Srila Rupa Goswami – Biography, Books, Samadhi, Teachings

Srila Rupa Goswami is the chief literary disciple of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is non-other than Krishna in the mood of Srimati Radharani.

Srila Rupa Goswami has revealed confidential aspects of vraja-prema-bhakti via his teachings and works of literature. Gaudiya Vaishnavas are also called as rupanugas, or followers of Srila Rupa Goswami. 

Srila Rupa Goswami is no ordinary acharya and is rather Rupa Manjari, a dear most confidential maidservant of Srimati Radharani in the Nitya-Goloka-Vrindavan.

Prema can be given only by the innermost dear servant of Srimati Radharani, and to teach the world prema (love), Mahaprabhu took the mood of Srimati Radharani and descended on bhuloka (earth) with all his nitya inner maidservants and confidential associates.

Srila Rupa Goswami is foremost amongst them as he carries within himself the inner confidential lilas which are not even in the reach of demigods and exalted tapsvis, leave apart the normal people.

He is one of the Six Goswamis who were instructed by Mahaprabhu to reveal the confidential love and passtimes of Sri Radhika Kishori and Vrajendra Nandan Shyam Sri Krishna in Vrindavan to the world.

Srila Rupa Goswami

Srila Rupa Goswami at his samadhi mandir at Radha Damodar Mandir, Vrindavan
Srila Rupa Goswami at his Samadhi Mandir at Radha Damodar Mandir, Vrindavan

 

Born Santosha
Deity Radha Damodar Ji, Radha Govind Dev Ji
Diksha Guru Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
Goloka Swarup Rupa Manjari
Temple Radha Govind Dev Mandir
Disciples Srila Jiva Goswami
Bhajan Kutir Ter Kadamba
Sect Gaudiya Vaishnavism
Samadhi Radha Damodar Mandir, Vrindavan
Famous Books

Early Life

Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhupada was born in East Bengal (now Bangladesh) and spent his childhood in Jessore. His childhood name was Santosha. His father Kumar Dev was a pious brahman and elder brother was Srila Sanatana Goswami Prabhupada.

Srila Rupa Goswami was highly scholarly and was well versed in scriptures from an early age itself. 

Hearing about his and Santana Goswami saintly nature, the Nawab Husain Shah of Ramakeli made them ministers in his government forcefully. Srila Sanatana Goswami became known as Sakir Malik and Srila Rupa Goswami became known as Dabir Khas.

Meeting with Mahaprabhu at Prayag

Mahaprabhu gave the instructions on banks of Prayag (Dasavamedha Ghat) to Srila Rupa Goswami and instructed him to go to Vrindavan and write literary work on Radha Krishna Lila. He also allocated him the seva (service) of revealing hidden places of Vrindavan Prema Rasa to the world.

Writings and Books

There is a famous verse in Vighada Madhava where Rupa Goswami says that one mouth and one pair of the ear is insufficient to relish the name of Krishna, and he aspires to have millions of mouth and ears to be absorbed and feel the ecstatic bliss of chanting and hearing the holy names on and on.

After reading this composition by Srila Rupa Goswami, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu started crying in ecstasy and mentioned that Srila Rupa Goswami is one who understands Him deeply and is the foremost Vaishnav of all.

Some amongst many books written by Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhupada are:

  • The Nectar of Instruction
  • The Nectar of Devotion
  • Ujjwala Nilamani
  • Hamsa Duta
  • Mathura Mahatmya
  • Padyavali
  • Siddhanta Ratna
  • Kavya Kaustubha

Meeting with Akbar story

Akbar often used to visit Vrindavan and associate with Vaishnav Acharyas including Srila Rupa Goswami and Swami Haridas. Once, while visiting Srila Rupa Goswami, Akbar witnessed the simple, mendicant and renounced life Srila Rupa Goswami was living and desired to serve him. He stated to Srila Rupa Goswami to accept some jewels and arrangements to make himself comfortable.

Srila Rupa Goswami mercifully touched him and gave Akbar the spiritual vision to see the nitya Vrindavan. Upon being touched by Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhupada, Akbar could see that the well there was full of priceless jewels, diamonds, rubies and there were desire trees all around.

He saw the beauty and indescribable visual of Vrindavan all around, which just a few moments ago was a simple and sober place externally. Akbar understood that Vrindavan is divya (divine) and that is the real Vrindavan in which Srila Rupa Goswami is living with his prana-aradhaya Srimati Radharani and Krishna. 

He just bowed down before Srila Rupa Goswami and humbly surrendered to him in awe and reverence. There is also a similar incident of Akbar with Swami Haridas as well as Mirabai.

