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Shri Gopal Bhatta Goswami
The All merciful Lord, Shri Gaur Hari, as He travelled from village to village throughout the South of India, continued to distribute love of Godhead wherever He went. Hearing the nectarean names of Hari from His lotus mouth, thousands and thousands of men and women felt relief from the blazing fire of material existence. Various wretched, miserable and fallen soul's lives were completely rejuvenated and thus they became virtuous and happy.
While causing rains of love of God to fall anywhere and everywhere, without consideration of time or place, Shri Gaursundor came to the holy place of Shri Rangaksetra.
The temple of Shri Ranga Ksetra was extremely large, the crest of the temple tower pierced the sky. Throughout the day and night hundreds and thousands of pilgrims were going and coming to take darshan of Lord Ranganath. The temple hall resounded with the sounds of hundreds of brahmanas chanting Vedic hymns. In the midst of this scene from Baikuntha entered Shri Gaursundor, chanting the names of Krishna, in His sweet voice that defeated the voices of ten million Gandharvas. Everyone in the temple became dumbstruck, amazed and thrilled with wonder. What unprecedented beauty; His bodily effulgence makes molten gold appear lack-lustre. From His eyes, which are like the full blown petals of a lotus flower, trickled down tears of ecstatic love. Every limb, every part of His body was filled with such exquisite grace that even the mind of Cupid gets stolen away.
The brahmanas began to consider, "Is this a demigod? Can such symptoms and emotions be found in human beings?" The halls resounding with the transcendental vibrations of Shri Hari's name, He came before the Deity and fell down as a tree is blown down by the wind. Some people thought that a mountain of gold was rolling on the ground. Shri Vyenkata Bhatta became restless with ecstasy at the sight of this Divine Personage. His heart was flooded with devotion as he got up and began to move the crowds away so that the Lord could engage in chanting and dancing.
When the Lord had regained His external consciousness after engaging in sankirtan, Vyenkata Bhatta approached Him and took the dust of His lotus feet. Mahaprabhu gazed towards him while saying, "Krishna! Krishna!" and embraced him firmly. Then Shri Vyenkata Bhatta invited Mahaprabhu to come to his house. Having brought Him there he very reverently washed His lotus feet and, along with his other family members, drank that water. Shri Bhattaji's house became filled with joy.
Mahaprabhu came to Ranga Ksetra in the Christian year 1511. Vyenkata Bhatta had two brothers, Trimalla Bhatta and Prabodhananda Sarasvati. They all belonged to the Ramanuja sampradaya and Prabodhananda Sarasvati was a tridandi sannyasi of that order. Vyenkata Bhatta had a son named Gopal, who was then just a child. When the boy came to offer his obeisances, Mahaprabhu picked him up and very affectionately seated him in His lap. Mahaprabhu would call Gopal after He had finished His meal and offer His remnants to the boy. In this way He prepared him for the position of Acarja.
After remaining at Vyenkata Bhatta's house during the four months of the rainy season (Caturmasya), Mahaprabhu prepared to continue His journey of the South. Vyenkata Bhatta's house began to ebb and flow in a tide of tears, in anticipation of His departure. Gopal fell at His lotus feet in a dead faint. Therefore Mahaprabhu remained for a couple of more days in order to console the boy. He instructed him to serve his mother and father and always engage in chanting Krishna's glories and thereafter to come to Brindaban.
Very quickly Gopal became expert in grammar, poetry and rhetoric and then began his study of Vedanta. His uncle Prabodhananda specifically began to instruct him from the devotional scriptures (Bhaktisastra).
Gopal Bhatta always remained thinking of the lotus feet of Mahaprabhu and when he might again be able to meet Him. At the same time however he couldn't leave his aged mother and father. But eventually the day came when they called their son Gopal and instructed him to go to the lotus feet of Mahaprabhu in Brindaban. Then, while meditating on His lotus feet, they went to join Him in His eternal lila. Thus Gopal set out for Brindaban. When he arrived there Rupa Gosvami immediately sent word to Mahaprabhu in Shri Nilacal, to inform Him of Gopal's arrival there.
Mahaprabhu had previously indicated to Rupa and Sanatan that Gopal Bhatta would one day come there to Brindaban, so upon his arrival they treated him with the same care and affection they would their own brother. They immediately became life long companions.
When Mahaprabhu received word that Gopal Bhatta had come to Brindaban He was very pleased. He sent back with that messenger a wooden sitting plank (piri) which He had used, as well as a pair of His undergarments and one of His cloths. Gopal Bhatta was in ecstasy to receive these gifts and he worshipped them as the prasad of Mahaprabhu. When he would worship his Deities he used to sit on that wooden plank. This piri (wooden seat) and remnants of that cloth are still being worshipped at Shri Shri RadhaRamana Mandir in Brindaban.
