by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī | 180,912 words

The Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu is an ontological analysis of the pastimes of Shri Krishna presented in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana), in terms of the internal structure and stages of development of uttama-bhakti, pure devotional service to the Lord. To the less intelligent, Shrimad-Bhagavatam is a book of religious stories; to those who are...


About Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī

Even though there are so many great ācāryas, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has been given the honor of being that person who has established the mano-bhiṣṭam, the innermost heart's desire, of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. When Mahāprabhu came to the village of Rāmakelī-grāma, He met with Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī and told them, "You should leave your homes and be with Me."

After a short time they left their homes, and Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu came from Vṛndāvana and met with Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī at Prāyag, the confluence of the rivers Yamunā and Gaṅgā. The Lord told him:

pārāpāra-śūnya gabhīra bhakti-rasa-sindhu
tomāya cākhāite tāra kahi eka ‘bindu
"The ocean of the transcendental mellows of devotional service is so large that no one can estimate its length and breadth. However, just to help you taste it, I am describing one drop." 
[Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 19.137]

Lord Caitanya gave one drop of the ocean of rāsa to Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, and that one drop was sufficient to inundate millions upon millions of universes. Later, He instructed Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī in Varānasī. Therefore, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī's and Sanātana Gosvāmī’s understanding of the mellows of devotional service, and specifically the mellow of conjugal love, was extremely exalted. When Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī was in Purī with Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the Lord was dancing at the Ratha-yatra festival and uttering a verse from a book of mundane poetry called sahitya-dārpaṇa:

yaḥ kaumāra-haraḥ sa eva hi varas tā eva caitra-kṣapās
te conmīlita-mālatī-surabhayaḥ prauḍhāḥ kadambānilāḥ
sā caivāsmi tathāpi tatra surata-vyāpāra-līlā-vidhau
revā-rodhasi vetasī-taru-tale cetaḥ samutkaṇṭhate
"That very personality who stole away my heart during my youth is now again my master. These are the same moonlit nights of the month of Caitra. The same fragrance of malati flowers is there, and the same sweet breezes are blowing from the kadamba forest. In our intimate relationship, I am also the same lover, yet my mind is not happy here. I am eager to go back to that place on the bank of the Reva under the Vetasi tree. That is my desire." [Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya 1.58]

No one could understand why Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was uttering this verse and in what mood He was absorbed. There was one young boy there, however, named Rūpa, who later on became Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. There and then, upon hearing this verse from Mahāprabhu, another verse appeared in his own heart, and he wrote down that verse:

priyaḥ so ‘yaṃ kṛṣṇaḥ saha-cari kuru-kṣetra-militas
tathāhaṃ sā rādhā tad idam ubhayoḥ saṅgama-sukham
tathāpy antaḥ-khelan-madhura-muralī-pañcama-juṣe
mano me kālindī-pulina-vipināya spṛhayati
(This is a verse spoken by Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.) "My dear friend, now I have met My very old and dear friend Kṛṣṇa on this field of Kurukṣetra. I am the same Rādhārāṇī, and now We are meeting together. It is very pleasant, but still I would like to go to the bank of the Yamunā beneath the trees of the forest there. I wish to hear the vibration of His sweet flute playing the fifth note within that forest of Vṛndāvana." [Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-lila 1.76]

In this verse Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has clarified Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's inner meaning and thus he revealed to the world the importance of pārakīya-rāsa, the mood of paramour love between Lord Krsna and the gopīs. Therefore Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī is the very person who established within this world the innermost heart's desire of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.

