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Thread: For Proper Understanding of Srila Prabhupada's Books

  1. #11
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    Re: For Proper Understanding of Srila Prabhupada's Books

    Namaste

    I am also bothered by the term Demigod, which cannot come from the mouth of a spiritually high developed person. ISKCON/Gaudiya have their unique style of speaking and writing, Demigod is their favorite term to degrade other ‘Gods’ and to exalt Vishnu/Krishna. The worshipers of other ‘Gods’ are also degraded. I have not yet read any scripture of the Shiva tradition where Vishnu is called a Demigod.

    The ancient scriptures have been translated by so many people, a translation is always something individual. The translator brings in his ideology and his personal views. Furthermore, most of the English translations are written by Christians. The English speaking Indian also learned English from a Christian. One convinces Christians of his ideology, if one only worships one God, then one conforms to the Bible. In Germany it goes so far that Krishna is equated with Christ. Ch is pronounced K. One must not forget that ISKCON/Gaudiya are the only Hindu communities I know who do missionary work. In general, many Christian terms can be found in the translations, such as God, hell, sin, sinner. These terms are thoughtlessly adopted and thus the original is falsified. No Christian language can grasp and express the depth of Vedic thought, esp. for what Christians name God.

    Following a few examples of how demigod is used indiscriminately and for what purpose, to belittle. Demigod is not to be found in the original text. Is there a term for ‚Demigod‘ at all in Sanskrit or any Indian language?

    Bhagavatam chapter I

    TEXT 23
    SYNONYMS
    sattvam—goodness; rajaḥ—passion; tamaḥ—the darkness of ignorance; iti—thus; prakṛteḥ—of the material nature; guṇāḥ—qualities; taiḥ—by them; yuktaḥ—associated with; paraḥ—transcendental; puruṣaḥ—the personality; ekaḥ—one; iha asya—of this material world; dhatte—accepts; sthiti-ādaye—for the matter of creation, maintenance and destruction, etc.; hariViṣṇu, the Personality of Godhead; viriñciBrahmā; hara—Lord Śiva; iti—thus; saṁjñāḥ—different features; śreyāṁsi—ultimate benefit; tatra—therein; khalu—of course; sattva—goodness; tanoḥ—form; nṛṇām—of the human being; syuḥ—derived.
    TRANSLATION
    The transcendental Personality of Godhead is indirectly associated with the three modes of material nature, namely passion, goodness and ignorance, and just for the material world's creation, maintenance and destruction He accepts the three qualitative forms of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Śiva. Of these three, all human beings can derive ultimate benefit from Viṣṇu, the form of the quality of goodness.
    PURPORT
    Lord Viṣṇu is worshiped by devotional service only, and if anyone has to continue prison life in the material world, he may ask for relative facilities for temporary relief from the different demigods like Śiva, Brahmā, Indra and Varuṇa. No demigod, however, can release the imprisoned living being from the conditioned life of material existence. This can be done only by Viṣṇu. Therefore, the ultimate benefit may be derived from Viṣṇu, the Personality of Godhead.

    TEXT 26
    SYNONYMS
    mumukṣavaḥ—persons desiring liberation; ghora—horrible, ghastly; rūpān—forms like that; hitvā—rejecting; bhūta-patīn—demigods; atha—for this reason; nārāyaṇa—the Personality of Godhead; kalāḥ—plenary portions; śāntāḥ—all-blissful; bhajanti—do worship; hi—certainly; anasūyavaḥ—nonenvious.
    TRANSLATION
    Those who are serious about liberation are certainly nonenvious, and they respect all. Yet they reject the horrible and ghastly forms of the demigods and worship only the all-blissful forms of Lord Viṣṇu and His plenary portions.
    PURPORT
    All demigods who are empowered by the Supreme Lord are also separated parts and parcels.
    These demigods are worshiped mostly by those who are in the lowest categories of the mode of darkness or ignorance. Other demigods, like Brahmā, Śiva, Sūrya, Gaṇeśa and many similar deities, are worshiped by men in the mode of passion, urged on by the desire for material enjoyment.

