Bhagavān

Śrī Gadādhara Goswami

Śrī Gadādhara Goswami, respectfully known as Paṇḍita Goswami, is an enigmatic figure. He is considered the closest friend and follower of Śrī Caitanya. He is not known to have written scholarly works. Whatever is known about Him is through the poetry and writings of others and through the tradition.

Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara Goswami composed a wonderful aṣṭakam (eight verses) to Śrī Paṇḍita Goswami which gives us some insight. The aṣṭakam along with Babaji’s translations is presented here for the pleasure of the devotees. I have presented my notes in between.

Śrī Gadādharāṣṭakaṁ

(1)

sva-bhakti-yoga-lāsinaṁ sadā vraje vihāriṇaṁ

hari-priya-gaṇāgragaṁ śacīsuta-priyeśvaram

sarādha-kṛṣṇa-sevana-prakāśakaṁ mahāśayaṁ

bhajāmy ahaṁ gadādharaṁ supaṇḍitaṁ guruṁ prabhum

I worship the greatly learned guru, Śrī Gadādhara Prabhu. He appears very splendid while engaged in serving Śrī Kṛṣṇa. He engages in divine pastimes in Vraja as the chief of the gopīs, dear to Śrī Hari. Śrī Caitanya, the son of Śacī, is his beloved Lord, and he reveals service to Kṛṣṇa along with Rādhā. (1)

Notes- In this verse, Paṇḍita Goswami is referred to as ‘greatly learned guru’. Here I quote Śrī Maharajji from Śrī Guru Darśanam (page 283):

“When Śrī Caitanya started this movement, He specifically appointed Paṇḍita Goswami to give dīkśā. Mahāprabhu personally gave him the deity to worship and the responsibility to teach Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. Mahāprabhu used to hear Bhāgavatam from Paṇḍita Goswami, just to set the standard. Therefore, originally Paṇḍita Goswami initiated all the Goswamis and even other devotees. The temples in Vrindavan or Radha Kunda were made by the Goswamis, and they were all disciples of Paṇḍita Goswami. Rādhā Kuṇḍa originally belonged to Dāsa Goswami (Raghunātha Dasa Goswami) and he also came in the line of Paṇḍita Goswami. “

(2)

navojjvalādi- bhāvanā-vidhāna-karma-pāragaṁ

vicitra-gaura-bhakti-sindhu-raṅga-bhaṅga-lāsinam

surāga-mārga-darśakaṁ vrajādi-vāsa-dāyakaṁ

bhajāmy ahaṁ gadādharaṁ supaṇḍitaṁ guruṁ prabhum

I worship the greatly learned guru, Śrīla Gadādhara Prabhu. He is expert in the ever-fresh and blissful devotional expressions of divine romantic love, and he dances in the waves of the amazing ocean of devotion to Śrī Caitanya. He leads the path of rāgānugā-bhakti, and bestows residence in Vraja. (2)

Notes- The first verse refers to Paṇḍita Goswami as ‘the chief of the gopīs’, i.e. Śrī Rādhā. As such, he is also the person who understands best the mood of rāgānugā bhakti, the Caitanya sampradāya’s raison d’etre. It makes sense, then, that the Goswamis, the founders of the Caitanya sampradāya, were all initiated in bhakti by him.

(3)

śacīsutāṅghri-sāra-bhakta-vṛnda-vandya-gauravaṁ

gaura-bhāva-citta-padma-madhya-kṛṣṇa-vallabhaṁ

mukunda-gaura-rūpiṇaṁ svabhāva dharma-dāyakaṁ

bhajāmy ahaṁ gadādharaṁ supaṇḍitaṁ guruṁ prabhum

I worship the greatly learned guru, Śrīla Gadādhara Prabhu. Hosts of devotees whose very life is dedicated to serving the feet of Śacī’s son worship and honor him. He is very dear to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who sits on the lotus of his heart, which is made of his devotion to Śrī Caitanya. His form is similar to Gaura, who is Kṛṣṇa Himself. He distributes Śrī Caitanya’s devotion. (3)

Notes: See also Antya Lilā from Caitanya Caritāmṛta 7.163-164. This verse mentions that his form is similar to Śrī Caitanya’s form.

