|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Biographical Works > The Six Goswamis > Srila Raghunath Bhatta Goswami|
Shrila Raghunath Bhatta Goswami
Today is the disappearance day of Shrila Raghunath Bhatta Goswami. Hearing of the lives of great saintly persons is to practically hear the Bhagavad Gita's highest teachings in action. So, I would like to speak for a few minutes tonight about this great-exalted soul and the many wonderful and important lessons we can learn from a brief sketch of his life.
Birth and childhood
Raghunath Bhatta Goswami was born of a great devotee of the name Tapan Mishra. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is none other than the Yuga avatar, the divine prophesied incarnation of Lord Shri Krishna, who appeared to spread the yuga dharma of chanting the holy name of God in this age of Kali Yuga. While He was living as a student in Navadvipa Dhama, in Bengal, He took a pilgrimage to Bangladesh or East Bengal. There, He was demonstrating such inconceivable scholarship in the way He was teaching Sanskrit grammar that He was getting hundreds and thousands of people coming to be his students. Just when He was about to leave, a very sincere seeker of Ihe truth by the name Tapan Mishra approached Him. For years and years this man was searching through various religious scriptures and philosophical doctrines for the highest goaf of life and the way to attain it. He was dissatisfied with aff material pursuits. He was dissatisfied with mundane education. Unless he understood what is the goal of life he considered his life was a useless waste. He was so sincere and he was praying to the Lord with such deep intensity that one evening the Lord appeared before him in a dream and told him "I have incarnated in this world and I am just now waiting for you" and He told him where to meet Him. So Tapan Mishra came to the place where Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was sitting with His students and he fell at the lotus feet of the Lord and told Him that "There is no meaning, purpose or satisfaction in my life, unless (understand the goal, please instruct me" and Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in a simple but clear manner told him that the goal of life is to love Krishna and to serve Krishna with body, mind, words and soul and the means of developing that love in this age is to chant His Holy Name and then Chaitanya Mahaprabhu specifically and directly told him "You chant this sixteen word mantra that is given in the Kali Santarana Upanlshad. It is the Maha-mantra and it is the Greatest and the most powerful of all mantras :
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
And then Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave him a very mysterious instruction. He told him, "You go and live in Varanasi." Now, in those days there were no devotees of God in Varanasi, there were only impersonal philosophers. But he accepted that strange order as his life and soul and moved to Varanasi. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told him "I will be coming to Varanasi in the near future and at that time 1 will explain in more detail about this chanting of Harinam and the goal of life." So he moved to Varanasi and there was another Vaishnava who was living there at that time. His name was Chandrashekhar Vaidya.
Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu visited Shri Vrindavan Dhama after he had accepted sannyasa and on his return journey he stopped and stayed in Varanasi for two months. During that time, he stayed at the house of Chandrashekhar and would take his prasadam at the home of Tapan Mishra, By that time. Tapan Mishra had a young son, whose name was Raghunath Bhattacharya. This young boy was very attached to Lord Chaitanya - how much love he had for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and how attentive he was to hear every word! He would take great pleasure in massaging the legs of the Lord, after the Lord had danced for hours and hours a day while chanting in the kirtan of the holy name! And he would accept the most menial and humble services. Although Raghunath Bhattacharya was very learned and a brahmin, he would take great pleasure in washing the dishes of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and doing simple, little services. But through this he became very intimately favored by the Lord.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu returned to Jagannath Puri, his residence. Soon after this Raghunath Bhatta Goswami decided, while he was a young man, that he was going to give up everything of the world and simply surrender his life to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and be His servant. So, with the blessings of his family members he left Varanasi and began the long walk to Shri Purushottam Kshetra, Jagannath Puri Dhama.
