Biographies of various saints.
Sri Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami - Disappearance Day
Madhava - Sun, 20 Oct 2002 18:14:16 +0530
SRI RAGHUNATHA BHATTA GOSVAMI
(From O.B.L. Kapoor’s “The Gosvamis of Vrindavana”)
On the bank of river Padma in Bengal there is a village called Rampur, where lived Tapana Misra, a very sincere and simple-hearted devotee. He loved the Lord intensely, but did not know how to attain Him. He enquired from different people about the path that could lead up to Him. Every one told him about the path he thought best. But he could not find any one, who had himself gone on the path and could lead up to Him. He was lost in the maze of the different paths and did not know what to do.
In utter helplessness and despair he only wept and wept throughout the day and night and could not sleep. Little did he know that in so doing he was following the simplest and the most direct path of attaining the Lord. For the Lord Himself comes to one, who loves Him so sincerely and exclusively. He does not have to find the path to attain Him. He Himself becomes the path and the guide to lead him along the path.
This is exactly what happened with Tapana Misra. One night, when he was weeping, he fell asleep and saw a dream. He saw that some Divine Being was telling him, “Listen, listen O Brahmin! You need not lose heart. Go to Nimai Pandita. He will tell you everything about the End and the means. Do not take Him to be a man. He is the Lord Himself, Who has come down on earth in the guise of a bhakta to show the path of bhakti to the fallen souls of Kali. I have told you this secret, which is hidden even from the Vedas. Do not reveal it to anyone else.”
Tapana Misra’s sleep was broken. Tears of joy flowed from his eyes as he thought of the dream. He must go to Navadvipa and surrender himself at the feet of Nimai Pandita, he thought. But he did not have to go to Navadvipa. Nimai Pandita had already established Himself as the biggest pandita of Navadvipa. He was now out on a tour of East Bengal. Travelling in East Bengal, He had taken Lokanatha with Him and was at that time in Rampur itself. Tapana came to know about this and went and fell prostrate at His feet. He said to Him with folded hands, “Prabhu! I am a fallen soul. I do not find peace in this world. I do not know how to attain peace. Kindly tell me what I should do, what is the highest end of life and how it can be achieved.”
Nimai Pandita said, “Tapana! In this age of Kali nama-kirtana is the only sadhana. No other sadhana can take you across the ocean of this world. Day and night chant this mantra containig thirty two letters and sixteen names of the Lord:Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rima Hare Rima Rime Rima Hare Hare
In due course prema will sprout in your heart and then you will yourself know every thing about sadhya and sadhana.”
Tapana was happy to hear this. It was not possible for him now to go back home. He sought Nimai Pandita’s permission to accompany Him wherever He went. Nimai Pandita said, “Tapana, you go to Varanasi, where we shall meet again. Just now I have told you everything about sadhya and sadhana in a nut-shell. There I shall tell you more in detail.
Nimai Pandita then embraced Tapana and bade him farewell. But before leaving Tapana again made obeisance to Him and quietly told Him about the dream he had seen. Nimai Pandita confirmed the dream by saying, “What you saw in the dream is all true. But do not divulge it to anyone.”
Madhava - Sun, 20 Oct 2002 18:21:00 +0530
Birth of Raghunatha Bhatta and Meeting Mahaprabhu
In this incarnation Mahaprabhu had a dual person-ality as bhakta and Bhagavan. His usual bhava was that of a bhakta. The moments in which He appeared as Bhagavan before His devotees were rare. While in bhakta bhava He always concealed His divinity. But Tapana Misra was one of those fortunate persons to whom He not only disclosed the secret of His divine personality through dream, but also confirmed it by His word of mouth. Raghunatha Bhatta was the son of Tapana Misra - fortunate son of fortunate father. He was born in Varanasi in 1505, two years after his father had shifted there. Mahaprabhu was as merciful to Raghunatha Bhatta as to his father. He was only eight or nine years old when, like Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, he was blessed with an opportunity to serve Him.
