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Shrila Gopala Bhatta Goswami
Today is the appearance of Gopala Bhatta Goswami. Recently, we went on a tour of South India and we went to Shrirangam. Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu stopped at Shrirangam during his travels to South India. This is the main place of worship for the Ramanuja or Shri Sampradaya and was the headquarters of Yamunacharya, Ramanujacharya and all of the great gurus in the fine since them. It is the largest temple in all of India. Beautiful, magnificent and wonderful worship of the beautiful form of Shri Ranganath has been going on here since time immemorial so Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to this place and was dancing and chanting before the beautiful form of Lord Ranganath.
Childhood of Gopala Bhatta Goswami
At that time, a great brahman named Vyenkata Bhatt saw Him and begged, pleaded with the Lord to come to his home. He explained that it was now the beginning of the rainy season and it is the tradition that sannyasis do not travel during the caturmasya but stay in one place. Therefore, he begged the Lord to please remain with them. He brought Him to his home and he washed the lotus feet of Lord Chaitanya and then he drank the water and also distributed it to all his family members. He had a son. It is said, at that time he was approximately seven years old and his name was Gopal Bhatta. That child upon his first meeting with Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu witnessed his father washing His lotus feet. Gopal Bhatta was given that water to drink and immediately upon drinking that water he began to weep in ecstatic love and fell to the ground and just from the foot wash of the Lord's lotus feet he became so transcendentally infatuated with love for Krishna that he just could not give up the association of Shri Gauranga Mahaprabhu. Day and night he remained with the Lord and his father Vyenkata Bhatta was very happy to see that his son had become attached to this great Sannyasi. It was the joy of his heart. This should be the greatest pleasure of all spiritually-cultured parents. When they see their child becoming attached to the great devotees of the Lord it should give them more happiness than all the nice grades they get or the nice marriage arrangements that are made, because these things are all temporary and material. They have their value in life no doubt, but the perfection of life comes about when we become attached to great personalities. So Vyenkata Bhatta was very happy and he simply encouraged his son to serve the Lord. Gopal Bhatta served the Lord in the most wonderful and menial way day and night. But one day he began to feel very despondent. He was thinking that Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is Krishna Himself, Vrajendranandana, Lord of Shrimati Radharani. Why? Why has He taken the vow of Sannyas? Why is he living the life of an ascetic, performing so many severe austerities? Why is it that I am so sinful and so unfortunate that 1 did not see the Lord when He was in his Navadvipa Lila? When He was married to the Goddess of Fortune, when He had beautiful, long, blackish hair. wonderful golden dhoti and He was enjoying so much with all of His associates, chanting and dancing. Why did the Lord have to become a Sannyasi? Such a harsh and lonely life! So, he was thinking like this and day after day after day in this mood he would weep. Such mercy the Lord bestowed upon him that these feelings of such intimate love awakened in his heart.
Vision of Lord Chaitanya
But one day weeping he fell asleep and in his sleep Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared as Shri Navadvipa Chandra - the moon of Navadvipa. Gopala Bhatta saw the whole of Navadvipa before his eyes. And there was Lord Chaitanya in His beautiful form walking down the street with His associates. Advaitacharya, Nityananda Prabhu and Gopala Bhatta was walking right alongside the Lord and then Nityananda and Advaita embraced him and was about to tell him something very confidential when he woke up. As soon as he woke up he was feeling so much transcendental anticipation that he immediately ran to the place where Lord Shri Gauranga was sitting and he fell at His lotus feet. When he looked up, Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had transformed His beautiful body into the eternal rupa of Shyamsunder Shri Krishna. Gopal Bhatta saw the Lord manifest His three-fold bending form - beautiful, blackish tike a monsoon rain cloud, playing upon His flute with His beautiful lotus eyes gazing upon His devotee. The little child Gopal Bhatta was stricken with ecstatic love and before his eyes that beautiful form of Shri Krishna manifested again in the form of Navadvipa Chandra - Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as He appeared in Navadvipa in His household life, the enjoyer of the Goddess of fortune, beautiful, black, curling hair cascading down his broad shoulders, beautiful golden complexion, bedecked with precious jewelry and garlands and wearing a beautiful golden dhoti. The Lord was glancing upon him with such transcendental compassion that Gopal Bhatta fell at the lotus feet of Lord Gaurachandra. But when he lifted his head the Lord had again resumed the form of a sannyasi, as He had come to Shri Rangam. The Lord lifted little Gopal on his lap and began to soak him with his tears of love and Gopal Bhatta in reciprocation began to soak the Lord with his tears of love. Lord Chaitanya gave him an instruction. He told him, "You should go to Vrindavan, and there you should become the intimate brother and associate of my two eternal associates Shri Rupa and Shri Sanatana. They will write the most precious Vaishnava literatures along with their associates and you Gopal Bhatta, you will have disciples who are coming from all over the world to surrender to you. Through your disciples you will distribute these books throughout the whole world. But at this time you must stay with your parents as they are great Vaishnavas and you must humbly and faithfully serve them. And after they leave this world then you may go to Vrindavan and all of your desires will be fulfilled."
