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    Shrila Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami


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    raghunath_bhatt_goswami_03_w_iskcon_desire_tree.jpgRaghunatha Bhatta Goswami (1505-1579 CE) was a disciple of the Vaishnava saint Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and member of the influential Gaudiya Vaishnava group collectiveley known as the Six Goswamis of Vrindavan. He is regarded by followers in the Gaudiya tradition as an ideal practitioner of the Bhakti yoga system.

    Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami was born in a devotional family in Eastern Bengal. His father, Tapana Mishra was a devout Vaishnava and would sometimes invite Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to dine at his house. When Chaitanya Mahaprabhu visited Sri Tapana Misra's home, Raghunatha Bhatta would often massage his feet.

    In his early years Raghunatha spent much time in study, becoming adept in Sanskrit grammar and rhetoric and well versed in the scriptures. When his formal studies were complete his father sent him to Puri, where he again met Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, spending eight months in his service and cooking for him on a regular basis. Pleased by his service Chaitanya Mahaprabhu offered Raghunatha a tulsi garland from around his own neck.

    By the order of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami remained a lifelong brahmachari. His service was constant chanting of Hare Krishna and reading Shrimad Bhagavatam. In Jagannatha Puri, Raghunatha satisifed Lord Gauranga by his exceptional cooking and kirtana performances, which won him the title, kirtana acharya.

    After Raghunatha Bhatta's parents had died, he returned to Jagannath Puri where he spent a further eight months in Mahaprabhu's service. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then sent Raghunatha to Vrindavana, to study the Bhagavata Purana and other Vedic and Puranic scriptures under the guidance of his disciples Rupa Goswami and Sanatana Goswami. It is here that he officially became part of the Six Goswamis group.

    When he came to Vrindavana, the Vaishnavas (including Shri Rupa and Sanatana Goswamis) would regularly listen to his singing of Bhagavata shlokas in four tunes as sweet as a cuckoo. His recitation was unparalleled; even Vyasadeva enjoyed it. He fulfilled Lord Chaitanya's order to preach the glories and peerless significance of the grantha-raja Shrimad Bhagavatam.

    His tears of pure love for Radha-Govinda would wet the pages. Raghunatha Bhatta was so absorbed in Krishna-katha that he never heard or spoke worldly topics, what to speak of criticizing Devotees. He believed that all Vaishnavas are sincerely serving the Lord according to their realization, and therefore one should overlook their faults.

    Under his inspiration, a wealthy disciple built a gorgeous Temple in Vrindavana for Shri-Shi Radha-Govindaji. Even after four-hundred and fifty years, this intricately hand-carved red stone Temple remains the most beautiful Temple in Vrindavana and all of Northern India. Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami faithfully served Govindaji for forty years.

    He was a scholar in all subjects, although he didn't write any books like the other Goswamis. Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami learned everything simply by hearing shastras. Fearing that Muslims might desecrate Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami's sacred form, Shri Jiva Goswami had his body burned. The ashes were placed in two samadhis, one in Radha-kunda, another in the 64 Samadhis Area. In Radha-Govindaji's nitya-lila he serves as Rasa or Raga manjari, one of Shri Radha's asta manjaris.

    He is offered respects as a guru by all of the current lineages of the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition.



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