Philosophy of Krishna Consciousness

Is Shiva a demigod?

Question: 
Is Shiva a demigod or a different type of entity? What is his role?


Our Answer:

Shiva is in a unique position. He's not an ordinary living entity (jiva), he's not an ordinary demigod (deva), nor is he in the Vishnu (God) category. Shiva has his own tattva, category of being, known as shiva-tattva. His residence, Kalilash, isn't annihilated when the rest of the material manifestation is annihilated.

First of all, he's the greatest Vaishnava. He and Krishna (Vishnu) are very close to each other. Shiva is very dear to Lord Krishna and vice-versa.

Brahma, in his prayer known as Brahma-samhita, compares Shiva to yogurt and Krishna to milk. By adding some culture to milk, one makes yogurt. Both come from the same substance, yet are slightly different in quality. Milk, or Vishnu, is the source. Such is the relationship between Shiva and Krishna.

Lord Krishna (Vishnu) is responsible for the maintenance of the material and spiritual worlds. Lord Shiva is responsible for the destruction of the material world. He is also in charge of the tamas (ignorance) mode of nature, although he's not personally affected by it. Lord Shiva is constantly in meditation on Lord Vishnu; he's extremely powerful and full of good qualities. He's easily pleased by service and devotion to him, but he's most pleased when his followers direct their ultimate worship to Lord Vishnu.

Read the story of Daksha in the fourth Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam; there you'll get a good understanding of the power and majesty of Lord Shiva.

I read that whomever is elected President of the US in November, that it will be God's will. Does God's will affect other countries as well? Was Stalin being the dictator of the USSR God's will? Was Hitler being the Chancellor of Germany God's will?

I read that whomever is elected President of the US in November, that it will be God's will. Does God's will affect other countries as well? Was Stalin being the dictator of the USSR God's will? Was Hitler being the Chancellor of Germany God's will? Are only good things God's will or are bad things God's will too? Does God's will extend to non-Christians? What about people who commit crimes -- are their crimes part of God's will?

The laws of karma are quite complicated. Of course on one level, everything is happening under the "will" of Krishna. Not a blade of grass moves without His sanction. However, as a reluctant father may say to a persistent son, "go ahead; do whatever you want," so the Supreme Lord sets up this material word and sanctions the desires of the living entities trying to enjoy separate from Him. So Krishna has set up this prison house, but He’s not directly controlling each aspect of it. The prisoners, all of us, and the wardens, the demigods, are basically entrusted with the responsibility of dealing with this place. Sometimes, when things get really out of hand, the Lord Himself will get involved. We sometimes call that a "miracle" but generally He’s busy with His own spiritual world and, since we wanted to be in control of things, He allows us to learn our lessons by the "school of hard knocks" so to speak.

Even "good" things in this material world cause reaction, karma, which keeps us bound here. Only activity directly in service to Him is free from that binding quality. Anything we do that’s materially "good or bad" will keep us here - sometimes in a first class, "celebrity" prison cell, and sometimes
in solitary confinement. Often what appears "good" for one is "bad for another. In every war each side is praying for victory, but one side will always see “victory” as a win, the other as a loss. Is either "good?"

On a more specific level, karma, action and reaction, is playing out in each of our lives. Basically we’re each "due" a certain amount of enjoyment and suffering and that will come to us one way or another based on our previous activities. If I say to you, “someone was horribly beaten,” your reaction may at first be horror, but if I say, “someone was beating many innocent children and therefore he was beaten,” you will likely see more justice in that reaction. Because we cannot see the previous lives of everyone, we cannot ascertain what the real cause of suffering or happiness is. We accept happiness (wealth, beauty, fame, etc.) with a smile and curse suffering as “undeserved,” but actually all these things come from our previous self-centered activities. Only when our actions are focused on and dedicated to the service to Krishna do we avoid reaction, of any kind. When we become pure in motive we can go back to live in the spiritual world.

Hope this is helpful.
Sincerely,
Laxmimoni dasi

What does it mean to have a spiritual body? Do the bodies of Radha and Krishna have excretory systems, other organs, etc?

Radha and Krishna have bodies ( vigraha) that are created of sat ("eternity"), chit ("knowledge") and bliss, ananda. Their bodies are fully spiritual. They do not have systems and organs like the biological, material body. They never get old, ill, nor are They forced to die. This is also the situation with the jiva, or individual soul; we too, in our eternal spiritual nature, are eternal and never die.

You can read more about the nature of the soul in the 2nd chapter of Bhagavad-gita. There's also some information about Krishna's sat, chit, ananda nature in the introduction of the Bhagavad Gita As It Is, by Srila Prabhupada.

I hope this is helpful.
Sincerely
Laxmimoni dasi

I thought Brahma was the creator. Does Brahma create this world, or does Krishna?

