Thursday, June 25, 2009

Shiva in Vraja

Shiva in Vraja

Cintahara Mahadeva

The Chintahara or Chintaharana Mahadeva temple is situated on the eastern side of the Yamuna River, south of Gokul and about one kilometer south of Brahmananda Ghat, where Krishna manifested His universal form to Mother Yasoda. This ancient deity of Shiva is known as Chintahara, “the remover of anxieties”, because it is said that Mother Yasoda was regularly coming here from Gokula to worship this siva-linga to remove her worries. As a baby, Krishna was constantly performing many mischievous acts. Sometimes He would catch hold of the tail of a calf and have it pull Him through the dirt and mud. Sometimes, much to the horror of His mother, He would play with snakes or wild animals. Sometimes He would eat dirt or steal butter and break the pots of the elderly gopis. Sometimes He would pass urine in the houses of other gopis. Other times He would pinch their sleeping babies and make them cry. Seeing all of His naughty activities filled Mother Yasoda with a kind of ecstatic anxiety for the well being of her beloved child. In this mood, Krishna’s mother would pray to Lord Chintahara Mahadeva to protect the jewel of her heart.

Another local tradition has it that this deity of Chintaharana Mahadeva was situated here even before Mother Yasoda started coming to worship him. Once, Mahadeva Shambhu wanted to see the beautiful form of Krishna. With this desire in mind, he left Kailash and came to this ghata on the bank of the Yamuna, where he began meditating on Krishna. Eventually Krishna appeared and captured (harana) the mind (cinta) of Shiva with His beauty.

The ancient siva-linga at this place is said to be the same one that was originally worshiped by Mother Yasoda. In a side temple here there are also deities of Mother Yasoda and Krishna.

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