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Sri Rupa Goswami

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Krishna Maheshwari

Srila Rupa Goswami was born in 1489 in modern-day Karnataka, India. He was the younger brother of Srila Sanatana Goswami.

Forced by various circumstances, Srila Rupa Goswami and Sanatana Goswami had to work for the Muslim government of Bengal under Nawab Hussein Shah. Rupa Goswami was then known by the Muslim name Dabir Khas ('private secretary'). Although he enjoyed great wealth and prestige, he never forgot Lord Sri Krishna. Even before meeting Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Rupa Goswami had already written several books on Vedic philosophy and was renowned for his learning and devotion.

In 1514, Rupa and Sanatana met Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu for the first time and were initiated by Him. Rupa left government service and spent ten days hearing from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu the philosophy of Krisna Consciousness. Sri Caitanya then ordered Rupa Goswami to go Vrindavana with a fourfold mission:

  1. to uncover the lost sites of Lord Krishna's pastimes
  2. to install Deities of the Lord and arrange for their worship
  3. to write books on Krisna Consciousness
  4. to teach the rules of devotional life

At first, Rupa Goswami felt it would be very difficult to carry out this desire of Lord Caitanya. But one day, while Rupa was sitting on the bank of the Yamuna River contemplating his mission, a beautiful boy came to him and asked the cause of his despondency. After Rupa Goswami explained the reason, the boy then led him to a small hill.

'Inside this hill', said the boy, 'is the beautiful Deity Govindadeva. He said that the deity had been buried to protect him during a Muslim invasion.

The next day Rupa Goswami led a group of villagers to the site and had them excavate the hill. The deity Govinda was unearthed and Rupa Goswami then had a magnificent temple constructed under the patronage of Maharaja Man Singh of Amber, Rajasthan. Sri Govinda Deva is presently worshiped in Jaipur, Rajasthan.

Before he passed away in 1564, he had fulfilled all four parts of the mission given to him by Lord Caitanya. Devotees pay respects to him by visiting his samadhi, in the courtyard of the Radha-Damodara temple in Vrindavana.