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Rupa Shrila Rupa Gosvami
A108.net posted an article in Articles (English)In the conclusion of his "Laghu-tosani Jiva Gosvami has given some biographical information in which he explains that Sarvajna is seventh in the ascending genealogical line from Rupa Gosvami. He was highly respected amongst the brahmanas of Karnataka, thus he was also referred to as "Jagadguru." Being a brahmana from the Yajurveda clan, who are descendants of Bharadvaja, Sarvajna was a erudite scholar of all sastras and theological treatises. Attracted by Sarvajna's scholastic ability and admirable qualities, students flocked from different parts of the country to study under him. Sarvajna was also a king. Sarvajna's son, Aniruddha, was a great "Yajurveda scholar and was admired by all. Aniruddha had two wives and two sons. His sons were Rupesvara and Harihara. Rupesvara became theologically astute, whereas Harihara became skilled in the use of weapons. When Aniruddha died the kingdom was divided between the two sons, but Harihara occupied the land of Rupesvara by force. In a helpless condition Rupesvara and his family migrated to Paurastyadesa, where he became friends with the local King, Sikharesvara. Rupesvara's son Padmanabha acquired great fame due to his handsome features, admirable qualities, erudition and wealth. Padmanabha moved his home to the village of Nabahatta (modern Naihati) on the bank of the Bhagirathi. Padmanabha had eighteen daughters and five sons. The youngest son was named Mukunda. Mukunda's son, Kumara deva, was an extremely religious man. When religious upheaval occurred in Naihati, Kumara deva moved to Bakla Candradvipa (in Jessore). He is said to have settled for some time at Fateyavad — located between Naihati and Bakla. The three most renowned sons of Kumaradeva were Sanatana, Rupa and Anupama. When their father died, these three sons went to their maternal uncle's home in Sakurma near the capital of Gauda where they continued their studies. "Gaudiya Vaisnava Abhidhana”, P. 1350-1351: Rupa Gosvami was one of the six Gosvamis associated with Shri Gauranga-lila. According to "Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika 180 he was Shri Rupa manjari in Krishna lila. He occupied a responsible post in the service of the Badshah Hussain Shah of Gauda. He later renounced everything and surrendered himself at the feet of Lord Gauranga. His fascinating biography is described in the "Chaitanya Charitamrita , "Bhaktamala”, etc. Narottama Thakur has rightly praised him as "Shri Chaitanyamanohabhista-stapaka" (the implementor of Lord Chaitanya's desires). Rupa Gosvami was specifically commanded by Lord Chaitanya to carry out two tasks: (1) to re-locate and preserve the lost pilgrimage places of Vrndavana, and (2) to write and preach Vaisnava theology. From Prayaga Rupa Gosvami went to Vrndavana. He then visited his native home where he settled his property concerns. Thereafter he traveled on to Nilacala to meet Lord Chaitanya. While staying at Gauda, Rupa Gosvami developed the desire to write the Vidagdhamadhava and Lalitamadhava nataka. Initially he planned to present the Vraja-lila and the Pura-lila together in one drama with the view of calming the intensity of the Vrajaviraha by including the Dwaraka-lila. However, while in Satyabhamapura he was commanded by Satyabhamadevi to write two separate dramas. In Nilacala Lord Chaitanya also gave him the same instruction. Only those who appreciate the true Vaisnava spirit will understand the immense pleasure which Lord Chaitanya and His associates derived from listening to this drama. After surcharging and empowering Rupa Gosvami with divine energy, Lord Chaitanya sent him back to Vrndavana. The following is a list of the most well-known books of Rupa Gosvami: Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu; Ujvala-nilamani; Laghu-bhagavatamrta; Vidagdha-madhava; Lalita-madhava; Nikunja-rahasya-stava; Stava-mala; Shri Radha Krsna Ganoddesa Dipika; Mathura-mahatmya; Uddhava Sandesa; Hamsadutam; Dana-keli-kaumudi; Shri Krsna-janma-tithi-vidhi; Prayuktakhyatamanjari, Natakacandrika The following are references from Chaitanya Charitamrita which deal with Rupa Gosvami: (From "GPC): In his "Laghu Vaisnava Tosani", Shri Jiva Gosvami describes the descendants of Rupa and Sanatana: "Their forefather was Shri Sarvajna Jagadguru who was a Yajurvedi brahmana of the Varadvaja caste and the King of Karnataka. His son was Aniruddha Deva, who had two queens and two sons, Shri Rupesvara and Shri Harihara deva. Shri Rupesvara deva was an expert in sastras, and Shri Harihara deva was expert in the use of weapons. By force, Shri Harihara snatched the power and estate of Shri Rupesvara deva. Thus Shri Rupesvara deva, along with his wife and eight horses, went to Paulasthadesa. There he became a friend of the King, Shri Sekharesvara. Shri Rupesvara deva had a son named Shri Padmanava deva, who was a genius in Vedic scriptures. Shri Padmanavadeva lived at Naihati on the bank of the Ganges. He had eight daughters and five sons. All of his sons, namely