Sri Gopala Bhatta Goswami Tirobhava tithi (Disappearance Day) – July 22, 2019

Srila Prabhupada describes the glories of Sri Gopala Bhatta Goswami:

sri-gopala bhatta eka shakha sarvottama
rupa-sanatana-sange yanra prema-alapana

Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto 1, "Creation" : Thus at the end of His twenty-fourth year the Lord accepted the sannyasa order of life in the month of Magha. After accepting this order He became a full-fledged preacher of the Bhagavata-dharma. Although He was doing the same preaching work in His householder life, when He experienced some obstacles to His preaching He sacrificed even the comfort of His home life for the sake of the fallen souls. In His householder life His chief assistants were Srila Advaita Prabhu and Srila Srivasa Thakura, but after He accepted the sannyasa order His chief assistants became Srila Nityananda Prabhu, who was deputed to preach specifically in Bengal, and the six Gosvamis (Rupa Gosvami, Sanatana Gosvami, Jiva Gosvami, Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami), headed by Srila Rupa and Sanatana, who were deputed to go to Vrindavana to excavate the present places of pilgrimage. The present city of Vrindavana and the importance of Vrajabhumi were thus disclosed by the will of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Books : Srimad-Bhagavatam : Canto 4: "The Creation of the Fourth Order" : SB 4.27: Attack by Chandavega on the City of King Puranjana: the Character of Kalakanya :

SB 4.27.24 : Purport : “I offer my respectful obeisances unto the six Gosvamis, namely Sri Sanatana Gosvami, Sri Rupa Gosvami, Sri Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami, Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Sri Jiva Gosvami and Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, who are very expert in scrutinizingly studying all the revealed scriptures with the aim of establishing eternal religious principles for the benefit of all human beings. Thus they are honored all over the three worlds, and they are worth taking shelter of because they are absorbed in the mood of the gopis and are engaged in the transcendental loving service of Radha and Krishna.

Books : Sri Chaitanya-caritamrta – 1975 Edition : Cc. Adi-lila : Adi 1: The Spiritual Masters : Adi 1.19 :

Purport : Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explained this mode of devotional service in three stages, and therefore these worshipable Deities were installed in Vrindavana by different Gosvamis. They are very dear to the Gaudiya Vaishnavas there, who visit the temples at least once a day. Besides the temples of these three Deities, many other temples have been established in Vrindavana, such as the temple of Radha-Damodara of Jiva Gosvami, the temple of Shyamasundara of Shyamananda Gosvami, the temple of Gokulananda of Lokanatha Gosvami, and the temple of Radha-ramana of Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. There are seven principal temples over four hundred years old that are the most important of the five thousand temples now existing in Vrindavana.

Books : Sri Chaitanya-caritamrta – 1975 Edition : Cc. Adi-lila : Adi 10: The Trunk, Branches and Subbranches of the Chaitanya Tree : Adi 10.105 Sri-Rupa, Sanatana, Bhatta-Raghunatha Sri-Jiva, Gopala-Bhatta, dasa-Raghunatha

Gosvami, and the temple of Rādhā-ramaṇa of Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. There are seven principal temples over four hundred years old that are the most important of the five thousand temples now existing in Vrindavana.

Books : Sri Chaitanya-caritamrta – 1975 Edition : Cc. Adi-lila : Adi 10: The Trunk, Branches and Subbranches of the Chaitanya Tree : Adi 10.105

Sri-Rupa, Sanatana, Bhatta-Raghunatha
Sri-Jiva, Gopala-Bhatta, dasa-Raghunatha

Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, the forty-seventh branch, was one of the great and exalted branches of the tree. He always engaged in discourses about love of Godhead in the company of Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami.

Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami was the son of Venkata Bhatta, a resident of Srirangam. Gopala Bhatta formerly belonged to the disciplic succession of the Ramanuja-sampradaya but later became part of the Gaudiya-sampradaya. In the year 1433 shakabda (A.D. 1512), when Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was touring South India, He stayed for four months during the period of Chaturmasya at the house of Venkata Bhatta, who then got the opportunity to serve the Lord to his heart's content. Gopala Bhatta also got the opportunity to serve the Lord at this time.

Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami was later initiated by his uncle, the great sannyasi Prabodhananda Sarasvati. Both the father and mother of Gopala Bhatta Gosvami were extremely fortunate, for they dedicated their entire lives to the service of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. They allowed Gopala Bhatta Gosvami to go to Vrindavana, and they gave up their lives thinking of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. When Lord Chaitanya was later informed that Gopala Bhatta Gosvami had gone to Vrindavana and met Sri Rupa and Sanatana Gosvami, He was very pleased, and He advised Sri Rupa and Sanatana to accept Gopala Bhatta Gosvami as their younger brother and take care of him. Sri Sanatana Gosvami, out of his great affection for Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, compiled the Vaishnava smrti named Hari-bhakti-vilasa and published it under his name. Under the instruction of Srila Rupa and Sanatana, Gopala Bhatta Gosvami installed one of the seven principal Deities of Vrindavana, the Rādhāramaṇa Deity. The sevaits (priests) of the Radharamana temple belong to the Gaudiya-sampradaya.

When Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami took permission from all the Vaiṣṇavas before writing Sri Chaitanya-charitāmṛta, Gopala Bhatta Gosvami also gave him his blessings, but he requested him not to mention his name in the book. Therefore Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami has mentioned Gopala Bhatta Gosvami only very cautiously in one or two passages of the Chaitanya-charitamrita. Srila Jiva Gosvami has written in the beginning of his Tattva-sandarbha, "A devotee from southern India who was born of a brahmaṇa family and was a very intimate friend of Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami has written a book that he has not compiled chronologically. Therefore I, a tiny living entity known as Jiva, am trying to assort the events of the book chronologically, consulting the direction of great personalities like Madhvacharya, Sridhara Svami, Ramanujacharya and other senior Vaishnavas in the disciplic succession." In the beginning of the Bhagavat-sandarbha there are similar statements by Srila Jiva Gosvami.

Srila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami compiled a book called Sat-kriya-sara-dipika, edited the Hari-bhakti-vilasa, wrote a forword to the Sat-sandarbha and a commentary on the Krishna-karnamrita, and installed the Radharamaṇa Deity in Vrindavana. In the Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika, verse 184, it is mentioned that his previous name in the pastimes of Lord Krishna was Ananga-manjari. Sometimes he is also said to have been an incarnation of Guna-manjari. Srinivasa Acharya and Gopinatha Pujari were two of his disciples.

The instructing spiritual masters are Sri Rupa Gosvami, Sri Sanatana Gosvami, Sri Bhatta Raghunatha, Sri Jiva Gosvami, Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami and Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami

Books : Sri Chaitanya-caritamrta – 1975 Edition : Cc. Madhya-lila : Madhya 1: The Later Pastimes of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu : Madhya 1.35 : Purport:

The subject matter of the Hari-bhakti-vilasa, by Sri Sanatana Gosvami, was collected by Srila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami and is known as a vaishnava-smrti. This vaishnava-smrti-grantha was finished in twenty chapters, known as vilasas. In the first vilasa there is a description of how a relationship is established between the spiritual master and the disciple, and mantras are explained. In the second vilasa, the process of initiation is described.

In the third vilasa, the methods of Vaishnava behavior are given, with emphasis on cleanliness, constant remembrance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the chanting of the mantras given by the initiating spiritual master. In the fourth vilasa are descriptions of saṁskāra, the reformatory method; tilaka, the application of twelve tilakas on twelve places of the body; mudra, marks on the body; mālā, chanting with beads; and guru-pūjā, worship of the spiritual master. In the fifth vilāsa, one is instructed on how to make a place to sit for meditation, and there are descriptions of breathing exercises, meditation and worship of the śālagrāma-śilā representation of Lord Viṣṇu.

In the sixth vilāsa, the required practices for inviting the transcendental form of the Lord and bathing Him are given. In the seventh vilāsa, one is instructed on how to collect flowers used for the worship of Lord Viṣṇu. In the eighth vilāsa, there is a description of the Deity and instructions on how to set up incense, light lamps, make offerings, dance, play music, beat drums, garland the Deity, offer prayers and obeisances and counteract offenses. In the ninth vilāsa, there are descriptions about collecting tulasī leaves, offering oblations to forefathers according to Vaiṣṇava rituals, and offering food.

In the tenth vilāsa there are descriptions of the devotees of the Lord (Vaiṣṇavas, or saintly persons). In the eleventh vilāsa, there are elaborate descriptions of Deity worship and the glories of the holy name of the Lord. One is instructed on how to chant the holy name of the Deity, and there are discussions about offenses committed while chanting the holy name, along with methods for getting relief from such offenses. There are also descriptions of the glories of devotional service and the surrendering process.

In the twelfth vilāsa, Ekādaśī is described. In the thirteenth vilāsa, fasting is discussed, as well as observance of the Mahā-dvādaśī ceremony. In the fourteenth vilāsa, different duties for different months are outlined. In the fifteenth vilāsa, there are instructions on how to observe Ekādaśī fasting without even drinking water. There are also descriptions of branding the body with the symbols of Viṣṇu, discussions of Cāturmāsya observations during the rainy season, and discussions of Janmāṣṭamī, Pārśvaikādaśī, Śravaṇā-dvādaśī, Rāma-navamī and Vijayā-daśamī.

The sixteenth vilāsa discusses duties to be observed in the month of Kārttika (October-November), or the Dāmodara month, or Ūrja, when lamps are offered in the Deity room or above the temple. There are also descriptions of the Govardhana-pūjā and Ratha-yātrā. The seventeenth vilāsa discusses preparations for Deity worship, mahā-mantra chanting and the process of japa. In the eighteenth vilāsa the different forms of Sri Viṣṇu are described.

