Srila Gopal Bhatt Goswami
The all merciful Lord Sri Gaur Hari, as He travelled from
village to village throughout the south of India, continued to
distribute love of Godhead wherever He went. Hearing the nectarean
names of Hari from His lotus mouth, thousands and thousands men and
women felt relief from the blazing fire of material existence. Various
wretched, miserable and fallen souls lives were completely rejuvenated
and thus they became virtuous and happy. While causing rains of love of
God to fall anywhere and everywhere, without consideration of time or
place, Sri Gaurasundor came to the ancient holy place of Sri
Rangakshetra on an island in the middle of the Kaveri river.
The temple of Sri Ranga Kshetra was extremely large, the crest of the
temple tower pierced the sky. Throughout the day and night hundreds and
thousands of pilgrims were going and coming to take darsan of Lord
Ranganath. The temple hall resounded with the sounds of hundreds and
thousand of brahmanas chanting Vedic hymns. In the midst of this scene
from Vaikuntha, entered Sri Gaurasundar chanting the names of Krsna in
his sweet voice that defeated the voices of 10 million gandharvas.
Everyone in the temple became dumbstruck, amazed and thrilled with
wonder. What unprecedented beauty; His bodily effulgence makes molten
gold appear lack-lustre. From His eyes which are like the full blown
petals of a lotusflower trickled down tears of ecstatic love. Every
limb, every part of His body was filled with such exquisite grace that
even the mind of cupid gets stolen away. The brahmanas began to
consider, "Is this a demigod? Can such symptoms and emotions be found
in human beings?" Again resounding the halls with the transcendental
vibrations of Sri Hari's name, when He came before the Deity and fell
down as a tree is blown down by the wind, some people thought that a
mountain of gold was rolling on the ground. Sri Vyenkata Bhatta seeing
this divine personage became restless with ecstasy. His heart being
flooded with devotion he got up and began to move the crowds away so
that the Lord could engage in chanting and dancing. When the Lord had
regained His external consiousness after engaging in sankirtan,
Vyenkata Bhatta approached Him and took the dust of His lotusfeet.
Mahaprabhu gazed towards him and saying, "Krsna! Krsna!" embraced him
firmly. Sri Vyenkata Bhatta invited Mahaprabhu to come to his house and
having brought Him there, very reverantly washed His lotusfeet and
along with the other family members, he drank the water. Sri Bhattaji's
house became filled with joy.
Mahaprabhu came to Ranga Kshetra in the Christian year 1511. Vyenkata
Bhatta had two brothers, Tirumalla Bhatta and Prabodhananda Sarasvati.
They all belonged to the Ramanuja sampradaya and Prabodhananda
Sarasvati was a tridandi sannyasi of that order. Vyenkata Bhatta had a
son named Gopal, who was then just a child. When the boy came to offer
his obeisances at the lotusfeet of Mahaprabhu picked him up and very
affectionately seated him in His lap. Mahaprabhu would call Gopal after
He had finished His meal and offer His remnants to the boy. In this way
He prepared him for the positon of Acarya.
After remaining at Vyenkata Bhatta's house during the four months of
the rainy season (Chaturmasya) Mahaprabhu prepared to continue His
journey of the South. Vyenkata Bhatta's house began to ebb in a tide of
tears in anticipation of His departure. Gopal fell at His lotusfeet in
a dead faint. Therefore Mahaprabhu remained for a couple of more days
in order to con-sole the boy. Being pleased with Gopala Bhatta
Gosvami's sincere service and devotion, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu
initiated him, and ordered him to move to Vrndavana after the
disappearance of his parents and perform bhajan and write. He
instructed him to serve his mother and father and always engage in
chanting Krsna's glories and thereafter to come to Brindavan.
Very quickly Gopal became expert in grammar, poetry and rhetoric and
then began his study of Vedanta. His uncle Prabodhananda, specifically
began to instruct him from the devotional scriptures (Bhakti - shastra).
Gopal Bhatta always remained thinking of the lotus feet of Mahaprabhu
and when he might again be able to meet Him. At the same time however
he couldn't leave his aged mother and father. Finally having reached
their final days they called their son Gopal and instructed him to go
to the lotus feet of Mahaprabhu in Vrindavan. Then while meditating on
His lotus feet themselves they went to join Him in His eternal lila.
At the age of thirty Gopala Bhatta Gosvami came to Vrindavana, and
having missed Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu this saddened him.
Thus Gopal set out for Vrindavan and when he arrived there Rupa Gosvami
immediately sent word to Mahaprabhu to inform Him of Gopal's arrival
Mahaprabhu had previously indicated to Rupa and Sanatan that Gopal
Bhatta would one day come there to Brindavan, so upon his arrival they
treated him with the same care and affection they would their own
brother. They immediately became life long companions.
