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Remembering Shrila Rupa Goswami on his ‘tirobhav’

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Yesterday was the disappearance day of Shrila Rupa Goswami.

Vrindavan, 2021.08.19 (From a lecture by B.V. Narayan Maharaj): Even though there are so many great acharyas, Shrila Rupa Goswami has been attributed with the honor of being that person who has established the mano-‘bhistam, the innermost heart’s desire, of Shri Krishna in the form of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

When Shriman Mahaprabhu came to the village of Ramakeli, He met with Shrila Rupa Goswami and Shrila Sanatan Goswami and told them, “Leave your homes and be with Me.” After a short time they left their homes. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then came from Vrindavan and met with Shrila Rupa Goswami at Prayag, the confluence of the rivers Yamuna and Ganga. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told him:

parapara-sunya gabhira bhakti-rasa-sindhu
tomaya cakhaite tara kahi eka bindu

“The ocean of bhaktiras is so vast that no one can estimate its length and breadth. However, just to help you taste it, I am describing one drop. (Shri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya 19.137)”

Shri Chaitanya gave one drop of the ocean of ras to Shrila Rupa Goswami, and that one drop was sufficient to inundate millions upon millions of universes. Later, He met with Shrila Sanatan Goswami in Varanasi.

After some time, Shrila Rupa Goswami and Shrila Sanatan Goswami came here to Vrindavan and began to perform their bhajan – their hearing, chanting, and remembering about Krishna.

Rupa Goswami thought, “In order to fulfill the innermost heart’s desire of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, I will write a drama. In this drama I will explain the beauty of the union of Shrimati Radhika and Shri Krishna in Vrindavan, and also Their separation pastimes, when Lord Krishna leaves Vrindavan and goes to Mathura and Dwarka. I will explain how, by their expansions, Shrimati Radhika and all the sakhis somehow or other (by the medium of their expansions) went to Dwarka and became Lord Krishna’s 16,108 queens.”

He intended to write about this, but while he was traveling towards Jagannath Puri he came to the village of Satyabhama-pur. There, Shrimati Satyabhama-devi, Lord Krishna’s chief queen, appeared to him in a dream and told him, “Please don’t make only one drama. Please divide it into two parts.”

Then, when Shrila Rupa Goswami finally arrived at Jagannatha Puri and met with Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Lord confirmed what he had heard from Shrimati Satyabhama in his dream. Shriman Mahaprabhu told him, “Don’t take Shri Krishna out of Vrindavan.”

krsno ‘nyo yadu-sambhuto yah purnah so ‘sty atah parah
vrndavanam parityajya sa kvacin naiva gacchati

“The Krishna known as Yadu-kumara is Vasudeva Krishna. He is different from the Krishna who is the son of Nand Maharaj. Yadu-kumara Krishna manifests His pastimes in the cities of Mathura and Dwarka, but Krishna the son of Nand Maharaj never at any time leaves Vrindavan.” (Chaitanya-charitamrita Antya 1.67)

“Krishna never leaves Vrindavan. He never even sets one foot outside of Vrindavan.”

Shrila Rupa Goswami then divided his drama into two parts. The first part is called Vidagdha-madhav, which tells about Krishna’s pastimes in Vrindavan; and in the second part, called Lalit-madhav, He goes to Dwarka and all the gopis of Vrindavan are reunited with Him in the form of the queens of Dwarka.

Why did Shrila Rupa Goswami do this? This is a very deep siddhanta, conclusive philosophical truth. Shrila Kavi Karnapur, a very great devotee, has composed Shri Anand Vrindavan Champu. In this book he described the pastimes of Lord Krishna from His birth up to raas-lila and the Divine Couple’s swing pastimes, and he stopped there. He didn’t go any further than this. He didn’t describe about Krishna going to Mathura or Dwarka, because this separation mood is very difficult to tolerate for the pure devotees. He was thinking, “My Mistress Radhika cannot tolerate this separation, so I will not write about it.”

Shrila Rupa Goswami, however, has written about the moods of both meeting and separation – because this separation mood is a very deep transcendental ecstatic feeling. At the time of meeting, though Radharani and Krishna are together, something may be forgotten or lost in the heart. On the other hand, at the time of separation, there is complete meeting in new and fresh ways in the heart; and not only inside, but sometimes externally there are sphurtis, temporary visions in which the loved one is actually present.

Knowing all these very deep transcendental established truths, and wanting to establish the desire of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu within the world, Shrila Rupa Goswami also glorified the mood of separation. Although this mood is very high and has many transcendental features that will not come at the time of meeting, still, it is not our goal of life.

Gaudiya Vaisnavas do not want Shri Shri Radha and Krishna to be eternally separated. What kind of person would want this? No Brajwasi would want it. However, there is a place for this separation mood, and Shrila Rupa Goswami has explained this in his book, Ujjvala Nilamani: Na vina vipralambha sambhoga pusti masnute. “Without the mood of separation, the mood of meeting will not be nourished” and come to increasingly higher stages. The pastimes of separation are very important because they play the role of nourishing the sweetness of meeting.”