Discussion between Lord Chaitanya & Vyenkata Bhatta
So in this way, the four months passed. Vyenkata Bhatta had two brothers, Trimala Bhatta and Prabodhanand Saraswati. For the three brothers as well as Gopal Bhatta their life and soul was only Gaurachandra. They were great devotees of Lord Lakshmi Narayan, They would have many philosophical discussions with the Lord and Gopal Bhatta would hear them. One day Shri Gauranga Mahaprabhu said to Vyenkata Bhatta, "You are a worshipper of Lakshmi Narayan, the Lord of Lakshmi, the Lord of Vaikuntha. But please tell me, why is it that Lakshmi left the service of Narayan in order to seek the association of Krishna in Vrindavan?" And Vyenkata Bhatta replied that there was no offense on Lakshmi's part, she is the most perfect and chaste woman because Krishna and Narayan are identical. They are just different manifestations of the same person. He said the only difference between Krishna and Narayan is that Krishna reveals the sweetness of Madhurya Rasa whereas Narayan is worshipped with great reverence. But they are the same person. Lord Chaitanya said, "Yes. But please tell me this Vyenkata Bhatta, if they are so much the same person then why is it that Lakshmi, even though performing great austerities to enter into the rasa-mandala of Vraja was not allowed to enter? She is the supreme goddess of fortune, why then coutd she not enter Vrindavan and enjoy that relationship with Krishna? And Vyenkata Bhatta replied that, "1 am just an ordinary human being, I cannot answer these questions. You are the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna that 1 know, so You kindly answer this question." And Lord Chaitanya explained the difference between Madhurya rasa and Aishwarya rasa. Lakshmi Devi's eternal nature is to be the queen, the consort, the wife of the Lord and to worship Him with great reverence and great opulence. Lakshmi has such tremendous power - She is the Goddess of Fortune. She understands with complete realization that her husband is the Absolute Truth, the Lord of all Lords, the object of devotion of all the great saints, the sages and the rishis and the object of all the knowledge of the Vedas. With this awareness, she eternally serves the Lord with unalloyed devotion. The residents of Vrindavan have all of these qualities of understanding the Aishwarya of the Lord, but Krishna reveals Himself to these devotees in such a sweet, personal, loving way that, that sweetness or Madhurya, completely covers all conceptions of Aishwarya or opulence. In this way the residents of Vrindavan cannot fathom that Krishna is God. That understanding is included but far surpassed by their devotion. They simply love Him so dearly as a friend or as a parent or as a lover and the relationship is so personal that they simply think that Krishna is our life and soul. They don't worship Krishna with the condition that He is God. They simply worship Him because He is Krishna. He is all attractive. He is our best friend. He is our lover. He is our most adorable child. Just like Yashodamayi - when she saw the universe in Krishna's mouth she became struck with Aishwarya bhava. As soon as He closed His mouth and she saw His charming smile her parental affection completely drowned and washed away all of these feelings of Aishwarya bhava and she was just captivated by the sweetness of Krishna as her son, as her beloved child helplessly depending on her in every way. And the gopis love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead is most unparalleled in its quality. Even the dearest friend of Dwarka, Uddhava, was not envied, but he was very much recognized as dearmost even by Krishna's queens because he had constant association with the Lord. The Brihad Bhagavatam explains Uddhava's unparalleled position in Dwarka as an intimate associate. Uddhava knew that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is Dwarkadhish. When he went to Vrindavan and saw the simplicity of the love of the Gopis who just couldn't care less whether He was God or not and how they wept and cried in love for Him, Uddhava thought that the perfection of his existence is to get the dust from their feet. But he did not want to embarrass them because Uddhava was a great kshatriya prince and,the Gopis were just simple village girls. If a great prince comes to your village to take the dust from their feet, the girls would feel very much ashamed. So Uddhava performed great tapasya near Govardhan at Uddhavakund, with one goal in his life in mind. He was willing to give up