HH RADHANATH SWAMI
Raghunath Das Goswami
Srila Raghunath Das Goswami was the son of Govardhana Majumadiar. His uncle was Hiranya. They were great landowners in the Krishnapur division of Saptagram in west Bengal. Their fortune was immense. And Raghunath was the sole heir. Balarama acharya and Yadunandana acharya, his father’s Guru and priest, brought Raghunath when he was a small boy to Chandpur, where he met with the great namacharya, Srila Haridas Thakur.
Seeing Haridas Thakur’s deep attachment to the chanting of the Holy Name, and his subsequent detachment from all the pleasures and so-called joys of this world had a deep impact in Raghunath’s heart. He had no interest in material enjoyment. This caused great concern for his parents.
After Mahaprabhu Sri Chaitanya took Sanyaas in Shantipur, he was visiting, by the arrangement of Nityananda Prabhu. At that time Raghunath Das came to visit Lord Chaitanya and established an eternal relationship. Raghunath Das Goswami literally escaped opulence, prestige, beautiful family life as if it were a miserable prison. With great efforts, he went to Jagannath Puri and accepted the lotus feet of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as his heart and soul. He became the very personification of renunciation and devotion.
Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was so pleased with Raghunath Das Goswami’s humility, his detachment from any type of material enjoyment and his complete attachment to being the servant of the servant of Swarupa Damodara, bowing down to the Vaishnavas, bowing down to the deities of the Lord, and always chanting the names of the Lord, meditating on the lila of the Lord. Yes, Mahaprabhu gave him His own sila – Govardhana sila, as a gift and a necklace of kunja. Sacred seed of Vrindavana – very dear to Srimati Radharani.
After the departure of Lord Chaitanya from His manifested lila, Raghunath Das, he could not bear with it. Swarupa Damodara Goswami, he had also departed. He decided to jump from Govardhana hill to take his life. But first, he met with Rupa and Sanatana Goswamis. He appealed to him, truly, in their company, and every day for several hours, speak the glories of Lord Chaitanya. Because Raghunath Das Goswami, for many years, personally witnessed His pastimes in intimate, confidential proximity.
With the blessings of Rupa and Sanatana Goswami, Raghunath Das Goswami resided on the bank on Sri Radha kunda. There, he would perform his sadhana. At least two thousand times every day, he would offer obeisances to Vaishnavas. At least a thousand times a day, to the deity of Krsna. He would chant two lakhs, two hundred thousand names of Krsna each day. And his eyes were always filled with tears in the ecstasy of separation from Sri Radha and Krsna.
Sadhana of Raghunath Das Goswami
Kaviraj Goswami explains: the regulative principles of Raghunath Das Goswami were like the lines in stone. He was so strict. But yet, his heart was so soft with love and compassion. When Jahnava Devi came to Radha kunda, Raghunath Das Goswami ran and fell at her feet and worshipped her. Yes, Raghunath Das Goswami is our prayojana acharya. By his lifestyle and by the writings that he offered to the world, he taught the highest realm of spiritual perfection. He abandoned massive wealth to live with a simple, torn, rejected cloth made into a kopan, and a small chadhar.
So absorbed in his sadhana that he didn’t even notice when tigers were just a few feet away from him drinking water from the kunda. So absorbed in his sadhana that even in mid day in the summertime, when the sun was scorching he didn’t take note. Sanatana Goswami took note. Krsna personally protected him from the tigers and Radharani stood over him with her own veil to shade him from the sun.
By Sanatana Goswami’s request, the Bhajana Kutir was made for Raghunath Das Goswami, on the banks of Sri Radha kunda. One of the priceless literatures that he has bestowed upon the Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya is Mukta Carita. Raghunath Das Goswami only wrote about three books. Mukta Carita is very greatly celebrated. It reveals sweet nature of love of Vrindavana. I would like to share a brief summary of some of the content of that book, with your permission.
The Pearl Pastime
One day, Satyabhama, one of the queens of Dwaraka, asked Krsna, “I have heard that one time you made a garden and grew pearls from creepers in that garden. Can you tell me something about that?”
