Gopeshwar Mahadev Temple in Vrindavan.
The oldest temple in Vrindavan is the ancient Gopeshwar Mahadev Temple, located in a very historic part of town, not far for holy Yamuna river. Thousands of years ago, Vrajanabha, the great-grandson of Lord Krishna installed the Siva Lingam, sacred deity of Lord Shiva, in the Gopeshwar Mahadeva Temple.
How Lord Shiva Became the Guardian of Vrindavan as Gopeshwar Mahadev.
On an autumn night, under a lustrous full moon, Lord Krishna performs his sweetest eternal pastime known as the Maha Rasa Lila, his enchanting night of dancing with the beautiful gopis (milk maidens) of Vrindavan.
Since no males other than Krishna are ever allowed to enter into this dance, Lord Shiva was denied entrance by the presiding Queen of Vrindavan, Vrinda devi. While standing guard outside the sacred dance area, Shiva’s desire to join the dance grew stronger, and he began meditating intensely on Krishna’s beloved Sri Radha, who took notice and dispatched one of her attendants Lalita devi to initiate Shiva into the dance.
She instructed Shiva to bathe in the sacred Yamuna River, and when he emerged from the purifying waters transformed into a charming young gopi, he was allowed to enter the dance. Taking notice of the new “gopi”, Krishna smiled mischievously at Lord Shiva and named him Gopeshwara. To this day, Shiva is considered the guardian of the Rasa Lila dance and is affectionately called Gopeshwara Mahadev of Vrindavan.
Gopeshwar Mahadev Temple of Vrindavan During Festivals
On special holy days such as bi-weekly ekadasi fasting days or holidays dedicated to worshipping Lord Shiva, such a huge crowd of pilgrims and devotees converges on the Gopeshwar Mahadev Temple, that there is hardly room to walk on any of the nearby streets.
Restoring the Beauty of Historical Vrindavan
For those who value ancient tradition and cultural heritage, the Gopeshwar Mahadev Temple is absolutely not to be missed while visiting Vrindavan. Gopeshvar temple is base of Vrindavan’s history. Walking through the ancient historical area between this temple and Kesi Ghat, one cannot help but feel compelled to join the efforts to restore the beauty and glory of this sacred place.
The organizers of Vrindavan Act Now! are eager to engage everyone in joining this important project to clean up one of Vrindavan’s most historic and holy areas.
THE LEGEND OF SHRI GOPESHWAR MAHADEV – LORD SHIVA MEETS LORD KRISHNA
RadheKrishna The place was BanshiVat (Banshi: Flute, also called Vamsi or Vansi. Vat: Banyan Tree) at Vrindavan. It was a bright moonlight night of Sharad Purnima, the full moon. Fragrant flowers were spreading their scent. Lord Krishna was playing his flute on the banks of the river Yamuna. The entire Maha Raas was so pleasurable that everyone lost track of time – Lord Krishna condensed six months into one single night.
Lord Shankar was meditating on Mount Kailash. He was mesmerized by the sweet sound of the flute being played by Lord Krishna in Vrindavan. His samadhi was disturbed. Lord Shankar left his abode and left for Vraj-Vrindavan. Parvatiji tried to dissuade him from going, but Lord Shiva did not listen to her. Lord Shiva left for Vanshivat in Vrindavan along with Shriyasuri Rishi, Parvatiji, Nandi, Ganesh, and Kartikeya.
At the place where the Mahaa Raas was going on in Vamsi Vat, Gopis were standing at the entrance gate. Goddess Parvati entered the MahaRaas, but the gatekeepers did not allow Lord Shiva and others from entering. They told him that only one Man, Lord Kirshna, could be present for this Maha Raas, and no other male could be allowed to enter.
Lord Shiva told the Gopis that he wanted to enter the Maha Raas and see Lord Krishna and Radha, and asked them to come up with a solution. One of the Gopis, Lalita, suggested that he should become a Gopi if he wanted to see the MahaRaas. After bathing in Mansarovar, he should take on the form of a Gopi. Lord Shiva transformed himself into a charming Gopi, and Yamunaji decorated him even further.
Smiling, Lord Shiva entered the Maha Raas as a Gopi. Lord Shiva, in the Mohini roop, joined the Gopis in Lord Mohan’s Raas Leela, and started enjoying the melodious flute. Watching Radhaji and all the Gopis dance, and enjoying the enchanting flute being played by Lord Krisna, Mahadevji also started dancing.
Lord Krishna started smiling. He walked past Radhaji and all the Gopis who were dancing, blissfully unaware of the presence of Lord Mahadev in their midst. Lord Krishna went and held the hand of Lord Shiva. Lord Krishna smiled, and with great respect, said “Welcome, O Maharaj Gopeshwar”. Radhaji and all the other Gopis were puzzled. Lord Krishna said with devotion, “Radhe, this is no ordinary Gopi. This is Lord Shiva Himself. He has transformed himself in the form of a Gopi to see the Maha Raas Leela with pure saatvik bhaav.”