On the order of Sriman Mahaprabhu, Srila Rupa Gosvami traveled to Vrndavana. In Vrndavana, Rupa Gosvami saw that there were many people distributing philosophical kichari. Those who do not know the glories of basmati rice and high quality dal will mix everything together into a kichari without discrimination, not understanding the special qualities of the individual ingredients. The mayavadis, jnanis, and yogis distribute philosophical kichari to foolish people. Pure bhakti is not like that; it is very refined and intricate, but the hodgepodge preachers propound that everything is one, and that you only need to worship and show devotion to a God so that your material desires will be fulfilled. So many philosophical misconceptions bewilder the conditioned souls, and thus the minds of most are unable to understand the nature of the Absolute Truth. If bhakti is mixed with karma, hatha-yoga, or jnana, then it is not pure bhakti. Srila Rupa Gosvami manifested all the subtle truths of bhakti.

After Rupa Gosvami Prabhu met Mahaprabhu and came to Vrndavana, he wrote a letter to Sanatana Gosvami, who was in the prison of Nawab Hussain Shah, for refusing to perform the duties of his prime minister. The letter stated:

yadu-pateh kva gata mathura-puri
raghu-pateh kva gatottara-kosala
iti vicintya kurusva manah sthiram
na sad idam jagad ity avadharaya

“Where has Yadupati’s Mathura-puri gone? Where has the Northern Kosala of Raghupati gone? By reflection, make the mind steady, thinking, ‘Everything is fleeting in this world.’ ”

Reading this, Sanatana Gosvami requested the jailer to release him, offering him five thousand gold coins for the help, but the warden replied, “I will be killed if I do so.”

“There is no need to worry. The king has gone to the south on a military campaign. When he returns, tell him that I jumped in the Ganga and drowned when I was led out to pass. I will travel to Mecca and become a mendicant.

Sanatana Gosvami then offered the jailer seven thousand gold coins, to which he agreed. Sanatana Gosvami thus escaped prison and made his way to Varanasi, where he met with Mahaprabhu and received instruction from Him.

In Vrndavana, Rupa Gosvami started composing a drama relating to Krsna’s pastimes in Vraja and Dvaraka. Later, during his travel to Mahaprabhu in Puri, Satyabhama visited Rupa Gosvami in a dream and told him to write a separate drama for Dvaraka-lila; not to mix Dvaraka-lila with Vraja-lila. Rupa Gosvami then arrived in Puri and stayed there for ten months with Mahaprabhu. Mahaprabhu also told Rupa Gosvami to separate Vraja and Dvaraka-lila in his dramas.

In Puri, Rupa Gosvami stayed with Haridasa Thakura at Siddha-bakula. Upon meeting with Rupa Gosvami, Mahaprabhu requested Rupa to read his introductory verse of the Vidagdha-madhava-natakam which described krsna-lila in Vraja. Rupa Gosvami put his head down in embarrassment, not wanting to read the verse, but Svarupa Damodara read the verse aloud:

anarpita-carim cirat karunayavatirnah kalau
samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasam sva-bhakti sriyam
harih purata-sundara-dyuti-kadamba sandipitah
sada hrdaya-kandare sphuratu vah saci-nandanah

May that Lord, who is known as the son of Srimati Sacidevi, be transcendentally situated in the innermost chambers of your heart. Resplendent with the radiance of molten gold, He has appeared in the age of Kali by His causeless mercy to bestow what has not been given in a very long time—manjari-bhava, the service of Srimati Radhika as Her confidential maidservant.

Hearing this verse, all the devotees clapped and shouted, “Haribol!” in exultation. However, Mahaprabhu said, “Why have you mixed this cow urine into such an ocean of nectar?”

Mahaprabhu did not like hearing His own glorification, but all the devotees were overjoyed. Later, Mahaprabhu requested His associates to bestow their mercy on Rupa Gosvami so that he would be able to distribute vraja-rasa to everyone. He told Rupa Gosvami to offer obeisances to Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Prabhu, Gadadhara Pandita, and all the bhaktas.

When Mahaprabhu was dancing that year during Ratha-yatra He repeatedly recited a verse of romantic poetry describing the moods of a lover when meeting with her beloved:

yah kaumara-harah sa eva hi varas ta eva caitra-ksapas te conmilita-malati-surabhayah praudhah kadambanilah sa caivasmi tathapi tatra surata-vyapara-lila-vidhau reva-rodhasi vetasi-taru-tale cetah samutkanthate

O friend, that beautiful one who stole my heart in my youth is now here. These are also the same pleasant nights of the month of Caitra, with the same fragrance of blossoming malati flowers and the same cool, gentle, fragrant breeze from the kadamba trees. I am also the same beloved. Nonetheless, my mind is eager for amorous play like the days of our youth at the foot of the vetasi tree on the bank of the river Reva.

Only Svarupa Damodara and Rupa Gosvami Prabhu could understand the inner mood of Mahaprabhu while the Lord sang this verse, while others thought, “Why is Mahaprabhu singing this worldly love song? He is a sannyasi, having renounced all worldly relationships.”