    Bhagavat Gita chapter X

    TEXT 2
    SYNONYMS
    na—never; me—My; viduh—knows; sura-ganah—demigods; prabhavam—opulences; na—never; maharsayah—great sages; aham—I am; adih—the origin; hi—certainly; devanam—of the demigods; maharsinam—of the great sages; ca—also; sarvasah—in all respects.
    TRANSLATION
    Neither the hosts of demigods nor the great sages know My origin, for, in every respect, I am the source of the demigods and the sages.

    TEXT 22
    SYNONYMS
    vedanam—of all the Vedas; sama-vedah—the Sama-veda; asmi—I am; devanam—of all the demigods; asmi—I am; vasavah—heavenly king; indriyanam—of all the senses; manah—the mind; ca—also; asmi—I am; bhutanam—of all living entities; asmi—I am; cetana—the living force.
    TRANSLATION
    Of the Vedas I am the Sama-veda; of the demigods I am Indra; of the senses I am the mind, and in living beings I am the living force [knowledge].

    Sources
    https://prabhupadabooks.com/sb/1/2?d=1
    https://asitis.com/10/1.html

    Pranam
    Dance with Shiva - live with Shiva - merge with Shiva

  2. #12
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    Re: For Proper Understanding of Srila Prabhupada's Books

    IndiaLover,

    I have a few thoughts.

    According to ISKCON tradition, Gopeshwara or Shiva is understood to be the keeper/grantor of Vrindavan and the one who sanctions the jeevas their eligibility to enter the dham (in skies after death, ie. mukthi) and thus for his this role, he is both important but also subservient to Krishna, and thus understood to be a demigod. In Vrindavan, ISKCON devotees celebrate Mahashivaratri with pomp. But I agree the term is inappropriate for a god so highly placed as Shiva.

    But that said, although I am not aware of scriptural (Shaivite) basis for viewing Vishnu as a demigod, nonetheless staunch Shaivites in their everyday speech and habits, view Vishnu indeed as one (demigod) or at least much lesser in stature to Shiva. I am kinda certain there may be scriptural basis for their views too.

    I am basically an ISKCON follower and I know, like Smarthas, Shiva has a place in ISKCON, and he is also rather affectionately placed there as their Gopeshwara.

    I appreciate your insight and especially, taking the pain to refer to notes from Bhagavatam.

    Warm regards,

    Viraja
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

  3. #13
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    Re: For Proper Understanding of Srila Prabhupada's Books

    Namaste

    My post was not a criticism of ISKCON/Gaudiya, Viraja, but an illustration that the word Demigod does not appear in the original. Vyasa did not use this term when composing the Bhagavatam.

    Bhuta-patin, sura-ganah, devanam, sthiti-adaye - four differend terms are translated with Demigod. Sthiti-adaye means creation, maintenance, destruction. No God is mentioned in the original. The translation turns it into Demigods like Shiva, Brahma. This is what I call falsification to convey an ideology.

    It is the unique greatness of Hinduism, that every Hindu is allowed to place every deity as is right for him. One is free to see Shiva as the keeper/grantor of Vrindavan, but for a Shiva devotee Shiva has nothing to do with Vrindavan.

    The Vaishnavas classify Shiva naturally in a subordinate position. The Shaivas do the same with Vishnu. The Alwars also advise against Shiva, warn against the Jainas and Buddhists. But it doesn't come across as degrading them as ISKCON/Gaudiya do.

    We must also not forget that when we speak of the Trimurti, it was of origin Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra. The Dravidians brought Shiva and He was incorporated into the pantheon as a replacement for Rudra.

    I prefer the uplifting literature of the Nayanars and Alwars. In my eyes ISKCON/Gaudiya literature is no replacement for the Alwars’ sweetness.

    Pranam
    Last edited by Indialover; 25 June 2021 at 03:43 AM.
    Dance with Shiva - live with Shiva - merge with Shiva

  4. #14
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    Re: For Proper Understanding of Srila Prabhupada's Books

    IndiaLover,

    Kindly see my refutation to your reply above.

    I did some research and came upon the following reply.

