Why Lord Shiva is worshiped as LINGA and why Gopis worshipped Shiva?
Actual Question from a devotee:
Hare Krishna Prabhu, pamho, DANDAVAT PRANAM. I have two questions for you prabhu, 1)why did gopas n gopis worship lord shiva when lord Krishna physically present in dwaparayuga n why lord shiva is called greatest Vaishnava, why he is not worshipped as greatest vaishnava in diety form like lord gauranga in temple. 2)Why God has created souls though soul has neither beginning nor end?
Though there are many versions of explanations and stories behind it, there is a logical explanation based on vedas.
Vedas describe the God as a pillar (Skambha) of light that supports all goodness.
That is why, you can see prime pillar in every temple.
The pillar of light denotes all the creations. The entire creations lie in the form of pillar. This pillar is represented as Shiva.
Every pillar needs a base from which it can originate. That base is seen below the linga form.
Since SHAKTHI is the internal and inseparable energy part of Lord Shiva that energises all the creations, it is given as a base.
In our culture, we always give SHAKTHI as a female and the CREATIONS as male.
Even in Gaudiya Vaishnava scriptures, we call Krishna as Purusha and His internal energy (Shakthi) as Srimati Radharani (female form).
That is why, the male representation is given to Lord Shiva and female representation is given to Shakthi (Uma).
Those who see the Shiva Linga in materialistic angle see the linga as male reproductive organ and the base as the female reproductive organ. This kind of approach can be avoided.
Just because a base looks like female organ and the pillar looks like male organ, we should not consider it so. This will not help us in advancing in devotional mindset.
Just consider the base as SHAKTHI and the LINGA as the CREATIONS.
Thus, the entire form of Shiva Linga can be considered as denoting entire creations with the source.
Therefore, to remind the entire creations and its source, Shiva is worshiped in Linga form.
Next, WHY GOPIS WORSHIPED LORD SHIVA?
Actually, Lord Shiva is considered as fulfilling the prayers of the devotees immediately. Particularly, the women approach Him to get good husband.
Using this nature of Lord Shiva, some ask for material benefits to Him.
However, as far as the vaishnavas are concerned, they are advised to desire only for getting the mercy of Krishna.
Therefore, using the immediate boon-giving nature of Lord Shiva, we can ask for Krishna’s mercy from Lord Shiva.
Since the vaishnavas are very merciful, they always like to fulfil the wishes of the devotees.
Lord Shiva, being the greatest Vaishnava also becomes happy when someone prays to Him to help him to get the mercy of Krishna.
He also helps those vaishnavas to get Krishna.
On this basis, Gopis too prayed to Krishna ONLY TO GET KRISHNA, NOT FOR ANY MATERIAL BENEFITS.
Gopis had the only target in their life. Getting the direct association of Krishna.
They tried their best to get as many blessings as possible from vaishnavas to get Krishna earlier.
Thus, they prayed to Lord Shiva also to help them get Krishna.
They succeeded in it.
Even Srila Bakthi Siddhanta Sarasvati, the guru of A.C.Bhakti Vedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON, prayed to Lord Shiva for extending Krishna’s mercy.
All the scriptures agree that the Vaishnavas are very powerful in giving/ transferring the Krishna Bakthi to others.
Lord Shiva is also capable of bringing Krishna’s mercy to us.
Finally, your question about why Lord created the soul?
Every material needs an energy to function.
Though there is a fan, it needs electrical energy to rotate.
Though there is a lamp, it needs either electricity or oil to give light.
Similarly, our body is also a material. It needs an energy to make it function.
Hence the soul.
Souls were first given a chance to be in their own spiritual state. They were also given a free will to accept bodies. Those who wanted to take bodies were sent to the material worlds to accept the bodies.
Other souls are always serving their source personality Krishna.
Hope you are clear now.