देवदेव महादेव भूतात्मन् भूतभावन ।
त्राहि न: शरणापन्नांस्त्रैलोक्यदहनाद् विषात् ॥ २१ ॥
trāhi naḥ śaraṇāpannāṁs
śrī-prajāpatayaḥ ūcuḥ — the prajāpatis said; deva-deva — O Lord Mahādeva, best of the demigods; mahā-deva — O great demigod; bhūta-ātman — O life and soul of everyone in this world; bhūta-bhāvana — O the cause of the happiness and flourishing of all of them; trāhi — deliver; naḥ — us; śaraṇa-āpannān — who have taken shelter at your lotus feet; trailokya — of the three worlds; dahanāt — which is causing the burning; viṣāt — from this poison.
The prajāpatis said: O greatest of all demigods, Mahādeva, Supersoul of all living entities and cause of their happiness and prosperity, we have come to the shelter of your lotus feet. Now please save us from this fiery poison, which is spreading all over the three worlds.
Since Lord Śiva is in charge of annihilation, why should he be approached for protection, which is given by Lord Viṣṇu? Lord Brahmā creates, and Lord Śiva annihilates, but both Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva are incarnations of Lord Viṣṇu and are known as śaktyāveśa-avatāras. They are endowed with a special power like that of Lord Viṣṇu, who is actually all-pervading in their activities. Therefore whenever prayers for protection are offered to Lord Śiva, actually Lord Viṣṇu is indicated, for otherwise Lord Śiva is meant for destruction. Lord Śiva is one of the īśvaras, or the controllers known as śaktyāveśa-avatāras. Therefore he can be addressed as having the qualities of Lord Viṣṇu.