I happened to come across a brief article in an astrological magazine in Malayalam language, which I found contradictory. It mentioned that all living beings and natural gifts such as all nonliving things, the various universal existences and creations namely water, earth, fire, vayu (ether not mentioned) are created by Lord Shiva). My humble self has been under the impression that whatever I repeat “whatever” we find on planet earth are creations of Lord Brahma, and even he was taught the technique and given paraphernalia for creation (animate and inanimate) by Lord Vishnu dwelling supreme in his spiritual abode. Does BTG concur on the question of creation?

I have another question. This refers to your editorial “Money or Devotion what do you choose?” (April 2009).

Honestly, it is difficult to answer either “yes” or “no” to this question. We are living in Kali yuga, and we need money the most in our material existence. But for Lord Shiva’s supply of money for our purchase of essential necessaries for keeping body and soul fit and fine, what any other solution is there without money?

In contrast, Lord Krishna warns, “In case His devotees earn and use the moneyed rich, he will destroy the greed for riches just because possession of money in abundance will make them lusty, angry and falsely proud. But why the Lord Himself transformed His closest friend, poorest of the poor, Sudama (Kuchela), extremely rich overnight still remains a mystery. I remember to have written this doubt to BTG earlier, but no reply appeared in any issue subsequently. (P.K.V. Menon, Kerala)

Our reply: The Srimad Bhagavatam describes the events that led to the start of creation by Lord Brahma in the following way:

Originally, there is only Lord Vishnu lying on Ananta sesa. From His navel springs forth a subtle form of the fruitive activities of living entities in the shape of a bud of a lotus flower. Lord Brahma is seated on top of this flower. But he is in ignorance about his source. The Srimad bhagavatam (3.8.21) explains, “Thereafter, being unable to achieve the desired destination, he retired from such searching and came back again to the top of the lotus. Thus, controlling all objectives, he concentrated his mind on the Supreme Lord.” Then the next verse expalins, “At the end of Brahma’s one hundred years, when his meditation was complete, he developed the required knowledge, and as a result he could see in his heart the Supreme within himself, whom he could not see before with the greatest endeavor.”

When the Lord communicated with Brahma, He said, “O Brahma, situate yourself in penance and meditation and follow the principles of knowledge to receive My favor. By these actions you will be able to understand everything from within your heart.” (Bhag. 3.9.30) Then, about empowering Brahmaji, He says, “Since you have desired to increase the population innumerably and expand your varieties of service, you shall never be deprived in this matter because My causeless mercy upon you will always increase for all time. (Bhag. 3.9.34) He again adds, “By following My instructions you can now generate the living entities as before, by dint of your complete Vedic wisdom and the body you have directly received from Me, the supreme cause of everything.” (Bhag. 3.9.43)

Thus, it is clear that Lord Vishnu empowers Lord Brahma for the purpose of creation.

Answer to your second question:

It is a common (mis)conception that Lord Shiva bestows earthly riches and Lord Krishna only takes them away (hence the name Hari, “one who takes away”). Even a cursory reading of our holy scriptures will enable us to understand that all personalities who received boons from Lord Shiva ultimately met their doom. As those benedictions artificially puffed them up with false pride, they became a source of menace to everyone around them. Prominent among these are Ravana, Vrkasura, Banasura etc.

On the other hand, when Krishna seems to take away all your possessions, He does so in the spirit of Hari (sarva amangala hare “One who takes away all inauspiciousness”). Krishna is in no way deficient in any opulence. He can bestow either material or spiritual opulence at will. When it is seen that He has given material opulence to someone (in this case, Sudama Vipra) then the conclusion is that the prosperity received by Sudama Vipra is wholly spiritual and not the least material.

Replies to the letter were written by Nanda Dulal Dasa and  Syamananda Dasa.