Gopal Bhatta, like Rupa and Sanatan, had no fixed residence and would spend the night in various kunjas (forest groves). He spent his time studying the scriptures and composing various literatures.
Shri Gopal Bhatta Gosvami used to worship twelve salagram silas. Wherever he would go he brought them with him in a piece of cloth tied at the corner.
One time a rich man (Seth) came to meet Gopal Bhatta to have his darshan. Being very impressed with the Gosvami he wanted to render some service which he presented in the form of some valuable cloths and ornaments.
Gopal Bhatta kept the cloths and ornaments with his silas while thinking, "If I had a Deity then I would be able to decorate Him so nicely with these clothes and ornaments."
In the evening after offering some bhoga and aroti to his salagram silas, Gopal Bhatta put them to rest, covering them with a wicker basket. Late in the night, Gopal Bhatta took a little rest himself and then, in the early morning went to take bath in the Yamuna.
Returning from his bath, he went to uncover the salagrams in order to wake Them, when he saw amongst Them a Deity of Krishna playing the flute. There were now eleven silas and this Deity!
Floating in the ocean of ecstasy, he fell to the ground in order to offer his dandabats and then recited various prayers and hymns. When Rupa and Sanatan Gosvamis, as well as many other devotees, received news of this miraculous event they came running to see the Lord. Gazing on the Lord's transcendental Form, which bewildered all the living entities of the many various planets, they all bathed Him with their tears.
This Deity whom the Gosvamis named, Shri Radharaman Deb, made His appearance on the full moon day of Boisakh in the year 1542. Except for Brindadebi, Shri RadhaRamanaji is the only one of the original Deities of Brindaban who never left to go to Jaipur. He is still being worshipped in Brindaban near Nidhuban kunj. Shri Radharamana Deba, unlike other Deities, has very intricate features, including fingernails and even teeth. On the back side of His body, parts of the original salagram sila from which He manifested can be seen
There is a story that the small son of one of the sevaits was playing with the Deity once and put a small stick in one ear of the Deity and pushed it through, out the other ear. The stick however, had blood on it, and that boy died vomiting blood that very day.
When Shri Gopal Bhatta was returning from the Gandaki River in the Himalayas where he had brought the salagram silas from, suddenly a downpour started and so he had to take shelter in the house of one brahmana. This brahmana was very devoted and so he very carefully began to serve Shri Gopal Bhatta. Shri Bhattaji was very pleased. Since this brahmana had no children he blessed him that he might have a son who would be a devoted follower of Lord Hari. The brahman replied that, "My first son I will send to you in order to serve you."
Approximately ten years later when Gopal Bhatta returned from bathing in the Yamuna one day, he saw a young boy sitting at the door of his kutir. When the boy saw Gosvamiji approaching, he got up and then fell down to offer his dandabats. Gopal Bhattaji inquired who the boy was, to which he replied, "My home was in Debbandyagram within Saharanpur near Haridwar. My father has sent me here to serve you. My name is Gopinath."
Then Gopal Bhatta could remember the time when he went to Haridwar many years ago. So this boy remained with him and very carefully began to serve him.
Eventually he became known as Shri Gopinath Pujari Gosvami. He served Shri RadhaRamana Deba throughout his life as a brahmacari. His younger brother Shri Damodar das, along with his family, accepted initiation from Shri Gopinathji and also became engaged in the service of the Deity. Shri Damodar dasa's three sons were named Harinath, Mathuranath and Hariram. Their descendants are the present sevaits of RadhaRaman and are very influential both in wealth, learning and prestige, among the Gauriya Baisnabs at Brindaban.
Shri Gopal Bhatta, in his worship of Shri RadhaRaman, would sometimes see extraordinary things. "Becoming subservient to the love of Shri Gopal Bhatta, Shri RadhaRamana would sometimes accept the form of Shri Gaursundor."
Shri Gopal Bhatta was the initiating guru of Shrinivas Acarja Prabhu. He is reputed by some to have written the following books: Satsandarbhakarika, ShriKrishnavallabha (Krishnakarnamrtatika), Satkriyasaradipika, and Laghu Haribhaktivilas with Digdarsini tika. From this work, Shri Sanatan Gosvami compiled the Haribhaktivilas now followed by Gauriya Baisnabs. There is however some controversy whether all of these book1s were in fact compiled by the Gopal Bhatta who is known as one of the six Gosvamis.
In the Gaurganoddesh dipika, Gopal Bhatta Gosvami's name in Braja lila has been given as either Ananga manjari or Guna manjari.
His birth was on the third day of the dark fortnight of the month of Pausa, in the year 1503 (Christian), 1425 (Saka). His disappearance was on the sixth day of the dark fortnight of the month of Srabon in the year 1578 (Christian), 1500 (Sakabda).