This is the continuing serialization of 252 Vaishnavan ki varta, the lives of the saints following Vitthalnath, son of Vallabhacharya. It has been translated from the original Braj Bhasha by Krishnaa Kinkari Devi. This is the eleventh varta.
The story of Gopaldas, Bhaila Kothari’s son-in-law who lived in Rupapura.
Gopaldas is a devotee of a sattvik disposition. In the Eternal Lila his name is Sarangi, [a gopi] who manifests from Champakalata and is therefore a form of her divine loving sentiment. Sarangi also has a very close Sakhi named Gomati who appears here as Gopaldas’ wife.
Gopaldas was born to a merchant in Rupapura. Gomati was born in Asaruva to Bhaila Kothari. Gopaldas was mute from birth. This was because, in his previous birth, he had been Narasi Mehta who was always begging the Lord for something or other and causing Him much trouble. For this offense he was born mute. When he was five years old he was engaged to Bhaila Kothari’s daughter Gomati.
Gopaldas was Bhaila Kothari’s son-in-law. The first time that Sri Gusainji had graced Bhaila Kothari’s home, Kothari had all his family members initiated with the Lord’s Name and Brahma Sambandha and made them all bow low to Sri Gusainji.
At the moment when it was Gopaldas’ turn, Sri Gusainji asked Bhaila Kothari, “Who is this?” Gopaldas was nine years old at the time. Kothari replied that this boy was his daughter’s chosen husband.
Sri Gusainji laughed and said, “Gomati’s husband is an ocean! He is very innocent. Will this be a suitable match?”
Kothari answered, “O, Maharaj! He will become an ocean through your grace.”
Regarding Gopaldas to thus be Kothari’s son-in-law, Sri Gusainji sat him on his lap and put some of the remnants of his meal into his mouth. As he swallowed it Gopaldas’ intelligence was immediately purified and enlightened. Gopaldas prostrated to Sri Gusainji and began his composition of the “Sri Vallabhakhyan.”
One of the lines read: “I bow to lord Sri Vitthal, beautiful like the rain-filled cloud and the Tamal tree.”
Gopaldas sang the whole of this chapter before Sri Gusainji. Both he and Bhaila Kothari were delighted. Sri Gusainji instructed Gopaldas to continue to sing the praises of Sri Vallabhacharyaji. Gopaldas again bowed to him and sang, “By simply remembering Sri Vallabhji, the son of Sri Lakshman, all ones sins are dissolved.”
One of the lines read: “I bow to lord Sri Vitthal, beautiful like the rain-filled cloud and the tamal tree.”
Gopaldas sang the whole of this chapter before Sri Gusainji. Both he and Bhaila Kothari were delighted. Sri Gusainji instructed Gopaldas to continue to sing the praises of Sri Vallabhacharyaji. Gopaldas again bowed to him and sang,
“By simply remembering Sri Vallabhji, the son of Sri Lakshman, all one’s sins are dissolved.”
When he sang these verses before Sri Gusainji he said, “Now Gomati’s husband is truly an ocean. Such was his blessing upon him. After this, Gopaldas composed seven more chapters.
In this story we see how Sri Gusainji uplifts his devotees. Bhaila Kothari was sure that Sri Gusainji could transform Gopaldas into an ‘ocean’. His word was immediately fruitful. After this, Gopaldas also sang, “By the grace of the devotees’ foot dust everything can be perfected.”
Susequently, Gopaldas composed many such poems in Gujarati in Narasi Mehta’s name.
This is because he realized who he had been in his previous life. Now he knew that he had been Narasi Mehta and had, in that birth, sung to Sri Thakurji according to the ways of the Path of Lawful Limitations. At this juncture he wanted to sing to Him according to the Ways of the Path of Grace, so that his voice would now be related purely to the Path of Pure Devotion.
*Part 2 Continued*
Sri Gusainji transformed Gopaldas into an ‘ocean’ through his grace.
[Here the meaning of ‘ocean’ is an endless source of inspirational words expressing divine sentiments to the Lord. Sri Vallabhacharyaji called Surdasji and Paramanandadasji oceans too.]
Once Sri Gusainji was in Gokul with Chacha Harivamsji. He instructed him to go to Gujarat.
Chachaji asked him, “O, Maharaj! How will I be able to pass my time without your sight?”
Sri Gusainji answered him, “Chachaji! Keep in regular touch with Bhaila Kothari and Gopaldas. I will also regularly let you have my sight.” Then Chachaji took his leave and left for Gujarat.
From the day that he left Gokul, Chachaji was granted the daily sight of Sri Gusainji. He reached his destination and there kept in regular contact with Bhaila Kothari and Gopaldas.
Thus concludes Varta 11, the story of Gopaldas, a recipient of Sri Gusainji’s great grace and an accomplished Vaishnava. There is, in reality, no end to his story.