When Shrila Rupa Goswami was in Puri with Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Lord was dancing at the Ratha Yatra festival and uttering a verse from a book of mundane poetry called Sahitya Darpana:

yah kaumara-harah sa eva hi varas ta eva caitra-ksapas
te conmilita-malati-surabhayah praudhah kadambanilah
sa caivasmi tathapi tatra surata-vyapara-lila-vidhau
reva-rodhasi vetasi-taru-tale cetah samutkanthat

“That very personality who stole away my heart during my youth is now again my master. These are the same moonlit nights of the month of Chaitra. The same fragrance of malati flowers is there, and the same sweet breezes are blowing from the kadamba forest. In our intimate relationship, I am also the same lover, yet my mind is not happy here. I am eager to go back to that place on the bank of the Reva under the Vetasi tree. That is my desire.”

No one could understand why Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was uttering this verse and in what mood He was absorbed. There was one young boy there, however, named Rupa, who later on became that very same Rupa Goswami. There and then, upon hearing this verse from Mahaprabhu, another verse appeared in his own heart, and he wrote down that verse:

priyah so ‘yam krsnah saha-cari kuru-ksetra-militas
tathaham sa radha tad idam ubhayoh sangama-sukham
tathapy antah-khelan-madhura-murali-pancama-juse
mano me kalindi-pulina-vipinaya sprhayati

This is a verse spoken by Shrimati Radharani: “My dear friend, now I have met My beloved Krishna on this field of Kurukshetra. I am the same Radha, and now we are meeting together. But still I would like to go to the bank of the Yamuna beneath the trees of the forest there. I wish to hear the vibration of His sweet flute playing the fifth note within that forest of Vrindavan.” (Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta Madhya 1.76)

In this verse Shrila Rupa Goswami has clarified Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s inner meaning and thus he revealed to the world the importance of parakiya ras, the mood of paramour love between Lord Krishna and the gopis. Shrila Rupa Goswami is that very person who established within this world the innermost heart’s desire of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

After Shriman Mahaprabhu disappeared from the vision of the world, the discussion of parakiya ras was not prominent. According to scripture, mundane ras, this world’s love between those who are unmarried, is very immoral, illicit and sinful. However, in addition to manifesting the endless varieties and wonder of vipralamba and sambhoga, the meeting and separation pastimes of Radha and Krishna, Shrila Rupa Goswami also established the superiority of parakiya ras. By using evidence from many different shastras, he proved that Lord Shri Krishna is not an ordinary nayak (lover) and Radhika is not an ordinary nayika (beloved). In other words, when there is meeting between a mundane lover and beloved in the parakiya mood it is very sinful, but Shri Krishna is God Himself, and everything is possible for Him. Therefore, if He is the object of the parakiya-bhava, there is no fault or defect in this. Rather this is the topmost supremely pure manifestation of madhurya-prema, the romantic mood.

Shrila Rupa Goswami established the fact that Lord Krishna Himself came into this world to taste these mellows, and, as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Krishna Himself experienced the parakiya-bhakti-rasa that is within the heart of Shrimati Radhika:

anarpita-carim cirat karunayavatirnah kalau
samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasam sva-bhakti-Shriyam
harih purata-sundara-dyuti-kadamba-sandipitah
sada hrdaya-kandare sphuratu vah saci-nandana

“May the Supreme Lord who is known as the son of Shrimati Saci-devi be transcendentally situated in the innermost chambers of your heart. Resplendent with the radiance of molten gold, He has appeared in the Age of Kali by His causeless mercy to bestow what no incarnation has ever offered before: the most sublime and radiant mellow of devotional service, the mellow of conjugal love.” (Shri Chaitanya-charitamrita Adi 1.4)

sthapitam yena bhu-tale
svayam rupah kada mahyam
dadati sva-padantikam

“I was born in the darkest ignorance, and my spiritual master opened my eyes with the torchlight of knowledge. I offer my respectful obeisances unto him. When will Shrila Rupa Goswami, who has Shri Chaitanya’s heart’s desire within this world, give me shelter under his lotus feet? (prayer by Shrila Narottam das Thakur)

These deliberations and philosophical conclusions are extremely deep, and very difficult to understand. It is therefore essential that one come under the guidance of a realized Guru and pure devotees, and give ones full time and energy and enthusiastic work in the service of that Guru and in chanting Harinam, the holy names of Krishna, and performing bhajan. One should also make a great effort to understand and realize the reason for which Shrila Rupa Goswami appeared in this world and why he wrote so many books like Shri Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu, Shri Ujjwal-nilamani, Shri Vidagdha-madhav and Shri Lalit-madhav.

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