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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Other Scriptures by Acharyas > Navadvipa Krishna Chaitanya Holy Land > Bengal Holy Places > Ramakeli



Ramakeli is situated in the district Malda and was previously the capital of Gaudadesha. Shrila Rupa Goswami and Shrila Sanatana Goswami lived in Ramakeli when they were the ministers of King Hussein Shah. Shri Jiva Goswami was born here. A house of their's was at Sanatana Tithi and on the western bank was their residence. Here at Rupa Sagar, a building built by Shri Rupa still exists. On the eastern side of this building was the palace of Hussein Shah.


When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was going to Vrindavan, He came here. The same tamal tree and the same keli kadamba tree under which Mahaprabhu sat still exist. Nearby is Shri Radha Kunda and Shri Shyama Kunda, and also a temple of Shri Madan Mohan established by Shri Sanatana Goswami. There are also kunds of the eight sakhis: Lalita, Visakha, Citra, Campakalata, Tungavidya, Indulekha, and the twin sisters Rangadevi and Sudevi.These places, which all remind us of Lord Krishna's pastimes, were constructed by Shri Sanatana Goswami. When Lord Chaitanya arrived here with a huge entourage of His way to Vraja, Sanatana Goswami mentioned to the Lord that entering Vrindavan with a big crowd is not proper. Sanatana Goswami said, "A large entourage is compatible with the mood of Puri, where the Lord of the universe, Jagannath Swami, resides in royal majesty. But Shri Vrindavan Dham is for intimate bhajan. By travelling with so many people, who perhaps may not all have the proper regard for the holy dham, the mood of affection for Vrindavan within one's heart may diminish."Lord Chaitanya, hearing these words of Sanatana Goswami, proceeded towards Santipur to see Advaita Acarya. All the Bengali devotees and then returned to Jagannath Puri. After a few days in Puri, He again left for Vrindavan, but this time He was accompanied only by the brahmana Balabhadra Battacarya. He also, to remain alone, kept off the main roads and travelled through the Jharikhanda forest.


Shri Rupa and Shri Sanatana Goswamis are both etenral servants of Mahaprabhu. In Krishna lila, Shrila Sanatana Goswami is Labanga Manjari and Shrila Rupa Goswami is Rupa Manjari. The Four Kumaras are also present within Shri Sanatana Goswami.These two brothers were born in a Sarasvata brahmana family and their forefathers lived in Karnataka, South India. A third brother in their family was named Vallabha. All three were religious from their childhood. At that time, Sanatana Goswami's name was Amar and Rupa Goswami's name was Santos.While young, all three brothers studied the Vedic scriptures from a great Navadwip teacher named Shri Vidya Vascapati, and they were especially attracated to Shrimad-Bhagavatam. The emperor of Gauda, King Hussein Shah, became aware of their genious and engaged them as government ministers. Shrila Sanatana Goswami was given the title Sakara Mallika, Shrila Rupa Goswami was given the title Dabira Khasa, and their younger brother, Vallabha, was given the title Anupama Mallika. They looked after the management of the kingdom with great expertise, and the king completely depended upon them.


Mahaprabhu used the excuse of going to Vrindavan to come to Ramakeli, but He factually came to reclaim His eternal associates, Shri Rupa and Shri Sanatana. When Mahaprabhu arrived, both brothers came incognito to the Lord and humbly, with a straw between their teeth, said:


patita pavana hetu tomara avatara

amma va-i jagate patita nahi ara


"Dear Lord, You have incarnated to deliver the fallen souls. But in this world there are none more fallen than us." (Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya-lila, Chapter 1, Verse 191)


Lord Chaitanya then revealed that they were both His eternal ser­vants, birth after birth. The Lord then blessed them and changed their names to Rupa and Sanatana. He then had them take the dust of Lord Nityananda's feet, as well as the dust from Shri Gadadhara, Haridas and all the other Vaishnavas. After having darshan of Lord Chaitanya and renunciation had manifested within their hearts, both brothers lost all attachment for wealth, opulence, family life and the king's service. When the brothers heard that Lord Chaitanya had arrived in Vrindavan, Shri Rupa gave up all his governmental responsibilities and departed for Vrindavan with his younger brother Anupama. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, however, had already left Vrindavan and had begun His return route to Jagannath Puri. At Prayag, Mahaprabhu met Shri Rupa and Anupama, and, at Dasavamedha Ghat, the Lord instructed Rupa for ten days in the science of love of Godhead. After that, He transfused the power of devotion into the heart of Shrila Rupa Goswami and empowerd him.The Lord ordered him to go to Vrindavan and rediscover the pastime places of Lord Krishna and write bhakti literatures. After this, the Lord travelled to Kasi. During this time, Shri Sanatana also desired to leave the king's service. But since he was prime minister, it was not possible to find someone to replace him. So he feigned illness. But Hussein Shah understood Sanatana's intention and put him in jail.


