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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Biographical Works > Lord Chaitanya Eternal Associates > Srila Rupa Gosvami;

Shrila Rupa Gosvami;


Shrila Rupa Gosvami was extremely dear to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Through him and his elder brother, Shri Sanatan, Mahaprabhu disseminated His own teachings, the essential conclusions of all the scriptures. Amongst the devotees of Mahaprabhu these two were known as His generals.

In the Gaur ganoddesh dipika, Kabi Karnapur has written that Shri Rupa Gosvami's identity in Krishna lila was as Shri Rupa Manjari.


There is an anecdote as to how they came to be the ministers of the King of Gaurdesh, Hussain Shah Badsa.

Even at a very young age they had become quite learned in all of the scriptures. The guru (maulabi) of Hussain Shah was supposedly capable of seeing into the future, so Hussain Shah inquired from him about the prosperity of his kingdom.

The moulabi replied, "There are two extremely learned brahman boys who are endowed with all good qualities. If you appoint them as your ministers then you will attain a very opulent kingdom."


Having heard of the glories of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Shri Rupa had written a letter to Him praying for His darshan. In His reply Mahaprabhu explained to him, "As a woman who is attached to another man makes a show of being devoted to her husband, so should you, while being internally attached to the lotus feet of Shri Krishna, externally make a show of being engaged in your worldly duties. Krishna will bestow His mercy on you very soon."

Shri Rupa and Shri Sanatan, while residing at Ramakeli, were visited by many brahmanas and pandits from Nabadwip, Karnatak and various other parts of India. They were always careful to receive these guests and serve them in a befitting manner. They lived in very opulent surroundings at Ramakeli. Their court, which rivalled that of Lord Indra, was always attended by brahmanas and pandits from many lands as well as poets, singers, musicians and dancers. At great expense they maintained these guests and were always very careful that no one was disrespected in any way.

They were always engaged in studying the sastras and could establish and defeat the same philosophical arguments alternatively. Near their house were solitary gardens of Kadamba and other trees in the middle of which were Radhakund and Syamakund. There they would meditate on the Brindaban pastimes of Shri Shri RadhaShyam and so lose their patience while a constant stream of tears flowed from their eyes. They were always absorbed in the service of Shri MadanMohan and constantly assuaged their grief by praying for His mercy. Hearing of the pastimes of Shri Gaursundor at Nadiya they were always meditating on when they might get His darshan.

[Bhakti Ratna 1]

As we know from Chaitanya Charitamrita they finally did receive the mercy of Mahaprabhu and on His order came to live at Shri Brindaban dham.


Rupa Gosvami's worshipful Deity in Brindaban was Shri Gobinda Deb. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had instructed the Gosvamis to rediscover the holy places of Krishna's pastimes in Braja and to establish worship of His Shri Bigraha.

One day Shri Rupa was sitting on the banks of the Jamuna, lamenting that they hadn't been able to properly carry out His instructions. It was known to them that Shri Krishna's grandson Bajranabh had installed a number of Deities in Braja, among them Hari Deb, MadanMohan Deb, Gopinath Deb and Shri Gobind Deb. Shri Rupa had tried to locate these Deities, but to no avail.

As he was sitting and thinking in this way a very beautiful cowherd boy came along and asked him, "He Swamin! Why do you look so sad?"

Hearing the boy's cheerful voice, Shri Rupa's melancholy reverie was broken and his heart felt engladdened. He replied that he was feeling sad because he hadn't been able to follow Mahaprabhu's instructions properly.

The cowherd boy told him, "Swamin! Please come with me. I have seen something very interesting which may help you."

Then the boy brought him to Gomatila and explained, "Everyday a cow comes on top of this hill and pours down her milk here. There is a good chance you will find what you are looking for inside. Now I have to go."

Shri Rupa turned to see the cowherd boy off, but found no one present. He began to reflect, "Who was that cowherd boy and where did he run off to so suddenly?" His body thrilled with ecstatic symptoms as he intently gazed at the Mahayog Pith (Gomatila), he then went back to his kutir. The next morning he again came to Gomatila and quietly waited.

