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Shrila Rupa Goswami
Today I was asked to speak something on the life of Shrila Rupa Goswami. Our Sampradaya is called Rupanuga Sampradaya, which means that all devotees in our Sampradaya are meant to very carefully follow the teachings of Shrila Rupa Goswami. Lord Krishna appeared 5000 years ago and spoke the Gita. The teachings of Bhagavad Gita are eternal i.e. without beginning or end. However, Krishna out of His causeless mercy and great compassion performed His wonderful pastimes and reiterated His divine Message for all the suffering souls within this world. 500 years ago that same Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the source of all Avatars appeared in His original Transcendental nature as Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who is considered to be the most munificent of all incarnations. The reason is that Krishna wanted to taste the sweet ecstasy of Shrimati Radharani's love. Shrimati Radharani is HIadini shakti, the pleasure potency of the Lord. It is from Her alone that Krishna derives all of His transcendental pleasure. Krishna wanted to experience the love of Radharani, so He appeared as Lord Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu with the complexion and the mood of devotion of Radharani. He wanted to give the same Love to anyone and everyone without discrimination through the propagation of the Yuga Dharma, which is the con-gregational chanting of the Holy Names of Krishna: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare-Rama Ftama Rama Hare Hare
Lord Chaitanya personally wrote only eight Verses that we know today as the Siksastakam. However, He personally entrusted and empowered Shrila Rupa Goswami to very carefully propagate through the writing of transcendental literatures, the very basics of His teachings. Shrila Rupa Goswami's writings and his example is the inspiring force behind our sampradaya. Therefore His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada before pursuing the fulfillment of his Guru Maharaja, Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur's, mission of spreading the teachings of Lord Chaitanya all over the world in the English language, lived in Radha Damodar Temple in order to be right beside the samadhi-mandir of Shrila Rupa Goswami.
In Vaishnava culture, we understand that the personality is within his samadhi. It is a very forceful presence even after His disappearance. By praying and worshipping the great acharyas at their samadhi we can be fully confident that they hear our prayers and bestow their bJessings upon us. Shrila Prabhupada would pray, everyday, at Shrila Rupa Goswami's samadhi-mandir in Vrindavan to give Him the necessary potency to perform the extraordinary service of spreading Krishna Consciousness all overthe world. Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu instructed Shri!a Rupa Goswami and told him to compile the instructions in the form of a book and practice them in his life- Shrila Prabhupada began his writings of Shrimad Bhagavatam just at the lotus feet of Shrila Rupa Goswami. How important the blessings of Shrila Rupa Goswami are for each and every one of us! How can we describe the glorious life of such a transcendental personality, who has descended from the spiritual world?
I am quite ashamed to even make such an attempt. But at the request of Vaishnavas I beg your permission to try, according to my small capacity. We are all insignificant. For someone so small as myself to describe the Lord's and his devotees' glories is like a bird trying to reach the limits of the sky! How far can we go? What justice can we do? However for our own purification we will make some attempt. In the Adi Lila of Chaitanya Charitamrita, Shri Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami explains that on the western side of the tree of Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the 43rd, 44th, 45th branches were Shrila Sanatana Goswami, Shrila Rupa Goswami and Anupama and they are the best of them all.
The Genealogy of Shrila Rupa Goswami
Shrila Jiva Goswami explains the genealogical history of Shrila Rupa Goswami's family. Shrila Rupa Goswami was born in the Saraswat brahman community in Karnataka in the Bharadwaja Gotra - the family line of the great rishi Bharadwaja Muni. In the 12th century Sakabda era, there was a great King of Karnataka named Sarvagya Jagadguru. He was a Yajur Vedi, a great scholar of the Vedas. He was a brahmin and he had so much influence and power that even all the other kings would respect him. He had a son named Aniruddha Deva who was said to possess the spirit of Indra and the fame of Chandra, god of the moon. He was a great devotee and a great scholar of the Vedic literatures. Anirudha Deva had two sons the elder son was named Rupeshwar. He was famous for Ms great great learning of the scriptures. The younger son was named Hari Hara and he was a master of the art and science of weapons. Just after they were married. Anirudha Deva disappeared from this world and Hari Hara, the younger son, usurped the entire kingdom and took away all power and possessions from his older brother, Rupeshwar. So Rupeshwar and his wife boarded a chariot led by eight horses and traveled out of Karnataka towards Orissa and Bengal, where they settled down. They had a son named Padmanabha, who was very beautiful and virtuous and a very pure devotee of Lord Jagannath. Padmanabha decided to settle near the Ganga in a place called Namahatta. He performed a very great yajna and as a result he received 18 daughters and 5 sons. The youngest son was named Mukunda Deva. Mukunda Deva had several children. One of them, named Kumar Deva, was a very great devotee. He had some family problems, so he moved to Bangladesh to a place called Baklachandra dvipa. He also built a house in a place called Fatiabad, because many Vaishnavas lived there and he wanted to have their association. He married a very young and chaste lady, Revati Devi. From Kumar Dasa and Ftevati Devi several children were born. Three of whom are illustrious, the greatest among all Vaishnavas and whom we know as Shrila Sanatana Goswami, Shrila Rupa Goswami and Anupama.
It is said, at that time Santana Goswami was named Amara, Rupa Goswami was
Santosh and Anupama was Shri Vatlabha. They had physical beauty, mental clarity. natural compassion and love for every living being and an unlimited ocean of devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They were also the greatest of all scholars. They mastered Sanskrit, Arabic and all of the local languages. At that time, Bengal was under the Moghul rule and the emperor or the King was named Nawab Hussain Shah. His ministers told him, "If you want the Hindu population to be co-operative with you, you must have Rupa and Sanatana as your ministers." So he persuaded them by pressurizing them, "If you accept the positions of my ministers, 1 will protect you and give Vaishnavas and Hindus freedom. If you do not. I will persecute you and torture'all the Vaishnavas and Hindus alike."
So with this unfortunate burden upon their hearts Sanatana, Rupa and Shri Vallabha decided, out of compassion, that they must serve the king. They were such incredible ministers that the king made SanatansrSoswami the Prime Minister of Bengal and Rupa Goswami was made the Home Minister. He was so pleased with their efficiency and good nature that he accepted them as his own younger brothers and divided the entire kingdom with them. He gave them tremendous amounts of wealth. They settled in a place called Ramkeli and there they had constructed beautiful, opulent palaces. They had so much money and treasures but they always felt so ashamed and contaminated that they were serving the king. They were always in deep separation from Krishna and Vrindavan. They did not know what to do. They heard that Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had appeared and in their heart of hearts they had understood that he was Shri Krishna Himself. They wrote several letters to Him, asking Him, "We want to surrender our lives to your mission, to you, what should we do?" But they received no reply for some time.
In their natural devotion to Radha and Krishna they constructed within their estate, what they called Gupta Vrindavan or the hidden land of Vrindavan, a replica of Vrindavan. They constructed Syama Kunda and Radha Kunda and a beautiful forest called Kadamba Kanana. They also constructed many wonderful places depicting Krishna's lilas and would spend their days just roaming through Gupta Vrindavan in separation of Krishna. Immersed in thinking of his wonderful pastimes, they would simply cry in ecstatic love. They also installed a beautiful deity by the name Madan Mohan. Day and night they were immersed in thinking of Madan Mohan and worshipping Him with great love and devotion. They built an assembly house and in that house they would invite Vaishnavas and great scholars of Vedas from all over the country.
They were so loved and known by everyone that from all parts of this great country scholars and Vaishnavas would come, but especially those from Navadwipa dham. When they would come, Rupa and Sanatana and Anupam would respect them. It is described that when they would sit in the courts with all of these professors, they looked like Indra in the heavenly planets. They had such opulence and beauty that many people gathered around them, honoring and respecting them. Yet they were so humble that just by smiling at people they would completely capture their hearts. Rupa and Sanatana Goswami would love anyone who would come in contact with them and make that person more dear than their own lives. Even though they were so wealthy with such high positions they did not have even a grain of pride within their heart. They would get off their seats and very humbly honor and worship with the most intimate hospitality any guest, no matter who they were and what their status may have been. They would arrange nice facilities and build houses for them on the banks of the Ganges. They would spend so much of their money just to serve the devotees and their minds were fixed just on humbly serving. Recently, we went to Ramkeli and we bathed in Rupa Sagar and Sanatana Sagar. These are the two beautiful bathing places that Rupa and Sanatana excavated. They live in this way and accepted Sarvananda Vidya Vacaspati who was the brother of Shrila Sarvabauma Bhattacharya, a pure, unalloyed devotee of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as their spiritual guide. Vidyavacaspati would regularly come to Ramkeli to give instructions to Rupa, Sanatana and Shri Vallabha (Anupama).
Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu during his first (or actually His second) attempt to visit Vrindavan decided to take a route which was not at all on the way to Vrindavan, specifically because he wanted to give his mercy to Rupa and Sanatana Goswami. As Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was travelling from Kuliagram in Navadvipa towards Ramkeli hundreds and thousands of people followed Him wherever He went and He would induce everyone to raise their arms very high and very loudly chant the holy names of Krishna. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Ftama Rama Hare Hare
Whoever saw the beauty of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's dancing and whoever accepted his mercy in the form of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra would find their hearts swelling with uncontrollable ecstatic love for Krishna. When He came to Ramkeli there were huge crowds of people around him, all chanting and dancing. Ramkeli was the capital city of Nawab Hussain Shah, who did not bother the Hindus as long as they did not publicly enact any of their religious ceremonies, otherwise he was very cruel. If & person of a higher caste touched his shadow or even touched wind that had touched him, they would Jump in the Ganges to become purified. He was so cruel and wicked. However, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was fearlessly dancing and chanting, with hundreds and thousands and at times millions and millions of people through the village of Ramkeli. And the Nawab Hussain Shah heard that something was happening. A policeman came to him and said, "Someone has to come to our kingdom. He is beautiful, He has a complexion like resplendent gold. He has beautiful eyes like lotus petals, His neck is like that of a lion, His limbs are like an elephant's, He has a very thin waist and His eyebrows are like the bows of Kandarpa. And by His mere glance He is intoxicating people with the love of God. How He dances! He is constantly crying. I do not know how many rivers are flowing through his beautiful eyes! And His limbs are trembling, His hairs are standing on end and sometimes He shouts so loud it sounds like thunder and when He jumps in the air and falls to the ground, all the rocks and stones are broken into pieces yet his body which appears to be softer than butter is never harmed.
This great prophet who has come to your kingdom has completely intoxicated everyone - the Hindus, the Muslims, everyone. With their arms raised, people are dancing in ecstasy and shouting the holy names of Krishna : Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
I have seen many sannyasis, babas and saintly persons of so many different religions but no one who has the power, the beauty and the influence of this person's love. I think that we are fortunate that he has come."
So the king decided to consult with Keshav Khan. He said "I heard that a sannyasi has come to our kingdom, do you know anything about him?" Keshav Khan replied, "Actually He is just a beggar. People are exaggerating His glories, He is just roaming from here to there, begging for some alms and a few people may be following him, but He is a very ordinary person." Keshav Khan said this because he knew who Lord Chaitanya was and he did not want the king to become envious.
Just by hearing the glories of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and without even seeing him, Nawab Hussain Shah's heart became so transcendentally affected, that he said to Keshav Khan, "What are you saying? Do you not know that who the Vedas call Krishna, and who the Kuran calls Allah, that same Supreme truth, the Personality of Godhead, the cause of all causes, the ultimate worshipable object of everyone has come to our kingdom to give the love of God and you are calling him an ordinary person! This is a great offense. On this day I proclaim a law, that this sannyasi, this great prophet be allowed to dance and chant wherever he wants and he can preach anywhere. He shall not be disturbed in any way. I will personally torture and take that man's life who disturbs him - whether he be a Kazi, a policeman, or a politician . Let Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu preach to his heart's content."
