Click here to load whole tree
NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Biographical Works > The Six Goswamis > Srila Raghunath das Goswami

Shrila Raghunath das Goswami

 

Appearance and early childhood

Even the great author Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami considers himself unable and practically speechless to explain the glories of Shrila Raghunath Das Goswami.

He was born in a village named Shri Krishna Pur. His father Govardhan Majumdar and uncle Hiranya Majumdar were big landholders and tax collectors and had such fabulous wealth that it was compared to that of Indra. the king of heaven. Shrila Prabhupada describes that the family of Raghunath Das compared to today's standards would be multi millionaires, practically billionaires. And of the two brothers Hiranya and Govardhan, there was only one son Raghunath Das who was the heir to everything. His father and unc'e were Vaishnavas, they were very sincere devotees of the Lord. They were disciples of the great Yadunandana Thakur, who was initiated by Shrila Advaita Acarya and was an intimate student of the great and most compassionate soul, Shrila Vasudeva Datta. A dear friend of Yadunandana Acarya, Balarama Acarya also lived in that area. These were two very devoted servants of Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Yadunandana Acarya and Balarama Acarya had great affection for Raghunath Das. He was an ocean of transcendental qualities. Anyone who met Raghunath Das would find that his or her heart became completely satisfied, he had so much natural bhakti. When you love someone you naturally want to give him or her the best possible things that you can. So Balarama Acarya took Raghunath Das to meet Shrila Haridas Thakur, who at that time was living close by. So, with Balarama and Yadunandana, Raghunath Das would regularly meet with Shrila Haridas Thakur, who used to live very simply. Sometimes Haridas woufd live under a cave or sometimes under a tree. But he was-always absorbed in very strict renunciation, constantly chanting the Holy Names of Krishna. In fact, Shrila Haridas Thakur would not eat or sleep or drink water before he would complete the chanting of three hundred thousand names of Krishna every day - more than 190 rounds of the chanting of the Hare Krishna Maha-Mantra:

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

He would preach by his words and his living example how to perfect one's life by constantiy chanting the Holy Names in the spirit of Lord Chaitanya's most important teaching :

 

Trnad api sumcena taror api sahisnuna Amanina mana dena kirtaniya sada harih

 

Because Haridas Thakur was genuinely more humble than a blade of grass, more tolerant than a tree, he offered all respects to others and would never expect any respect in return. Therefore, he could chant the Hare Krishna Maha-Mantra constantly day and night.

Raghunath Das, although a small child was very influenced by the example of Haridas Thakur and so much by the teachings of his guru, that he had no attachment or affection for any of the materialistic things of this world. This posed a big problem for his parents because they wanted him to take over everything. So they married Raghunath Das to a beautiful, chaste young woman who was endowed with all good qualities, and were gradually training him to take over everything. They gave him a beautiful home, much wealth and much prestige. But Raghunath Das was not concerned.

 

First meeting with Lord Chaitanya

Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took sannyas in Katwa and afterwards He decided to go to Vrindavan. He was in ecstasy. Dancing and chanting through forests, towns and villages in great expectation of reaching Vraja Bhumi. But Nityananda Prabhu knowing about the pain of separation in the hearts of the devotees whom He had left behind in Nawadvipa and meditating on the condition of Saci Devi and others like Advaita and Shrivas, tricked Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu by giving Him different information by which He came to Santipur, by way of Ganga. There, in Santipur, He met His mother for the first time with shaved head and the saffron robes of a sanyasi. Raghunalh Das came to meet Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for the first time on that occasion. Ot the six Goswamis, Raghunath Das Goswami was the first to meet with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu personally. He stayed for 10 days with Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Then Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu on His mother's instruction decided to go to Puri, instead of Vrindavan. to worship Lord Jagannath.

When Raghunath Das went home, he no longer had any interest in any of the things of the world. He simply wanted to go to Jagannath Puri to meet with Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu- That was his constant meditation. So it became a daily affair, that Raghunath Das would run away from home and his parents would find him at a distant place and they would forcibly bring him back home. And as soon as the next opportunity came he would again, somehow, escape. But again he would be caught. Raghunalh Das Goswami, would not even enter'into the interior compound of his house, but rather sleep and stay in the courtyard called the Durga Mandapa. which is in the exterior of the housing complex of the wealthy people at that time. Anyway, many endeavors were made.

"Do not become a monkey renunciate"

Once again Lord Chaitanya arrived in Shantipur. He was on his next trip to Vrindavan. Raghunath Das was again given permission by his father to see Him, but he was surrounded by many guards. There Raghunath Das prost-ated his body and offered his life at the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and told Lord Chaitanya of his very deep desire to be relieved from the entanglements and bondage of household Itie and to serve Him cent-percent. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu instructed Raghunath in a very wonderful way. He said, "You should not be a markata vairagi - You should not be a monkey renunciant. Monkeys appear to be very renounced. They live in trees. They do not wear clothes. They only eat what grows on trees. However, they always have so many thoughts about how to enioy with female monkeys whenever the opportunity comes. You should pretend in an external way to be completely attached to pounds, shillings and pence. You should perform your duties as a first class business manager, but in your heart you should always be meditating on Krishna. And very soon, Krishna will show His mercy to you,"

 

Raghunath Das and the Turkish Chowdhury

So Raghunath Das went home. He appeared to his parents to be completely settled in his materialistic life. Once, his parents almost got into big trouble. They were collecting taxes from people and were collecting 2 million gold coins per month. Now, they were supposed to give 1 million 500 thousand to the government and keep 500 thousand for themselves. But when a Turkish Chowdhury, who was an assistant tax collector checked the records, he found they were only giving 1 million 200 thousand gold coins. That means there was 300 thousand gold coins which were unaccounted. He was very envious of them. This tax collector along with some soldiers came to arrest Hiranya and Govardhan Maiumdar. But they were not home, only Raghunath Das was home so they arrested Raghunath Das and put him in prison.

