Here before Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to Vrindavan, Adwaita Acarya stayed and performed tapasya for a long time in preparation for the coming of Lord Caitanya to Vrindavan. Hare Krishna!
Astha Sakhi Mandir
This mandir was built by the King of Berhampur, who was a disciple of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Prabhupada, here we can see Sri Sri Radha Krishna as Radha Rasabihari along with the 8 sakhis: Lalita, Vishaka, Chitra, Indurekha, Champakalata, Tungavidya, Ranga devi and Su devi. Let us now give our dandavats to these devi’s and pray that they grace us with their mercy. Haribol!
Banke Bihari Mandir
The deity of Banke Bihari in this temple has a very interesting history. This diety was discovered by Haridas Kirtania of the Nimbarka sampradaya. One night Haridas had a dream that Krishna was buried in a place called Nidhivan in Vishaka kund, awaking with a start Haridas went to the place of his dream and sure enough he discovered this deity of Krishna called Bank Bihari. Banke means bent in three places and bihari means supreme enjoyer this is the position Krishna enjoys when he play his flute. Now we must hurry if want to receive darshan for it is very short. It is said that once a great devotee of Krishna came to this temple and when he was leaving Banke Bihari was so sad to see him go that the deity actually walked off the altar to follow him. He was quickly intercepted by the temple pujaris and placed back on the altar, but ever since then out of fear that He might try to leave again darshan is extremely quick and short. Gaura Premanandi! Haribol!!
Radha Vallabha Mandir
The Radha Vallabha Vaisnava founded by Hit Hari Vamsa established this temple. As you can see there is no murti of Srimati Radharani but there is a crown there next to the deity of Krishna that represents Her in the worship. Hare Krishna!
Sri Rupa Sanatan Gaudiya Math
Now we have arrived at Sri Rupa Sanatan Gaudiya Math founded during Kartik of 1988 by His Divine Grace Narayana Maharaja in commemoration and dedication to Rupa and Sanatan Goswami, two of the Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya’s greatest acaryas. The deities we see here are from left to right: Vrinda devi, Lord Caitanya, Krishna as Sri Vinod Bihari, Srimati Radharani and His Divine Grace Parivrajakacarya Bhaktiprajnana Keshava Maharaja. On the left side of the temple is Sri Rupa Goswami and on the right side is Sri Sanatan Goswami.
Gaudiya Vaisnava devotees are aware of the immense contribution and deep and penetrating influence that the two brothers, Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatan have profoundly made in the perpetuation of the Vaisnava tradition and culture throughout the world. Perhaps many of you have not so much information about some of the lilas, which they enacted, so in a very few minutes His Divine Grace Trivikram Maharaja will relate some very nice pastimes to you
Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatan Goswami used to travel all over Vraja Mandala, sometimes sleeping under a tree, sometimes sleeping under some creeper. They would take merely a little sleep, maybe half an hour or one hour. They would eat just enough to maintain life in their body and nothing more, a couple of chapati’s here a few chick peas there, a cup of fresh cow’s milk, whatever was offered to them as they were passing through, by the Vrajabhasis. They would never seek anything in regards to the activities of the body. The only thing that they were constantly seeking was more devotional service to the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha Krishna. Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatan Goswamis were brothers and they resolutely gave up great power, riches and position, when by the mercy of the Supreme Lord they entered into His service. These two brothers were erudite Bengali and Sanskrit scholars and extremely sophisticated. Yet they came to Vrindavan by the order of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and lived very simply. One will not be able to properly perform bhajan to Krishna until one has given up all attachments internally as well as externally. Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatan came to Vrindavan specifically on the order of Caitanya Mahaprabhu to reveal the lost and forgotten places of Krishna’s pastimes to the world, to establish temples to Lord Krishna, and to instal deities of the Supreme Lord Krishna in them. Now his Divine Grace Janardan Maharaja a disciple of His Divine Grace Om Vishnupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada will relate another pastime I am sure you will certainly relish.