Not everyone can enter the confidential moods of Mahaprabhu. The qualification to enter vraja-rasa cannot be received from any mundane personality; rather, it must be received by hearing from pure devotees, from the Vrajavasis. Furthermore, not Vrajavasis in just any rasa; they must be maidservants of Srimati Radhika in madhura–rasa; only then can they properly describe and give this vraja-rasa, madhura–rasa, to others.

Understanding Mahaprabhu’s mood, Rupa Gosvami Prabhu composed a wonderful verse describing the feeling of Srimati Radharani when She met with Krsna in Kuruksetra:

priyah so ’yam krsnah sahacari kuru-ksetra-militas
tathaham sa radha tad idam ubhayoh sangama-sukham
tathapy antah-khelan-madhura-murali-pancama-juse
mano me kalindi-pulina-vipinaya sprhayati

After meeting Sri Krsna at Kuruksetra, Sri Radha said to Her friend: O sakhi, today at Kuruksetra, I met My same prana-priya, Krsna. I am that same Radha and there is also happiness in Our meeting. But nonetheless, I deeply yearn for Vrndavana, for the kunja on the bank of the Kalindi that is inundated by bliss as a result of Krsna vibrating the fifth note on His murali.

Mahaprabhu was filled with ecstasy reading this verse written by Rupa Gosvami Prabhu. It is not easy to express the most sublime heartfelt sentiments in speech or writing, but Rupa Gosvami Prabhu had the special mercy of Mahaprabhu. He was empowered to reveal Mahaprabhu’s heart, the moods of Srimati Radharani, and the process to attain Her service.

“I desire you to manifest vaisnava-granthas in this world,” Mahaprabhu told Rupa Gosvami. “Include all the conceptions of vraja-bhakti and the glories of Srimati Radharani. Show the world why vraja-bhakti is the greatest; this is My heart’s desire. This has never been expressed by anyone. I have chosen you to do this.”

Srila Rupa Gosvami’s service in Vrndavana extremely pleased Mahaprabhu and all His associates. While residing in Puri, the Lord would inquire from various Vaisnavas who came from Vrndavana, “How are Rupa and Sanatana? How do they perform bhajana? How are they serving the holy dhama?” Mahaprabhu’s heart melted hearing of their intense renunciation and constant absorption in krsna-bhajana.

The Gosvamis fulfilled the heart’s desire of Mahaprabhu, manifesting the pastime places of Radha-Krsna in Vraja, which had become covered by the influence of time. We therefore pray to them:

ei chaya gosai jabe vraje koila vasa
radha-krsna-nitya-lila korila prakasa

The transcendental literature composed by the Gosvamis fulfilled the desire of Mahaprabhu to glorify the love of Srimati Radharani and the Vraja-devis. The Six Gosvamis did not want to give up the association of Mahaprabhu, but He nevertheless sent them to Vrndavana, telling them, “Vraja has disappeared. Go there; manifest the pastime places of Radha and Krsna, establish temples and Vaisnava-granthas, and initiate celebrations of all the prominent festivals. When everyone sees these temples, and when they attend these festivals, they will become very happy. When I started doing these things Myself, no one understood Me, and they only made problems. So please fulfill My heart’s desire in this way.”

Expressing this desire, the Lord sent the Gosvamis to Vrndavana. Even though Mahaprabhu stayed in Puri, His heart remained with Rupa, Sanatana, Raghunatha, and the other Gosvamis; He was not separate from them. There is a very intimate connection between Bhagavan, Guru, and Vaisnavas, but people in general cannot understand­ this. Not even for one minute were the Gosvamis separated from Mahaprabhu, and Mahaprabhu was not separated from them.

Mahaprabhu empowered and instructed Rupa Gosvami at Ksetra-dhama to comprose bhakti-granthas. In due course, he thus wrote Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Ujjvala-nilamani, Laghu-Bhagavatamrta, Vidagdha-Madhava, Lalita-Madhava, Nikunja-rahasya-stava, Stavamala, Radha-Krsna Ganoddesa-dipika, Mathura-mahatmya, Padyavali, Uddhava-sandesa, Hamsaduta, Dana-keli-kaumudi, Krsna-janma-tithi-vidhi, Prayuktakyata Manjari, Nataka-candrika, and other books. His books like Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu and Ujjvala-nilamani especially embody Krsna’s unnata–ujjvala-rasa.

The specialties of the gopis, which are premarasa-maya, act as stimulants (uddipana) for Govinda’s bhajana. Therefore, the guidance of the vraja-ramanis is essential. The gopis’ guidance that embodies unnata–ujjvala-rasa, and prema–madhurya, cannot be manifested in the mundane heart. Yet, Caitanya Mahaprabhu opened this treasure house and offered it to Rupa Gosvami, who distributed its contents to everyone. By tasting this nectar even a little, Krsna can definitely be pleased.