The Turkish Chowdhury would try to torture Raghunath Das everyday. He wanted to beat him to get the information, "Where is your father and uncle? Tell me, where are they?" But every time he would go to beat Raghunath Das iust by seeing his beauty, gentleness and compassionate nature, his heart would melt. He would not be able to beat him. So Raghunath Das decided to play a good trick. One day he told the Chowdhury, "Actually my uncle and my father and you are just like brothers. You have such an intimate relationship. Sometimes brothers will naturally argue and fight. But then tomorrow the brothers will sit together very peacefully with great love for each other. Because you are in that relationship, you are like my father. This is how I respect you and have affection for you. And you should not hurt your own son. You should be kind and compassionate to your own son. After all you are a Muslim and you are a great saint. You know the scriptures and you are a compassionate merciful being."

He spoke with such sincerity and love that the Turkish Chowdhury started to cry and tears began to glide through his beard and he embraced Raghunath Das and said, "Yes. Yes. What you are saying is true. You are like my own son. How much love he had developed for Raghunath Das. How can 1 hurt you. You should go. You should be free. And as far as your father and uncle are concerned when you happen to see them you can give them this message, that whatever extra profits they are making they shoulddivide with me. Ultimately they can do whatever they want. But give this message. And arrange for me to meet with them peacefully." Raghunath Das arranged a meeting and Govardhan, Hiranya and the Turkish Chowdhury settled the matter and all of them were very happy.

 

Panihati chida-dahi festival

In this way Raghunath Das, following Lord Chaitanya's instruction, appeared to be completely attached to his worldly environment. But then he heard that Lord Nityananda Prabhu along with His most confidential associates were at the house of Raghava Pandit at Panihati. So he begged permission from his father to go there. His father knew that he could not keep him away from Lord Nityananda Prabhu's mercy. Sc he sent Raghunath Das with some servants and guards. At the time Lord Nityananda Prabhu was sitting under a sacred banyan tree on the bank of the Holy river Ganges, He was effulgent like thousands and thousands of suns. Raghunath Das offered his obeisances from a distance feeling that he was too contaminated and materialistic to go . close to such a great personality. One of Lord Nityananda Prabhu's servants said, 'There is Raghunath Das." Lord Nityananda Prabhu said, "Raghunath, why are you offering obeisances from such a distant place. You are a thief. Thieves keep their distance." Then Lord Nityananda Prabhu personally came towards Raghunath Da'. and placed His feet on Raghunath Das' head. Lord Nityananda Prabhu said, "Because you have been captured by Me, as a thief you must be punished. You are a wealthy man's son- So you must feed chida and dahi to all My associates."

Raghunath Das was very happy. Immediately, he went to the town and the villages and made arrangements. He got all varieties of clay pots. Then they got hot milk I and soaked all the rice. Half the rice that was soaked in the hot milk was then soaked in | yogurt, sugar and bananas. The other half was soaked in big pots with condensed milk, !' camphor, ghee, and a special variety of bananas and sugar. Lord Nityananda Prabhu was very happily sitting with His very close associates such as Gauridas Pandit, Gadadhar Das, Sundarananda, Murari Chaitanya, Uddharana ThaKur, Paramananda, many such great personalities. And each of the devotees got two clay pots with each preparation.

Soon the word spread, and many people from various towns and villages wanted to come to participate in this wonderful feast conducted by Lord Nityananda Prabhu Himself. Soon there were so many people, that the whole raised platform was full and then the bank of the Ganges was completely crowded and full, so much so that some people were standing in the Ganges, and each one had 2 clay pots : one with yogurt, sugar and bananas soaking the chida and the other was chida soaked in condensed milk, camphor, ghee and special bananas in sugar.

Lord Nityananda Prabhu was so happy with this feast that in His mind He called for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. And Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu immediately appeared in His transcendental form, but no one could see Him except Lord Nityananda Prabhuand a few very special, confidential devotees. By this time there were so many people sitting on the ground with their claypots. Lord Nityananda Prabhu and Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu were so happy that they went to each and every one of the claypots. Lord Nityananda Prabhu would take one morsel from each and every pot of chipped rice and put it directly in the mouth of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and in great happiness Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would take one morsel from each clay pot and placed it in the mouth of Lord Nityananda Prabhu. Such a loving reciprocation they had!

 

The nectarean cooking of Raghava Pandit and Damayanti

And then Lord Nityananda Prabhu was sitting and Raghava Pandit arrived. Raghava Pandit had a wonderful house Just near this tree in PanihatL When Iw^would cook, along with his sister Damayanti, every preparation was ecstatically sweet like nectar. In fact, it was a known fact that whenever anything was cooked in the house of Raghava Pandit, Shrimati Radharani would personally appear to perform the cooking through the hands of Her devotees. Shrimati Radharani had received a benediction from Durvasa Muni that anything She prepared would be sweeter than nectar.