his position as the best friend of Krishna in Dwarka so that he could become a blade of grass in Vraja with the hope that the gopis would step upon his head with their lotus feet and thus he would receive the dust from their lotus feet. So these are just brief glimpses of the supreme excellence of Vrindavan. in fact, in Shri Gauranga Mahaprabhu's lila in Jagannath Puri once there was a debate between Shrila Swarup Damodar Goswami and Shrivas Pandit in this regard. Shrivas challenged, "Why you are worshipping this Lord of Vrindavan? My Lord of Vaikuntha is worshipped with so many jewels, everything is chintamani, beautiful palaces, all elegance and opulence and what is in Vrindwan? Just some trees and some grass and some cows! But Swarup Damodar explained, "What is the nature of these trees and this grass and these cows? Every aspect of Vrindavan, every molecule, every atomic particle is utterly endowed and saturated with Madhurya rasa, to fulfill all the most intimate desires of the Lord and His devotees. So we should understand that God is one, but at the same time Krishna is the fountainhead of all incarnations. He is the special form of the Supreme Absolute Truth from whom all others emanate. And only in his Vrajehdranandana lita of Vrindavsn does He reveal the sweetness of the great treasure of Madhurya rasa. There is a place in Vraja named Shrivan where Lakshmi Devi was performing tapasya for a long time but she was not allowed to cross the Yamuna to enter the rasa mandala. There was a condition put to her, 'If you want to come, you have to follow in the footsteps of the Gopis. You have to give up your form of Lakshmi. You have to give up your conception of being the wife of the Lord. You have to give the conception of worshipping Him as the Absolute Truth as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. You have to become the servant of the servant of the Gopis.' Lakshmi was simply unable to do that. Therefore she was given a vision of the rasa lila, but she was not allowed to enter." Lord Chaitanya was explaining all these things to Vyenkata Bhatta, Trimala Bhatta and Prabhodhananda Saraswati and the Lord concluded, "Only when you follow in the footsteps of the residents of Vrindavan can you approach Krishna as He is." So Vyenkata Bhatta said, "You are Krishna and whatever you say I will do", and he surrendered to the principle of Krishna Bhakti.
When we talk about 'following in the footsteps of the residents of Vrindavan' we should understand that this consists of various stages. We should know that the great acaryas in our disciplic line are all residents of Vrindavan. Their specific relationships and services in Goloka Vrindavan were also revealed. So simply by following their teachings - by obeying their instructions, by chanting the Holy Names under their direction, by reading their purports - like Shrila Prabhupada's purports which are the culmination of the realizations of the previous great acaryas and by serving their devotees we are following in the footsteps of the residents of Vrindavan and gradually we attain higher and higher levels of purification on the path of bhakti of Vrindavan. Once it is actually revealed, it awakens in our heart what our eternal line of service in the spiritual world is and how to serve and meditate accordingly. Our spiritual master teaches us the systematic and proper way of gradually approaching such high levels of purification. So Vyenkata Bhatta and all his brothers became devotees of Radha and Krishna and joyfully in the association of Shri Gauranga Mahaprabhu were constantly engaged in the kirtan of the Holy Name :
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Hama Hare Hare
And when the four months was about to expire Prabhodananda, Trimala Bhatta. Vyenkata Bhatta and Gopal Bhatta were simply weeping and crying, 'The Lord is going to leave us, the days, the moments, the seconds of His departure are coming closer. What will we do? With whom will we go to the river Kaveri to bathe? Whom will we joke with? Whom will we go to the temple with and have congregational chanting?" And as the Lord was about to leave they all fell at His lotus feet and surrendered their lives to Him and then He continued on His tour of South India. Meanwhile, Gopala Bhatta remained at home and very faithfully and obediently served his mother and father. Prabhodananda who was a great scholar became his guru. Gopal Bhatta studied the scriptures, Vedanta and Bhakti Sastras from him and soon became a famous scholar throughout the entire land of