Canto 8: Withdrawal of the Cosmic CreationsChapter 7: Lord Śiva Saves the Universe by Drinking Poison

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 8.7.21

śrī-prajāpataya ūcuḥ

deva-deva mahā-deva

bhūtātman bhūta-bhāvana

trāhi naḥ śaraṇāpannāḿs

trailokya-dahanād viṣāt


śrī-prajāpatayaḥ ūcuḥ — the prajāpatis said; deva-devaO Lord Mahādeva, best of the demigods; mahā-devaO great demigod; bhūta-ātmanO life and soul of everyone in this world; bhūta-bhāvanaO the cause of the happiness and flourishing of all of them; trāhi — deliver; naḥ — us; śaraṇa-āpannān — who have taken shelter at your lotus feet; trailokya — of the three worlds; dahanāt — which is causing the burning; viṣāt — from this poison.


The prajāpatis said: O greatest of all demigods, Mahādeva, Supersoul of all living entities and cause of their happiness and prosperity, we have come to the shelter of your lotus feet. Now please save us from this fiery poison, which is spreading all over the three worlds.


Since Lord Śiva is in charge of annihilation, why should he be approached for protection, which is given by Lord Viṣṇu? Lord Brahmā creates, and Lord Śiva annihilates, but both Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva are incarnations of Lord Viṣṇu and are known as śaktyāveśa-avatāras. They are endowed with a special power like that of Lord Viṣṇu, who is actually all-pervading in their activities. Therefore whenever prayers for protection are offered to Lord Śiva, actually Lord Viṣṇu is indicated, for otherwise Lord Śiva is meant for destruction. Lord Śiva is one of the īśvaras, or the controllers known as śaktyāveśa-avatāras. Therefore he can be addressed as having the qualities of Lord Viṣṇu.

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness