Tridandiswami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja extols the glories of Srila Gopal Bhatta Gosvami – PART 2
After the disappearance of Venkata Bhatta, Prabhodananda Sarasvati left his home and came to Vrndavana. He lived in Kamyavana and in all the twelve forests of Vrndavana, in a separation mood used to call out, “O, where is Srimati Radhika? Lalita, Visakha, where are you?” He was always weeping and rolling down on the earth.
So Gopal Bhatta thought about where he himself should live, and how to attain Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet. So he also left. He wanted to go to Puri, but he could not go, because Mahaprabhu had ordered him to stay home and look after his parents, and after they would leave their body, he should go to Vrndavana – to the lotus feet of Srila Sanatana Gosvamipada and Srila Rupa Gosvamipada.
He was now searching how to reach Vrndavana. On his journey he went to the Himalayas, where the Gomati River flows. As he was bathing in the river, he saw that a large salagrama was following him. It was automatically coming, and it seemed to be telling him, “I will take your service. Please serve Me.” He therefore picked up that salagrama in his arms, sometimes keeping Him on his head, sometime on his eyes, and sometimes on his heart. He took the saligrama to Vrndavana, where he met Rupa and Sanatana. Rupa and Sanatana now embraced this very pure rasika Vaisnava, Gopal Bhatta Gosvami.
In the meantime, Caitanya Mahaprabhu disappeared from this world. [To read more about Gopala Bhatta Gosvami’s separation feelings for Mahaprabhu, you may like to read the book “Bhakti Ratnakara” -ed]
In Vrndavana, one day Gopala Bhatta Gosvami went to Radha-Ramana-ghera, near to Seva Kunja in the area of Nidhuvana – a very sacred and very secret place of Radha and Krsna. There he began to think, “How can I serve this salagrama?” He wanted to see the Lord’s eyes, face, and arms, His three-fold-bending form, and His lotus feet. He wanted to decorate Him at the time of Jhulana (the swing festival).
During the night he was so much worried, thinking, “How can I serve Him? If He would have a very beautiful three-folding form and a smiling face with flute, this would be very, very good for rendering service to Him.” Then, at midnight, the salagrama spoke to him, “O Gopala Bhatta, just see how beautiful I am.”
Gopala Bhatta got up and went to the Deity, and he saw, “O how beautiful! Radha-Ramana!” He had the face of Gopinatha, the chest of Govindaji, and the feet of Madana-Mohana. So, Govinda, Gopinatha and Madan Mohan appeared in Him – three in one, in Radha-Ramana. Gopala Bhatta Gosvami was so delighted to see this. He called all the Gosvamis, who became amazed, thinking how glorious his bhakti was that the salagram had changed into Radha-Raman.
We can imagine what a first-class Vaisnava he was. He was not only a Vaisnava, but very dear and near to the Divine Couple Sri Sri Radha and Krsna. He is Guna Manjari in Krsna’s pastimes. By his prayers, the salagram became Sri Sri Radha-Ramana.
Oct 23, 1996, in honor of Srila Gopal Bhatta Gosvami, for whom Sri Sri Radha-Ramana self-manifested.