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Ärî Gopâla Guru Gosvâmî

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Ärî Gopâla Guru Gosvâmî

Ärî Gopâla Guru Gosvâmî was the disciple of Ärî Vakresvara Paòàita. He was an Orissan brahmana. His previous name was Makara Dhvaja Paòàita. From his very childhood he was in the care of his guru. Mahâprabhu was very affectionate to him and used to enjoy a humorous relation with him. Mahâprabhu would address him as "Guru". Thus from his childhood he retained this title.

During the time of Gopâla Guru the temple of Radhakantha was renovated, and he installed Deities of Radha and Lalita on each side of Radhakanta as well as Deities of Ärî Ärî Nitai Gauracandra, in very beautiful dancing posters.

By the influence of his association with Svarupa Damodara Gosvâmî and Ärî Raghunatha dâsa Gosvâmî, he became very expert in worshipping the Deity with loving devotion. Vakresvara Paòàita later took up residence at Kasi Bhavan, after the disappearance of Mahâprabhu. The room where Mahâprabhu stayed is known Gambhira. After the disappearance of Vakreswar Pandit, Gopal Guru took up residence there and he continued to worship the Deity of Ärî Ärî Radhakanta within Kasi Misra Bhavan.

One story has it that when Mahâprabhu was going to answer the call of nature, he was biting his tongue which was incessantly and uncontrolably engaged in chanting the Holy Name. When Gopal saw this, in his innocence as a small boy, he remarked, "Prabhu! You are the independent Supreme Lord. But just suppose if one of us ordinary jivas, in following Your example, happens to quit his body while so indisposed. In the absence of the chanting of Your Holy Name, what will his future be?"

Prabhu replied, "Gopal! You have spoken correctly. From today your title will be 'guru'". The news of this incident spread far and wide. Soon thereafter Abhirama Thakur wanted to come and offer his obeisances to Gopâla. (see: Abhirama Gosvâmî). When Gopâla received this news he was terrified and ran to Mahâprabhu and sat in His lap. In order to allay his fears, Prabhu put His lotus footprint on Gopâla's forehead which remained in the form of tilaka. Thus he was easily able to withstand the force of Abhirama Ùhâkura's pranama.

He compiled a book called Smarana Paddhati, which is composed of twenty-four chapters. Gopâla Guru Gosvâmî's disciple was Dhyanacandra Gosvâmî who was a very influential acarya. He composed a book known as Dhyancandra Paddhati.

After Gopal Guru's disappearance, as soon as his transcendental body was placed in its samadhi at Swargadwar, the king's men declared that since the sevaitship of Radhakantha Mandira within Kasi Misra Bhavan had been bestowed upon Dhyanacandra Gosvâmî without their permission, they were going to seize the temple, which they did. Thus Dhyanacandra was plunged into an ocean of grief, being doubly distressed. His guru had just left and he was feeling great separation from him. Now on the top that the king's men had barred him from worshiping Ärî Ärî Radhakantha, the very service that had been bestowed upon him by his guru.

After Ratha Yatra, however, someone went on a pilgrimage to Vrindavana where they saw Gopâla Guru sitting underneath a Pankura tree near Vansivat. When Dhyanacandra received this information he rushed to Vrindavana where he in fact found his Guru Mahârâja. He begged and begged his guru to return to Puri, but Gopâla Guru replied, "I already left my body there. Now I am in Vrindavana so why should I go back there? If you are feeling separation from me then you can have a Deity made of me from a neem tree in the garden of Siddha Bakula. I will be personally present in that murti and will also streighten out the servants of the king." In this way all of Dhyanacandra's problems were solved by his guru in the form of this murti.

The murti of Gopâla Guru in Puri is still being worshipped at Radha-Kanta Mandir and another branch of Radhakanta temple with a samadhi mandir and murti of Gopâla Guru was founded near Vansivat in Vrindavana. There are also branches of Radhakanta Mandira founded by some followers of Gopâla Guru at: Vidhuban, Vrindavana; Kangali Mahâprabhu Math, Vrindavana; Arunananda Kunj, Radhakunda; Kisori Kund, Yavat; Gambhirar Matha, Koladwipa; Madhavi Devi's Gopinatha Mandir, Bentpur.

Narottama dâsa Ùhâkura met Gopâla Guru Gosvâmî at Kasi Misra Bhavan. (B.R.8.389)

His disappearence is on the ninth day of the bright fortnight of Kartik.

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