Gopisvara Mahadeva

Lord Siva wanted to participate in the maha-rasa, where Krsna dances and plays with the gopis.

Understanding that entering the rasa dance requires special qualification and mercy, Lord Siva performed austerities in Vraja and thus was able to please Paurnamasi, who is the personification the spiritual energy (yogamaya). In Krsna’s Vrndavana pastimes, she is an elderly brahmani and siksa-guru for the Vrajavasis. Under her instruction, Lord Siva bathed in Brahma-kunda (some sources say Manasarovara, and still others the Yamuna River). When he emerged from the sacred waters, Lord Siva had the beautiful form of a gopi. No one can enter the rasa dance with Krsna unless one is a gopi. So Lord Siva in the form of a gopi went to the area of the rasa dance near the Yamuna in Vrndavana, and when the other gopis noticed her, they approached her and began to ask her questions: “What is your name? Who is your husband? What does he do? Where is your house?” They asked so many questions she could not answer. So the other gopis concluded that this so-called new gopi was not actually one of them. They became angry at the imposter and began to slap her cheeks.

Siva, in the form of the gopi, then began to desperately call out the name of Paurnamasi. Immediately Paurnamasi appeared and stopped the gopis. She told them, “Don’t beat her. She is actually Lord Siva, a great devotee.” Because of Paurnamasi’s position as their spiritual guide, the gopis listened to her. Then Paurnamasi told Lord Siva, “Actually, you cannot participate directly in the rasa dance. The rasa dance with Krsna is only for gopis. But you can stay near the arena of the rasa dance and witness it and protect the area from others who are not qualified to enter.” She also gave Lord Siva the benediction that he could bestow upon devotees the qualification to enter the rasa dance.The deity of Gopisvara Mahadevaa established by Vajranabha resides near Vamsivata, the famous tree near the Yamuna where Krsna played on His transcendental flute to call the gopis for the maha-rasa dance. Every evening around the time of sunset, the pujaris of the Gopisvara Mahadevaa temple dress the siva-linga there as a gopi.

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