Raghunath Bhatta and Ramdas Viswas
An interesting event took place on the way . He met a very learned scholar who was also famous in that area of Bengal as one of the greatest devotees of Lord Shri Ramachandra. His name was Ramdas Viswas. It is said that Ramdas Viswas would chant the names and glories of Shri Ramachandra twenty four hours a day. When he niet Raghunath Bhatta Goswami he said "Please let me carry your bags and Set me sen/e you." Raghunath Bhatta Goswami said "You are of a Kayastha caste that is a very respectable caste. Besides that you are a very learned scholar, you are a very famous devotee of Lord Rama and you are always chanting his names and glories. There is no need to carry my bags on your head. Let us go together to Jagannath Puri, in great happiness," Ramdas said "1 have already renounced everything in this v-ond to live in Puridhama. But 1 will find the greatest joy and happiness in carrying your bags on my head, and being your menial servant." So just to satisfy Ramdas, Raghunath Bhaita Goswami really had no choice, they began to travel to Jagannath Puri togc ther and the whole time Ramdas Viswas was chanting the glories and the names of S-1 Rama. Finally they came to Jagannath Puri. Raghunath Bhatta Goswami with great love and anticipation, went to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's home and there he fell, like a stick, offering his prostrated dandavat, obeisances at the lotus feet of Lord Gauranga. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu recognizing him as a dear eternal servant lifted him up and with great love and affection embraced him. Raghunath Bhatta Goswami on behalf of his father and on behalf of Chandrashekhar, offered his obeisances. In this way Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and he exchanged so many loving words and then Lord Gauranga said to Govinda, his servant. "You kindly arrange some nice facility for Raghunath to stay, bring him some prasadam and bring him to see Lord Jagannath." Although Ramdas Viswas was such a famous and learned personality, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu showed him no special attention. He gave him no special mercy at all. Why is this? That is one of the most important things to understand .
Ramdas Viswas was chanting the Holy name of Rama and discussing Ramayana lila throughout the day, everyday, and was famous as being a great saint amongst almost everybody. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is none other that Krishna, who resides within the heart of all living beings and who Knows our innermost desires. Krishna does not see the external appearance of our devotion but sees what is in our heart, what is our motivating factor, our dedication, humility, sincerity and He will judge everything on that basis. You can make a show of being a saintly person or of being a very great devotee of God, but Krishna cares nothing for your show. Krishna is only concerned with your heart. Ramdas Viswas was chanting the name of Ram throughout the day and discussing his glories and rendering service in such a menial way as to carry a devotee's bags on his head, but his motivation was by performing these activities," 1 will become one with Ram." He was not in the mood of an eternal servant. He was an impersonalist that means his ultimate desire was not to serve Ram but to be Ram. This is the transgression of the pure, true principle of love.
Jivera svarupa haye krishnera nitya dasa
We are eternally the servants of Lord Krishna, of Lord Shri Rama. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explained to us through his Shikshastakam prayers what should be the true heart of a real devotee of the Lord
na dhanam na janam na sundarim kavitam vam jagadisha kamaye mama janmani janmanishvare bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki tvayi
My Lord, I do not want to approach you and to serve you with ambition of attaining any amount of wealth, material prosperity, nor do I care to achieve beautiful relationship with women nor do I care to achieve fame, followers and prestige in this world, even disciples nor do I care anything for liberation or mukti. My desire is fixed for only one purpose that I may be your causeless servant birth after birth. If we want to be God, what type of service is it? That 1 serve you ......and then I take your position? In the truest, purest and highest sense of Sanatana Dharma, we must understand that we are eternally part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. We are qualitatively one with God, we are sac-cid-ananda - eternal, full of knowledge, full of bliss, but we are qualitatively insignificant particle of God and God is the Supreme Complete Whole. Just as the sunshine is an insignificant part of the Sun, but it radiates the same qualities as the Sun. As the part, it is the nature of a jivatma, or the Soul, to eternally be immersed in the loving service of the complete whole, Krishna, and it is that humility and that form of devotion and eagerness to serve. Krishna is explaining here, that is most dear to him. It is the highest knowledge because it is realization of the Truth.