Then Nawab Hussain Shah called for Shrila Rupa Goswami and asked him, "Do you know about this prophet who has come to our kingdom?" Rupa Goswami replied, "He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is only by His mercy that you have this kingdom. Whatever success and opulence you have received, is only by His blessings. He is very favourable towards you and by His mercy you will be victorious where ever you go. But you are the king and the representative of • God, yet why are you asking me who he is? You should understand with your own mind." The Nawab Hussain Shah replied, "With my own mind, 1 have understood that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There is no doubt about it."
Then Shrita Rupa Goswami returned to his residence. He, Sanatana Goswami and Shri Vallabha contemplated on how to go to meet Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. In the dead of the night, they went to the place that Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was performing his glorious kirtans with millions of people. Lord Chaitanya was dancing and chanting in a place where there is Tamal tree and a Kadamba tree. Millions of people singing and dancing in ecstasy for days and days. The devotees were thinking, "This is not sate because Nawab Hussain Shah could at any moment change his mind and he is very cruel. He has heard good things about the Lord. But if he hears bad things it is not good." So they sent a messenger to Lord Chaitanya, "There is no need for you to stay in the town of the king." When Lord Chaitanya would perform kirtans, He would be so absorbed in the Holy Name, that He would not speak to anyone. It could be anything, it did not matter what kind of emergency had arisen, he would not consider anything but Hari Nama. This was His absorption. The messenger stood there with the message, waiting for a moment to speak to the Lord, he waited all day and all night and finally he had to go. He passed on the message to Lord Chaitanya's intimate associates. Even they could not give Him the message. Shri Gauranga Mahaprabhu was simply dancing in ecstatic love, so beautifully with his arms raised, inducing all the millions of people of Ramkeli to chant the Holy Names of the Lord : Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Pama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
After some time Shri Gaurasundar read the hearts of the devotees, and stopped the kirtans. He said "Why are you afraid of this king? Whose power does the king imbibe? If 1 do not give him the power to speak he cannot even speak a word to Me, If I do not give him the power to walk he cannot come here. I have descended from the spiritual world to give the Holy name of Krishna and pure love of God to everyone and anyone wtio will accept it." And it was at Ramkeli that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, spoke the famous verse that we quote all the time "In every town and every village throughout the world, My name will be chanted." Then Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in response to the desire of Vaishnavas, stopped the kirtans and rested under a tamal tree.
Rupa and Sanatana meet Lord Chaitanya
In the dead of night, Rupa, Sanatana and Anupama came to the place of Chaitanya, incognito. They first met Lord Nityananda and Shrila Haridas Thakur and after offering their most humble obeisances to these great souls, they revealed their hearts to them. Nityananda Prabhu and Haridas Thakur brought them to Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and introduced them. Rupa, Sanatana and Anupama took bunches of straw and placed it between their teeth. Then they wrapped cloths around their necks and fell like sticks to the ground offering dandavats and lay on the ground weeping and crying in total humility and surrender. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu personally lifted them up.
The three brothers then began to speak, "You have descended, to deliver the most fallen. You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but You will net find anyone so fallen as us. We are abominable, we are addicted to the most sinful activities and we are ashamed to stand before You. And even more ashamed to try to expiain how sinful we are, all we have is shame. We are more sinful and more fallen than even Jagai and Madhai. Although Jagai and Madhai may have been addicted to all types of sinful activities, they were great brahmins from Navadvip. And in the form of blaspheming You they chanted Your Holy Names and by that chanting of Your Holy Name, they easily became purified. However, Jagai and Madhai never performed the most sinful activity ot becoming the servants of Miechchas and Yavanas, but we are addicted to that. Our company is abominable, our service is abominable, our lives are bondemned. You have descended to deliver the most fallen- Please hear the one thing we would like to tell You. It is true that You will find no one more fallen than us. If You deliver us, Your fame for being Patit Pavana would spread throughout the universe. We have no qualifications to receive Your mercy. However like a dwarf that wants to capture the moon, we have no means of reaching you, but we hope. pray and beg for Your causeless mercy. Please accept us. Please allow us to surrender ourselves at Your lotus feet."
When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu heard the humility of Rupa and Sanatana, He began to cry in ecstasy and He embraced them and said. "Please stop speaking in this way. Your humility is breaking My heart." Then Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu again embraced them and placed His feet upon their heads. Lord Chaitanya said, "You are My old servants", Lord Chaitanya revealed to them that they were His eternal servants, "and today 1 give you the names Rupa. Sanatana and Anupama. Please, know that Krishna has heard your prayers and He will certainly deliver you. Always remember Krishna."
At that time Rupa and Sanatana Goswamis appealed to the Lord that it was not safe. living so close to Nawab Hussain Shah. They said, "He is a very dangerous and violent man. You are going to Vrindavan with so many hundreds and thousands of people. But Vrindavan is a solitary place and You would appreciate it if You go by Yourself or with one or two of your associates. Then placing His feet on the head of Rupa Goswami, Sanatana Goswami and Anupama with great, great love, Lord Chaitanya left Ramkeli for Kanhai natashala.
In Kanhai natshala He thought, "It is very much like Vrindavan. The beautiful trees and forests appear just like those on the bank of the holy river Ganga." When Lord Chaitanya was in Kanhai natshala, he could feet the presence of Vrindavan and He was experiencing the ecstasy of the lila of Radha and Krishna. However, all the hundreds and thousands of people were breaking trees and making so much noise that Lord Chaitanya thought, "What Rupa and Sanatana told me is correct. I should go to Vrindavan alone or with one or two others." Then Lord Chaitanya proclaimed to his devotees, "1 will go back to Jagannath Puri."
When Lord Chaitanya met with Rupa and Sanatana at Ramkeli, Nityananda Prabhu , Haridas Thakur , Shrivas Pandit , Gadadhar Pandit, Vakreshwar Pandit and Murari Gupta were also present, Rupa and Sanatana, on the order of Lord Chaitanya, fell at the lotus feet of these devotees and all of them embraced Rupa and Sanatana and blessed them. Lord Chaitanya requested all the Vaishnavas to shower their blessings on these great souls. When Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu returned to Jagannath Purl, he began to explain to all his devotees in Puri, "When 1 was in Ramkeli, I met two brothers and I have bestowed my most intimate mercy upon them because of their humility and pure devotional qualities."
After Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu left, Rupa, Sanatana and Anupama decided, "We cannot take it any longer. We shall go to Vrindavan, which is Lord Chaitanya's desire. We will give up our government services." So they hired two brahmins and paid them lots of money to perform various ritualistic ceremonies tor the purpose of getting the blessings of the Supreme Personality of Godhead to escape from all their material entanglements. They were constantly immersed in reading Shrimad Bhagavatam and having beautiful kirtan of the Holy Names of Krishna. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Rupa Goswami leaves Government service
Rupa Goswami took all his treasures and wealth and loaded them into boats. He and his younger brother, Anupama, left for their ancestral home at Fatiabad, where they distributed their wealth. Shrila Prabhupada explains that the way they distributed their wealth is the exemplary process by which grihasthas should also distribute their wealth. They sent two messengers to Jagannath Puri because they heard that Lord Chaitanya was going on another trip to Vrindavan and they wanted to join Him. These messengers went to Jagannath Puri to find out what Lord Chaitanya's plan was. They came back and said, "Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has already left for Vrindavan." Rupa Goswami and Anupama immediately decided to go and wrote a letter to Shrita Sanatana Goswami. Sanatana Goswami being the Prime Minister felt obliged to stay on for some time. Nawab Hussain Shah had much love and affection for Sanatana Goswami. The Goswamis were dear to both the gentle and the ruffians. Even the most terrible, violent, hateful demons loved Rupa Goswami and Sanatana Goswami. Rupa Goswami sent a letter that said "Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has gone to Vrindavan. Anupama and I are immediately leaving to join Lord Chaitanya in Vrindavan. You should come to us as soon as you can. Meet us in Vrindavan. If you require help, 1 have left 10,000 gold coins for you."
Meanwhile, Sanatana Goswami stopped going to his office and would Just stay at home reading and chanting Shrimad Bhagavatam all day with many great devotees. Nawab Hussain Shah came to his home and when he saw him, he said, "You said you were sick. You are not sick. You are just studying Shrimad Bhagavatam ail day. Whal about all the duties I have given you? Your elder brother (referring to himself) is very fond of going out and killing and he needs your help."
Sanatana Goswami said, "I will not help, 1 resign. You cannot count on me for any service, you can punish me in any way you like." So Nawab Hussain Shah put him in prison. But by the arrangement of Rupa Goswami he was able to bribe the prison guard with the gold coins and he was freed from the prison.
Lord Chaitanya meets Rupa Goswami at Prayag
Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahapraohu went to Vrindavan and on His way back, stopped at the holy place. Prayag, often called Prayagraj, considered within Vedic literatures the king of holy places. This is the place where the holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati converge and there is the Magha mela and Kumbha mela. When Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to Prayag it was month of Magh i.e. January-February and although these two big powerful rivers, Ganga &Yamuna, meet here they were never able to flood the city of Prayag. But Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, leading the masses of hundreds and thousands and millions of people in kirtan flooded Prayag with the ocean of Krishna Prema. He inundated everyone. Rupa Goswami and Anupama were travelling to Vrindavan, but when they came to Prayag all of a sudden they heard millions and millions of people very loudly chanting the Holy name of Shri Krishna: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
They went to the temple of Veni Madhava and at that temple before the beautiful deity of Shri Veni Madhava, Shri Gauranga Mahaprabhu with his beautiful golden form, arms extending below his knees, was dancing in ecstatic love, weeping and crying and calling out to everyone "Please chant the holy names of Krishna...." Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
There were tens, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, millions, countless people chanting and dancing and staring with fixed attention at the beautiful golden form of Gauranga Mahaprabhu. Some were crying, some were rolling on the ground, some were lumping, some were offering obeisances to each other. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu inundated everyone with Krishna Prema-
From a distance Rupa Goswami and Anupama offered their prostrated obeisances to the Lord. After some time, a Deccan Brahmana approached Lord Chaitanya and invited him to his house for prasad. Lord Chaitanya ended the kirtan and went to this brahman's house and there he sat in a secluded place. Shrila Rupa Goswami and Shrila Anupama came and they saw him there all alone. From a little distance, they put clumps of straw in their teeth and bowed down to offer their obeisances. When Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu saw them he called them, "Please come Rupa Goswami, please come Anupama" and again He embraced them and placed His lotus feet on their heads. He asked Rupa Goswami "Where is your brother, Sanatana Goswami? Tell me about him." Rupa Goswami replied that he had been arrested and is now in the prison of Nawab Hussain Shah. Rupa Qoswami said, "If you give him your blessings only then can he be rescued." Lord Chaitanya said, "He has already been freed from the prison by mercy of Lord Krishna and soon you will meet him agam."
Lord Chaitanya bestowed His great blessings upon them and then Balabhadra Bhattacharya, who was the servant of Lord Chaitanya, gave the remnants of Lord Chaitanya's prasad to Rupa Goswami and Anupama. After taking prasad Lord Chaitanya decided to reside close to the confluence of the two rivers, Ganga and Yamuna. Rupa Goswami and Anupama decided to make their residence right beside Lord Chaitanya's. One day a very great and famous devotee and scholar Vallabha Bhatta came to Lord Chaitanya's residence. Understanding Lord Chaitanya's supremely exalted position, he worshipped Lord Chaitanya and invited Him to his home in a village called Adaila, across on the other bank of Yamuna. Rupa Goswami and Anupama offered their prostrated obeisances to Vallabha Bhatta from a distance. When Vallabha Bhatt saw them he went to greet them and they started to run away. They said, "No, no we are sinful, we are most condemned. We are the most fallen and contaminated. You should not touch us."
