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Date: Thu Oct 12 1995 - 10:19:11 PDT
How a Vaishnava treats Lord Shiva depends upon the Sampradaya that one belongs to. Vedanta Deshikar states that Brahma and Rudra are products of Karma and therefore unfit for worship. Madhva Vaishnavas generally begin a discourse by chanting a shloka imploring Ganesha to remove obstacles, then paying respects to Guru(s) and afterwards to Shiva and Parvati before chanting shlokas on Bhagavan. The Bhagavatam itself has a story of the male members of Nanda Maharaja's clan going to another place to observe Shiva Ratri where Nanda Maharaj was swallowed by a snake. But observance of this Shiva Ratri ritual took place AFTER Krishna stopped Indra puja and replaced it with the worship of Govardhana Hill. Krishna was also present at this Shiva Ratri observance. Some scholars dispute the entire story of Lord Rama establishing a Shiva temple at Rameshwaram saying that there is no reference to this in Valmiki Ramayan. If one accepts the Gaudiya Vaishnava view that Lord Chaitanya was Krishna Himself, then His going to Srisailam or His visit to another place where He entered a temple of Durga can be explained in the light of (1)the Lord visiting His devotee and (2) the rules of worship apply to Jivatmas and not to Bhagavan. Other Gaudiya Vaishnava scriptures say that Shiva is almost equal to Bhagavan but even these scriptures discourage his worship because of Shiva being in contact with Tamo Guna. I have heard lectures where the Padma Purana has been quoted as saying that when one worships Shiva for seven lives in succession, the Shiva will instruct that Jivatma to worship Narayana and attain Moksha. Jaganath.