Whenever they would cook Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would personally appear in the house of Raghava Pandit to eat that food. So Raghava Pandit came with all nice items cooked in ghee and said to Lord Nityananda Prabhu, "You are supposed to come to my house for prasad today." Lord Nityananda Prabhu replied, "I am a cowherd boy and 1 like taking prasad with My cowherd boy associates on the bank of the sandy river. So I will come to your house tonight." Meanwhile a wonderful feast was arranged. And after everyone was served and everyone enjoyed to their full satisfaction, Lord Nityananda Prabhu personally offered all the devotees a garland and sandalwood with His own loving hands. Then He went to rest-Lord Nityananda Prabhu personally gave Raghunath Das Goswami the plates and the clay pots which were directly used by Him as well as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu . That evening, in the house of Raghava Pandit, Lord Nityananda Prabhu induced everyone to start dancing and chanting in kirtan. It was such a beautiful kirtan. Lord Nityananda Prabhu began to dance. Wherever He was in the world, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would always appear to watch the dancing of Lord Nityananda Prabhu. Seeing the presence of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu danced together in ecstatic love and everyone was chanting and dancing for many hours. After the kirtan, Raghava Pandit served delicious, ambrosial prasad to Lord Chaitanya, Lord Nityananda Prabhu and all the devotees. Raghava Pandit worshipped each devotee by offering a garland, sandalwood and other gifts. Then they took rest. Raghava Pandit gave Raghunath Das, the plates directly used by Gaur-Nitai as Maha Maha Prasad.

 

Lord Nityananda blesses Raghunath

The next morning Lord Nityananda Prabhu was sitting under that same sacred banyan tree when Raghunath Das approached Him. He grasped His feet. placed it on his head and he began to pray, "I am the most sinful, the lowest, and the most condemned of all living entities. Who can I approach other than You? 1 am not fit, however, You are all merciful. Like a dwarf who desires to catch the moon, 1 am seeking Your great mercy. 1 am entangled in the great bondage of materialistic life. No one can approach Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu without Your mercy. Please give me the benediction that I may renqunce completely all the entanglements of materialistic life and family encumbrances and let me seek shelter whole-heartedly in the service of Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Let this one desire of my heart be fulfilled by Your causeless mercy."

Lord Nityananda Prabhu was very pleased to see the determination and humility of Raghunath Das. He began to speak to the other devotees, "Raghunath Das is living in opulence equal to Indra, the king of heaven. He has so much wealth, so much aristocracy, yet he is not the slightest bit attached to any of it. He simply wants to serve Gauranga Mahaprabhu in the renounced order of life. Please give your blessings to Raghunath Das."

All the Vaishnavas began to shower their blessings on Raghunath Das. And then Lord Nityananda Prabhu said, "Very soon you will be released from all the bondages of your household life. You will go to Jagannath Puri and you will be one of the most intimate, confidential and personal associates of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. In fact, He will put you under the care of His own personal secretary, Svaroopa Damodar Goswami and you will be famous as one of the greatest renunciates in the service of the Lord."

When Raghunath Das heard this, he was filled with happiness. He went to each and every devotee and worshipped their lotus feet and he worshipped the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda Prabhu. Then he gave a large sum of money to Raghava Pandit. He told him, "Please give this to Nityananda Prabhu after I leave." And then he made a detailed list of donations for each and every one of the devotees, according to their requirements.

Then Raghunath Das went home. His mother and father were very worried, because he was trying to escape many times. One time his mother said to his father, "This Raghunath has gone crazy. He won't stay home. You should tie him with ropes." Govandhan Maiumdar replied, "He is already bound by the wealth of Indra - so much opulence, so many fine clothes, such beautiful living conditions! His wife is more beautiful than an angel, ti these things cannot keep him home, how can we expect to keep him with ropes. Our son has received the mercy of Lord Gaurachandra. Who can keep such a mad man from the service of the Lord?"

Raghunath Das Goswami was pretending very nicely, but still day and night there were guards all around him. And Raghunath Das was immersed in meditation of how to spscaoe and how to achieve the lotus feet of Lord Gauranga.

 

Raghunath escapes to Jagannath Puri

Once towards the end of night - only 4 dandas of time were left, the guru of the family Yadunandanacarya, was having some problem. One of his disciples, a brahmin priest, who worshipped his deities had left his service. Yadunandanacarya knew that Raghunath Das was an expert in all dealings on all levels. So he came to the Durga-mandapa, he approached Raghunath Das and said, "Can you go to the house of this pujari and convince him to continue his service to the deity? I will go with you." Raghunath Das said, "Of course, 1 will go." As it was so late at night, all the guards were fast asleep. Raghunath Das left and as he was walking along the road with Yadunandanacarya he said, "Actually 1 can do it myself, you can go home. I will go to the house of your pujari disciple and'convince him." Yadunandanacarya said, "Yes" and went home. Raghunath Das understood, "Yes, this is the time!"

Perhaps, he preached to the pujari first but then he immediately fled to the forest. He understood that his parents would immediately send many guards and investigators to tind him. So he did not go in the direction of Puri. First he went east. He traveled deep east all day long, and the whole of the next day. When night came there was a shed of a milk man and he slept in the place where the cows sleep. In the morning the milk man understood that he had not eaten, so he gave him a little bit of milk.

Then Raghunath Das went in the southern direction. But he did not go by the main road, but rather went through the jungles, which no one will take. Every year Sivananda Sen, would take a whole group of Bengali Vaishnavas to meet Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Govardhan sent some messengers, guards and servants, "You go to Sivananda Sen, because Raghunath Das must be going to Puri with them. Tell them to give me my son back." So his messengers went to Sivananda Sen, but he said, "Your son is not here. 1 do not know where he may be."

Meanwhile, Raghunath Das was travelling through the jungles and the forests. It took him twelve days to arrive at Jagannath Puri and only on three occasions did he get anything to eat - sometimes he got little milk, sometimes he cooked something and sometimes he chewed on some fried grains. Although often it was very cold, or very-hot and he had to undergo many inconveniences Raghunath Das was not affected because he was completely immersed in the thought that soon he would see the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He was full of py. After 12 days he arrived in Jagannath Puri. In Kashi Mishra Bhavan, there is a room called the 'Gambhira', That was the personal residence of Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Raghunath Das went to that place.

