Sometimes the Lord Himself worships His devotee. For example, Lord Ramacandraworshiped Lord Siva. Thus, if the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself worships Hisdevotees, such as Lord Siva, then certainly His other devotees may too. They should not, of course, think Lord Siva is equal to or independent of Lord Visnu. Rather, they respect andworship him as a pure devotee of Visnu. And they may accord him the same respect as theygive the Lord Himself.
generally do not go to demigods’ temples. Still, Lord Caitanya, who is KrsnaHimself in the role of Krsna’s devotee, regularly visited the temple of Lord Siva in Varanasi(Benares). Why? Srila Prabhupada explains that a Vaisnava gives due respect to all—sowhat to speak of to demigods, who are faithful servants of the Supreme Lord. LordCaitanya offered obeisances and prayers to deities of Lord Siva in temples throughoutSouth India during His travels there, though, as the
also states, thedevotees of Lord Siva in those places became
by the Lord’s influence.Lord Siva’s position in particular is special because, as Srila Prabhupada has stated, “Siva isalmost Visnu.” The
compares Lord Visnu to milk and Lord Siva to yogurt.Yogurt is almost milk, but it is not milk. Milk can become yogurt, but yogurt cannot become milk. In the same way, although Lord Visnu transforms Himself into the form of Siva, Lord Siva can never become Visnu.
ksiram yatha dadhi vikara-visesa-yogat sanjayate na hi tatah prthag asti hetoh yah sambhutam api tatha samupaiti karyad govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
“Milk is transformed into curd by the actions of acids, yet the effect, curd, is neither thesame as nor different from its cause, viz., milk. I adore the primeval Lord, Govinda, of whom the state of Sambhu [Siva] is a similar transformation for the performance of thework of destruction.” (
5.45)Lord Siva is discussed in many places in
, which is the “spotlessPurana” (
) glorified by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Srila Jiva Gosvami hasestablished
as the highest Vedic evidence, and Lord Siva is exalted inmany pastimes described in the
.In one such pastime, when the demigods and demons were churning the ocean of milk, theocean turned to poison. The poison threatened the entire universe, and no one knew what todo. Lord Siva, being magnanimous, and at the same time inconceivably powerful, drank theentire ocean and kept it in his throat. Consequently, his throat turned bluish, and ever sincehas been marked by a beautiful bluish line. Lord Siva is considered exceptionally attractivewith his heavenly bluish throat, and thus he is famous as Nila Kantha, or “the one with the blue throat.”In another pastime, the Pracetas, the sons of King Pracinabhari, met Lord Siva on their wayto perform austerities in worship of Lord Visnu (Krsna). Because the princes wereVaisnavas, Lord Siva showed them his mercy and instructed them in mantras for the