The nineteenth vilāsa discusses the establishment of the Deity and the rituals observed in bathing the Deity before installation. The twentieth vilāsa discusses the construction of temples, referring to those constructed by the great devotees. The details of the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa-grantha are given by Sri Kavirāja Gosvami in the Madhya-līlā (24.329-345). The descriptions given in those verses by Kṛṣṇadasa Kavirāja Gosvami are actually a description of those portions compiled by Gopala Bhatta Gosvami.

According to Srila Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, the regulative principles of devotional service compiled by Gopala Bhatta Gosvami do not strictly follow our Vaiṣṇava principles. Actually, Gopala Bhatta Gosvami collected only a summary of the elaborate descriptions of Vaiṣṇava regulative principles from the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa. It is Srila Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvami's opinion, however, that to follow the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa strictly is to actually follow the Vaiṣṇava rituals in perfect order. He claims that the smārta-samāja, which is strictly followed by caste brāhmaṇas, has influenced portions that Gopala Bhatta Gosvami collected from the original Hari-bhakti-vilāsa.

It is therefore very difficult to find out Vaiṣṇava directions from the book of Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. It is better to consult the commentary made by Sanatana Gosvami himself for the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa under the name of Dig-darśinī-ṭīkā. Some say that the same commentary was compiled by Gopīnātha-pūjā Adhikārī, who was engaged in the service of Sri Rādhā-ramaṇajī and who happened to be one of the disciples of Gopala Bhatta Gosvami.

The Deity of Sri Radharaman was manifested from one of Gopal Bhatta Goswami's salagram-silas on the full moon day of Vaisakha (April/May) in 1542.

This event is celebrated every year (May) by bathing the Deity with 100 liters of milk and other auspicious items. Gopal Bhatta Goswami's other salagram-silas are also worshiped on the altar. There is no Deity of Radharani with Radharaman, but gomati-cakra is worshipped on the altar to His left. According to an injunction of Sri Hari-bhakti-vilas, a gomati-cakra is to be worshipped along with a salagram-sila.

Radharaman is one of the few original Deities of the Goswamis still in Vrindavan. Other Deities went to Jaipur, but Radharaman never left Vrindavan. The fires for cooking in the temple kitchen have been burning continuously for over 435 years, since the Deity was installed. This is so no foreign elements, such as matches, are used for ignition purposes.

One rich businessman made an offering of clothes crowns, and jewllery to Srila Gopal Bhatta Goswami, who lamented that, as he was worshipping Sri Shaligram which was round just like a stone he could not dress, or put crowns and jewellery like the other Goswamis were doing with their Deities. Lamenting in this way, the Goswami took rest. Early the next morning when he came to offer the seva arpanam puja for the Shaligrams he discovered that one of the Silas (Damodar) had transformed into the most beautiful three fold bending Deity of Krishna, Who had manifested Himself out of love, just to receive loving worship from Gopal Bhatta Goswami. The name Radha Raman means "one who gives pleasure to Srimati Radharani". This is one of the numerous names of Lord Sri Krishna. There is no external manifestation or Deity of Srimati Radharani in the temple but there is a crown next to Ramanji that represents Her presence.

The above black and white shot shows RadhaRaman's real natural beauty and fine detail. Skeptics have speculated that His fine features were carved but devotional scientists from Indian universities have concluded that there are no marks on His body to suggest that He was in any way carved or otherwise manipulated by man. His form as you see it here is cent per cent swayam vyakta – self manifesting. Sri Sri Radha Raman ki jay.

ri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's kaupina (cloth) and asana (seat), which Gopal Bhatta Goswami brought from Jagannath Puri, are also in this temple. They are brought out to be seen by the public three or four times a year. The asana is black wood and is about 30 cm (12") by 25 cm (10").

Before large temples were built, the Goswamis worshiped their Deities simply, keeping them in a tree under which they slept……Radha-raman Deity was adored in a tree for centuries. In the area of the present Radha-raman temple, there used to be a large lake, connected to the Yamuna river…...For a couple of hundred years they worshiped Radha-raman in a tree, and at night put him in a boat anchored in the middle of a lake……They stood guard with bows and arrows, if anyone came to hassle the Deity. Even today, they have the bows and arrows in the temple.

Besides daily puja there are other festivals held at the samadhis. Upon taking initiation into Gaudiya-vaisnava Sampradaya, a new disciple may sponsor a special uttsava (festival) consisting of hari-nama sankirtana (chanting of the name of the Lord), bhagavatha-katha (discourses about the Lord) and offer an opulent feast of prasadam to present Vaishnavas and Braja-vasis (residents of Vrindavan).

The Radharaman Temple was not attacked by Aurangzeb's soldiers because they mistakenly thought it to be just residential quarter. Because of this Radha Raman ji never left Vrindavan like so many of the other Goswami's Deities.