Why is Shiva worshipped as a gopi in Vrindavan?
This year, Mahashivratri will be celebrated on 13 and 14 February. In Vrindavan, the temples dedicated to Lord Shiva such as Gopeshwar, Gokuleshwar, Govindeshwar, Bankhandeshwar, and Taleshwar draw a huge number of Shiva devotees.
Legend has it that Lord Shiva is the first Vaishnav ever because He is a devotee of Lord Vishnu whose avatar is Lord Krishna. In fact, many believe that Lord Vishnu too is an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva.
Ages back in the Dwapara Yuga, the town of Vrindavan witnessed something that stands testimony to Lord Shiva’s profound love for Krishna. In fact, it was this incident that gave rise to the feminine form of Lord Shiva, the form in which He is worshipped in the Gopeshwar Temple in Vrindavan even today.
This happened on a beautiful full moon night when Krishna along with Radha and His sakhis were performing Raas Leela on the banks of Yamuna. Keen on being a part of the Leela, Lord Shiva and His wife, goddess Parvati, visited Vrindavan. However, while Parvati was allowed into the Raasmandal, Vrinda Devi stopped Lord Shiva from entering the town. She explained that the Raas Leela was a tribute to Radha and was an attempt to please her. This is why sakhibhav was necessary. Being a woman, Parvati inherently had the sakhibhav while Lord Shiva didn’t.
Lord Shiva then waited outside Vrindavan, but so keen was His desire to participate in Krishna’s transcendental dance, that He meditated about Radha. Radharani was pleased by this and sent her closest friend Lalita to bring Shiva. When Lalita met Shiva, she told Him everything about sakhibhav and how the only way for Him to attain it was to take a dip in the holy Yamuna.
Shiva took this dip and emerged as a beautiful damsel. He entered the Raasmandal in this form but Krishna immediately recognised Him and hailed Him as Gopeshwar. Even today, Lord Shiva is worshipped every evening from 5 pm to 9 pm in this feminine form in the Gopeshwar Temple, a temple where the Shiva linga is believed to have been established by the gopis themselves. It is also believed that the gopis prayed to Gopeshwar for the fulfillment of their desire of getting Krishna as their husband.
The next time you visit Vrindavan, spend at least an evening in the Gopeshwar Temple when the Shiva linga is dressed as a gopi and special shringar ceremonies are performed.
All about the Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir
Envisioned by the devotees of ISKCON Bengaluru, The Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir is going to a religious and architectural masterpiece that India will be proud of. Not to mention that it is going to change the face of the rapidly developing town of Vrindavan. When this marvel will be completed, it will stand at 700 ft, making it the tallest Krishna temple in the world. It will be so tall, that it will dwarf many wonders of the world like the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt and the Taj Mahal in India itself. This iconic temple will span 5 acres of land and will be a grand affair.
It will house the grand temple hall with the Shri Radha Vrindavan Chandra Mandir, the Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Mandir and the Srila Prabhupada Mandir in three different wings. This alone should give you an idea of how grand the temple is going to be. It will also feature a Krishna heritage museum, a study centre, a festival and lecture hall and a viewing gallery which will be perched at the very top of the temple, at 700 ft. Added attractions will include a Vedic cosmology centre, a massive indoor Krishna Leela Theme Park and boat rides both indoors and outdoors.
Everyone is aware of the 12 famous vanas or forests of Vrindavan, like the Madhuvan and Nidhivan. These vanas will also be recreated for people to walk through and get transported to the era in which Krishna lived and frolicked in these forests. These 12 forests together will be known as the Dvadasha Kanana. Apart from this, The Vrindavan Chandrodaya Mandir is also built in such a way that is resistant to all abrasive forces of nature. It is a modern architectural marvel devoted to Krishna and his ardent followers.
Vrindavan is now one step closer to being a model city:
Mathura, February, 25th 2016: The developmental projects to be undertaken in the model city program were outlined in a meeting on Wednesday. The meeting was chaired by Shri S.B. Singh, the Secretary of the Mathura Vrindavan Development Authority. Coordination among the various government departments was emphasized during the meeting.
The final Detailed Project Report will be ready on 3rd March. It should be noted that a meeting was convened in the MVDA conference room on 23rd January 2016, which was chaired by the Divisional Commissioner Shri Pradeep Bhatnagar. Many stakeholders from Vrindavan participated in the meeting and gave their valuable suggestions on how they want to see Vrindavan develop.
The SP Traffic informed that one way traffic plan has been prepared. A control room has been established for the CCTV’s to be installed in the Parikrama Marg. No entry has been proposed in three locations, with the help of the MVDA. The MVDA has also written a letter to resume the Radha Rani Express and develop the Vrindavan Road station for better connectivity with Vrindavan through the rail route.
New home to be built for widows
Vrindavan, 6th February 2016: Vrindavan is all set to get another widow home which will house upto 500 women. The new widow ashram is being built behind the Omaxe housing complex situated on the Chhatikara – Vrindavan Road. Smt. Renuka Kumar, Principal Secretary of the Women Welfare Department of Uttar Pradesh visited Vrindavan on Friday.
She said that the widows and old women living in the Purana Pagal Baba Ashram will be shifted to some other place, as the existing building has become very old and may collapse any day. A piece of land has been identified for building a new home. The construction works to build the ashram will begin soon.
Tales of Krishna: victory over Kalia
Kalia was a poisonous snake who lived in the Yamuna River in Vrindavan. Because of this, the river water for four leagues had become unusable. No bird, animal or human was able to use the water. Kalia’s original home happened to be Ramanaka Dwipa, but he had come to reside in Yamuna in Vrindavan for fear of Garuda. Vrindavan was the only place where if Garuda set foot, he would die. Once young Krishna and his group of friends were playing with a ball near the riverbank and the ball accidentally fell into the river.
Without thinking too much about it, Krishna also jumped into the river to get the ball back. Immediately, Kalia rose out of the water and wrapped himself around Krishna’s body. Krishna responded by adopting so huge a form that Kalia had no option but to let him go. The village folk had gathered on the riverbank by this time and were sick with worry. Krishna, not wanting to worry them much longer, jumped on to Kalia’s many heads and started dancing on them. Krishna had assumed the weight of the entire universe; hence Kalia was nearing his end. If it was not for the pleading of Kalia’s wives, Kalia would have surely been killed by Krishna.
However, due to the prayers of the wives, Krishna decided to let Kalia go. Kalia too conceded to Krishna’s mercy and promised to go away and never bother the people of Vrindavan again.
Tales of Krishna: slaying of Kesi
It is true that Vasudev saved infant Krishna from Kansa by taking him from the prison and placing him in Yashoda’s lap. However, as Krishna began to grow up in Gokul, Kansa made more plans of having him killed. He dispatched many demons in disguise to bring about the death of Krishna.
One of these demons was Kesi. Kesi assumed the form of a gigantic horse for the task. He galloped so fast that he could hardly be seen, his hooves touched the ground with such force that the roads cracked. His neighing was terrifying to people.
Kesi went around wreaking havoc in Gokul until Krishna challenged him to a duel. Kesi roared like a lion and charged towards Krishna and struck him with his hooves. Krishna caught hold of his hooves and tossed him to the ground. After this Kesi attacked Krishna by devouring his arm.
However, as soon as Krishna’s hand went inside Kesi’s mouth, all of Kesi’s teeth fell off and Krishna’s arm enlarged in size. Finally, Kesi died a painful death by choking on Krishna’s arm. The Gods and Narad extolled him for this deed and prophesized many other wonderful things that he would go on to do, including putting an end to Kansa and his tyranny.