A life history of Srila Rupa Goswami

Lord Caitanya meets Rupa & Sanatan Goswämé

oà ajïäna-timirändhasya jïänäïjana-çaläkayä

cakñur unmélitaà yena tasmai çré-gurave namaù

çré-caitanya-mano-‘bhéñöaà sthäpitaà yena bhü-tale

svayaà rüpaù kadä mahyaà dadäti sva-padäntikam

vande ‘haà çré-guroù çré-yuta-pada-kamalaà çré-gurun vaiñëaväàç ca

çré-rüpaà sägrajätaà saha-gaëa-raghunäthänvitaà taà sa jévam

sädvaitaà sävadhütaà parijana-sahitaà kåñëa-caitanya-devaà

çré-rädhä-kåñëa-pädän saha-gaëa-lalitä- çré-viçäkhänvitäàç ca

väïchä-kalpatarubhyaç ca kåpä-sindhubhya eva ca

patitänäà pävanebhyo vaiñëavebhyo namo namaù

çré-kåñëa-caitanya prabhu nityänanda

çré-advaita gadädhara çréväsädi-gaura-bhakta-vånda

Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare

Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare

Sri Rup & Sanatan Goswämé while living in Rämakeli had wealth like the king of heaven Indra; they were learned like Brihaspati, the guru of the devatas. They had great power & influence being the chief ministers of the government. They were young, they were beautiful, they had everything material but they were frustrated because they understood that they were really wasting this valuable human life. The purpose of life is simply to give pleasure to the supreme personality of godhead Sri Krsna, they understood by their divine consciousness that, lord Sri has descended in the form of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu & he was living in Jagannath Puri. They wrote him letters again & again begging him, to rescue them from the clutches of illusion. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu personally led a kirtan of millions of people to Rämakeli; there he met Sri Rup & Sanatan. It was in the night they came 0.26.55 in disguise, they fell at the lotus feet of Caitanya Mahaprabhu with such humility, and they considered themselves to be more fallen than Jagäi & Mädhäi, to be sinful, to be the most fallen persons of all of creation.  Prabhupada explained, they weren’t just saying this; they felt it from the core of their heart, they surrendered at the lotus feet of lord Gauranga & he told them to go to Vrindavan. When Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu went back to Puri, he told his devotees that I have met this Rup & Sanatan Goswämé; they are the perfect candidates to establish this mission of pure Bhakti in this world. He glorified their qualities of humility, surrender & devotion.


Lord Caitanya instructs Rupa Goswämé

Srila Rupa Goswämé practically immediately left all of his government services & gave away his wealth, he went to Prayag, he moved to Vrindavan & there he met Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.  At the Dashashvamedha Ghat Lord Caitanya instructed Rup Goswämé for ten days. The lord embraced Srila Rupa Goswämé, upon embracing he impregnated within Rupa Goswämé’s heart the capacity to fully understand & realise everything the lord dissipate. He gave the essence, the science of pure devotional service culminating in the transcendental past times of Sri Sri Radhakrishna in Vrindavan. And then he ordered Rupa Goswämé, you go to Vrindavan; what I have taught you, you search in the scriptures; you establish the ultimate truth of pure devotional service & expand what I have taught you in such a way to establish the principles of pure devotional service throughout the world.


Rupa Goswämé empowered by Caitanya Mahaprabhu

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu met Rupa Goswämé again in Jagannath Puri & there at the Siddhabakula tree was Haridas Thakur resided. He brought the senior most of his associates to examine the content of the writing & realizations of Rupa Goswämé, such great personalities of Srila Rämänanda Rai, Särvabhauma Bhattacharya, Nityänanda Prabhu, Swarup Damodar Goswämé, Srila Haridas Thakur they unanimously accepted that Rup Goswämé in order to write what he is writing, in order to be what he is, is only possible because you have impregnated him by the supreme causeless mercy. There is that famous story where Rupa Goswämé wrote a verse on a palm leaf, commentary to lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s beautiful prayers to lord Jagannath in the Ratha Yatra. Lord Caitanya read it & he himself was amazed, how Rupa Goswämé understood the very essence of my heart? Swarup Damodar Goswämé said, I can tell you have bestowed your unlimited causeless mercy upon him, therefore it is possible. And lord Gauranga said, yes, it is true; when I saw his humility, his detachment, & his complete surrender at Prayag I impregnated the Bhakti of my heart into his. All the great acharyas unanimously agreed that, Rupa Goswämé was the acharyas to establish Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission through literary work & through his example in Vrindavan.