Ramdas Viswas became very dear and very attractive to the world but not to God, Similarly we see in many places of the world people who can speak very nicely, who have an incredible memory, who have charisma or the power to attract people. Sometimes when they speak tens and thousands of people come to hear them or sometimes millions come to become their disciples. Sometimes it is because they can perform some magic tricks. Sometimes it is because they are very learned. But a true devotee of the Lord judges things the way the Lord judges. What is this person's humility, is this person's motivation just to be the servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord? That is the only characteristic that impresses Krishna. He is not impressed by our magic tricks. He can create planets, can we? He is not impressed by our ability to speak because whatever we speak, the language, the words, and the power to speak is coming from Him. Krishna is only impressed by humble devotion, by the mood of eternal servitude.
Raghunath Bhatta had this mood and therefore he was most dear to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Raghunath Bhatta lived in Jagannath Puri with Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for eight months. During those eight months, he would often invite Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to his home to take prasad. Raghunath Bhatta Goswami used to cook for Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and he was an excellent cook. In fact, it is explained by Kaviraj Goswami that, whatever he cooked tasted like nectar. He was a mastercook, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would take pleasure to honor his prasad, of course we must know that from the point of view of God, what does it mean to be a master cook. It means to know how to spice each preparation with pure love, with bhakti. Because Krishna tastes not the external form of food, but our devotion. If we cook for the Lord in an agitated state of mind, if we cook for the Lord because we feel we have to - that's what our food tastes like to Krishna. But if we cook because we want to please Him, we want to please His devotees, that food will taste like nectar to the Lord. So Raghurath Bhatta Goswami would prepare this food with such great affection and love because he had such affection and love, the Lord did empower him, even on the external level, that whatever he made tasted like nectar. He would also massage the legs of the Lord and he would have nice kirtans after that.
In this way Raghunath Bhatta Goswami became such a dear servant and one day Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told him, "Your parents, are both my very dear devotees. They are pure Vaishnavas but now they are very old. You should serve your parents." This is a very interesting instruction. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was not just telling Raghunath Bhatta Goswami to serve his parents but he was telling him to be the servant of pure Vaishnavas. We must know that there is no greater way of pleasing the Lord than pleasing his devotees. Krishna explains to Uddhava in the 11th canto that, "The highest worship to Me is the worship of my devotees. The most intimate service to Me is the service of my devotes." And then Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave another instruction to Raghunath Bhatta Goswami . He told him "Do not marry." Because He saw that Raghunath Bhatta Goswami was already a young man, he was unmarried, unattached and unentangled by all the affairs of family life and he was making tremendous spiritual advancement and was very detached. So Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told him, "You are already doing so well as a brahmachari, you should remain a brahmachari." For one who is already entangled and attached by family life, they must perform their duties in Krishna consciousness. But Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did not want Raghunath Bhatta Goswami to get involved in all these complications so He told him not to marry. He told him, "You can do so much service and you can be so free to make positive spiritual advancement in a fife of renunciation and detachment. When you go back to Varanasi, serve your parents and you should make sure that each day and every day you hear the Shrimad Bhagavatam from a self-realized soul." He didn't just tell him to hear Bhagavatam. He said "You must hear it from a self realized soul." These days there are so many professional reciters of Bhagavatam, but the true spirit and the essence of the Bhagavatam cannot come through the words of professional reciters. They can only come through those humble servants of the Lord, who have dedicated their lives in His loving service.
Nasta prayesu abhadresu nityam bhagavata sevaya bhagavati uttama sloke bhaktir bhavaty naistiki
The Bhagavatam itself says "You must hear Bhagavatam each day, but you must hear from a person Bhagavatam and you must serve that person." What is a person Bhagavatam? A person whose very life embodies the principles of Bhagavatam. It is not a question of having a good memory and speaking nicely, it is being exactly an example of what the Bhagavatam teaches, being detached from material sense gratification, being truly a humble dedicated servant of the Lord, who is repeating the teachings of the Bhagavatam. A real spiritual teacher is one who repeats what he has heard from his guru. No one can approach the Bhagavatam directly. It is only those great souls who have served previous great souls, who have the key to unlock the true secret meaning of the Bhagavatam to us.
