Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has composed a prayer in his Vraja-vilasa-stava:

muda gopendrasyatmaja bhuja parisranga nidhaye
sphurad gopirvrndair yam iha bhagavatam pranayibhih
bhajadbhistair bhaktyas vamabhilasitam praptam acirad
yamitire gopisvaram anudinam tam kila bhaje

‘I daily worship Gopishvara Mahadeva, who is situated on the bank of Yamuna. That very Gopishvara was worshipped with deep devotion by the Gopis, and he quickly fulfilled their desire to attain a supremely precious jewel in the form of the embrace of the son of Nanda Maharaja [Krishna].’

Srila Sanatana Gosvami, the great Vaishnava saint who resided in Vrindavana near the old Sri Madana-Mohana temple, would go daily to see Sri Gopishvara Mahadeva at his temple. Once, in his older years, Sanatana Gosvami had a dream wherein Gopishvara Mahadeva appeared and instructed him: “Now that you are old, please do not go through so much trouble to see me.” Sanatana Gosvami replied, “I will continue to come. I cannot change this habit.” Gopishvara Mahadeva said, “Then I will come and stay very near to your residence, manifesting in Bankhandi” The very next day, Sri Gopishvara Mahadeva appeared in Bankhandi, halfway between his original temple and Srila Sanatana Gosvami’s residence. Seeing this, Sanatana Gosvami became overwhelmed with transcendental ecstasy, and from that day on he visited Bankhandi Mahadeva every day.

Wherever he was, Srila Sanatana Gosvami could not live without his beloved Lord Shiva – Gopishvara Mahadeva and Bankhandi Mahadeva in Vrindavana, and Kameshvara Mahadeva in Kamyavana forest. In Govardhana he would stay near his very dear friend, Cakreshvara Mahadeva, who acquired the name when he served Govardhana Hill and the Vrajavasis by holding up his trident like a chakra, protecting them from the torrential deluge sent by King Indra. Prior to this, Lord Shiva, had asked Sri Krishna for the boon to witness His childhood pastimes. Krishna ordered him to situate himself in Nandagaon in the form of a hill. Shiva followed this order and became Nandishvara Hill, and he thus became known as Nandishvara. (Lord Brahma became Brahma-parvata, the mountain in Srimati Radhika’s birthplace, Varshana. Because Brahma is so near to Radhika, he is also our Gurudeva.)

We honor Lord Shiva as a great Vaishnava and as Guru. We do not worship him separately. We observe Shiva-ratri, Lord Shiva’s appearance day, and we glorify him in connection to his relationship with Sri Krishna. Srila Sanatana Gosvami has written in his Hari-bhakti-vilasa that all Vaishnavas should observe Shiva-caturdasi (Shiva-ratri). Lord Shiva in whom all good qualities reside, should certainly be honoured by the observance of this day.

We offer obeisance to Lord Shiva with prayers like this:

vrindavanavani-pate! jaya soma soma-maule
gopisvara! vraja-vilasi-yuganghri-padme
prema prayaccha nirupadhi namo namas te

‘O Gatekeeper of Vrindavana! O Soma, all glories to you! O you whose forehead is decorated with the moon, and who is worship able by the sages headed by Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Narada! O Gopishvara! Desiring that you bestow upon me prema for the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha- Madhava, who perform joyous pastimes in Vraja- dhama, I offer obeisance’s unto you time and again.’

(Sankalpa-kalpadruma 103)

From the small book “Siva Tattva” – ISBN #81-86737-74-X, Gaudiya Vedanta Publications 2005

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