When Lord Chaitanya saw the genuine humility of Rupa Goswami and Anupama, He was very pleased, and He said to Vallabha Bhat, "What they are saying is correct;
you should not touch them because you are a very high caste brahmin and an aristocrat. If you touch them, you will become polluted." Vallabha Bhatta said, "They are constantly chanting the names of Krishna, this I can see, therefore they are exalted. Even if one, who is born in the lowest family of chandalas, chants the Holy names o' Krishna, he is better than a Brahmana. He can become a guru and he can deliver the whole universe. But if one born in the Brahmin family does not chant the holy names he cannot deRver even himself." Upon seeing their incredible humility and devotior;
Vallabha Bhatt began to glorify Rupa and Anupama.
Then they decided to go across the Yamuna to Adaila. On the boat were Sr, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Balabhadra Bhattacharya, Shrila Rupa Goswami and S' Anupama. When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu saw the beautiful dark waters of the hoi Yamuna, he immediately became intoxicated with the thoughts of Radha and Krishna. He just made a tumultuous sound» began to just cry out and then He jumped into the river and felt unconscious. There was a great commotion. All the devotees in the boat somehow or the other jumped into the river, dragged Him and put Him back on the boat
The Lord came to consciousness and upon seeing the beautiful waters of the Yamuna - the liquid nectar of Bhakti - began to chant the Holy Names, raising his arms very high and dancing in ecstasy. When Mahaprabhu would dance, He could sometimes in ecstatic love be lighter than a cotton swab and sometimes when they would touch the ground, each ot His feet would be heavier than the universe. As Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was dancing and dancing this little boat started rocking back and forth, back and forth and as it was rocking, more and more water was filling the boat. The boat was practically filled with water and was on the verge of sinking. The devotees did not know what to do. Finally Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, out of His causeless mercy, stopped dancing, He restrained Himself and just before the boat sank it reached the shore. There Shri Vallabha Bhatta worshipped the Lord with much puja paraphernalia and honored him and gave him nice prasad. He gave the remnants to Shrila Rupa Goswami and Shri Anupama. Vallabha Bhatta decided "1 will not take Gauranga Mahaprabhu back across the Yamuna. 1 will take Him across the Ganga, where He would not be quite so ecstatic."
There were many people at the confluence of Prayag because it was the month of Magha and it was very crowded. So Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took Shri Rupa Goswami and Shri Anupama to a secluded place, Dasashwamedh Ghat. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sat down with Shrila Rupa Goswami and decided to impart the essence of all transcendental knowledge into his heart. But before speaking, Shrila Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami explains, Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu personally entered into the heart of Shrila Rupa Goswami to give him the power to fully understand and realize everything. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu instructed Rupa Goswami for 10 days at Dasashvamedha Ghat.
Lord Chaitanya instructs Rupa Goswami
He said, "My dear Rupa Goswami, devotional service to Krishna is like an unlimited ocean. And I am going to make an attempt to describe to you a portion of one drop of that ocean of bhakti. There are 8.4 millions species within the material universe. There are innumerable universes. To achieve the rare fortune of the human birth is very. very special. However, in this human life most people are uncivilized, which means that they do not follow the principles of religion. Of those of who follow the principles of religion many are just following the path of Karma Kanda, which means that they are worshipping some demigod or gods for the purpose of material benefits. It is very rare to find even one who strives for the transcendental state of consciousness. And among those who are aspiring to go beyond this material world are many impersonalists who strive for liberation. It is very rare to find even a single devotee of the Lord and only such a pure devotee can achieve real spiritual happiness. Every other state of consciousness and every other fulfillment of goals of religion is superficial or artificial. It is the nature of the soul to love Krishna because the soul's constitutional position is as the eternal servant of Krishna. After evolving through many universes and many species of life one gets the mercy of Krishna and he is most fortunate when he or she meets a bonafide spiritual master. Through the mercy of the spiritual master, the bhakti lata biia, the seed of devotion is planted within the heart. One must be very careful to protect and nourish that seed. We must nourish the seed by watering it through the process of hearing the glories, the pastimes and teachings of the Lord through his devotees and by constantly chanting the Holy Names of Krishna.
As we are watering the seed of devotion, we must be very conscientious because many weeds will grow along with that seed of bhakti. If those weeds get too much strength, they will choke the growth of the original creeper of bhakti. And what are those weeds? Desire for profit, desire for adoration, false pride, lust, envy, anger, greed. As soon as one sees these weeds we, the gardener, must be very careful to uproot them. We must build a little fence around that tender creeper of devotion by living a very pure life - no illicit sex, no intoxication, no gambling and no meat eating. But the greatest danger to the survival of the seed of devotion is hasti aparadh, the mad elephant offence, which is, when you offend a Vaishnava. Offence to a Vaishnava is like letting a big, mad elephant into your garden. He will leave everything in shambles. Therefore, as we are watering the seed of devotion through hearing and chanting and engaging in nine processes of devotional service, we must be very careful to always honor and respect the devotees and never offend them.
As the seed grows through the chanting of the Holy Names and service to the Vaishnavas the creeper pierces through all the layers of material existence, goes beyond this earth, beyond the heavenly planets, beyond Brahma loka and even beyond the viraja which is the border between the spiritual and material worlds. Then it enters into the Brahma jyoti, the spiritual sky. The gardener continues to offer the water of hearing and chanting and the process of devotional service and the creeper grows up to the Vaikuntha planets, and beyond all the Vaikuntha planets to Goloka Vrindavan, the topmost of all attainments in spiritual life. There that creeper approaches the beautiful lotus feet of Lord Krishna and then bears fruit - that fruit is Krishna prema, pure, unmo-tivated, uninterrupted love for the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna. When Krishna accepts that fruit then the gardener drinks the ambrosia! juice and is eternally satisfied."
Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began to explain to Shrila Rupa Goswami, in great details, the science of devotional service, the difference between aisvarya bhava of Vaikuntha and the madhurya bhava of Goloka Vrindavan, the superior position of Krishna over all other manifestations of Godhead. He also explained the various rasas: the rasa of neutrality, dasya rasa, how to become a perfect and pure servant of Krishna. How one can elevate one's consciousness to Sakhya rasa, being the intimate loving friend of Krishna and elevated above that is Vatsalya rasa where you love Krishna just as a parent loves his child and the ultimate of all spiritual perfection is the madhurya rasa or the conjugal love of gopis.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explained all of these things and then He told Shrila Rupa Goswami, "Now I want you to expand them and write literatures. ! want you to go to Vrindavan" then He embraced Rupa Goswami and bathed him with His own tears. The next morning Chaitanya Mahaprabhu decided to go to Varanasi and Rupa Goswami started to follow him but Lord Chaitanya turned to him and Rupa Goswami appealed to him, "Please, I cannot bear separation from you. Let me come to Varanasi with you." But Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, "I have given you a service. Now you go to Vrindavan search out,the holy places of Krishna's beautiful pastimes, excavate those holy places and make Vrindavan a holy place of pilgrimage. Construct temples and conduct beautiful deity worship. Discover the ancient deities that are lying hidden in Vrindavan and install them in your temples, teach the world the Vrindavan way of worship and write transcendental literatures. With the knowledge I have given you, extract the essence of pure, unalloyed devotion from all the various Vedic literatures and scriptures and expand the cult of unalloyed devotion of Vrindavan to the whole world. By your own personal behavior and through your writings establish the proper etiquette that Vaishnavas should live by."
Lord Chaitanya gave to Shrila Rupa Goswami these four instructions and then sent him to Vrindavan. After giving this order to Rupa Goswami Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu boarded on a boat, which was going to Varanasi. Shrila Rupa Goswami could not even conceive how he would live in separation from the Lord and fell to the ground, unconscious, A Deccan Brahmin somehow or the other picked him up and brought him to his house. Upon recovering Shrila Rupa Goswami and Shri Anupama departed for Vrindavan.
When they arrived in Vrindavan, they met an old friend called Subuddhi Raya. Subuddhi Raya was a very powerful landowner in Bengal. He was a very generous person and also a very great devotee. He actually loved and cared for his servant just like his own son. One day the servant, on his order, was excavating a lake and he made a mistake. Servants often make mistakes. Subuddhi Raya hit him with a whip to teach him properly and thus made a scar on his body. Later on, that servant became Nawab Hussain Shah. The Muslim emperor appointed him as the King of Bengal. One day his wife saw that there was a scar on his body which was interfering with her sense gratification and asked him "What happened to you?" He explained that "Subuddhi Raya was my previous master, he was so nice to me, he was like my father, but I made a bad mistake and so he punished me." The wife became very angry, "He must die. You must kill him." He replied, "I cannot kill him. I love him. He is like my..."She interrupted, "You must kill him". He continued, "He is like my father." She persisted. "You must do what I want you to do."
What do you do when your wife is like that? You cannot live with her and you cannot live without her! This is the ongoing dilemma. Of course, the wife thinks the same thing about her husband too! Well. It was decided and agreed upon by his wife that to cause him to lose his caste is worse than death. So Nawab Hussain Shah took water that was used by a Muslim and from that pot he sprinkled some drops on Subuddhi Raya. In those days, the Hindu caste system was so strong that if water from a Muslim's pot touches you, you "become an outcaste and you are not allowed in any temples, perform any Hindu rituals, no one will touch you, or even associate with you. So he did not know what to do.
He went to Varanasi, approached many pandits and Brahmins and asked "Someone sprinkled water from a Muslim's pot on my head. What should I do?" So various brahmins came together and began to research and came to the conclusion, 'There is only one auspicious thing for you to do. You should drink burning hot ghee and then you will die. But because you died due to drinking pure cow's ghee, you will take your next birth as a Hindu." So he asked other Brahmins in Varanasi, and they said, "No, no you don't have to drink hot ghee." He kept getting different opinions. Everyone he asked gave a different opinion. While Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was in Varanasi he approached Lord Chaitanya and told Him the whole story. Lord Chaitanya said, "Just go to Vrindavan and chant the Holy names of Krishna, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Subuddhi Raya gave up everything and immediately went to Vrindavan. There he was always chanting the Holy names of Krishna and worshipping Lord Gauranga in his heart of hearts. He was such a humble devotee. He would always be in the mood of serving devotees. He would spend hours everyday in the forest collecting pieces of dry wood that were laying on the ground. Then he would sell it in Mathura and get little money. Whenever the devotees of Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu from Bengal came to Vrindavan they usually had a stomach disorder. Bengalis are accustomed to eating rice, but in Vrindavan when you beg you get only rotis, no rice, so they would have bad stomachs. He would buy yogurt or dahi and help them to cure their stomach ailments. Subuddhi Raya would also buy mustard oil and give them massages. He would somehow find some nice residence for them, and serve the devotees with much humility, devotion and care. He would love to take them on parikrama to the 12 forests of Vrindavan. Shrila Rupa Goswami was greeted by Subuddhi Raya. Rupa Goswami stayed for one month in Vrindavan. During that one month Subuddhi Raya took him to all 12 forests and showed him the wonderful places of Krishna's pastimes.
While Shrila Rupa Goswami was in Vrindavan an idea came to his mind, "I will write a drama and in that drama I will describe the beautiful pastimes of Krishna in Vrindavan and Dwarka." Then he decided he should go to find Shrila Sanatana Goswami- So he left Vrindavan and Subuddhi Raya to go to Puri to see Lord Chaitanya, Actually in Prayag Lord Chaitanya had said to Rupa Goswami, "You go to Vrindavan and see Sanatana Goswami. Later on along with Anupama you come to Puri to meet Me."
