Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fulfillment of Raghunath's Dasa Gosvami's Desire

The Fulfillment of Shrila Dasa Gosvami's Desire “O Shrinivasa, presently these paddy fields are seen as two kundas full of water. Please listen while I briefly describe the transformation of the two paddy fields into beautiful kundas.

“One day Raghunatha dasa Gosvami suddenly considered to himself that if these kundas were filled with water it would be very good. Considering that for this purpose money would be needed, Raghunatha dasa remained silent. He scolded himself again and again, thinking why he had desired such a thing. Solacing himself, he decided to stay alone and behave cautiously for sometime. However, when a devotee desires something, that cannot be denied, for Krishna always fulfills His devotees' desires.

“Meanwhile, one rich person had gone to Badarikashrama to get the Lord's darshana. He offered Lord Narayana a large sum of money. That night in a dream the Lord ordered the man, `Take this money to Arita-grama in Vraja. There you will find the best of the Vaishnavas, Raghunatha dasa. Give the money to him in My name. If Raghunatha does not agree to take the money, you should remind him about his desire to clean the two kundas for bathing and drinking water.'

“Speaking these words, the Lord disappeared, and that sincere devotee happily came here to Arita-grama. Going before Raghunatha dasa he fell to the ground, offered his obeisances, and then gave the money to Raghunatha. He explained the instruction given to him by the Lord in his dream. Raghunatha became stunned for some time. After some time he repeatedly praised his fortune and requested the rich man to excavate the two kundas without delay. Hearing this, that fortunate man was filled with ecstasy and proceeded to engage many people for the work. Very soon the kundas were dug out. Now hear why Shyama-kunda was dug in an irregular shape.

“Everyone decided that the following day a few old trees on the bank of Shyama-kunda should be cut. That night Raghunatha had a dream in which King Yudhishthira told him, `My brothers and I are living within those trees. Tomorrow morning go to Manasa-pavana-ghata, identify those five trees, and protect them from being cut.' After the dream, Raghunatha went early the next morning to identify the trees and order the people not to cut them. For that reason they could not make Shyama-kunda square. The two kundas were then filled with clear water and Shri Raghunatha became very satisfied.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ploy to win freedom

Sanatana decided that thebest way to free himself from his duties forHusain Shah was to make the king angry athim. He knew the king had great regard forhim and was very dependant on him, so hesent word that he was ill and could not att end the cour t . He then r ema ined a tRamakeli, surrounded by a large group ofpundits, discussing the Bhagavata. Seeingthat Rupa had suddenly disappeared, theking then became suspicious of Sanatana’s‘illness’, and sent some doctors to examinehim. They reported back to the king thatSanatana was well and was discussing thescriptures with some brahmins.

Furious, Husain Shah himself went toSanatana’s house without prior notice and found him seated with the brahmins. ‘Allmy affairs are your responsibility,’ said theking, ‘and yet you abandon all of them andsit in your house. What do you feel in yourheart? Tell me that.’ ‘I cannot work,’ replied Sanatana. ‘Have it done by someoneelse.’ In an apparent reference to Sanatana’selder brother, Raghunandana, the revolutionary, the king said: ‘Your elder brother isacting like a thief; he has punished manyindividuals, and has made Bakala his ownpossession, and now you have ruined all myother affairs.’ ‘You are the independent lordof Gauda,’ said Sanatana. ‘Whatever offence has been committed, give the punishment for that.’

At this, Husain Shah returned to his palace and gave the order thatSanatana was to be put in jail. After a fewdays, thinking that his imprisonment wasenough to bring Sanatana under his control,the king went to the jail and ordered him toaccompany him on his next invasion ofOrissa. But Sanatana refused. He knew thatHusain Shah was going to try to destroy theJagannatha temple at Puri, and he could notbear it. The king then left for Orissa without him. Ultimately his invasion was a failure. The soldiers of Orissa were able todrive his soldiers back.

After Sanatana had been put in jail,Rupa’s messengers returned from Puri andtold him tha t Cha i t anya had l e f t forVrindavana through the Jharkhanda forestwith just one attendant. Rupa then sent amessage to Sanatana, informing him of thisnews and telling him that he and Anupamawere heading there now. Rupa also told himthat he had left ten thousand gold coinswi th the i r me r chant f r i end, and tha the should use the money to buy his freedomand come to Vrindavana. Either in this orin a separate note, Rupa sent the shlokamentioned earlier about the fleeting natureof the world.

Sanatana now saw a ray of hope. Theprison guard had previously been helped byhim, so Sanatana thought that with a littlenudge at his conscience and a little bribery,the guard might return the favour. Afterpraising the guard’s knowledge of the Koranand other scriptures, Sanatana said, ‘If oneallows a prisoner to escape it is his own fortune, for God frees him from samsara.’ Apparently, Sanatana’s servant Ishana hadbrought the gold coins, as Sanatana offeredfive thousand of them to the guard. But theguard was, understandably, afraid of theking.

