The Adbhut Leelas of Harihara

Posted: 2011-03-12T16:06:51Z

The Adbhut Leelas of Harihara

Harihara is the name of a combined deity form of both Vishnu (Hari) and Shiva (Hara) from the Hindu tradition. Also known as Shankaranarayana ("Shankara" is Shiva, and "Narayana" is Vishnu), Harihara is thus worshipped by both Vaishnavites and Shaivities as a form of the Supreme God, as well as being a figure of worship for other Hindu traditions in general. Harihara is also sometimes used as a philosophical term to denote the unity of Vishnu and Shiva as different aspects of the same Supreme God. The exact nature of both Vishnu and Shiva (from their associated stories in Vedic and Puranic scriptures), and their position of difference or unity (or both), is a subject of some debate amongst the different philosophical schools.

Different Concepts:
Due to the fluid and diverse nature of Hinduism there are a wide variety of beliefs and traditions associated with both Vishnu and Shiva. Some schools hold that only Vishnu (including his associated avatars) is the Supreme God, and others that Shiva (including his different incarnations) is actually the Supreme being. Some argue that both Shiva and Vishnu are the Supreme God - both being different aspects of the one person; and there are others still who regard the Supreme God as being ultimately formless (advaita, no material form) and thus see both Vishnu and Shiva as different facets of the one formless Brahman, with no material form.

Depending on which scriptures (and translations) are quoted, evidence is available to support each of the different arguments. In most cases, even if one personality is taken as being superior over the other, much respect is still offered to both Vishnu and Shiva by the other's worshippers (i.e. Shiva is still regarded as being above the level of an ordinary jiva and 'the greatest of the Vaishnavas' by Vaishnavas who worship only Vishnu).

One and the same:
Sivananda states: "Shiva 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'."

Swaminarayan holds that Vishnu and Shiva are different aspects of the same God.

Depiction in art:
Harihara is depicted in art as split down the middle, one half representing Shiva, the other half representing Vishnu. The Shiva half will have the matted locks of a yogic master piled high on his head and sometimes will wear a tiger skin, reserved for the most revered ascetics. Shiva's pale skin may be read as ash-covered in his role as an ascetic. The Vishnu half will wear a tall crown and other jewelry, representing his responsibility for maintaining world order. Vishnu's black/blueish skin represents holiness. Broadly, these distinctions serve to represent the duality of humble religious influence in the ascetic and authoritative secular power in the king or householder. However, in other aspects Shiva also takes on the authoritative position of householder, a position which is directly at odds with the ascetic position depicted in his Harihara manifestation.

Source: Wikipedia

Story of Shiva and Vishnu
Source: Moral Stories

"There are two mahaa-phala daayaka Vrukshas. One by the name Vaasudeva and the other by the name Vaamadeva. They differ only in their sumas (flowers) ('su' is replaced by 'ma' in their names), but both give the same phalas (fruits, which is moksham)". It is also often said, "How much one does not see the difference between Shiva and Vishnu, that much his aayu will increase".

One day, when Lakshmi and Vishnu were together in vihaaram, Lakshmi sees Ucchaishravam, her brother, the horse of Revanta who is the son of Surya. Engrossed in seeing her brother, she does not reply to the repeated calls of Vishnu. Seeing her attraction, Vishnu gives her shaapam to go to Bhulokam in the form of a horse and come back to Vaikuntam only after getting a son equal to Himself! She comes to Bhuloka to experience the shaapam and realizing that none other than her brother, Shiva can help her calm Vishnu, she immediately does a tapas for Him and Shiva appears to save her soodari. Lakshmi says "You and Vishnu are both same, the Paramaatma. Please help me!". Shiva says "Soodari! How do you know that we both are same? All learned people know that. Who told you?". Lakshmi says, "Once Mahavishnu Himself told me this. Seeing Him in deep Daiva-dhyaanam, I asked Him "During Samudramanthanam, I thought you were the greatest of all and hence chose you. Devaadideva! Who is better than you that you are in dhyaanam of Him?". Mahavishnu replied "I am doing Shankara-dhyaanam. He is Eshwara. He is the same as Me. All learned people know that. If someone is my devotee but still hates Shiva, he will fall into naraka".