    I am a newbie ISKCON follower and my knowledge is just starting to flourish. I am a baktha, not a scholar nevertheless the references made to mark Shiva as 'demigod' piqued my interests and I have come upon the following reply.

    Quote Originally Posted by Indialover View Post
    Namaste

    My post was not a criticism of ISKCON/Gaudiya, Viraja, but an illustration that the word Demigod does not appear in the original. Vyasa did not use this term when composing the Bhagavatam.
    I did some extensive research. The ISKCON literature and scripture is not just confined to Bhagavatham but also includes Brahma-Samhitha and Padma-purana. (Besides, there are yet some other scriptures used in ISKCON like Bakthi Rasamrita Sindhu and so forth.)

    In these other scriptures, Shiva, although seen as the greatest of the Vaishnavas, is yet defined a 'demigod', not because there is any derogatory connotation to it, but only because as destroyer of the world, Shiva is seen as connected with the material world, but whereas Krishna is totally transcendental with no connection with the material world.

    Bhuta-patin, sura-ganah, devanam, sthiti-adaye - four differend terms are translated with Demigod. Sthiti-adaye means creation, maintenance, destruction. No God is mentioned in the original. The translation turns it into Demigods like Shiva, Brahma. This is what I call falsification to convey an ideology.
    I assert the notion of Shiva as demigod comes from these other scriptures mentioned above.


    It is the unique greatness of Hinduism, that every Hindu is allowed to place every deity as is right for him. One is free to see Shiva as the keeper/grantor of Vrindavan, but for a Shiva devotee Shiva has nothing to do with Vrindavan.
    Shiva is given the right place in ISKCON which is especially high-placed as Gopeshwara. Whereas, Shaivite literature completely denies the presence of Vishnu/Krishna. And Shiva being worshiped as Gopishwara and landmarks such as Rudra Kund in Vrindavan are backed up with mythology that offer the ISKCON follower a place in his/her heart for Lord Shiva, especially to be held in high esteem.

    Other than that, I am not able to get your idea or complete picture when you say, Shiva's place as Gopishwara offers nothing to a Shaivite. ISKCON literature is for ISKCON followers only. I am not denying or negating that.


    The Vaishnavas classify Shiva naturally in a subordinate position. The Shaivas do the same with Vishnu. The Alwars also advise against Shiva, warn against the Jainas and Buddhists. But it doesn't come across as degrading them as ISKCON/Gaudiya do.
    I recall one of the Tamil slokams on Shiva (Kolarupathigam written by Gnanasambandar, one of the 4 foremost Shaivite saints) and in that he says, "Lord Shiva, you are the one who put Vishnu in his rightful place in his Narasimha avathara and killed his pride". I found this derogatory for my beloved Vishnu and stopped reciting the sloka.

    If you look carefully and study deeply, I am sure there are numerous verses that place Vishnu in a much inferior position to Shiva. If you interrogate along the net, there will be numerous debates on "Who is superior?" with both Shaivite and Vaishnavite scriptures offering each other quotes and verses that 'belittle' the other party.

    We must also not forget that when we speak of the Trimurti, it was of origin Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra. The Dravidians brought Shiva and He was incorporated into the pantheon as a replacement for Rudra.
    I don't know about this. I seek the guidance from other knowledgeable members to speak on Rudra/Shiva.


    I prefer the uplifting literature of the Nayanars and Alwars. In my eyes ISKCON/Gaudiya literature is no replacement for the Alwars’ sweetness.
    If you look along Shaivite literature, there will be predominantly no reference on Vishnu. Whereas, Shiva is greatly held in high esteem in ISKCON owing to his devotion, he is seen as foremost devotee of Vishnu/Krishna. He is the grantor of Vrindavana dhama to a gopa attaining mukthi.

    *Kindly note my refutation in the limited capacity I have, is not meant to show your reply in a negative light, but just made to the points, because to my best knowledge, ISKCON's intention is not to falsify facts against Lord Shiva.

