Sri Gopal Bhatt Goswami
Om Vishnupad 108 Tridandi Swami Sri Srimat Bhakti Sravan Tirtha Goswami Maharaj ki Jai !!Gopala Bhatt Goswami (1503–1578) is one of the foremost disciples of the Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and a leading historical figure in the Gaudiya school of Vaishnavism. He was part of a group of Vaishnava devotees known collectively as the Six Goswamis of Vrindavan, who were influential in establishing the philosophical basis of the Gaudiya school.
During his extensive travels in southern India in the year 1511, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu arrived in the ancient holy city of Srirangam on an island in the middle of the Kaveri river.
The temple hall resounded with the sounds of thousands of brahmins chanting Vedic hymns. In the midst of this scene from Vaikuntha, entered Sri Ranga Himself – Gau-Ranga, chanting the names of Krishna in his sweet voice that defeated the voices of Gandharvas.
The assembled priests and chanting brahmins in the temple fell silent, amazed at the sight of Sri Gaursundar.
What unprecedented beauty! His bodily effulgence made molten gold appear lack-lustre. From His eyes, which were like the full blown petals of a lotus, trickled down tears of ecstatic love. Every limb, every part of His perfectly proportioned body was filled with such exquisite grace that one could not take one’s eyes away from His form.
The brahmins began to think, "Who is this?! Surely He must be a divine personality! Can such beauty, grace and symptoms and emotions be found in human beings?" Again resounding the halls with the transcendental sound of Sri Hari's name, lost in His own ecstasy, Mahaprabhu came before the Deity and fell down straight like a stick.
One of the awestruck brahmins there, Sri Venkata Bhatt, seeing this fascinating personality became agitated with an urgency to render some service to Him. His heart 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 consciousness after engaging in sankirtan, Venkata Bhatta approached Him and took the dust of His lotus feet. Mahaprabhu gazed at him and saying, "Krishna! Krishna!" embraced him firmly. Sri Venkata Bhatt invited Mahaprabhu to his house and having brought Him there, very reverentially washed His lotus feet along with other family members, and sipped the water. Sri Bhattji's house became filled with joy.
Venkata Bhatt had two brothers, Tirumalla Bhatt and Prabodhananda Saraswati. They all belonged to the Ramanuja sampradaya and Prabodhananda Saraswati was a tridandi sannyasi of that order.
Venkata Bhatt had a son named Gopal, who was then just a child. When the boy came to offer his obeisance at the lotus feet of Mahaprabhu, He picked him up and very affectionately seated him on 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 position of Acharya.
After remaining at Venkata Bhatt's house during the four months of the rainy season (Chaturmasya) Mahaprabhu prepared to continue His journey of the South. Venkata Bhatt's household began to ebb in a tide of tears in anticipation of His departure. Little Gopal fell at Mahaprabhu’s feet sobbing inconsolably. Mahaprabhu remained for a couple of days more in order to comfort the boy.
Pleased with Gopal’s sincere service and devotion, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu initiated him and instructed him to move to Vrindavan after the disappearance of his parents and perform bhajan and write.
Very quickly Gopal became learned in grammar, poetry and rhetoric and then began his study of Vedanta. His uncle Prabodhananda, specifically instructed him in the devotional scriptures (Bhakti - shastra).
Gopal Bhatt always remained thinking of Mahaprabhu and when he might again be able to meet Him. However, remembering His instructions about serving his parents as long as they lived, he couldn't leave his aged mother and father.
Finally having reached their last days they called their son Gopal and instructed him to go to the shelter 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 Gopal Bhatt went to Vrindavana, only to find that he had just missed Mahaprabhu. When he arrived there Rupa Goswami immediately sent word to Mahaprabhu to inform Him of Gopal's arrival there.
Mahaprabhu had previously informed Rupa and Sanatana that Gopal Bhatt would one day come there to Vrindavan, so upon his arrival they treated him with the same care and affection as they would their own brother. They immediately became life long companions.
When Mahaprabhu came to know that Gopal Bhatt had arrived in Vrindavan. He was very pleased and sent back with the messenger His own personal wooden sitting plank which He had used, along with one of His kaupins and one of His upper cloths - uttara or chaadar.
Receiving these worshipful items Gopal Bhatt was in ecstasy and he worshipped them as the prasad of Mahaprabhu. When he worshipped his Deities he would sit on that wooden plank. This piri (wooden seat) and Mahaprabhu’s clothes are still worshipped at Radha-Ramana Mandir in Vrindavan.
Gopal Bhatt, like Rupa and Sanatana, had no fixed residence and would spend the night in various groves, under trees or by the banks of the Yamuna. He would spend his time studying the scriptures and composing various literatures.