Saying this, She asks Shiva to pursuade Vishnu to bless Her with a child. Shiva sends Chitrarupa as a duta to convince Vishnu. Vishnu immediately accepts and comes to Bhuloka and blesses Lakshmi with Ekaveera, who is equal to Vishnu Himself. From Ekaveera came forth the Haihaya dynasty, of which the most noted king is Kartavirya Arjuna (Ekaveera's grandson).


Once when Naarada, the avatar of Vishnu, recited prayers glorifying Lord Shiva as the supreme controller of the universe, Lord Shiva, the best of Vaishnavas, at once covered his ears and angrily replied, "I am not the Lord of the universe, nor an object of Krishna's mercy! I am just a poor aatma always hankering for the favor of the servants of His servants." (Thus in this small story, Naarada, avataar of Vishnu, glorifies Shiva as the Paramaatma and Shiva glorifies Vishnu as the Paramaatma!)


The story of Hanuman, who is the 11th avataar of Shiva and Raama, the purna avataar of Vishnu also reveals the same. Both of them acheived great tasks:

1. Restricting the great samudram, Raama along with His entire army crossed the satpa-samudras! Hanuman, in one small jump, crossed it!

2. In the greatest, unparalleled ghora-yuddham, which was never seen before or will ever be seen, Raama killed Raavana! Hanuman killed Mairaavana, who was many times stronger than Raavana, with great ease!

3. Raama melted a stone, with the touch of His lotus feet, for Ahalya! Hanuman melted a stone with His sweet Gandharva gaanam!

Also to note:  Krishna lifted Govardhana giri, balanced on his little finger and saved the lives of Gopaalas! Hanuman brought the Sanjeevani Parvatam from Himaalayas to Lanka and saved Lakshmana!

Though they did great tasks like this, always Hanuman worshipped Raama, with great Vinayam(humility) and Raama worshipped Shiva with unparalleled devotion.


Impressed by the great tapas of Vi?h?u for Paramasiva, Siva gave Vi?h?u the Sudarshana Cakram.


Annamaacharya, the great Vaak-geya-kaaraka of Aandhra Pradesh, in one of his divya sankeertana "Enta maatramuna evvaru talichina '." says:

How much ever one imagines that much only are You:
For Vaishnavas You are Vishnu
For Vedaantas You are Parabrahma
For Shaivas and other bhaktas You are Shiva
For Kaapaalikas You are Kaala-Bhairava
For Shaakteyaas You are Shakti
For people with alpa-buddhi You appear as alpam
For people who know Your Garima and have Ghana-buddhi You are a Ghana
For people who are Sharanaagati You are Venkateshvara


Once Shri Krishna, the avataar of Mahaavishnu, came to Upamanyu maharshi, when he was at Himaalayas. Shri Krishna said "Upamanyu muniindra! You are the greatest in the Shiva Bhaktas. I came here to do Tapas of Paramashiva to get santaanam. Please teach Me Shaiva-vidhi and vidhaanam".

Upamanyu replied "O Shri Krishna! I know who You are. Shiva puuja is not new to You. Though You know it, to make everybody know, I will tell You '" Saying thus, Upamanyu told Shri Krishna how to do Shiva-aaraadhana.


This happened after the episode of Naarada, coming under Vishnu maaya, gives shaapam to Vishnu: (This is one of the reasons of Shri Raama avatar) Naarada says "Svaami! Please forgive Me. I, coming under influence of Your maaya, got ahankaar and did Your ninda. Please tell Me what can save Me from this ghora-paapam".

Vishnu says: "O Priya Naarada! You go and do paaraayana of Shankara Shatanaamams. Then You will get Shaanti. Shiva is whom I respect the most. Even by mistake don't forget this. One who doesnt have Shiva-anugraham cannot be My Bhakta. Believe this'then My maaya wont affect you."


Once Vyaasa Bhagavaan came under the influence of Shiva-maaya and started telling in his Pravachanams that Vishnu is greater than Shiva. Once Nandeeshvara also heard Vyaasa Bhagavaan saying this. Vishnu Murti then appeared before Veda Vyaasa and told Him "O Maharshi! Dont you know that I and Shiva are the same? Knowing this why are you telling like this in your pravachanams?" Veda Vyaasa then had great pashchaattaapam and asked Kshama from Nandeeshvara.