India. In each and every one of his discourses, he simply glorified the glory and the mercy of Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. And he explained how devotion to Him "was the conclusion of all scriptural knowledge because He was non-different than Radha and Krishna. The years passed and Gopal Bhatta's- parents gave him their blessings. They said, "Now according to the order of Shri Gaurachandra, who is our life and soul, you go to Vrindavan and take shelter in the association of Rupa and Sanatana." After giving this instruction, together they gave up their life airs, never to return to this material world again, because they achieved the Supreme abode of Lord Gaurasundara. Gopala Bhatta went to Vrindavan. When he arrived in Vrindavan all the Vaishnavas were so happy and anxious to greet him. Rupa Goswami, Sanatana Goswami, Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami, Lokanath Goswami, Bhugarba Goswami and Kashiswar, were all there and they were so happy. Immediately upon arriving Gopala Bhatta accepted the garb of an ascetic in the renounced order of life and made Rupa and Sanatana his very life and soul. See how these great Vaishnavas are, however exalted and learned they are, they always aspire to humble themselves and take shelter of another Vaishnava. Great devotees of the Lord never want to be autonomous in their own position. They always want to be subordinate to great devotees of the Lord. Rupa Goswami, who is the leader of our whole sampradaya humbles himself in the Bhaktirasamrita Sindhu and says," I am simply surrendered at the lotus feet of Sanatana Goswami, who is my guru." So this is the nature of Vaishnavas. We should not be bewildered when We see great souis humbling themselves and trying to take a position subordinate to other Vaishnavas. Amongst the Mayavadis everyone is competing for the highest position of being God. They don't want to be second to anyone, but the Vaishnava wants to be second to everyone. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Jagannath Puri was wondering, "Did Gopala Bhatta arrive in Vrindavan?" Of course the Lord knows everything past, present and future. He is within everyone's heart. But for the sake of His lila, to create a wonderful experiece of loving exchange, sometimes He actually becomes like this "Where is My devotee?" It's not that He is just faking or pretending; He becomes like that by His own sweet will just to increase the loving excitement and anticipation of His devotee's love. It is explained that one day, He went to the home of Gadhadhar Pandit in Jagannath Puri. Gadadhar Pandit was loved by all the devotees. The Bhaktiratnakar explains how Gadhadhar Pandit had a loving relationship with Lord Chaitanya and a deep loving relationship with Lord Nityananda, Advaita acarya, Haridas Thakur and everyone. How the devotees loved each other! How the devotees worshipped each other! This is the greatest opulence of the spiritual world, and this is what gives the greatest pleasure to the Lord seeing such loving exchanges amongst His devotees. So Lord Chaitanya went to Gadadhar's house and just then someone came with a letter from Rupa and Sanatana Goswami. The letter explained that Gopala Bhatt has Just arrived from South India. "What a jewel! What a wonderful devotee he is! We have accepted him as our own brother." Lord Chaitanya was so happy, He began to extol the glories of Gopala Bhatta to all the devotees and then He wanted to send gifts. So He sent a letter to Rupa and Sanatana and his own personal loin cloth, prasad and a little wooden seat that He would especially sit on while doing His worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When Gopal Bhatta received these two gifts from the Lord He worshipped these gifts as non-different from the Lord Himself and treasured them throughout his entire life. In fact in the temple which Gopal Bhatta Goswami established, just close to the deity, that loincloth and that wooden seat are still present. And after the pujaris of Shri Radha Ramana temple perform their offerings to Shri Radha Ramana, they bring the food to that little seat. to Lord Chaitanya and they also offer it to Gopala Bhatta Goswami. When Gopala Bhatta was in Vrindavan he narrated to all the devotees the wonderful pastimes of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Shrirangam and South India and the devotees were just enraptured in ecstatic love because they had no knowledge of Lord Chaitanya's South Indian tour except what they had heard from Gopala Bhatta.
