Shree Shiva-Ashtakam (The glorification of 8 verses to Lord Shiva)
Our humble salutations to Lord Shiva, whose complexion is like that of camphor, who is the incarnate of compassion and who is the essence of the world. He wears the king of serpents as His mala and forever dwells in the lotus-like heart. We bow to Shiva and Parvati.
Composed by Shree Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu from the Shree Caitanya Carita by Shree Murari Gupta.
Please note after these verses I have attached some information called “How Vaishnavas (Devotees of Lord Krishna) worship Lord Shiva”.
A very quick note on who Caitanya Mahaprabhu really is: - Shree Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the great teacher of love of God and the founder of the congregational chanting of the holy name of the Lord, advented Himself at Shree Dham Mayapur (this sacred place is about 130 km north of Kolkata) on Full Moon evening in the year 1407. Mahaprabhu is the expansion of Shree Shree Radha-Krsna… This time however He appeared as a great devotee of the Lord in order to preach to the people in general, as well as to religionists and philosophers, about the transcendental position of Shree Krishna, the primeval Lord and the cause of all causes. The essence of Mahaprabhu teachings is simply that Lord Krsna who appeared in Vrndavana as the son of Nanda Maharaja is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and is therefore worshippable by all. During His brief stay on this planet of 48 years He preached widely and His preaching was most effective.
A very quick note on who Murari Gupta really was: - The word gupta means “hidden”, so the name Murari Gupta indicates that Murari (Shree Chaitanya Deva) had secretly taken up permanent residence in his heart. Shree Murari Gupta, possessed extraordinary humility. He had a personal lifelong relationship with Lord Caitanya. Shree Murari Gupta was actually Shree Hanumanji himself…
I perpetually offer obeisances unto you, the Lord of the thirty primal devas, who are the original father of created beings, whose character is gracious upon whose head which is created by the sickle moon, the Ganga springs, and who are a festival for the eyes of Gauri, the fair goddess.
I offer my obeisances to you who resemble a molten gold, who are dressed in garments coloured like a group of budding blue lotuses or lustrous rainclouds, who bestow the most desirable boon to your devotees by your delightful, who offer shelter to those who seek to become one with the transcendental effulgence of Godhead, and whose flag bears the image of the bull.
I offer my obeisances to you who dispel darkness with your three eyes – the moon, the sun and fire – and thus cause auspiciousness for all the living entities of the universe, and whose potency easily defeats thousands of moons and suns.
I offer my obeisance to you, whose form is brilliantly illuminated by the jewels of Ananta-deva, the king of snakes, you who possess divine potencies and are clothes in a tiger-skin, who stands in the midst of a thousand-petalled lotus and whose two arms are adorned by lustrous bangles.
I offer my obeisances to you who bestow happiness to you servitors as you pour upon them the liquid nectar flowing from your reddish lotus feet, upon which charming ankle bells ring. Obeisances unto you who are adorned by an abundance of gem. Please endow Me today with pure love for Shree Hari (Krishna).
“O Shree Raam! O Govinda! O Mukunda! O Shauri! O Krsna! O Narayana! O Vaasudeva!” I offer my obeisances unto you, Shree Shiva, who are the monarch ruling over all the bee-like devotees who are mad to drink the nectar of these and other innumerable names of Shree Hari, and who thus destroys all grief.
I offer my repeated obeisances to you Shree Shiva, who is forever inquired of confidentially by Shree Narada and other great sages, who very easily bestow boons on them, who bestows the happiness of Hari Bhakti to those who seek boons of you, who thereby create auspiciousness and are thus the guru of everyone.
I offer my obeisances to you who are a festival of auspiciousness of the eyes of Gauri, you who are the lord of her life-energy, who bestows rasa and are expert in forever singing songs with eagerness of the pastimes of Lord Govinda (Krishna)
A person who lovingly hears with rapt attention this wonderful eightfold prayer to Shree Shiva can quickly gain Shree Hari-Prema as well as transcendental knowledge, the realization of that knowledge and unprecedented devotional potency.
