again the new Gods are abandoned and are replaced by a fresh crop of new Gods.
So the cycle goes on.
In  this  way  the  Hindu  Gods  are  always  undergoing  rise  and  fall—
A phenomenon which is unknown in the history of any other community in the world.

The  statement  that  the  Hindus  treat  their  Gods  with such  levity  may  not  be  accepted  without demur.
Some evidence on this point is therefore necessary.
Fortunately there is abundance of it.
At present the Hindus worship four Gods
(1)  Shiva,
(2)  Vishnu,
(3)  Rama
(4)  Krishna

The question that one has to consider is: are these the only Gods the Hindus have worshipped from the beginning?

The Hindu Pantheon has the largest number of inmates.
The Pantheon of no religion can rival it in point of population.
At the time of the Rig-Veda the number of its inmates was colossal.
At two places the Rig-Veda
[Rig-Veda iii.  99:  X 52:  6, Vaj, S.  33.  7.  Muir V.  p. 12.  Page:  114
speaks  of  three  thousand  three  hundred  and  nine  Gods.
For some reasons, which it is not possible for us now to know, this number came to be reduced to thirty-three.
[Rig-Veda 1, 139. II. iii, 6. 9:  VIII 28.1.  VIII 30.2.  VIII 35.]

This is a considerable reduction.
Nevertheless with thirty three, the Hindu Pantheon remains the largest.

The  composition  of  this  group  of  thirty-three  Gods  is  explained  by  the  Satapatha  Brahmana

3.  Muir V.  p. 10.  3 S.  B.  IV 5.  7, 2, Muir V, p.  II.]  as  made  up of  8  Vasus,  11 Rudras  and 12 Adityas,  together with Dyasus and Prithvi (heaven and earth).

Of greater importance than the question of numbers is the question of their relative rank.
Was their any distinction between the 33 Gods in point of their rank? There is a verse in the Rig-Veda which seems  to suggest  that  these  thirty-three  Gods  were  divided  for purposes  of honours  and
precedence into two classes, one being great and small and the other being young and old.
This view seems to be against an earlier view also contained in the Rig-Veda.
The old rule says:
"None of you O!  Gods!  is small or young:  You are all great “.
This is also the conclusion of Prof.  Max Muller:
"When  these  individual  gods  are  invoked,  they  are  not  conceived  as  limited  by  the  power  of others, as superior or inferior in rank. Each god is to the mind of the supplicants as good as all the gods.
He is felt, at the time, as a real divinity, as supreme and absolute, in spite of the necessary limitations  which,  to  our  mind,  a  plurality  of  gods  must  entail  on  every  single  god.
All  the  rest disappear  for  a  moment  from  the  vision  of  the  poet,  and  he  only,  who  is  to  fulfil  their  desires stands in full light before the eyes of the worshippers"
"Nowhere is any of the Gods represented as the slave of others".

This is of course true only for a time. A change seems to have come in the old angle of vision towards the Gods.
For  one  finds  numerous  hymns  of  the  Veda  in  which  some  gods  are represented as supreme and absolute.

In  the  first  hymn of  the second  Mandala,  Agni  is  called  the  ruler of  the  Universe,  the  Lord  of men,  the  wise  king,  the  father,  the  brother,  the son,  the  friend  of men;  nay,  all  the  powers  and
names of the others are distinctly ascribed to Agni.

Then a second god came to be elevated above Agni.
He is Indra.  Indra is spoken of as the strongest god in the hymns as well as in the Brahmanas, and the burden of one of the songs of
the Tenth Book is: Visvasmad Indra Uttarah 'Indra is greater than all'.

Then a third god is raised to the highest level. He is Soma.
Of Soma, it is said that he was born great and that he conquers every one.
He  is  called  the  king  of  the  world,  he  has  the  power to
prolong the life of men, and in one verse he is called the maker of heaven, and earth, of Agni, of Surya, of Indra and of Vishnu.
Then Soma was forgotten and a fourth God was elevated.
He is Varuna.
Varuna was made the highest of all Gods.
For what more could human language do than to  express  the  idea of  a  divine  and supreme  power,  than what  the  Vedic  poet says of  Varuna; 
Thou art Lord of all, of heaven, and earth ' or, as is said in another hymn (ii. 27, 10), 'Thou art the king of all; of those who are gods, and of those who are men."

From this evidence it is clear that out of the 33 Vedic Gods four Gods, Agni, Indra, Soma and Varuna had emerged as the principal Gods.
Not that other gods had ceased to be gods.
But these four had become elevated above the rest.
At a later stage a change seems to have taken place at the  time  of  the  Satapatha  Brahmana  in  the  relative  position  of  the  different  gods.  Soma  and Varuna  had  lost  their  places  as  the  principal  gods  while  Agni  and  Indra  had  retained  their positions.
A new god has emerged. He is Surya.
The result is that instead of Agni, Indra, Soma and Varuna;
Agni, Indra and Surya became the principal gods.
This is evident from the Satapatha
Brahmana which says:
"1.    Originally the gods were all alike, all pure.  Of them being all alike, all pure, three desired, 'May we become superior' vi z., Agni, Indra and Surya (the sun).
"3.  Originally  there  was  not  in  Agni  the same  flame,  as  this  flame  which  is  (now)  in him.  He desired: ‘May this flame be in me '.
He saw this grahs, he took it: and hence there became this
flame in him.
4. Originally there was not in Indra the same vigour, etc. (as in para 3).
5.  Originally  there  was  not  in  Surya  the  same  lustre  etc."
For  how  long  these  three  Gods continued  to hold  their  places  of superiority  over  the  rest  it  is difficult  to say.
But that at a later stage a change in the scene has taken place is beyond doubt.
This is evident by a reference to the Chula-Niddessa.
The Chula Niddessa is a treatise which belongs to the Buddhist literature. Its approximate date is.... {left incomplete).