Being inspired from Srila Rupa Goswami, it was Akbar who had financed the construction of many temples in Vrindavan, for example, the temple of Radha Govind Dev Ji was built by offerings from Man Singh, one of navratanas in the court of Akbar.

Carving Radha Damodar Deities

The deities of Radha Damodar Ji was carved by Srila Rupa Goswami. He got a dream in which it was mentioned to him to carve the deity, but he didn't know how to do it. Later, it was instructed to him to start carving the deities and the form will manifest as he goes ahead. That's how the beautiful deities of Radha Damodar Ji appeared.

It was at Radha Damodar Mandir that Srila Prabhupada stayed during his stay in Vrindavan and wrote scriptures before leaving to the USA for preaching holy names of Lord on instructions of his guru maharaj Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupada.

Radha Govind Dev Ji Mandir

Srila Rupa Goswami entrusted and gave the deities of Radha Damodar Ji to his nephew Srila Jiva Goswami

Later, Srila Rupa Goswami established the worship of Radha Govind Dev Ji. It is a very popular temple in Vrindavan as well as Jaipur. Aurangzeb attacked Vrindavan and destroyed many temples including Radha Govind Dev Ji Mandir. 

The kings belonging to Jaipur were Vaishnavas and took all these deities to Radha Kund, and then to Jaipur before the Mughal soldiers came to destroy the temples in Vrindavan.

Later on, the new temple of Radha Govind Dev Ji was built in Vrindavan behind the main temple, and pratibhimba (replica) deities were established here while the original deities are still in Jaipur.

It is a very popular mandir in Jaipur and the deities are being served there grandly. Hence, Vaishnavas say that Jaipur is second Vrindavan as most of the main deities of Vrindavan are still in Jaipur.

Rupa Manjari (Nitya-Goloka Swarup)

One should prefer to skip this part if they are not aware of 5 rasa, are not chanting 16 rounds of Hare Krishna Mahamantra per day or are not following the 4 regulative principles.

This is an inner confidential discussion and hence, is not advised to be read without a solid foundation and philosophy of Krishna Consciousness. You can read the list of spiritual books for spiritual advancement.

In the afternoon passtimes at Radha Kund (as mentioned in Govinda Lilamrta by Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami), the sakhis steal vamshi (flute) from Krishna. Krishna searches all the sakhis including Rupa Manjari (Srila Rupa Goswami in vraja-swarup as an eternal manjari, or maidservant of Sri Radha), and checks them if they are hiding His flute. This passtime is very playful and one has to have guru-kripa to read the book 'Govinda Lilamrta' to relish the internal confidential lilas of Divine Couple and Their confidential sakhis.

Even Aindra Prabhu writes in his book how Rupa Manjari gives him (in his vraja swarup) seva of guarding the nikunj of Srimati Radharani. His responsibility was to not allow Krishna to come inside as He had gone on rendezvous with Chandravali, and thus came late and had distressed Radharani and Her sakhis.

Rupa Manjari is cheif of all mukhya manjaris (as described in the book Ujjwala Nilami by Srila Rupa Goswami Himself). Manjaris want nothing but the pleasure of Sri Radha. Their life itself is Sri Radha, hence they can only give vraja-prema-bhakti in topmost maha madhurya rasa. That is why even Mahaprabhu comes in Radha Dasya Bhav to cherish the mood of Radharani and serve Radharani at the same time (You can read this to know more about the subject).

Samadhi and Bhajan Kutir

Srila Rupa Goswami's Samadhi and Bhajan Kutir are located at Radha Damodar Mandir in Vrindavan. It has been revamped recently and the samadhi area is a very nice place for any sincere devotee to sit and chant their rounds without any disturbance.

Srila Prabhupada often mentioned that while he was staying at Radha Damodar Mandir prior to leaving for the USA, he could feel the presence of Srila Rupa Goswami blessing and guiding him at all times, including while writing the Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam amongst other books.

Kirtan at Samadhi

Once I was there at Ter Kadamba (where Srila Rupa Goswami lived a major portion of his life and wrote pieces of literature including Updesamrta) and the old baba there was kindly sharing with me the inner stories and secretes of Vraj Bhumi. 

The tree at Ter Kadamba under which Rupa Goswami did bhajan
The Tree at Ter Kadamba under which Srila Rupa Goswami did bhajan

The conversation went on and on, and he mentioned that Srila Rupa Goswami is still there at his samadhi at Radha Damodar Mandir in Vrindavan and singing kirtan, while simultaneously playing mridanga for the pleasure of the Lord.

Those who are kripa-patra (object of mercy) of Srila Rupa Goswami can see and listen to him leading this shudh-nama-kirtana, and they have been doing parikrama and bhajan at this temple for many years without anybody knowing much about them.

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