Is there a difference between Shiva and Krishna?

Acharya Prashant
3 min readSep 1, 2021

Following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Questioner (Q): What is the difference between Shiva and Krishna? What is the symbolic difference?

Acharya Prashant (AP): Shiva is more fundamental than Krishna.

Krishna contains a lot of both Shiva and Shakti. So unless you are watchful, you will get confused. Shiva is simple and pure. Shiva has the benefit of just being Shiva, with Shakti expressed totally as a different entity, which though emanating from Shiva, yet is very different from Shiva.

In Krishna, you find Shiva and Shakti both and you do not know which is which; you do not know what is what.

Q: So, Shakti is more into the world…

AP: Yes.

Shiva is pure stillness.

In Krishna, you see both stillness and dance.

Q: Why Hinduism is so complex?

AP: (Laughingly) Hinduism is only as complex as life. And if you need to have something to guide you through life, then you need to be at least on the same level as life, if not on the higher level. Do not ask, “Why Hinduism is complicated?” Ask, “Why have our minds been dumbed down to look at only over-simplified versions of reality?”

Somebody might be living only in black, white, and grey and then you come to see that the human eye is capable of looking at thirty more colors, would you call that complexity or richness?

I am asking you again, you are living in black, white, and grey, and here you come to see that there are thirty more colors, not only thirty more colors, thirty more mutually interactive colors. Now, do you call that complexity or richness? You dismiss it or do you play with those colors on the day of Holi? What kind of Holi would that be? Only black, white and grey.

Complexity is in the human mind. One starts with complexity because it is a fact. We live in complexity. But the goal of religion is to bring you to simplicity. Religion does not take you to complexity. Complexity already is; It is our own lives that are already complex. So, religion begins from there and then takes you to utter simplicity — in which there is not much, just silence.