Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 09 Jun 2021


Why do Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva need weapons when they can even kill demons with mere thoughts?

[A question from an online discussion group brought to Swami by Śrī Anil.]

Swami replied: Certainly! You find no weapon in the hands of God Brahmā. He can kill anybody just by His word or thought. God Brahmā represents the original unimaginable God as the Creator. God Viṣṇu represents the king carrying out the administration of the world. So, God Viṣṇu holds weapons in His hands indicating that the king must punish criminals. God Viṣṇu’s holding weapons in His hands serves as an advice to kings. Lord Śiva also holds weapons in His hands, which also indicates the punishment of sinners. God Brahmā created the world and preached knowledge to souls in the beginning. At that initial state, everything was orderly and so, no weapons and punishment was needed. But as the world continues to function, weapons are needed for its smooth administration. The weapons held by Viṣṇu indicate the punishment of individual criminals during the regular administration of the world. The weapon of Śiva indicates massive punishment like a war in which the unjust side suffers massive destruction. Such massive punishment is also necessary during administration. In the Mahabharata war, Arjuna saw God Śiva killing every enemy with the help of a series of weapons. This massive destruction was also exhibited by God Kṛṣṇa, who was an Incarnation of God Viṣṇu, in the cosmic vision (Viśvarūpam). Thus, the concept of punishment is seen in both God Viṣṇu and God Śiva.

God Viṣṇu and God Śiva are often said to have monism between them (Śivāya Viṣṇurūpāya...). Sin and punishment arise only in the later stage of creation and not at the very beginning. Hence, you do not find any weapons in the hands of Brahmā. Brahmā represents the divine preacher preaching spiritual knowledge to souls at the beginning of creation. This also means that reformation through preaching must be done before punishing the sinner with weapons. God Viṣṇu and God Śiva hold weapons and fight battles with demons not for their own sakes, but only to serve as examples for worldly administrators. God always acts in such a way as to preach the duties of souls to them through His example. His actions are not for His personal sake.