(4)

nikuñja-sevanādika-prakāśanaika-kāraṇaṁ

sadā sakhī-rati-pradaṁ mahā-rasa-svarupakam

sadāśritāṅghri-paṅkajaṁ śarīri-sad-guruṁ varaṁ

bhajāmy ahaṁ gadādharaṁ supaṇḍitaṁ guruṁ prabhum

I worship the greatly learned guru, Śrīla Gadādhara Prabhu, the sole revealer of service to Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa in the groves of Vṛndāvana. He always grants the gopīs’ love, and is the personification of exalted bhakti-rasa. Great devotees always take shelter of his lotus feet. He is the best of gurus for the living beings. (4)

Notes: Consistent with Paṇḍita Goswami being the guru for all the Goswamis, he is mentioned in this verse as the sole revealer of service to Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.

(5)

mahāprabhor mahā-rasa-prakāśanāṅkuraṁ priyaṁ

sadā mahā-rasāṅkura-prakāśanādi-vāsanām

mahāprabhorvrajāṅganādi-bhāva-moda-kārakaṁ

bhajāmy ahaṁ gadādharaṁ supaṇḍitaṁ guruṁ prabhum

I worship the greatly learned guru, Śrī Gadādhara Prabhu. He is very dear to Śrī Caitanya, and is the sprout from which Śrī Caitanya’s bhakti-rasa manifests. He always desires to enlighten others about devotion to Śrī Caitanya. He delights Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu by arousing in Him the ecstatic emotional love experienced by the gopīs of Vraja. (5)

Notes: Paṇḍita Goswami had the unique role of providing the stimulant (uddipana) that triggers Śrī Caitanya’s experience of bhakti-rasa.

(6)

dvijendra-vṛnda-vandya-pāda-yugma-bhakti-vardhakaṁ

nijeṣu rādhikātmatā-vapuḥ-prakāśanāgraham

aśeṣa-bhakti-śāstra-śikṣayojjvalāmṛta-gradaṁ

bhajāmy ahaṁ gadādharaṁ supaṇḍitaṁ guruṁ prabhum

I worship the greatly learned guru, Śrīla Gadādhara Prabhu, who increases devotion unto the lotus feet of Śrī Caitanya, which are worshipped by the best of the brāhmaṇas. To his intimate associates he manifests his form as Śrīmatī Rādhā, and distributes the nectar of mādhurya-bhakti by teaching all the devotional scriptures. (6)

Notes: Here, Śrī Dāmodara Goswami explicitly equates Paṇḍita Goswami to Śrī Rādhā. This makes him uniquely qualified to give mādhurya-bhakti to his followers.

(7)

mudā nija-priyādika-svapāda-padma-sīdhubhir

mahā-rasārṇavāmṛta-pradeṣṭa-gaura-bhaktidam

sadāṣṭa-sāttvikānvitaṁ nijeṣṭa-bhakti-dāyakaṁ

bhajāmy ahaṁ gadādharaṁ supaṇḍitaṁ guruṁ prabhum

I worship the greatly learned guru, Śrīla Gadādhara Prabhu, who delights in delighting Śrī Caitanya with the most delightful ocean of bhakti-rasa that flows from the lotus feet of Śrīmatī Rādhā. The eight sāttvika-bhāvas, which always adorn his body, distribute devotional service to Kṛṣṇa. (7)

(8)

madīya-rīti-rāga-raṅga-bhaṅga digdhamānaso

naro’api yāti tūrṇameva nārya-bhāva-bhājanam

tamujjvalākta-cittametu citta-matta- ṣaṭpado

bhajāmy ahaṁ gadādharaṁ supaṇḍitaṁ guruṁ prabhum

I worship the greatly learned guru, Śrīla Gadādhara Prabhu. [Thanks to him] even a man can saturate his mind in the colorful waves of rāgānugā-bhakti in the mood of the gopīs and very quickly attain perfection. Let my mind, which is like a maddened bumblebee, meditate on him, whose heart is full of ujjvala-rasa(8)

Notes: This verse mentions that Paṇḍita Goswami teaches rāgānugā-bhakti to his followers. This is the reason he is called by the ‘greatly learned guru’ by someone like Śrī Dāmodara Goswami.

(9)

mahā-rasāmṛta-pradaṁ sadā gadādharāṣṭakaṁ

paṭhettu yah subhaktito vrajaṅganā-gaṇotsavam

śacī-tanūja-pāda-padma-bhakti-ratna-yogyatāṁ

labheta rādhikā-gadādharāṅghri-padma-sevayā

These eight verses glorifying Śrī Gadādhara Prabhu are a festival for the gopīs. One who reads them with devotion will attain the supreme prema. By rendering service to the feet of Śrī Gadādhara, who is nondifferent from Śrī Rādhā, one becomes qualified to receive the jewel of devotion to the lotus feet of Śrī Caitanya. (9)

Categories: Bhagavān, bhāva

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