The Chula-Niddessa gives a list of sects which were then prevalent in India. Classified on the basis of creeds and cults.
They may be listed as follows:

Names of Creeds –

Name of the Sect – Ajivika
Shravaka means a disciple – Mendicants following special rules with regard to

Name of the Sect –  Nigantha
Shravaka means a disciple - Mendicants who are free from all ties and

Name of the Sect – Jatila
Shravaka means a disciple – Mendicants who twist their hair on the head

Name of the Sect – Parivrajaka
Shravaka means a disciple – Mendicants who escape from society

Name of the Sect – Avarudhaka
Shravaka means a disciple –

Following is the list of Sects

Vratikas means a devotee
Sect Name – Hasti Vratikas
The deity which is worshipped – Hasti – Elephant

Sect Name – Ashva Vratikas
The deity which is worshipped – Ashva - Horse

Sect Name – Go Vratikas
The deity which is worshipped – Go - Cow

Sect Name – Kukur Vratikas
The deity which is worshipped – Kukku - Dog

Sect Name – Kaka Vratikas
The deity which is worshipped – Kaka - Crow

Sect Name – Vosudeo Vratikas
The deity which is worshipped – Vasudeo

Sect Name – Baldeo Vratikas
The deity which is worshipped – Baldeo

Sect Name – Puma Bhadra Vratikas
The deity which is worshipped – Puma Bhadra

Sect Name – Mani Bhadra Vratikas
The deity which is worshipped – Mani Bhadra

Sect Name – Agni Vratikas
The deity which is worshipped – Agni

Sect Name – Naga Vratikas
The deity which is worshipped – Naga

Sect Name – Suparna Vratikas
The deity which is worshipped – Suparna

Sect Name – Yaksha Vratikas
The deity which is worshipped – Yaksha

Sect Name – Asura Vratikas
The deity which is worshipped – Asura

Sect Name – Gandharva Vratikas
The deity which is worshipped – Gandharva

Sect Name – Maharaja Vratikas
The deity which is worshipped – Maharaja

Sect Name – Chandra Vratikas
The deity which is worshipped – Chandra

Sect Name – Surya Vratikas
The deity which is worshipped – Surya

Sect Name – Indra Vratikas
The deity which is worshipped – Indra

Sect Name – Brahma Vratikas
The deity which is worshipped – Brahma

Sect Name – Deva Vratikas
The deity which is worshipped – Deva

Sect Name – Deesha Vratikas
The deity which is worshipped –Deesha

Comparing the position as it stood at the time of the Satapatha Brahmana with that arising from the Chula-Niddessa the following propositions may be said to be well-established:

Firstly,  that  the  worship  of  Agni,  Surya  and  Indra  continued  up  to  the  time  of  the  Chula Niddessa.

Secondly,  the  Cults  of  Agni,  Surya  and  Indra although  they  had  not  ceased,  had  lost  their places of supremacy.
Others and quite a number of cults had come into being as rivals and had
won the affection of the people.
Thirdly, of the new cults there are two which later on became very prominent. They are the cults of Vasudeo (i.e. Krishna) and Brahma and

Fourthly the cults of Vishnu, Shiva and Rama had not come into being.

What  is  the  present  position  as  compared  with  that  found  in  the Chula-Niddessa?
Here again, three propositions are well-established.

First: the cults of Agni, Indra, Brahma and Surya have disappeared.

Second: Krishna has retained his position.

Three:  The  cults  of  Vishnu,  Shiva  and  Rama  are  new  cults  which  have  come  into existence since the time of the Chula-Niddessa.

Given this situation it raises three questions for considerations:

One is why the old cults of Agni, Indra, Brahma have and Surya disappeared?
Why was the worship of these Gods abandoned ?

Second is  what  are  the  circumstances  that  gave  rise  to  the new  cults  of  Krishna,  Rama, Shiva and Vishnu.

Third what is the relative position of these new Gods, Krishna, Rama, Shiva and Vishnu ?

For the first question we can find no answer.
The  Brahmanic  literature  gives  us  no  clue whatsoever  as  to  why  the  Brahmins  abandoned  the  worship of  Agni,  Indra,  Surya  and  Brahma.
There is some explanation as to why the cult of Brahma disappeared.
It rests in a charge which is found to be levelled in the Brahmanic literature against Brahma.
The charge is that he committed rape on his own daughter and hereby made himself unworthy of worship and devotion.
Whatever be the truth in the charge it could not be regarded as sufficient to account for the abandonment of Brahma and for two reasons. In the first place, in that age such conduct was not unusual. In the second place,  Krishna  was  guilty  of  greater  immoralities  than  were  charged  to  Brahma  and  yet they continued to worship him.

While  there is  something  to speculate  about  the  abandonment  of  Brahma  there  is  nothing  to account for the abandonment of the others. The disappearance of Agni, Indra, Surya and Brahma is thus a mystery. This is no place to solve this mystery.
It is enough to say that the Gods of the Hindus had ceased to be Gods—a terrible thing.

The second question is also enveloped in mystery.
Brahmanic literature, to account for the importance of the cults of these new Gods, Krishna, Vishnu, Shiva and Rama, is full and overflowing.
But there is nothing in the Brahmanic literature to account for the rise of these new Gods. Why these new Gods were brought into action is thus a mystery.
The  mystery  however  deepens  when  one  finds  that  some  of  the  new  Gods  were  definitely  anti-Vedic. Let us take the case of Shiva.That Shiva was originally an Anti-Vedic God is abundently clear.