However, the all knowing Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu received word that Gopal Bhatta had come to Vrindavan, He
was very pleased and sent with that messenger with the Lord's personal
wooden sitting plank (hoki) which He had used along with a pair of His
undergarments and one of His upper cloths - uttara or chaddar. "Having
received these gifts Gopal Bhatta was in ecstasy and he worshipped them
as the prasad (tadiya) of Mahaprabhu.
When he would worship his Deities he would sit on that wooden plank.
This piri (wooden seat) and Mahaprabhus clothes are still being
worshipped at Radha-Ramana Mandir. Gopala Bhatta, like Rupa and
Sanatana, had no fixed residence and would spend the night in various
kunjas (forest groves). He spent his time studying the scriptures and
composing various literatures.
After Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's disappearance Gopala Bhatta Gosvami
felt intence separation from the Lord. To relieve his devotee, the Lord
instructed Gopala Bhatta in a dream :"If you want my darsan then make a
trip to Nepal".
In Nepal, Gopala Bhatta bathed in the famous Kali-Gandaki River. Upon
dipping his waterpot in the river, he was surprised to see several
Shaligrama Shilas enter his pot. He dropped the shilas back into the
river, but the shilas re-entered his pot when he refilled it.
After emptying and refilling his waterpot for the third time, Gopala
Bhatta Gosvami found twelve Shaligrama shilas sitting there. Thinking
this must be the Lords mercy, he kept all the shilas and returned to
Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami used to worship twelve Shaligram silas.
Wherever he would go he would bring them with him in a piece of cloth
tied at the corner. One day a wealthy man (Seth) came to Vrndavana and
offered Gopala Bhatta a variety of clothing and ornaments for his
Shaligrams. Being very impressed with the Gosvami he wanted his darshan
and to render some service which he presented in the form of some
valuable cloths and ornaments. However, Gopala Bhatta couldn't use
these for his round-shaped Shaligrams, so he advised the donor to give
the Deity decorations to someone else, but the Seth insisted. Gopala
Bhatta kept the cloths and ornaments with his shilas. While Gopala
Bhatta Gosvami was absorbed in remembering how the half-man, half-lion
form of the Supreme Lord had manifested from the pillar in
Hiranyakasipu's palace, he prayed in transcendental lamentation to the
Lord: "Oh my Lord, you are very merciful and always fulfill the desires
of your devotees. I wish to serve you in your form, having arms and
legs and blissful smiling face, with lotus eyes.... If I had a Deity
then I would be able to decorate Him so nicely with these clothes and
In the evening after offering some bhoga and arotika to his Shalagram
shilas, Gopala Bhatta put them to rest, covering them with a wicker
basket. Late in the night, Gopala Bhatta took a little rest and then,
in the early morning went to take bath in the Yamuna river. Returning
from his bath, he uncovered the Shalagramas in order to render the puja
for Them, and saw amongst Them a Deity of Krishna playing the flute.
There were now eleven shilas and this Deity. The "Damodara shila", had
manifested as the beautiful three-fold bending form of
tri-bhangananda-krishna. Floating in the ocean of ecstasy, he fell to
the ground in order to offer his dandavats and then recited various
prayers and hymns. This wonderful event of the appearance day of
RadhaRaman happened on the day after Sri Nrisimha Chaturdasi, and is
celebrated on that day accordingly. That day they offer 500 liters of
milk for the Lord's pleasure and many other sweets and different
things. The RadhaRaman temple has the highest standard of Deity worship
in all of Vraj.
When Rupa and Sanatana Gosvamis as well as many other devotees received
news of this miraculous event they came running to see the Lord. Gazing
on the Lord's transcendental form, which bewildered all the living
entities of the many various planets, they all bathed Him with their
tears. This Deity whom the Gosvamis named, "Sri Radha-raman Deva" made
His appearance on the full moon day of Vaisakha in the year 1542.
Except for Vrindadevi, Sri Radha-Ramanaji is the only one of the
original Deities of Vrindavana who never left to go to Jaipur. Sri Sri
Radha-raman-ji is still being worshipped in Vrindavana near Nidhuban
kunj in the compound of the temple.
The Deity is called Radha-raman although physically there is no
apparent Deity of Radha there. As one can see from the picture at the
top of this page, that to the right of the picture (to Ramanji's left)
is a place setting for Srimati Radhika. In this way the pujaris worship
Sri Radha and Ramanji together.
