The all merciful Lord Sri Gaur Hari, as He travelled from village to village throughout the south of India, continued to distribute love of Godhead wherever He went. Hearing the nectarean names of Hari from His lotus mouth, thousands and thousands men and women felt relief from the blazing fire of material existence. Various wretched, miserable and fallen souls lives were completely rejuvenated and thus they became virtuous and happy. While causing rains of love of God to fall anywhere and everywhere, without consideration of time or place, Sri Gaurasundor came to the ancient holy place of Sri Rangakshetra on an island in the middle of the Kaveri river.
Mahaprabhu came to Ranga Kshetra in the Christian year 1511. Vyenkata Bhatta had two brothers, Tirumalla Bhatta and Prabodhananda Sarasvati. They all belonged to the Ramanuja sampradaya and Prabodhananda Sarasvati was a tridandi sannyasi of that order. Vyenkata Bhatta had a son named Gopal, who was then just a child. When the boy came to offer his obeisances at the lotusfeet of Mahaprabhu picked him up and very affectionately seated him in 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 positon of Acarya.
Sri Ranganath in Sri Rangakshetra
After remaining at Vyenkata Bhatta's house during the four months of the rainy season (Chaturmasya) Mahaprabhu prepared to continue His journey of the South. Vyenkata Bhatta's house began to ebb in a tide of tears in anticipation of His departure. Gopal fell at His lotusfeet in a dead faint. Therefore Mahaprabhu remained for a couple of more days in order to con-sole the boy. Being pleased with Gopala Bhatta Gosvami's sincere service and devotion, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu initiated him, and ordered him to move to Vrndavana after the disappearance of his parents and perform bhajan and write. He instructed him to serve his mother and father and always engage in chanting Krsna's glories and thereafter to come to Brindavan.
See the Jagannath Balaram
Subhadra Deities directly fashioned by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at this
Some nectar about Sri Rangam:
Very quickly Gopal became expert in grammar, poetry and rhetoric and then began his study of Vedanta. His uncle Prabodhananda, specifically began to instruct him from the devotional scriptures (Bhakti - shastra).
At the age of thirty Gopala Bhatta Gosvami came to Vrindavana, and having missed Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu this saddened him.
Thus Gopal set out for Vrindavan and when he arrived there Rupa Gosvami immediately sent word to Mahaprabhu to inform Him of Gopal's arrival there.
Mahaprabhu had previously indicated to Rupa and Sanatan that Gopal Bhatta would one day come there to Brindavan, so upon his arrival they treated him with the same care and affection they would their own brother. They immediately became life long companions.
However, the all knowing Supreme Personality of Godhead,
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu received word that Gopal Bhatta had come to Vrindavan,
He was very pleased and sent with that messenger with the Lord's personal
wooden sitting plank (hoki) which He had used along with a pair of His
undergarments and one of His upper cloths - uttara or chaddar.
"Having received these gifts Gopal Bhatta was in ecstasy
and he worshipped them as the prasad (tadiya) of Mahaprabhu.
When he would worship his Deities he would sit on that wooden plank. This piri (wooden seat) and Mahaprabhus clothes are still being worshipped at Radha-Ramana Mandir. Gopala Bhatta, like Rupa and Sanatana, had no fixed residence and would spend the night in various kunjas (forest groves). He spent his time studying the scriptures and composing various literatures.
In Nepal, Gopala Bhatta bathed in the famous Kali-Gandaki
River. Upon dipping his waterpot in the river, he was surprised to see
several Shaligrama Shilas enter his pot. 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, Gopala Bhatta Gosvami found twelve Shaligrama shilas sitting there. Thinking this must be the Lords mercy, he kept all the shilas and returned to Vrndavana.
Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami used to worship twelve Shaligram silas. Wherever he would go he would bring them with him in a piece of cloth tied at the corner. One day a wealthy man (Seth) came to Vrndavana and offered Gopala Bhatta a variety of clothing and ornaments for his Shaligrams. Being very impressed with the Gosvami he wanted his darshan and to render some service which he presented in the form of some valuable cloths and ornaments. However, Gopala Bhatta couldn't use these for his round-shaped Shaligrams, so he advised the donor to give the Deity decorations to someone else, but the Seth insisted. Gopala Bhatta kept the cloths and ornaments with his shilas. While Gopala Bhatta Gosvami was absorbed in remembering how the half-man, half-lion form of the Supreme Lord had manifested from the pillar in Hiranyakasipu's palace, he prayed in transcendental lamentation to the Lord: "Oh my Lord, you are very merciful and 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 so nicely with these clothes and ornaments."