The phalam(fruit) of Vishnu Pooja is Shiva Bhakti ' the example is that of Arjuna. Arjuna ofcourse was the greatest Shri Krishna Bhakta. But it was Shiva who gave Arjuna moksham, when Arjuna was born as Bhakta Kannappa, in the great Kaalahastsi Kshetram.

Similarly the phalam of Shiva Pooja is Shri Raama Bhakti ' the examples are stories of Kaaka Bhushundi and Valmiki Maharshi. Kaaka Bhushundi was a great Shiva Bhakta and hence Shiva grants him Raama Bhakti Saamraajyam. Valmiki did tapas for Shiva using the Panchaakshari mantram given to him by the great Saptarshis and as a result became the Aadi Kavi and wrote the great Raamaayanam.



It was the day when the "punya-vruksham" of Gopikas delivered its ripe fruits, called Moksham. It was the day when the Aaraadhana of Gopikas was blessed by Lord Krishna. Gopikas realized Shri Krishna, the Sarvaantaryaami, everywhere. As a result of their Aaraadhana-bhakti they realized the paramaatma's poorna-svaroopam with each one of them. Who could miss watching the Raasaleela, where the Lord showered His Karuna-jyotsna ? All the Brahma-aadi devatas were present.

Parama Shiva, the greatest bhakta of Shri Krishna, was also present in the form of a Gopika. Shri Krishna, who is always in nirantara-shiva-dhyaanam, searched for Parameshvara. Finally He realized that Shiva is none other than one of the Gopikas having sampoorna aanandam of dancing with Him. Shri Krishna paramaatma then does stuti of Eshvara and asks to bless them by staying there at Vrundaavanam by the name of Gopeeshvara.

Even today we can visit Lord Shiva, in the form of Gopeeshvara, at Vrindaavan.

Lord Shiva is the most devoted Vaishnava, according to Srimad Bhagavatham. There it is mentioned: "vaishnava:nam yadha: sambhuh".

He is also one of the 12 Mahajanas (Bhagavata Purana lists twelve Mahajanas, great devotees of Vishnu and knowers of Dharma. They are Lord Brahma, Narada, Shiva, the four Kumaras, Kapila - the son of Devahuti, Svayambhuva Manu, Prahlada, Janaka, Bhishma, Bali, Suka, and Yama.).

If one prays to Lord Shiva with genuine devotion undoubtedly they would end up at Krishna Bhakti.

Ramesvara Mahadeva

When Sri Ramacandra was making the bridge to Lanka, he established a Siva-linga (deity form of Siva) called Ramesvara. All the common people began glorifying Lord Siva, shouting, "Ramesvara ki jaya! You are Rama's isvara: you are the lord of Rama." The demigods were unsatisfied by this and announced through an arial voice, "Ramas ca asau isvarah: Rama is God, and Sankara is also God; they are the same." Hearing this, the Siva-linga broke. Lord Siva emerged from the linga and told them all, "You are all foolish; you do not know my tattva, the established truths regarding my identity. Rama is my beloved and my God, and that is why I am called Ramesvara."


-to be continued...

Edited by Vedo - 2011-03-13T14:01:10Z
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Posted: 2011-03-12T16:07:57Z



Shri Ram worshipping Shri Shiva:


Shri Shiva worshipping Shri Rama:


Shri Ram's daily prayer to Shivji:


AS Ramayan

Shri Ram, his brothers and all their wives worship Shivji:


Song showing both Shivji and Ramji worshipping one another:


Shri Krishna:

Shivji Comes to Brij for Bal Krishna Darshan:





Shri Krishna and Balram worship Shivji at Guru Rishi Sandipani's hermitage:


Shri Krishna worshipping Shivji on Shivraatri:

BRC Mahabharat:

Arjun worshipping Shivji for divine weapons (this is the entire epi, the part afforementioned starts at 24:00)


Enjoy! Big smile

P.S. If anyone has more similar vids, then pls send me the links and I'll surely add it here.