"tasmat gurum prapadyeta jljnasur sreya uttamam"
Bhagavatam says "You must hear transcendental knowledge from a genuine spiritual master, one who is a humble servant of a previous spiritual master. Through this process of disciplic succession, the true essence of the Bhagavatam is revealed to us. We must hear submissively and render service to such a qualified self-realized soul."
These were the three instructions, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave to Raghunath Bhatta Qoswami. Do not marry and entangle yourself in all materialistic affairs, serve your aged parents throughout their lives and hear the Bhagavatam each day from a self-realized soul.
When Raghunath Bhatta Goswami was feeling imminent separation from the Lord after eight months in his intimate association, he began to weep and cry and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu out of intense affection for his devotee, took off His own neck beads and put them on the neck of "Raghunath Bhatta Goswami and then Shrila Raghunath Bhatta Goswami returned to Varanasi.
For next four years he was immersed in hearing Bhagavatam and in serving his parents. Then both his parents were taken away by Krishna back home, back to Godhead. After they left this world Raghunath Bhatta Goswami completely detached himself from all worldly affairs and he returned to Jagannath Puri. There he again remained with Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for eight months, rendering him loving service. At the end of these eight months, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave him another instruction. He told Raghunath Bhatta Goswami "I want you to go to Vrindavana and take shelter of my two intimate associates Rupa and Sanatana Goswamis. You live under their care and serve with them. My instruction to you is that you chant the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
throughout the day, chant the Maha-Mantra twenty four hours a day and 1 want you to hear and recite the Shrimad Bhagavatam. You become the servant of Rupa and Sanatana Goswami."
At that time Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave two beautiful gifts. Prasadam of Jagannath which He Himself received in a festival, a garland of tulasi leaves that was 14 cubits long and some betel-nuts which were also the Maha-Prasadam of Jagannath, He gave them to Raghunath Bhatta Goswami, who kept them in a very special place and then proceeded to Vrindavan.
Raghunath Bhatta Goswami arrives in Vrindavan
When he arrived in Vrindavan, he was joyously greeted by Rupa Goswami and Sanatana Goswami. In fact. he became one of the great and famous six Goswamis of Vrindavan. While he was in Vrindavan, he became an intimate associate of Rupa and Sanatana Goswamis and in their company, he was constantly immersed in chanting the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra and throughout the day he would recite the Bhagavatam. He had such a beautiful voice it was just like a cuckoo bird and he would sing the Shrimad Bhagavatam verses, he would sing each sloka in three to four different melodies and it was very pleasing to hear. He would also cook wonderful delicious preparations for the Goswamis and for the Govinda murti. He dedicated, surrendered his life to Rupa Goswami's deity of Radha Govinda. It was Raghunath Bhatta Goswami who instructed one of his disciples to build a beautiful temple of Radha Govindaji, which is the most famous temple and most magnificent structure in all of North India. The Radha Govindaji temple was so magnificent that the Moghul ruler Aurangzeb specifically came to Vrindavana to tear down the top four of the seven storeys of that temple because he considered them too beautiful. Hindu temples cannot be so beautiful he felt and so he defaced it in many ways. But it was Raghunath Bhatta Goswami's devotion and his feeling that he was a servant of Shrila Rupa Goswami that encouraged him to inspire one of his disciples to build that temple. Raghunath Bhatta Goswami also arranged many beautiful decorations for Radha Govindaji, he offered Him a wonderful flute and earrings that were shaped like sharks.