The following two incidents recorded in the Bhagvata Purana
(and also in the Mahabharata) throw a flood of light on the subject.

The  first  incident shows  how  enmity  arose  between  Shiva  and his  father-in-law  Daksha.  It appears that the Gods and Rishis were assembled at a sacrifice celebrated by the Prajapatis.
On the entrance of  Daksha,  all  the  personages  who  were  present,  rose  to  salute  him,  except  Brahma  and  Shiva.
Daksha, after making his obeisance to Brahma, sat down by his command; but was offended at the treatment he received from Shiva.  This is how he addressed Shiva: Bhagwat Purana quoted in Chapter IV pp. 379-80.]
" Beholding Mrida (Shiva) previously seated, Daksha did not brook his want of respect; and looking at him obliquely with his eyes, as if consuming him, thus spake: ' Hear me, ye Brahman rishis, with the
Gods and the Agnis, While I, neither from ignorane nor from passion, describe what is the practice of virtuous persons.
But this shameless being (Siva) detracts from the reputation of the guardians of the world, he by whom, stubborn as he is, the course pursued by the good is transgressed.
He assumed the position of my disciple, in as much as, like a virtuous person, in the face of Brahmans and of fire, he took the hand of my daughter, who resembled Savitri.
This monkey-eyed (god), after having taken of (my) fawn-eyed (daughter), has not even by word shown suitable respect to me whom he ought to have risen and saluted. Though unwilling, I yet gave my daughter to this impure and proud abolisher of  rites  and  demolisher  of  barriers,  like  the  word  of  the  Veda  to  a  Sudra.
He  roams about  in dreadful cemeteries, attended by hosts of ghosts and spirits, like a madman, naked, with dishevelled hair,  laughing,  weeping,  bathed  in  the  ashes  of  funeral  piles,  wearing  a  garland  of  dead  men's (skulls), and ornaments of human bones, pretending to be Siva (auspicious) but in reality  Asiva (in-auspicious), insane, beloved by the insane the lord of Pramathas and Bhutas (spirits), beings whose
nature is essentially darkness.
To this wicked-hearted lord of the infuriate, whose purity has perished.
I have, alas ! given my virtuous daughter, at the instigation of Brahma'.
Having  thus  reviled  Girisa  (Siva),  who  did  not  oppose  him,  Daksha  having  then  touched  water, incensed, began to curse him (thus): 'Let this Bhava (Siva), lowest of the gods, never, at the worship of the gods, receive any portion along with the gods Indra, Upendra (Vishnu), and others.

‘Having delivered his malediction, Daksha departed."

The enmity between the father-in-law and son-in-law continues.
Daksha being elevated by Brahma to the  rank  of  the  Chief  of  the  Prajapatis  decided  to  perform  a  great  Sacrifice  called  Vrihaspatisava.
Seeing the other Gods with their wives going to this Sacrifice, Parvati pressed her husband, Shiva, to accompany her thither.
He  refers  to  the insults  which he  had  received  from  her  father, and  advises her not to go. She, however (sect. 4), being anxious to see her relatives, disregards his warning and goes:  but  being sighted  by  her  father,  Daksha, she  reproaches  him  for his hostility  to  her husband,
and threatens to abandon the corporeal frame by which she was connected with her parent. She then voluntarily gives up the ghost. Seeing this, Shiva's attendants, who had followed her, rush on Daksha
to kill him. Bhrigu, however, throws an oblation into the southern fire, pronouncing a Yajus text suited to destroy the destroyers of sacrifice (yajna-ghnena yajusha dakshinagnau juhavaha).
A troop of Ribhus in consequence spring up, who put Shiva's followers to flight. Shiva is filled with wrath when he hears of the death of Sati (sect. 5). From a lock of his hair, which he tore out, a gigantic demon
arose, whom he commended to destroy Daksha and his sacrifice.
This demon proceeds with a troop of Shiva's followers, and they all execute the mandate.
How they executed the mandate is described in the Bhagvat Purana
Quoted in Muir IV. p. .383-84.]In the following terms:
"' Some broke the sacrificial vessels, others destroyed the fires, others made water in the ponds, others cut the boundary-cords of the sacrificial ground: others assaulted the Munis, others reviled their wives: others seized the gods who were near, and those who had fled. . . .
The divine Bhava  (Siva)  plucked  out  the  beard of  Bhrigu, who  was  offering  oblations  with  a ladle in  his  hand.  and who had laughed in the assembly, showing his beard. He also tore out the eyes of Bhaga, whom in  his wrath  he  had  felled  to  the  ground,  and  who,  when  in  the  assembly,  had made  a sign to (Daksha when) cursing (Siva)
He moreover knocked out the teeth of Pushan (as Bala did the king
of Kalinga’s).  who  (Pushan)  had  laughed,  showing  his  teeth,  when  the  great  god  was  being cursed. Tryambaka (Siva, or Virabhadra, according to the commentator) then cuts off the head of
Daksha, but not without some difficulty.

The gods report all that had passed to Svayambhu (Brahma), who, with Vishnu, had not been present (sect. 6).
Brahma advises the gods to propitiate Siva, whom they had wrongfully excluded from a share in the sacrifice.
The deities, headed by Aja (Brahma), accordingly proceed to
Kailasa. when they see Siva “bearing the linga desired by devotees, ashes a staff, a tuft of hair. an  antelope's skin.  and  a  digit  of  the  moon,  his  body  shining  like  an evening  cloud  ".
Brahma addresses Mahadeva "as the eternal Brahma, the lord of Sakti and Siva, who are respectively the womb and the seed of the universe, who. in sport, like a spider, forms all things from Sakti and
Siva,  who  are  consubstantial  with  himself,  and  preserves  and  reabsorbs  them"
 (A  similar supremacy is ascribed to Vishnu in section 7).
Brahma adds that it was this great being who had instituted sacrifice, and all the regulations which Brahmans devoutly observe and entreat him. who is  beyond  all  illusion,  to  have  mercy  on  those  who,  overcome  by  its  influence,  had  wrongly attached importance to ceremonial works, and to restore the sacrifice of Daksha, at which a share
had been refused to him by evil priests.
Mahadeva partly relents (sect. 7)"
There  can  be  no  better  evidence  to  prove  that  Shiva  was  an
Anti-vedic God than his destruction of Daksha's Yajna.