At that time Rupa Goswami was worshipping Radha Govinda and Sanatana Goswami was worshipping Madan Mohan and one very wealthy devotee came to Vrindavan and he gave jewels and crowns and flutes to ail the Goswamis to worship the deities. Now at that time Gopala Bhatta Goswami had twelve shaligram shilas which he used to put in a piece of cloth and wear around his neck. He kept them with him always and he worshipped them with great love. But he now had all these nice deity paraphernalia but the shaligram is not a form where you can offer all of these nice offerings. So he prayed to the Lord that if He so desired, to please allow him to serve Him in His beautiful three-fold bending form. It was actually on Narasimha Chaturdasi that Gopala Bhatta Goswami was in this mood and he prayed to his shaligram shilas, "On this very day Lord Narasimhadev appeared in a beautiful form of stone so you can also do the same thing." The next morning when he came to do his seva for the shaligrams he saw that one of his shila, the Damodar Shila, had transformed to a beautiful form of Shri Krishna - only about 12 inches high, but so enchanting, standing curved in three places, tribhanga, playing His flute. When Gopala Bhatta Goswami saw this wonderful mercy, how the Damodar Shila had manifested this beautiful form of Shri Krishna, he bowed down and began to offer wonderful, wonderful prayers. When Shrila Rupa Goswami, Shrila Sanatana Goswami and the other great Gaudiya Vaishnavas heard this news, they came to the place where Gopala Bhatta Goswami was offering his prayers and when they saw the beautiful form of Radha Raman they were struck with wonder.
In fact, it is said that there are three prominent deities of Vrindavan. Shri Govinda, Gopinath, Madan Mohan and it is explained by the Gaudiya Vaishnavas that Krishna's lotus feet are fully manifested in the most extraordinary way in Madan Mohan who is the Sambandh murti. We establish our relationship with Krishna by first approaching His feet and then the Abhideya murti, that is Govindaji. After establishing our relationship with the Lord then we act according to that relationship which is by rendering humble loving service and it is explained that the hands playing the flute and the chest of the Lord is perfectly manifested in its most super excellent way in the deity of Govinda. And through serving the Lord of Abhidheya jnana, gradually we become utterly purified and attain the state of Prayojana bhakti. That means the ultimate goal of unalloyed love of God in the mood of the residents of Vrindavan. Lord Gopinath is the Prayojana murti. When he comes before the deity, it is not proper for a devotee to look directly at the face of the Lord. We must first look below His feet, surrender ourselves and take shelter of His lotus feet. And then gradually we may go up the various limbs and then see the beautiful smiling face of the Lord. The lotus face of Krishna is perfectly and in the most super excellent way manifested in Gopinathji who is the worshippable deity of Madhu Pandit. When the Goswamis saw Radha Raman they all acclaimed that Radha Raman had the feet of MadanMohan, the flute playing mid section of Govinda and the face of Gopinath. All the three murtis have appeared in one beautiful divine form! Shri Radha Raman ki Jai!!!
Of the six Goswamis' original murtis, this Radha Ramana is the only one that never left Vrindavan. Govindaji and others had to be taken to Rajasthan and other places when Aurangzeb and his armies came to defy the Hindus and destroy temples and muilis- But as Radha Ramana appeared in a very small size he was easily concealed and nobody ever found him. He just never wanted to leave Vrindavan. Gopal Bhatta Goswami named him on that day Radha Ramana - one who gives the greatest pleasure to Shrimati Radharani. And Rupa and Sanatana and all the devotees had a wonderful, wonderful festival to celebrate the appearance of Shri Radha Ramana. And in Vrindavan today, the day after Narasimha Chaturdashi is a grand festival at the Radha Ramana temple to celebrate His most auspicious and extraordinary appearance in the world. But one day as Gopala Bhatta Goswami was worshipping Him, he began to feet very sad. In fact, he felt quite guilty.
