By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Madhudvisa: Prabhupāda? What is the position of Lord Shiva?
Prabhupāda: Lord Shiva is a demigod, but he is higher than all other demigods. He’s higher than Lord Brahmā also. But he’s not the Supreme Lord. Just like there are different gradations. That is not difficult to understand. In society also, there are different gradations. Similarly, the living entities, there are different gradations. Some of the living entities are situated in higher planets, some of them are situated in lower planets and some of them are situated in high-grade life and some in low-grade life. So the demigods are also living entities, but they are enjoying better standard of life due to their acts of piety. But Lord Shiva is not amongst the living entities. He’s above the living entities but he is counted as one of the demigods. But his position is better than Lord Brahmā even. Brahmā is said to be the highest living entity within the universe, and Lord Shiva’s position is higher than that of Lord Brahmā.
Madhudvisa: Does Lord Shiva have a wife, like, a consort?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Pārvatī. Satī. Everyone has got wife. Yes. Śakti.
Devotee: Is Lord Shiva a devotee of Lord Krishna?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Everyone is devotee. Only the madmen, they are not devotees. Any sane man is devotee of… Sanity means become devotee. That is sanity. And one who is not a devotee, he is insane. So how can you expect that Lord Shiva is not a devotee? He’s not insane. We, the material, ordinary living entities, who are in the lower grades of life, are all insane.
Dayānanda: Does Lord Shiva have a relationship with Durgā?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Durgā is the material energy. So Lord Shiva is directly connected with the material energy. Therefore he’s less than Lord Vishnu. Vishnu is not directly related with the material energy. The example is given in the Brahma-samhitā. Just like milk, as soon as it comes in touch with something sour, it becomes yogurt. The yogurt is nothing but milk, but in connection with some sour material, it is yogurt. So yogurt is milk, but it is not milk also. Your child requires milk. You cannot give yogurt. Somebody can argue, “Oh, yogurt is milk preparation, why not give?” No. It will be not beneficial for the child. Similarly, if you want release from this material world, you have to take to Vishnu, no other demigod. If you want strength, then you have to drink milk, not yogurt. You can eat yogurt, at times, for some taste or for some particular purpose. But milk is general drinking. Just take the statistics, how many bottles of milk are sold in the store and how many bottles of yogurt are sold. If yogurt and milk is the same thing, why they’ll demand milk and not the yogurt? Is that right? Yes. But nobody can put argument, “Oh, why do you take milk? Take yogurt.”
[An excerpt from the Q&A session of the Bhagavad Gita class held on December 11, 1968 in Los Angeles]