So Sanatana concocted for him awhole story to tell the king: that Sanatanahad gone out to relieve himself at the bankof the Ganga and he saw him jump in theriver; and with the heavy chains on his feet,he must have drowned and been carriedaway by the current, as no amount of searching could locate him. Sanatana also assured the guard that hewould not remain in Gauda. Rather, hewould become a dervish and go to Mecca.After Sanatana placed another two thousandcoins on the pile, the guard’s heart softened.That night he cut Sanatana’s chains and tookhim to the other side of the river.

Ishana leftwith him. As they could not take the mainroad for fear of detection, the two men wentthrough the forest. But after travelling fortwo days without any food, they came to amountain that was difficult to pass over. Justthen they found a merchant who offered tohelp them, but accompanying him was a fortune-teller, who whispered to the merchant,‘They have eight gold coins with them.’ Sothe merchant thought he would rob and killthem that night. In the mean time, however,he treated them with much respect. But hisrespect raised doubts in Sanatana’s mind,and he asked Ishana, ‘Have you broughtanything with you?’ Ishana admitted that he had brought seven gold coins with him for Sanatana’s service. Sanatana then scolded him and said, ‘These are our death!’

Taking the coins to the merchant ,Sanatana told him to keep them for helpingthe two of them. The merchant then admittedthat he knew they had eight coins and would have murdered them that night if Sanatanahad not brought them to him. Though the merchant told Sanatana to keep the coinsand he would help them anyway, Sanatana insisted that the merchant take them. ‘If youdon’t murder us for them, then someone elsewill,’ he said. ‘You will save our lives bytaking them.’ The merchant then sent fourmen to help Sanatana and Ishana cross themountain. When they had reached the others ide and the me r chant ’ s men had l e f t ,Sanatana asked Ishana, ‘Do you have anything more with you?’ Ishana then admittedhe still had one more gold coin. ‘All right,’said Sanatana. ‘Take this coin with you andgo back home. I don’t need your service anylonge r . ’ I shana wa s deva s t a t ed, but a sSanatana would not relent, he left.

When Sanatana reached Hajipura (possibly in Bihar or Jharkhanda), he met hissister’s husband, Srikanta, who was also inthe service of the king. Srikanta was thereto buy horses for the king. He wantedSanatana to remain there for a few days torest and get cleaned up, but Santana wouldnot hear of it. ‘Help me across the Ganga.I must go at once,’ said Sanatana.15 Srikantathen f ed him, gave him an expens iveBhutanese shawl, and helped him get acrossthe river.

Letter to Chaitanya

At their mother’s suggestion, Sanatanaand Rupa sent a letter to Chaitanya, askingfor his advice, but they did not receive anyreply. Meanwhile the fire of renunciationwas burning within them. After several moreletters were sent, they at last received ananswer. Chaitanya simply replied with a Sanskrit sloka:

‘If a woman is attached to aman other than her husband, she appears tobe very busy in carrying out her householdduties, but within her heart she always relishes her feelings of association with herparamour.’

So Sanatana understood that they wouldhave to be patient, continue with their dutieswhile thinking of the Lord, and wait for theLord’s grace.

Sanatana’s dream

According to Sanatana’s nephew JivaGoswami, one night when Sanatana wasjust a boy, he dreamt that a brahmin cameand gave him a copy of the Sr imadBhagavatam. Early the next morning, thesame brahmin that he saw in his dream arr ived a t the i r hous e and gave him thePurana. From then on, Sanatana would readthat scripture every day. Later on, while hewas living at Ramakeli, he wrote a commentary, called Dashama Tippani, on thetenth skandha of the Bhagavatam. He alsowrote at this time a book called SadacharPaddhati, containing the daily rites and duties of the four castes.


Sri Sanatana would sometimes stay at Cakleswar, near Govardhan. At that place there were many mosquitos, which was a great disturbance. When he was one day being harassed by these insects, Sanatan remarked, "I won't stay here anymore. It is impossible to concentrate on anything. Neither can I write, nor chant."That night, Lord Siva came to Sanatan and told him, "Sanatan! Please continue your service here in a happy frame of mind. From tomorrow there will be no more disturbance from mosquitos."After that there were no more mosquitos and Sanatana continued his bhajan free from disturbance.


Wherever Sri Sanatana and Sri Rupa would go throughout Vraja, in all the various villages the two brothers were much adored by the Brajabasis, who would feed them milk and yogurt. They in turn would see the Vrajavasis as Krsna's own family members and respect them in that way. Though it was not their business to engage in ordinary gossip, with the Brajavasis they would inquire about their well-being, e.g.