In the transcendental form of bhakti, feelings like guilt and sadness are forms of ecstasy. Some people who follow various yogic principles think that when you become perfectly self-realized you do not have such feelings - you are just equipoised under every circumstance. But when devotees see others suffering they cry, but that crying out of compassion is a form of ecstasy. They have all emotions in the most intensified form. As you become purified in bhakti all these emotions become intensified beyond toleration. But they are always situated in pure devotion to the Lord and therefore they are ecstatic. So Gopal Bhatta Goswami was thinking that before my father Vyenkata Bhatta left his body, he told me that I should spend my life worshipping SRI CHAITANYA MAHAPRABHU, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and I am spending all my days worshipping this beautiful form of Krishna as Radha Ramana, I feel that 1 am neglecting my father's order, because 1 am not worshipping SRI CHAITANYA MAHAPRABHU directly. So as he was thinking like this Shri Radha Ramana very smilingly was watching him, listening to his thoughts and right before his eyes Shri Radha Ramana revealed Himself as Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. His beautiful, beautiful, golden form, Gaurasundar dancing and chanting the Holy Names
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Pama Rama Rama Hare Hare
And then right before his eyes Lord Gaurasundara again transformed Himself back to Shri Radha Ramana. Gopal Bhatta Goswami was very happy, he understood that he was worshipping Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu directly,
Shri Krishna Chaitanya Radha Krishna Nahi anya
that Radha and Krishna have appeared in the divine form of Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. When Gopal Bhatta had this wonderful, wonderful vision, he went and he started telling all Vrajavasis and the Gaudiya Vaishnavas about this wonderful mercy of the Lord and they began to rejoice. This is the nature of real Vaishnavas - the more they see another devotee getting the mercy of the Lord the more happy they become, they never think "Why not me? Why am 1 not getting this special mercy?" They are always praying for the welfare and advancement of all other Vaishnavas. This is the mood that is cultivated in a real Vaishnava society. Gopal Bhatta Goswami lived in the association of the Vrindavan Gaudiya Vaishnavas for many long years and assisted in the writings of Hari Bhakti Vilas, Krishna caritamrata commentary and many others. He wrote introductions to the sandharbas by Jiva Goswami. In this way he was always assisting the devotees in their wonderful service in writing books, deity worship and by building temples for them. And many years later by the will of Lord Gaurasundar one of his eternal associates appeared in this world and came to Vrindavan. His name was Shrinivas Acarya.
Shrinivas Acarya was the son of a great devotee named Chaitanya Das. His father happened to be present when Lord Chaitanya was getting His hair cut before taking sanyaas and when he heard the name being initiated Shri Krishna Chaitanya, he Just was constantly immersed in the thought of the Lord taking sanyaas. Such a terrible thing - leaving his mother, wife and such loving associates to chase after the most fallen degraded souls of this world. Such mercy, this world has never seen. So he was constantly immersed in chanting 'Chaitanya' 'Chaitanya' and so he became known as Chaitanya Das. He wanted a child and so he went to Jagannath Puri. He and his wife had never wanted a child. They were married for many years but they just never had the desire for children. But all of a sudden, one day in their hearts they both longed to have a child. They could not understand. So they went to see Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Jagannath Puri and find out His desire. They met Him in the Jagannath temple. Lord Chaitanya told him, "You must have a child. My devotee wants to come through you." So this child was Shrinivas Acarya. Shrinivas was constantly hearing from his father and from all others around him the glories of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and from his very infancy he was just longing for the beautiful darsnan and service of Lord Gaurasundar- When he finally became a little older he left his home in Jajigram and began to walk to Jagannath Puri and just when he was approaching the outskirts of Jagannath Puri some people were coming in the opposite direction, weeping and crying. Shrinivas asked, "What has happened?" They replied, "You have not heard, Lord Gaurasundar has left the world. He disappeared at the Tota Gopinath temple." Shrinivas was thinking, "How unfortunate I am! All my life I have simply been preparing myself to meet the Lord and he's left. He has gone back to the spiritual world." He fell unconscious and when he got up he was weeping, he was crying and he decided, "There is no reason to live. 1 will commit suicide. I will drown myself in the river Ganges." And again he fell unconscious. But then the Lord appeared to him and said, "You must go to Puri and you take shelter of Gadadhar Pandit." Shrinivas got to see Lord Chaitanya in that vision. So he went to Gadadhar Pandit. The