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A Life Sketch of Srila Rupa Gosvami Prabhupada
sri rupa manjari khyata
yasit vrndavane pura
sadya rupakhya gosvami
He who was renowned as Rupa-maiijari in the Vrndavana pastimes of Sri Krsna has now appeared as Sri Rupa GosvamI in the pastimes of Sri Gaura." (Sri Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika)Among the sakhis who are subordinate to Srlmatl Radharanl, Lalita is the principle, and among the manjaris who are subordinate to Lalita, Sri Rupa-marijarl is the principle. Also in the pastimes of Gaura, Sri Rupa GosvamI was prominent among the six Gosvamls who were subordinate to Srlman Mahaprabhu. Sri Rupa GosvamI Prabhu remained in this world from 1498 to 1558.The genealogical table of Rupa GosvamI can be traced back to the twelfth century Sakabda, when a gentleman of the name Sarvajna appeared in a very rich and opulent brahmana family in the province of Karnata. He had two sons, named Rupesvara and Harihara, who were both bereft of their kingdoms and thus obliged to reside in the highlands. The son of Rupesvara, who was named Padmanabha, moved to a place in Bengal known as NaihatI, on the bank of the Ganges. There he had five sons, of whom the youngest, Mukunda, had a well-behaved son named Kumaradeva, who was the father of Rupa, Sanatana, and Vallabha. Kumaradeva lived in Phateyabad, an area bordering Baklacandradvlpa in East Bengal (now Bangladesh).The present-day village of Prembagh, which lies near Ramshara in the Jessore district of Bangladesh, is said by many to be the site of Kumaradeva's house. Of his many sons, three took to the path of Vaisnavism. Later, Sri Vallabha and his elder brothers Sri Rupa and Sanatana came from Candradvlpa to the village in the Maldah district of Bengal known as Ramakeli.Both Rupa and Sanatana were highly learned scholars of many languages such as Sanskrit, Arabic, and Persian. After seeing their ingenuity and expertise, the then King of Bengal, Nawab Hussein Shah, employed Sri Sanatana in the post of Prime Minister and Sri Rupa as the Revenue Minister. Being extremely pleased by their qualities the King awarded the titles Sakara Mallika and Dabira Khasa to them respectively. Although they became famous as expert ministers for social welfare they did not care at all for profit, adoration, and distinction but spent their times in spiritual cultivation. During their stay at Ramakeli they accepted as their teacher Madhusudana Vidya-vacaspati, the younger brother of the renowned scholar and Soman Mahaprabhu's dear associate Vasudeva Sarvabhauma, and in the absence of royal duties they studied devotional scriptures such as Srimad Bhdgavatam from him. During this time Srila Rupa GosvamI Prabhu composed the book Hamsaduta.
After accepting sannydsa, when Sriman Mahaprabhu went to Nilacala, at that time these two regularly sent messengers with humble entreaties for achieving darsana of the Lord's lotus feet. By their heartfelt appeal Sriman Mahaprabhu arrived in Bengal on the pretext of seeing His mother and the Ganges on His way to Vrndavana. The first meeting between Sriman Mahaprabhu with Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatana took place under the tamala and kadamba trees in the village of Ramakeli.At night Dabira Khasa took off his royal dress and after taking a bunch of grass in his teeth came before Mahaprabhu and offered his respectful obeisances to Him. The Lord picked him up, embraced him, and gave him the name Sri Rupa by accepting him as His eternal servant.Sriman Mahaprabhu instead of going to Vrndavana on that particular visit went up to a place called Kanayera Natasala and returned to Nilacala. Meanwhile Sri Rupa gave up his royal duty and went home. He duly divided all his wealth and distributed it. When Sri Rupa heard that Sriman Mahaprabhu was at Jharikhanda on way to Vrndavana, he too departed for Vrndavana with his younger brother Anupama. After visiting Vrndavana, Sriman