Now let us take Krishna.

There are four persons who go by the name Krishna.
One Krishna is the son of Satyavati and father of Dhratarashtra, Pandu and Vidur.
Second Krishna is the brother of Subhadra and friend of Arjuna.
Third  Krishna  is  the son of  Vasudeva  and  Devaki  and  was  resident  of  Mathura.
Fourth Krishna  is  the  one  brought  up  by  Nanda  and  Yeshoda  at  Gokul  and  it  was  he  who  killed Shishupal.

If the Krishna of the Krishna cult is the same as the Krishna son of Devaki there can be no doubt that Krishna originally also was anti-Vedic. From the Chhandogya Upanishad it appears that he was a pupil of Ghora Angiras.
What did Ghora Angiras teach him?
This is what the Chhandogya Upanishad says on the subject:
"Ghora, the descendant of Angiras, having declared this
(The preceding mystical lore) to Krishna the son of Devaki, said to him that (which, when he heard) he became free from thirst (i.e. desire),
vi z.,  '  let  a  man  at  the  time  of  his  death  have  recourse  to  these  three  texts,  '  Thou  art  the  undecaying, thouart the imperishable,
Thou art the subtle principle of breath '.
The commentator on this text of the Upanishad explains:
"A person, Ghora by name, and an Angirasa by family, having declared this doctrine of sacrifice to Krishna the son of Devaki, his pupil, then said etc. The connexion of the last word 'said', is with the  words  which  occur  some  way  below,  'these  three  etc..
And  having  heard  this  doctrine  he became free from desire for any "kinds of knowledge. In this manner he praises this knowledge of
the Purusha-sacrifice by saying that it was so distinguished that it destroyed all thirst in Krishna, the  son  of  Devaki,  for  any  other  knowledge.
He  now  tells  us  that  Ghora  Angirasa  said  after declaring this knowledge to Krishna. It was this: 'Let him who knows the aforesaid sacrifice, at the time of his death have recourse to, mutter, these three texts, pranasamsitam means, 'thou art the very minute, and subtle principle of breath."

Obviously the doctrine taught by  Ghora Angiras to Krishna was opposed to the Vedas and the Vedic sacrifices as a means of spiritual salvation. On the contrary Vishnu is a Vedic God. Yet his  cult  is  established  much  later  than  that  of  Shiva.
Why  there  has  been so much  neglect  of Vishnu it is difficult to understand.

Similarly  Rama  though  not  anti-vedic  is  unknown  to  the  Vedas.  What  was  the  necessity  of starting his cult and that too at so late a stage in the history of the country?

We may now take up the third question—
namely what is the relative position of these new Gods
to the old Pauranic Gods.

The rise and fall of Bramha, Vishnu and Shiva has already been told in a previous chapter called Gods at War.
Whatever happened, the struggle for place and power was confined to these three Gods.
They were not dragged below any other. But a time came when they were placed below the  Devi  by  name  Shri.
How  this  happened  is  told  in  the  Devi  Bhagwat.
[Summarised  in Satyartha Prakash ]

The Devi Bhagwat says that a Devi by name Shri created the whole world and that it is this Goddess who created Bramha, Vishnu and Shiva!
The Devi Bhagwat goes on to state that the Devi desired to rub her palms. The rubbing of palms produced a blister. Out of this blister was born Bramha.
When Bramha was born the Devi asked him to marry her.
Bramha refused saying she was his mother.
The Devi got angry and burned Bramha alive by her wrath and Bramha was reduced to ashes then and there.

Devi  rubbed her  palms  a second  time  and  had  a second  blister.
Out  of  this second  blister a second son  was  born.
This  was  Vishnu.
The  Devi  asked  Vishnu  to marry  her.
Vishnu  declined saying that she was his mother.
Devi got angry and burned down Vishnu to ashes.

Devi  rubbed her palms  a  third  time  and had a  third  blister.
Out  of  this  third  blister was born a third son. He was Shiva.
The Devi asked Shiva to marry her.
Shiva replied: ' I will, provided you assume another body '.
Devi agreed.
Just then Shiva's eyes fell on the two piles of ashes.
Devi replied ' they are the ashes of his two brothers and that she burnt them because they refused to marry her. '
On this Shiva said, ' How can I alone marry?
You create two other women so that we all three can marry '.
The devi did as she was told and the three Gods were married to the Devi and her female creations.

There  are  two points  in  the story.
One  is  that  even  in  doing  evil  Shiva  did not  wish  to appear
more sinning than Bramha and Vishnu for fear that he may appear more degraded than his other two  competitors.
The  more  important  point  however  is  that  Bramha,  Vishnu  and  Shiva  had fallen in rank and had become the creatures of the Devi.

Having dealt with the rise and fall of Bramha, Vishnu and Shiva, there remains the vicissitudes in the cults of the two new Gods, Krishna and Rama.
Obviously there is a certain amount of artificiality in the cult of Krishna as compared with the cult of Brahma,  Vishnu  and  Shiva.
Bramha,  Vishnu  and  Mahesh  were  born  gods.
Krishna  was a  man who was raised to godhood.
It is probably to confer godhood on him that the theory was invented that
he  was  the incarnation  of  Vishnu.
But  even  then  his  godhood  remained  imperfect  because he  was
regarded  to  be  only  a  partial  [Page:  127 On this point see references in Muir IV pp. 49.] avatar of Vishnu largely because of his debaucheries
with the gopis which would have been inexcusable if he had been a full and perfect avatar of Vishnu.