Here is another example of the nature of a devotee. Raghunath Bhatta Goswami had no home when he was living in Vrindavana. He was sleeping under a different tree every night and he would just do Madhukari, he would either fast or beg for some fried grains or roti and eat whatever would be given. He lived such a simple life, he wore only a tattered discarded loin cloth and yet he was arranging such beautiful jewelry and magnificent temples for Krishna to live in and for devotees to come and worship Krishna. How can we understand such a consciousness? In this life we find that people are so anxious to build beautiful houses for themselves and get beautiful jewelry to decorate and make themselves beautiful and arrange wonderful prasadam for themselves. Raghunath Bhatta Goswami would arrange the most beautiful jewelry, most beautiful temples, and the most beautiful prasadam for Radha Govinda, for Krishna. But he himself was wearing a coarse, old, tattered loin cloth , sleeping on the hard ground through winter and summer, in the forests or in the jungles, either fasting or eating the simplest foods, but always immersed in transcendental ecstasy because he was always pleasing Krishna.
Rupa Goswami explains that whatever you give Krishna, you are not the loser, you gain millions of times over. How do we decorate our hearts? By decorating Krishna. How do we feed our sout? By feeding Krishna. How do we put our bodies and souls in poverty? By egoistically trying to serve this body and the senses, and forgetting Krishna-
Raghunath Bhatta Goswami had such a spirit of humility and gentleness that he would never criticize another Vaishnava devotee of the Lord and he would never even hear the criticism of such a person. Even if there was faults or mistakes in the life of a Vaishnava, he didn't care to hear about it. As far he was concerned "The fact that he is a devotee uf Krishna is all that I need to know." He was always seeing the good in others, he refused to see any bad in others.
In this connection our Guru Maharaj, Shrila Prabhupada, explains sometimes in preaching Krishna consciousness, it is the preacher's duty to point out the faults in others so that people will not be misled or he must point out the faults in others to correct them. That is also perfect, but it is never in the mood of criticism it is in the mood of service and compassion. But Raghunath Bhatta Goswami was the type of preacher who would not even do that. He just could not see anything but Krishna in people's hearts. Such a great devotee of the Lord! As he would recite Bhagavatam, remember the beautiful qualities of Krishna and chant his Holy Names, Raghunath Bhatta Goswami's eyes would always be filled with tears, his limbs would tremble, his voice would get choked up in transcendental ecstasy and in this way by simply following these principles which Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave him, he manifested the highest perfection of life, ecstatic love for Krishna. In this way Raghunath Bhatta Goswami lived as one of the celebrated six Goswamis of Vrindavana throughout the rest of his life manifesting through his actions and through his words an example which none of us can imitate but should strive to humbly follow.
It is such devotees, Krishna explains in the Bhagavad Gita that are most dear to Him. By following the footsteps of such devotees and by becoming the servant of the servant of the servant of such devotees is the practical method of becoming most dear to Krishna. What else do we want? Raghunath Bhatta Goswami, was actually an incarnation of Ragamanjiri, one of the intimate gopi associates of Krishna in Goloka Vrindavana, who descended into this world in the form of a devotee just to show by example, how to love Krishna. And what is the mood of the gopis of Vrindavana? What is the mood of all these great acaryas?
sarva dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja aham tvam sarva papebyho moksaisyami ma sucah
"We do not want anything else, except to please Krishna." What does it mean to surrender to Krishna? Krishna just says "Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender to Me." To surrender does not mean to do some great supernatural works. It means to humbly try to please the Lord in everything we say, do and think. In your own life do you want someone to put on a magnificent display of false ego before you or do you want that someone to in a gentle and simple way express their love to you? What will please your heart most? It is commonsense. Krishna explains what pleases him most.
Patram puspam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayachati
"Offer Me a little leaf, flower, fruit or water. If you offer it with sincere devotion you will capture My heart"
Krishna is Madanamohana, He attracts our hearts and our minds away from illusions of this material world. But He will only do it when we attract His heart through devotional service, through sincere, simple and genuine bhakti. Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu instructed Tapan Mishra and He instructed his son Raghunath Bhatta Goswami and He instructed ail of us, all of humanity for all time to come, on how this principle of pure bhakti could be awakened in our hearts by sincerely chanting the holy name of Krishna in the association of sincere devotees.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Knshna Krishna Hare Hare