Srila Rupa Goswami

Om Vishnupad 108 Tridandi Swami Sri Srimat Bhakti Sravan Tirtha Goswami Maharaj ki Jai !!


Srila Rupa Gosvami has been attributed with the honour of being the person who intuitively realized the mano-‘bhistam, or innermost heart’s desire, of Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Srila Rupa Goswami, the foremost of the six Goswamis of Vrindavan, was the incarnation of Rupa Manjari, the most important of the eight confidential handmaidens of Srimati Radharani in the eternal spiritual Golok Vrindavan.

It is said that without taking shelter of Srila Rupa Goswami one cannot appreciate the esoteric pastimes of Lord Chaitanya, just as without taking shelter of Rupa Manjari one cannot enter into the confidential loving service of Sri Sri Radha Krishna.

Srila Rupa Goswami’s lineage can be traced back to Karnataka in South India where his Saraswata Brahmin descendants held influential positions. Srila Rupa Gosvami's nephew, Jiva Goswami has explained in his Laghu Tosani that Rupa's descendants were of the Bharadvaja gotra and were learned in the Yajur Veda.

A brahmin called Sarvajna was seventh in the ascending geneological line of Rupa Goswami and was known by the title 'jagadguru'. He was a king as well as a learned scholar. His son, Aniruddha was also an acclaimed scholar. Aniruddha had two sons, Harihara and Rupesvara. While Rupesvara was learned in the Vedic scriptures, his brother became expert in weaponry and politics.

When their father died, the kingdom was divided between the two sons. However, Harihara seized Rupesvara's land by force and forced the family to migrate to Paurastyadesa. Rupesevara's son, Padmanabha was spiritually and materially very successful. Padmanabha relocated his family to Nabahatta (Naihati) on the banks of the Ganges River. Padmanabha had eighteen daughters and five sons, the youngest son being Mukunda.

In the course of time, Mukunda's son, Kumaradeva, moved to Jessore. His sons were Santosha (Rupa), Amara (Sanatana) and Srivallabha (Anupama). On the demise of Kumaradeva, the three sons moved to Sakurma, near the capital of Gaudadesa (Bengal) where they continued their studies.

The three brothers studied the Nyaya-sastras (treatise on rhetoric) from the famous logician Vasudeva Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya and his brother Madhusudana Vidyavacaspati. They also studied Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian.

Due to their noble characters and academic proficiency, Rupa and his elder brother Sanatana were later forcibly inducted into government service by the Sultan of Bengal, Alauddin Hussein Shah (1493-1519), which led to their excommunication from Hindu society by the orthodoxy. Rupa became the Sultan's chief secretary (Dabir Khas), while Sanatana became the state revenue minister (Sakara Malik).

Rupa and his brothers made their residence in the state capital of Ramkeli and it was here, in 1514, that they met Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for the first time when He came visiting.

At that time all three brothers were employed as high-ranking ministers in the Mohammedan government of Bengal under Hussain Shah.

Approaching the Lord humbly they prayed to Him to somehow rescue them for their bonded state. Lord Chaitanya assured them that now that they had surrendered to Krishna, they would soon be delivered and would be able to join his sankirtana movement.

After some months both Rupa and Anupama resigned from their posts. But the Shah refused to let Sanatana go. He wanted Sanatana to accompany him on his conquest of neighbouring Orissa. When Sanatana refused, he was arrested thrown in the dungeon.

Rupa loaded all his wealth onto two boats and left with his brother Anupama for their ancestral home at Fatiabad in Jessore, where they distributed it amongs family members. They then sent two messengers to Puri in Orissa to get news of Mahaprabhu's plans. The messengers returned with the news that Mahaprabhu had already left Puri for Vrindavan.

Rupa and Anupama immediately decided to go there and they wrote a letter to Sanatana telling him of their plans and asking him to join them in Vrindavan. They also told him that they had left 10,000 gold coins in a certain place in case he was in need of financial help.

Later, when Sanatana was thrown into prison by the Sultan for disobedience, he used this money to bribe the jailer and escaped to Banaras to meet there with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

On his return trip from Vrindavan, Mahaprabhu stopped first at the holy city of Prayag (Allahabad). It was here that Rupa and Anupama met him for the second time. At the Dasasvamedha Ghat in Daraganj near the temple of Beni Madhav in Prayag, Sri Chaitanya imparted confidential instructions to Rupa Goswami and explained in detail the fundamental principles of the doctrine of Gaudiya Vaishnavism.