 

Raghunath Meets Lord Chaitanya In Puri

When Lord Chaitanya saw Raghunath Das , He became filled with happiness. He said to Raghunath Das, "You have received the mercy of Lord Krishna. To become disentangled from the attachments of this material world is very difficult, in fact it is impossible. It is only by the mercy of Lord Krishna that one can achieve such liberation." Raghunath Das with great humility, with such a grateful heart replied, "I do not know who Krishna is. 1 only know that Your causeless mercy has saved me." In groat humility Raghunath Das offered prayers to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Lord Chaitanya replied that. "Material life is tike a deep ditch where people go to pass stool. Because your father and uncle are friends of my father and grandfather w are related, and 1 can say some joking words about them. Your father and uncle are like worms living in the stool of that ditch. Although they are Vaishnavas, they are not pure Vaishnavas. They have many material attachments. They give so much charity and donation to other devotees, but still they have material attachments. But Krishna has rescued you and brought you here."

Then Lord Chaitanya turned to Svarupa Damodar Goswami, His most personal associate and said, "I want you to take care of Raghunath Das - I am personally placing him in your loving care." Then Lord Chaitanya took the hands of Raghunath Das and Svarupa Damodar Goswami and put them together. "Now," he said, "there are three Raghus. There is Vaidya Raghunath, there is Bhatta Raghunath and this Raghunath who will be known as the Raghunath of Svarupa Damodar Goswami."

Svarupa Damodar Goswami very happily accepted the charge of Raghunath Das as his personal servant. Lord Chaitanya turned to Govinda, "Raghunath Das is very skinny because he hasn't eaten properly for the last 12 days and his body is dirty from travelling in the forest and all his clothes were torn." He said to Raghunath Das, "You go to bathe in the sea and then come back to Govinda after you see Jagannath and he will give you some nice prasad." So Raghunath Das went to bathe in the sea and when he came back, Govinda gave him Lord Chaitanya's own personal remnants of Mahaprasad.

After some days of eating Lord Chaitanya's remnants from the hands of Govinda, he began to sit outside the Simhadvaram, the main gate of Jagannath temple, like a beggar and that is how he would survive. It is explained that it was the tradition that the pujaris and the sen/ants of Jagannath after they finish their services they would come out. There is usually lines of beggars in front of the Simhadvaram and they would arrange for some prasad to be given to them. Raghunath Das was sitting like a beggar. Lord Chaitanya was very pleased to see this. How humble and how simple he was! Dedicating his life! Constantly immersed in chanting Hari Nama and serving the Vaishnavas!

But one day Raghunath Das spoke, through Svarupa Damodar Goswami, to Lord Chaitanya. Raghunath Das was so humble that generally he would not directly speak to Lord Chaitanya. If he had anything to say or any question to ask, he would do it through either Svarupa Damodar Goswami or Govinda, the servant of the Lord. So one day, Svarupa Damodar Goswami and Raghunath Das came before Lord Chaitanya and Svarupa Damodar Goswami said, "Raghunath Das has a question. He says that he has given up all the wonderful luxuries of his family life and his worldly existence. But he does not know why? He does not know what duty he has to perform. What are the services of one in the renounced order of life?"

 

Lord Chaitanya instructs Raghunath das Goswami

Lord Chaitanya turned to Raghunath Das Goswami and He said, "Actually he can answer your questions. But since you are asking Me, 1 will give you the reply. Do not speak mundane topics like people, in general, of this world and do not hear what they say. Do not eat luxurious foods and do not dress very nicely. You should always offer all respect to others but you must expect no respect in return. In this way you should constantly chant the holy names of the Lord and in your mind you should always meditate upon serving Radha and Krishna in the forests of Vrindavan. These are the duties of one in the renounced order of life. Now. for all further instructions you can get them from Svarupa Damodar Goswami. But one more instruction I must give you:

Trnad api sunicena taror api sah'isnuna Amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih

To be more humble than a blade of grass, to be more tolerant than a tree, ready to offer all respects to others and expect none in return. In this way one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly."

For those who are pursuing the true path of renunciation Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has given these three verses as the basis of real renunciation.

Raghunath das was so renounced and he was so simple in his lifestyle that he became dear to all the devotees. Later that year, after the four months of the rainy season ended, Shivananda Sen and his group came back to Bengal. Raghunath Das's father came to meet with Shivananda Sen and he asked "Have you seen Raghunath Das ? Is he in Puri living in the renounced order of life ?" And Shivananda Sen replied "Of course. Raghunath Das is famous. He is living as a member of the renounced order of life . He sits in front of the Simhadvaram and he begs for whatever little food may come. Sometimes he does not get any food and he gladly fasts. He only wears torn discarded clothes and an old quilt. He constantly chants the holy names of the Lord. He is dearly loved by all the Vaishnavas. Everyone knows Raghunath Das. He is under the care of Swarup Damodar Goswami. And he is one of the most confidential devotees of Lord Chaitanya." Shivananda Sen was thus glorifying him. When Govardhan and Hiranya heard him they became very broken-hearted and unhappy. What to do? There is no possible way they could bring him home now. So they decided to send lots of money and lot of cooks. Shivananda Sen said, "Next year when 1 go you can come."