  1. how many sons and daughters they had and who had been married where,

  2. what everyone's various names were,

  3. how their cows were giving milk,

  4. how the bulls wewre working in the fields,

  5. how the harvest was going on,

  6. who had fallen ill and if they were getting better or not.

In this way Rupa and Sanatana became the life of the villagers and the Brijabasis also became the life of Rupa and Sanatana.

Same Boy

Sometimes Sri Sanatana used to stay at Mahaban. One day he saw some cowherd boys playing on the banks of the Yamuna, and amongst them was one boy whom he thought was Madana Gopala.

"Is that my Madana Gopala playing there? No it must be one of the local village boys."

Then on another day as he was passing by the Yamuna, there again he saw that same boy and thought, "This time let me wait and see where he goes." Finally as the evening approached the boys finished playing and set out for their respective homes.

Following behind that particular boy, sure enough, Sanatana saw him enter the temple. Then he could understand that Madana Gopala goes every day to the banks of the Jamuna to play with the other boys.

Cowherd girl

One day Rupa Gosvami had a desire to cook some sweet rice for his elder brother, Sanatana, but he had none of the necessary ingredients, Sri Radha Thakurani, who fulfills the desires of her devotees, could understand everything. Dressing Herself as a cowherd girl, she came there carrying a basket containing rice and sugar with a pot of milk in her other hand. "Svamin! Svamin! Please accept this offering which I have brought".

Hearing someone calling in such a sweet voice, he opened the door of the kutir and saw an extremely beautiful cowherd girl standing there with a present of rice, sugar and milk in her hands.

"Lali! What brings you here so early this morning?"

"Svamin, I came to bring you this present."

"Oh! But you have gone to so much trouble."

"What trouble? I have come to serve the sadhus."

Sri Rupa requested her to sit down, but she replied that there was much work at home, so she couldn't sit down just now. And then she was gone. Sri Rupa looked up and saw that there was no one there and was a little startled. "Now where did she run off to so quickly?"

He prepared the sweet rice and after offering to Sri Giri-dhari, he gave the prasadam to Sri Sanatana. Sanatana was in total ecstasy while accepting this prasadam and inquired, "From where did you get the rice and milk?"

Sri Rupa replied, "One cowherd girl brought everything."

Sanatana asked, "Just like that? Suddenly she brought every thing?"

"Yes. This morning I was thinking to make some sweet rice for you. Just after that I saw one cowherd girl standing before our kutir with all the ingredients in her hands."

As Sanatana heard this, tears began to glide down his cheeks. "The taste of this sweet rice is from another world. Who else could have brought such ingredients but Srimati Radha Thakurani herself. Don't desire like this again." [B.R. 5.1322]

Cowherd boy

Coming to the banks of Pavan Sarovar, Sanatana Gosvami entered into some woods there, and giving up food and water, he became absorbed in intense meditation on the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha-Govinda. Sri Krsna, who is within the heart of everyone, could understand that His devotee was going without food, so He came there in the dress of a cowherd boy, with a pot of milk in His hand, and stood smiling before Sanatana Gosvami. [B.R. 5/1303]

"Baba! I brought some milk for you."

"Oh Lala! Why have you gone to such trouble for me?"

"I saw you are sitting here for so long without any food."

"How do you know that I am not eating anything?"

"I come here to pasture my cows and I watch you to see what you are doing. But you never take any food."

"You should have sent someone else, you are just a small boy. You have suffered some difficulty in bringing this milk here for me."

"Na, na, Baba. It was no trouble. At home everyone else was busy, so I was happy to be able to come myself."

Sanatan Gosvami requested the boy to sit down while he transferred the milk into another container.

"Na Baba! I can't sit down now. It is almost sunset. I have to milk my cows now. I will come to get the pot tomorrow."

When when Sanatana looked up there was no one there. He could understand Sri Krsna Himself had brought him this milk. With tears of love streaming down his cheek, he drank the milk. From that day he gave up fasting and would go to beg some food-stuffs from the Brijabasis. The Brijabasis also built him a small hut.

Catu Puspanjali

One day Sanatana Gosvami came to Radha-kunda to meet Sri Rupa and Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. Upon his arrival they both got up to greet him and after respectfully seating him, they immersed themselves in discussion of the nectarean pastimes of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna. At that time Srila Rupa Gosvami was composing some hymns in praise of Srimati Radharani, collectively known as "Catu Puspanjali". Sanatan Gosvami, while reading these, came across one verse:

anava gorocana gauri praba rendi barambaram
amani stavak vidyoti veni byalangana fanam

Here "byalangana fanam" means that the braids of Radharani's hair appeared very beautiful like the hoods of a snake. Sanatana Gosvami reflected, "Is that a proper comparison 'like the hood of a poisonous snake'?"