After Mahaprabhu's disappearance Gopal Bhatt Gosvami felt intense separation from the Lord. To relieve his devotee, the Lord instructed Gopal Bhatt in a dream, “If you want my darsan then make a trip to Nepal".
In Nepal, Gopal Bhatt bathed in the famous Kali-Gandaki River. When he dipped his kamandalu in the water, he was surprised to see several Shaligrama Shilas enter his waterpot. 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, Gopal Bhatt Gosvami found twelve shaligrama shilas sitting there. Thinking this must be the Lords mercy, he kept all the shilas and returned to Vrindavan.
Gopal Bhatt Goswami would worship the twelve shaligram silas everyday. Wherever he went he would carry them in a piece of cloth tied at the corner. One day a wealthy merchant came to Vrindavan and saw Gopal Bhatt worshiping and serving his shaligrams very lovingly.
Impressed with the Goswami he wanted to render some service. He presented some fine clothes and valuable ornaments for his worship. However, Gopal Bhatt couldn't use these for his round-shaped shaligrams, so he advised the donor to give the Deity decorations to someone else, but the merchant insisted.
Gopal Bhatt kept the clothes and ornaments with his shilas. Once when Gopal Bhatt Goswami was absorbed in remembering how the half-man, half-lion form of the Supreme Lord had manifested from a pillar in Hiranyakasipu's palace, he prayed in transcendental lamentation to the Lord: "Ah Merciful Lord! You 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 nicely with these clothes and ornaments."
That evening after offering bhoga and aarti to his shalagram shilas, Gopal Bhatt put them to rest, covering them in a wicker basket. Early next morning he rose and went to the Yamuna for a bath. Returning from his bath, he uncovered the shalagramas in order to start their seva. Lo and behold! What did he see? Nestling among the shilas, was an exquisite small deity of Krishna playing the flute.
There were now eleven shilas and the new deity. The "Damodara shila", had manifested as the beautiful tri-bhangananda-krishna. Trembling in ecstasy, Gopal Bhatt fell to the ground in tears and offered dandavats, reciting prayers and hymns spontaneously.
When Rupa and Sanatana Goswamis and the other devotees received news of this miraculous event they came running to see the Lord. Gazing on the Lord's transcendentally beautiful form, which bewilders even Brahma and Mahadeva, they all bathed Him in their tears.
The Deity whom the Goswamis named, "Sri Radha-Raman Deva" made His appearance on the full moon day of Vaisakha in the year 1542. The appearance of Sri Radharaman occurred on the day after Sri Nrisimha Chaturdasi, and is celebrated to this day in Vrindavan.
Except for Vrindadevi, Sri Radha-Raman is the only one of the original Deities of Vrindavana who never left to go to Jaipur. Sri Sri Radha-raman is still worshipped in the same place in Vrindavan where He manifested.
Sri Radharamana 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 once the son of one of the sevaits was playing with the Deity and inserted a small stick in one ear of the Deity and pushed it in. When he took it out, the stick had blood on it. That boy died vomiting blood the same day.
Sri Gopal Bhatt's devotion was so special, so profound that the Lord was compelled to appear for him in this special form. Not only that, as if in confirmation of the pastimes of the Lord, and Mahaprabhu being none other than Sri Radha-Krishna, in his worship of Sri Radharamana Gopal Bhatt would sometimes see that He had taken the form of Sri Gaurasundara - Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, "Becoming subservient to the love of Sri Gopal Bhatt, Sri Radharamana would sometimes accept the form of Sri Gausundara.
Sri Gopal Bhatt was the initiating guru of Srinivasa Acharya Prabhu. Sripad Gopal Bhatt Goswami was highly learned, trained in pancharatra, coming in the priestly family of Venkata Bhatt 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 samskara viddhi), and Laghu Hari-bhakti vilasa with Dig darshini tika.
From this work, Sri Sanatana Goswami compiled the Hari-bhakti-vilasa now followed by all Gaudiya Vaishnavas.
Gopal Bhatt Goswami lived for forty-five years in Sri Dham Vrindavana, but out of great humility he requested Srila Krishna das Kaviraja not to mention his name in the classic work Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita.
Gopal Bhatt Goswami serves as Guna Manjari in the eternal pastimes of Sri Radha and Krishna in Goloka. Gopal Bhatt Goswami's name in Vraja-lila has been given as Guna manjari.
His birth was on the 13th 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 Sravan in the year 1578 (Christian - A.D.), 1500 (Sakabda era) at the age of 75 years.
Srila Gopal Bhatt Goswami's samadhi lies in the compound of Sri Radharaman temple in Vrindavan.
Srila Gopal Bhatt Goswami Maharaj ki Jai !!
Jai Guru !
Jai Sri Radhe !