Next year when Shivananda Sen and the Vaishnavas went they took Qovardhan's servant. When they arrived, they came to Raghunath Das and offered him a large sum of money. There were two Brahmins and a servant to cook. Raghunath Das told them, "I don't want any of this but you stay here in Puri." Then after some time he decided that he would use the money in preparing a feast for Lord Chaitanya and His associates, twice a month. So twice every month Lord Chaitanya and His associates would come to the residence of Raghunath Das Goswami and there would be a wonderful feast. Meanwhile. Raghunath Das stayed at the Simhadvaram and continued his begging.

This went on for two years. Another two months went by and Lord Chaitanya was not being invited. He asked Swarup Damodar Goswami, "Why is Raghunath Das not inviting me for prasad ?" Swarup Damodar replied, "He is thinking like this: I am accepting this money from materialistic people, and I'm inviting Lord Chaitanya only for my prestige. But Lord Chaitanya is not accepting it, He is only taking it to make me happy because I'm inviting Him." Lord Chaitanya said, "Yes this is very good. I'm very pleased, One should not take money from materialistic people for one's own purposes." Lord Chaitanya saw that he was increasing his spirit of renunciation. After sometime Lord Chaitanya asked his servant, "Why I do not see Raghunath Das any more sitting in front of Simhadvaram to beg?" "Because he was thinking, 'Now 1 am sitting here and I am evaluating everybody who comes out of the temple. How much will he give me? He gave something yesterday. Why is he not giving me anything? 1 am evaluating people according to my own needs. Therefore at this time Raghunath Das is begging at the free prasadam booths."

Lord Chaitanya was very pleased with Raghunath Das. H^'w humble he was and how dear to all the Vaishnavas! How he would not waste a second but was constantly immersed in hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord and serving the Lord. Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami describes that once a sannyasi, his name was Shankarananda, came from Vrindavan and he personally gave Lord Chaitanya a stone from the Govardhan Hill and a beautiful Gunjamala. Lord Chaitanya accepted these gifts with gratitude and love. He would wear that Govardhana Shila around his neck. Lord Chaitanya in the spirit of the tove of Shrimati Radharani would see that Govardhan Shila as the very body of Lord Krishna and sometimes in the ecstasy of love Lord Chaitanya would place the Shila on His forehead. Sometimes he would smell it with his nose, sometimes he would push it to his eyes. At all times that Govardhana Shila was moistened by the tears of the love of Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and sometimes when Lord Chaitanya was in great ecstasy he would put on that Gunjamala and worship it. Lord Chaitanya kept that Shila personally for 2 years and worshipped the gunjamala and the Shila with unlimited love and devotion. Because Raghunath Das was so dear to Lord Chaitanya he wanted to give the most precious things to him. He told Raghunath Das, "Today t will give you this Govardhan Shila which is non-different than the body of Krishna, and the gunjamala of Vrindavan. To this Shila you should offer worship everyday. Bathe it with water and th^n offer Tulasi leaves each with one Manjari or flower on each side. And by doing this you will very soon achieve the ultimate treasure of Krishna's mercy." Raghunath Das Goswami was thinking within his heart, "By giving me this Govardhan Shila Lord Chaitanya has given me a permanent place at Govardhan hill. And by giving me the gunjamata he has given me shelter at the lotus feet of Shrimati Radharani.

 

The extreme renunciation of Raghunath das Goswami

After some time Swaroop Damodar Goswami personally arranged very opulent sweetmeats for Raghunath Das to offer his Govardhan Shila. Meanwhile Raghunath Das Goswami continued to increase the nectar of renunciation in his life. After some time Lord Chaitanya noticed he wasn't even going to the free booths to eat. Where is he eating now? He wondered the food sold in Puri is the Mahaprasad of Lord Jagannath. Whatever lies unsold becomes rotten and decomposed as time goes by. it would no longer be sold or eaten by human beings. The food that is not sold and getting old was put in a pile and the Tailanga(a breed of cow) cows would come to eat it. But some of the prasad was so rotten, the smell was so terrible, it was so decomposed and unpalatable that even the cows would not eat it. Or if they did they would spit it out. At the end of the day that was all that was left in that pile. At night, when no one would see him Raghunath Das would carefully go there and pick up the old decomposed rotten pieces of Jagannath's rice that the cows had rejected. He would take it home and carefully wash it. He would take the inner part, add salt and eat it. That is all he would eat.

One day Swaroop Damodar Goswami saw him eating this and he said "What kind of nectar are you eating Raghunath Das?" He forcibly took some of it, and became so pleased, he said "Such nectar I have never tasted." Then Swaroop Damodar Goswami reported the renunciation of Raghunath Das Goswami to Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. One day Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came just at the time when Raghunath Das Goswami was about to take his prasad. When Lord Chaitanya came in, Raghunath hid it so Lord Chaitanya would not see it. Some people perform renunciation for fame and glory. But Raghunath Das did not want people to see how renounced he was. He hid it from every one's view. Only the Lord in His heart could see what kind of renunciation he was really performing. Lord Chaitanya said, "Oh, Raghunath Das 1 heard you are eating very palatable prasad. Please give me some." Then Lord Chaitanya knowing exactly where the prasad was grabbed it, and ate it. Swaroop Damodar Goswami stopped Him, "You shouid not take any more." Lord Chaitanya was filled with bliss, "I have tasted so many preparations of Jagannath's mahaprasad - many sabjis, many sweetmeats and many grains. But never have 1 ever experienced such nectarean prasad as what Raghunath Das Goswami is eating each day."

 

"Mahaprabhurer bhakta gana vairagya pradhan"

Renunciation is the basic principle, which sustains the lives of the associates of Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Seeing that renunciation Lord Gaurachandra is extremely pleased.

