Today is Śiva-rātri. It is not enough to just do vrata. We must also remember and sing the glories. It is said that on this day he took birth and he also got married on this day. On this day he also drank poison. Once the demigods together with the demons churned the ocean. One of the things that came from the ocean was poison. They asked Lord Śiva to take the poison. Before taking the poison he took medicine. What is the greatest medicine? To chant the names of the Lord – so he chanted “Acyuta, Govinda.” and that is why the poison had no effect. He kept the poison in his throat, so he is known as nīlakaṇṭha.
He is also kṣétra-pāla – the protector or gatekeeper of dhāma. In Vṛndāvana he is known as Gopīśvara Mahādeva. His pranam mantra:
vṛndāvanāvani-pate! jaya soma soma-maule
prema prayaccha nirupādhi namo namas te
[“O Soma, all glories to you! O you whose forehead is decorated with the moon, and who is worshipable for the sages headed by Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanātana and Nārada! O Gopīśvara!
Desiring that you bestow upon me prema for the lotus feet of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Mādhava, who perform joyous pastimes in Vraja-dhāma, I offer praṇāmas unto you time and again.”]
O Lord who are worshipped by great personalities like Nārada, and four Kumāras. Please give me attachment to lotus feet of the Lord of the gopis. Please take away all my material designation and please give me the great wealth – what is that Kṛṣṇa prema.
Through his pastimes we can see that he did not give protection to any of his devotees that were against Bhagavān like Kaṁsa and Rāvaṇa.
— Śrīla Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Mahārāja
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