Lord Siva and Lord Vishnu are One: Views of Four Archaryas


Swami Sivananda: “Siva and Vishnu are one and the same entity. They are the names given to the different aspects of the all-pervading supreme soul or the Absolute. ‘Vishnu is the heat of Siva and likewise Siva is the heart of Vishnu.’ The one and the same Lord manifests Himself as Brahma, Vishnu and Siva when He is associated with the universal process of creation, preservation and destruction. It is only gross ignorance to argue and fight over the relative merits of Vishnu and Siva.

“May you all realise the oneness of Siva and Vishnu! May you all be endowed with pure subtle intellect and proper understanding!”

(pg. 163, Sermonettes of Swami Sivananda)

Siva and Vishnu are One

Swami Sivananda: “A Saivite is a devotee of Lord Siva. A Vaishnavite is a devotee Of Lord Vishnu. Upasana means worship or sitting near God. Upasaka is one who does Upasana. Upasana or Aradhana leads to realisation of God. A bigoted Virasaivite entertains hatred towards Lord Vishnu, Vaishnavites and Puranas which treat of Vishnu. He never enters a Vishnu temple. He never drinks water from a Vaishnavite. He never takes food with a Vaishnavite. He never repeats the name of Hari. He speaks ill of Lord Hari, Vaishnavites and Vishnu Purana. He thinks that Lord Siva is superior to Lord Vishnu. He never reads Vishnu Purana. Is this not the height of folly? Is this not extreme ignorance? He has not understood the true nature of Lord Siva. He has no idea of true religion. He is a fanatic, a bigot, a man of little understanding, a narrow sectarian, with a very small constricted heart. He is like a frog in the well which has no idea of the vast ocean.

“A bigoted Vira Vaishnavite entertains hatred towards Lord Siva, Saivites and Siva Puranas which treat of Lord Siva. He never enters a Siva temple. He never makes friendship with a Saivite. He never drinks water from the hands of a Saivite. He also behaves exactly like the Virasaivite. The lot of this man is also highly deplorable.

“There is a temple in Sankaranarayanar Koil in the Tirunelveli district (Tamilnadu), where the idol has one half of it depicted as Siva and the other half as Vishnu. The inner significance of this is that Lord Siva and Lord Vishnu are one. Sri Sankaracharya also has said in very clear terms that Siva and Vishnu are the one all-pervading Soul.

“On one occasion, a Virasaivite entered the temple in Sankaranarayanar Koil to worship the Lord. He offered incense. He plugged the nostrils of Vishnu with the cotton as the fumes were entering His nose also. After that a Vira Vaishnavite entered the temple and he also offered incense. He plugged the nostrils of Siva as the fumes were entering His nose also. Such is the bigotry and narrow-mindedness of sectarians. A devotee should have a large, broad heart. He must see his tutelary deity in all aspects of the Lord and in all forms. He can have intense love for his Ishtam in the beginning, to intensify his devotion for that particular deity (Prema-nishtha), but he should have equal devotion to the other forms of the Lord also.

“Siva and Vishnu are one and the same entity. They are essentially one and the same. They are the names given to the different aspects of the all-pervading Supreme Soul or the Absolute. ‘Sivasya hridayam vishnur-vishnoscha hridayam sivah—Vishnu is the heart of Siva and likewise Siva is the heart of Vishnu’.

“The sectarian worship is of recent origin. The Saiva Siddhanta of Kantacharya is only five hundred years old. The Vaishnava cults of Madhva and Sri Ramanuja are only six hundred and seven hundred years old respectively. There was no sectarian worship before seven hundred years.

“Brahma represents the creative aspect; Vishnu, the preservative aspect; and Siva, the destructive aspect of Paramatman. This is just like your wearing different garbs on different occasions. When you do the function of a judge, you put on one kind of dress. At home you wear another kind of dress. When you do worship in the temple, you wear another kind of dress. You exhibit different kinds of temperament on different occasions. Even so, the Lord does the function of creation when He is associated with Rajas, and He is called Brahma. He preserves the world when He is associated with Sattva Guna, and He is called Vishnu. He destroys the world when He is associated with Tamo-Guna, and He is called Siva or Rudra.

