Biographies of various saints.
Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami - His life and glories
Madhava - Mon, 29 Jul 2002 15:51:25 +0530
GOPALA BHATTA GOSVAMI’S SUCAKA-KIRTANA
composed by Manohara Das
zrI gopAla-bhaTTa prabhu, tuyA zrI carana kabhu,
dekhibo ki nayana bhariyA || 1 ||
suniyA asIma guNa, paJjare vindhilA ghuna,
nichani niyA yAire bhariyA || 2 ||
pirite gadala tanu, dasabAna hema janu,
cAndramukhe aruNa adhara || 3 ||
jhalake daSana-kanti, jini mukutAra pAnti
hAsi kahe amRta-madhura || 4 ||
paranera parANa yAra, rUpa sanAtana Ara,
raghunAtha-yugala jIvana || 5 ||
paNDita kRSNa lokanAtha, jAna deha-bheda mAtra
saravasva zrI-rAdhA-ramaNa || 6 ||
premete vithAra aGga, caitanya-caraNa bhaGga,
zrInivAse dayAra adhIna || 7 ||
sabhe meli rasAsvAda, bhAva-bhare unmAda,
ei vyavasAya ciradIna || 8 ||
rasAveze gada gada hiyA || 9 ||
aho aho rAgasindhu, aho dIna-jana bandhu,
yaza gAya jagata bhariyA || 10 ||
hA hA mUrti su-madhura, hA hA karuNAra pura,
hA hA cintAmaNi guNa-khani || 11 ||
hA hA prabhu ekabAra, dekhao madhuri-sAra,
zrI-caraNa-kamala lavani || 12 ||
aneka janmera pare, asesa bhagyera tare,
tuya parikara pada payAna || 13 ||
nija karamera doSe, majinu viSaya rase,
janama gonAinu kholi khAyana || 14 ||
aparAdha pare mane, tathApi tomAra guNe,
patita-pAvana AzAbandha || 15 ||
Iobhete caJcalamati upekhile nAhi gati,
phukaraye manohAra manda || 16 ||
(1) Whenever I see the beautiful lotus feet of Sri Gopala Bhatta Prabhu, my eyes flood with tears.
(2) One becomes free from the cycle of birth and death by hearing about your unlimited qualities.
(3) Being attracted by your moonlike face and lips radiant like the rising sun, I can't be pierced by Cupid's ten golden arrows.
(4) Your beautiful teeth resemble a string of pearls. Your joyful words are saturated with sweet nectar.
(5) Sri Rupa and Sanatana are the life of your life-force, and the two Raghunathas are your life.
(6) Pandit Krishnadas Kaviraja and Lokanatha Gosvami are as dear to you as as yourself, and Radha-Ramana is your al in all.
(7) With your body full of love you offer obeisances to Lord Caitanya, and like a honeybee you are attached to His lotus feet. You kindly gave shelter to Srinivasa Acarya.
(8) Your only engagement is associating with pure devotees, relishing rasa, and tasting the divine madness of gopi-bhava.
(9) The pastimes of Radha-Ramana flow through your mind like the celestial Ganges. You are the crest jewel of rasika Vaisnavas. Relishing prema-rasa, you become overwhelmed with ecstatic emotions.
(10) O ocean of spontaneous love for Radha-Ramana! You are the friend of the fallen. Your fame is sung throughout the universe.
(11) O, your form is most sweet and full of mercy! And your unlimited qualities act like a touchstone.
(12) Just once, O master, let me see your lotus feet, the essence of all sweetness.
(13) After many many births, I have attained the rare fortune of serving the servants of your eternal associates.
(14) Because of bad karma I have wasted my life enjoying sense-gratification.
(15) I am full of offenses. But my only hope is that you, being full of merciful qualities, will deliver this fallen soul.