At noon Sanatan came to the banks of Radha-kunda, and after offering prayers there, he began to take his bath. Then, on the opposite bank of the kunda, he noticed some cowherd girls playing under the shade of a large tree. As he watched them from the distance, it appeared that a black snake, hanging from the tree, was about to wrap itself around the neck and shoulders of one of those cowherd girls. Sensing some danger he called out to her, "Ohe Lali! Look out! There is a snake just behind you!" But the girls were absorbed in their play and didn't take notice of him. So he immediately took off running to save them from the impending danger. Seeing him approaching them, Srimati Radharani and Her friends began to laugh. Then they disappeared. Sanatana was completely stunned but then gradually the understanding came to him that Sri Rupa's comparison was appropriate.

Madana Gopal

In a kutir cottage made from leaves, Sanatana Gosvami lived for some time at Mahabon, the birth place of Sri Krsna. One day, he was walking along the banks of the Yamuna, going to beg some foodstuffs in a nearby village. Madana Gopaladeva was playing with some cowherd boys there, and when he saw Sanatana Gosvami he came running towards him, "Baba! Baba!". Catching hold of Sanatana's hand he told him, "I want to go with you!"

"Lala!" replied Sanatana, "Why do you want to go with me?"

"I want to stay where you live."

"If you stay with me, what will you eat?"

"Baba! Whatever you eat."

"But I only eat some dry capatis and chick peas."

"Then that is what I will eat."

"No that won't be enough for you. You should stay with your mother and father."

"Na. baba. na. I want to stay with you."

Sanatan Goswami patiently explained that the boy might feel difficulty if he stayed with him, and sent him home. Then he went to beg some capatis in the village.

That night, in a dream, he saw that boy again come to him. Smiling very sweetly, he caught hold of Sanatana's hand and said, "Baba! I am coming tomorrow to stay with you. My name is Madana Gopal". His dream ended and he woke up. Losing himself in great ecstasy, he said to himself, "What did I see? Such a beautiful boy!" Thinking of Lord Krsna he opened the door to his hut and saw standing outside a beautiful Deity of Gopal. His effulgence shone in all directions. For a few seconds Sanatana was completely stunned as he gazed upon Gopal's radiant smile. He expected that the Deity might say something or come towards him. Finally, tears of love gliding down his cheeks, Sanatana fell to the ground, offering his dandavats.

Gradually, he performed Gopala's abhiseka (bathed the Deity) and offered worship to Him. Sanatana's brother Rupa came there and, seeing the Deity, was deeply moved in ecstatic love. Sanatana kept the Deity with him in his leaf hut and began to worship Him in great happiness. Srila Rupa Gosvami immediately sent word of this auspicious event to Mahaprabhu, at Puri.

According to the different perspectives of vision of various devotees, Krsna's pastimes might sometimes be described in different ways, putting more or less emphasis on the external events that surround the internal moods and sentiments felt by Krsna and His devotees. In light of this, it has been described in the Prema-vilas that the Madana Mohana Deity resided at the home of one Mathura brahmana, Damodar Caube by name. Subsequent to the period of time during which He was worshipped by Sri Advaita Acarya Damodar Caube, his wife Ballabha and their son, Madan Mohan, used to worship the Deity in the mood of parental affection and friendship. Damodar Caube's son used to play together with Lord Madana Gopala. Sometimes, like naughty brothers, they would slight one another and then complain to the parents. Their parents would feed them together at the same time and lay them down to rest together.

Sanatana Gosvami used to sometimes beg chapatis from Caube's house. When he saw how the Deity was being worshipped he would instruct Damodara's wife Ballabhadevi in the rules and regulations of proper Deity worship. However, she found all of these rules very difficult to follow. One day when Sanatana saw the Deity Madana Gopala and the boy Madan Mohan eating their lunch together, he became moved by the transcendental mood there and the symptoms of ecstatic love appeared in his body. Then he told Ballabhadevi that she should worship Madana Gopala according to the dictates of her heart.

One night Sanatana Gosvami and Damodar Caube's wife both had a dream simultaneously in which Madana Gopala requested to be able to come and live with Sanatana Gosvami. In great happiness Sanatana received Madana Gopala from the family and Him to a small hillock near Surja ghat, where he constructed a small hut made of branches and leaves. Then he began to serve Madana Gopala, preparing offerings for Him from whatever he obtained by begging.

One day Madana Gopala refused to eat, complaining that there wasn't even any salt in the chapatis. Sanatana replied, "Today it's salt and tomorrow it will be ghee. But I am sorry. I don't have the time or the inclination to chase around after rich men requesting special items from them". Having silently listened to this reply Madana Mohana didn't say anything further, but rather arranged that Krsna dasa Kapoor would come that way, as will subsequently be described.