    Thanks and best regards,

    Viraja
    Last edited by Viraja; 25 June 2021 at 10:10 AM.
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

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    Re: For Proper Understanding of Srila Prabhupada's Books

    Namaste

    These are your words Viraja:
    Acharyas, even if they had profound exposure to god/godliness and had direct revelations, they are still bound to personal bias on certain fronts, pertaining to their up-bringing and belief system. For example, Srimad Ramanuja, the great South Indian Srivaishnava saint declared Shiva to be a 'demigod', but what I know of Shiva from reliable sources, proves to me he is a supreme god. Not at all a demi or semi god.

    For the Shiva devotee He is the supreme God.

    Change ‚acharyas‘ to ‚translators‘.

    Real acharyas are beyond judgement. I do not believe that one of India‘s greatest Saints/Philosophers, Ramanuja, called Shiva a Demigod. I am sure it was the translator, just as it was the translator of the Bhagavatam who did not translate what was written by Vyasa but was bound to personal bias on certain fronts, pertaining to his up-bringing and belief system.

    To clarify one has to read the original work of Ramanuja.

    And I suspect that the term Demigod is of Christian origin, as God is of Christian origin.

    Pranam
    Dance with Shiva - live with Shiva - merge with Shiva

  6. #16
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    Re: For Proper Understanding of Srila Prabhupada's Books

    THis is the classical problem or challenge of understanding and practicing the "Sanatana Dharma".

    Is God One? or Many?
    ==> God is only one - Many schools stands with this and who is that One? Vishnu as per Vaishnavas and Shiva as per Shaivaties. But, there is a school which is most popular says THERE IS ONLY ONE and nothing else so there exists no hierarchy. Now, your taste and inclination towards one of these three creates quarrel with the others who has inclination and taste in other two versions.

    So, more than Acharyas conviction or Vedic injunctions, its our "personal" wish or bias or ignorance or awarenesss that gives us an answer - right or wrong doesn't matter. We all are different and at different stages of understanding this great reality.

    What must be True is

    If God is one
    ==> He can have many names and forms => Which leads to all 33Cr devata ( its a term used in many places) and also He can be the source and activator of all of these. So, a Name Krishna, Vishnu or Shiva in that parlance still refers to the ONLY ONE. Regardsless of your philosophical affiliation this explatnion must justify your version of faith.

    The problem is, when we start to argue that, The Name i know - refers to more than One Entity - giving up the conviction of ONE or ONLY one. This circular confusion is leading us to nowhere and we just dry debate endlessly.

    Hare Krshna


    Quote Originally Posted by Indialover View Post
    Namaste

    These are your words Viraja:
    Acharyas, even if they had profound exposure to god/godliness and had direct revelations, they are still bound to personal bias on certain fronts, pertaining to their up-bringing and belief system. For example, Srimad Ramanuja, the great South Indian Srivaishnava saint declared Shiva to be a 'demigod', but what I know of Shiva from reliable sources, proves to me he is a supreme god. Not at all a demi or semi god.

    For the Shiva devotee He is the supreme God.

    Change ‚acharyas‘ to ‚translators‘.

    Real acharyas are beyond judgement. I do not believe that one of India‘s greatest Saints/Philosophers, Ramanuja, called Shiva a Demigod. I am sure it was the translator, just as it was the translator of the Bhagavatam who did not translate what was written by Vyasa but was bound to personal bias on certain fronts, pertaining to his up-bringing and belief system.

    To clarify one has to read the original work of Ramanuja.

    And I suspect that the term Demigod is of Christian origin, as God is of Christian origin.

    Pranam

  7. #17
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    Re: For Proper Understanding of Srila Prabhupada's Books

    Namaste

    There is an ideology free translation of the Bhagavatam on archive.org. The translator uses Demigod for Guhyakas, Yakshas, Apsaras, Gandharvas, Vidyadharas … but not for Shiva, Brahma, Indra …
    https://archive.org/details/BhagavataPuranaMotilalEnglish/mode/2up

    A Demigod free abridged version is also available
    http://sushmajee.com/bhagvatjee/kathaa/skandh1/1index.htm

    Pranam
    Dance with Shiva - live with Shiva - merge with Shiva

  8. Re: For Proper Understanding of Srila Prabhupada's Books

    Namaste!