Sri Sanatan Goswami and Sri Rupa Goswami use to reside very close to each other. Pavan Sarovara where Sri Sanatan performed his bhajan was not far away from where Sri Rupa’s bhajan kutir was located near Ter Kadamba. They would both meet often and submerge themselves in the nectar of Krishna katha discussing Krishna’s pastimes. One such day They met early in the morning and began enjoying the nectarean ecstasy of glorifying Krishna’s transcendental pastimes. Morning turned into noon and noon soon became afternoon and still the two bothers were raptly engrossed, so delicious was the taste of expressing Krishna’s honey filled lilas, and so delightful was the melodious sound of hearing about them. Suddenly Sri Rupa realized, my elder bother, has not taken any prasad today. How could I be so unconscious? I must find a way to provide for him.
While he was thinking like this a most beautiful girl came up to them and said, Baba! Baba! In those days saintly souls would be referred to as Baba. This beautiful girl said, Baba my mother has seen you both here all day in deep discussion about holy matters. She does not want you to go hungry so she sent me here with a little milk, a little rice and a little sugar. You can cook this up nicely, offer it to Krishna and then take it as prasad. In Vraja nobody goes hungry. This is the place where Radha and Krishna never allow anyone to be hungry. But the two brothers were by then so captivated in talking that they only half heard what the young girl was saying. After all she was only a young girl and they were deeply discussing the wonderfully sweet and delightful transcendental topics of the Lord. Yet in the back of their minds they were very much affected by the sweet, melodious sound of the young girl’s voice. There was something very wonderful about it, as if it came from the sphere of the celestial plane. The beautiful young girl seeing them engrossed once again said, oh I can see that you are very busy so I won’t interrupt you, just go ahead with your discussions and I will find a way to prepare this sweet rice for you. The two brothers were so absorbed in talking that they were not even conscious of what time it was or where they were or how long they had been like this, naturally they failed to register the words of this beautiful young girl.
Meanwhile within minutes this beautiful girl made a fire, boiled the milk and prepared a delicious khir. Brought it to them saying, Babas as you were very busy I made nice sweet rice for you, but now I have to go because it is late and my mother will be worrying about me. Please offer this to Krishna and then you may take it as your prasad. After she had left the two brothers remarked we never, ever look at women yet somehow or other we were attracted to this equisitely beautiful young girl. It is extraordinary but anyway she did her business quickly and efficiently and went on her way. So let us offer it to the Lord while it is still warm, Rupa Goswami took the khir and offerred it to Krishna and afterwards served some to his guru, Sanatan Goswami. As soon as Sanatana tasted it ecstatic symptoms of prema began surging through his body in pulsating waves from the ambrosial nectarean taste of the khir. He had never tasted anything so wonderful before and you must remember that Sanatan Goswami had eaten the remnant from Jagannatha, Baladev and Mother Subhadra in Puri and also had eaten the remnants from Lord Caitanya, given to him by Svarupa Damodara.
Wondering what could be the reason for such a wonderful ecstatic experience in eating Sanatan Goswami cried out, Rupa Goswami! Rupa Goswami! What have you done? What have you done? Rupa Goswami being quite astounded asked him, what do you mean? Sri Sanatan replied, did you desire anything in you heart? Sri Rupa said, yes, I was thinking that my elder brother, my guru has come here, I have not been able to feed him anything, and you must be hungry. So I desired that you would be able to eat. Sri Sanatan loked at him saying, do you know who that equisitely beautiful young girl actually was? It was Srimati Radharani and you have used your worshipable object of reverence, the one you meditate upon, the one you do bhajan for, she had to come here and cook for you so I could eat. All this was done by your desire. Never do this again. Neve desire again. Never act or think in such way that it forces our beloved object of worship to come and serve us likes this. Never!
After saying this to his younger brother both of them started crying and while crying they began eating the khir, feeling the rapture of prema. They would eat some khir, feel ecstasy for a little while and then begin crying all over again, then they would eat a little more khir and experience ecstasy once more and then begin crying once more. This went on over and over and over until the sweet rice was finally finished. Then they saved the earthen pot and everday they broke off a little piece of it, ate it, and felt the ecstasy afresh after every bite. So these are some of the pastimes of Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatan Goswami and they as well as their pastimes are always worshipable. Now we will hear a very wonderful discourse by my godbrother, His Divine Grace Paramahamsa Puri Maharaja, who is the oldest living disciple of His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad 108 Sriman Bhagavan Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Prabhupada. The discourse will be on a treatise Sri Rupa Goswami composed called Chatu Puspanjali. His Divine Grace Puri Maharaja will now very eloquently, elucidate this honey filled lila for us.
