This website: The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal, describes

"Once, deep in meditation on the sacred Mount Kailash, Lord Shiva was enraptured by the sweet melodies of Krishna's divine flute. Mesmerized, He entered into a state of samadhi and followed the transcendental sound until it led Him to the mystical land of Vrindavan. Here, Lord Krishna was preparing to start the Maha rasa with His beloved gopis. Lord Shiva, intensely desiring to join the dance, made His way to the entrance of the rasa-sthali but was stopped by Yogamaya. She informed Him that only Krishna and gopis were allowed to enter and advised Him to seek the form of a Vraja Gopi (damsel of Vrindavan).Determined to join the dance, Lord Shiva approached Vrinda Devi, who instructed Him to take a dip in the waters of the sacred Manasarovar. Emerging from the lake with the form of a stunning gopi, Lord Shiva was taken by Vrinda Devi to a corner of the rasa-sthali (place of Rasa) where He prayed to Sri Sri Radha Krishna for prema-bhakti. As the rasa began, Lord Krishna danced gracefully with all the gopis, including Lord Shiva in His gopi guise. However, as the dance continued, Lord Krishna sensed that something was amiss and asked Lalita Devi to investigate. She searched high and low but found no man among the gopis, only a gopi with three eyes. Bringing this gopi to Lord Krishna, He laughed heartily and addressed Him as "Gopeshwar" before offering Him the post of rasa dwaar-paal (protector of Rasa arena) and granting Him the blessing that all gopis would offer respect and seek His blessing to achieve gopi bhava."

Gopeśvara Mahādeva Temple, Vṛndāvana

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    None of the scriptures mention this story like tge way Vaishnavas presented... they actually made up this story just to demean Lord Shiva...
    – Vidya
    Commented Apr 12 at 18:03
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    There is a mention of Lord Shiva as Gopesvara in Shaiva Shashtras but not as he became gopi to see Krishna... and to feel the Ras or to have the enjoyment of Gopibhav ... Lol 😆... Shashtras mention Gopeshvara as Lord Shiva the Ishvara of Krishna and Gopis.. where they worshipped Lord Shiva to get child
    – Vidya
    Commented Apr 12 at 18:06
  • @Vidya I thought so. Denied entry, kept as doorman ! lol Commented Apr 12 at 18:08
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    @Śipiviṣta yes Lol, there is a video in youtube by one of the Iskcon members named Amogh Lila who even stated that Gopis beated Lord Shiva there and and Gopeshvara means Gopis are Ishwara of Lord Shiva... Lol 😆 these clowns in the name of Vaishnavas
    – Vidya
    Commented Apr 12 at 18:12

3 Answers 3


While there are mentions of a 'Gopesvara' Tirtha in some non vaisnava scriptures, the story of Shiva turning into a Gopi is nowhere mentioned anywhere in any of the Purana texts.

Shiva purana kotirudra samhita Chapter 2

Gopeśvara, Raṅgeśvara, Vāmeśvara, Nāgeśa, Kāmeśa, Vimaleśvara, Vyāseśvara, Sukeśa, Bhāṇḍeśvara, Huṃkāreśa, Surocana-Bhūteśvara and Saṅgameśa are the destroyers of great sins.

Skanda purana mentions that it was installed by Gopis for the sake of attaining sons.

Thereafter, a pilgrim should go to the excellent shrine of Gopīśvara, O great goddess. It is situated within a distance of three Dhanus to the north of Balātibaladaityaghnī. It was installed by the Gopīs (cowherdesses) and it is destructive of sins. They had propitiated Maheśvara for the sake of sons. When adored, it bestows all the desires unto men. It bestows progeny also.

Albeit no direct reference is mentioned, the Krishna upanishad, A late medieval upanishad mentions a story where a group of Sages and devas such as rudra etc. pray to ramachandra wanting to embrace him. He grants them the boon of becoming Gopis and attaining his company in his krishna avatara. This is interpreted by some people as a 'foreshadowing' or a veiled reference of the story of Shiva becoming a Gopi.