Sanatana Gosvami would beg some flour from the village and then with that prepare capatis for Madana Gopala. Sometimes he would collect some forest vegetables, roots or spinach and also prepare some vegetables. If sometimes there was no ghee or oil, or salt, then he would just cook dry capatis. But he felt very bad about this. On the other hand, he could not see an alternative. Mahaprabhu had ordered him to compile Bhakti-shastras (devotional scriptures) and the major portion of his time was devoted to that. Sometimes it simply wasn't possible to find time to beg some money with which to purchase salt and oil.

"Madana Mohana is the son of a Maharaj. Seeing that He is simply eating dry capatis Sanatana felt very sad; Madana Mohana, who is within the heart of everyone could understand, 'Sanatana wants to render greater service to Me.' Then Madana Mohana Himself desired that His service might be increased."

Within a few days a wealthy Kshatriya named named Sri Krsna dasa Kapoor came to Mathura to engage in trade and business. By chance, however, his boat became stuck on a sand bar in the Yamuna and by no means could he manage to free it. By the by, he came to learn that a sadhu by the name of Sri Sanatan Gosvami was living nearby. In order to seek the blessings of the sadhu, Krsna dasa Kapoor came to his hermitage and found Sanatana Gosvami engaged in writing.

Sanatana Gosvami's body was very lean and thin from the practice of great austerities and he was wearing only a kaupin. Krsna das offered his dandavats and Sanatana Gosvami in turn offered him a grass mat to sit on. Krsna dasa touched the mat with his hand and sat on the ground. He appealed to the Gosvami, "Baba! Please bestow your mercy on me."

Sanatana replied, "I am a beggar. What mercy can I bestow upon you?"

"I simply want your blessings. My boat is stuck on a sand bar in the Yamuna, and we can't free it by any means."

"I am completely ignorant about all these matters You can speak to Madana Gopala about it."

Krsna das offered his dandavats to Madana Mohanji and spoke to Him, "O Madana Gopala Deva! If, by Your mercy my boat is freed, then whatever profit is realized from the sale of its cargo, I will give to this Gosvami to be engaged in Your service."

Praying this way, Kapoor Seth took leave from Sanatan Gosvami. That afternoon there was such a downpour of rain that the boat very easily floated off the sand bar and on to Mathura. Krsna dasa could understand that this was the mercy of Lord Madana Gopala Deva. His goods were sold at a very handsome profit and with this money he constructed a temple and kitchen and made all the necessary arrangements for the royal execution of Sri Madana Gopala's worship. Seeing this arrangement, Sanatana Gosvami was very happy and after some period initiated Krsna dasa Kapoor as his disciple.

Sri Madana Mohana Deva is presently worshiped at Karauli, Rajasthan. When the daugher of the king of Jaipur was offered in marriage to the king of Karauli, she very insistently requested that her father send Lord Madana Mohana with her as a dowry, as she was very attached to Him. Her father was very reluctant and agreed only after stipulating one condition: "Madana Mohana would be placed in a room with many other Deities. Whoever she chose while blindfolded could go with her to Karauli."

Madana Mohana reassured her by telling her that she would be able to recognize Him by the soft touch of His arm. By this stratagem, she easily recognized Madana Mohana who still resides in Kaurali till this day. There is a direct bus to Karauli from Jaipur. Otherwise, one can go by train from Mathura to Hindaun and then from there to Karauli by bus.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Compassion for People - Rupa Sanatana Anupama

In the Chaitanya Charitamrita it is described by Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami that there were three brothers - Rupa, Sanatana & Anupama. They are originally coming from Karnataka in South India. They are from Saraswat Brahmin community. But their anccestors some generations before migrated to Bengal. Now Rupa, Sanatana & Anupama they were so influencial & they were such powerful devotees of Lord Sri Krishna. They were so learned in every regard that they literally won the love of everyone. So when the Nawab Hussain Shah conquered Bengal it was very very atrocious Muslim invader. & he wanted all of the Hindus who were obviously the vast majority to serve him & beobidient to him as subjects as far as possible. He realised the only way this is possible is if Rupa, Sanatana & Anupama were to be his ministers. & by their example & by their instructions taught the citizens to be loyal to the King. So ofcourse they were not at all inclined. But when Nawab Hussain Shah approached them he threatened them. He said if you become my ministers, if you serve me faithfully & show the common people in general the proper way of being my subjects then i will give all freedom & facility to all the Hindus to worship their God. & i'll give you great great facility to teach them whatever you like. But if u do not take this position I will persecute all Hindus, I will destroy their temples, I will torture them & I will torture you as well.

So out of compassion, out of utter compassion for the people in general Sanatana Goswami became the Prime Minister & Rupa Goswami became a very high posted misnister as well as Anupam these three brothers.