Notwithstanding  this humble beginning  Krishna  became elevated  to  the  position  of  a supreme God above all others.
How great a God he became can be seen by a reference to
Chapter X and XIV of the Bhagvat Geeta.
In these Chapters Krishna says: "Well then, O best of the Kauravas I will state to you my own divine emanations; but (only) the chief  (ones)  for  there  is  no  end  to  the  extent  of  my  (emanations).
I  am  the  self.  O  Gudakesa seated  in  the  hearts  of  all  beings;
I  am  the  beginning  and  the  middle  and  the  end  also  of  all beings.
I  am  Vishnu  among  the  Adityas,  the  beaming  Sun  among  the  shining  (bodies);
I  am Marichi among the Maruts, and the Moon among the lunar mansions.
Among the Vedas, I am the Sama-veda.
I am Indra among the Gods. And I am mind among the senses. I am consciousness in (living) beings. And I am Shankara among the Rudras, the Lord of Wealth among Yakshas and Rakshasas. And I am fire among the Vasus, and Meru among the high-topped (mountains). And know  me,  O  Arjuna  to  be  Brihaspati,  the  chief  among  domestic  priests.
I  am  Skanda  among generals. I am the ocean among reservoirs of water. I am Bhrigu among the great sages. I am the Single  syllable  (Om)  among  words.  Among  sacrifices  I  am  the  Gapa  sacrifice;  the  Himalaya  among  the  firmly  fixed  (mountains);  the  Asvattha  among  all  trees,  and  Narada  among  divine sages;  Chitraratha  among  the  heavenly  choristers,  the sage  Kapila among  the  Siddhas.  Among
horses  know me  to  be  Uchhaissravas, brought  forth by  (the  labour  for)  the  nectar;  and  Airavata among  the  great  elephants,  and  the  ruler  of  men  among  men.  I  am  the  thunderbolt  among weapons, the wish-giving (cow) among cows. And I am love which generates. Among serpents I am  Vasuki.  Among  Naga snakes  I  am  Ananta;  I  am  Varuna  among  aquatic  beings.  And  I  am Aryaman among the manes, and Yama among rulers. Among demons, too, I am Pralhada. I am
the king of death (kala, time) among those that count.
"Among beasts I am the lord of beasts, and the son of Vinata among birds. I am the wind among those  that blow.  I  am  Rama among  those  that wield weapons.  Among  fishes  I am  Makara,  and among streams  the  Janhavi.  Of  created  things  I  am  the beginning and  the  end  and  the middle also.  0  Arjuna,  among sciences,  I  am  the science  of  the  Adhyatma,  and  I  am  the  argument of controversialists.  Among  letters  I  am  the  letter  A,  and  among  the  group  of  compounds  the
copulative  compound.  I  myself  am  time  inexhaustible  and  I  the  creator  whose  faces  are  in all directions. I am death who seizes all, and the source of what is to be. And among females, fame, fortune, speech, memory, intellect, courage, forgiveness. Likewise among Saman hymns, I am the Brihat-saman, and I the Gayatri among metres. I am Margasirsha among the months, the spring among the seasons, of cheats, I am the game of dice; I am the glory of the glorious; I am victory. I am  industry,  I  am  the goodness  of  the  good.  I  am  Vasudeva  among  the  escendants of  Vrishni and Arjuna among the Pandvas. Among sages also, I am Vyasa; and among the discerning ones, I am the discerning Usanas. I am the rod of those that restrain, and the policy of those that desire victory. I am silence respecting secrets. I am the knowledge of those that have knowledge. And 0 Arjuna!  I  am  also  that  which  is  the seed  of  all  things.  There  is  nothing movable  or  immovable
which can exist without me."
"  Know  that  glory  (to  be) mine which,  dwelling  in  the  Sun,  lights up  the  whole  world,  or  in  the moon or fire. Entering the earth, I by my power support all things; and becoming the juicy moon, I nourish all herbs. I becoming the fire, and dwelling in the bodies of (all) creatures, and united with the  upward  and downward  life-breaths  cause  digestion  of  the  four-fold  food.  And  I am placed  in the heart of all."
" From me (come) memory, knowledge, and their removal; I alone am to be learnt from all the Vedas; I am the author of the Vedantas; and I alone know the Vedas. There are these two beings in  the  world,  the  destructible  and  the  indestructible.  The  destructible  (includes)  all  things.  The unconcerned  one  is  (what  is)  called  the  indestructible.  But  the  being  supreme  is  yet  another, called the highest self, who as the inexhaustible lord, pervading the three worlds, supports (them).
And since I transcend the destructible, and since I am higher also than the indestructible therefore am I celebrated in the world and in the Vedas as the best of things." It is therefore clear that so far as the Gita is concerned there is no God greater than Krishna. He is, Alla ho Akbar. He is greater than all other Gods.

Let us now turn to the Mahabharata. What do we find ?
We find a change in the position of Krishna. There is a rise and fall in his position.  In the first place  we  find  Krishna  elevated  above  Shiva.  Not  only  that,  Shiva  is  made  to  admit  and acknowledge  the  greatness  of  Krishna.  Along  with  this  we  also  find  Krishna  degraded  to  a  rank
below that of Shiva and is made to acknowledge the greatness of Shiva.