(16) Although his mind is fickle and he is greedy and sinful, still this Manohara Das calls out to you. Please don't neglect
Madhava - Mon, 29 Jul 2002 16:48:07 +0530
GOPALA BHATTA GOSWAMI
Gopala Bhatta was born on the third lunar day of the dark fortnight of Pausa (Dec-Jan) 1500 AD. (GPC. states that his birth was in 1503 AD.). His father, Venkata Bhatta was a renowned Vaisnava from the Ramanuja-sampradaya and lived in the village Velagundi of Srirangam, on the bank of the Kaveri river, in the Trichinapalli district. Gopala was one of the “Six Gosvamis” and is Guna Manjari in Vraja-lila.
During his pilgrimage of Sri Ranga-ksetra in South India, Lord Caitanya lived at the house of his father Venkata Bhatta while observing His vow of Caturmasya in 1511 AD.
When Lord Caitanya arrived the house of Venkata, Gopala, who was only a child of eight years, offered his obeisances at the feet of the Lord. Lord Caitanya picked Gopala up, placed him on His lap, and fondled him lovingly. Later, the Lord called Gopala and gave him the remnants of food left from His plate. During Lord Caitanya's stay at their house, Gopala served Him regularly.
As Venkata was a Vaisnava belonging to the Ramanuja-sampradaya, he worshipped the Deity of Laksmi Narayana. His pure devotional service to the deities was very pleasing to Lord Caitanya. Being in constant association with one another, Lord Caitanya and Venkata gradually developed a friendly relationship. Indeed sometimes they use to joke and laugh together.
When the period of Caturmasya was completed, Lord Caitanya took permission to leave Venkata Bhatta. At that moment the members of Venkata's family, thinking of being separated from the Lord, began to cry, while Gopala fell down unconscious at the feet of Lord Caitanya. The Lord instructed Gopala to stay at home for the time being to look after his parents, and advised him to go to Vrndavana after some time.
Gopala began to study Vyakarana-kavya, Alamkara, and Vedanta, within a short time he became an expert in the said sastras. He also acquired knowledge of Bhakti-sastra under his uncle Prabodhananda Sarasvati.
Gopala concentrated his mind remembering the lotus feet of Lord Caitanya, patiently waiting for the time when he would be free to go to Vrndavana, at the same time nursing his aged parents as commanded by the Lord. He did not have to wait very long, as his parents had reached the last stage of their lives. One day they called Gopala and said, "After our disappearance you should go to Vrndavana and take refuge under the lotus feet of Lord Caitanya." Soon thereafter, Gopala's parents passed away remembering the lotus feet of the Lord upto the very last moment. At last Gopala was freed from material encumbrances and departed for Vrndavana.
On his arrival there, Gopala stayed with Rupa and Sanatana, who had already heard about him from Lord Caitanya. Rupa Gosvami sent a messenger to Puri to inform Lord Caitanya of Gopala's arrival. Meanwhile, they treated Gopala as their own brother, and very soon a relationship of love and intimacy developed between them.
Upon receiving the message at Puri, Lord Caitanya was delighted and told the devotees there about Gopala. The Lord then sent a messenger with a reply to Rupa, along with his personal brahmana thread, kaupina, and an outer-garment for Gopala. (GVA mentions that apart from a holy thread and a kaupina, a blackish colored wooden seat were given by Lord Caitanya for Gopala, which are still preserved in the temple of Radharamana at Vrndavana and regularly worshipped). Gopala accepted the items as the Lord's kripa-prasada and began to follow the instructions for him conveyed through the Lord's letter to Rupa. Gopala was, like Rupa and Sanatana, a homeless person. He would spend night at various groves and study religious books or do his writing work.
Once Gopala Bhatta went on a welfare visit to a village call
ed Devavandya in Sharanpur district. One afternoon he was held up due to an unexpected rain and took shelter in the house of a local brahmana who was a childless devotee. Being very pleased with the cordial reception offered by the brahmana, Gopala Bhatta Gosvami showered his blessings upon the brahmana and said that he would soon beget a devout son. The brahmana reciprocated by making a commitment that he would offer his first son for the seva of Gopala Bhatta.