Purusottama, Jagannatha, Narayana, Murari and Mukunda deva, were brilliant scholars of the Vedic scriptures. Shri Mukunda deva built his house and settled at Bakla Candradvipa. He also built a house in Jessore and Fateyavad because he frequently visited the houses of his yajamanas. Shri Kumara Deva was the son of Shri Mukunda deva. He had many sons amongst whom Shri Sanatana, Shri Rupa and Shri Anupama (Vallabha) were great Bhagavatas." Shri Sanatana Gosvami was born in 1488 A.D. (1410 Saka). Shri Rupa Gosvami was born in 1493 A.D. (1415 Saka). In order to complete their education they lived at their uncle's house in a small village named Sakurma near the capital of Gauda. Having heard the glories of Shri Rupa and Sanatana from many intelligent persons, Badshah Hussain Shah of Gauda appointed the two brothers as ministers in the court. Though reluctant to accept the Bhadshah's offer, out of fear of the Yavana King, they agreed to take the post. Hussain Shah happily offered them enormous amounts of wealth and riches. Shri Rupa and Sanatana thus lived in the village of Ramakeli, the capital of Gauda. Many great brahmana scholars from different parts of the country visited their house regularly, and the two brothers took great pleasure in serving and arranging accommodations for them. The brother of Sarvabhauma, the famous Vidyavacaspati, was the philosophy teacher of Shri Rupa and Sanatana. As mentioned in the "Dasama Tippani” of the Bhagavata, their other teachers were Shri Paramananda Bhattacarya and Shri Ramapada Vadrapada. From their early childhood Rupa, Sanatana and Anupama, were very devotionally inclined. Thinking of the wonderful land of Vrndavana, they use to plant trees like Tamala, Kadamba, Yuthika and Tulasi groves in the nearby garden of their house. They also dug two lakes in their garden, naming them Radhakunda and Syamakunda. Everyday they were absorbed in the service of Madana Mohana. When they heard the glories of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, they became extremely anxious to meet Him. A transcendental voice spoke to them saying, "Be patient, the deliverer of mankind will soon come to visit your village." When they heard that Shri Gaurahari had taken sannyasa and gone to Puri, Sanatana and Rupa fainted on the ground in grief. Thinking that they would never have the opportunity to see the Lord they began to lament profusely. Suddenly a voice spoke to them saying, "Do not lament, the ocean of mercy — Shri Gaurahari will soon come here." Thus they heaved a sigh of relief. After living happily in Puri for five years, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to Gauda to see his mother and the River Ganges. The devotees were mad with joy and mother Saci, overwhelmed with ecstacy, happily cooked various preparation for her dear son. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu stayed in the house of Shri Advaita Acharya in Santipura for some days and then traveled on to Ramakeli. In this way Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu arrived at the beautiful village of Ramakeli. There He danced in ecstacy and millions swarmed around Him to take the dust of His lotus feet. When news of Mahaprabhu's powerful presence reached Badshah Hussain Shah he said, "Without giving in charity this fellow has soo many people following behind Him. He must be a great prophet." Thus he told the Kaji and the Yavanas not to obstruct Him in any way and to allow Him do anything and go anywhere. Due to the presence of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu the entire village of Ramakeli overflowed with joy. People from all corners came to see the Lord. When the Badshah asked his special representative, Kesava Chatri, about Mahaprabhu's presence, Kesava Chatri said, "Yes, I have heard that a beggar sannyasi has come here along with a few followers." The Badshah said, "What are you talking about? Millions of people are walking with Him." Hearing this Kesava Chatri smiled slightly. The Bhadshah then privately spoke to Dabira Khasa (Rupa Gosvami) who replied, replied, "Why are you asking me? Ask your own mind. It is this Gosvami who has given you this kingdom. It is your good fortune that He has taken birth in your country. Go and see Him yourself. Can any human being possess such magnetic power of attraction?" The Badshah was pleased by Sanatana's sweet words and ordered that Mahaprabhu be allowed to do whatever He likes. After returning to his residence, Dabira Khasa and his brother decided after much consideration to go see the Lord incognito. Thus in the dead of night the two brothers, Dabira Khasa and Sakara Mallika, went to see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu incognito. First they met Nityananda Prabhu and Haridasa Thakur, who told Lord Chaitanya about two personalities — Rupa and Sanatana — had come to see Him. In great humility, both brothers took bunches of straw between their teeth, and each binding a cloth around his neck, they fell down like rods before the Lord. Upon seeing Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the two brothers were overwhelmed with joy, and