After a little while an exquisitely beautiful Surabhi cow came there and poured milk down on top of the hill which immediately disappeared inside the earth. Then she sauntered on into the woods. Now Shri Rupa was positive that Shri Gobinda Deb must be within the earth here. He came very quickly to the village of cowherds nearby and excitedly told them everything that had happened.

The cowherd men hurriedly gathered up some spades and hatchets and came running to Gomatila. Digging where Shri Rupa indicated they saw, after removing a small amount of earth, the all enchanting form of Shri Gobinda.

They all erupted in shouts of ecstasy, "Hari! Hari! Shri Govinda has again manifested Himself."

Shri Rupa with tears flowing from his eyes fell down at the lotus feet of Shri Gobindadeb to offer his obeisances, all the while reciting prayers and hymns. Very quickly the news spread and the other Gosvamis came there also, floating in an ocean of joy. Soon an incessant flow of people from all quarters began to arrive, carried by waves of joy. Lord Brahma and the other demigods, having assumed mortal appearances, mixed in with the other people and gazed upon the body of Shri Gobinda. There was not a lull in the crowd for even a moment as people continued to pour in from places unknown.

Shri Rupa Gosvami immediately sent word to Mahaprabhu in Puri concerning this auspicious event. Shri Gaursundor, as well as His many associates, could not contain their ecstasy on receiving this happy news.

Meanwhile the brahmanas performed the abhishek of the Deity and began to prepare offerings of bhoga from the milk, yogurt, rice, flour and vegetables which the villagers were bringing.

Mahaprabhu sent Kasisvar Pandit from Puri to assist in worshipping the Deity.

Rupa and Sanatan were overjoyed that Shri Gobindaji and MadanMohan had finally reappeared and that the responsibilities which Mahaprabhu had given them were gradually being carried out, by His mercy. Now they could give their full attention to composing the Bhakti sastras, in compliance with Mahaprabhu's further instructions.

Shri Gobinda Deb is presently being worshipped in Jaipur, Rajasthan, which is easily reached by bus from Brindaban. One should then proceed by rickshaw to Shri Shri RadhaGovinda Mandir from the bus stand.


After completing Vidagdhamadhava, Lalitamadhava, and various other books, Shri Rupa began to work on Bhakti rasamrtasindhu.

One day Shri Ballabhacarja (of the Bisnuswami sampradaya) came to visit Rupa Gosvami. After offering him a seat the two of them began to discuss Krishna katha. In the course of their conversation, Shri Rupa presented the opening verse of BhaktiRasamrtaSindhu to Ballabhacarja to read. After studying this verse for some time Ballabha commented that there were a few mistakes.

At this time Shri Jiva, who had arrived from Bengal a few days before, was fanning his uncle Shri Rupa. He was extremely learned in all the sastras and was unsatisfied with Ballabha's remark. When Ballabhacarja went to the Jamuna to take his bath, Shri Jiva also came there on the pretext of fetching some water. He inquired from the acarja as to what actually were the mistakes in that verse. Ballabhacarja, after discussing some points with him, was amazed at the boy's scholarship.

A few days later Ballabha again came to Shri Rupa and inquired about the boy scholar, greatly praising his learning. After Ballabha had gone to his residence, Shri Rupa called Jiva and spoke to him, "Those whom we respect as our Guru and to whom we offer our obeisances, you are ready to debate with on an equal level. This is not at all polite. What he spoke was for my benefit but you couldn't tolerate that. You should return home and when you can control your mind then you can come back to Brindaban."

[Bhakti Ratna 5th Taranga]

Having heard this decision of his uncle Shri Jiva left that place and decided to proceed eastwards. When he came to an old dilapidated temple at Nandaghat, he sat down and began to cry. After some days the villagers began to worry, "Such a handsome young man, but he sits there crying for so long without taking food."