Before Shri Rupa had departed to meet Lord Chaitanya, he took his wealth and gave 50% of it in charity to the brahmanas and the Vaishnavas, 25% to his family members, and kept 25% for emergen­cies. Anticipating some trouble for his elder brother Sanatana, he deposited 10,000 gold coins with a respectable vaisya. After the Muslim ruler arrested Shri Sanatana, Sanatana received a message from Shri Rupa to use the deposited money and release himself from prison. Shri Sanatana used the 10,000 coins to bribe the jailkeeper and escape in the dead of the night. He then travelled and later met Lord Chaitanya at Kasi.For two months, Lord Chaitanya instructed him in great detail in the philosophy of jiva tattva, bhagavata tattva, maya tattva, bhakti tattva, advaita tattva, prema tattva, avatara tattva, etc. After this, the Lord infused His energy into Sanatana's heart and thus empowered him, He also ordered Sanatana to rediscover Krishna's lost pastime places in Mathura, compose literatures that explain devotion, and also in­augurate the worship fo Shri Shri Radha Krishna in Vrindavan. He also ordered him to discover the old Deities lying covered in various parts of Vraja.


On the order of Mahaprabhu, both brothers went and resided in Shri Vrindavan Dham. With no possessions other than their Tulasi malas and their waterpots, they completely fulfilled the desires of Mahaprabhu. Shrila Sanatana Goswami established the Deity of Shri Madana Mohan. He also wrote Shri Hari Bhakti Vilas, Shri Brihad Bhagavatamrta, and a commentary on the Tenth Canto of Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Shrila Rupa Goswami established the service of Shri Shri Radha Govindaji. He also wrote Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Ujjvala Nilamani, Lalita Madhava Nataka, Vidagdha Madhava Nataka, Hamsa Duta, Dana Keli Kaumudi, Radha Krishna Ganoddesa Dipika, Padyavali and many other literatures.Both brothers discovered many pastime places of Lord Krishna in Vraja. The entire Vaishnava community of the present and the future is etenally indebted to the magnificent contribution made by these two great personalities.


When Lord Chaitanya left Prayag to meet Shri Sanatana in Kasi, He ordered Shri Rupa to immediately proceed to Vrindavan. Accom­panied by his younger brother Shri Vallabha, Shri Rupa departed for Vraja. But on the way Shri Vallabha left his body. Sir Vallabha was a householder and left behind an exalted son named Shri Jiva Goswami. When Shri Jiva still was a young boy, he had darshan of Lord Chaitanya while he lived in the village of Ramakeli along with Shri Rupa and Shri Sanatana. During Mahaprabhu's stay, Shri Rupa had Shri Jiva fall at the Lord's lotus feet to receive His mercy. Mahaprabhu placed His hand on Shri Jiva's head and blessed him.After studying under his father and uncles in Ramakeli, Shri Jiva went to Shri Navadwip Dham and received the mercy of Prabhu Nityananda. Nityananda took him on parikrama of Navadwip and then brought him to receive the mercy of Shrimati Sacidevi. Lord Nityananda then sent him to Vraja to join Shri Rupa and Shri Sanatana Goswamis.On the way to Vrindavan, Shri Jiva stayed for some time at Kasi and studied Vedanta under Shri Madhusudan Vacaspati, a disciple of Shri Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya. Shri Jiva then went to Vrindavan and was initiated by Shrila Rupa Goswami. He took shelter of Shri Rupa and Shri Sanatana and studied the bhakti literatures as expounded by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.


Shri Jiva Goswami was the most learned scholar in the world. The Vaishnavas of Vraja Mandala, Gaura Mandala and Ksetra Mandala all offered him the highest respect and considered him their acarya. Later in his life, at the request of Acaryarani Jahnava devi Thakurani, Shri Jiva had all the Vaishnava scriptures taken to Bengal by Shrinivas, Narottama and Shyamananda to be translated from Sanskrit to Bengali. His most famous books are Shri Sad Sandarbhas, Gopala Champu, and also commentaries on Shri Rupa's Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu and Ujjvala Nilamani. He also wrote many other Gaudiya Vaishnava literatures. Hare Krishna!