Sn this way, Raghunath Das Goswami lived in Jagannath Puri as the personal associate of Lord Chaitanya for sixteen years. How he lived, no one can possibly imitate! He was the life and soul of all the Vaishnavas. When Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu disappeared from His pastimes in this world, soon afterwards Swaroop Damodar Goswami also left this world. In the pangs of separation Raghunath Das Goswami was feeling that there was no reason to live, his two Lords had left him. He decided to see the Holy Land of Vrindavan, and to Jump from the highest peak of Govardhan Hill and commit suicide. With this determination in his heart he walked to Vrindavan.

There he met with Rupa Goswami and Shrila Sanatana Goswami. Upon seeing them he felt a revival in his heart " I was dying. I was withering up in separation of Lord Chaitanya and Swaroop Damodar Goswami, but now 1 see that in the form of Rupa and Sanatana, Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is present. He is living in this world. The same mercy, the same teaching, the same spirit of compassion of Lord Chaitanya is residing always in the lives of Rupa and Sanatana Goswami." When Rupa and Sanatana heard Raghunath Das Goswami's desire to commit suicide, they said, "No. You be one of our brothers. You be our third brother and live with us here in Vrindavan and always tell us the glorious pastimes of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu."

 

Residence at Radhakunda

Raghunath "Das Goswami was given residence on the banks of the holiest of alt holy places, Shri Radhakund. There he was constantly immersed in the ecstasy of love and devotion to Lord Gauranga and Shri Shri Radha and Krishna. All the Vrijbasis worshiped and loved Raghunath Das Goswami. He was the very embodiment of complete dedication in the spirit of vairagya. Raghunath Das Goswami would bow down to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, minimum one thousand times every day. He would chant the holy names of the Lord, minimum 100,000 times everyday, 200,000 times at other times it is said. He would bow down to Vaishnavas, minimum 2,000 times every day. He was constantly chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, 22 Vz hours a day he would be immersed in kirtan and meditation on the Lord. Three hours every day he would narrate the beautiful pastimes of Lord Shri Chailanya Mahaprabhu as he witnessed them and heard them from his beloved Swaroop Damodar Goswami.

One of the persons who would daily attend the three-hour class of Raghunath Das Goswami, about Lord Chaitanya's pastimes and teachings, was Shrila Krishnadas Kavirai Goswami.- It was on the basis of what he heard from Raghunath Das Goswami that he was empowered to write the most important of all scriptures for Gaudiya Vaishnavas - the very postgraduate study of Shrimad Bhagavatam, the most venerable of all of our literatures, Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita. After each chapter Shrila Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami surrenders his life by taking the dust from the feet of Shri Rupa Goswami and Raghunath Das Goswami. giving all mercy and credit to them for the literature that he had composed. The kind of life exhibited by Ragnunath Das Goswami at Radhakund is the very pinnacle of what all renunciates must strive to follow. He would just sit and chant all day long.

This story is described in Bhakti Ratnakar by Narahari Chakravarti. One day Sanatana Goswami was coming to meet Raghunath Das. And as Sanatana was approaching, he saw there were tigers drinking water from Radhakund just beside Raghunath Das, who was sitting there completely absorbed with his eyes closed and was loudly chanting the holy names.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Hama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Sanatana Goswami saw Shri Shyamsunder appearing personally with a stick in His hand guarding Raghunath Das Goswami from the tigers. On another occasion it is explained Sanatana Goswami came and it was summertime. It was at noon- The sun was blazing like fire and Sanatana Goswami saw the most worshippable Vrindavanesvari, Shrimati Radharani standing over Raghunath Das Goswami and giving him shade with her sari and while he was in the coolness of the shade of Shri Radharani's causeless mercy, She was standing in the sun perspiring profusely.

Sanatana Goswami approached Raghunath Das Goswami, "We are supposed to be rendering service to Radha and Krishna, the purpose of our bhajan is to give seva or pleasure to Radha and Krishna. We should not expect Radha and Krishna to serve us. But because of the nature of your bhajan, They are coming from their own Lila just to protect you, to serve you. This is not the spirit of Gauranga Mahaprabhu's teachings." So, on Sanatana Goswami's request a small kutir was built and Raghunath Das would perform his sacred bhajan in that Bhajan Kutir. That was the beginning of the Bhajan Kutir system in Vrindavan.

There, he could completely immerse himself in giving pleasure and service to Radha and Krishna through his bhajan without them having to come and serve him. Raghunath Das Goswami's following of the regulative principles were like lines on stone. Under no circumstances could they ever be erased or changed. Raghunath Das Goswami saw Shri Radhakund to be the sacred bathing place of Shrimati Radharani, the favorite place for Radha Shayamsunder to perform Their most intimate confidential pastimes. He saw that the water of Shri Radhakund was filled with none other than the ambrosia! nectar of Shri Radharani's love for Shyamsundar. Therefore, he would never wash any kind of utensils or any thing like that in Radhakund. He would take a bath in Shri Radhakund three times everyday. He saw that sometimes people were washing utensils and everything like that, and he felt very bad. He decided there should be another source of water for this purpose, so they began to dig a well. As they were digging they hit a piece of stone, and that stone began to bleed profusely. When this information was given to Raghunath Das, he told them "Stop this well-digging."

That night on the banks of Shri Radhakund, as Raghunath Das Goswami was resting Krishna appeared to him in a dream and told him, "Govardhan hill is my body and each of the limbs of My body are various parts of Govardhan Hill. That stone which began to bleed when you cut it is the tongue of Govardhan. Now take that stone out, install it and make a small temple for my devotees to come and worship." Raghunath Das Goswami personally arranged for that stone to be taken out of the ground and Raghunath Das, who was sitting there completely absorbed with his eyes closed and; was loudly chanting the holy names.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Sanatana Goswami saw Shri Shyamsunder appearing personally with a stick in His hand guarding Raghunath Das Goswami from the tigers. On another occasion it is explained Sanatana Goswami came and it was summertime. It was at noon. The sun was blazing like fire and Sanatana Goswami saw the most worshippable Vrindavanesvari, Shrimati Radharani standing over Raghunath Das Goswami and giving him shade with: her sari and while he was in the coolness of the shade of Shri Radharani's causeless mercy, She was standing in the sun perspiring profusely.