In the evening after offering some bhoga and arotika to his Shalagram shilas, Gopala Bhatta put them to rest, covering them with a wicker basket. Late in the night, Gopala Bhatta took a little rest and then, in the early morning went to take bath in the Yamuna river. Returning from his bath, he uncovered the Shalagramas in order to render the puja for Them, and saw amongst Them a Deity of Krishna playing the flute. There were now eleven shilas and this Deity. The "Damodara shila", had manifested as the beautiful three-fold bending form of tri-bhangananda-krishna. Floating in the ocean of ecstasy, he fell to the ground in order to offer his dandavats and then recited various prayers and hymns. This wonderful event of the appearance day of RadhaRaman happened on the day after Sri Nrisimha Chaturdasi, and is celebrated on that day accordingly. That day they offer 500 liters of milk for the Lord's pleasure and many other sweets and different things. The RadhaRaman temple has the highest standard of Deity worship in all of Vraj.
When Rupa and Sanatana Gosvamis as well as many other devotees received news of this miraculous event they came running to see the Lord. Gazing on the Lord's transcendental form, which bewildered all the living entities of the many various planets, they all bathed Him with their tears. This Deity whom the Gosvamis named, "Sri Radha-raman Deva" made His appearance on the full moon day of Vaisakha in the year 1542. Except for Vrindadevi, Sri Radha-Ramanaji is the only one of the original Deities of Vrindavana who never left to go to Jaipur. Sri Sri Radha-raman-ji is still being worshipped in Vrindavana near Nidhuban kunj in the compound of the temple.
The Deity is called Radha-raman although physically there is no apparent Deity of Radha there. As one can see from the picture at the top of this page, that to the right of the picture (to Ramanji's left) is a place setting for Srimati Radhika. In this way the pujaris worship Sri Radha and Ramanji together.
Sri Radha-ramana 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 the small son of one of the sevaits was playing with the Deity once and put a small stick in one ear of the Deity and pushed it through out the other ear. The stick however, had blood on it, and that boy died vomiting blood that very day.
If you ever have the great good fortune to attend the
Snan-yatra festival in Sri Vrindavan Dham, then it is a must that you visit
the Radha-Raman temple on this day. The temperatures are hot and dry in
the 40+ centigrade and much anticipation of seeking out cooling water pervades
the thoughts in Vrindavan's hot summer. At the temple, the merciful Ramanji
has made a provision so that first He takes His transcendental bath right
at the front of the altar for all to see - BUT THEN, after He has taken
in His expanded kindness the pujaris turn on the sprinkler system that
surrounds the open court-yard - the fan in the middle is even equipped
with pipes to pour out cooling water as it rotates at a high speed, inundating
all the devotees taking the darshan of the Lord, with great pleasure.
It is truly my favourite place in the world for snan-yatra. Sri Sri Radha Ramaji ki jaya.
About todays descendents:
Once Sri Gopala Bhatta went to Haridwar. As he was returning, suddenly a downpour started and thus he took shelter in the house of one brahmana. This brahmana was very devoted and he very carefully began to serve Sri Gopala Bhatta, who thus became very pleased. As this brahmana had no children Sripad Gopal Bhatta Goswami blessed him that he might have a son who would be a devoted follower of Lord Hari. The brahman replied out of gratitude that, "My first son I will send to you in order to serve you."
Approximately ten years later when Gopala Bhatta returned from bathing in the Yamuna one day, he saw a young boy sitting at the door of his kutir. When the boy saw the Gosvamiji approaching, he got up and then fell down to offer his dandavats (obeisances like a stick on the floor before him). Sripada Gopala Bhatta Goswami enquired who the boy was, to which he replied, "My home was in Devandyagram within Saharanpur near Haridwar. My father has sent me here to serve you. My name is Gopinatha."
Then Gopal Bhatta could remember the time when he went to Haridwar many years ago. So this boy remained with him and very carefully began to serve him. Eventually he became known as Sri Gopinatha Pujari Gosvami as he served Sri Radha-ramana Deva through his life as an unmarried brahmachari. His younger brother Sri Damodara dasa, along with his family, accepted iniation from Sri Gopinathaji and also became engaged in the service of the Deity. Sri Damodara dasa's three sons were named Harinatha, Mathuranatha and Harirama. It is from these family members of Gopinath's brother that todays guardians the Radha-Raman Gosais so nicely maintain and serve Sri Sri Radha-Ramanji.
