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Sri Rupa Gosvami

Srila Rupa Gosvami took his birth in 1493 A.D. (1415, Sakabda), and disappeared at the age of 73 in 1564 A.D. (1486, Sakabda). He spent 22 years in householder life, followed by 51 years in Vrndavana. Rupa Gosvami is known as bhakti-rasacarya, an expert in the tastes of pure devotional service. He and his older brother, Srila Sanatana Gosvami, left high posts in the government of Nawab Hussein Shah to join Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Empowered by Lord Caitanya, Srila Rupa Gosvami wrote many books about the science of Krsna Consciousness. A summary study of his Bhakti-rasasmrta-sindhu can be found in "The Nectar of Devotion," and his Upadesamrta is found in "The Nectar of Instruction".

"Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu then sent the two brothers Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Sanatana Gosvami to Vraja. By His order, they went to Sri Vrndavana-dhama. After going to Vrndavana, the brothers preached devotional service and discovered many places of pilgrimage. They specifically initiated the service of Madana-mohana and Govindaji.

"Both Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami brought various scriptures to Vrndavana and collected the essence of these by compiling many scriptures on devotional service. In this way they delivered all rascals and fallen souls.

"The Gosvamis carried out the preaching work of devotional service on the basis of an analytical study of all confidential Vedic scriptures. This was in compliance with the order of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Thus one can understand the most confidential devotional service of Vrndavana."

Caitanya-caritamrta, Madyam lila 1:32-34

During the Ratha-yatra ceremony Rupa Gosvami heard a verse uttered by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu during the ceremony, and he immediately composed another verse dealing with the same subject. Only Svarupa Damodara Gosvami knew the purpose for which the Lord recited that verse. According to the Lord's attitude, he used to quote other verses to enable the Lord to relish mellows. Rupa Gosvami, however, could understand the intention of the Lord, and thus he composed another verse. After writing this verse on a palm leaf, he put it somewhere in his thatched roof and went to bathe in the sea. At that time, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went there to meet him, and when He saw the leaf pushed into the roof and saw the verse, He read it and was overwhelmed by ecstatic love. At that time Rupa Gosvami returned and offered his obeisances. The Lord slapped him mildly in love and said, "My heart is very confidential. How did you know My mind in this way?" Svarupa Damodara said, "I can understand that You have already bestowed Your causeless mercy upon him. No one could otherwise understand this meaning."

Gaudiya Vaisnava Abhidhana, p. 1350-1351

Rupa Gosvami's Samadhi at Vrindaban

"In the Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika (180) Sri Rupa Gosvami is described to be the gopi named Sri Rupa-manjari. In the Bhakti-ratnakara there is a list of the books Sri Rupa Gosvami compiled. Of all his books, the following sixteen are very popular among Vaisnavas: (1) Hamsaduta, (2) Uddhava-sandesa, (3) Krsna-janma-tithi-vidhi, (4 and 5) Radha-krsna-ganoddesa-dipika, Brhat (major) and Laghu (minor), (6) Stavamala, (7) Vidagdha-madhava, (8) Lalita-madhava, (9) Dana-keli-kaumudi, (10) Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (this is the most celebrated book by Sri Rupa Gosvami), (11) Ujjvala-nilamani, (12) Akhyata-candrika, (13) Mathura-mahima, (14) Padyavali, (15) Nataka-candrika and (16) Laghu-bhagavatamrta. Sri Rupa Gosvami gave up all family connections, joined the renounced order of life and divided his money, giving fifty percent to the brahmanas and Vaisnavas and twenty-five percent to his kutumba (family members) and keeping twenty-five percent for personal emergencies. He met Haridasa Thakura in Jagannatha Puri, where he also met Lord Caitanya and His other associates. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to praise the handwriting of Rupa Gosvami. Srila Rupa Gosvami could compose verses according to the desires of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and by His direction he wrote two books named Lalita-madhava and Vidagdha-madhava. Lord Caitanya desired the two brothers, Sanatana Gosvami and Rupa Gosvami, to publish many books in support of the Vaisnava religion."

Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi lila 10:84

Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.