“Brahma, Vishnu and Siva have been correlated to the three Avasthas or states of consciousness. During the waking state, Sattva predominates. During the dream state Rajas predominates and during the deep sleep state Tamas predominates. Hence Vishnu, Brahma and Siva are the Murtis of Jagrat, Svapna and Sushupti states of consciousness respectively. The Turiya or the fourth state is Para Brahman. The Turiya state is immediately next to the deep sleep state. Worship of Siva will lead quickly to the attainment of the fourth state.
Vishnu Purana glorifies Vishnu and in some places gives a lower position to Siva. Siva Purana glorifies Siva and gives a lower status to Vishnu. Devi Bhagavata glorifies Devi and gives a lower status to Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. This is only to instil and intensify devotion for the respective deity in the hearts of the devotees. In reality, no deity is superior to another. You must understand the heart of the writer.

“May you all realise the oneness of Siva and Vishnu! May you all be endowed with pure subtle intellect and proper understanding!”

(pgs. 253-256, Lord Siva and his Worship)

Swami Bodhinatha Velanswami: (Transcript): “Good morning everyone. Happy New Year. Happy New Ritau. We’re preparing some talks for our Memorial Day weekend at the end of May visit to Hindu Temple of Atlanta. We went there last year as you may recall and they’re unique in the Hindu temples in North America in that they’ve built two large size temples fairly close to one another.

The original one is for Venkateswara and the new one is for Siva under the name Ramalingeswara. So they have a two temples, Balaji and a Siva temple right next to each other and separate. Which is a nice statement in itself so anyway I’ll read part of the talk. This part is, it’s in the middle, didn’t want to read the whole thing because it’s, you’ve heard part of it before, even part of this you’ve heard before but it’s part of a larger talk on Hindu solidarity.

So it draws on our Hindu solidarity editorial, the idea of which is that by unity and diversity the Hindus standing together want to maintain their diverse traditions despite the fact that there are those who say we shouldn’t.

You know we should all adopt the Baghavad Gita as our main scripture and we should all worship the same Deities and so forth. That’s the only way Hinduism will be powerful and understood. A unity in oneness. So Gurudeva of course said no, that would take all the power out of Hinduism. Hinduism’s power lies in it’s diverse traditions so we need to have a Hinduism with diversity. So it’s part of that talk.

Speaking again of our visit to this temple last May, we were greatly impressed by the fact that on many evenings the Vaishnava priests would help in the Siva ceremonies and vice versa. The smooth, harmonious working together of the Vaishnava and Saiva priests and the Siva and Venkateswara devotees was uplifting and encouraging, showing how well these two traditions are able to cooperate and blend their energies, without giving up their distinct beliefs and customs.

There are many scriptures in Hinduism and unfortunately one category of secondary scripture, the Puranas, can be used as the basis for clashes and disagreements between worshippers of Vishnu and worshippers of Siva. This is because the Puranas give us some stories where Vishnu is superior to Siva and other stories where Siva is superior to Vishnu.

There is a verse in the Saivite Scripture ‘Tirumantiram’ that addresses this problem:

“Though the three, Brahma Vishnu and Siva form an integral whole the world considers them separate and quarrels.”

On a visit a few months ago to London, this is written to be read at the end of May so it was actually just last week. [laughs] On a visit a few months ago to London we were invited to speak at the Neasden temple of the BAPS Swaminarayan fellowship. They of course are staunch Vaishnavas and thus it is unusual for them to invite a Saivite swami to speak at their weekly satsang. However, they know us well and trust that we will convey an appropriate message.

One of the major points included in my talk was that we share a mutual respect and tolerance for each other’s traditions and mentioned that unfortunately such respect and tolerance does not always exist between Vaishnavites and Saivites, between worshippers of Vishnu and worshippers of Siva.