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Regardless of whether one takes the interpretation to be valid or not, the story of Shiva being a doorkeeper to rasa-mandala has no basis in any authentic scriptures.

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    Can it be legitimately said that none of the sthala puranas, jAnapadas contain this description? Or would that be just a conjecture?
    – estimator
    Commented Apr 13 at 10:07
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    But the same upanishad also says that Rudra became his Sword not gopi. Only the sages became gopis abd gopas. Plus, The Kalika Purana also says Kali becomes Krishna and Rudra becomes Radha. Commented Apr 13 at 11:15
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    @estimator There's no sthala purana associated with Gopesvara
    – user34336
    Commented Apr 14 at 7:42
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    @SriShivaCharañamDāsaVishñu I just stated what certain people stated as a conjecture. As for my personal opinion, I do not think of the story of Shiva becoming Gopi as anything more than folklore.
    – user34336
    Commented Apr 14 at 7:43
  • Oh, well, those people are just kind people who tend to speak illogical things without any references. Prd.. Commented Apr 14 at 11:23

Skanda Purana 5.3.73.: Also mentions about The Greatness of Gopāreśvara.:

But, G. V. Tagare broke it in the following way.: (gopa-īśvara-tīrtha) Lord of the Cows.

Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said: Formerly, O son of Kuntī, Kāmadhenu performed a penance there. She meditated on Maheśvara, the Lord of Devas, with great devotion.

Maheśvara, the Lord of the worlds, became pleased with the tawny-coloured cow. From within her body Parameśvara, the indivisible Lord, came out.

Maheśvara said: O tawny-coloured one, O Parameśvarī, O mother of the universe, I am pleased with you. O one of fair countenance, say quickly why the propitiation was carried on.

Surabhi said: 6-15. I have been created by Parameṣṭhin for the sake of helping the worlds. It is with my favour that all the affairs of the world come to fulfilment. O Śaṅkara, if people will proceed towards heaven, it is due to my favour. O Śaṃbhu, do stay in my Tīrtha with a desire for the welfare of the worlds.

Saying “So it shall be”, the Lord stayed there joyously. Ever since then, that Tīrtha became well known all over the earth. By means of a single bath, O great king, one dispels a great mass of sins. The gift of a cow at Gopāreśvara should be made with great devotion. A suitable cow should be given to a deserving excellent Brāhmaṇa along with gold and calf.

As for Krishna Upanishad.:

The broken curd pots became to Krishna the ocean of milk so that he can play with it. This reincarnation was meant to destroy his enemies and to protect good people. The sword in the hand of Krishna was the God of destruction, the Maheswara himself.


Mahabhagawatam (Shakti Pithanka) Puranam.: Chapter 49.:

18-19. Srideviji said- O Mahadeva! Lord! For your happiness, I will definitely be born as Shri Krishna in the male form in the house of Vasudeva on the earth and Trilochan! For my happiness, you too should be born in the form of a woman.

20-21. Sri Shivaji said: O Shivaa, protector of the world! Once I have attained your male form as Sri Krishna, I myself will be in the form of Radha, the daughter of Vrishabhanu, who is like your life, and will enjoy with you. At the same time, My eight forms will also descend into the world of death in the form of beautiful-eyed queens like Rukmini, Satyabhama and others.

22-27. Srideviji said - I will have such a proper visit with these forms of yours that neither has been done by anyone nor has been heard of anywhere. Mahadev! That wonderful anecdote will destroy the sins of living beings and bestow great virtue. Lord! At that time, my two friends named Vijayaa and Jayaa will be established as men named Shridama and Vasudama. Maheshwara ! According to the vow I had made with Lord Vishnu in the past, he will be my elder brother at that time (when I will be Shri Krishna). He who always loves me, who is very powerful and who carries the plow as his weapon, will be famous by the name 'Balrama'. In this way, I will appear on earth and complete the work of the gods and in the end, after establishing great fame, I will go back from the earth.

