For the past 7 months, I have seen myself as a Vaishnava, believing that Lord Krishna is the Supreme Lord. However, I have recently found myself drawn back towards Saivism, or mainly the worship of Lord Ganesha.
As a Vaishnava, I read a lot of info on how Lord Krishna was the Supreme and how the other devas were His subordinates. There are a lot of Scriptural quotes to "show" that Lord Krishna/Vishnu is the Supreme Lord. How do Saivites explain these Scripture verses?
Evidence for Lord Krishna's Supremacy
Rig Veda 1:22:20 "The princes evermore behold that loftiest place where Viṣṇu is,Laid as it were an eye in heaven."
Rig Veda 10:82:6 "The waters verily first retained the embryo in which all the gods were aggregated, single deposited on the navel of the unborn (creator), in which all beings abide. The reference to the navel of the unborn is an indication of reference to Vishnu."
Katha Upanishad 1:3:9 "A man who has discrimination for his charioteer and holds the reins of the mind firmly, reaches the end of the road; and that is the supreme position of Vishnu."
"Agni is the lowest and Vishnu is the highest among devas. All other gods occupy positions that are in between." (Aitareya Brahmana 1.1.1)
Vishnu is the best of all gods. Brahma and the rest are dependent onHim. Whatever I [Lord Krsna] state is the truth.( 3.28.62-63 Garuda Purana)
Maha Upanisad: I-1-4. Then we shall expound the Mahopanishad. They say Narayana was alone. There were not Brahma, Shiva, Waters, Fire and Soma, Heaven and Earth, Stars, Sun and Moon. He could not be happy
Narayana Upanisad: Narayana desired to create people. Because of this thought, Soul (prana) rose from him. Mind and all body parts, sky, air, light, water and the earth which can carry all these created beings took their form. From Narayana, Brahma was born. From Narayana, Rudra (Shiva) was born. From Narayana, Indra was born .From Narayana those people who rule these human beings were born. From Narayana, the twelve suns, eleven Rudras, Eight Vasus and all those meters (for writing) were born. All these function because of Narayana. All these end in Narayana. Thus is read, the Upanishads of Rig Veda.
tam isvaranam paramam mahesvaramtam daivatanam paramam ca daivatampatim patinam paramam parastadvidama devam bhuvanesam idyam
"You are the Lord of all other controllers such as Brahma and Siva. You are the Lord of all the devatas such as Indra. You are the Lord of all the prajapatis. You are superior to the supreme. We know you as the ultimate object of all prayers and eulogies; the Supreme Personality who is keen on performing wonderful pastimes" (Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.7)
These quotes are all from the Upanishads, which are part of the Vedas. Shruti is the only authority in a debate, so these are references from the Shruti.
The Bhagavad Gita (all of it)
The Brahma-Samhita (all of it that is available to us today).
The Vaishnavas also claim the Bhagavad-Gita to be evidence for Lord Krishna's supremacy - 10:2 for example "I am the source of the Devas". They claim that it is the best because it was spoken directly by the Lord Himself. Does anyone have a good Saivite explanation of the Bhagavad-Gita?
Vaishnavas also try to claim that the Srimad-Bhagavatam is better than the Vedas in this age as that is its intention. They present the following evidence:
Evidence of Shiva's Supremacy
The Shiva Purana
The Shiva Gita from the Padma Purana
The following verses from the Srimad-Bhagavatam (emphasis mine):
Lord Brahmā said: My dear Lord Śiva, I know that you are the controller of the entire material manifestation, the combination father and mother of the cosmic manifestation, and the Supreme Brahman beyond the cosmic manifestation as well. I know you in that way.
SB 4.6.43: My dear lord, you create this cosmic manifestation, maintain it, and annihilate it by expansion of your personality, exactly as a spider creates, maintains and winds up its web.
SB 4.6.44: My dear lord, Your Lordship has introduced the system of sacrifices through the agency of Dakṣa, and thus one may derive the benefits of religious activities and economic development. Under your regulative principles, the institution of the four varṇas and āśramas is respected. The brāhmaṇas therefore vow to follow this system strictly.
SB 4.6.45: O most auspicious lord, you have ordained the heavenly planets, the spiritual Vaikuṇṭha planets and the impersonal Brahman sphere as the respective destinations of the performers of auspicious activities. Similarly, for others, who are miscreants, you have destined different kinds of hells which are horrible and ghastly. Yet sometimes it is found that their destinations are just the opposite. It is very difficult to ascertain the cause of this.
SB 4.6.46: My dear Lord, devotees who have fully dedicated their lives unto your lotus feet certainly observe your presence as Paramātmā in each and every being, and as such they do not differentiate between one living being and another. Such persons treat all living entities equally. They never become overwhelmed by anger like animals, who can see nothing without differentiation.