So on Lord Chaitanya's order he was going to Puri along with Anupama. And they traveled by the road along the bank of the Ganges. Meanwhile, Shriia Sanatana Goswami had met Lord Chaitanya in Varanasi. For two months Lord Chaitanya instructed Sanatana Goswami and then sent him to Vrindavan. Before coming to Varanasi, Sanatana Goswami had traveled through forests and hilly roads because he was an escaped prisoner. But after meeting Him, Lord Chaitanya said, "Go to Vrindavan you have nothing to fear." Sanatana Goswami's faith in Mahaprabhu's word was so great that he just went by the main road to Vrindavan. But Rupa Goswami went by the Ganges road, thinking that Sanatana would take that route, so they crossed each other and did not meet. When Rupa Goswami came to Varanasi he could not believe what he saw. The whole city of Varanasi, the capital of the Mayavadis, was dancing in ecstatic love with their arms raised high in the same way Lord Chaitanya taught them and all throughout Varanasi was the resonant sound vibration of the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra^ Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
He stayed at the house of Chandrashekhar, who was one of the intimate associates of Lord Chaitanya, in Varanasi. There Rupa Goswami heard the news that Prakashananda Saraswati and all his thousands of disciples became Vaishnavas by Lord Chaitanya's mercy. Rupa Goswami was filled with bliss. He stayed in Varanasi for 10 days. Then he traveled to Bengal.
When he reached Bengal, his beloved brother Anupama passed away from this world. Shrila Rupa Goswami performed all of the necessary rituals for his brother Anupama and this caused delay in his travels. It was his desire to meet devotees of Bengal and travel to Puri with them. The devotees headed by Advaita Acarya, Shrivas Thakur, Shivananda Sen, Murari Gupta and all others would come to Puri every year for Caturmasya (4 months). But when Rupa Goswami went to their place, they had already left. So he went alone. When he reached Orissa, he came to a village called Satyabhama Pur and he decided to rest at night there. As he was resting a beautiful goddess appeared in his dream and told him "You should not write Krishna's Dwarka lila and Vrindavan lila in one play. You should divide it into two plays. If you do this, your drama will be a great success by my blessings." Then Rupa Goswami woke up and he understood that this was Satyabhama, one of the principal queens of Lord Krishna, who had instructed him.
Rupa Goswami at Jagannath Puri
When Shrila Rupa Goswami reached Jagannath Puri. he first went to the bhajan kutir of Shrila Haridas Thakur. Shrila Haridas Thakur had heard the glories of Shrila Rupa Goswami from Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and had already met him at Ramkeli. So they were already intimate associates. Haridas Thakur and Rupa Goswami offered obeisances to each other and embraced with great, great love. Shrila Rupa Goswami asked, "Where is Lord Chaitanya?" And Just then, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to the residence of Haridas Thakur. In fact, Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would go to the house of Haridas Thakur every single day. There were three very great devotees:
Haridas Thakur, Rupa Goswami and Sanatana Goswami. Whenever Rupa Goswami and Sanatana Goswami were at Puri they would stay at Haridas Thakur's place, under the Siddha Bakula tree. Because Haridas Thakur was born in a miechcha family, and Rupa and Sanatana Goswamis were known as servants of the King of Miecchas, they considered themselves to be unqualified to enter the temple of Lord Jagannath. It is the social custom, even today, that people of this class are not allowed in the temple. Rupa, Sanatana and Haridas Thakur did not want to agitate social customs. So they refused to enter or even make an attempt to go to Jagannath's temple. But Lord Chaitanya gava them a place very close to the temple where they could see the chakra and worship it because it is not different from Jagannath Himself. Lord Jagannath would come out cf the temple in the form of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and personally give His blessings to Rupa Goswami, Sanatana Goswami and Haridas Thakur everyday and bring Jagannath's prasad. When Lord Chaitanya arrived, Rupa Goswami offered his prostrated obeisances in great, great affection. Haridas Thakur said, "This is Shrila Rupa Goswami. He has come."
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu embraced him with great love and placed His feet on the head of Shrila Rupa Goswami and asked him, "Where is Sanatana?" Rupa Goswami replied, "1 have not yet seen him. I came by the Ganges road, but he went by the main road. So we missed each other. He has gone to Vrindavan." Rupa Goswami then told Lord Chaitanya about the disappearance of Anupama. Anupama was such a great devotee. He was a devotee of Lord Ramachandra. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu reciprocated with him in His mood of Shri Rama. In the Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu by Shrila Rupa Goswami, he mentions his beloved brother Anupama. Anupama was a great and pure devotee of Lord Ramachandra. He saw Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as his beloved Lord Rama Himself.
After Lord Chaitanya blessed Rupa Goswami, he went to take bath in the ocean. The next day Lord Chaitanya brought all his intimate associates and introduced Rupa Goswami to each of those devotees. Shrila Rupa Goswami was so humble he just prostrated his body with sincere devotion at the feet of each devotee and worshipped them. And each devotee, their hearts melted so much by his humility, just lifted him up and embraced him. Lord Chaitanya told Rupa Goswami "to worship and take the dust of the feet of all these devotees" and then he told all the devotees "Please give your blessing to Rupa Goswami. Bless him and empower him to spread the mission of pure bhakti all over the world." When the devotees saw how much mercy Lord Chaitanya was showing Rupa Goswami they were blissful. A sincere devotee derives the greatest bliss in life when he or she sees another devotee getting special mercy of Guru. Gauranga and the Vaishnavas.
The devotees celebrated the Gundicha Marjana Festival. They cleansed the Gundicha temple and afterwards they sat in the garden. And then with no provocation, Lord Chaitanya said to Rupa Goswami, "Do not try to take Krishna out of Vrindavan. Yadukumara and Shri Nandanandana may be the same Supreme Personality of Godhead, but They are in different moods. Krishna in His original form of Shri Nandanandana, never leaves Vrindavan to go anywhere else. You should write separate dramas." When Rupa Goswami heard this, he understood that Lord Chaitanya, who was the all-pervading, all-cognizant Supersoul in everyone's heart, was confirming what Satyabhama had already said.
Some days after that, was the Ratha-yatra, where Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and all His devotees from both Orissa and Bengal, gathered together to celebrate the beautiful procession of Balarama, Subhadra and Jagannatha through the main street of Puri, from Jagannatha mandir to Gundicha mandir. As the Ratha yatra was taking place, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu became immersed in the ecstatic love of Shrimati Radharani in separation from Krishna. The same spirit of devotional ecstasy that Shrimati Radharani experienced when She met Lord Krishna in Kurukshetra after years and years of separation, was being manifested by Lord Chaitanya. Shrila Knshnadas Kaviraja Goswami, in the Madhya-lila of Shri Chaitanya-charitamrita, explains in extraordinary details the intricacies of the reciprocation between Lord Chaitanya in the mood of Shrimati Radharani and Lord Jagannath during the parade. During that parac'e Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was expressing his own heart in a prayer which no on.-.* except Svarupa Damodar Goswami could understand. And that prayer was, "That very personality, who stole away my heart, during my youth, is now again my master. These are the same moonlit nights in the month of Chaitra, the same fragrance of malati flowers is there, and the same sweet breezes are blowing from the kadamba forests. In our intimate relationship I am also the same lover, yet my mind is not happy here. I am eager to go back to that place on the bank of the Reva under the Vetasi tree. That is my desire."
This is a prayer that appears to be the expression of an ordinary boy who is in love with an ordinary girl. And as Lord Chaitanya was singing this prayer, devotees could not understand. But, after seeing the wonderful dancing of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and contemplating the nectar of this prayer, Shrila Rupa Goswami wrote a commentary on that prayer, by writing another verse explaining very clearly what Lord Chaitanya's heart was experiencing.
He wrote this on a palm leaf then he put it on the roof of the thatched hut of Haridas Thakur, where he lived, and went to the ocean to take his bath. While he was away, Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to visit Shrila Rupa Goswami. Lord Chaitanya saw this palm leaf in the roof, so He took it and read it. The contents were as follows— This is a verse spoken by Shrimati Radharani "My dear friend, now 1 have met my very old and dear friend Krishna in this field of Kurukshetra. I am the same Radharani and now we are meeting together. It is very pleasant, but still I would like to go to the bank of the Yamuna, beneath the trees of the forest there. 1 wish to hear the vibrations of His sweet flute playing the fifth note, within the forest of Vrindavan."
When Lord Chaitanya read this, He became filled with ecstasy of love of God. His ecstasy was beyond His control, and Just when He was experiencing this nectar, Shrila Rupa Goswami returned, and offered his obeisances at Lord Chaitanya's lotus feet. And Lord Chaitanya, in great love, picked up Rupa Goswami and mildly slapped him and said "How? How did you understand the innermost intentions of my mind?" Rupa Goswami did not speak anything.
Then Lord Chaitanya took that palm leaf and went back to His own residence, the Gambhira, and showed it to Svarupa Damodara Goswami. When Svarupa Damodara Goswami read it, he was struck with wonder. Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu asked, "How does he know the innermost feelings of my heart?" Svarupa Damodara Goswami replied, "I can understand that You have bestowed Your causeless mercy upon him and that has empowered him to do so." Lord Chaitanya said, "Yes. When I met Rupa Goswami at Prayag and I witnessed his wonderful humble qualities, I embraced him, and upon embracing him 1 invested within him My own power of love. 1 saw him as a fit candidate to reveal to the world the transcendental mysteries of .Vrindavan, in Krishna consciousness. Now, please, instruct Shrila Rupa Goswami in more and more details of Krishna consciousness."
The four months of the rainy season had passed and all the Bengali devotees had returned to their respective services, but Shrila Rupa Goswami stayed in Puri, and intimately associated with Lord Chaitanya and all of the devotees.
One day, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to Shrita Rupa Goswami's kutir, sat down with them and asked Rupa Goswami, "What book are you writing?" Then Lord Chaitanya picked up the palm leaf that Shrila Rupa Goswami had just written on and was struck with great pleasure to see the handwriting of Rupa Goswami. He said, 'The handwriting of Shrila Rupa Goswami is like rows of pearls". Then He read the verse out loud, "1 do not know how much nectar, the two syllables— Krish and na have produced. When the holy name of Krishna dances on the tongue, 1 desire many tongues, and when it enters into the ears, I desire millions and millions of ears, and when that holy name enters into my heart, it conquers my life, and my senses become inert." As Lord Chaitanya read that verse. Shrila Haridas Thakur—the namacarya was filled with bliss. He started screaming out, and dancing in transcendental ecstasy. He had never heard such a glorification of the holy name. Haridas was dancing and dancing and loudly crying out the holy names of Krishna— Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
After showering His blessings on Rupa Goswami, Lord Chaitanya departed. The next day the Lord met with Ramanandaraya, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya and other of His most intimate and most learned associates and took them all to Rupa Goswami and Haridas Thakur's residence. As He was walking with these devotees, Shri Chaitanyc Mahaprabhu was glorifying Rupa Goswami as if He had five mouths! The devotees were in so much bliss hearing the Lord glorify His devotee. When they all arrived, Rup. Goswami, Haridas Thakur fell and offered their obesiances at the lotus feet of all thesi Vaishnavas, and the devotees embraced them. They gave Lord Chaitanya and His intimate associates an elevated seat, and then they sat on a lower platform. Lord Chaitanya, Ramanandraya, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya — all were saying, "Please sit with us". But Rupa and Haridas said, "No. We are too fallen- We are only your servants, we do not deserve to sit with you." Lord Chaitanya asked Shrila Rupa Goswami to read, for the pleasure of all the devotees, that beautiful verse on the palm leaf that He had found on the roof that day. Rupa Goswami was too humble and embarrassed to read it, Again and again, Lord Chaitanya and the devotees said, "Please read that verse." But due to embarrassment and his natural humility, he could not read it. Then Lord Chaitanya gave it to Svampa Damodara Goswami and he read the verse of Shrimati Radharani speaking to her friend, expressing her mood of separation from Vrindavan in her meeting with Lord Krishna in the field of Kurukshetra. Upon hearing this wonderful, wonderful composition of Shrila Rupa Goswami, all the devotees began to celebrate his good fortune.
Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, on this particular day, established one of the most important historical incidents within our sampradaya. He had the most proficient, advanced and intimate of His associates, testing Rupa Goswami, in his literary works. After saying this verse, Lord Chaitanya turned to Ramanandaraya and said, "How is it that Rupa Goswami could understand what is in my heart?" And Ramanandaraya said, "It is because You have bestowed your mercy on him." He said, "You did the same thing to me. When we met on the bank of the Godavari, in Vidyanagar, You spoke so many elevated topics of the loving relations of Radha and Krishna, through my mouth."
Lord Chaitanya agreed that —"1 have given my full heart's mercy to Rupa Goswami to reveal to the world my inner desire." Then Shrila Ramananda Raya began to test Rupa Goswami. He asked him, because he was a great poet, "Please read to us your introductory verse." Rupa Goswami read the beautiful verse, comparing the sweetness of, Krishna, His name and pastimes to the most ambrosial sweetmeats—'shikharani'. And he desired that, that all loving, all beautiful reservoir of all sweetness, Krishna, bestow His blessings on all. Ramananda Raya continued to ask many, many technical and intricate questions about Rupa Goswami's writings and every time Rupa Goswami would answer, the devotees would be in bliss. Then Lord Chaitanya said, "Rupa, please read that sloka, which destroys the unhappiness of all living beings when they hear the verse." But again Rupa Goswami was ashamed to read it. After being coaxed again and again, he read that verse, which Lord Chaitanya loved so dearly, "I do not know how much nectar, the two syllables—Krish-na have produced. When that name dances on the tongue, 1 desire many, many tongues, and when that name of Krishna enters my ears, I desire millions and millions of ears, when that name enters through the ears into my heart, it conquers my heart, and my senses become inert".
Upon hearing this, all the assembled devotees began to celebrate, "We have never, ever heard from all the scriptures, any verse that so sweetly describes the glories of the holy name, as what Rupa Goswami has composed."
Lord Chaitanya, after Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya was the greatest of all philosophers. Ramanandaraya, the greatest of all authorities in the transcendental rasa of the loving affairs of Radha and Krishna, Svarupa Damodara Goswami. the greatest of all scholars ot proper Vaishnava composition, of what is rasa-abhasa and what is authoritative on the basis of scripture, Haridas Thakur, the namacharya—the Greatest authority of chanting ot the holy name. all these devotees were assembled. After all of them heard the writings ot Rupa Goswami. they unanimously agreed that he has received the most intimate blessings of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Ramanandaraya asked, "Please read the verse of you. glorifying your worshipable deity." Rupa Goswami read the beautiful verse, of how the Supreme Lord Krishna has appeared from the womb of Saci devi, to distribute to the world the most intimate mellows of Vrindavan love of the Gopis. May that Lord bestow His mercy upon all of us. When He heard that verse Lord Chaitanya became very angry externally, although internally He was very happy. He said, "What have you done? Your composition is like. an ocean of nectar and this verse is like a drop of poisonous alkali which has ruined everything."
Shrila Ramananda Raya said, "No, my Lord, it is not like that. His verses are like highly condensed milk in an ocean of nectar and this is like a pinch of camphor, to enhance the ecstatic pleasure." Lord Chaitanya was embarrassed, but the devotees were very pleased. After hearing and examining Shrila Rupa Goswami, Ramananctaraya said, "This is not poetry. This is a continuous shower of nectar". Then Lord Chaitanya asked ail the assembled devotees to bless and empower Shrila Rupa Goswami to fill the world with literature, describing the pure teachings of Krishna-prema and Krishna consciousness. And all of the devotees bestowed their mercy on Shrila Rupa Goswami. Shrila Rupa Goswami was often called the Rasacarya. On that day it was proclaimed that Shrila Rupa Goswami was the very embodiment, the personification of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's love and mercy. And therefore we are called — ' Rupanugas '.
Shrila Rupa Goswami remained in Jagannatha Puri with Lord Chaitanya for ten months. After the Dola-yatra festival, Lord Chaitanya sent him to perform his four important missions in Vrindavan. He embraced Rupa Goswami and told him to receive the mercy of all the devotees. After worshipping each and every Vaishnava and worshipping Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Shrila Rupa Goswami returned to Vrindavan. On his way he stopped in Bengal for twelve months. Travelling through the Jharikhanda forests, Sanatana Goswami arrived in Puri ten days after Rupa Goswami left. Lord Chaitanya told Sanatana Goswami, "Rupa Goswami just left." They were always trying to meet, but by the mercy of the Lord, somehow or the other they were always on different roads.
Activities of Shrila Rupa Goswami in Vrindavan
After some years when Shrila Rupa Goswami finally returned to Vrindavan, he met with Sanatana Goswami. Both Rupa and Sanatana Goswami brought many scriptures to Vrindavan with them, because their service to Lord Chaitanya was to extract the nectar of devotion from each of those scriptures. The way they lived in Vrindavan was perfect and exemplary. When the devotees of Bengal would go to Vrindavan, or On'ssa, and when they would return, everybody would ask, "Did you see Rupa and Sanatana? How are they living? Where are they sleeping? What are they eating? Please tell us. What are their activities?" And these devotees would become filled with bliss just thinking of Rupa and Sanatana. 'They are living in Vrindavan with no fixed residence, they have left the huge beautiful palaces of the Prime-Minister, with many servants, much treasure, and the many luxuries of life. They sleep under one tree one niyht and under a different tree another night, on the hard, cold ground of Vrindavan. They go begging for their food from door to door of the Brahmins. Sometimes they get some dry bread and sometimes some fried chick-peas. They have no other possessions except a water pot. And as far as their clothes go, they have given up all their luxurious garments and only wear torn, discarded quilts. Practically twenty-four hours a day, they are chanting the Holy Names and they are dancing in ecstasy. In fact, they are so immersed in hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord, that at the most they sleep one and a half hours a day. And on some days they are so engrossed in chanting the t^are Krishna maha-mantra, they don't even find time to sleep. They are absorbed in writing transcendental literatures expounding the pure teachings of Lord Chaitanya and their hearts are always absorbed in the remembrance of the Lord and discussing the mercy of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This is how Rupa and Sanatana are living in Vrindavan." Upon hearing about these activities, which are beyond human capabilities, everyone would become filled with bliss, honoring and worshipping the feet of Shri Rupa and Sanatana within the cores of their hearts.
Shrila Rupa Goswami was so completely committed to fulfilling the orders Lord Chaitanya had given him that he and Sanatana roamed throughout Vrindavan to reveal and excavate the holy places of Krishna's important pastimes. But still Rupa Goswami was not happy. One day he sat on the banks of the Yamuna in an ocean of lamentation because he could not find Shri Govindadeva, the prominent deity of Vrindavan. The scriptures revealed that this deity was installed by Vajranabh, the great-grandson of Lord Krishna and it was somewhere in Vrindavan. He was hidden. Rupa Goswami searched everywhere, he studied many books, he was desperately looking for the Govinda deity, because he knew it was Lord Chaitanya's desire. He went here and there, he even went to the houses of practically all the Vrajavasi's to see if Govinda-deva was being worshipped in any of them. But despite all his attempts Govinda-deva did not reveal Himselt. Rupa Goswami would sit day after day on the bank of the Yamuna in lamentation, praying to the Lord, "Please reveal to me where you are hiding".
One day a Vrajavasi came and sat beside Shrila Rupa Goswami. This Vrajavasi was a beautiful cowherd boy. He asked Rupa Goswami, "Why do you look so sad?" Rupa Goswami was attracted by the beauty and the charm of this child, his heart was filled with ecstasy. He began to explain," I have searched everywhere, but 1 cannot fulfil my Lord's desire, to establish the worship of Govinda-deva.". The little cowherd boy replied, "Do not be in distress. There is a very spiritual place, called 'Gomatill' and everyday a beautiful cow comes to that place and lets down her milk on the ground. Under the spot where the cow is making the offering, is the deity of Govinda-deva. Previously, Moslem conquerors came to this place and so the deity was hidden under the ground. Come, I will show you that place".
And the beautiful little cowherd boy took Shrila Rupa Goswami to 'Gomatill' and then he disappeared. Rupa Goswami understood who this cowherd boy was, and in great ecstasy of love he fell unconscious. After a long time, he came back to his consciousness and began to cry. Then he understood his mission, and he told several Vrajavasis, "Let us carefully dig in this place, Govinda-deva is here". They began to dig in the ground, carefully. After sometime they unearthed the beautiful deity of Govinda, whose beauty was more charming than millions and millions of Kandarpas (Cupids). The news spread and hundreds and thousands of people, mostly Vrajavasis, gathered there to celebrate the appearance of Shri Govinda-deva. When the news spread, Shrila Rupa Goswami became much admired, loved and worshipped by all the Vraiavasis of Shri Vrajadham.
On another evening, or night, Shrila Ftupa Goswami had a dream. In this dream, Vrindadevi, who is an expansion of Shrimati Radharani and who is the transcendental co-ordinator of all of the wonderful arrangements for the pastimes of Shri Shri Radha and Krishna, appeared to Rupa Goswami and told him, "My deity form is under the ground at Radhakunda." Rupa Goswami understood that Lord Chaitanya was instructing him to excavate that place. He approached the Vrajavasis, and on the banks of Radhakunda, the murti of Vrindadevi, whose beauty was indescribable, was revealed. Shrila Rupa Goswami installed the deity of Vrindadevi in the same temple as Govinda-deva. He was very satisfied. He sent a letter to Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, explaining how Govinda-deva had revealed Himself to him.
When Lord Chaitanya heard" that Shri Shri Radha Govinda-deva had appeared again, He was in ecstasy. He confidentially spoke to all of his devotees about this, and told Kashishwar Pandit about the discovery of Govindadeva and instructed him, "1 want you to go to Vrindavan and assist Rupa Goswami in the service of Govinda-deva." Kashishwar Pandit was, previously, a personal servant of Lord Chaitanya's own guru, Ishwarapuri, When he heard the order, his heart was broken with the thought of separation from Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He said, "My Lord, I cannot bear leaving Puri and going anywhere else." Then Lord Chaitawya, just to satisfy His devotee, gave Kashishwar Pandit a beautiful, small deity of Himself. This was the first deity of Lord Chaitanya ever to be revealed in this world, besides the deity of Vishnupriya. It was the deity of Krishna and Lord Chaitanya together in one Torm and Lord Chaitanya carefully explained how Kashishwara Pandit should worship it. Lord Chaitanya personally gave Him the name— 'Gaur-Govinda'. Kashishwara Pandit took that deity to Vrindavan and installed Him on the right hand side of Shri Govinda-deva.
When Rupa and Sanatana Goswami came to Vrindavan, two of the very, very confidential associates of Lord Chaitanya were already living there -Shrila Lokanatha Goswami and Shrila Bhugarbha Goswami. Shrila Lokanatha Goswami was a resident of Navadvipa and a very loving friend of Lord Chaitanya. Lord Chaitanya understood that when He took sannyasa, Lokanatha Goswami will not be able to bear the pain of seeing Him with His hair cut and in the garb of a sannyasi. So He ordered Lokanatha Goswami to go to Vrindavan saying "Soon I am going to take sannyasa. You will not be able to bear seeing it. But after taking sannyasa, 1 will go to Vrindavan and you can make nice arrangements for me over there". So falling at the feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and all the devotees, Lokanatha Goswami, with tears of the ecstasy of separation filling his heart, went to Vrindavan. But as you know, after he took sannyasa Lord Chaitanya had every intention of going to Vrindavan. But Shn Nityananda, knowing that Mahaprabhu's heart was always to please His devotee, played a trick and brought Him to Shantipur instead. And then Saci Devi prayed, "Please do not go to Vrindavan, because I will never hear anything of your pastimes or your welfare. The same Krishna of Vrindavan is living in the Puri of Jagannath. Please make that your home."