One day Mahaprabhu visited Varanasi on His way to Vrindavana. He bathed in the Gariga on the Mani-karnika Ghata. At that time Tapana Misra was also bathing at the Manikarnika Ghata. All of a sudden he heard the sweet note of “Hari Bol, Hari Bol!” resounding in the air. What?! The sound of “Hari Bol!” in Varanasi, the stronghold of the Mayavadi sannyasis! The roar of the tumultuous waves of the high sea in a desert! He could not belive his ears. He turned round and had gone only a few steps, when he saw Mahaprabhu, the Golden Moon of his heart, sitting under a banian tree,’ radiating the golden lustre of His body and attracting crowds as the moon attracts the waves of the sea. There was no end to his joy. But the joy was not unmixed. For what he saw was not the Nimai Pandita of Navadvipa but the Nimai with shaven head in the clothes of a Sannyasi. Tears of joy and sorrow began to flow from his eyes. He went and fell at His feet. Mahaprabhu lifted and embraced him.
Tapana took Him to the temples of Visvesvara and Bindumadhava for darsana and then to his home. He and his family took His caranamrta. Then he surrendered Raghunatha at His feet. Mahaprabhu took Raghunatha in His lap and caressed him. Tapana worshipped Mahaprabhu and made Him take His meal. After Mahaprabhu had eaten, He rested for a while and Raghunatha massaged His feet. Tapana, his wife and Raghunatha took His prasada.
When Tapana Misra came to know that Mahaprabhu would go to Vrindavana, he insisted on His staying in Varanasi for a few days and taking bhiksa at his home every day. Mahaprabhu did not want to stay in Varanasi, but on his insistence He had to stay for ten days. During those ten days Mahaprabhu talked to him in detail about sadhya and sadhana. Raghunatha also was blessed with the opportunity of listening to His teachings, massaging His feet and eating His prasada. When Mahaprabhu returned from Vrindavana he stayed at the house of Candrasekhara Acarya for two months, but took his bhiksa every day at the house of Tapana Misra.
After two months when Mahaprabhu was about to start for Nilacala Tapana and Raghunatha wanted to go with Him, but He persuaded them to stay on in Varanasi. Some time later when Rupa Gosvami was going to Nilacala, he stopped at Varanasi and took his food at the house of Tapana Misra. At that time Raghunatha got an opportunity of his darsana and service.
Madhava - Sun, 20 Oct 2002 18:25:42 +0530
In Jagannatha Puri
Tapana made adequate arrangements for the educ-ation of Raghunatha. He began his study. But his mind and heart were captured by Mahaprabhu. He always pined for His dargana and service. He knew that there was no difference between Him and His Name. There-fore he repeated His Name day and night and said, “Oh! When will that auspicious day be, when I will again, have the darsana of His lotus feet?” By the grace of Mahaprabhu that day arrived as soon as his education was completed and he became well versed in the sastras.
One day he came to know that some devotees were going to Puri on the occasion of Ratha-Yatra. With the permission of his parents he joined them. As soon as he reached Puri, he went to Gambhira, where Maha-prabhu lived and fell at His feet, bathing them with the tears of his eyes.
Mahaprabhu said with a start, “Who, Raghunatha?!” As He said this His face radiated with joy. Raghunatha said, “Yes Prabhu, your humble ser-vant Raghunatha”.
Mahaprabhu embraced and bathed him with His tears of grace. Mahaprabhu enquired about the welfare of Tapana Misra. He made Raghunatha stay with Him in Gambhira that day. The next day he asked Govinda to make separate arrangement for his lodging.
Raghunatha stayed in Puri for eight months. During this period he enjoyed the company and ever increasing mercy of Mahaprabhu. He was an expert cook. He often invited Mahaprabhu and gave Him different dainties pre-pared by himself to eat. Whatever he prepared tasted like ambrosia.’ After feeding Mahaprabhu, he ate His prasada.
After eight months Mahaprabhu sent Raghunatha back to Varanasi. While bidding him farewell he said, “Raghunatha, do not marry. Serve well your parents. Study Srimad Bhagavatam from some Vaisnava. Once again come to Nilacala”. As he said this he presented His kantha-mala to him and embraced him. On receiving the blessings of Mahaprabhu in the shape of the kantha-mala he began to shed tears of joy. With heart full of love and throat choked with emotion he asked Svarupa and others for permission to leave and started for Varanasi.
On reaching Varanasi he remained engaged in the service of his parents and the study of Srimad Bhagavatam. After four years, when his parents died, he again went to Puri and stayed there for eight months, after which Mahaprabhu said, “Raghunatha, now you go to Vrindavana, live in the company of Rupa-Sanatana, read Srimad Bhagavatam and always chant the name of Krishna. Thus you will soon attain the lotus feet of Sri Krishna.”