Sri Gopala Bhatta's devotion was so special, his devotion so profound that the Lord appeared for him in this special form - but not only that as if in confirmation of the pastimes of the Lord, and Mahaprabhu's being directly Radha Krishna (sri krishna chaitanya radha krishna nahi anya), in his worship of Sri Radha-ramana would sometimes see that He had taken the form of Sri Gaurasundara - Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, "Becoming subservient to the love of Sri Gopala Bhatta, Sri Radha-ramana would sometimes accept the form of Sri Gausundara."
Sri Gopala Bhatta was the initiating guru of Srinivasa Acarya Prabhu. Sripad Gopal Bhatta Goswami was very learned, trained in pancharatra, coming in the learned family of Vyenkata Bhattar 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 samkara viddhi), and Laghu Hari-bhakti vilasa with Dig darshini tika. From this work, Sri Sanatana Gosvami compiled the Hari-bhakti-vilasa now followed by all Gaudiya Vaishnavas. It is said, "Out of affection for Srila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, Srila Sanatana Gosvami compiled the famous Vaishnava smriti titled Hari Bhakti Vilas, and published it under Gopala Bhatta Gosvami's name.
Gopala Bhatta Gosvami resided for forty-five years in Sri Dham Vrndavana, but out of great humility he requested Srila Krsna das Kaviraja not to mention his name in the classic work Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita.
Gopala Bhatta Gosvami serves as Guna Manjari. In the Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika too, it is mentioned that in the eternal pastimes of Radha and Krsna, Gopala Bhatta Gosvami's name in Vraja-lila has been given as Guna manjari.
His birth was on the 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 Sravon in the year 1578 (Christian - A.D.), 1500 (Sakabda era) Age: 75 years
Gopal Bhatta Goswami's Samadhi
Gopal Bhatta Goswami's samadhi is to the left after you enter the first gate from the street into the temple compound. Gopal Bhatta Goswami was the son of Vyenkatta Bhatta, a brahmana priest of Srirangam Temple in Tamil Nadu. His uncle Prabhodananda Sarasvati also became his spiritual master. In 1511 Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu visited Srirangam a danced in ecstasy before Lord Ranganath...
Back to Gopal Bhatta Goswami's appearance, his disappearance, or Sri Sri Radha Raman's appearance on the calendar
Sri Sri Radha Raman Seva page:
Sri Sri Radha Raman Temple page
Sivaram maharaj tells "The Legacy of Gopal
Bhatt" on his podcast site
Visit Sri Shaligram Tirtha Pradarshini - the site for Silas and Their sevaks:
Sri Rangam in South India on the banks of the sacred Kaveri river, and birth place of Acharya Gopal Bhatta Goswami:
Sri-vaishnavas consider 108 divyadesams to be very important, though
there are many more temples where the Lord resides. We call the temples
which have been sung by the great devotees the Alwars as divyadesams, since
they have the mangalAsAsanams of the divyasooris (pure unalloyed devotees),
the Alwars. Even among these divyadesams some have the importance because
of Perumal (Sri Krishna) there and in some the Emperuman (Supreme Lord)
came to that place due to the magimai sanctity of the divyadesam itself.
For instance, in Srirangam, Lord Ranganatha decided to stay in this place
attracted by the beauty of the divyadesam. When the pious brother of Ravan
known as Vibheeshanalvar was carrying Lord Ranganatha, gifted to him by
Sri RAma, to take back to Lanka, while passing Srirangam Lord Ranganatha
was very pleased with the Kaveri river and the beautiful flora in the area
that he decided to stay over there. In Thirupathi, we find that the seven
hills themselves are very sacred and that the sins of who ever goes to
the seven hills are washed out. This has been quoted even in RAmayanam.
When Sugreeva sent his men to search piratti in various directions, he
instructed them not to go to the seven hills since if they go there then
there punyams and papams will be nullified and they will attain moksham.
That is why Kulasekara Alwar says “emperumAn ponmalai mEl Edenum AvEnE”.
Considering the importance of the seven hills, Kulasekara Alwar here wants
to take any birth in Thirumalai region. It may be an animal birth, an insect
birth or a flower as long as it is in Thirumalai. Such is the importance
of the divyadesam and that is why even the famous Venkateswara Perumal
selected this to be his abode. Similarly when we see Thiruvallikeni, this
divyadesam was initially a Tulasi forest, where various rishis did their
tapa penences. When the king Sumathi asked Thirupathi Perumal to give darshan
to him like in KrishnAvatAram, Emperuman replied ‘ Go to the sacred place
BrindAranyam near the Kairavini Pushkarini where many other rishis are
doing tapas and if you too do tapas over there then your wish will be fulfilled’.