Common to Married and Renounced People

Both Composition of Gopal Bhatta Goswami the Sat-kriya-sara-dipika and the Samskara Dipika elaborate on fire sacrifice and initiation as originally taught in the Vedic tradition.

Samskara Dipika - For Renounced People

Gives rules of behavior and conduct for sannyasis, or renunciants. It gives details that explain Vaishnava sannyasi names and the scripturally-based rituals with which one can officially adopt the life of a traveling mendicant.

Satkriya sara dipika - For Married People

Satkriya-sara-dipika, which roughly translates as “The Lamp that Lights the Essence of Spiritual Rituals,” deals primarily with married life.

It delineates with great care the ten samskaras, or holy rites, from marriage, impregnation, and haircutting ceremony, to the beginning of learning and the study of scriptures.


Combining Knowledge and Devotion

Gopal Bhatta accepted his uncle, Prabodhananda Saraswati, as his spiritual master. From him, Gopal Bhatta learned

  1. Poetry,

  2. Rhetoric,

  3. Sanskrit grammar, and

  4. Vedanta.
Remembrance of Shri Chaitanya, however, was the central driving force in his life, and he was thus able to defeat all opposing views to the theistic conclusions of the Gaudiya Vaishnavas. The Bhakti-ratnakara describes that with the combined assets he acquired from Prabodhananda Saraswati’s vast learning and the inspirational memory of Shri Chaitanya’s example and instructions, Gopal Bhatta became wellknown for his advanced knowledge and devotion.

Sri Ramanuja sampradaya to Chaitanyite Vaishnava

Krishnadas Kaviraj’s Chaitanya-charitamrita, Shri Chaitanya began His walking journey throughout South India in the summer of 1510. After many days, He came to Shri Rangam, a small city located on the banks of the Kaveri River in the district of Tanjore (about ten miles west of Kum-bhakonam). Famous as one of the most important centers of Krishna worship in all of India, it is more accurately a center for the worship of Lakshmi and Narayana, an expansion of the divine couple Radha and Krishna. Nonetheless, Shri Rangam’s main temple is the largest Vishnu (Narayana) temple in all of India, and pilgrims come from hundreds of miles to see Ranganath Swami, the Deity of Narayana in the main sanctum.

It was here that Shri Chaitanya met Vyenkata Bhatta and his brothers, Prabodhananda Saraswati and Tirumalla Bhatta. These were brahmanas of vast learning, and they welcomed Shri Chaitanya, the travelling sannyasi mendicant, to be a guest in their home. At this time, too, Shri Chaitanya met Vyenkata’s seven year old boy, Gopal Bhatta, who would one day be known as Gopal Bhatta Goswami.

The three brothers and young Gopal Bhatta lived near the Ranganath temple and, consequently, as brahmanas, were dedicated servants of the Deity. This being the case, they were naturally aligned with the Shri (Ramanuja) sampradaya, one of the four authentic lineages of disciplic descent. As such, they favored the aishvarya feature of the Lord, worshiping His grandeur and majesty. In fact, their sincere devotion to the awe-inspiring and opulent Lakshmi-Narayana manifestation of the Supreme was so pure that Shri Chaitanya felt great satisfaction for them (prabhura tushta haila mana), even though He was teaching the worship of Radha and Krishna. Despite being pleased with their high level of devotion, Shri Chaitanya could not help promoting the original Vedic perspective of Shri Krishna’s supreme and original position. Consequently, He once jokingly said to Vyenkata Bhatta: “Your worshipable Goddess of Fortune, Lakshmi, always remains at the chest of Narayana, and She is certainly the most chaste woman in creation. However, My Lord is Lord Shri Krishna, a cowherd boy who is engaged in tending cows.“Why is it” Shri Chaitanya continued, “that Lakshmi, being such a chaste wife, wants to associate with My Lord? Just to associate with Krishna, Lakshmi abandoned all transcendental happiness in Vaikuntha [the kingdom of God] and for a long time accepted vows and regulative principles and actually performed unlimited austerities.”

Vyenkata Bhatta countered by saying that Krishna and Narayana are in actuality one and the same, and it is thus natural that Lakshmi would approach Krishna. After all, Krishna is simply Narayana in another dress. What was the harm if she approached Her husband in one of His other manifestations? It is still, in essence, the same person. In this way, Her action cannot be considered unchaste. Vyenkata did admit, however, that Krishna represented a superior manifestation. “Although there is in one sense no difference between the forms of Narayana and Krishna,” said Vyenkata, “in Krishna there is a special transcendental attraction due to the conjugal rasa (“relationship”), and consequently He surpasses Narayana.”