Chatu Puspanjali is a collection of verses composed by Srila Rupa Goswami in praise of Srimati Radharani. Chatu means praise, puspa means flowers and panjali means offering. All together it is about 100 slokas and for anyone who wants to perform raganuga bhakti bhajan, it is a must that they meditate upon these slokas. Then the desired fruit will be gained. So on this day Sanatan Goswami came to visit his brother and asked, Sri Rupa have you written anything today? Rupa Goswami replied yes, I have composed some verses glorifying Srimati Radharani would you like to read them? Sri Sanatan began reading the first sloka which describes the way Srimati Radharani braids Her hair, and how Her hair being very long and luxuriant, when it is coiffured on top of Her head with a precious gem set in the center, resembles a black snake with a jewel on its crown.
After reading the whole collection Sanatan Goswami was overwhelmed by the poetic beauty and delightful similes of the work and he expressed this appreciation to Sri Rupa; but then he told him that he could not understand why Srimati Radharani’s hair should have to be compared to a lowly snake. Sri Sanatan futher elucidated that how can one compare Srimati Radhika who is the most pure and beautiful embodiment ever created in all of the three worlds and beyond and who is filled with all super special excellent qualities, how can one compare Her with a poisonous black snake? How could he do this to Her? Sri Rupa Goswami immediately fell down at his elder brother’s feet saying yes my gurudev you are absolutely correct. Please change it in the proper way you see fit. I can realize now that I should have made a better choice of similes, please do not hesitate to improve it for me by substituting something more appropriate. Sri Sanatan said, all right let me meditate upon it. He stared thinking and thinking but nothing was coming to him. Then he got up and began pacing to and fro. He thought that he could compare the gem in Srimati Radharani’s hair, to the moon reflection on the sea at night, but the ocean’s not black and Her jewels are not white. Then he thought he could compare the jewel in Her hair to Venus which sparkles like a diamond at twilight, but at that time the sun though set still fills the sky with blue and purple light and Srimati Radharani’s hair is always black as night. Thinking like this he began to roam some distance not being able to compose a single simile that was perfectly applicable to Her and satisfactory for him. Wandering further suddenly he saw close by a little forest grove with a beautiful kadamba tree in it and he noticed that from this tree was hanging a swing and on that swing was a very, very beautiful girl of about 12 years of age. She was being pushed on the swing by many other beautiful young girls of the same age.
Now Sanatan Goswami never looked at women and if one happened to cross his line of vision it was just as if he saw a stone on the road. But somehow or other his vision got attracted to the lovely girl on the swing and as he was looking at her he suddenly saw that a big black snake was poised at the back of her head and it was just about to strike her with its fangs. With a start Sri Sanatan began waving his arms shouting, Lookout! Lookout dear one a snake is about to bite you! But as he approached them, in front of his eyes the whole scene dissapeared. The kadamba tree the swing, the beautiful girl and all her girlfriends had vanished. Sanatan Goswami then realized that to prove that Rupa Goswami was correct in his choice of a snake as a simile, Srimati Radharani had manifested this whole lila for him. Immediately falling into the dust where the Kadamba tree had just stood Srila Sanatan Goswami offered Srimati Radhika his humble obeisances and begged Her to forgive him for his offense of wasting Her valuable time to teach him a lesson.
Afterwards he ran back to his brother and embracing him said Sri Rupa, I will get Srimati Radharani’s mercy if you give me your mercy, that is the only way. You are my gurudev now. Whatever you have written you do not have to change, every single word you have written has been accepted by Srimati Radharani, thus it is the absolute truth. I will serve you now. Sri Rupa Goswami then fell down at his elder brother’s feet and begged him for his mercy saying that whatever he may have attained he was no aware of but for sure he only could have attained it by the mercy of Sri Sanatan. Then both brothers broke down and began crying begging each other to always bestow his mercy without reservation upon the other. Oh the humility and compassion of a Vaisnava is a wonderous phenomenon.
So let us give our humble obeisances to both Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatan and earnestly pray that they will always bestow their mercy upon us without reservation. Vancha kalpatarubhyas ca, kripa sindhubhya eva ca, patitanam pavanebhyo vaisnavebhyo namo namaha.