Generally the rishis do not do tapas in any place, they select the most
sacrad place to do tapas where they can peacefully meditate on the god.
In BrindAranyam already many rishis where doing tapas and hence Thirupathi
Perumal directed Sumathi also to the same place.
You may all be wondering why adiyen (this humble devotee) is telling all these without going to the explanation of the meanings of the next paasuram. This introduction has been given to clarify why Alwar is suddenly singing about the natural beauty of Srirangam like other ordinary poets. We all know that Alwars are not bothered about anything else other than the Lord then why should they sing about the natural beauty occuring in a place? The Alwars, mainly Thirumangai Alwar, does mangalAsAsanam to both the divyadesam and the Perumal because he feels everything in a divyadesam is divine and praise worthy. In similar strands, Thondaradipodi Alwar also enjoys the beauty of Srirangam and says among this beautiful scenary we find another beauty reclining, the Lord Ranganatha and then he finally comes back to the same old story feeling for the people, who do not enjoy all these and put themselves to miseries, running at the back of worldly pleasures.
“vandinam muralum sOlai mayilinam Alum sOlai
kondal meedhanavum sOlai kuyilinam koovum sOlai
andarkOn amarum sOlai anithiruvarangam ennA
mindarpAyindhu vunnum sOttrai vilakki nAykku edumineerE”
vandinam muralum sOlai mayilinam Alum sOlai: Srirangam is filled with number of beautiful gardens. Those gardens are filled with beautiful and sweet smelling flowers which have honey in them. We find number of bees in these gardens which are attracted by the fragrance and beauty of the flowers. That’s what the Alwar says here ‘vandinam muralum sOlai’, the gardens filled with bees flying from one flower to another. In this pleasant place there are number of peacocks which dance with joy. Alwar hears that the sound made by the bees to be a praise to the Lord and that to that music the peacocks dance.
kondal meedhanavum sOlai kuyilinam koovum sOlai: The Kaveri river is flowing and the plants are flourished, seeing the richness of this place the clouds have appeared in the sky to give benediction. The trees in these gardens are so well grown that they almost touch the skies. And the cuckoos in these gardens sing sweetly with joy. As Srimati Andal says ‘kootil erundu kuyil govinda!govinda! endrazhaikkum’. In Srirangam if the parrots which have been kept inside a cage, can sing happily the name of the Lord then wont the birds which have been left freely in the beautiful gardens sing with joy the praise of the almighty? Even Srimad Bhagavatam says, that wherever the Lord is even the bees with pollen adorning their moustaches and legs in that Brindavam Dham always sing the praise of Sri Krishna only. So the gardens in Srirangam, are similarly filled with the cuckoos which happily sing about the Lord and the bees hum the music and the peacocks dance to this and the clouds appear to be a spectator to this grand music performance.
andarkOn amarum sOlai: Still now Alwar sang about all the other beauties in Srirangam. Now the Alwar says, the beauty which gave beauty to everything else in this world has also come to stay in this divyadesam. Any other beauty in this world is only a part of the Emperuman’s beauty. That Emperuman, who is the king of kings and one who is the supreme Lord Himself, He also stays in this place. Sri PVP says like the bees, cucukoos, peacocks and the clouds which got attracted to the beauty of this place the Emperuman also got attracted to this divyadesam and stayed here. It is not wrong in equating the parAtparan with these ordinary jeevans, since this is only to show the magimai of the divyadesam, as they too are His devotees.
anithiruvarangam ennA mindarpAyindhu vunnum sOttrai vilakki nAykku edumineerE: Inspite of all these importance, people refrain from even uttering the name of this divyadesam. Many places people say are beautiful, even if we are unable to go there we imagine the beauty of that place and enjoy. But the unfortunate part is Srirangam is the most beautiful place in this world, still people do not even think of it or feel bad that we are unable to go there. They cease to accept the importance of this divyadesam but are only concerned about their wordly pleasure. How can people be so stupid? By this Alwar’s simultaneous anger and pity is raised thinking about such people and hence he goes to the level of cursing them. He says grab the food, which these people jump to eat and throw it to a dog since even a lowly dog which stays in Srirangam is more worthy living than such people who do not even utter the Holy nAma of Bhagavan Sri Krishna and His divya desam - Holy Dham.
Original by AzhwAr emberumAnAr jeeyar thiruvadigaLE saraNam
Adiyen Ramanuja Dasyai