On his way back to Vrndavana, Gopala collected twelve salagrama's from the bed of the river Gandaki. Gopala worshiped the twelve stones and carried them from place to place with him in a cloth-bag. Eventually he began to feel a longing to worship a deity. Around the same time a wealthy businessman came for darsana of Gopala Bhatta, and being very satisfied, left behind many gifts including ornaments and clothing as an offering to the Lord. Gopala placed all the items before his salagrama stones and in the evening performed routine arati. After practicing bhajan till the late hours of the night, Gopala put his salagrama's to rest for the night, placing a basket over the twelve stones. The next morning, to his amazement, he found that his long cherished desire had been fulfilled; one of the salagrama's had taken the form of Lord Krsna; standing and playing His flute. This deity came to be known as the famous Radharamana vigraha of Vrndavana. 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 salagram sila from which He manifested Himself can be seen.
Ten years passed, then one day at noon, when Gopala Bhatta was returning to his bhajan kutir after taking bath in the Jamuna, he saw that a child was seated near the entrance of the kutir. Upon seeing Gopala Bhatta, the child got up and paid his humble obeisances to Gopala, lying prostrate on the ground. When questioned, the child explained that he had come from Devavandya village in the district of Saharanpur. He stated further that his name was Gopala and his father had sent him to serve Gopala Bhatta. Gopala Bhatta then remembered the past incident and took the child in as his own sevaka. In later years the child came to be known as Gopinatha Pujari Gosvami. He dedicated his bachelor life to the service of the Deity Radharamana.
The following are the works of Gopala Bhatta: Sat-sandarbha-karika, Sri-Krsna-vallabha (Krsna-karnamrta-tika), and Hari Bhakti Vilasa.
Srinivasa Acarya received diksa from Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. Gopala Bhatta passed away on the fifth lunar day of the light fortnight of Asada (June-July) 1585 AD. His samadhi is located behind the Radharamana temple in Vrndavana.
Madhava - Wed, 22 Jan 2003 18:06:44 +0530
Today is the appearance day of Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami.
Malatilata - Wed, 22 Jan 2003 22:54:55 +0530
"O my Prabhu, Sri Gopala Bhatta, the bee at the lotus like feet of Sri Gaura. You are the sun which destroys the darkness of illusion, the ocean of kindness and the greatest of all the brahmanas. You are the son of Sri Venkata Bhatta and a valuable ornament of divine love and devotion. You are the destroyer of worldly miseries and a resort of happiness to the misery stricken people. O Lord save me."
(Bhakti Ratnakara, 1.2)
Malatilata - Wed, 22 Jan 2003 23:09:37 +0530
Mahaprabhu appears to Gopala Bhatta in a dream
I shall attempt to describe the character of Gopala who was always engaged in the service of Sri Mahaprabhu. He was not satisfied to see Mahaprabhu as an ascetic but he lamented privately. He addressed Providence with a choked voice, "O Providence, why was I born in this far away place? "Why have you forced me to see Prabhu in the dress of an ascetic and deprived me from observing His pastimes in Nadia? "How cruel you are to allow Him the life of a renunciate when I long to see Him as Vrajendra Nandana, the Lord of Sri Radhika."
Lamenting in this way he wept like a mad man and breathed a heavy sigh as hot as fire. Forgiving Providence, Gopala then lamented that the ill fortune was his own fault. Having spent himself in lamentation, Gopala remained reticent yet Gaurahari could understand the state of Gopala's mind.
When Gopala fell asleep, the Lord of Navadvipa appeared to him in a dream. Lord Gaurasundara strolling through the streets of Navadvipa and he was there with him. Nityananda and Advaita took him lovingly in their arms but when they were about to tell him something, he woke up from his sleep. Gopala looked around in bewilderment and them went impatiently to find Sri Gaura. Mahaprabhu was delighted and revealed Himself in the form of a cowherd boy with a blue complexion.