Rupa Gosvami was specifically commanded by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to carry out two tasks: (1) to find and establish the lost ancient and original deities of Lord Krishna as well as to re-discover and restore the holy places associated with His leela in Vrindavan, and (2) to write and preach Gaudiya Vaisnava theology. He then sent Rupa Goswami to Vrindavan to carry out these tasks.

Rupa Goswami first arrived in Vrindavan in the year 1516, after receiving the direct order of Lord Chaitanya. Through his writings Srila Rupa Goswami chalked out the perfect spiritual path for all the followers of Lord Chaitanya down through the ages.

It was Rupa Goswami who more than anyone else, firmly established the sankirtana movement of Lord Chaitanya. He wrote a large number of important books on the science of bhakti-yoga and after the disappearance of Lord Chaitanya in 1534, Rupa became the undisputed leader of all the Gaudiya Vaisnavas in the world.

Even today all Gaudiya Vaisnavas are known as Rupanugas, or followers of Srila Rupa Goswami.

After spending some time in Vrindavan, Rupa and Anupama left to visit Lord Chaitanya in Puri. It is believed that on this long and arduous journey Anupama lost his life. On his way to Puri, Rupa Goswami started to write a drama about Lord Krishna's pastimes in Vrindavan and Dwaraka.

On arrival at a village named Satyabhamapur in Orissa, he had a dream wherein a beautiful woman appeared before him and asked him to write a separate drama about Sri Krishna's life in Dwarka.

When Rupa awoke the next morning he realized that the lady in his dreams was Lord Krishna's most favourite consort, Sri Satyabhama, and decided to write a separate drama about the Lord’s Dwarka leela.

On Rupa's arrival at Jagganatha Puri, he met Lord Chaitanya and showed the Lord the outline of his two dramas. The Lord confirmed that writing two dramas mixing the lilas of Vrindavan and Dwaraka was not proper as their was a vast difference between them. In Vrindavan the Lord enjoys the parakiya-rasa, (paramour mellows) where as in Dwaraka He enjoys the Swakiya-rasa, (married life).

Lord Chaitanya as well as Ramananda Rai were delighted to read the early drafts of these two dramas, which were eventually called Vidagdha Madhava and Lalita Madhava respectively. These two works are considered by Gaudiya Vaisnavas to be the most important dramatic literatures in the Sanskrit language.

Rupa Goswami stayed ten months in Puri and received further instructions on devotional service from Lord Chaitanya. The Lord then asked Rupa to return to Vrindavan and complete the task of rediscovering the lost holy places of Lord Krishna's pastimes.

On returning to Vrindavan, Rupa Goswami discovered at Brahma Kunda the Deity of Vrindadevi, from who the town of Vrindavan gets its name. Rupa Goswami also discovered the famous Govindev ji deity and immediately established Sri Govindaji's worship on a grand scale.

On hearing the good news of Rupa's progress, Lord Chaitanya sent some of his best men to assist Rupa in serving the Deity of Govindev and establishing the Lord's mission in Vrindavan.

Shortly Rupa and Sanatana Goswamis were joined by Ragunatha dasa Goswami, Gopal Bhatta Goswami, Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami and Srila Jiva Goswami. These great personalities become famous as the Six Goswamis of Vrindavan. Jiva Goswami, who was the son of Rupa's brother Anupama, became the most important disciple of Rupa Goswami.

The original deity of Damodar was personally hand-carved by Rupa Goswami and worshipped by him. Later on he presented the deity to his favourite disciple and nephew Srila Jeeva Goswami.

Upon Srila Rupa's demise, Jeeva Goswami and other devotees had his body interred in the same place where he spent his life in penance and built a temple around it known famously as the Radha Damodar Mandir.

Baba’s favourite place in Vrindavan was undoubtedly Sri Radha Damodar Temple where Srila Rupa Goswami’s bhajan kutir and Samadhi are located. He would invariably lead all his devotees there and sit in the space between the two structures and have the kirtaniyas perform beautiful Harinam sankirtan.

Baba’s pushpa Samadhi in Vrindavan also is located in the parikrama of Sri Radha Damodar just a few meters away from Srila Rupa Goswami’s Samadhi.


Srila Rupa Goswami Maharaj ki Jai!!

Jai Guru!
Jai Jai Sri Radhey !!