I then went on to elaborate by saying that In their scripture the Shikshapatri, their founder Bhagwan Swaminarayan states:

“The Vedas proclaim Narayan and Shiv as one and as Brahmaswarup, God’s true nature, and, therefore, they should be known accordingly.”

Bhagwan Swaminarayan also enjoins his devotees:

“In the month of Shravan, they shall worship or engage the services of pious Brahmin devotees to worship Shiv with Bilva-patras and the like.”

And finally he indicates his devotees shall fast on Shivratri and celebrate this festival with great reverence.andquot; And of course, on the physical and visible side there is also a side shrine to Shiva in their Mandir.

I then mentioned that in our founder’s writings, Gurudeva makes this statement on religious tolerance that:

“Saivites profoundly know that God Siva is the same supreme being in whom peoples of all faiths find solace, peace and liberation. 

Gurudeva also says:

“Siva’s devotees, with hearts as big as the sky, love and accept Smarta, Sakta and Vaishnava Hindus as brothers and sisters, even if not accepted by them, and keep harmony by not discussing differences.”

Also in our temple we have a side shrine with the image of Shankaranarayana, He’s up, up here I can’t see him, half Siva, half Vishnu, which of course symbolizes the unity of Siva and Vishnu.

A prominent Smarta Hindu leader, Swami Sivananda, founder of the Divine Life Society, also speaks of the oneness of Siva and Vishnu in his book ‘Lord Siva and His Worship.‘ He begins by explaining that there is a temple in the Tirunelveli district of Tamilnadu called the Sankaranarayanar Koil where the idol has one half of it depicted as Siva and the other half as Vishnu.

To quote Swamiji: “The inner significance of this is that Lord Siva and Lord Vishnu are one.  Shri Sankara also has said in very clear terms that Siva and Vishnu are the one all pervading Soul. On one occasion, a Virasaivite entered the temple in Sankaranarayanar Koil to worship the Lord.This is a classic story. He offered incense. He plugged the nostrils of Vishnu with the cotton as the fumes were entering His nose also. After that a Vira Vaishnavite entered the temple and he also offered incense. He plugged the nostrils of Siva as the fumes were entering His nose also. Such is the bigotry and narrow-mindedness of sectarians. A devotee should have a large, broad heart. He must see his chosen deity in all aspects of the Lord and in all forms.”

Swami Sivananda then states: “Siva and Vishnu are one and the same. They are essentially one and the same.”

In another portion of the book Swami Sivanada has an interesting explanation of why the various puranas extol one deity over another. To quote him: “Vishnu Purana glorifies Vishnu and in some places gives a lower position to Siva. Siva Purana glorifies Siva and gives a lower status to Vishnu. This is only to instill and intensify devotion for the respective deity in the hearts of the devotees. In reality, no deity is superior to another. You must understand the heart of the writer.”

Swami Sivananda concludes by saying: “May you all realize the oneness of Siva and Vishnu. May you all be endowed with pure subtle intellect and proper understanding.”

By these statements of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami and Swami Sivananda we can see clearly that enlightened Hindu leaders of Vaishnavite, Saivite and Smarta traditions all stress the essential unity of Siva and Vishnu.

The October 2003 issue of our magazine Hinduism Today has an important eight page article on the four denominations of Hinduism from which I would like to quote: “Hinduism is a family of religions with four principle denominations — Saivism, Shaktism, Vaishnavism and Smartism. This single perception is essential for understanding Hinduism and explaining it accurately to others. Contrary to prevailing misconceptions, Hindus all worship a one Supreme Being though by different names. For Vaishnavites, Lord Vishnu is God; for Saivites, God is Siva; for Shaktas, Goddess Shakti is supreme; and for Smartas, the choice of deity is left to the devotee.

The article goes on to compare the four denominations in terms of their history, beliefs, practices and scriptures and is quite informative. We also reprinted the article as a separate pamphlet for use in classrooms as a teaching tool in presenting the topic of Hinduism’s four main denominations.