After some time, Shri Sanatan Gosvami came by there and was informed by the villagers of the boy's presence at the old temple. Sanatan went there and saw his nephew, who looked very pale from not eating. Sanatan picked him up from the ground and affectionately asked him what was the matter. After Shri Jiva explained everything that had happened, Sanatan Gosvami pacified him and took him to see his brother.

At first Sanatan spoke with Rupa alone. Rupa happened to mention that he was almost finished compiling Bhakti Rasamrta Sindu and that it would have been good if Jiva was there to edit it. When Sanatan explained everything that had happened Shri Rupa immediately called Jiva.

Seeing his forlorn and pale appearance, he gradually nursed him back to health and a happy state of mind. Then he entrusted him with proof reading Bhakti Rasamrta Sindu and other various literatures which he had composed. Just as he was very strict with his young nephew, so also he was very affectionate and loving. Their relationship was an ideal example of how the guru and sisya behave together.


When Shri Rupa had finished writing Lalitamadhava, he gave it to Raghunath das Gosvami to read. Lalitamadhava is a description of Krishna's pastimes after he left Brindaban and is thus full with sentiments in the mood of separation. By reading this book Das Gosvami began to cry day and night, having become completely absorbed in love in separation to the point of being ready to leave his body. He became as though deranged in mind from sadness, and he completely lost all patience.

When Shri Rupa requested Shri Das Goswami to return the manuscript so that he could correct it, Raghunath das held on to it very tightly, not saying anything and refusing to part with it.

Shri Rupa considered what to do in this very critical situation. Then he composed Danakelikaumudi. This manuscrip he managed to exchange for the manuscript of Lalitamadhava. By reading Danakelikaumudi, full of narrations of Krishna's Brindaban pastimes, Raghunath das Goswami now became totally absorbed in the ecstasy of happiness.


On another occasion the Goswamis were having a discussion about the ecstatic feelings of separation of RadhaKrishna and Their associates. Some of the Baisnabs were fainting to the ground, while Shri Rupa Goswami began to breath very heavily. His heart felt as though it was burning. At one point, as he sighed his breath happened to fall on the body of one devotee present there. Shortly thereafter a boil developed on that devotee's body where Shri Rupa's breath had touched it.                                                     [Bhakti Ratna 5]


After the reappearance of Shri Gobinda, MadanMohan and the Yoga Pith, Shri Rupa began to contemplate where Brindadebi might be.

One night she came to him in a dream and said, "I am on the banks of Brahmakunda. You can have my darshan there."

The next morning, after finishing his bath and puja, he came to Brahma kunda and began to look everywhere. Suddenly he saw a heavenly damsel whose bodily effulgence defeated the lustre of gold. All the directions were illuminated by this glow and the atmosphere created by her presence was very sweet and cooling. Shri Rupa offered his dandabats and various prayers and hymns. In this way, Brindadebi reappeared in Brajabhumi.


Shri Gaursundor established the glories of Shri Brajadham through His two generals Shri Rupa and Shri Sanatan Goswamis. Within their hearts He awakened, through oral transmission, the knowledge of what was in His own heart.

"Shri Rupa Goswami has established in this world the mission to fulfil the desire of Lord Chaitanya. When will he give me the shelter at his lotus feet?"                                        [Shrila Narottam das Thakur / Shri Rupa Pranama]


Shri Rupa Goswami compiled many literatures, among them: Shri Hamsaduta Kavya, Shri Uddhavasandesh, Shri Krishnajanmatithividhi, Brhat RadhaKrishnaganoddesadipika, Laghu RadhaKrishnaganoddesadipika, Stavamala, Vidaghamadhava, Lalitamadhava, Danakelikaumudi, Bhaktirasamrtasindhu, Ujjvalanilamani, Prayuktakhyatacandrika, Mathuramahima, Padyavali, Natakacandrika and LaghuBhagavatamrta.


Birth: 1493 (Christian calendar), 1415 (Sakabda)

Disappearance: 1564 (Christian calendar), 1486 (Sakabda)

Appearance day?

Disappearance day: 12th day of the bright fortnight of Srabon

Householder life: 22 yrs.

Braja: 51 yrs.

Age: 73