This article deals with the subject of a conflict of epic proportion. The two biggest figures of Hindu mythology Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu have not been known to fight each other but followers of both Gods believe that their deity can and will always trump the other in a match concerning Lord Shiva vs Lord Vishnu. For more information on the powers of Lord Vishnu visit: www.thevishnuexperience.com
Who are the real contenders?
Shaivites or the followers of Lord Shiva believe that Lord Shiva is Swayambhu or self born. That he came into being out of nothing and yet contains within himself the ability and power to contain and control everything. Vaishnavites or the followers of Lord Vishnu are convinced that it was Lord Vishnu who was Swayambhu and Lord Brahma was born out of the lotus umbilical chord of Lord Vishnu’s navel and Lord Shiva was born out of the Teja or energy from Lord Vishnu’s forehead.
Are there Textual evidence to support the claims?
Yes. In fact he Vishnu Puran, the chief among texts concerning Lord Vishnu, supports the claim made by Vaishnavites. The Linga Puran, and Shiva Puran among the chief texts on Lord Shiva support the view of the Shaivites.
There was only one instance when the two deities actually came to face off against each other. All Purans and legends corroborate this story that revolves around the first wife of Shiva- Goddess Sati and the Yajna organised by Sati’s father King Daksha. Daksha was a Prajapati- or lord of his subjects- a direct descendant of Lord Brahma. He was extremely gifted in the dual knowledge of the Vedic Shastras and the Astra Shastras i.e in the scriptural and religious field and in the field of weapons. Quite against his best wishes, and under pressure from his father Lord Brahma, he had to get his daughter married to Lord Shiva. This alliance, felt Daksha was one of unequals. Sati was a true blooded princess and Shiva a wandering ascetic who wore animal skin and lived on the mountains.
To get even with Shiva, Daksha arranged a giant puja and deliberately chose to not invite Shiva or Sati to that Yajna. When Sati learnt of this she visited the puja grounds and accosted Daksha who went on to humiliate Lord Shiva and Sati in the presence of everyone. Unable to tolerate the insults and furious at the indifference of the other Gods and holy men, Sati self immolated. This angered Shiva so much that he sent forth his fiercest forms of energy beings Veerbhadra and Bhadrakaali to behead Daksha and destroy his disdainful yajna, annihilating everyone who came in the way.
During the attack, Daksha coerced the Gods to send out their armies to fight Shiva’s forces. Bound by their promise, the Gods including Lord Vishnu sent out armies of stellar divine warriors to try and stop Shiva’s army. Each and every effort was neutralized by Veerbhadra and Bhadrakaali. Daksha beseeched Lord Vishnu to personally intervene but Lord Vishnu declined to engage Lord Shiva’s wrathful forms saying the collision of Shiva’s destructive force and his would cause all of creation to end. This idea is consistent with the connection of Trinity Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu share with Lord Brahma. It is Lord Shiva’s designated role to destroy to facilitate newer creation, and Vishnu is charged with preservation as Brahma creates all of the Universe. Lord Vishnu simply could not fight Lord Shiva and break his negate his primary duty as the preserver of creation to atone for the misplaced pride and ignorance of Daksha.
The Shaivites like to read this specific instance as the victory of Lord Shiva and an example of his supremacy over Lord Vishnu.