Krishna Himself doesn't have to "do" anything; He's the supreme enjoyer, the emblem of eternity, knowledge, and bliss. He arranges for others to work according to their qualifications and desire to serve Him. He's always engaged in loving pastimes—lilas—with His devotees, while Brahma is the person who actively carries out Krishna's desire to create the material universe.

First, Krishna simply desires that there be creation. He expands Himself into Vishnu forms, then Brahma appears from Vishnu (see Srimad-Bhagavatam, 3.8). Brahma, as a faithful servant of Krishna, then prays to Krishna for inspiration and creative energy before beginning his task.

Isn't this polytheism? What’s the difference between Krishna and demigods? What does "demi" mean anyway?

Though we offer respect to many personalities within the cosmos, we are by no means polytheistic. Polytheism is the belief in more than one god. While there may be many controllers of various aspects of creation, neither the Vedas nor we accept there to be more than one ultimate source of all energies, more than one Absolute Truth. The Srimad-Bhagavatam names the one Absolute Truth, or Supreme Personality of Godhead, as Krishna.

Demi means "not fully" (literally, "half"). Because demigods control certain aspects of the material world, they're called "gods," with a lower case "g." In Sanskrit, demigods are called devas, godly beings. As Srila Prabhupada says in his purport to Srimad-Bhagavatam, 3.10.17, "The demigods in the higher planets are called devas because they are all devotees of Lord Vishnu."

In a nutshell; there's one God, He has many servants, and some are more highly posted than others.

If I'm not this body then who or what am I?

We're all spirit souls, parts of the Supreme Spirit Whole (Krishna), and meant to cooperate with Him. Each of us is a unique person with unique likes and dislikes, talents, abilities, quirks, and a unique relationship with Krishna. We're eternally individuals. We're not all the same. Our spiritual identity isn't "one size fits all," but realizing who we really are takes time and practice; we need to practice acting like spiritual beings.

Right now, we're inside—and very attached to—perishable material bodies. We're so attached that we think we are these bodies. Our desires and actions center on what we think will make "us" (our material body) happy. We think "looking out for number one" is the number one most important activity. That's false ego.

Real ego means to love the ultimate reality: the supreme whole, the greatest person, the Supreme Being. We're naturally happiest when we can make someone we love happy. If we act selfishly, it doesn't feel right. We can pretend we're the center of the universe for a while, but eventually reality comes knocking.

In our conditioned state (subjected to conditions like birth and death) the natural activities of our real self—loving service to a Person infinitely greater than we are—seem unpleasant to us, in the same way that sweets taste bitter to a jaundice patient. But sugar cures jaundice, and practicing Krishna consciousness cures our aversion to Krishna. Gradually, as we practice Krishna consciousness, Krishna reveals His identity and our own identity to us.

Does time transpire at same rate for Brahma as it does for us? How can he live for trillions of years?

There are insects that only live for one night, and never see sunlight. Other organisms have even shorter lifespans. If they could contemplate how long we human beings live, they would likely find it unbelievable. So it makes sense that we should find Brahma's lifespan incredible. But considering how quickly any amount of material time passes—relative to eternity—we expect that even Brahma would consider his life too short.

Does time transpire at same rate for Brahma as it does for us? How can he live for trillions of years?

Question: 
Does time transpire at same rate for Brahma as it does for us? How can he live for trillions of years?

There are insects that only live for one night, and never see sunlight. Other organisms have even shorter lifespans. If they could contemplate how long we human beings live, they would likely find it unbelievable. So it makes sense that we should find Brahma's lifespan incredible. But considering how quickly any amount of material time passes—relative to eternity—we expect that even Brahma would consider his life too short.

If false ego is "false," why is it so hard to snap out of it?

It's hard because we're so used to being this way. We're addicted to material consciousness. it's not so easy to kick that mental habit. But it is possible, as Krishna tells Arjuna, by practice and detachment.(Bhagavad-gita, 6.35).

How do you know the spiritual world is real?

One question you might ask yourself is, how do you know anything beyond your experience is real? For example, some place you've never been? First you might hear about it, and consider whether the source of the information is trustworthy. Did you read about the place in a fantasy novel or in National Geographic? You might ask around to get multiple sources of information. If a picture emerges that sounds reasonable, you might develop a desire to see the place for yourself.

We say spiritual reality can be perceived right now by practice. The spiritual world is a place, and it is also a state of mind. You can be in a heavenly place and feel lousy, or be in a lousy place and feel great. The spiritual world is all around us, and is only hidden from our vision by a curtain made of our selfish desires to enjoy it separately from the supreme enjoyer, Krishna. That curtain is removed by practicing Krishna consciousness.