The Hindu Temple of Atlanta is making an important contribution to the clarity of Hinduism in the US by having separate temples for Balaji and Siva. In the traditional Hindu temple, the main sanctum is for the Supreme Being. Balaji is the supreme being to Vaishnavites and Siva is the Supreme Being to Saivites.

This may seem self-evident but this central point is sometimes missed when both deities are placed in the same temple. With two Supreme Beings in the same temple, philosophical clarity is easily lost resulting in the youth finding Hinduism to be confusing.

For example, we know of Siva-Vishnu temples which on their web site describe Siva as the destroyer and Vishnu as the preserver. Of course, this is not how knowledgeable Saivites and Vaishnavites look at it. To Saivites, Siva is the Supreme Being and therefore performs all three actions of creation, preservation and destruction. To Vaishnavites, Vishnu is the Supreme Being and therefore performs all three actions of creation, preservation and destruction.

That we worship the Supreme Being is clearly the view of Hinduism’s primary scriptures, shruti, the Vedas and Agamas. So that’s that point, Siva and Vishnu are one. Three points of view huh, convincing, Vaishnavite, Saivite and Smarta.

Swaminarayan: “Shlok 47: No distinction shall be made between Narayan and Shiva, as they are both proclaimed as Brahmanswarupa by the Vedas. [Ubhyorbrahmanrupera Vedeshu Pratipadanat]   

Those who think of God differently to this, where Narayan or Shiva are defamed in some way are insulting God.  Shatanand says that such people should have their eyes removed.  Such a person is blind to the truth and can never be enlightened to that truth.

Many Shastras speak of the oneness of Narayan and Shiva.  Our ancient Shastras in some instances speak of Narayan as supreme and in other instances speak of Shiva as supreme.  Both views should be accepted as correct, hence they should be accepted as the one and the same.  The following Veda scriptures are Shaiva in context as they speak of Shiva as Brahman:

Atharvashikha, Atharvashisha, Shetasvataria, Mantropanishad, Kaivalyopanishad.

The following speak of Vishnu as the supreme Brahman:

Mahanarayanopanishad, Narayaropanishad, Mahopanishad, Shubhalopanishad.

Thus the four Vedas sing only the oneness of Shiva and Narayan.

Shrimad Bhagwat’s Fourth Chapter explains, “Those who find indifference in Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and recognise the oneness in them obtain eternal peace.”

The Eighth Chapter adds, “Shiva Brahma and Vishnu are thy manifested forms, which create, maintain and destroy the universe at thy will.  Thou is Ishwara who delivers Moksha (Salvation).  Thou is Parabrahman (the Supreme Lord).”

Narad Pancharatra succinctly states:

Shivo Harirhariha Shakshatchiva Eva Nirupitaha      |
Shivadveshi Haridrohi Vishnum Nityam Bhajanapi    ||

‘Shiva is Hari and Hari is none other than Shiva.  An enemy of Shiva is an enemy of Hari, even though he may daily worship Vishnu.’

Bhattacharya has said, “I have looked in the Puranas, Upapuranas, Vedas, Smrutis and all other such Shastras, but have not come across anything to suggest a difference in Shiva and Vishnu.” 

God himself has said, “Those who find difference in the two of us fall to the Hells.” 

Shree Dhar Swami prays, “I humbly bow before Vishnu and Shankar who are one, who revere one another and who provide for all.” 

Vallabhacharaya, a famed Vaishnava, in similar fashion says, “Glory to thee, who is honoured as Brahman in the Vedanta – Lord of the three worlds – Mahadev.”

Lord Swaminarayan has gone out of his way to glorify both Vaishnav and Shaiva Sampradais in order to get back to the true Vedic teachings.  We must conform to this dream of Lord Swaminarayan’s by never uttering a word contrary to the Lord’s standpoint.

We must always, with love, observe the Vratas of Lord Shiva and bow respectfully to the icons of Shiva.  It does not in anyway fault our devotion to Lord Vishnu by doing so — indeed it strengthens devotion for Vishnu.

Narayan and Shiva are one and the same.  They are, if you like, two sides of the same coin.  That coin being the Supreme Godhead. 