Edited by Vedo - 2011-03-17T20:14:54Z
6 Likes this
Posted: 2011-03-12T16:09:39Z

More stories:


The deities went to lord Vishnu, after being tormented by the demons. They requested him to annihilate the demons. After assuring them, Lord Vishnu went to Kailash mountain to do his penance. But even his tremendous penance was not enough to please Lord Shiva.

Lord Vishnu then worshipped lord Shiva by chanting the mantras of Shiva Sahastranamavali. He also offered one thousand lotus flowers to lord Shiva in course of his worship.

One day Shiva wanted to test the devotion of lord Vishnu. He disappeared one lotus flower from among the one thousand flowers. When lord Vishnu began his worship he found that there was one flower less. To make up for this deficiency, he was offering his one eye to lord Shiva - his eye which has been compared with a lotus flower.

Lord Shiva was very mush impressed by his exceptional devotion. He appeared before Vishnu and asked him to demand any boon he wished. Lord Vishnu demanded a divine weapon to annihilate the demons. Lord Shiva gave him a sparkling Sudharshan Chakra. On the request of Lord Vishnu he established himself in the form of Harishwar Shivalinga. At last lord Vishnu killed the demon with his Sudarshan Chakra.

Krishna Prays to Have a Son

Lord Krishna was consumed with the desire to have a son. So he went to seek the advice of a particular sage. When the sage saw Lord Krishna, he was overwhelmed with joy. Everybody was shouting, "Krishna has come, Krishna has come!" and they all started worshipping Krishna.

The sage asked Krishna, "Please tell me what I can do for you. Is there anything that you would like me to do?"

Krishna answered, "It is a very simple thing that I want. I want to have a son. Please tell me how I can have a son."

"Only Lord Shiva can help in this matter," said the sage. "You have to pray to Lord Shiva. First, you must gather one thousand flowers. With these flowers you must worship Lord Shiva for many years. When Lord Shiva is pleased with your worship, you will be granted a son."

Krishna left the cottage of the sage and entered into seclusion. He put ashes all over his body and clothed himself in the bark of a tree. For years and years he prayed, only to have a glimpse of Lord Shiva and to ask him for a boon.

With her third eye, Parvati saw that Krishna was praying and praying all alone in the heart
of the forest. She said to her husband, "My Lord, what are you doing? Why are you not responding? Lord Krishna has been worshipping you, only you, for so many years."

"What do you want me to do?" asked Shiva.

"Just go and stand before him," pleaded Parvati. "As a matter of fact, let us go together."

Both Parvati and Shiva appeared before Krishna. Shiva said to him, "What are you doing? Why should you, of all people, pray to me? You are Narayana, you are Vishnu, you are the avatar of this era, you pervade everything. Why then are you praying to me?"

Krishna responded, "Lord Shiva, I know that you are the only one who can fulfill my desire."

"Is there any desire which you yourself cannot fulfill?" asked Shiva.

"I was told that only you can fulfill this particular desire. Therefore, I have come to you," answered Krishna.

"What is your desire?" asked Shiva.

"I wish to have a son exactly like you," Krishna said to Shiva. "It has to be exactly like you, otherwise I do not want it."

Shiva and Parvati both smiled and immediately Shiva granted Krishna the boon. Krishna returned home and, after some time, his wife, Jambavati, bore a son. They named him Samba.

Sri Ram's worship of Lord Rameshwar
The Legend according to Sri Ramcharitmanas by Goswami Tulsidas 

When Sri Ram along with the army of monkeys started towards Lanka to attain Sita Ji, on their way they encountered the vast ocean. Though Sri Ram could dry up a hundred oceans; yet, being a master of propriety, He consulted Vibhisana and in accordance with his suggestion asked passage of the ocean with a heart full of compassion. But three days elapsed, the crass ocean did not answer the Lord's prayer, thereupon Sri Ram indignantly said, "There can be no love without inspiring fear. Lakshman, bring Me My bow and arrows I shall now dry up the ocean". Seeing Sri Ram with His terrible bow and arrow the presiding deity of the ocean giving up his pride appeared before Sri Ram and apologized. The ocean informed about the boon that Nila and Nala (the two monkey brothers in the army) got earlier, that by their touch even huge mountains would float on the ocean; and thus the ocean can be bridged. Then taking the permission of Sri Ram the monkeys started to construct the bridge.