Rupa Goswämé –personification of devotional service

So he is our sampraday acharya, in the spiritual world he is Sri Rupa maïjaré, intimate confidential associate of Sri Lalita Sakhi eternally engaged in the most pleasing services to Sri Sri Radha & Krsna. And the entire Gaudiya sampraday is striving to ultimately purify ourselves to be the servant of the servant of the servant of Sri Rupa maïjaré in the spiritual world. What is Sri Rupa Goswämé’s position in our lives? It is supremely worshipable; it was here where we are sitting this evening where Sri Rupa Goswämé was living in the Vrindavan. This was his Bhajan kutir. At that time this was all a forest called Seva kunja. Sri Rupa Goswämé would write literatures & give lectures every day.  The other Goswämés, the vrajaväsés would come here to hear Srila Rupa Goswämé speak, here he did his bhajan. Caitanya Charitamrita explains the type of bhajan of the six Goswämés, they chanted at least one to two lacks of names every day, they would sleep hardly an hour & a half at the most, they would go out & beg for some dry rottis & sometimes fried chippis as mädhukaré, they would only wear the cloth that was so old that it was discarded by the ordinary people & make it into a simple wrapper of a Bäläjé, paramahamsa. They had no fix residence; they would sleep under different trees every night, constantly absorbed in chanting the holy name s with tears of love in their eyes. Meeting every day whenever possible to discuss the wonderful past times of Radha & Krsna & ways of inaugurating Mahaprabhu’s movement throughout the world. They were constantly absorbed in thinking of Sri Sri Radha & Krsna in the core of their hearts in great ecstasy; this is how they lived, no one can live like this. If anyone tries they will die. Their bhakta was of such extremes degree that the material existence simply did not exist in their lives; this is how they lived in Vrindavan.

he rädhe vraja-devike ca lalite he nanda-süno kutaù

Roaming from grove to grove, from kunja to kunja searching for the loving service of Sri Sri Radha & Krsna. When Sri Rupa Goswämé departed from this world, Sri Jiva Goswämé & the other great Vaishnavas laid his body here, the holy samädhi of Srila Rupa Goswämé. Srila Jiva Goswämé who then became the acharya of Gaudiya vaishnavas built this RadhaDamoder temple in this place. The deity of Damodar was personally carved by the hands of Srila Rupa Goswämé, personally worshiped by him & then offered in love to his nephew & disciple Srila Jiva Goswämé.


Prabhupada preparing himself at RadhaDamoder

His divine grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada he came to Vrindavan & made a wow that he would prepare himself in this holiest of all holy places to serve the mission of his guru maharaj. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur instructed him on several occasions that he should take the message of Rupa Goswämé & Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to the whole world; that was the desire of the lord himself. Srila Prabhupada in the year 1959 came here to Sri RadhaDamoder temple. Just to our right where that window is, was Srila Prabhupada’s personal kitchen, he would lovingly cook with his own hands; offer the bhoga to Sri RadhaDamoder, his guru maharaj. He would look out this window & see the Bhajan kutir & samädhi Mandir of Srila Rupa Goswämé every day. Just across that courtyard was Srila Prabhupada’s bhajan kutir where he wrote his translation commentaries to the first canto of Srimad Bhagvatam as well as back to Godhead & other literatures. It was here that he was contemplating, praying & preparing for this monumental historical offering of compassion to all human beings. Every day Srila Prabhupada would circumambulate this courtyard, every day he would offer his dandavat Pranams at the samädhi of Srila Rupa Goswämé praying for his mercy for six years. 1965 Srila Prabhupada took the blessings of Srila Rupa Goswämé, Jiva Goswämé, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur & left to the western world.


Prabhupada preparing to leave for America

Just yesterday one of our very dear god brothers, Brahmänanda Prabhu was showing me something I never saw before, it’s there but I never took note of it. Incredible, I was astonished to see it; I still can’t get over it; would you like to hear what it is? It’s a news paper article, Srila Prabhupada was in Bombay, was a beggar; he begged Sumati Morarjee of East India steamship company to give him a free passage on a cargo ship to America. She didn’t want to do it, she resisted, you are too old, it is impossible what you are saying you want to do; just preach to us, we are happy, we will take care of you swami ji. But he went. The ship did not leave from Bombay, it left from Calcutta. When he was in Calcutta he didn’t really have anybody to stay with, he stayed with somebody from Lucknow that he happened to meet when he was there. His son came, when he was boarding the Jaladuta there were only three or four people to see him off; one was his son, Vrindavan Chandra Dey. I asked him, what did you think when you saw your father walking up to steps to that cargo ship, going to a foreign land with no money, not knowing anyone? He said, I was proud of my father.


Prabhupada walking ahead of time

Before he went while in Calcutta it appeared that, he contacted various news papers to tell them about his mission of going abroad, & one very very small newspaper carried an article with a photograph, happened to be a pass port photo. And what this article said was incredible; it was obvious that it was either written by Srila Prabhupada or dictated by Srila Prabhupada. But the article said that, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj who is the carrier of the message of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu & Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur is departing on the Scindia cargo ship to New York City in America. It said that, Swami Ji has translated the entire Srimad Bhagvatam, there are so many people in America waiting; they have already heard of him & they are waiting for him to come because they are so eager to hear from him, and everything was being arranged. From material point of view there was nothing in that article was true at that time.