After Lord Gaura thus praised Maheshvara (Lord Shiva), the servants of Shree Shiva very enthusiastically ornamented Gauranga’s unparalled from with sublimely fragrant flower-garlands, and the Lord then became settled nearby.
There Mahaprabhu ate some food offered by the Bhaktas and passed the night in that place resting happily. Rising early in the morning, his heart again began overflowing with delight as He sang songs describing the Lilas of Shree Krsna.
If one recites with devotion this glorification of the transcendental personality, Lord Puraari, as composed by the lotus-eyes Shree Caitanya Mahaprabhu, one can obtain here and now the eternally relishable pure love for Lord Krsna, which is very rarely achieved by the hosts of the sages and devas…
Thus ends the Eighth Sarga entitled “Darshana of Mahadeva,” in the Prakrama of the great poem Shree Caitanya-Carita.
How Vaishnavas (Devotees of Lord Krishna) worship Lord Shiva
Vaishnavas (Devotees of Lord Krishna) and Vrajavasis (the people born in Vrindavan, India) celebrate by seeking Lord Shiva's blessings and worship him in his form as a Gopi (Female cowherd girl) at the ancient temple of Gopishwara in Vrindavan.
"It is said, vaishnavanam yatha sambhu: Lord Shiva is the best of devotees of Lord Krishna. In Vrindavan there is Lord Shiva's temple called Gopishwara. The gopis used to worship not only Lord Shiva but Katyayani (Durga) as well, but their aim was to attain the favour of Lord Krishna. A devotee of Lord Krishna does not disrespect Lord Shiva, but worships Lord Shiva as the most exalted devotee of Lord Krishna. Consequently, whenever a devotee worships Lord Shiva he prays to Lord Shiva to achieve the favour of Krishna and he does not request material profit." (Purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 4. 24.30.)
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur offered these prayers wriiten for Gopishwara Mahadev when he visited the Lingaraj temple in Bhubaneshwar on June 22nd, 1922:
"O Lord Shiva, O gatekeeper of Vrindavan! O you who are accompanied by Uma (Parvati)! O you who carry the moon in your hair! O lord worshiped by Sananda-kumar, Sanat-Kumar and Narada Muni! O Gopishwar, the worshipable deity of the gopis! Desiring that you bestow upon me love for the divine couple, Shree Shree Radha Madhava, who perform joyous pastimes in Vraja, I offer my obeisances unto you again and again." (Srila Vishwanatha Chakravarti's Shree Sankalpa-kalpadrum, cited in vol. 7 of Shree Krishna Kathamritam)
It is related that Lord Shiva desiring to witness the Rasa Lila is stopped from crossing the Yamuna River in Vrindavan by Vrinda-devi. Lord Shiva protests this refusal of entry, saying he is a great devotee of Lord Krishna and should be allowed to participate in His most wonderful pastime with the Gopis. Vrinda Devi’s response is firm: "Krishna is the only male in the rasa-lila."
Lord Shiva, not to be outdone, submerges himself in Yamuna-devi, non-different from love of Lord Krishna, and emerges as a Gopi. Now qualified as feminine, he gains an exclusive inside view into the Rasa play of Lord Krishna and the gopis. The other Devas, including Lord Brahma, may only witness and shower flowers from outside the realm of Vamsivata on Yamuna shore.
The Deity of Gopishwar Mahadev (below), worshipped in a small temple near Vamsivata, is a lingam -- one of four important Shiva-linga shrines in Vraja. Each night the lingam is transformed as he assumes the semblance of a gopi's face, replete with nose ring and other feminine ornaments in a most colourful attire. The ensemble is different every day of the year. Lord Shiva resides forever in Vrindavan as Gopishwara Mahadeva, the dearest devotee of Krishna, and thus participates in all the Lord's unending Lila.
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