Lord told him to study Shrimad-Bhagavatam from him. So Gadadhar was very happy to see Shrinivas. "Yes, I will teach you Bhagavatam. But when I read Bhagavatam, especially since Mahaprabhu's disappearance, I weep so much that all the ink of the pages is soaked with my tears and no one can read it. You have to go back to Navadvipa and bring me another Bhagavatam. So Shrinivas walked all the way back to Bengal. It takes many, many months for a new Bhagavatam to be written. Shrinivas Acarya he was so anxious to get that Shrimad Bhagavatam, he walked hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of miles and then he had to find someone to copy the whole thing letter by letter. It takes over a year to copy all 18.000 slokas of the Bhagavatam. So finally, Shrinivas had a Shrimad Bhagavatam and he went back to Jagannath Puri. But when he arrived there he found out that Qadadhar Pandit could not bear the separation from Mahaprabhu and so he went to join Him in the spiritual world. Shrinivas fell unconscious, and he vowed to drown himself in the Ganges. But then Gadadhar Pandit appeared to him, and he said, "Shrinivas, Lord Chaitanya's and my desire is that you go to Vrindavan and study Bhagavatam under Rupa and Sanatana Goswami" So he had to do many other things on the way, by the will of the Lord, and ultimately he came to Vrindavan. He was at Viswamghat taking his bath when he saw people weeping and crying. He asked, "What's happened?" They said, "You have not heard that Rupa and Sanatana have left the world?" And again he fell unconscious. Rupa, Sanatana appeared to him. Lord Chaitanya also appeared to him. They told him, "You should take initiation from Gopala Bhatta Goswami and you should study Bhagavatam from Jiva Goswami." So he went to Vrindavan. He went to the Govind)i temple and there he met Jiva Goswami, who took him to Radha Raman temple and there Shrinivas surrendered to the lotus feet of Gopala Bhatta Goswami. The first thing Gopala Bhatta Goswami did is, he brought him before the beautiful deity of Shri Radha Raman and offered his disciple's life to the deity. This is the principle of the humility of Vaishnavas. Even the greatest acaryas never think that this is my disciple because nothing is ours. Whatever the Vaishnavas do is on behalf of Krishna. And the only ambition of the great acharyas like Gopala Bhatta Goswami, is simply to offer body, word, mind and life of his followers at the lotus feet of Shri Radha Raman. Our devotion never stops at our Guru. The Guru is the transparent medium who simply takes our worship and gives 4. all to the lotus feet of Shri ShyamSundar and Radharani through disciplic succession. So Gopala Bhatta Goswami brought Shrinivas Acharya and said, "Radha Raman, he is yours unconditionally and 1 will take care of him. 1 will train him to be your perfect servant." So they set an auspicious date and the initiation took place and then Gopala Bhatta Goswami told Shrinivas Acharya, under my order you should study all the literatures of Rupa and Sanatana from Jiva Goswami." Such was the love amongst Vaishnavas. So Gopala Bhatta Goswami entrusted his disciple, his foremost disciple, to Jiva Goswami. Shrinivas Acharya along with Syamanand Prabhu and Narottam Das Thakur Mahashay studied together and became the best of friends, the most intimate friends and associates. In fact, there was no question of "My guru your guru". Because the gurus loved each other, the disciples loved each other. It is natural. They were all serving the mission of Lord Gauranga. And then Gopala Bhatta Goswami ordered Shrinivas Acharya alongwith Jiva Goswami to leave Vrindavan and distribute the literatures of the Vaishnavas all over Bengal. And from there they would spread throughout the world. So this disciple of Gopala Bhatta Goswami was the first who reprinted and distributed the Gaudiya Vaishnava literatures, especially Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita by Krishnadas Kaviraj. So interesting that the best friend of Narottam Das Thakur was Ramachandra Kaviraj, whose appearace day is also today. Ramachandra Kavira], I believe, was a disciple of Shrinivas Acharya. So try to understand how beautiful these relationships were. Shrinivas Acharya was the disciple of Gopala Bhatta Goswami, Narottam Das Thakur was the disciple of Loknath Goswami. They were classmates and best friends in the school of Jiva Goswami. And the best friend of Narottam was the disciple of his best friend and classmate Shrinivas Acharya, who was the disciple of Gopala Bhatta GoswamiS And in many of the songs of Narottam, he sings about his loving friendship with Ramachandra. So these Vaishnava exchanges, when they are actually based on the real principle of keeping Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the centre, transcend all sectarian boundaries because our hearts become one in spreading the mission of Lord Chaitanya, which is to propagate the congregational chanting of the Hoiy Names of Radha and Krishna
