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The six goswamis of Vrindavan left an invaluable legacy of knowledge of all things within vaishnava culture which has made them relevant for over 500 years. Even today, we have the unique opportunity to honor them by following their example. These saints established the seven principal temples of Vrindavan, and you can establish the same kind of temple within your own home by purchasing one of the many artfully designed altars we have for you here at New Vrindaban.
First, let’s take a look at the life of Gopa Bhatta Goswami, who lived centuries ago, but remains an inspiration within the realms of deity worship and vaishnavaetiquette.
January 14th, 2020 marked the appearance anniversary of Gopal Bhatta Goswami, one of the six goswami saints who, upon the order of Lord Caitanya, dedicated their lives to serving and telling others about the glories of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna in Vrindavan. Born in the year 1503, Gopal Bhatta first developed a strong attraction to serving Lord Caitanya as a young boy when the Lord stayed in the house of Vyenkatta Bhatta, Gopal Bhatta’s father. Lord Caitanya would stay with their family for four months during the rainy season. The Lord was taking a tour of South India and when He arrived in SriRangam, Vyenkatta Bhatta requested that Lord Caitanya stay at his house since traveling was nearly impossible at that time of year.
In a divine vision, Lord Caitanya revealed to Gopal Bhatta Goswami that He was none other than Lord Krishna himself. He told the young boy that one day Gopal Bhatta would travel to Vrindavan where he would meet the two saints Rupa and Sanatana who would explain and outline the details of his life’s service. After that moment, Gopal Bhatta served Lord Caitanya faithfully every day.
When Lord Caitanya wanted to resume His travels, Gopal Bhatta Goswami had developed such a deep attachment that he wanted to follow Lord Caitanya and fulfill the Lord’s prophecy that he would travel to Vrindavan to perform seva. Lord Caitanya, advised that the boy who was no older than seven or eight years old at the time, should stay home and serve his parents. Lord Caitanya promised that once he was older and his parents no longer needed him, Gopal Bhatta would be able to travel and do important service for the entire Vaishnava community.
Gopal Bhatta Goswami served his parents lovingly and dutifully, but the day eventually came when they passed from this world. Gopal Bhatta gathered his few belongings and journeyed from SriRangam to Vrindavan. Hearing that Gopal Bhatta had made the trek to Vrindavan and had arrived safely, Lord Caitanya was overcome with joy. He sent a few of His own belongings to Gopal Bhatta and a letter instructing him to help Rupa and Sanatana with their writings of vaishnava literature.
Taking the Lord’s words as his life and soul, Gopal Bhatta worked with Sanatana Goswami to compile the great work Hari Bhakti Vilasa, which discusses, at length, the many topics of vaishnava life, behavior, and deity worship.
Gopal Bhatta Goswami used to worship 12 shalagram-shilas which he would often wear in a cloth sack around his neck. As much as he loved his shila worship, within his heart, he yearned to worship the full deity form of Lord Krishna. One day, a rich merchant came traveling through the area and presented Gopal Bhatta with beautifully opulent cloth and ornaments for his worship. The goswami gratefully accepted the gifts on behalf of his Lord, but tearfully spoke to his shilas wishing and praying that he could lovingly dress and adorn the Lord’s fully manifested form.
Gopal Bhatta went to sleep with thoughts of devotion in his head and heart. When he awoke, he rose to perform his morning puja and to his amazement, he saw only 11 shalagram-shilas, and one beautifully formed, small deity of Lord Krishna. Stunned at the gorgeous form that the Lord had taken simply to answer his most heartfelt prayers, Gopal Bhatta began worshipping this deity as Sri Radha Ramana, whose name means, the delightful beloved of Sri Radha.
In 1542, Gopal Bhatta established the temple of Sri Radha Ramana along with its standard of worship which has become a symbol of excellence and prestige among the global community of Gaudiya Vaishnavas. This temple is considered one of the seven principal temples of Vrindavan, India along with the temples to Sri Sri Radha Madan-mohana, Sri Sri Radha Gopinath and Sri Sri Radha-Govindadev among others.
Srila Prabhupada advised that we should turn each home into a temple and an abode of spirituality. Taking his advice, we urge you to purchase an altar from our selection and keep the tradition of deity worship alive everyday within your own home.
“In one’s home or in a temple, the Deity is considered the proprietor of everything, and everyone is considered the Deity’s eternal servant.”–SrimadBhagavatam 4.22.51, Purport.
In order to serve the Supreme Person who is the controller and owner of everything, it is an important part of our loving, devotional service to usher Him into our lives with as much opulence as we are able. We have hundreds of altars in a variety of sizes, shapes, and prices to fit both the Lord of your home and your budget so that you can give thanks to the Lord for the abundant blessings and miracles that you receive, and you can do it in the heartfelt style of the Goswamis.
If you don’t have deities at this time we encourage you to purchase an altar anyway. Make the intention to plan and pray for Krishna to bless your home and just as He manifested for Gopal Bhatta Goswami, you will see for yourself the miracles that will unfold in your life to bring Him to you!
You can find all of the details for purchasing these altars by contacting our preachers here.
We wish you and your family all the best in your blissful devotional service.