Source: http://www.swaminarayansatsang.com/library/scriptures/scriptureexplanation.asp?IDProduct=726&idcategory=2

[Admin’s Note: If you were to look up the references that Sripada Swaminarayan have referred to in (Hare Krsnas’) Srila Prabhupada’s rendition of the Srimad Bhagavatam (Canto 4:4 & 8), you would not see anything close to what Swaminarayana had mentioned. It is deeply regrettable that Srila Prabhupada, a Vira (aka Veerya) Vaishnavite, in his proverbial provincialism, had perverted, warped and miscoloured the text and contruction.  The same would be the case when Srila Prabhupada re-told the story of Daksha in Canto 6 of Srimad Bhagavatam. (A unbiased rendition and commentary can be found here: http://srimadbhagavatham.blogspot.com/2006/03/story-27-story-of-daksha-prajaapathi-3.html) ]

Swami Haridhos Giri: “Lord Siva is described in “Ruthram” as “Tai-karaa-naam pathayeh namo namaha”. The meaning of this Vedic pronouncement is “The leader of thieves.”

“Lord Vishnu, on the other hand, is described as “Chork-karaya-kanyaha”. The meaning of this is “The first among the thieves.”

Therefore, there is no difference between Lord Siva and Lord Vishnu: “Tai-karaa-naam pathayeh”, essentially, means “the thief’s husband.” In other words, Lord Siva is the husband of Lord Vishnu, who is, as the aforesaid sloka says, is “the thief”.

That is, if Lord Vishnu is Lord Siva’s wife, then, Lord Vishnu is none other than Sakthi herself: one cannot exist without the other.

Source: Swami Haridhos’ speech  

Swami Haridhos Giri


Swami Haridhos Giri (Guruji) was born in the sacred month of Margali under the auspicious star of Utharattathi. He was born in the sacred land of Arunsala Sheishtram. Bhagavan Rawana Maharishi says that for one who wants to go into sainthood, one has to go through several stages. But one who is born in this sacred Sheistram is a born saint. He needs no other qualifications to enter sainthood. He was named Hari, true to his spreading the Hari ­Namasankirthan cult.His father, Sri Nott Annaji Rao, was an ardent Bhagavatha and a devotee of Swami Gnanananda Giri. His mother was very pious soul. They belonged to a royal heritage but the princely life with wealth and pleasure had no charm for Guruji in his younger days. He too, like so may great saints, lived an ordinary life of a human being in this mundane world but his urge was taking him away from all these pleasures and pain-ridden life. Even while he was youth he was attracted to Namasankirthanam, the inspiration emanating from his father. Every Bhajan held in any part of the town he happened to live in, found him with eager eyes and throbbing enthusiasm. He gradually experienced in his own self a desire overflowing in his heart to take up this as his walk of life. Thus, the seed for a change in him was sown early in his teens.

In 1954, One day when Guruji was sitting on top of a hill enjoying the nature around him, Guruji saw a small fire about 200 yards away, he asked some of his workers at the tea plantation, where Guruji was working at that time to check it out. The workers went down the hill to check and told Guruji that they could not see any fire around that area. For one week Guruji saw that fire. Then one night Guruji heard a knocking at his door, as Guruji opened the door, Guruji again saw the fire there and suddenly it disappeared and His Master appeared before him. The Master told Guruji that his place is not here and that Guruji is for the world.

The next day Guruji told his boss about the fire and the appearance of His Master. His boss said that it is only an illusion and gave him 15 days leave. Guruji went back to Madras see his father Sri Nott Annaji Rao, who took him to see a saint in a temple outside the city. When Guruji saw him again, Guruji burst out crying. He was the Master that appeared from the fire. The Master told Guruji’s father that Guruji is the reincarnation of love and affec­tion and he wanted to adopt him as his son. Guruji was then sent to a cave in the Himalayas to do penance. For three years and half years he mediated without water and food. Then the vision of His Master appeared before him asking Guruji to come back to his Master. In six months, Guruji walked from the Himalayas to Madras.