Let us welcome Lalit Narayana Prabhu to our yatra by loudly chanting Hari Bol!
We are very honored by your presence. Please have a seat. Can someone make a nice seat for him?
In Dwaraka, queen Satyabhama inquired from Krsna that, “I have heard a fascinating story that in a garden of Vrindavana, you had grown pearls. Can you tell me this story?”
Krsna narrated: “On the day of Diwali, in the month of Karthik, Srimati Radharani and gopis assembled at Malyahara kunda.”
I would like to tell you where Malyahara kunda is. Just about a one minute walk from where we are now. In fact, you all passed by it. But perhaps because you don’t have divine vision, you did not see it. But really, you don’t need divine vision. All you have to do is know where it is. As we’re returning to Sri Radha kunda, just on your right side will be a beautiful kunda named Malyahara kunda. It is very small. But it is very sacred. It has been worshipped by our acharyas for hundreds and hundreds of years. This is the closest place we could sit to Malyahara kunda.
Gopis Refuse to Give Krsna Their Pearls
On the day of Diwali, in the month of Karthik, Radharani and gopis assembled together at Malyahara kunda. Krsna’s parrot, Vicakshana, informed Him. Krsna came to Malyahara kunda and there He found Srimati Radharani and Her sakhis making pearl necklaces. Beautiful pearls.
Krsna requested from Radha and gopis if He could have a few of those pearls to decorate His most favorite cows, Harini and Hafini. But the gopis refused. Krsna pleaded with gopis, pleaded, “Please give me some pearls for my cows.”
Lalitha sakhi went to the body of the bag of pearls and found one broken little piece. And she said, “You can have this.”
Shyamasunder was very unhappy. So He went home and told mother Yashoda that, “I want to grow a garden of pearls. Please give me some pearls to plant in the ground.”
Yashoda Mayi responded that, “O Gopal, you don’t understand.” And then she laughed that, “Pearls do not grow on trees. Pearls come from the ocean.”
And Gopal insisted, “No, they will grow if I plant them in the ground. I have seen my father growing. I have seen him put seeds in the ground. Pearls, like seeds, I will plant.”
Krsna Plants Pearls
He insisted, and Yashoda Mayi, to satisfy His heart, gave Him some pearls. And He brought them near the bank of Yamuna and dug little holes in the ground and put the pearls in and then buried them, and then told mother Mangal to go to the gopis and request some milk to water His pearls.
So mother Mangal went to Sri Radharani and gopis and requested some milk to water Krsna’s pearls and the gopis simply laughed. That’s all they gave Him, was a laugh. So mother Mangal returned.
Krsna went to mother Yashoda and requested some milk. She supplied all the milk He could want and He went, and profusely watered the ground on the bank of Yamuna where He planted the pearls.
After a few days, a little green shoot came out of the ground. And Krsna was so happy. He told gopis and the gopis came and looked at the shoot and they laughed, and they said, “Those are thorn shoots, not pearl shoots.”
Krsna’s Big, Beautiful Pearl Creepers
A few days later, a creeper grew that was covered with an immense quantity of large, beautiful, multi-colored pearls. Those pearls were so special that they filled the entire Vrindavana dham with an ambrosia-intoxicating fragrance.
Krsna was laughing and joking to the gopis that, “My pearls are so big and so colorful and so fragrant compared to yours all.” So the gopis became quite competitive. And they had a meeting together. And they vowed to make a garden that would grow better pearls than Krsna’s.
So all of their pearl necklaces were planted in the ground. And then they went to their parent’s house and took every pearl from all of the houses of their families. Then they planted those pearls. And three times a day, every day, they watered the pearls with milk, yoghurt, butter and ghee.
And after a few days, a little shoot came out of the ground. And they became very excited. And a few more days passed, and there were thorn bushes.
When Krsna and His gopas saw those thorn bushes, they became ecstatic. They laughing and joking. And Krsna really wanted to humiliate the gopis.
He had His cowherd boyfriends make pearl necklaces out of big, beautiful, multi-colored, fragrant pearls, and they made pearl necklaces for every cow in Vrindavana. For every buffalo, for every goat, for every sheep. In fact, in all Vraja dham, every monkey had a pearl necklace. But He would not give a single pearl to the gopis.
