Radharaman Temple, one of the seven ancient temples of Vrindavan, is located just outside the Northern wall of Nidhivan. It was founded by Gopala Bhatta Goswami, one of Lord Chaitanya’s six empowered disciples.
Shri Gopala Bhatta Goswami was always engaged in discourses about love of Godhead in the company of Rupa and Sanatana Goswami.
Gopala Bhatta and his family were residents of Shri Rangakshetra (near Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu, South India). During his visit to South India, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu stayed at the Bhatta residence (which is still intact) and he brought Gopala Bhatta and his exalted family members into the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya and instructed them on the methods of worshiping God in His most intimate form, as Radha-Krishna.
Shri Gopala Bhatta Goswami worshiping a Shila, P.C. Dandavats
Gopala Bhatta later left for Vrindavan and here he became Gopala Bhatta Goswami. In Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita, Gopala Bhatta Goswami has been described as the 47th branch of the Lord Chaitanya’s disciple tree. In the purports of Chaitanya Charitamrita, Gopal Bhatta’s conversion to Gaudiya Vaishnavism and other details of his life has been elaborately explained by Shrila Prabhupada.
Gopal Bhatta began worshiping a sacred Shaligram Shila that he had brought from Nepal while on pilgrimage. However venerable the Shila, Goswami longed to worship the lord in His deity form. Goswami ji used to think wistfully that, if he had a deity, he would be able to dress Him with decorative garments and ornaments and offer him nicely prepared foodstuffs.
One day in 1542 A.D., the Shalagram Shila, which is understood to be non-different from Shri Krishna, fulfilled Goswami ji’s desire by appearing in the form of Radharaman ji who is Krishna, the lord of Radha. Gopala Bhatta Goswami was pleased to render all sorts of loving service to his deity such as bathing, dressing, decorating, offering foodstuffs, etc.
Radha Raman ji’s Shalagram form can still be seen on His back. Devotees get a chance to have darshan of the Shaligram Shila form on Thakurji’s back when Radharaman ji is brought out for abhishek on His appearance day (on Vaishaka Purnima). More than twenty five gallons of milk are used in the bathing ritual.
Shri Gopala Bhatta’s disappearance anniversary (Shravana Krishna 4-6) is celebrated in the temple with great pomp and ceremony and the temple holds frequent cultural programs, in which artists are given the opportunity to perform in front of Shri Radharaman Lal.
Lord Radharamana is not more than twelve inches height, yet He is very, very beautiful and to have his darshan is a great blessing. There is no deity of Radharani in the temple, but on Radharaman’s left is a reverentially placed representation of Shri Radha. Puja is carried out very opulently with much solid silver paraphernalia, including a huge silver elephant on which Radharaman ji sits for one day of the year.
The place where Shri Radharaman appeared
Once shri Gopala Bhatta Goswami brought Shri Chaitanya’s kaupina (loin cloth) from Jagannatha Puri, and this is still kept within the temple compound. Other Shalagram Shilas previously worshiped by Gopala Bhatta are also kept in Gopal Bhatta’s Samadhi temple, behind the main temple. The place where the Shri Radha Raman’s deity form appeared is commemorated in the courtyard near Shri Gopala Bhatta’s Samadhi.
The new temple building was completed in 1826 by Shah Kundan Lal and his elder brother Shah Phundan Lal who also built the Shahji temple near the entrance of Nidhivana.
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