These deliberations and philosophical conclusions are extremely deep, and very difficult to understand. It is therefore essential that one come under the guidance of a self-realized guru, associate with advanced pure devotees, and give one's full time, energy and enthusiastic work in service and in chanting the Holy Names of Krsna. One should also make a great effort to understand and realize the reason for which Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī appeared in this world, and why he wrote so many wonderful transcendental books like Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Śrī Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi, Śrī Vidagdha-mādhava and Śrī Lalītā-mādhava.

oṃ ajñāna-timirāndhasya
cakṣur unmīlitaṃ yena
tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ

sthāpitaṃ yena bhū-tale
svayaṃ rūpaḥ kadā mahyaṃ
dadāti sva-padāntikam

"I was born in the darkest ignorance, and my spiritual master opened my eyes with the torch of knowledge. I offer my respectful obeisances unto him. When will Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī Prabhupāda, who has established within this material world the mission to fulfill the desire of Lord Caitanya, give me shelter under his lotus feet?" [Bhagavad-gītā, Introduction]

We have chanted this prayer many times in our presentations; now by studying the ontological position of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, we start to really comprehend its meaning. Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu appeared in this world for two principal reasons: the external, public presentation of the yuga-dharma, harināma-saṅkīrtan, and the internal, confidential reason of relishing the ecstatic moods of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.

anarpita-carīṃ cirāt karuṇayāvatīrṇaḥ kalau
samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasāṃ sva-bhakti-śriyam
hariḥ puraṭa-sundara-dyuti-kadamba-sandīpitaḥ
sadā hṛdaya-kandare sphuratu vaḥ śacī-nandanaḥ

"May the Supreme Lord who is known as the son of Śrīmatī Śacī-devī be transcendentally situated in the innermost chambers of your heart. Resplendent with the radiance of molten gold, He has appeared in the Age of Kali by His causeless mercy to bestow what no incarnation has ever offered before: the most sublime and radiant mellow of devotional service, the mellow of conjugal love." [Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi 1.4]
rādhā kṛṣṇa-praṇaya-vikṛtir hlādinī śaktir asmād
ekātmānāv api bhuvi purā deha-bhedaṃ gatau tau
caitanyākhyaṃ prakaṭam adhunā tad-dvayaṃ caikyam āptaṃ
rādhā-bhāva-dyuti-suvalitaṃ naumi kṛṣṇa-svarūpam
"The loving affairs of Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are transcendental manifestations of the Lord’s internal pleasure-giving potency. Although Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are one in Their identity, They separated Themselves eternally. Now these two transcendental identities have again united, in the form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya. I bow down to Him, who has manifested Himself with the sentiment and complexion of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī although He is Kṛṣṇa Himself." [Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi 1.5]
śrī-rādhāyāḥ praṇaya-mahimā kīdṛśo vānayaivā-
svādyo yenādbhuta-madhurimā kīdṛśo vā madīyaḥ
saukhyaṃ cāsyā mad-anubhavataḥ kīdṛśaṃ veti lobhāt
tad-bhāvāḍhyaḥ samajani śacī-garbha-sindhau harīnduḥ

"Desiring to understand the glory of Rādhārāṇī’s love, the wonderful qualities in Him that She alone relishes through Her love, and the happiness She feels when She realizes the sweetness of His love, the Supreme Lord Hari, richly endowed with Her emotions, appeared from the womb of Śrīmatī Śacī-devī, as the moon appeared from the ocean." [Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi 1.6]

The fact that Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī was able to understand the confidential heart's desire of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and even express it in Sanskrit poetry at an early age, indicates that he is an eternal associate of the Lord, specifically empowered to reveal this great teaching to the denizens of Kali-yuga. Whenever the Lord descends, He brings His eternal associates with Him, because factually only they can understand and help Him in His pastimes.

"When we speak of a king it is naturally understood that the king is accompanied by his confidential associates, like his secretary, private secretary, aide-de-camp, ministers and advisers. So also when we see the Lord we see Him with His different energies, associates, confidential servitors, etc. So the Supreme Lord, who is the leader of all living entities, the Lord of all devotee sects, the Lord of all opulences, the Lord of sacrifices and the enjoyer of everything in His entire creation, is not only the Supreme Person, but also is always surrounded by His immediate associates, all engaged in their loving transcendental service to Him." [Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 2.9.15, Purport]

So Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, as an eternal confidential associate of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu, was able to understand His deepest intentions and also explain them in logical and highly poetic ślokas. This is the transcendental significance of Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu; therefore, all sincere devotees in the line of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu must study it carefully and scrutinizingly to understand His real mission. That is why we are taking up this great study, and all of our students should follow along, not missing anything, and get the incomparable benefit of transcendental confidential loving service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.

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