out of humility they began to cry. The Lord asked them to get up and assured them of all good fortune. The two brothers got up and humbly offered prayers with folded hands. After hearing the prayers of Dabira Khasa and Sakara Mallika, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said: "My dear Dabira Khasa, you two brothers are My old servants. From this day your names will be changed to Srila Rupa and Srila Sanatana. Now please abandon your humility, for My heart is breaking to see you so humble. You have written several letters showing your humility. and from these I have understood your heart. I really had no business in coming to Bengal, but I have come just to see you two. In accordance with the instructions of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the two brothers immediately touched the lotus feet of all the Vaisnava associates of the Lord present, including Nityananda, Haridasa Thakur, Srivasa Thakur, Gadadhara Pandit, Mukunda, Jagadananda, Murari and Vakresvara, who all became very happy and congratulated the brothers for having received the mercy of the Lord. On the eve of the Lord's departure from Ramakeli, He blessed Shri Sanatana and Rupa by saying, "Very soon Krishna will free you from the entanglement of material life." Later, the younger brother of Shri Sanatana and Rupa, Shri Anupama, along with his son and other family members, worshiped the lotus feet of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and sang His glories. Mahaprabhu placed his hand on the head of Shri Jiva, the only son of Anupama. After the Lord departed from Ramakeli Rupa and Sanatana began to devise means to get out of their government service. Both brothers appointed some brahmanas to perform purascarana ceremonies and chant the holy name of Krishna. Srila Rupa Gosvami deposited ten thousand gold coins with a grocer, and the balance he brought in two boats to a place called Bakla Candradvipa. There he divided this money among the brahmanas, Vaisnavas and his relatives, and a portion he kept for emergency measures and personal needs. When Rupa Gosvami was informed that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was going to Vrndavana from Jagannatha Puri through the forest of Madhya Pradesh, he sent two people to Jagannatha Puri to find out when the Lord would leave for Vrndavana. When Mahaprabhu started for Vrndavana, Rupa left home and sent news to Sanatana that he was leaving with his younger brother (Anupama Mallika) to meet Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Meanwhile, Sanatana Gosvami told the Nawab that he was sick and could not attend to his work. Giving this excuse, he sat home and studied "Srimad Bhagavatam with learned brahmana scholars. The Nawab Hussain Shah first sent his personal physician to see what the real facts were; then he personally came to see why Sanatana was not attending to official business. Knowing that he wanted to resign his post, the Nawab had him arrested and imprisoned. The Nawab then went off to attack Orissa. Rupa Gosvami finally reached Prayaga. While Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was sitting in a solitary place in the home of a Deccan brahmana, Rupa Gosvami and Shri Vallabha (Anupama) came to meet Him. Both brothers were overwhelmed with ecstatic emotion and immediately fell down on the ground like rods. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was very pleased to see Srila Rupa Gosvami and told him, "Stand up! Stand up! My dear Rupa, come here. It is not possible to describe Krishna's mercy for He has delivered you both from the well of material enjoyment." After this the Lord sat them down by His side and asked, "What news do you have of Sanatana?" Rupa replied, "Sanatana has now been arrested by the government of Hussain Shah. If You kindly save him, he can be liberated from that entanglement." Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu immediately replied, "Sanatana has already been released from his confinement, and he will very soon meet with Me." At the time of Mahaprabhu's visit to Prayaga, Shri Vallabacarya was living in the village of Araila on the other bank of the Triveni. One day he invited the Lord to his house for lunch and Shri Rupa and Anupama accompanied Him. The Lord introduced the brothers Rupa and Vallabha to him. From a distance, the brothers fell on the ground and offered obeisances to Vallabha Bhatta with great humility. When Vallabha Bhattacarya walked toward them, they ran away to a more distant place. Rupa Gosvami said, "I am untouchable and most sinful. Please do not touch me." Vallabha Bhattacarya was very surprised at this. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, however, was very pleased, and He therefore spoke to him this description of Rupa Gosvami: "Don't touch him, for he belongs to a very low caste. You are a follower of Vedic principles and are a well experienced performer of many sacrifices. You also belong to the aristocracy." Hearing the holy name constantly vibrated by the two brothers, Vallabha Bhattacarya could understand the hints of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, thus he said: "Since these two are constantly chanting the holy name of Krishna, how can they be untouchable? On the contrary, they are most exalted." The two brothers lay prostrate on the ground at the feet of Vallavacarya and praised him eloquently. Due to the great crowds in Prayaga, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to a place called Dasasvamedha-ghata. It was there that the Lord instructed Shri Rupa Gosvami for ten successive days and empowered him to understand the philosophy of devotional service. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, "My dear Rupa, please listen to Me. It is not possible to describe devotional service completely; therefore I am just trying to give you a synopsis of the symptoms of devotional service. The ocean of the transcendental mellow of devotional service is so big that no one can estimate its length and breadth. However, just to help you taste it, I am describing but one drop. Now listen to Me. Out of many millions o wise men, one may actually become liberated, and out of many millions of such liberated persons, a pure devotee of Lord Krishna is very difficult to find. Because a devotee of Lord Krishna is desireless, he is peaceful. Fruitive workers desire material enjoyment, jnanis desire liberation, and yogis desire material opulence; therefore they are all lusty and cannot be peaceful. Out of many millions of wandering living entities, one who is very fortunate gets an opportunity to associate with a bona fide spiritual master by the grace of Krishna. By the mercy of both Krishna and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service. That seed must be watered by hearing and chanting. In this way the creeper sprouts and gradually, through continued watering, grows more and more and attains the shelter of the desire tree of the lotus feet of Krishna, who is eternally situated in the planet known as Goloka Vrndavana in the topmost region of the spiritual sky. There the devotee serves the lotus feet of the Lord, which are compared to a wish-fulfilling tree. With great bliss he tastes the juice of the fruit of love and becomes eternally happy." "Now I shall describe the symptoms of pure devotional service. Pure devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead is causeless and it cannot be obstructed in any way. Such a devotee does not accept saloka, sarsti, sarupya, samipya or onesness with Krishna, even if offered these liberations. A pure devotee simply wants to serve Krishna. By regularly rendering devotional service, one gradually becomes attached to the Lord. When that attachment is intensified, it becomes love of Godhead. The basic aspects of prema, when gradually increasing to different states, are affection, abhorrence, love, attachment, further attachment, ecstasy and great ecstasy. All these stages combined are called sthayibhava, or continuous love of Godhead in devotional service. In addition to these stages, there are vibhava and anubhava. When the higher standard of ecstatic love is mixed with the symptoms of sattvika and vyahicari, the devotee relishes the transcendental bliss of loving Krishna in a variety of nectarean tastes. According to the devotee, attachment falls within the five categories of santa-rati, dasya-rati, sakhya-rati, vatsalya-rati and madhurya-rati. These five categories arise from the devotees' different attachments to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Examples of santa-bhaktas are the nine Yogendras and the four Kumaras. Examples of devotees in dasya-bhakti are innumerable, for such devotees exist everywhere (such as Raktaka, Citraka, Daruka, Hanuman, etc.). In Vrndavana, examples of devotees in fraternity are Sridama and Sudama; in Dvaraka the Lord's friends are Bhima and Arjuna; in Vrndavana the devotees in parental love are mother Yasoda and father Nanda Maharaja, and in Dvaraka the Lord's parents are Vasudeva and Devaki. The chief devotees in conjugal love are the gopis in Vrndavana, the queens in Dvaraka and the goddesses of fortune in Vaikuntha. In this way Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taught Srila Rupa Gosvami the ultimate limit of the truth about Lord Krishna, the truth about devotional service and the truth about transcendental mellows, consummating in conjugal love between Radha and Krishna. Finally He told Rupa Gosvami about the ultimate conclusions of "Srimad Bhagavatam. By entering the heart of Rupa Gosvami, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu empowered him to ascertain properly the conclusions of all truths. He made him an experienced devotee whose decisions correctly agreed with the verdicts of the disciplic succession. Thus Shri Rupa Gosvami was personally empowered by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. After giving so much instruction, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu advised Shri Rupa to go to Vrndavana. The Lord then departed for Varanasi. With a grievous heart due to separation from the Lord, Shri Rupa and Anupama started for Vrndavana.
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