Unnata–ujjvala-rasa, the instructions on prema-bhakti, were compiled by Rupa Gosvami in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu and Ujjvala–nilamani. Srila Rupa Gosvami manifested and fulfilled Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mano–bhista in this world by writing bhagavad–bhakti-rasa–sastras. He manifested, established, and preached Mahaprabhu’s deep desire to inundate this world with krsna-prema. Rupa Gosvami was the first personality to reveal the process how unnata–ujjvala-rasa can be attained by serving under the guidance of the vraja-ramanis. Brahma, Siva, and Narada cannot fully fathom the esoteric aspect of Vraja’s unnata–ujjvala-rasa. By Mahaprabhu’s mercy, the mantra–datta–rsi of vraja-rasa, Srila Rupa Gosvami Prabhu, distributed vraja-rasa everywhere through his scriptures and dramas. This would have been impossible for anyone else.

Bhagavan is svayam–rasa–svarupa (the personification of liquified transcendental mellows). Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in this world and wanted to give this aprakrta–vraja-rasa to everyone. Rupa Gosvami Prabhu, upon the inspiration of Mahaprabhu, preached this rasa–tattva.

At the start of Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, it is stated:

hrdi yasya preranaya pravartito ‘ham varaka-rupo ‘pi
tasya hareh pada-kamalam vande caitanya-devasya
Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.1.2

I offer my respects unto the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Although I am a wicked person by nature, I have undertaken this work within my heart by His inspiration.

Srila Ramananda Raya, who is none other than Visakha-devi in Vraja, glorified the writing of Rupa Gosvami.

kavitva na haya ei amrtera dhara
nataka-laksana saba siddhantera sara
Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya 1.193

This is not just a poetic presentation; it is a incessant shower of nectar. Indeed, it is the essence of all the highest realizations, appearing in the form of dramas.

prema-paripati ei adbhuta varnana
suni’ citta-karnera haya ananda-ghurnana
Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya 1.194

The amazing descriptions of Srila Rupa Gosvami perfectly express loving affairs. Hearing them will immerse the heart and ears of everyone in a whirlpool of divine ecstasy.

kim kavyena kaves tasya
kim kandena dhanus-matah
parasya hrdaye lagnam
na ghurnayati yac chirah
Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya 1.195

What is the use of an archer’s arrow or a poet’s verse if they penetrate the heart but do not cause the head to spin?

tomara sakti vina jivera nahe ei vani
tumi sakti diya kahao, hena anumani
Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya 1.196

Without Your mercy such poetic descriptions would be impossible for a living being to write. My guess is that You have empowered him to be able to write like this.

prabhu kahe, prayage ihara ha-ila milana
ihara gune ihate amara tusta haila mana
Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya 1.197

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “I met Srila Rupa Gosvami at Prayaga. He attracted and satisfied My heart because of his good qualities.”

madhura prasanna ihara kavya salankara
aiche kavitva vinu nahe rasera pracara
Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya 1.198

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu praised the metaphors and other literary ornaments of Srila Rupa Gosvami’s divine poetry. Without such poetic attributes, He said, there is no possibility of preaching the transcendental mellows.

sabe krpa kari’ inhare deha’ ei vara
vraja-lila-prema-rasa yena varne nirantara
Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya 1.199

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu requested all His associates to bless Rupa Gosvami so that he might incessantly describe the pastimes of Vrndavana, which are full of the topmost love.

By relishing Rupa Gosvami’s prema-rasa poetry, material affairs become contemptible and the transcendental rasa awakens in the heart.

Sriman Mahaprabhu instructed Rupa Gosvami:

bhakta-bhakti-krsnaprema-tattvera nidhara
vaisnavera krtya, ara Vaisnava-acara
Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya 4.79

Ascertain the basic principles of a devotee, devotional service, love of God, Vaisnava duties, and Vaisnava characteristics.

krsna-bhakti, krsnaprema-seva-pravartana
lupta-tirtha-uddhara, ara vairagya-siksana
Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya 4.80

Explain and teach devotional service of Krsna, establish centers for the cultivation of love of Krsna, recover the lost places of pilgrimage, and teach people how to practice renunciation.

Rupa Gosvami Prabhu manifested the rasa–sastras, and by his practices he preached and established krsna-bhakti, prema–tattva, bhakta–tattva, vaisnava-acarana, Deity worship, and dhama-seva. He discovered the lost pastime places of Radha-Krsna in Vraja. And being a perfect example of renunciation, he would only eat dry chickpeas and drink butter milk. Sometimes, he would fast for days at a time, being completely detached from his material body and mind. He would collect madhukari from the Vrajavasis and every night, he rested underneath the shade of a different tree. He would tirelessly glorify Bhagavan’s lila-bhumi. Sometimes he did bhajana on the banks of Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda. And sometimes he practiced bhajana in Vrndavana, Kamyavana, Kadamba-tera, and Mathura.

Srila Rupa Gosvami ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Srila Rupa Gosvami”. Available from [email protected] )


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