On the request of the intimate love of Saci Devi. Lord Chaitanya went to Jagannath Puri. After delivering Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, He decided to go on a tour of south India. Lokanatha Goswami was waiting for Lord Chaitanya in Vrindavan. When he heard all these stories, he became mad. "I have to find my Lord. If He's not going to Vrindavan, I will go to the south". So from Vrindavan, he walked all the way to the southernmost provinces of India. And then he found out that Lord Chaitanya had returned to Puri. He completed his two-year trip of South India. Then he began his return journey to Puri. But then he heard that from Puri Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had gone to Vrindavan. So, in great anticipation he went to Vrindavan. He was supposed to be waiting there for Lord Chaitanya. When he arrived in Vrindavan, he learnt that Lord Chaitanya had stayed there for two months. He traveled through all the twelve forests, he sat to chant under the Imlitala tree on the bank of the Ganges every day. He was reunited with alt of His intimate associates - the deer, parrots and peacocks, the trees and creepers and the cows of Vrindavan. He then left and went to Prayag. It was night and Lokanatha Goswami decided, 'Tomorrow morning. I will go to Prayag". That night Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared to him and told him, "You should remain in Vrindavan, because I am sending My own personal associates Rupa and Sanatana there. You should become intimate friends with them."
After wandering through the groves of Vrindavan Lokanatha Goswami came to a place called Kishori-kund, which is in the area of Khadiravana, and there he lived in seclusion. One day a Brahmin came to him, gave him a little bag and went away. Lokanatha Goswami opened the bag and in it was a beautiful deity of Radha and Krishna. He was so struck with wonder and love because he always wanted to worship the deity of Krishna. He began to worship the Lord, but he was bewildered and then the deity spoke to him, "My name is Radha-Vinoda. I incarnated as that Brahmin just to give the gift of Myself to you. Now i am hungry, so please prepare some bhoga for Me". So Lokanatha Goswami immediately began to collect whatever he could get and cooked very nice food and offered it to the deity. He bathed the deity. He would make a beautiful, little bed, for the deity, out of flowers and he would lay the deity down and massage His feet and fan Him. His life and soul was the worship of Radha-Vinoda in Kishori-kunda.
When Rupa and Sanatana Goswami came to Vrindavan, they called Lokanatha Goswami, "Please come and live with us in Vrindavan. Let us live here together and chant the glories of Radha and Krishna and their most munificent of all manifestations—Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu." So Lokanatha Goswami came to Vrindavan, and would daily, intimately associate with Shrila Rupa Goswami and Sanatana Goswami.
The next Goswami that came to meet with Shrila Rupa Goswami and Sanatana Goswami was Shrila Gopal Bhatta Goswami. When Lord Chaitanya was performing His south Indian tour, and He came to the holy place of Shrirangam, He stayed at the house of Venkata Bhatta, for the four months of the rainy season. When He arrived, Venkata Bhatta bathed the Lord's feet and gave the water to his family members to drink. The son of Venkata Bhatta was Gopala Bhatta. When he drank that water, his heart filled with the ecstasy of love for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Gopal Bhatta Goswami intimately served Lord Chaitanya during those four months and before Lord Chaitanya continued His tour, He instructed Gopal Bhatta Goswami, "You stay here and serve your parents who are my pure devotees, and after they leave this world you should go to Vrindavan and join Rupa and Sanatana Goswami."
He was initiated by his uncle, Shri Prabhodananda Sarasvati. He became a great scholar and devotee. Venkata Bhatta and his wife told Gopala Bhatta, "Go to Vrindavan and always worship Lord Chaitanya." And chanting the names of Gauranga Mahaprabhu they both departed from this world. Gopal Bhatta Goswami went to Vrindavan. The Goswamis, Rupa and Sanatana, Lokanath Goswami and Bhugarbha Goswami were happy to receive this great soul.
One day Lord Chaitanya was at the Tota-Gopinath temple of Gadadhar Pandit, and he told the devotees there, "I have not heard any news from the devotees in Vrindavan for a long time". Just at that moment a messenger came from Vrindavan with a letter from Rupa Goswami, and it said—"Your beloved devotee Gopal Bhatta Goswami has come, and we are very happy to have his most divine association." Lord Chaitanya was so pleased, He wrote a letter back to Rupa and Sanatana which said, "Please accept Gopal Bhatta as your own dear brother." And He sent many wonderful gifts, of His own remnants, to be distributed to the Goswamis.
When Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was in Varanasi, he met the son of Tapana Mishra named Raghunatha Bhatta. He was such a small boy, but when Lord Chaitanya was living in Varanasi for two months, Raghunatha Bhatta would massage His lotus feet everyday and do all menial services for Lord Chaitanya. He became such a dear servant of the Lord.
After sometime Raghunatha Bhatta could not bear the separation and he went to Puri, alongwith Ramdas Vishvas- When he arrived in Puri, Lord Chaitanya very affectionately embraced him at His Gambhira, asked after the welfare of Tapana Mishra and He allowed Raghunatha Bhatta to personally serve Him for eight months. Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami was an expert cook. The Chaitanya-charitamrita says that everything he prepared tasted sweeter than nectar. He would cook for the Lord, massage the feet of the Lord and intimately hear the wonderful instructions of the Lord. After eight months Lord Chaitanya asked him to go back home. He said. "Do not marry. Go home and serve your father and mother who are pure devotees. Constantly chant the holy names of Lord Krishna, constantly read the Shrimad Bhagavatam and study the teachings of the Bhagavat under a pure devotee of the Lord."
Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami returned to Varanasi and he lived there for two years. During those two years, he was constantly chanting the holy names, always studying Bhagavatam from a pure devotee, and humbly serving his parents. Then his parents gave up their life-breath and returned back home—back to Godhead,
Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami in great anticipation for the mercy of Mahaprabhu Shri Chaitanya returned to Puri. There he served the Lord, very intimately, for eight months again. Then Lord Chaitanya told him, "Go to Vrindavan and under the care of Shri Rupa and Sanatana serve me. Constantly chant the holy names, read the Bhagavatam and serve these great devotees' mission."
When Raghunath Bhatta Goswami arrived in Vrindavan, Rupa, Sanatana, Gopala Bhatta, Lokanatha, Bhugarbha and Kashishwar Pandit — were-in great ecstasy to receive him.
It is explained that Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami would cook for Rupa Goswami and Sanatana Goswami and give them great pleasure. He personally served, as his life and soul, the deity of Rupa Goswami — Shri Shri Radha-Govinda. Day and night he would be in the association of Rupa and Sanatana, reciting the beautiful verses of Shrimad-Bhagavatam. In fact, his voice was sweet like the cuckoo bird and he -would recite each verse in three or four different melodies. They lived together in transcendental happiness,
Raghunath Das Goswami was the heir of multimillionaires, Govardhan and Hiranya Majumdar - his father and uncle. Somehow or the other he escaped and leaving behind his beautiful wife, his inconceivable fortune and all his fame and fortune to become Ihe very king of renunciation amongst alt the devotees of Lord Chaitanya. He lived in Puri, eating only what the cows would spit out in the garbage. Later on, he would only have a little buttermilk, and after drinking that he would condemn himself for wasting so much time for sense gratification! He was chanting at least two-lakh Holy Names everyday, he would bow down as a regulation to thousands of Vaishnavas everyday. He would also bow down thousands of times to the deity everyday. It is explainedthat his following of the regulative principles were like the lines in stone — so strict.
Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu personally put Raghunath das Goswami as the assistant of Svarupa Damodar Goswami, His own secretary. So-Raghunath Das Goswami was intimately connected to all the intimate pastimes of Lord Chaitanya, during those years of separation. He remained in Jagannatha Puri for sixteen years and then Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu left the world by entering the Tota-Gopinatha temple at the residence of Shri Gadadhara Pandit. Soon after that, Svarupa Damodar Goswami, unable to bear the separation from his Lord, also disappeared from this world. Raghunath das Goswami was plunged in an ocean of grief. "What to do? How will 1 live? 1 just cannot live." He decided to take his life, in the most auspicious way, by going to Vrindavan and by jumping from the top of Govardhan hill. He went to Vrindavan with this intention.
When he arrived at Vrindavan, he first wanted to meet Shrila Rupa Goswami and Shrila Sanatana Goswami. But when he met them, he thought, "1 was engrossed in a hopeless state, due to separation from my Svarupa Damodar and Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. But now, I see that Lord Chaitanya has appeared in His full mercy and glory in the form of these two devotees—Rupa and Sanatana Goswami." Rupa and Sanatana told him, "You cannot jump from the Govardhan Hill. We would rather you live with us and constantly sing the glories of Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's pastimes for our purification." So Raghunath Das Goswami became the intimate servant of Rupa and Sanatana. They personally arranged a place for him to stay on the beautiful banks of Shri Radha Kunda and Shyama Kunda, which Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had discovered during His visit to Vrindavan.
Anupama, their youngest brother, had a son, called Shrila Jiva Goswami. When Rupa and Sanatana Goswami along with Anupam met Lord Chaitanya at Ramakeli, Jiva was very small so he was not permitted -to go along. However, he wanted to see what his father and uncles were so eager to do, so he followed them. and as Rupa and Sanatana Goswami and Anupama met with Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Ramakeli and offered beautiful prayers and surrendered their lives, Jiva Goswami, from a little distance away, was watching and listening to everything. From that moment, his heart was filled with love and surrender to Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
After Anupama disappeared from this world and his uncles—Rupa Goswami and Sanatana Goswami had gone to Vrindavan, Jiva Goswami was like a madman. He would, in great ecstasy, serve his deities of Krishna and Balarama. Gaur-Nitai revealed in a dream that they were non-different from the deities of Krishna and Balarama. When he got Just old enough, he somehow or the other found an excuse to get away from his mother. He said that he was going to visit his ancestral home in Fatiabad but actually went to Navadvipa. There he met Lord Nityananda, who took him on the whole parikrama of Navadvipa-mandala and then told him to go to Varanasi, study the shastras under the great devoteenamed Madhusudana Vacaspati and then go to Vrindavan to join his uncles Rupa and Sanatana. Lord Nityananda said, "Lord Chaitanya has given Vrindavan to your family."
Jiva Goswami went to Varanasi and became famous as the greatest of all the scholars. Then he came to Vrindavan and fell at the feet of Shrila Sanatana Goswami and begged him for initiation. Sanatana Goswami, in his natural humility, considered Rupa Goswami to be more qualified. So, he told Jiva Goswami that he should take initiation from Shrila Rupa Goswami. Shrila Rupa Goswami wanted to train Jiva Goswami very well, so he had him doing very simple, menial types of service. Jiva Goswami was already celebrated as one of the greatest scholars and preachers in all the world. However, Rupa Goswami had him cleaning utensils, washing pots, preparing the paraphernalia for puja, collecting and preparing the palm leaves for Rupa Goswami to write on, massage Rupa Goswami's feet, fan him and in this way render very simple service, After sometime, seeing the real quality of humility and the desire to serve, Rupa Goswami initiated him as Shrila Jiva Goswami.