    I am a new member in this forum and this is my first post.
    Happy to see very broad minded audience and i landed into the right discussion which concerns me most as well.

    I have been facing the same issue over a long time of reading the demigod term with Lord Shiva. Over the time these are the different answers i have got from external sources and internally from paramatma ( i guess so..cannot be sure)..

    1. Sada Shiva is eternal and always the same person , who is almost equal to Krishna. Whereas Rudras (one of the 11 rudras also have the name Shiva) are posts occupied by different souls with the power of Sada shiva invested in them.

    2. Each sect tries to ensure that Their deity is highest to ensure that followed get enough motivation to get inspired and surrender. As we have the tendency to surrender to the highest.

    3. Thirdly if Worship or Lord Shiva was allowed freely, those who are not fully spiritual may do so and start seeking material boons which are not good for them.( They might be awarded because Lord Shiva is Ashutosh)

    4. Also In some places i also feel Srila Prabhupad's translation might have been edited. Because i could not reconcile the different purports in Bhagavat Gita and Bhagawatam with that presented in Brahma Samhita. As in Brahma Samhita Lord Shiva's exhalated position is described whereas in other texts it is not so. It is hard to believe it is the same author, so there as been some editors after what Srila Prabhupad wrote. That is the only conclusion i could come to without being offensive to Prabhupad and Lord Shiva.

    5. In a country like India president appoints the PM , but PM has more power. So there is no way to say who is powerful PM or president.. though they are are not one. This is the most satisfying logic for me so far. (Both of them want me to a good law abiding pure citizen).

    These are some ways i keep my mind satisfied when it gets disturbed.

    but all this being said, i can keep this middle path as long as i practice on my own, but it is very rare to find a Vaishnava Guru who will accept any of the above which are contrary to the commonly accepted views. And it is said any mantras chanted without connection to Sampradaya does not bear fruit.. . So it seems to be a difficult situation to find a solution.. any thoughts are welcome.
    Given that i was brought up in Saivaite family and have been practicing Vaishanvism over a decade, i seem to be at cross roads for the future


    I did briefly read the earlier posts..
    two points on the earlier comments.." All are different names of same one God" Theory was presented.. Unfortunately many puranas condemn such a thinking and equate to an aethistic view. .

    Regarding user Viraja's comment on Kolaru thirupathigam reg Naraimha dev, i dont find it in Kolara thirupathigam, kindly share the reference. Also it could be a translation effect. Even otherwise a lion and lion cub may fight just for fun!

    Regards

  9. Re: For Proper Understanding of Srila Prabhupada's Books

    Namaste,

    I am a new member and posted my first post.. but could not find it in the thread wondering why!

    regards

  10. #20
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    Re: For Proper Understanding of Srila Prabhupada's Books

    Namaste,

    There cannot be any translation with out idealogy or philosophy in the spritual texts like Bhagavatam. This particular version do have "certain" philosophy and it cannot be assumed as devoid of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Indialover View Post
    Namaste

    There is an ideology free translation of the Bhagavatam on archive.org. The translator uses Demigod for Guhyakas, Yakshas, Apsaras, Gandharvas, Vidyadharas … but not for Shiva, Brahma, Indra …
    https://archive.org/details/BhagavataPuranaMotilalEnglish/mode/2up

    A Demigod free abridged version is also available
    http://sushmajee.com/bhagvatjee/kathaa/skandh1/1index.htm

    Pranam
    The question comes to my mind to ask you back is,

    If God is one,

    The of variety of Gods with 33Cr forms and names - Are all should be called God with just name form difference? or should we make it plural like Gods?
    If they are God, but with different name and Form - what limitations are introduced with name and form for certain subject say Lord Karthikeya, Lord Ganesha etc. Or is it possible that, they are God for specific purposes and functions. If this is true, then are they really the same Subject - God - or are they just empowered by the God with His Godly charecters and powers?


    My answers align with certain philosophy - the above questions must challenge you to stick to one version of philosophy and whatever it is, its is good and safe for you.

    Hare Krshna.

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