Gopala Guru Gosvami and Dhira Samira

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Vakresvara Pandita was was a great kirtan leader and a wonderful dancer. Nobody could dance like him.

daśa-sahasra gandharva more deha’ candramukha

tārā gāya, muñi nācoṅ — tabe mora sukha

“O Candramukha! Please give me ten thousand Gandharvas. Let them sing as I dance, and then I will be greatly happy.”[1]

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu liked to see him singing and dancing.

After Mahaprabhu left the world, Vakresvara saw no reason to stay in this world and also left his material body.

 

He had a dear disciple called Gopala Guru Gosvami who was a brahmana from Utkala, the present state of Orissa, western India. The work Utkala means “the best artist”, or “the best art”, since that place was in old age known for its fine artists. In this State lies the most important holy place of Jagannatha Puri. 

From early childhood Gopala stayed with Vakresvara Pandita and remained under his care and guidance. Caitanya Mahaprabhu was always very affectionate towards him and played many jokes on him.  Out of affection, the lord would jokingly call him “Guru,” and so he became known as Gopal Guru Gosvami.

The story of how he came to known as “Guru” is interesting. Srila Gopala Guru was born in a family of Oriya brahmins. His father’s name was Murari Pandita. His parents named him Makaradhvaja Pandita. It is said that by the mercy of Mahaprabhu’s servant Govinda, Makaradhvaja was able to render personal service to Mahaprabhu.

From his childhood, Gopala served Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. It is said that once, prior to Mahaprabhu’s departure from Puri, Gopal happened to notice that while the Lord was going to answer a call of nature that he held his tongue between his teeth. He asked:

“Prabhu, why do you keep your tongue between your teeth?”

Sri Caitanya said:

“My tongue can’t stop chanting, but it is not proper to do so while engaged in a call of nature.”

Gopala said,

“Prabhu, you are the Supreme Lord and everyone follows you. What if someone while relieving themselves left his body, what would be his destination if he were not chanting?”

Mahaprabhu became pleased and said,

“You have spoken correctly, like a guru. From today you shall be known as ‘Guru’.”

This is how Gopala came to be known as Gopala Guru.

 

He was instructed in the system of rasa and attained expertise in the rasik principles by Svarupa Damodara and Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami.

Vakresvara Pandita later stayed at the place where Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu stayed, at the house of Kashi Mishra. After Sri Vakresvara Pandita passed away, Gopal Guru Gosvami stayed at that place, where he installed the deities Sri Sri Radha-Kanta. He composed a book called Smarana-paddhati, or “The System for Remembering the Lord”, divided in twenty-six chapters.

 

Narottama Dasa Thakura visited the house of Kashi Misra when he went to Jagannatha Puri. There he met Gopal Guru Gosvami.

According to some, he was the gopi known as Tungavidya Sakhi.

On the ninth day of the full moon in the month of Karttika he entered into the unmanifest pastimes of the Lord[2].

 

Gopala Guru Gosvami had a disciple called Dhyanacandra Gosvami, who became an important Acarya in the Gaudiya Sampradaya. He wrote a book called the Dhyanacandra Paddhati.

During his time, government officials committed some atrocities against the Radha-Kanta Matha and the bhajana-kuti of Haridasa Thakura in Puri. Dhyanacandra was very sorry about that.

One day a Vaishnava came from from Vrindavana and told him:

“Why are you so worried? We have seen your gurudeva, Sri Gopala Guru Gosvami, performing bhajana at Dhira-samira. Go to him. He will settle everything.”

Since that Vaisnava was a respectable devotee who could not lie, although his Guru had passed away long before, Dhyanacandra Gosvami believed the news and immediately travelled on foot to Vrindavana. 

He reached Vrindavana within a few days and upon entering Dhira-samira, he saw his spiritual master, Gopala Guru Gosvami, with chanting-beads in his hand, submerged in ecstasy as he chanted nama-sankirtana. A constant flow of tears streamed from his eyes as he remembered various pastimes.  

Dhyanacandra fell at his feet like a rod and began to cry. Then he said:

“Please come back to Puri. The authorities there are giving a very hard time to the Vaisnavas and the Deities. We need your protection.”

Gopala Guru Gosvami answered:  

“Return to Puri without anxiety. The disturbance of the government officials will cease.”

So ordered, Dhyanacandra Gosvami returned to the Radha-Kanta Matha in Puri, where the government officials stopped creating annoyances and repeatedly apologized to him for their deeds. 

 

Dhira-samira gives transcendental bliss to the devotees and is the eternal place where Gopala Guru Gosvami performs bhajana. You can still visit this transcendental place in Vrindavana and remember this and many other wonderful pastimes.

 

[1] Caitanya Caritamrita Adi-lila 10.19

[2] The Vaisnava wording to say that he died

 

This is a section of the book “On a Silver Platter”.

To buy the complete book, click above

 

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