Sanatana Goswami approached Raghunath Das Goswami, "We are supposed to be rendering service to Radha and Krishna, the purpose of our bhajan is to give seva or pleasure to Radha and Krishna. We should not expect Radha and Krishna to serve us. But because of the nature of your bhajan, They are coming from their own Lila just to protect you, to serve you. This is not the spirit of Gauranga Mahaprabhu's teachings." So, on Sanatana Goswami's request a small kutir was built and Raghunath Das would perform his sacred bhajan in that Bhajan Kutir. That was the beginning of the Bhajan Kutir system in Vrindavan.

There, he could completely immerse himself in giving pleasure and service to Radha and Krishna through his bhajan without them having to come and serve him. Raghunath Das Goswami1 s following of the regulative principles were like lines on stone. Under no circumstances could they ever be erased or changed. Raghunath Das Goswami saw Shri Radhakund to be the sacred bathing place of Shrimati Radharani, the favorite place for Radha Shayamsunder to perform Their most intimate confidential pastimes. He saw that the water of Shri Radhakund was filled with none other than the ambrosia! nectar of Shri Radharani's love for Shyamsundar. Therefore, he would never wash any kind of utensils or any thing like that in Radhakund. He would take a bath in Shri Radhakund three times everyday. He saw that sometimes people were washing utensils and everything like that, and he felt very bad. He decided there should be another source of water for this purpose, so they began to dig a well. As they were digging they hit a piece of stone, and that stone began to bleed profusely. When this information was given to Raghunath Das, he told them "Stop this well-digging"

 

That night on the banks of Shri Radhakund, as Raghunath Das Goswami was resting Krishna appeared to him in a dream and told him, "Govardhan hill is my body and each of the limbs of My body are various parts of Govardhan Hill. That stone which began to bleed when you cut it is the tongue of Govardhan. Now take that stone out, install it and make a small temple for my devotees to come and worship." Raghunath Das Goswami personally arranged for that stone to be taken out of the ground and installed in a little temple. Today, the tongue of Govardhan is still worshipped by so many fortunate Vaishnavas who visit Shri Radhakund.

Raghunath Das Goswami was thinking that perhaps Radhakund should be excavated because at that time it was just like a pond of water in the middle of a paddy field. You know how Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was so eager to find Radhakund when He went to Vrindavan. In Padma Purana and in other great scriptures it is described, Radhakund is the pinnacle, the ultimate culmination of all holy places. But no one in Vrindavan knew where Radhakund and Shyamakund were. But when Lord Chaitanya, who is Shri Krishna and Shri Radharani in one form, was doing His Govardhan parikrama He came to a place and saw two tiny little ponds of water and understood that this is the sacred Radhakund and Shyamakund.

Raghunath Das Goswami was thinking, "Perhaps it should be excavated," but then in his mind he also thought, "Why should 1 go and try to collect money and get involved in ail these types of activities? Lord Chaitanya would want me to do bhajan." But Lord Chaitanya is in the heart of His devotee. He understood Raghunath Das Goswami's desire to perform this service. A very wealthy man went on a pilgrimage to the high peaks of the Himalayas to that holy place Badrikasram. He brought lots of money, as he wanted to renovate and build the temple of Badrinath. But he had a dream where Badrivishal, Lord Narayan, appeared to him and said, "You go to Vrindavan. There you find Shrila Raghunath Das Goswami. Give him all your money and help him to renovate Shyamakund and Radhakund."

So this wealthy man came down and went to Vrindavan and told Raghunath Das Goswami the story and the message he was bringing. Raghunath Das was very happy. So they excavated and renovated, Shri Radhakund. As they were excavating, Shri Shyamakund, Maharaja Yudhisthira appeared to Raghunath Das Goswami in a dream and told him, "My four brothers and I are living in the form of trees on the banks of Shyamakund, always meditating on the wonderful pastimes of Radha and Krishna. Please do not cut us down and disturb our meditation." Raghunath das Goswami engineered the excavation of that area while giving due respect to the five Pandavas. Thus Shyama Kund is not a square like Radhakund but it is irregularly shaped in various places.

Shrila Prabhupada told us that Raghunath Das Goswami was so austere that he would just have a little buttermilk everyday, sometimes every few days. And as he was about to have that buttermilk he would be ashamed of himself. "That if one has love and devotion to Lord Krishna that love is so satisfying that one should not be concerned with maintaining this physical body." He considered himself a supreme enjoyer when he would have a little bit of butter or buttermilk every few days. This was the standard of his renunciation. Shrila Prabhupada explains he became very skinny, so thin that he would just wear torn discarded clothes that would be thrown in the street as garbage. And then it was just a kaupin, a small chadar and a patched torn quilt, perhaps, in the winter.

One day Raghunath Das Goswami had terrible pains in his stomach from indigestion, and devotees did not know what to do. He was really inconvenienced so they brought a Kaviraj, an Ayurvedic doctor. The doctor examined Raghunath Das Goswami and tofd the devotees, "He has overeaten. He has eaten sweet rice. Milk. rice and sugar cooked together and he ate too much." The devotees were thinking, "What is this nonsense? He never eats sweet rice. How can Raghunath Das Goswami overeat?" They thought the doctor was in illusion or he was blasphemous or something- But actually Raghunath Das revealed that in his internal transcendental loving meditation on Radha and Krishna, Shri Radharani gave him Her own remnants of sweet rice and in his transcendental meditation he ate it, and that is what gave him the indigestion. So he was given some medicine and then he recovered.