The Loving Exchanges Between Krsna and the Gopis
So the gopis were in a lot of anxiety, because they took all the pearls of their parents’ homes. And now they all turned into thorns. What were they going to tell their parents? So they sent Chandramukhi and Kanchanalata, two gopis, with gold, to barter gold for a few of Krsna’s pearls.
Krsna looked at them and said that, “Even the Kaustubha Mani of Lord Narayana is not worth a fraction of the price of the fraction of one of my pearls.”
Then each gopi came one by one to try the barter. Whatever they had, for some pearls of Krsna. Srimati Radharani was hiding in a private little kunja, where Krsna could not see Her. But she could hear everything that was being said. And each gopi, individually was coming.
Krsna had a large box of these pearls He grew. But no matter what they would give, He would not even release a single pearl. Finally, Krsna told Vishaka gopi, He said, “I will give your Radharani the smallest of all my pearls, and She has to pay Me whatever price I ask immediately, otherwise I will put Her in a prison of one of my private kunjas.”
So nothing was working. There was a big argument. Raghunath Das Goswami goes into nice detail about that loving exchange of arguments. And then Subala was brought in as the mediator because it was like one of those conflicts where they could not make a negotiation. So Subala was the mediator. Continued, and in the end, they could not agree on any price.
Radharani was listening to everything. The other gopis, very sad, they came with Srimati Radharani and came to Sri Radha kunda.
Krsna’s Gift And Radharani’s Reciprocation
Radha kunda is only a few minutes from here. When the gopis were at Radha kunda, Krsna took the best of all His pearls, and with His own hands, He strung the most elegant necklace. Then He put that necklace in a golden box. And with His own loving hand, engraved the name of Sri Radharani on that box. Then He made another necklace of pearls with His own hands and put it in a golden box and put the name of another gopi.
In this way, He made boxes with gifts of handmade pearl necklaces for all of Radharani’s sakhis and Sri Radharani Herself. And He sent them to Radha kunda to be given as gifts.
The gopis were so joyful. Srimati Radha picked flowers, beautiful, fragrant flowers and made a divine garland. And She prepared the most ambrosia bhoga, fruit stuff, and She sent it to Krsna in reciprocation of His love.
Then all the gopis decorated themselves with the most beautiful pearls in all of existence. And they went home and their parents were very happy.
Sri Raghunath Das Goswami has given us this beautiful story in much ecstatic detail. And what’s so nice is Raghunath Das Goswami wrote this beautiful story just a few minutes away, at His Bhajana Kutir at Sri Radha kunda to glorify this holy place for all time to come of Malyahara kunda, a place of one of the most beautiful, celebrated pastimes of Radha and Krsna. An eternal pastime.
And our hearts become pure through chanting the Holy Names with sincere devotion and serving Guru and the Vaishnavas. Then by mercy, by causeless, infinite mercy, these pastimes are revealed from their own hearts.
The Value of The Pearl of Devotion
This is the supreme treasure that Sri Guru and Gauranga is offering us. Here, at Malyahara kunda, let us place our head in the sacred dust and pray that the priceless pearl of the mercy of Guru and the Vaishnavas may be cherished as the supreme most wealth of our life. Let everything else be seen as nothing but useless, thorny worship that only cause obstacles on our path.
But that beautiful, multi-colored, fragrant pearl of the compassion of Sri Radharani and Sri Krsna has been passed down in disciplic succession and has been presented to us, by Srila Prabhupada, the Vaishnavas, and the great souls.
We should not take these pearls to be something ordinary. Unless we understand, even to a small extent the value of the pearl of this opportunity we have, we will lose it, trying to enjoy the thorny pleasures of this world,
Yes, when we open our hearts to receive the mercy of Guru and Vaishnavas, then Srimati Radharani will reveal these most treasured pastimes with Her heart. As Raghunath Das Goswami has so mercifully revealed to us through his heart.
This time, I would like to ask His Holiness Damodara Swami Maharaja to speak to you.