Guruji entire personality became aware at once that his innate urge could thus be fulfilled at the lotus feet of his Master, the light of Thapovanam, Sri Gnanananda Giri Swamigal. Guruji became the favourite Chela of Swami Gnanananda Giri the moment Guruji touched Thapovanam. Spontaneous was the surrender too. The dawn of a Guru-Shisya­Bhave life thus started.

Swami Gnanananda decided the very moment that Guruji must be to the world people. Swami Gnanananda also decided that the Knowledge and Happiness should be spread around the world and the only disciple who can spread this knowledge is Guruji.

After many trials and tests on this selected Chela, Swami Gnanananda Giri appointed Swami Haridhos Giri (Guruji) and told him to spread and sing in the praise of the Lord ­known as Nama Sankirthanam, as the only pathway to salvation. Swami Gnanananda Giri gave Guruji His Paduka, blessed him with the hidden treasures of our great scriptures and commanded him to undertake a life of renunciation and the mission of spreading the great cult of Namasankirthanam with a musical discourses on saints and sages who had tread this soil in a similar manner.

Guruji together with Namaji formed the Gnanananda Namasankirthana Mandali, Madras in 1959. At the beginning they had only six members, Swami Gnanananda inaugurated the function. Guruji preaches the truth, Guruji preaches happiness, Guruji preaches spiritualism through mediation, penance, yoga, praying and singing. “But to attain the happiness, the wish you desire, you must have a staunch belief in me, and what you are doing. Without belief, nothing will work” said Guruji.

Guruji then toured the world over to spread the Gospel of Swami Gnanananda Giri. Guruji wanted the cult of Namasankirthanam as a world movement, and it needs its own visual means of recognition and also when fraternity meets to bring about a sense of friendship, mutual trust and special greetings to be exchanged.

The Namasankirthanam movement piloted by Swami Haridhos Giri adopted the sign of two fingers “V”. The two fingers represent symbolically “Radhe Krishna” .Guruji also emphasized the need for a permanent establishment to propagate Namasankirthanam. It was the command of His Master, Guruji chose Dakshina Halasyam (Thennagur Village) as the abode for spreading the knowledge of Sanathana Dharma through the medium of N amasankirthanam.

To say a few words of our experiences with Guruji is only to say superficially what we know about him. His mind and thought, day and night is his Lord. A shining example of his devotion to the Lord is perceivable when we sit before our Guruji to hear his Bhajans. It is stupendous; it flows from the heart of the Lord to the mind of the people.

One who has heard about Guruji would expect to see Him in beards and with matted locks; his body smeared with sandal paste and Thulasi Mala around his neck, and clothed in Ochre – coloured robes. But no, as he is fond of saying, he is just an ordinary devotee irrevocably yoked to his Master and dedicated to service of his fellowmen. His endeavor is to see that humanity raises its level for the betterment of mankind. When atheism is rearing its head, Guruji is spreading the belief is God, a lofty spiritual knowledge combines with a child’s heart in his communion with those who seek him and those he seeks out. Often he quotes that his mission is to see that every soul in this earth sings the praise of the “Lord” and the Great Souls with devotion, thus getting out of the egoistic lives.

With undaunted courage and a free heart, he pours forth from various platforms the greatest necessity for today’s men – to cast away their thirst and greed for enjoyment and self-satisfaction in this pain ridden mundane life and to join the select few great men of the past in realizing the goal through the easiest means – the Namasankirthanam. Thousands remain pinned to their seats to hear his mellifluous music accompanied by his brilliant eloquence on spiritual lives of yore. In order to propagate this ideal, under command of his Master, He parts of the world, like in Canada, London, Japan, U.S.A., Zambia, Sri Lanka, Australia, Malaysia and Singapore to serve the masses in variation spiritual and material avenues thus establishing a common ground for them to elevate themselves to higher realms of life.