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Gopala Bhatta Goswami was a deeply learned scholar and he literally did have so many of the most qualified disciples. One of his disciples was Gopinath Pujari. And this Gopinath Pujari was such a wonderful devotee he surrendered his life and soul to Gopala Bhatta and he was in the renounced order. He had no desire for marriage or offspring. He simply wanted to serve Radha Raman and his Guru Maharaj unconditionally. Gopala Bhatta Goswami had a plan that in order to preserve the sanctity and dignity of the deity worship he wanted a line of the descendants of his disciples to preserve that worship over the centuries. Gopinath Pujari had no intention to marry nor did Gopala Bhatta have any intention to tell him to marry. So, the younger brother of Gopinath Pujari whose name was Damodar Das was also initiated by Gopala Bhatta Goswami and to this very day the descendants of Damodar Das do all the puja for Radha Ramana. Gopala Bhatta Goswami was such a simple, humble devotee but he was such a master mind that he organized the rules and regulations of how the deity should be worshipped and how everything should happen. To this day, over four hundred and fifty years after he departed from this world, Radha Ramana has never missed an offering. And of all the precious jewels, gold and everthing that has been offered to that deity by great kings over the centuries, not a single thing has ever been lost. In order to get into the storage where the jewellery and the crowns are kept the pujaris need three keys from three different families of Damodar and his children. And then I think Damodar had two children and half the worship went to his children half to the other and the other had five children the other had three children and in this way it is all divided up. Now there are hundreds and hundreds of children who are worshipping the deity. But three different families each have keys that are needed to get in. Anyone who goes in has to write down exactly what jewellery he is going to take and there's a person who is appointed to check it is on the deity and that it is brought back. It is a very good system and Shrila Prabhupada told us that in alt of Vrindavan, the Radha Ramana temple has the best and most devotional worship of the deity.
I'll tell one another little story. Once one of Prabhupada's disciples, from the west, heard that Prabhupada said that they had the best worship. So he went to the Radha Ramana temple and he was Just with a very devotional glance beholding the beautiful form of Shri Radha Ramana and one of the devotees of the temple came up to him and gave him a benediction. He said, "You are so fortunate, you have come from such a distant foreign land to worship the beautiful form of Radha Ramana and because you have so much devotion for Radha Ramana, in your next fife you will be born in the family where you will be able to personally worship Radha Ramana-" That devotee was very, very happy. He ran back and told Prabhupada, "I got such a nice blessing" and Prabhupada told the devotee, "You go to the Radha Ramana temple and tell that person that if you worship Radha Ramana throughout your whole life with great devotion, then you will get the blessing of being born in America, so that you can spread the glories of the Holy Name all over the world."
So as we have explained in class this morning there are different varieties of rasa amongst great Vaishnavas. But, although Gopala Bhatta was such a great personality in every possible way, he was so humble he never wanted any credit. He always just wanted to be seen as someone behind those persons who were behind the great devotees. Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami was ordered by the Vaishnavas of Vrindavan to write Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita. But he understood that although he had the order, unless he got the blessings of all the senior Vaishnavas, he had no qualification to even attempt to write such a literature of the life and teachings of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The most important and greatest literature of all times and he was being asked to write it! So he went to each and every devotee and asked for their blessings and each of them gave blessings and then he approached Gopaia Bhatta Goswami. Amongst all the Goswami's he had much influence, and many disciples who had great abilities, powers, shakti, devotion. Gopal Bhatta Goswami said, "I certainly give you all my blessings to write Chaitanya Charitamrita, but under the condition that you do not mention my name in any of the writings." In fact anyone who asked Gopaia Bhatta for such blessings he gave them all blessings and prayers, but he did not want his name to be written. So Krishnadas Kaviraj- Goswami very, very carefully avoided describing the unlimited glories of Gopaia Bhatta Goswami. He expanded wonderfully on the glories of Rupa Goswami, Sanatana Goswami, Raghunath das Goswami, Raghunath Bhatt Goswami. Something about Jiva Goswami, who, at the time of writing the Chaitanya Charitamrta had just come to Vrindavan, but Gopaia Bhatta Goswami he only very, very discreetly mentions his name Just keeps it in a few places. But there is nothing written about Gopaia Bhatta Goswami by his own desire. But the great devotee Narahari a descendant of Gopaia Bhatta Goswami's disciplic line in his Bhakti Ratnakar, beautifully wrote the glories of Gopaia Bhatta Goswami for all the world to hear and to chant and to remember and be inspired by, forever.