It is explained that one day Shrila Jiva Goswami was fanning his Guru Maharaja Shrila Rupa Goswami and a very senior Vaishnava, Vallabha Bhatta, came to meet with Rupa Goswami. As you know Rupa Goswami knew Vallabha Bhatta from Prayag. And Rupa Goswami, humble that he was, seeing that a very senior Vaishnava had come, offered him all respect and honor. Vallabha Bhatta wanted to see what type of writing Rupa Goswami was engaged in. He saw the 'Introduction to Bhakti-Rasaamrta-Sindhu' and in a mood of concern, Shri Vallabha Bhatta explained that there was some incorrect usage of words. So Rupa Goswami, very grateful for his willingness to help, gave Vallabha Bhatta the literature that he was writing and said, "Please make any corrections you feel are required" and went to take bath in the Yamuna.
Vallabha Bhatta asked the boy Jiva, "Who are you?" He said, "I am Rupa Goswami's disciple—Jiva Goswami. Please tell me what is it that you thought was not right about my guru maharaja's introduction?" So Vallabha Bhatta explained and Jiva Goswami, very nicely, explained how actually what his guru said was correct. He said it in such a proficient, philosophical way that Vallabhacarya was very impressed. And when Rupa Goswami came back Vallabhacarya gave him the draft of the Bhakti-Rasaamrta-Sindhu back and said, "How can 1 correct this? When your disciple is so learned, how much must you be? So exalted!" Then Vallabhacarya left and Rupa Goswami became externally very angry. He said, "Jiva, why you have done like this? He's a senior Vaishnava; he had come to do some seva. Why are you so proud that you had to correct him? Pride cannot remain in the heart of one who desires to live in Vrindavan properly. Therefore, you must leave."
So Jiva Goswami went to a place called Nanda-ghat. There he lived in a hole, where crocodiles used to live. He was always immersed in a repentant mood, trying to atone for the offence he had committed to his Guru Maharaj, loudly chanting the holy names of the Lord and hardly eating anything. One day when Sanatana Goswami was travelling through Vrajabhumi, he came to the village close to Nanda-ghat. And the villagers told him of a very, very supernaturally renounced person living in a hole. When Sanatana Goswami went there, he personally carried Jiva Goswami out and brought him back to Vrindavan. Because Sanatana was older brother, he told Rupa Goswami, "It is Lord Chaitanya's cardinal principle to be compassionate to all jivas: So you should forgive your disciple Jiva".
There was a great Digvijay pandit named Rupa Narayana. He traveled all over the provinces of India and he defeated everyone in debate. He had a certificate where everyone he had defeated had to sign—'l have been defeated by Rupa Narayana." it was called the 'Vijay patra'. When he came to Vrindavan, he went to Rupa Goswami and Sanatana Goswami and said, "I challenge you to a debate". Rupa and Sanatana were very humble. They said, "You are such a big scholar. We are just living in the forest. How can we debate with you? Why should we even waste your time with us? We admit defeat". "If you admit defeat, sign this document" Rupa Narayana said. Without any hesitation they immediately signed—"We have been defeated by Rupa Narayana", signed by Rupa Goswami, Sanatana Goswami. He was very. very proud. He understood that Jiva Goswami, their nephew, was also a great scholar, and should be defeated too. So Rupa Narayana went to Jiva Goswami and said. "1 have defeated your uncles in debate. See. They have signed 'Defeat'." Jiva Goswami considered, "My uncles are such humble devotees. They didn't even argue with him, they didn't want to waste their time with this rascal, but he's now propagating all over the world that he has defeated them, he must be silenced." So Jiva Goswami said, "Yes. I accept your challenge." They sat on the banks of the Yamuna debating for many days and in the end Jiva Goswami completely defeated Rupa Narayana, who left in shame, never to come back to Vrindavan. When Jiva Goswami told this news to Shrila Rupa Goswami, once again Shrila Rupa Goswami became very angry. "Why have you wasted your time arguing with this mundane scholar? Just for your own prestige and victory? Vrindavan has no place for a person who wants respect and adoration. You are not fit to stay here with us. Therefore you must leave. "
So Jiva Goswami went to Mathura and lived in a little kutir. In his heart he was thinking, "1 am so proud. I am so puffed up. My guru is so displeased. How can I atone? What kind of disciple am I?" Actually he made no offence on either occasion. Jiva Goswami, in great humility, was just trying to defend the prestige and the glory of his guru maharaj and the respectability of our whole sampradaya. Therefore what he did was perfect and Shri Rupa Goswami knew that. But Rupa Goswami wanted to reveal to the world the glories of Jiva Goswami. Even though he was hundred per cent right, when his guru said he was proud, he considered, "Yes. 1 am proud and 1 am condemned," He did not make excuses, "0 guru maharaj, you are wrong, you don't understand. 1 did it for you, not for myself." His guru maharaj said, "You are proud". Jiva Goswami to the core of his heart, he felt, "I am proud. I am not fit to stay in Vrindavan. 'trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna amanina mana dena kirtaniya sada hari'. I am not following the principles of Mahaprabhu. Therefore my life is ruined." And he went to Mathura to perform tapasya, crying out the holy name of Krishna constantly, crying out the names of Rupa and Sanatana Goswami, begging for their mercy.
When Sanatana came to Mathura and found him, he brought him back and told Shrila Rupa Goswami, "I would like you to know that you are not following one of the important teachings of Lord Chaitanya," Now Rupa Goswami was also an ocean of humility. He did not say, "What do you mean? I'm following." Rupa Goswami said, "Oh, please tell me which one 1 am not following." Sanatana Goswami said, "Please tell me what the principle teachings are." "Developing a taste for chanting of the holy names of Krishna, always aspiring to be the servant of the servant of the Vaishnavas and being compassionate to all jivas". When Rupa Goswami said "Being compassionate to all jivas" he understood what Sanatana was saying. Sanatana brought Jiva back and Rupa Goswami embraced him very affectionately. Actually through all these pastimes, Rupa Goswami was showing his most infinite love to Jiva Goswami. Rupa Goswami loved Shrila Jiva Goswami so much that he with his own hands carved the deity of Shri Radha Damodara, worshipped that deity and then entrusted it to Shrila Jiva Goswami, to worship as his life and soul.
When Shri Jiva Goswami would worship Shri Radha Damodara, his mind was always constantly immersed in the deepest love and gratitude to Shrila Rupa Goswami. It is explained that Shrila Jiva Goswami's heart was always meditating on serving and pleasing Shrila Rupa Goswami, his guru maharaj. And by the mercy of Rupa Goswami, when he would worship Radha Damodara, sometimes he would see the deity performing His Vrindavan pastimes right before his eyes. He would hear Him playing on the flute.
On his way back from Govardhana hill, one day Shrila Sanatana Goswami came to "neet Shrila Rupa Goswami. The Goswamis would always discuss their beautiful writings, oUhe pastimes of Radha and Krishna. Rupa Goswami, upon Sanatana's request, began to explain one of his dramas, in this drama, Rupa Goswami compared the beautiful braids of the luxurious black hair of Shrimati Radharani and the gopis to black serpents. Sanatana Goswami said, "This is not a perfect explanation and you should change it to some other analogy."
Then Sanatana Goswami went to take bath in one of the holy places of Vrindavan, a small lake. There he saw some beautiful young girls taking their bath in the lake and they had long, black braids and these braids looked just like snakes. In fact, Sanatana Goswami thought they were snakes and he started calling out to the girls, "Watch out! Watch out! There are snakes about to bite your heads. Watch out!" Then Sanatana Goswami began to move very quickly through the waters, to rescue the girls from the snakes. When he just approached the girls, they began to laugh and smile and they disappeared. Sanatana Goswami understood that Rupa Goswami's explanation was correct. And he came back to Rupa Goswami and said, "Please do not change. What you have said is perfect."
Once Shrila Rupa Goswami desired to make a nice feast for Sanatana Goswami, but they were just doing madhukari. That means just like a bee goes flower to flower to get little nectar, similarly traditionally those in the renounced order of life, go from house to house and beg from each house for their sustenance. So Rupa Goswami was thinking "Let me make something nice as a feast for my brother Sanatana Goswami, after offering it to Radha Govinda." A beautiful, beautiful little cowherd girl approached Rupa Goswami with a wonderful pot of kheer and said, "1 would like to present this to you Swamiji". He was very surprised. He took it to Sanatana Goswami and Sanatana Goswami began to eat it. As soon as he tasted it, he just went into uncontrollable ecstasy, and Rupa Goswami was also eating it went into uncontrollable ecstasy too. Everytime they would taste the sweet rice, there were just tears pouring from their eyes, their hairs were standing on end, they were trembling, they were just roaring in ecstatic love. Sanatana Goswami said, "Where did you get this from?" Rupa Goswami said, "There was a beautiful little cowherd girl who gave it to me as a donation." "Describe this cowherd girl." As he described, Sanatana Goswami understood that it was Shrimati Radharani. He became very ashamed and said. "You have accepted service from our supremely worshipable Shrimati Radharani, It is our eternal position to be the servant, of the servant of Her servants. You have accepted service from Her and caused me too, to accept service from Her. This is against the principles of our Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu." And they both felt very bad. They wanted to teach us that the mood of the followers of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is always to be the servant. They don't even want the ecstatic bliss of the spiritual world as much as they want the service of the Lord and His devotees. Of course, although they felt very ashamed, the taste of the sweet rice was so ecstatic, that they could not stop eating it!
The literary contribution of Shrila Rupa Goswami
Shrila Rupa Goswami had just written the first draft of Lalita-Madhava. Lalita-Madhava describes the intense separation between Radharani and Knshna, and it describes the separation of the gopis for Krishna, especially. So Raghunatha Das Goswami, who was living at Shri Radha Kunda, received that manuscript of Lalita-Madhava. He is the prayojana acarya, teaching by his writings and his example the highest principles of love in separation as an associate of Radharani. When he read Lalita-Madhava, he was so engrossed in the feeling of separation that Shrila Rupa Goswami had so beautifully described that he went mad. There were tears pouring out of his eyes, and he just held the Lalita-Madhava to his heart, and was just crying and crying. He could not even communicate with anyone. The devotees informed Rupa Goswami of what happened to Raghunatha Das Goswami. So Shrila Rupa Goswami quickly wrote another book called the 'Danakeli Kaumudi' which describes the ecstatic meeting of Radha and Krishna. He went directly to Shri Radha kunda and said to Shri Raghunatha Das Goswami, "I want you to read this nice book I have written. And as far as that Lalita-Madhava goes, some corrections are necessary, so give it back to me." Raghunatha das Goswami read 'Danakeli kaumud! describing the beautiful re-union, or sambhoga, of Radha and Krishna, and his heart became completely pacified and filled with joy.
Rupa Goswami would perform his bhajan in various places of Vraja. He had a bhajan kutir just outside the precincts of Nandagaon, and there was a Kadambatree under which he would often do his bhajan and his writings. Today it is called 'Tera-kadamba'. That tree was very much affected by the bhakti of Rupa Goswami. Actually the pure love of a devotee could melt the hearts of both the animate and inanimate living beings, because the love of such a pure soul directly influences the spirit soul. Of course, the trees in Vrindavan are kalpa vnksha. They are intimate associates of Lord Krishna and very blessed. Shrila Rupa Goswami would sometimes sit under this tree and under the order of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he would compose various literatures.
When he was composing a section describing the ecstatic lamentation of the separation of Radharani and Krishna from each other, he would be so engrossed that it would infiiience the tree to also be completely engrossed in that same feeling of separation. And all the leaves of that tree would fall like tears. When Shrila Rupa Goswami would write about the blissful re-union of Radha and Krishna, the tree, sharing the experience of Rupa Goswami's ecstatic love, would immediately blossom with fruits and flowers in every direction.
One time, Shrila Rupa Goswami was sitting in his bhajan kutir and he began to meditate on the transcendental pastimes of Radha and Krishna. To such a pure-hearted soul, Radha and Krishna would reveal Their pastimes within their hearts. This cannot be imitated. This was not something Rupa Goswami was artificially concentrating or meditating on. it was something that was just being awakened due to his pure love.