Sri Radha-ramana Deva, unlike other Deities, has very intricate
features, including fingernails and even teeth. On the back side of His
body parts of the original Shalagram shila from which He manifested
Himself can be seen. There is a story that the small son of one of the
sevaits was playing with the Deity once and put a small stick in one
ear of the Deity and pushed it through out the other ear. The stick
however, had blood on it, and that boy died vomiting blood that very
If you ever have the great good fortune to attend the Snan-yatra
festival in Sri Vrindavan Dham, then it is a must that you visit the
Radha-Raman temple on this day. The temperatures are hot and dry in the
40+ centigrade and much anticipation of seeking out cooling water
pervades the thoughts in Vrindavan's hot summer. At the temple, the
merciful Ramanji has made a provision so that first He takes His
transcendental bath right at the front of the altar for all to see -
BUT THEN, after He has taken in His expanded kindness the pujaris turn
on the sprinkler system that surrounds the open court-yard - the fan in
the middle is even equipped with pipes to pour out cooling water as it
rotates at a high speed, inundating all the devotees taking the darshan
of the Lord, with great pleasure.
It is truly my favourite place in the world for snan-yatra. Sri Sri
Radha Ramaji ki jaya.
In some discussion with the present day guardians of the temple and
Deity, they told me that some scientists had come to examine the Deity
and propound their doubts that He was self manifested, as the devotees
state. They examined the Deity under the supervision of the devotees,
but could find no evidence of carving.
About todays descendents:
Once Sri Gopala Bhatta went to Haridwar. As he was returning, suddenly
a downpour started and thus he took shelter in the house of one
brahmana. This brahmana was very devoted and he very carefully began to
serve Sri Gopala Bhatta, who thus became very pleased. As this brahmana
had no children Sripad Gopal Bhatta Goswami blessed him that he might
have a son who would be a devoted follower of Lord Hari. The brahman
replied out of gratitude that, "My first son I will send to you in
order to serve you."
Approximately ten years later when Gopala Bhatta returned from bathing
in the Yamuna one day, he saw a young boy sitting at the door of his
kutir. When the boy saw the Gosvamiji approaching, he got up and then
fell down to offer his dandavats (obeisances like a stick on the floor
before him). Sripada Gopala Bhatta Goswami enquired who the boy was, to
which he replied, "My home was in Devandyagram within Saharanpur near
Haridwar. My father has sent me here to serve you. My name is
Then Gopal Bhatta could remember the time when he went to Haridwar many
years ago. So this boy remained with him and very carefully began to
serve him. Eventually he became known as Sri Gopinatha Pujari Gosvami
as he served Sri Radha-ramana Deva through his life as an unmarried
brahmachari. His younger brother Sri Damodara dasa, along with his
family, accepted iniation from Sri Gopinathaji and also became engaged
in the service of the Deity. Sri Damodara dasa's three sons were named
Harinatha, Mathuranatha and Harirama. It is from these family members
of Gopinath's brother that todays guardians the Radha-Raman Gosais so
nicely maintain and serve Sri Sri Radha-Ramanji.
Sri Gopala Bhatta's devotion was so special, his devotion so profound
that the Lord appeared for him in this special form - but not only that
as if in confirmation of the pastimes of the Lord, and Mahaprabhu's
being directly Radha Krishna (sri krishna chaitanya radha krishna nahi
anya), in his worship of Sri Radha-ramana would sometimes see that He
had taken the form of Sri Gaurasundara - Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu,
"Becoming subservient to the love of Sri Gopala Bhatta, Sri
Radha-ramana would sometimes accept the form of Sri Gausundara."
Sri Gopala Bhatta was the initiating guru of Srinivasa Acarya Prabhu.
Sripad Gopal Bhatta Goswami was very learned, trained in pancharatra,
coming in the learned family of Vyenkata Bhattar in the Sri Vaishnava
line - he wrote many books including: Sat-sandarbha karika, Sri
Krsna-vallabha (Krsna karnamrtatika), Sat kriya sara dipika (a
brilliant work on Vaishnava samkara viddhi), and Laghu Hari-bhakti
vilasa with Dig darshini tika. From this work, Sri Sanatana Gosvami
compiled the Hari-bhakti-vilasa now followed by all Gaudiya Vaishnavas.
It is said, "Out of affection for Srila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, Srila
Sanatana Gosvami compiled the famous Vaishnava smriti titled Hari
Bhakti Vilas, and published it under Gopala Bhatta Gosvami's name.
Gopala Bhatta Gosvami resided for forty-five years in Sri Dham
Vrndavana, but out of great humility he requested Srila Krsna das
Kaviraja not to mention his name in the classic work Sri Chaitanya
Gopala Bhatta Gosvami serves as Guna Manjari. In the
Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika too, it is mentioned that in the eternal
pastimes of Radha and Krsna, Gopala Bhatta Gosvami's name in Vraja-lila
has been given as Guna manjari.
His birth was on the day of the dark fortnight of the month Pausa in
the year 1503 (Christian), 1425 (Saka).
His disappearance was on the sixth day of the dark fortnight of the
month of Sravon in the year 1578 (Christian - A.D.), 1500 (Sakabda era)
Age: 75 years