When the All-merciful saw the exceedingly beautiful construction of the bridge, He smiled and observed thus: "This is a most delightful and excellent spot; its glory is immeasurable and cannot be described in words. I will install (an emblem of) Lord Shambhu here: it is the crowning ambition of My heart."

Hearing this Sugreev, the lord of the monkeys dispatched a number of messengers, who invited and fetched all the great sages.

Having installed an emblem of Lord Shiva and worshipped it with due solemnity, Sri Ram said, "No one else is as dear to Me as Shiva. An enemy of Shiva although he calls himself a devotee of Mine, cannot attain to Me even in a dream. He who is opposed to Shankar and yet aspires for devotion to Me is doomed to perdition, stupid and dull-witted as he is. Men, who, though devoted to Shankar, are hostile to Me and even so those who are enemies of Shiva but votaries of Mine shall have their abode in the most frightful hell till the end of creation. They who will behold Lord Rameshwara will, on quitting the body, go direct to My abode. And a person who takes the water of the Ganga and pours it on the Lord will attain liberation in the form of absorption into My being. Again, whosoever adores the Lord with a simple mind and without any material desires will be blessed by Shankar with devotion to Me. And he who sees the bridge erected by me will be able to cross the ocean of worldly existence without any exertion".

Sri Ram's words gladdened the heart of all and the great sages returned each to his own hermitage.

Edited by Vedo - 2011-03-12T17:12:22Z
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Posted: 2011-03-12T17:21:08Z
Whew I'm finally finished here (for now! LOL)
So now the discussion is open guys!

What are your thoughts on this divine leela of Shri Harihara...of both being each other's Lord as well as each other's Devotee at the same time? Do you understand it? How does it make you feel/ what emotions does reading about or watching this leela evoke in you?

Feel free to discuss anything concerning this divine leela in here. Embarrassed

4 Likes this
Posted: 2011-03-13T01:07:51Z
first of all Vedo .. i love the way u always create the thread !!

reminded me the quote once mentioned by Janu
"Do Bhakt Do Bhagwan"
i dont like when ppl says that only the Lord they worship is supreme (Vishnu/Shiva) but Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu never compared that who is supreme.
Lord Vishnu in Ram Avatar worshiped Lord Shiva & Lord Shiva too loved Him in Ram and Krishna roop . He specially took Jugler (Madari) roop along with Hanumanji and Saint respectively just to get Lord Vishnu's darshan.
by this i guess the want to proof there is no difference in Them !
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Posted: 2011-03-13T01:11:00Z
One more pic of HariHara


Om Namah Shivaya
Jai Shri Vishnu
Jai Shri HariHara

Edited by ...PARiNA... - 2011-03-13T01:12:15Z
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Posted: 2011-03-13T07:09:25Z
WOW, aMAZing thread, Vedo! I am a worshipper of both Shiva and Vishnu, and I cannot differentiate between them even if I tried. I love how all the Ramayan and Krishna serials also emphasized this concept of 'Do Bhakt, Do Bhagwan', and never took one of those stands where one groups constantly fights with the other about who is supreme. They are losing the essence of God by this.Ouch
LOVE your vids, thanks for sharing with us! Btw, you forgot a vid from AS Ramayan where Ram and Sita perform an Abhishek to Shiva Linga after their marriage, and that is where the 'Do Bhakt, Do Bhagwan' song came from. Do you know where it is or should I find it?
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Posted: 2011-03-13T14:17:38Z
Originally posted by ...PARiNA...

first of all Vedo .. i love the way u always create the thread !!  Aww thanks Pari! Embarrassed

reminded me the quote once mentioned by Janu
"Do Bhakt Do Bhagwan"  Yes this part of the lyrics of a song in AS Ramayan, I will add the vid link! Wink

i dont like when ppl says that only the Lord they worship is supreme (Vishnu/Shiva) but Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu never compared that who is supreme.  Pari I also don't like this, I am a devotee of both and for me they are one and the same so it's sad to hear people differentiating between them or try to prove one as superior over the other!!

And thank you for sharing that beautiful Harihara pic, I added it to the post! Embarrassed


Edited by Vedo - 2011-03-13T14:21:53Z
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