So in this particular pastime, he saw that the Sakhis were arranging Shrimati Radharani to meet Krishna. They were decorating her in so many beautiful garments and jewelry. The Sakhis noticed that Krishna was right behind them, watching everything. But Shrimati Radharani did not know. so they wanted to inform Her. They just finished decorating Her hair and they placed a mirror in front of Her face. As She looked into the mirror, She saw the reflection of Her beloved Shyamasundara behind Her. Being surprised, she became embarrassed and began to cover Herself and when the Sakhis saw Radharani so embarrassed to see Krishna watching Her, they all began to laugh. When they laughed, Shri Rupa Goswami also began to laugh, uncontrollably. At that time a Vaishnava came to visit Rupa Goswami. He came in and offered his obeisances, but Rupa Goswami iust laughed. This Vaishnava was very embarrassed. "He's not saying anything, he's not acknowledging anything, he's just laughing." He did not know what to think.
He immediately went to Sanatana Goswami and said. "I don't know what's happening. 1 went to see your brother Shri Rupa Goswami and as soon as he saw me, he started laughing. Please tell me what is the truth." Sanatana Goswami knew the heart of Rupa Goswami and explained everything, and then this Vaishnava felt doubly embarrassed. "Why am 1 such a degraded, inconsiderate fallen soul, I'm so unfortunate that I went to Rupa Goswami at that time." He lamented. Meanwhile back at the bhajan kutir, Rupa Goswami came out of his ecstatic absorption in Krishna's lila. He looked around in his house and noticed that a guest had come and he had neglected to do anything to serve that guest. So in his heart he felt terrible distress that he had made an offence. He immediately went to Sanatana Goswami to ask what he should do. At Sanatana Qoswami's house, this particular guest fell at his feet and said, "1 am sorry, 1 am sorry." Rupa Goswami said, "Why?" He said, "1 came to your house and you were engrossed in laughing due to the pastimes of Krishna and Shri Radharani. 1 did not understand you and I made an aparadha. Please forgive me, Please forgive me." And Rupa Goswami started repeatedly offering his obeisances to that Vaishnava. He said, "I neglected you. You were a guest. 1 am a criminal. 1 am an offender. Please forgive me". This was the humility of Shri Rupa Goswami. This story appears in the Bhakti-ratnakara by Narahari Das. Here it is explained that we must be very cautious and careful in our dealings with devotees and we should never neglect them. And if somehow or the other we make a mistake in our dealings with another Vaishnava, we should become completely humble like Rupa Goswami and beg forgiveness, All the desires of Rupa Goswami were being transcendentally fulfilled by the mercy of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Radha Govindadeva was the life and soul of Rupa Goswami. One of the disciples of Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami, Raja Mansingh of Rajasthan, who was also a close associate of Emperor Akbar, built a seven-storeyed temple for Shri Radha Govinda. In fact, Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami loved Shrila Rupa Goswami so much, not only did he build that temple for the deity, he also offered beautiful clothing and ornaments for Radha Govinda, which included a flute and eamngs shaped like sharks. Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami would never hear the fault of a devotee. If anyone for any reason was criticizing a devotee, Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami would say, "I cannot hear. The fact that he's serving Krishna is all I know."
After Sanatana Goswami's departure, Shri Rupa Goswami was living with the other Goswamis. They always wanted to see the deity of Gopal. Gopal was the murti, originally installed by Vajranabh on Govardhana hill, which was re-discovered by Madhavendra Puri. But Lord Chaitanya would never touch His foot to Govardhana hill, because He considered Govardhana hill to be non-different than the body of Krishna. So Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would not go on the top of the hill to visit Gopal, but Gopal was longing to see Lord Chaitanya, just as Lord Chaitanya was longing to see Gopal. So by His own yoga-maya potency he had people run to the village and say, "The Moslems are coming" and thus they could take darshan of the deity.
He worshiped Gopal by dancing in transcendental kirtan chanting the Holy Names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
When they found out there were no Muslims, that it was all a rumor, they organized a procession to bring Gopal back to Govardhan hill and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was dancing and chanting in that procession. As soon as they reached the hill, Lord Chaitanya stopped and offered his prostrated obeisances. So Rupa Goswami also would never ever go on Govardhan Hill because he followed the same principles that Lord Chaitanya lived by. However, just as Rupa Goswami was longing to see Gopal, Gopal was also longing to see Rupa Goswami. So He played the same pastime. The Muslims are coming." So they took Gopal down from Govardhan hill and they brought Him to Mathura where they hid him in the house of the youngest son of Vallabhacharya whose name was Mithileshwar. When Rupa Goswami and his associates found out about this, they all went to Mathura. Lokanath Goswami, Bhugarba Goswami, Raghunatha Bhatt Goswami, Raghunath Das Goswami, Jiva Goswami, Gopal Bhatt Goswami and Kashishwar together with Rupa Goswami worshipped Shri Gopal by having wonderful kirtan, dancing and chanting the Holy Names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
For one month, in the intimacy of each other's association the devotees worshiped Gopal. Then they realized that there were no Muslims, but that it was just another rumor. They brought Gopal back to Govardhan Hill. This was the pastime of the Lord to reciprocate the love of Shri Rupa Goswami.
After Shrila Rupa Goswami disappeared from this world, Shrila Jiva Goswami was naturally accepted as the leader of all the Gaudiya Vaishnavas. He along with the'o'ftier associates of Lord Chaitanya arranged the beautiful, samadhi in the courtyard of Shri Radha Damodar Temple. In fact Shrila Prabhupada considered this place SQ^mportant, that in 1972 he called his devotees from all over the world to come to Vnnetevan during the month of Kartik. Each day, he personally delivered lectures from the Bhakti Hasamrita Ssndhu or Nectar of Devotion right at the samadhi mandir of Shri Rupa Goswami in the courtyard of Radha Damodar. Who can imagine the ecstatic bliss that Shrila Prabhupada must have experienced when he brought devotees from all over the world to sit at the lotus feet of Shri Rupa Goswami and hear from his most blessed merciful book 'Nectar of Devotion'?
Shrinivas Acn<a<ya longing to meet Lord Chaitanya and His associates went to Puri only to find that Lord Chaitanya and His associates had already disappeared. But in a dream Gada^har Pandit told him to go to Vrindavan and take shelter of Rupa and Sanatana. When he was bathing in the Yamuna in Mathura at Vishram Ghat, he heard the news, from some brahmins speaking amongst themselves, that Rupa and Sanatana Goswamis had both disappeared from the world. Shrinivas Acharya was plunged in grief. He decided that he would simply take his life. But then Rupa and Sanatana Goswami appeared in a dream and told him, "You should go to Vrindavan, take shells1' of Shri Jiva Goswami and learn from him the scriptures and take initiation from Gopal Bhatta Goswami because we are living in them."
Simultaneously, Rupa Goswami and Sanatana Goswami appeared to both Jiva Goswami and Gopal Bhatta Goswami and told Gopal Bhatt Goswami, " You should initiate Shrinivas Acharya he is a very dear devotee.'*** When Shrinivas Acharya came to Vrindavan he understood it was the mercy of Shri Rupa and Sanatana and he also cried in ecstatic love of gratitude, when he came to the samadhi mandir of Shri Rupa Goswami.
Shrila Rupa Goswami wrote many books of which 16 books are very prominent. Amongst them Shrita Prabhupada has translated Bhakti Rasamnta S'mdhu, Upadeshamrta. There is a/so LaUta Madhava and Vidaghda Madhava. These books are great treasure houses, which describe from the most beginning stages to the most elevated stages how to progress in Krishna Consciousness.
Adhau sraddha thatha sadhu sango' thata bhajana kriya
Rupa Goswami has composed this beautiful verse that at the very beginning there 13 little faith. Krishna reciprocates with that faith and from within our heart directs us to associate with devotees. In that association, we learn the science of bhakti. Then we approach a spiritual master who initiates us and puts us in the category of 'Vaidhi bhakti', where we follow the regulative principles of Sadhana. It is called bhajana kriya - chanting a fixed number of rounds everyday, following the regulative principles and always being engaged in devotional service. Gradually our hearts become cleansed (anartha nivritti) and all the unwanted material desires and misconceptions are removed from our hearts and then through that gradual purification we achieve 'nishta' or very deep and strong faith in Krishna and the path of bhakti- By continuing in our spiritual advancement by the mercy of Guru and Gauranga 'ruchi' or the higher taste of the sweetness of devotional service awakens in our heart. Then we develop very strong attachment to Krishna, 'asakti', such attachment that all other attachments become utterly insignificant. When we continue to cultivate devotional service under the guidance of Guru and Gauranga in the association of Vaishnavas, gradually that asakti becomes 'bhava* the preliminary state of love of God and by the gradual cultivation of hearing and chanting, bhava becomes 'prema'. tn Prema bhakti, ecstatic love of God and the revelation of our eternal nature in the spiritual world is gradually revealed -serving the Lord in Vrindavan in dasya rasa, sakhya rasa, vatsalya rasa or madhutya rasa.
Shrila Rupa Goswami has brought us from the most preliminary state to the ultimate achievement of all spiritual quests ~ the treasure of prema bhakti in the mood of the residents of Vrindavan. Shrila Rupa Goswami composed over one hundred thousand verses.
In the tila of Vrindavan, Shrila Rupa Goswami is Shri Rupa Manjari. Our great acharyas have given us the explanation that the only means by which we could truly find the real spiritual satisfaction of the heart is to become the servant of the servant of the servant of the pleasure potency of Shri Krishna, Shri Radharani. Of Shri Radharani's expanded counterparts, the sakhis are her most intimate servants. The leader of the sakhis is Lalita Sakhi. The direct intimate assistants of the sakhis are the manjaris and the leader of all the manjaris is Shri Rupa Maniari. The acharyas of our line are the servants of the servants of the servants of Shri Rupa Manjari, It is through the mercy of Shri Rupa Manjari that we can achieve purification; first of all of our gross material state now and ultimately given a place as her own servant and assistant in the spiritual world of Goloka Vrindavan,
Shrila Prabhupada has often told us that we are to never forget the glory of this great sampradaya that he has given us, the Gaudiya sampradaya or the Rupanuga sampradaya- So today, we are making a small attempt to speak a partial portion of a drop of the glories of Shri Rupa Goswami and we should very carefully and sincerely aspire to be the servant of the servant of the servant of Shri Rupa Goswami. How do we do this? By simply accepting the guru parampara, hearing submissively, carrying out the instructions:
Tad viddh'i prampatena pan prashnena sevaya (B.G. 4.34) His Divine Grace Shrila A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in his most profound mature realizations of the very essence of the heart of his Guru Maharaj, Rupa Goswami and Lord Chaitanya has presented us Krishna Consciousness. He has presented the perfect and pure process by which we can achieve the loving mercy of all the previous acharyas - chanting the Holy Names and serving this great mission by distributing the books, which are so inspired by the teachings of Rupa Goswami. We can assist Shrila Prabhupada in spreading Krishna consciousness, by performing our sadhana with great attention and sincerity, hearing the glories of the Lord and chanting His Names, carefully following the teachings of Prabhupada to be more humble than a blade of grass, more tolerant than a tree, give all respect to others and expecting none in return and to constantly chant the Holy Names and to surrender our lives to the mission of guru and Gauranga. Shrila Prabhupada's teachings are very simple, but very complete and totally profound. By simply pleasing Shrila Prabhupada and being the servant of the servant of his servants, we are being given access to the complete unlimited all merciful compassionate blessings of Shrila Rupa Goswami and all our acharyas. Shri Rupa Goswami Ki Jai. Shrila Prabhupada Ki Jai. Shri GauraBhakta Vrinda