As  a piece  of evidence  in support of  the elevation  of  Krishna  above  Shiva  the  following passage  from  the  Anusasana-Parvan Muir IV pp. 273-74.] is very illuminating: "Superior even to Pitamaha (Bramha) is Hari, the eternal Purusha, Krishna, brilliant as gold, like the sun risen in a cloudless sky, ten-armed, of mighty force, slayer of the foes of the gods, marked with  the  srivatsa,  Hrishikesa,  adored  by  all  the  gods.  Bramha  is  sprung  from  his  belly  and  I (Mahadeva) from his head, the luminaries from the hair of his head, the gods, and Asuras from the
hairs of his body, and the rishis as well as everlasting worlds, have been produced from his body. He is the manifest abode of Pitamaha, and of all the deities. He is the creator of this entire earth, the lord of the three worlds, and the destroyer of creatures, of the stationary and the moveable. He is manifestly  the most  eminent  of  the gods,  the lord  of  the deities,  the  vexer  of  his  foes.  He  is omniscient, intimately united (with all things), omnipresent facing in every direction, the supreme
spirit, Hrishikesa all-pervading, the mighty Lord. There is none superior to him in the three worlds. The slayer of Madhu is eternal, renowned as Govinda. He, the conferer of honour, born to fulfil the purposes  of  the  gods,  and  assuming  a  human body,  will slay  all  the  kings  in battle.  For  all  the hosts  of  the  gods,  destitute  of  Trivikrama  (the  god  who strode  thrice),  are  unable  to  effect  the purposes of the gods, devoid of a leader. He is the leader of all creatures, and worshipped by all creatures "  Of  this  lord  of  the  gods,  devoted  to  the  purposes  of  the  gods,  who  is  Brahma,  and  is  the constant refuge of gods and rishis, Brahma dwells within the body, abiding in his face, and all the gods are easily sheltered in his body. This god is lotus-eyed, the producer of Sri, dwelling together with  Sri  .  .  .  For  the  welfare  of  the  gods,  Govinda  shall  arise  in  the  family  of  the  great  Manu, possessed  of  eminent  intelligence  and  (walking)  in  the  excellent  path  of  the  Prajapati  Manu, characterized by righteousness (Govinda's ancestors are then detailed). In this family, esteemed by Brahmans, of men renowned for valour, distinguished by good conduct and excellent qualities,
priests, most  pure,  this sura,  the most  eminent of  Kshatriya  heroic,  renewed,  conferring  honour, shall  beget  a son  Anakadundubhi,  the prolonger  of his  race,  known  as  Vasudev  to  him shall be born a four-armed son, Vasudeva, liberal, a benefactor of Brahmans, one with' 'Brahma, a lover of Brahmans."
"  You  the  gods, should,  as  is  fit,  worship  this  deity,  like  the  eternal  Brahma, approaching him with reverential and excellent garlands of praise. For the divine and glorious Vasudev should be beheld  by  him  who  desires  to  see  me  and  Brahma  and  Parent.  In  regard  to  this,  I  have  no hesitation, that when he is seen I am seen, or the Parent (Brahma), the lord of the gods: know this ye whose wealth is austerity."

We shall now see how Krishna after having been elevated to the position being highest among the Gods is being degraded.

The Mahabharata is so full of incidents and occasions which demonstrate Krishna's inferiority to Shiva that it is difficult to recite the whole of them. One must be content with a few.

The  first incident  relates  to  the  view  taken  by  Arjuna  to slay  Jayadratha  on  the  following  day.

After  the  vow,  Arjuna  became  very  dejected  thinking  that  Jayadratha's  friends  would  do  their utmost to save him and that unless he had sure weapons he would not be able to fulfil his vow.
Arjuna  goes  to  Krishna  for  advice.  Krishna  suggests  to  Arjuna  that  he  should  supplicate  to Mahadeva for the Pasupata weapon with which Mahadev himself had formerly destroyed all the Daityas and which, if he obtained it, he would be sure to kill Jayadrath. The Drone-Parvan which
relates the story proceeds to say: "The righteous Vasudeva (Krishna) then, together with the son of Pritha (Arjuna), reciting the eternal Veda, bowed his head to the ground, beholding him the source of the worlds, the maker of the universe, the unborn, the imperishable lord, the supreme source of mind, the sky, the wind, the abode of the luminaries, the creator of the oceans, the supreme substance of the earth, the
framer of gods, Danavas, Yakshas and men, the supreme Brahma of meditative systems, the satisfied, the treasure of those who know Brahma, the creator of the world and also its destroyer,
the great impersonated destructive Wrath, the original of the attributes of Indra and Surya. Krishna then reverenced him with voice, mind, understanding and act. Those two (heroes) had recourse to
Bhava (Mahadeva) as their refuge,—to him whom the wise, desiring the subtle spiritual abode, attain,—-to him the unborn cause. Arjuna, too, again and again reverenced that deity, knowing him to be the beginning of all beings, the source of the past, the future, and the present. Beholding those two, Nara and Narayana, arrived Sarva (Mahadeva), then greatly gratified, said, as if smiling: 'Welcome, most eminent of men, rise up freed from fatigue, and tell me quickly, heroes, what your mind desires. Shall I accomplish for you the object for which you have come? Choose what is most for your welfare. I will give you all."

Krishna and Arjuna then recite a hymn in honour of Mahadeva, in the course of which he is designated as the soul of all things, the creator of all things, and the pervader of all things. Arjuna now, after reverencing both Krishna and Mahadeva, asks the latter for the celestial weapon. They
are thereupon sent by Mahadeva to a lake where he says he had formerly deposited his bow and arrows. They there saw two serpents, one of which was vomiting flames, and approached them,
bowing to Mahadeva and uttering Satarudriya. Through the power of Mahadeva, the serpents change their shape and become a bow and arrow, which Krishna and Arjuna bring to Mahadeva.
Eventually Arjuna receives as a boon from Mahadeva the Pasupata weapon, with the power of fulfilling his engagement to slay Jayadratha after which they both return to their camp."