Shri Chaitanya replied: “I know that there is no fault on the part of Lakshmi, the Goddess of Fortune, but still She could not enter into the rasa dance. This was reserved only for Krishna’s most intimate devotees. We hear this from revealed scriptures.” Vyenkata Bhatta, now slightly vexed, said: “I cannot understand why Lakshmi was not allowed to join in the rasa dance. I am an ordinary human being. Since my intelligence is very limited and I am easily agitated, my mind cannot enter within the deep ocean of the pastimes of the Lord.”Next, Vyenkata acknowledged the divinity of Shri Chaitanya and then asked Him to reveal the mystery of Lakshmi’s inability to enter into the rasa dance. After all, he (Vyenkata Bhatta), as an ordinary living entity, may be subject to misinformation or faulty interpretation, but Shri Chaitanya, he knew, was the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and, as such, had access to all information regarding these esoteric subjects.

Shri Chaitanya replied: “Lord Krishna has a specific characteristic. He attracts everyone’s heart by sweet interpersonal relationships of conjugal love. These sweet relationships reach their zenith in Vraj, the highest level of God’s kingdom, and there they may manifest in any of the primary rasas, such as that of servitude, friendship, parental expression, or, at last, conjugal love. At that point, Krishna’s Godhood becomes unimportant, and an incomparably sweet exchange ensues.

“Only those who follow in the footsteps of these inhabitants of Vraja,” Shri Chaitanya continued, “attain the Lord in His highest and original feature. There He is known as Vrajendra-nandana, or ‘the son of Maharaj Nanda.’ And there He is conquered by the spontaneous love of His most intimate servitors. The highest of these are the gopis [Krishna's cowherd girlfriends], whose superlative love for Krishna is totally unconditional and unmotivated. In order to enter the rasa dance, one must follow in their footsteps.

“The Goddess of Fortune,” Shri Chaitanya concluded, “wanted to enjoy Krishna’s association and at the same time retain Her spiritual body in the form of Lakshmi. This form is certainly magnificent from the spiritual point of view, with all of the opulence and power of godly majesty. However, She did not follow in the footsteps of the gopis in Her worship of Krishna. Consequently, all of the opulence and power in the world could not gain Her entrance into Krishna’s most esoteric pastime.”

In this way, Shri Chaitanya succeeded in showing Vyenkata Bhatta the superiority of love over power, of sweetness over opulence, of Krishna over Narayana. It was these conversations that won not only Vyenkata Bhatta and his two brothers over to Chaitanyite Vaishnavism, but they also won over the young Gopal Bhatta Goswami, who would regularly sit and listen to these talks.

Forutnate Parents

Gopal’s parents were very fortunate, for they surrendered themselves, life and soul, to the feet of Lord Chaitanya. They ordered their son to go to Vrindavan before they left this world, absorbed in meditating on the Lord. Gopal travelled directly to Vrindavan where he met with Rupa and Sanatan. (Bhakti-ratnakara 1.163-5)

Rupa and Sanathans Mercy to Jiva / Clarifications

Narahari has shown how Rupa Goswami instructed Jiva, punished him and then blessed him, in a story told in Bhakti-ratnakara:

One hot summer’s day, while Rupa was writing Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu and Jiva fanning his perspiring body, Vallabha Bhatta came by to see Rupa Goswami. After reading some of Rupa’s introductory verses, he offered to make corrections. When Vallabha went to the Yamuna to take a bath, Jiva followed him on the pretext of going to fetch water. In fact, he was angry because he considered Vallabha’s proposal to be arrogant. He asked him what fault he had found in Rupa’s verse. Vallabha told him and Jiva immediately showed him the flaws in his argument. A debate ensued in which Jiva countered every one of Vallabha’s objections. When he came back to Rupa’s hut, Vallabha told him how impressed he was with Jiva’s scholarship, recounting the entire episode. Rupa gently rebuked Jiva, telling him to return to Bengal and to come back to Vrindavan only when he was sufficiently calm. Thus banished from his presence, Jiva left Rupa Goswami’s dwelling, but rather than going back to the family home as he had been told, went to Nanda Ghat, a nearby village. Hoping to regain his guru’s favor, he began to practice rigorous austerities, worshiping Krishna intensely while fasting or eating only a bare minimum. As a result of such severe practices, his body became weak and sickly. One day, Sanatan Goswami came by there and was moved when he saw his condition. He took Jiva with him back to Rupa and interceded on his behalf with his brother. Thus Rupa and Jiva were reconciled and Jiva once again won Rupa’s affectionate blessings.

Jiva Goswami’s appearance day is on Bhadra Sukla Dvadasi, his disappearance day is Paush Sukla Tritiya. His deity, Radha Damodar, is still being worshiped in the Radha Damodar temple in Vrindavan. His samadhi tomb is on the grounds of the Radha Damodar temple and his bhajana-kutira is preserved in Radha Kund, near Lalita Kund.