He attained Jala samadhi at Koteswar, its around 3 km north of Rudraprayag/Himalayas in the year 1994. There is a Hindu temple dedicated to Koteswar Mahadev in Koteswar. Namananda Giri , Principal Disciple of Haridhos Giri built Bhajan Platform in memory of Swami Haridhos Giri and dedicated to him.

With a great inspiration springing fourth by the constant communication with his Master, he has embarked on the great path of spiritual renaissance envisaged by his Guru. May all his devotees and yearning souls pray and get Guruji’s blessing.

Source: http://gurujinamaji.com/about-greatmasters-guruji.htm

Guru Paduka Puja by Swami Haridhos Giri


If you have faith in the Guru’s Holy feet, If you have deep feeling for the Guru’s Holy feet, If you imbibe the state of the Guru, Then you don’t have to look for God, God will come looking for you
– Bhakta Tukaram
 
“The Guru’s Holy feet are worshipped or revered because all the Guru’s Shakti dwells in the Holy feet. If you did research into this, you would find that the vibrations of the inner self constantly flow out through the Holy feet. The nerves that come from the Sahasrara reach right down to the Holy feet. The Holy feet serve as the support for the whole body. This is the reason the Holy feet are given so much importance. More Shakthi flows form the Holy feet than any other part of the body, the glory of the Guru’s Holy feet for the Guru’s sandals is great. Kularnava Tantra says: “Remember the Guru’s sandals, they provide protection against great diseases, great disturbances, great evils, great fears, great calamities, and great sins,”
 
The feet of Guru is no ordinary feet. Gurupaddangre Paadodakam Ganga. All holy waters, including Mother Ganga, live in the Guru’s Holy feet. This is what you should think in your heart when worshipping the Guru. All holy waters, all Devathei, or angels, and all sacred hills abide in the Guru’s Holy feet. One should have firm Sankalpa (intention, deter­mination) to behold all Gods in guru’s Holy feet. The Trimurthis – Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva – live in Guru’s Holy feet. These three Divine Forms symbolize the removal of the three qualities of nature that keeps the soul in bondage. The three qualities are tamas (sense of ego), rajas (passion, desire) and sattva (goodness and purity) when these three qualities are removed, then the soul becomes free or sanyaasi. In this state, one renounces desire and becomes like a stone – not senseless, but chinmaya (full of light). So, after Guru Patha Puja, it is to surrender the three qualities to the Divine Trinity. This is the significance of self surrender to the Holy feet.
 
Guru’s Holy feet.
 
For the sake of His disciples, the formless Guru takes the form in Padukas. Guru lives in Padukas. A devotee should pray “Oh my Guru, wherever my mind goes, may your form be there. Wherever my head bows in salutation, may your Holy feet be there.” The Guru continuously tests the devotees. It is very dangerous for the devotees to look on the Guru as an ordinary man. The devotee must think that the Guru is higher than Shiva, Vishnu or Brahma. If one thinks that the Guru is the physical form and activities, then it becomes very easy for doubts to infiltrate the citadel of devotion, and after a while, to completely overcome it. Nothing the Guru says or does is ordinary; there is always a higher reason.
 
Manduka Upanishad says: “The Guru’s Holy feet are like the foundation on which a building stands. The Guru’s Holy feet are the two elements in the mantra So’Ham which means ‘I am that.’ The statement ‘I am that’ (So’Ham) is packed with richness and significant meaning. The two syllables, Ham and Sa, have a number of esoteric meanings. ‘Ham’ is Shiva, the all pervading supreme reality, the absolute Being. He is the Lord or God, the support and the foundation of all things, sentient and insentient. In the form of pure consciousnesses, He permeates all creatures and dwells in them as their own innermost self. The Scriptures call this experience as Purusha, the eternal witness. ‘Sa’ is Shakti, the energy of Shiva. She is the divine Cosmic power that creates and maintains the countless galaxies and worlds. She is the consort of Shiva, the active aspect of the formless, the attribute-less Absolute. She is the joyous divine energy that unfolds the universe, assuming the billions of shapes and forms that we see around. Shiva is the experiencer and Shakti is the experienced – objective universe. She is referred also as Prakriti or the force of nature. She is the energy that powers our mind and that enables us to walk, talk, eat meals, and perform our work.
 
