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    Shrila Bhugarbha Gosvami

    Shrila Bhugarbha GoswamiA disciple of Shrila Gadadhara Pandit, Shrila Bhugarbha Goswami shared an intimate friendship with Shri Lokanatha Goswami. Inspired by Lord Chaitanya, they were the first and most senior devotees to settle in Vrindavana. Before the arrival of Shri Rupa and Shri Sanatana Goswamis they tried to uncover the lost holy places of Radha-Govindaji.

    Unlike the aggressive approach of modern scientists to discover the unknown, Bhugarbha and Lokanatha Goswamis found Shri Krishna's pastime forests by the humble method of surrender. They simply wandered around Vrindavana calling out the names of her twelve forests, "Bhandiravan, Kamyavan, Mahavan, Talavan … " And Shrimati Vrinda Devi (the maintainer of the forests and an expansion of Krishna's pastime potency) revealed the exact location of each and every forest.

    Just as there is very little mentioned in the scriptures about the life of Shrila Lokanatha Goswami, in the same way, there is little written about his dear friend Shrila Bhugarbha Goswami. Shrila Lokanatha and Shri Bhugarbha Goswami were of one heart and mind. On the order of Caitanya Mahaprabhu they went to live in Vrindavana. Bhugarbha Goswami was a disciple of Gadadhara Pandita. Among his disciples were Shri Govindadeva's pujari Caitanya Dasa, as well as Mukundananda Chakravarti, Premi Krishnadasa and others.

    Shri Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami writes: "The eleventh branch of Gadadhara Goswami was Bhugarbha Goswami and the twelfth was Bhagavata Dasa. Both of them went to Vrindavana and resided there for life."

    Shri Kavikarnapura writes in his Gaura-ganodesa-dipika that Bhugarbha Goswami was formerly the gopi named Prema Manjari in Vrindavana. While in Vrindavana, Bhugarbha Goswami passed away and entered into the unmanifest pastimes of the Lord on the fourteenth day of the full moon in the month of Kartika.

    Lokanatha Goswami and Bhugarbha Goswami lived together in Vrindavana as one. Shrila Narahari Chakravarti Thakura writes about them in his Bhakti-ratnakara: "Bhugarbha Goswami and Lokanatha Goswami were world-preachers; they were so close and affectionate to one another that they were like one body."

    In Vrindavana, Bhugarbha Goswami and Lokanatha Goswami were regarded as among the principle Goswamis, as they were senior by age and experience to many. The foremost among the subsequent followers of Rupa Goswami, Narottama Dasa Thakura, writes about Bhugarbha Goswami, with whom he had much affectionate association: "O Hari! Why am I addicted to this abominable path of karma? I didn't worship Radha-Krishna in Vraja even one iota, nor could I understand the position of spontaneous devotion - raga-marga. Svarupa Damodara, Sanatana Goswami, Raghunatha Bhatta, Raghunatha dasa, Gopala Bhatta Goswami, Bhugarbha Goswami, Jiva Goswami, and Lokanatha Goswami - I never offered a drop of service to their lotus feet. How then shall I attain the goal of life? Krishnadasa Kaviraja is among the most exalted rasika-bhaktas, devotees whose sole interest is in relishing the mellows of devotion to Radha-Govinda and Mahaprabhu. He compiled the Caitanya-Caritamrita which describes the pastimes of Shri Caitanya and the Govinda-lilamrita, describing the pastimes of Radha-Krishna. Hearing the pastimes of Gaura-Govinda would melt even stone, but it had no effect on my consciousness. Not only have I failed to take advantage of the association of all these great souls, but I have also neglected their associates and followers. What a sad story my life has become. My life and birth are all useless. Shame on me. Alas, alas. Thus laments Narottama Dasa."

    It is told that to avoid material distractions Bhugarbha would perform his bhajana underground. So, he received the name Bhugarbha (bhu means earth, garbha means cave, womb, hidden place). He is Prema-manjari or Bhadra Rekhika in Radha Gopinatha's nitya-nikunja lila. His samadhi stands near Shri Rupa Goswami's in the Radha Damodara Temple courtyard.

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