“(1) It is said that a certain dig-vijayi scholar, eager to amass mundane prestige, came to Rupa and Sanatan to get their signature as an admission of defeat in debate.Jiva’s gurus conceded defeat without any argument and the arrogant scholar proclaimed them to be nothing but ignorant fools. He then asked Jiva to also sign such an admission of defeat. Jiva, however, decided to take on the puffed-up Brahmin in debate in order to silence his scurrilous tongue. In this way, he preserved the integrity of his spiritual master’s reputation and demonstrated the ideal behavior of one who is guru-devatatma, i.e., one who recognizes his spiritual master to be his worshipable deity and source of life. The ignorant Sahajiyas, however, say that Sri Jiva’s behavior goes contrary to Mahaprabhu’s teaching of being humbler than a blade of grass and of giving respect to others while demanding none for oneself. Indeed, Rupa Goswami chastised Jiva for this very reason and ostracized him for some time, but later Sanatan interceded on Jiva’s behalf and had Rupa accept him again into his association.

“Only when these enemies of the spiritual master and the Vaishnavas receive Krishna’s mercy and begin to see themselves as their eternal servant, then will they also receive Jiva’s blessings and be able to understand what it really means to be ‘humbler than a blade of grass’ and ‘a giver of respect to all’. Only then will they be eligible to chant the holy names in the proper way.

“(2) Some other ignorant Sahajiyas say that when he saw the manuscript of Chaitanya Charitamrita with its clear language and brilliant explanation of the divine devotional sentiments of Vraja, Jiva was afraid that it would hamper his own scholarly reputation and therefore threw it down a well in a spirit of mean-mindedness. Upon hearing of Jiva’s action, Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami was greatly shocked and immediately gave up his body. Krishnadas’s disciple Mukunda had fortunately made a copy of the original manuscript and thus it was preserved and later published. Had he not done so, the Chaitanya Charitamrita would have been lost forever. This is another contemptible bit of invention based on an inimical attitude to the guru and Vaishnava. It has no basis in reality and there is no possibility of its being true.

“(3) According to other sense-obsessed fornicators, Srila Jiva Goswami should not be accepted as an exemplar because in his treatises, he opposed the idea that the gopis of Vrindavan were married to other men (the parakiya-vada), but rather supported the svakiya-vada. They say that he cannot be accepted as a rasika-bhakta, or a devotee who is knowledgeable in the divine sentiments.

“The fact is that during Jiva’s lifetime, some of his followers demonstrated a preference for the sviya-vada. Jiva recognized their limitations and so, for their benefit and for the benefit of those in the future who would be unable to comprehend the transcendental nature of the parakiya-vada and would try to practice adulterous relationships themselves in imitation of Krishna, he accepted the svakiya doctrine. This is a sign of his acting as an acharya. One should not take this as evidence of his being opposed to the transcendental parakiya-vada, however, for he is the topmost of Rupa Goswami’s followers and one of Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami’s spiritual teachers.” (Anubhashya, 1.10.85)

(Source: Gaur Parshad Vol 2 by His Divine Grace Srila B.B. Tirtha Goswami Maharaj)

Chaitanya instruction to Rupa - Sanatana

(1) write books on devotional service
(2) establish proper devotee etiquette,
(3) install Deities and proper Deity worship and
(4) to excavate the lost holy places of pilgrimage in Vrindavana.


Friday, July 8, 2011


Jiva Gosvami, says that Krsna, in His plenary expansion as Paramatma,
is situated in the moving and the nonmoving entities as the Supersoul,
so any devotee who simply gives his attention to the arca-murti,
the form of the Supreme Lord in the temple, and does not respect other
living entities is uselessly worshiping the form of the Lord in the temple.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami on Radha' s Bath

Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami explains in his poetry how She takes Her bath. He writes (in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 8.162-167):

"The body of Srimati Radharani is a veritable transformation of love of Godhead. She is the dearmost friend of Krsna, and this is known throughout the world. That supreme ecstasy of Srimati Radharani is the essence of spiritual life. Her only business is to fulfill all the desires of Krsna. Srimati Radharani is the topmost spiritual gem, and the other gopis – Lalita, Visakha and so on – are expansions of Her spiritual body. Srimati Radharani's transcendental body is brilliant in luster and full of all transcendental fragrances. Lord Krsna's affection for Her is like a perfumed massage.

“Srimati Radharani takes Her first bath in the shower of the nectar of compassion, karunya-amrta, and She takes Her second bath in the nectar of youth, tarunya-amrta. After Her midday bath, Radharani takes another bath in the nectar of bodily luster, lavanya-amrta. She puts on the garment of shyness, which is Her black silk sari.”

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