The divine beauty remained but in a few moments the blue complexion turned golden. The glow of Gaurasundara's beauty enchanted the universe. How beautiful was that hair that curled across His shoulders. His forehead was decorated by Vaisnava tilaka, His eyebrows were dramatically raised and His magnificent glance stole the hearts of all the ladies. His beautiful face defeated the pride of the autumn moon and His smile showered nectar. His beautiful dhoti was wrapped with three folds and decorated with various ornaments, His gestures and postures were fascinating. The garland of malati flowers hanging round Nimai's neck enchanted Gopala.
He fell to the feet of Mahaprabhu and again looked at His face with expectation, but the Lord had reassumed His ascetic form.
(Bhakti Ratnakara, 1.100-119)
Malatilata - Wed, 22 Jan 2003 23:24:29 +0530
Srila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami is Guna Manjari in Radha Krishna lila. Here are some details of her as they are described in Sripad Dhyanacandra's Paddhati.
Name: Guna Manjari
Age: 13 years, 1 month, 27 days
Dress: fine silk-dress the color of a red jaba-flower
Kunja: Gunanandaprada-kunja (in the north-eastern part of Campakalata’s kunja)
Malatilata - Wed, 22 Jan 2003 23:56:40 +0530
"O Prince of Vraja!
When can I see You being surrounded by Radhika's girlfriends,
eager to begin the springfestival (Holi),
while Sri Radhika encourages You with a bright smile
and restless sidelong glances to kiss Guna Manjari's face?"
Excerpts from the Makaranda Kana-Vyakhya: At the beginning of the Vasanta-festival the sylvan goddess Vrinda decorates Vrindavana with the entire beauty of the spring-season. The budding mangotrees are beautifully entwined by the blooming Madhavi and Lavanga-vines, and the whole forest is maddened by the fragrance of the blooming flowers that grow on the red Asoka-, Naga-Kesara-, Mandara- and Bakula-trees and on the golden vines and fresh jasmine-vines.
With the greatest love Vrinda-devi and her sylvan goddesses decorated Radha and Madhava with dresses and ornaments that are fitting for the spring-season. Then Vrinda showed Them an enchanting Ranga Vedika (colour platform), saying: "O Radha-Krishna! O embodiments of Vraja's welfare! Behold this enchanting stage for performing the vernal pastimes! There are golden jugs here filled with water and paste made of mixtures of aguru (aloe), kunkuma (vermilion), musk, camphor, balls made of betelleaves, garlands, flower-scented water and sandalwoodpulp. There are golden lac flasks everywhere, that explode even when you blow on them, filled with pastes and powders made of five substances - camphor, vermilion, musk, aguru and sandalwoodpulp."
Then Sri Radha and Her girlfriends and Krishna with His friends like Subala and Madhumangala climbed on the broad platform and stood on either side, taking all their playthings like syringes and began to play Holi by squirting scented water at Eachother. Some were playing different kinds of musical instruments, some were singing vernal songs and some were throwing scented powder- and flowerballs at eachother. Hasya rasika Madhumangala expertly wandered around and blissfully danced. The Sulocana Vrajaramas made amazing jokes with eachother while throwing sindura and kunkuma-powder at eachother, playing Vinas and blissfully singing the Dvipadika raga with honey-sweet voices.
When Srila Rupa Gosvami sees this wonderful vernal pastime in his form of Rupa Manjari he/she is absorbed in the rasa of topmost ecstasy. The kinkaris stand at a short distance and behold the vasantotsava of Sri-Sri Radha-Madhava with Their sakhis and sakhas. Guna Manjari is one of these maidservants that is watching these vernal plays through the holes in the vines in a lonely place.
Srimati and Her sakhis and Krishna and His sakhas pelted each other with fragrant water from their syringes and occasionally aimed at the kinkaris also with the fragrant water. With a sweetly smiling face Sri Radhika then gave a hint to Sri Krishna towards Guna Manjari, who was hiding between the vines. Sri Krishna, understanding the hint of His Priyaji, suddenly came up to Guna Manjari, held her with His arms and kissed her on the mouth.
Guna Manjari then cried out: "O Lord! Forgive me! What are You doing? I am just Your wretched maidservant!", wrested herself out of His arms with the greatest difficulty and ran away.
(Sri Utkalika Vallari, verse 46)