My only qualification is, firm faith in my spiritual master

But actually it was a prophecy; Srila Prabhupada went to America & knew he will be a success. Then he read a conversation of Srila Prabhupada where he is speaking to his disciples many years later; he said, actually I have no qualification, he said I have so many god brothers who are very very learned & very very advanced. I have only one thing, I have complete faith in order of my spiritual master & that is the very essence of my success; whatever I have been able to do is exclusively based on my exclusive faith in the power of my spiritual master’s order.

yasya deve parä bhaktir

yathä deve tathä gurau

One who has implicit faith in guru & Krsna all knowledge is revealed. Srila Prabhupada had complete faith not only in the order of his spiritual master but what that order was represented. It represented the very life of Srila Rupa Goswämé to give the to the world the pure devotional service, the prophecy of Lord Caitanya & lord Nityänanda that the holy name  of Krsna will be in every town & village on the surface of the earth.


Blissful in separation

Srila Prabhupada in 1967 came back to Vrindavan with one disciple, he showed him his little room, now the rooms have been renovated, and then they were just very very simple. But Srila Prabhupada, he said now we have big temples all over the world, he said that, my heart was always longing to be back in his little rooms at RadhaDamoder in Vrindavan. But he said, to me to go back there would be sense gratification. Can you imagine, he is eighty year old? At a certain point he was still travelling all around the world constantly, dealing with so many problems, staying up all night long translating, and making commentaries for his books, preaching vigorously. He said for me go back to there would be sense gratification because my guru maharaj wants me to preach this message. In 1965 in his diary, this is before he had any follower whatsoever; he didn’t even have anybody interested in Krsna consciousness at that time, he has just come to New York, he was living in Bowery. He wrote, today is Gaur Pürëimä the appearance day of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu & my god brothers & my god sisters they are all in Navadweep Dhaam or Vrindavan Dhaam, worshiping the deity, having wonderful festival, wonderful katha, wonderful kirtan but I am all alone in this foreign land; there is not a single devotees within ten thousand miles. But I am in bliss, I am happy because this is the order of my spiritual master; this was the content of Srila Prabhupada’s faith.


Prayers at Samadhi of Srila Rupa Goswami

In 1972 Srila Prabhupada brought a group a of devotees from all over the world to sit right where Jananivas  Prabhu is sitting right now to give a one month series of lectures on Bhaktirasamritasindhu,  nectar of devotion. At that time Srila Prabhupada explained, Vrindavan is spiritual world the ultimate planet of spiritual world & this Vrindavan on earth is non-different & RadhaDamoder temple is the place where Sri Rupa Goswämé would preach, would write & where body was ultimately laid to rest. This is the place where all the Goswämés would come together to take Prasad, to exchange intimate love, to have kirtan, Hari katha. Srila Prabhupada explained that this courtyard in RadhaDamoder temple was the centre of the spiritual world. And as far as these two rooms, Srila Prabhupada told his disciples that, I eternally live in these rooms in RadhaDamoder temple. With very very grateful heart we should fall in the dust of this holy place praying for the mercy Srila Rupa Goswämé, praying for the mercy of Sri Jiva Goswämé, praying for the mercy of his divine grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada who delivered the complete essence of all the previous acharyas in a simplest most practical way to us & to the whole world.


RadhaDamoder the centre of Vrindavan

Behind you is the samädhi Mandir of Garga Goswämé, a disciple of Gadadhar Pandit, dear associate of Lokanath Goswämé, where he & Lokanath Goswämé were the first people to come here to Sri Vrindavan on the order of Sri Caitanya, he is Prema Maïjaré in the spiritual world of Goloka. In the parikramä route there are several samädhis; there is the samädhi of Srila Jiva Goswämé. Jiva Goswämé made this his headquarter, why? Because his guru maharaj Rupa Goswämé did his bhajan here. It was here that Jiva Goswämé wrote over hundred & thousands of slokas, establishing the philosophy of Krsna consciousness.  Prabhupada said, he was the greatest philosopher that ever lived in the history of the world. It is that, he personally trained Shrinivas acharya, Narottam das Thakur & Shamananda Goswämé. Near the samädhi of Jiva Goswämé is the samädhi Mandir of Srila Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswämé; he offered a Caitanya Charitamrita. And there is also a pushpa Samadhi of Srila Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur our beloved param guru. RadhaDamoder temple indeed is the centre of the spiritual world & it is our very very great fortune to be here today. And according to how grateful our hearts really are to the fortune we are receiving we will truly benefit. This evening not only we are fortunate to be here but amongst such illustrious servants of Srila Prabhupada, Jananivas  Prabhu, his holiness Chandrasekhar Maharaj, Närtaké Mataji & there is a special celebrated personality who is personally present as Srila Prabhupada’s assistant cook at the time of the nectar of devotion classes for that month in 1972 here at RadhaDamoder temple; we would like to request Mälaté  Devi Mataji to share some of her memories of this very very historical occasion in our society system. Thank you very much.

Written by

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.

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About Me

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.