A Shloka.:

इत्युवाच महेशोऽअपि प्रियां हिमवतः सुताम् पार्वती रामरूपेण सूर्यवंशे भवत्पुरा। सीतारूपेण भर्गस्तु विडेहान्वयजोऽशअभवत् ।।

Lord Mahadeva also said my beloved, the daughter of Himavan, Parvati, in the past was born in the dynasty of the Sun in the form of Rama and in the form of Sita, I Myself, Bharga, became the unborn daughter in Videha.

Rudra Hridayopanishad 5.:

"Uma Herself is in the form of Vishnu".

Mohini Incarnation.:

Sri Brahmanda Purana.: Lalitopakhyana.: 2:04 & 8.:

“Meanwhile, Vishnu began to meditate on Sri Lalita Mahatripurasundari, who was his very own Self.”


“By completely identifying himself with Maheshwari, Vishnu manifested himself in her form (as Vishwa Mohini).”

The MundamAla Tantram.:

KAli-- Krishna TArA-- RAma Bhuvaneswari-- VarAha Bhairavi-- Nrisimha DhumAvati-- VAmana Chinnamsta-- ParashurAma KamalA-- Matsya BagalAmukhi-- Kurma MAtangi-- Buddha Shodashi-- Kalki.

Shiva Purana 3.16.:

Sutji said- The first incarnation of lord Shiva was as Mahakal and his Shakti was called Mahakali. Lord Shiva took his second incarnation as Tar and his Shakti was called 'Tara'. The third incarnation of Lord Shiva was as Bhuvaneshwar and his Shakti was called 'Bhuvaneshwari'. Lord Shiva took his fourth incarnation as 'Shodash' who was also known as 'Srividdyesh' and his Shakti was called 'Shodashi' or 'Shri'. Lord Shiva took his fifth incarnation as Bhairav and his Shakti was called 'Bhairavi'. The sixth incarnation of Lord Shiva is famous as 'Chhinamastak' and his Shakti by the name of 'Chhinamasta.Lord Shiva took his seventh incarnation as 'Dhoomvan' and his Shakti was known as 'Dhoomvati. The eighth incarnation was as Baglamukh and his Shakti as Baglamukhi. The nineth incarnation of lord Shiva became famous as Matang and his Shakti as 'Matangi'. Lord Shiva took his tenth incarnation as 'Kamal' and his Shakti as Kamala. If these ten incarnation of Shiva are worshipped along with his ten Mahavidyas then a man attains salvation.

I hope this clarifies all your queries. Prd..

  • Ig the second reference is from Devi Bhagvatam. Sivaa is Parvati.
    – Singh S1
    Commented Apr 23 at 16:47

Why look for evidence of a Vaishnava literature in a non-Vaishnava scripture and what benefit can be sought by making such a distinction amongst the scriptures in the first place.

There isn't a direct mention of Lord Shiva becoming Gopeshwar in the land of Vraja but His prayerful mood or affection towards Vrindvana can be seen in the Radha Kripa Kataksha Stotra from the Urdhvamnaya Tantra and the benedictions given by the Lord to those who recite it, such as below:

Tasya sarvartha-siddhah syad Vak-samarthya tato labhet Aishvaryam cha labhet sakshad Drisha pashyati radhikam (17)

“That practicing devotee (sadhaka) who recites this stava 100 times while situated in the waters of Sri Radha-kunda up to the thighs, navel, chest or neck, attains complete perfection in all the four purusarthas or goals of human existence—namely dharma (religiosity), artha (economic success), kama (fulfillment of desires), and moksha (liberation from material existence). One also attains the power by which everything spoken will come true. One becomes very opulent due to attaining transcendental majesty, and gets to meet Sri Radhika face to face, seeing Her even with one’s present eyes.”

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