Mahaprabhu came to Prayaga. Sri Rupa and Anupama met Him there. At the Dasasvamedha bathing ghata at Prayaga, Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu instructed Sri Rupa GosvamI continuously for ten days regarding the conclusions of devotional service and the science of transcendental mellows. Sri Caitanyadeva ordered Sri Rupa GosvamI to visit Vrndavana. According to the order of Mahaprabhu he went to Mathura and met Subuddhi Raya, who was a recipient of the Lord's mercy, and a Sanodiya brahmana who was a disciple of Sri Madhavendra Puripada. In their company, Sri Rupa circumambulated the eighty-four krosa Vraja-mandala. Later, on the way to Nilacala through Bengal, Sri Anupama left his body on the bank of Ganges. Sri Rupa desired to compose a book on drama regarding the pastimes of Sri Krsna. But while coming to Nilacala he was ordered by Satyabhamadevi in a village called Satyabhamapur to describe the pastimes of Vraja and Dvaraka separately. Being ordered in this way Sri Rupa composed two separate drama books called Sri Vidagdha-mddhava and Sri Lalita-mddhava.Although Sri Rupa GosvamI Prabhu appeared in a highclass brahmana family, due to natural humility he never entered the temple of Jagannatha. What to speak of this, he did not even go near the temple. He lived at the place of Sri Haridasa Thakura and offered obeisances to the top of Sri Jagannatha temple, from a distance. By the order of Sriman Mahaprabhu, His intimate associates thoroughly checked the two drama books of Sri Rupa and became extremely pleased. On hearing the verse beginning with tunde tandavirii ratim, which describes the glories of Krsna's holy name, composed by Sri Rupa in his book Sri Vidagdha-mddhava, Lord Sri Gaurasundara became fully ecstatic.
The actual mood of the verse chanted by the son of SacI when He was absorbed in the mood of RadharanI during the Ratha-yatra festival of Sri Jagannatha Deva was revealed by Srila Rupa GosvamI Prabhu when he composed the verse beginning with priyah so 'yam krsnah saha-cari. After reciting these words, Sriman Mahaprabhu became greatly pleased. Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami Prabhu has elaborately described these topics in his book Sri Caitanya-caritdmrta. After keeping Sri Rupa at Nilacala for one year Lord Gaurasundara empowered him and sent him to Vrndavana. The Lord entrusted him with the responsibility of delivering the lost holy places of Vrndavana, writing books to present the pure devo¬tional conclusions, manifesting Deity worship, and establishing Vaisnava etiquette. As an eternal intimate associate of the Lord, Sri Rupa Gosvami Prabhu expertly carried out these respon¬sibilities and became renowned as a bright star in the world of Vaisnavas. Sri Rupa had manifested the deity of Sri Govindadeva at Yogapitha in Vrndavana. He wrote many books such as Sri Laghu-bhdgavatdmrta, Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Sri Ujjvala-riilamani, Hamsaduta, Uddhava-sandesa, Sri Lalita-mddhava-ndtakam, Sri Vidagdha-madhava-ndtakam, Sri Krsna-janma-tithi-vidhi, Sri Radhd-krsna-ganoddesa-dipikd, Ddna-keli-kaumudi, Akhyata-candrika, Padydvali, Nataka-candrika, Govinda-virudavali, and compiled Sri Mathura-mahatmya. Collecting all the prayers composed by him, his disciple and nephew Sri Jiva Gosvami Prab¬hu wrote a book called Stava-mdld. Sri Rupa Gosvamipada was simply a genious in every field such as devotional conclusions, literary work, scriptural knowledge, and bhajana. The Vaisnavas who follow in the footsteps of Sri Rupa are called sri-rupanugas. They consider the dust from Sri Rupa's feet as the goal of life. Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami Prabhu, who was a perfect rupanuga, has prayed to Sri Rupa Gosvami Prabhu as follows:
adadanas trnam dantair
edam yache punah punah
srimad rupa padambhoja
dhulih syam janma janmani
Taking a straw between my teeth I repeatedly beg for the dust of Sri Rupa's lotus feet birth after birth."