The Guru Geeta also says that the Guru’s Holy feet have two different luster – one is white and other is red – representing Shiva and Shakti. Shiva is associated with the white color, and Shakti, the divine energy with the red color. In these Holy feet of Guru, Shiva and Shakti live as one and through them the disciple realizes the unity. He sees Shiva and Shakti as red and white lights shining through the Guru’s Holy feet. The Guru’s Holy feet should be worshiped everyday, for by their means one easily realizes the immanent and transcendent aspect of Shiva (form and formlessness aspects). Their luster radiates in the upper spaces of Sahasrara Chakra.
 
Within this FULL MOON in the sahasrara, we find ‘pots of nectar’ also referred to as ‘nectar of the Moon.’ This pot of the nectar has the shape of a delicate crescent moon and is downward turned. From here the nectar flows down through the Sushumna Nadi. This nectar is more intoxicating than honey could ever be. The sound (inner Nada heard in meditation) will make you taste a divine elixir. It is sweeter than the sweetest. Every drop is worth millions. By taking it you get rid of all sickness. There will be no more suffering, no more want, no more feeling of ‘I and mine.’
 
The Lalita Sahasrahama says: “Salutations to Her (Shakti) who sends stream of nectar from the transcendent moon in the Sahasrara.” The Shiva Samhita says: ‘The Sahasrara is the thousand petaled lotus in the Brahmananda. In its center is the region of the moon and a triangle which continuously showers nectar. This moon nectar, which grants immortality, flows in continuous stream…”
 
The Paduka Panchaka also mentions that the Guru’s Holy feet are cool like the nectar of the moon. In other words, just as the moonbeams cool us of after the heat of the day, in the same way devotion to the Holy feet of the Guru extinguishes the fire of sorrow and suffering and gives us peace.
 
The Paduka Panchaka says: “I adore the two lotus Holy feet of the Guru in my head. The jeweled foot stool on which they rest removes all sin. The Guru’s Holy feet are pinkish-red like young leaves. The toe nails resemble the full moon shining in all its glory. The Guru’s Holy feet are radiant with the beautiful luster of lotuses in a lake of nectar.” When the Guru Gita speaks of the water of the Guru’s Holy feet, it is referring to this lake of nectar. There are number of verses that explore this image.
 
The Guru Gita says: “the water of the Guru’s Holy feet has the power to dry up the mire of one’s sins, to ignite the light of knowledge, and to take one smoothly across the ocean of this world.”
 
“To obtain knowledge and detachment, sip the water of Guru’s Holy feet, which destroys ignorance and ends karmas, the cause of rebirth. Muktananda says it is not the water of Guru’s physical Holy feet that will make you immortal; it is only the nectar flowing in the Guru’s abode situated in the Sahasrara that will make you immortal, and that nectar can be received by the grace of the Guru.
 
In the course of meditation, when the mind becomes stabilized in the Sahasrara, this nectar begins to flow. Only after drinking this nectar can you be said to have drunk the water of the Guru’s Holy feet. It is not the water of the Guru’s physical Holy feet that matters. The true Holy feet of the Guru lie in the sahasrara; it is the nectar flowing from them that gives immortality.
 
Source: Extracted from the Swami Haridhos Giri Seva Samajam Opening Day Souvenir Booklet (http://gurujinamaji.com/articles-discourses-05.htm)

Swami Haridoss on Rishikesh, Haridwar, Gangotri, Rudraprayak Pilgrimage


In the following video, Swami Haridoss explains the importance of Hariwar and Lakshaman Jula (the bridge adjacent to Swami Sivananda’s ashram):

 

In the following video, Guruji tells us the importance of Uttarakashi:

In the following video, Guruji Mahant will tell us the history of Gangotri, the place where Ganga originates:

In the following video, Guruji is in Rudraprayak:

Prabho-ganapathey bhajan: