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Shri Gopal Guru Gosvami
Shri Gopal Guru Gosvami was the disciple of Shri Bakresvar Pandit. He was an Orissan brahmana who's previous name was Makaradhvaj Pandit. From his very childhood he was in the care of his guru and would also serve Lord Chaitanya. Mahaprabhu didn't much approve of the name Makaradhvaj (a name for Cupid) and so named him Gopal. Mahaprabhu was very affectionate to him and used to enjoy a humorous relation with him. Mahaprabhu would address him as "Guru". Thus from his childhood he retained this title.
One story has it, that when Mahaprabhu was going to answer the call of nature, he was biting his tongue which was incessantly and uncontrollably engaged in chanting the Holy Names. When Gopal saw this, in his innocence as a small boy, he remarked, "Prabhu! You are the independent Supreme Lord. But just suppose, if one of us ordinary jivas, in following Your example, happens to quit his body while so indisposed; then what will his future be, in the absence of the chanting of Your Holy Names?"
Prabhu replied, "Gopal! You have spoken correctly. From today your title will be guru."
The news of this incident spread far and wide. Soon thereafter Abhiram Thakur wanted to come and meet this wonderful devotee. Naturally he would probably offer his obeisances to Gopal. [vide: Abhiram Gosvami].
When Gopal received this news he was terrified and ran to Mahaprabhu, taking shelter in His lap. In order to allay his fears, Prabhu put His lotus footprint on Gopal's forehead which remained in the form of tilok. Thus he was easily able to withstand the force of Abhiram Thakur's pranams.
The room where Mahaprabhu stayed, within the garden house of Kasi Misra, is known as Gambhira. After the disappearance of Mahaprabhu, Bakresvar Pandit took up residence there and established Shri Shri RadhaKanta Matha as the main centre for the propagation of Shri Chaitanya's doctrine in Orissa. After the disappearance of Bakresvar Pandit, Gopal Guru became the Mahanta (Abbot) of the Math.
During the time of Gopal Guru the temple of RadhaKanta was renovated and he installed Deities of Radha and Lalita on each side of Radhakanta as well as Deities of Shri Shri NitaiGaurachandra, in very beautiful dancing postures. An oil painting of Adwaita Acarja existing from a previous time continued to be worshipped by him. By the influence of his association with Swarup Damodar Gosvami and Shri Raghunath das Gosvami, he became very expert in worshipping the Deity with loving devotion.
On the twelfth day of the bright fortnight in the month of Magh, a festival is held in RadhaKanta Math. On this day a murti of Gopal Guru is placed next to Mahaprabhu's asan within the Gambhira for a few moments. This is in commemoration of the date when the abbotship of the monastery was bestowed upon him. Within the Gambhira a portion of Mahaprabhu's quilt, His shoes and His water pot are carefully preserved.
When Gopal Guru became advanced in years he conferred the responsibility for the worship of the Deities on his disciple Dhyancandra, and then left his body.
Local legend has it that thereafter the representatives of the King arrived on the spot at that moment to take the body of Gopal Guru to Swarga dwar (near the ocean) for performing the funeral obsequies and in protest of the fact that the abbotship of the monastery was bestowed without the permission of the King. Thus they also besieged the Math.
When Dhyancandra was informed of this he went and held on to the lotus feet of his guru. While crying all the while he submitted this whole state of affairs for the consideration of his gurudeb. Gopal Guru was moved by the greatly distressed condition of his disciple and as well by the tyranny and oppression of the king's men so he returned to this world.
Rising up from his own funeral procession he led a sankirtan procession toward the royal apartments. Needless to say the king's servants unlocked the gates of RadhaKanta Math which they had previously barricaded, simply upon hearing this news.
Gopal Guru remained the Mahanta there for the next three generations of kings. After firmly establishing Dhyancandra as the next Mahanta he again left this world on the ninth day of the waxing fortnight in the month of Karttik.
The next year however, when some residents from Brindaban returned there after participating in Rathjatra, they happened to see Gopal Guru one day, seated underneath a Pankura tree near Bamsibat, engaged in his bhajan. This news they dispatched to Dhyancandra in Puri.
Dhyancandra hurriedly came there to persuade his guru to come back to Puri. Gopal Guru replied that as he had already attained Brindaban, why should he go anywhere else?
He informed Dhyancandra, "Don't be in anxiety. If you are feeling separation from me then you can have a Deity of me made from a neem tree in the garden of Siddha Bakul. This murti can be installed in front of the Deity room and during the offering of bhoga to the Deities this murti can be placed in front of Shri Shri RadhaKanta. In this way you won't make any offences in the worship of the Deities. You will be able to see me in that murti."
This Deity is still being worshipped within the Jagmohan (place from where one takes darshan of the Deities) in front of Shri Shri Radha Kantajiu.
Another branch of RadhaKanta temple, with a samadhi mandir and murti of Gopal Guru was founded near Bamsibat in Brindaban. There are also branches of RadhaKanta Mandir founded by some followers of Gopal Guru at: Nidhuban, Brindaban; Kangali Mahaprabhu Math, Brindaban; Arunananda Kunj, Radhakund; Kisori Kund, Jabat; Gambhirar Math, Koladwip; Madhabi debi's Gopinath Mandir, Benthpur.
Narottam das Thakur met Gopal Guru Gosvami at Kasi Misra Bhavan when he came to visit Puri. [B.R.8.389]
Gopal Guru compiled a book called, Shri GaurGovindarcan Paddhati (Smaran Paddhati).
Dhyancandra Gosvami was a very influential acarja who composed a book known as Dhyancandra Paddhati.