Mahaprabhu gave him the fourteen feet long garland of Tulasi leaves and pana-bidi, which He had received as prasada from Jagannatha and embraced him to infuse His sakti in him before he left.
Madhava - Sun, 20 Oct 2002 18:30:55 +0530
The way to Vrindavana was long. But the pangs of separation from Mahaprabhu, which he suffered and His sweet memories made him oblivious of its length and the trials and tribulations of the journey. Always remembering Mahaprabhu, shedding tears in His remem-brance and saying “Ha Gaura! Ha Gaura!” he reached Vrindavana. His arrival in Vrindavana marked the beginning of a new phase in the bhava and bhakti of Vrindavana. Rupa and Sanatana found in him a valuable companion. They often sat together and talked of Mahaprabhu and shed tears of love as they talked.
Mahaprabhu’s special purpose in sending him to Vrindavana was that a perennial stream of Bhagavatam-katha (discourses on Bhagavatam) should flow in Vrindavana, just as it flowed in Nilacala. In Nilacala Gadadhara Pandita used to read Srimad Bhagavatam, and Mahaprabhu and his companions listened. Ma-haprabhu gave as much importance to Bhagavatarn-patha (reading of Bhagavatam) as to the service of the Sri Vigraha or the chanting of the Name, because like the Sri Vigraha and the name of the Lord He regarded Srimad Bhagavatam as non-different from Sri Krishna. He regarded Raghunatha as a very suitable person for assuming the role of Bhagavatam pathakal in Vrindavana since He had specially prepared him for it.
Raghunatha had all the qualities of an ideal Bhagavatam pathaka. As desired by Mahaprabhu he had made a thorough study of Srimad Bhagavatam. The entire Bhagavatam was, as it were, inscribed in his memory in golden letters. It appeared from the manner in which he explained the secret portions of Srimad Bhagavatam that he was practised not only in swimming on the surface of the ocean that was Srimad Bhagavatam, but also in diving deep into it and bringing out the jewels that lay at the bottom.
His heart was always full up to the brim with bhakti-rasa. At the time of delivering Bhagavatam patha (discourses on Bhagavatam) it used to spill out in the form of tears. His vision got blurred and throat was choked and it became difficult to continue the patha. He was also an expert in music and his voice was sweet. He could sing and repeat each s1oka in different tunes! Ever since he came to Vrindavana, his Bhagavata -katha became an integral part of the bhajana of the people of Vrindavana.
Influenced by his Bhagavatam patha many people became his disciples. He asked one of his rich disciples to build a big temple for Govinda Deva in place of the old small temple. It was in the hall of this temple that he used to do the Bhagavatam patha.
Raghunatha Bhatta could not write any book, because all his time was spent in smarana (contempla-tion) of Krishna-lila and Krishna-katha and kirtana. There was no question of his thinking or talking about any thing that was worldly. There was also no question of his talking ill of any one, because he believed that there was no one, who did not practise Krishna-bhajana.
At the time of smarana he wore the Tulasi mala or the kantha-mala given to him by Mahaprabhu arid by the grace of Mahaprabhu dived deep into the ocean of Krishna prema.
Madhava - Sun, 20 Oct 2002 18:33:33 +0530
The Passing Away
The bond of love between Rupa, Sanatana and Raghunatha Bhatta was unparallaled. They were one in soul; different only in body. It was not possible for them to tolerate one another’s separation. It is no wonder, therefore, that they left the world in the same year and more or less at the same time. Sanatana Gosvami left on the Purnima of the month of Asadha in 1554, Rupa Gosvami on Sravani Sukla Dvadasi and Raghunatha Bhatta on Asvina Sukla Dvadasi the same year. In his last moments Raghunatha had round his neck the fourteen feet long Tulasi-mala, the prasada of Jagannatha given to him by Mahaprabhu and the name of Mahaprabhu on his tongue.
His samadhi exists within the precincts of what is known as Chausatha-Mahanton-Ki-Samadhi in front of the temple of Govinda Deva. In Gauraganoddesa-dipika he is named Raga Manjari of Vraja-lila.