The Anusasana-Parvan of the Mahabharata contains a dialogue between Yudhishthira and Bhishma. Yudhishthira asks Bhishma to tell him the attributes of Mahadeva. This is what
Bhishma says in reply: " I am unable to declare the attributes of the wise Mahadeva, who is an all-pervading god, yet is nowhere seen, who is the creator and the lord of Brahma, Vishnu and Indra, whom the gods, from
Brahma  to  the  Pisachas,  worship,  who  transcends  material  natures  as  well  as spirit  (Purusha), who  is meditated  upon by  rishis  versed  in  contemplation  (yoga),  and  possesing  an insight  into truth,  who  is  the  supreme,  imperishable  Brahma,  that  which  is  both  non-existent,  and  at  once existent and non-existent. Having agitated matter and spirit by his power, this god of gods and lord of creatures (Prajapati) thence created Bramha. What human being like me, who has been subject
to gestation in the womb, and to birth, and is liable to decay and death, can declare the attributes of  Bhava,  the  supreme  lord—  (who  can  do  this)  except  Narayana,  the  bearer of  the  shell,  the discus, and the cub? This Vishnu, wise, eminent, in qualities, very hard to overcome, with divine insight, of mighty power, beholds       (him) with the eye of contemplation. Through his devotion to       Rudra, the world is pervaded by the mighty Krishna. Having then propitiated that deity (Mahadeva)
at Badari, he (Krishna) obtained from the golden-eyed Mahesvara the quality of being in all worlds more  dear  than  wealth.  This  Madhava  (Krishna)  performed  austerity  for  a  full  thousand  years,
propitiating  Siva,  the  god  who  bestows  boons,  and  the  preceptor  of  the  world.  But  in  every mundane period (yuga) Mahesvara has been propitiated by Krishna and has been gratified by the eminent  devotion  Of  that  great  personage.  This  unshaken  Hari  (Krishna)  when  seeking,  for offspring, has beheld distinctly of what character is the glory of that great parent of the world. Than him I behold none higher. This large-armed (Krishna) is able to recount fully the names of the god
of  gods,  to  describe  the  qualities  of  the divine  (being) and  the  real might  of  Mahesvara  in  all its extent".

This dialogue between Yudhishthira and  Bhishma took  place in the presence of Krishna .
For  immediately  after  his  reply  Bhishma  calls  upon  Krishna  to  celebrate  the  greatness  of Mahadeva.  And  this supreme  God  Krishna  proceeds  to  do so  without  feeling  any  offence  and says:
"The  course  of  the  deeds  of.  Isa  (Mahadeva)  cannot  he  really  known.    He  whose  essence  neither  the gods  headed   by  Hiranyagarhha.  nor  the  great  rishis with  Indra,  nor  the  Adityas.  the
perceivers  ol  the minutest  objects,  understand,—-how  can he.  the  refuge of saints  he  known by
any  mere man?  I shall declare  to  you  exactly  some of  the  attributes  of  that divine slayer  of  the Asuras of the lord ol religious ceremonies."

Here  not  only  do  we  find  that  Krishna acknowledges  his inferiority  to  Shiva  but  we  also  find Shiva conscious of the fact that Krishna has been beaten down and is no longer his superior, indeed is not even his equal. This is evident from Sauptika-parvan where Mahadeva says to Asvathaman Quoted in Muir  p. ]

" I have been duly worshipped  by  Krishna,  the energetic in action. with truth, purity, honesty, liberality,  austerity,  ceremonies.  patience,    wisdom,    self-control,    understanding    and    words:
Wherefore no one is dearer to me than Krishna ". Krisnna from being above Shiva, above every God. indeed a Parmeshwar is reduced to the position of being a mere follower of Shiva begging for petty boons.

This does not complete the story of the degradation of Krishna. He is made to undergo further humiliation. Krishna not only accepted a position of inferiority vis-a-vis Shiva hut he is sunk so low that he became a disciple of Upamanyu who was a great devotee of Shiva and took Diksha from him in Shaivism. Krishna himself says: "On  the  8th  day  I  was  Initiated  by  that  Brahamana  (lJpamanyu)  according  to  the  Shastras.
Having shaved my entire head.anointing myself with ghee, and taking the staff and kusa grass in my arms I dressed myself in bark fastened with the mekhala (the waist string)."

 Krishna  then  performs  penance  and  has  a  sight,  of  Mahadeo.  Can  there  be  a more  glaring instance  of so  great  a  rise  and so much  of  a  fall  in  the  status  of  a  God?  Krishna  who  was  a Parmeshwar as compared to Shiva who was only an Ishwar does not even remain an Ishwar. He actually becomes a devotee of Shiva and seeks initiation in the Shaiva Shastras from a common Brahmin like Upamanyu.