 

Meeting with Jahnava Devi

Raghunath Das Goswami remained at Radhakund and lived a very long life. When Rupa Goswami and Sanatana Goswami left this planet, Shri Jiva Goswami was made the prominent leader of the Vaishnavas. Jiva Goswami would always be happy to go to Radhakund to worship Shrila Raghunath Das Goswami. When Shrinivas Acharya, Narottama Das Thakur and Shyamananda Goswami came to Vrindavan they would often times go to Radhakund just to surrender their lives in great humility and devotion before Raghunath Das Goswami. He would embrace them with such love and literally bathe them with the tears of his affection. He was the embodiment of mercy. Then one time Jahnava Devi, the eternal consort of Lord Nityananda Prabhu came with Her entourage to Vrindavan. She went to visit Shri Jiva Goswami and others and they told Her the condition of Raghunath Das Goswami. It was pitiable - what type of love and separation he was ecstatically suffering! He was not even eating or sleeping. He was just crying in the ecstasy of love for Shri Radha and Krishna, weeping in separation from Rupa, Sanatana, Swaroop Damodar and Gauranga Mahaprabhu. Jahnava Devi traveled to Radhakund just for the purpose of meeting Shrila Raghunath Das Goswami. It is explained even though Jahnava Devi saw the beautiful Radhakund and Shyamakund -the ultimate holy-places worshipped by all Gaudiya Vaishnavas, still She found even more happiness getting the darshan of Shrila Raghunath Das Goswami who was just weeping and crying in great separation, while chanting the holy names

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Shrila Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami came to Raghunath Das and said, "Jahnava Devi has come." When Raghunath Das heard Jahnava Devi has come all the way from Kardaha in Bengal he became very ecstatic. He got up and as quickly as he possibly could he began to approach Jahnava Devi. When She saw him She began to weep in ecstatic love and as he saw Her this pure transcendental exchange was something wonderful. Raghunath Das fell at the feet of Jahnava Devi and worshipped Her. In this way Jahnava Devi tried to somehow pacify him and give him happiness from his separation.

On an earlier occasion Rupa Goswami wrote the book Lalita Madhava and gave the manuscript to Raghunath Das to read. When Raghunath Das Goswami read the stories of the separation of Shri Radharani and the gopis from Lord Krishna he became so immersed in that separation, in his own heart, that he was like a mad man simply weeping and crying constantly. He would just cry and cry holding the book, Laiita Madhava to his chest and his associates at Shri Radhakund could do nothing to pacify him. They informed Shrila Rupa Goswami in Vrindavan, who immediately wrote another book Danakeli Kaumudi, which describes the wonderful, wonderful, loving reunion of Radha and Krishna. Shrila Rupa Goswami came to Radhakund and gave this book to Raghunath Das Goswami. "As far as Lalita Madhava is concerned some corrections have to be made, so give it back." When Raghunath Das Goswami read the ecstatic verses of Shrila Rupa Goswami's love describing sambhog, the meeting of Radha and Krishna all his anxieties disappeared. He became filled with joy.

Raghunath Das Goswami is declared by the acharyas to be the Prayojana guru for our sampradaya. Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has taught us that there are three subject maters in the Vedas,

 

Sambandha,

To establish our relationship with Krishna, as His eternal servant. Shri!a Sanatana Goswami through his writings established Sambandha jnana, therefore he is worshipped as our Sambandha acharya. Madanmohana is the Sambandha murti. The next subject is

 

Abhideya,

To act in accordance with our eternal relationship with Krishna, by engaging in the path of pure bhakti. Govinda is the Abhideya Murti and Shrila Rupa Goswami through his writings he has explained very nicely how to engage in the service of Radha and Krishna to achieve the ultimate perfection of life. The third subject is

 

Prayojana,

The ultimate goal of pure unmotivated love for Krishna and Shri Radharani, as the servant of the servant of their servants. In the mood of the gopis, the residents of Vrindavan, to love Krishna in ecstatic prema, that is Prayojana. Shrila Raghunath Das Goswami, through his writings and his living example, is the Prayojana acharya worshipped by all of us.

He wrote a beautiful verse describing the very essence of Gaudiya Vaishnava Siddhanta, to be the servant of the servant of the servant of Shrimati Radharani, the dear most beloved of Lord Krishna. In this. Shrila Raghunath Das Goswami is praying to Shrimati Radharani in separation begging Her to award him the ultimate benediction of Her service. He is praying, "Through all my life I have waited for Your mercy and I am growing impatient, old and tired. I cannot wait any longer without Your love. Shri Radharani, without Your mercy. I will give up my life. 1 cannot tolerate the separation any more. Without Your mercy 1 do not even care to live in Vrindavan. Even Vrindavan has no appeal or charm to me without connection to Your loving service. I do not even care for Krishna, the all-attractive Supreme Lord. I have no desire even for Krishna without service to You." In this prayer of separation, Shri Raghunath Das Goswami revealed the perfection of Prayojana. Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has taught that the supreme of all devotees is gopis and service in separation to Lord Krishna, through the mercy and grace of Shri Radharani, is the ultimate perfection of our life. Shrila Raghunath Das Goswami did not want Vrindavan or even Krishna. He just wanted to please the associates of Shrimati Radharani and assist them in their service to Krishna.