The position of Lord Shiva

Is Lord Shiva the supreme as many in India say or if not what is his position and why do people give more importance to Lord Shiva even though Lord Krishna spoke the Bhagavad-Gita? Do we really need to worship him and Lord Ganesha?

Lord Shiva is unlimitedly glorious. Lord Shiva is in fact far above the other devas like Indra and Lord Brahma. The others are all jivas; they are conditioned living beings empowered in various ways for the administration of the material world. But Lord Shiva is above them all. He is practically on the same level as Lord Vishnu Himself.

Still, a distinction exists, for Lord Shiva is directly in touch with the material energy whereas Lord Vishnu is always beyond it. The Brahma-samhita gives the example that Lord Vishnu is like milk whereas Lord Shiva is like yogurt. There is no difference between yogurt and milk. Still, milk is the original substance, of which yogurt is a transformation.

Lord Shiva may properly be regarded as being non-different from Lord Vishnu, because Lord Shiva is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu for performing specific functions. So when Lord Shiva is glorified as the Supreme Lord, the glorification is correct because Lord Shiva is the most highly empowered and exalted representative of Lord Vishnu.

In one sense, all living beings are non-different from Lord Vishnu, because Lord Vishnu is everything (vasudevah sarvam iti). In another sense, all living beings are different from Lord Vishnu, because Lord Vishnu is the supreme and all others, including even Lord Shiva, are His eternal servants. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explained this state of affairs as acintya-bhedabheda-tattva, or simultaneous oneness and difference.

According to the Shrimad Bhagavatam (12.13.16), Lord Shiva is the greatest of all Vaishnavas, or devotees of Lord Vishnu. The relationship between Lord Vishnu and His devotees is very intimate and sublime, and especially so for the greatest of His devotees, Lord Shiva.

In a spirit of transcendental love, Lord Krishna, although the Supreme Lord, takes the role of a charioteer for a devotee like Arjuna, or a dependent child for a devotee like Yashoda. In this way, the Lord becomes the devotee of His devotee. Similarly, at Rameshwaram and elsewhere, the Lord acts as the devotee of His most exalted devotee Lord Shiva.

It was Lord Vishnu who saved the demigods from the terrible poison, but He did so through His empowered incarnation Lord Shiva, in order to show Lord Shiva’s glories. With this understanding, the devotees of the Hare Krishna¬†movement worship Lord Shiva with the greatest reverence and respect.