The  case of  Rama  as  a  God  is much more artificial  than  that  of  Krishna.  Rama  himself  was unware of the fact that he was a God.  After recovering Sita on the defeat and death of Ravana, Sita was suspected of unchastity, Rama felt very dejected on hearing the words of those who thus spoke about Sita. The Ramayana says: "Then King Kuvera, and Yama with the Pitris and Indra. Lord of the gods, and Varuna, lord of the
waters, and the glorious three-eyed Mahadeva, whose ensign is a bull, and Bramha, the creator of the whole world, the most eminent of the knowers of the Veda: (and that King Dasaratha, moving in the air on a celestial car, arrived in that region, equal in lustre to the king of the gods); these all having come on cars brilliant as the Sun, and arrived in the city of Lanka, came near to Raghava  (Rama). Then these most eminent gods, holding the large arms of Rama, adorned with armlets,
addressed him as he stood with joined hands: How dost thou, the maker of the whole Universe, the most eminent of the wise, the pervading, disregard Sita's throwing herself into the fire? How dost thou not perceive thyself to be the chief of the host of the gods ? (Thou wast) formerly the Vasu Ritadhaman, and the Prajapati of the Vasus. Thou art the primal maker of the three worlds,
the self dependent lord, the eighth Rudra of the Rudras, and the fifth of the Sadhyas. The Asvins are thine ears, the Moon and Sun thine eyes."
"Thou,  vexer  of  th y  foes,  art seen in  the  end  and at  the  beginning  of  created  beings.  And  yet thou disregardest Sita like a common man ".
On being thus addressed by these Gods, Rama became surprised and replied: "I  regard  myself  as  a  man,  Rama,  son  of  Dasharath;  do  you,  divine  being  tell  me  who  and whence I am ". On this, Brahma replying to Rama said: "Hear my  true word, 0 being of  genuine power.  Thou  art  the  god,  the  glorious lord, Narayana, armed with the discus. Thou art the one-horned boar, the conqueror of thy foes, past and future,
the true, imperishable Brahma, both in the middle and end. Thou art the supreme righteousness of the worlds, Vishvaksena, the four-armed ; the bearer of the bow, Saranga, Hrishikesa (lord of the senses). Purusha (the male), the highest of Purushas, the unconquered, sword-wielding, Vishnu, and  Krishna  of  mighty  force,  the  general,  the  leader  the  true.  Thou  art  intelligence,  thou  art patience, and self-restraint. Thou art the source of being and cause of destruction, Upendra (the younger  Indra),  the  Madhusudana.  Thou  art  Mahendra  (the  elder  Indra)  fulfilling  the  function of Indra, he from whose navel springs a lotus, the ender of battles. The great divine rishis call thee the  refuge,  the  resort  of  suppliants.  Thou  art  the  hundred-horned,  composed  of  the  Veda,  the thousand-headed  the mighty.  Thou  art  the  primal maker  of  the  three worlds,  the self-dependent lord, and the refuge of the Siddhas and Sahyas, 0 thou primevally born. Thou art sacrifice, thou art the vashatkara, and the omkara, higher than the highest. Men know not who thou art, the source of  being,  or  the  destroyer.  Thou  art  seen in  all  creatures,  in  Brahmans  and  in  cows,  in  all  the regions, in the mountains and rivers, thousand-footed, glorious, hundred-headed, thousand-eyed. Thou sustainest creatures, and the earth with its mountains; thou art seen Rama. at the extremity of the earth, in the waters, a mighty serpent supporting  the three worlds, gods, Gandharvas, and Danavas. I am thy heart, Rama, the goddess Sarasvati is thy tongue. The gods have been made by Brahma the hairs on thy limbs. The night is called the closing, and the day the opening, of thine eyes. The Vedas are thy thoughts. This (universe) exists not without thee. The whole world is thy body; the earth is thy stability.  Agni is thine anger, Soma is thy pleasure, O thou whose mark is the Srivatsa. By thee the three worlds were traversed of yore with thy three paces. and Mahendra was made king after thou hadst bound the terrible Bali. That which is known as the chiefest light, that  which  is  known  as  the  chiefest  darkness,  that  which is  the higher  than  the  highest-thou art called the highest Soul. It is thou who art hymned as that which is called the highest, and is the
highest. Men call thee the highest source of continuance, production and destruction."

 Obviously, there is the same degree of artificiality in the cult of Rama. Like Krishna he was a man who was made God. Unlike Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, he was not one who was born God.  It  is  probably  to  make  his  Godhood perfect  that  the  theory  was  invented  that  he  was  the
incarnation of Vishnu and that Sita his wife was the incarnation of Lakshmi the wife of Vishnu.

In another respect, Rama was fortunate. He did not have to suffer degradation to other Gods as did  Brahma,  Vishnu  and  Krishna.  There  was  however  an  attempt  to  degrade  him  below Parasurama the hero of the Brahmins. The story is told in the Ramayana which 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 by certain birds, which however were counteracted, as the sage Vasishta 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 hurricane which shook the earth and prostrated the trees, and bythick darkness which veiled the Sun. He was fearful to behold, "brilliant as  fire,  and  bore  his  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 has heard of his prowess in breaking  the  bow  produced  by  Janak 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."
" Rama replied that though his warlike qualities are condemned by his rival, he will give him a proof of his powers. He. then snatches, in anger, the bow from the hand of Parasurama, bends it, fits an arrow on the string; and tells his challenger that he will not shoot at him because he is a Brahman,  and  for  the  sake  of  his  kinsman  Visvamitra;  but  will  either  destory  his  superhuman capacity  of  movement,  or  deprive  him  of  the  blessed  abodes he has acquired  by  austerity.  The gods now arrive to be witnesses of the scene. Parasurama becomes disheartened and powerless and humbly  entreats  that  he may  not  be  deprived  of  his  faculty  of  movement  lest  he should be incapacitated from fulfilling his promise to Kasyappa ' to leave the earth every night but consents
that his blissful abodes may be destroyed."

With this exception Rama had no rivalry with any of the other Gods. He managed to be where he was.  With  regards  to  other  Gods  there  is  a  different  story  to  tell.  Poor  creatures  they  became nothing more than mere toys in the hands of the Brahmins. Why did the Brahmins treat the Gods with so scant a respect?

Reality views by sm –

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Tags - Riddles in Hinduism Riddle No. 11 - Why Brahmins Hindu Gods Suffer Rise Fall