25th June 2019
Raghunath Das Gosvami & his renunciation
I am here in Pune today. We were talking yesterday about Raghunath Das Gosvami, Namacarya Haridas Thakur and offenses against holy name. So that was topic yesterday and everyday we have a new topic, but today I wish to remember Raghunath Das Gosvami and talk more about Raghunath Das Gosvami. He is our acarya. So, remembering our acaryas like six Gosvamis is very auspicious. So, Raghunath Das Gosvami, he had a darshan of Lord Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu in Shantipur, when Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu had come there after sanyaas. So that’s another thing. So there, Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu advised Raghunath - he was not Gosvami that time. He was just Raghunath. Caitanya Mahaprabhu said “You go return to family and lead a family life and Krishna will make arrangement for you to relieve and you could be able to break all the bonds and join Me at some stage.”
So by now he was married and his father was trying to bind him to the worldly life or keep him at home. So, he thought the wealth is there, he was trying to bind him with the wealth and then another bond is okay here you go. We will bind you further. He was married to young beautiful girl. So, his father was doing his best to keep Raghunath Das Gosvami at home.
He was attempting to break the bonds, go away from the family, go to join with Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu in Jagannath Puri. But he was not becoming successful. He thought I don’t have blessings of my guru and that is Nityananda Prabhu. Nityananda Prabhu is the spiritual master of the whole world. So, then he had gone to meet Nityananda Prabhu. That meeting took place at Panihati at the banks of Ganges. I think I am going too slow. I need to go fast to cover kind of entire life of Raghunath Gosvami. I will not contemplate or dwell on each episode but I will just make a mention and proceed.
So here at Panihati,he was blessed by Nityananda Prabhu and then he returned to Saptagrama, his home town and then finally after many many attempts, he succeeded breaking all the bonds and reach Jagannath Puri and be in association of Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates. So, while he was in Jagannath Puri, Caitanya Mahaprabhu asked Svarupa Damodar to take care or look after, advice Raghunath Das. So Svarupa Damodar Gosvami became kind of counselor and Raghunath Das was counselee and this was nice team and Raghunath Das became known as ‘Svarupera Raghu’, he was Raghu of Svarupa Damodar.
So then as you know he was in his previous ashram, at home he was a big landlord and all opulences was at his disposal and all the dishes were cooked for him, but now here at Jagannath Puri he started begging alms. He would stand at the entrance of the Simha dvara with the begging bowl and whatever alms would be offered he would just survive with those alms. He also at one point, he was thinking, this is not good that I am begging here and some people offer me something, some alms, something to eat or give paisa and I think ‘oh this is a nice person. Thank you!’ and so many others give me nothing and I think, ‘oh these are not good people. They have not given me some little bit.’ So, he was thinking, ‘I am thinking these are good people, these are bad people and I am doing this kind of discrimination and I am caught in the dvandva, dual nature, dvidha and this is not proper on my part to think of good and bad.
ei bhāla, ei manda,'— ei saba bhrama (CC Antya 4.176)
This is good, this is bad, this is good person, this is bad person. I should give it up. So, he gave up this begging activity.
So, he started to go behind the temple. He used to stand in front, so he decided to go behind the temple. This where they used to throw extra prasad and the leftovers and which was eaten up by dogs or cows or crows. So, Raghunath Das Gosvami was collecting that prasad. Sometimes it’s rotten, it was mixed with mud. He used to take that and wash it, little cleaning and then he used to eat that prasad. He used to enjoy that prasad, relish that prasad.
Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu noticed, ‘Oh! How come he is not begging at the entrance. Where is he? Where does he go and what does he do at the back of the temple?’ So, Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu had found out that Raghunath Das Gosvami was collecting some remnants, rotten prasad cleaning and eating. So Caitanya Mahaprabhu one time, He watched Raghunath Das Gosvami and he even went forward, closer to him and He started begging ‘Me too. Me too! Give some of that Prasad to Me. Why are you eating by yourself? Greedy! Share it with Me.’ And then Raghunath Das Gosvami was thinking, ‘no, no! This kind of prasad for you my Lord? No, no! You should not eat this.’ So, Raghunath Das Gosvami got up and he was running away, escape kind. So that Lord does not eat that kind of rotten or old or smelly or mixed with mud kind of food, Prasad. But Raghunath Das Gosvami was not successful. Caitanya Mahaprabhu caught him from behind and took some morsels from ‘Jagannather bhat jagat pasare hat’ and Caitanya Mahaprabhu started enjoying that Jagannath mahaprasad. Of course, this is greatness of, mahatmya of Jagannath prasad also as we hear this pastime.
So, Raghunath Das had an opportunity to associate with Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates for many many years in Jagannath Puri. So, one thing that Raghunath Das Gosvami did and not many did this what Raghunath Das Gosvami did and that was he was keeping a diary. He was writing journal kind of, when he used to be with Caitanya Mahaprabhu or witnessing different pastimes of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Raghunath Das Gosvami used to be himself part of those pastimes. So, at the end of the day or middle of the day he used to write it down what he had seen, what he had experienced. So, he was keeping notes, diary of Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s different activities, different pastimes, different lilas.
So unfortunately and eventually Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu wind up His pastimes in Jagannath Puri by entering into the vigraha of Tota Gopinath and everyone there was devastated as Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s darshaa was no more available. So, at that point Raghunath Das Gosvami, he left Jagannath Puri. He went to Vrindavan and was planning to give up his life as he thought, ‘what good is this life without Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu?’ So Narottam Das Thakur has also expressed his sentiments, ‘ye anilo prema dhan’, that song. So, like that Narottam Das Thakur was also thinking that ‘how could I survive now in His absence? Look this devotee has left, that devotee has left, that devotee, of course Gauranga eka kale, Caitanya Mahaprabhu also has left. So, I could only break my head against the rock that I don’t have association of this and that and all those vaisnavas who have departed. Or I should enter the fire and finish my existence. Narottam Das Thakur sings that song, has expressed his emotions. So, Raghunath Das Gosvami also was feeling like that, that Narottam Das Thakur’s feelings.
As also we know, Namacarya Sri Haridas Thakur when he found out or realized that Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu is preparing to depart, preparing to wind up His pastimes, then he also said, ‘no, no Lord, I want to go first because I will not be able to manage, tolerate my existence that You have gone first and I am behind. I won’t be able to handle those kinds of circumstances that you have departed and I have stayed behind. So please arrange that I go first while You are still with me or in front of my eyes.’ And of course, Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu kindly granted that benediction to Namacarya Sri Haridas Thakur and one day Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu came with big number of devotees, performing kirtan at Siddha Bakul. At one-point Namacarya Sri Haridas Thakur, he held the lotus feet of Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Namacarya Haridas Thakur’s eyes were drinking the beauty of lotus like face of Gauranga and he uttered ‘Sri Krishna Caitanya!’ and this was last thing he uttered and with that he departed. This way Lord fulfilled the wish, desire of Namacarya Sri Haridas Thakur.
Raghunath Das Gosvami had arrived in Vrindavan and he used to be contemplating on giving up his, ending up his life and he was thinking, ‘how and where I could give up my life. He was thinking I should climb up Govardhan hill and from top of the hill I will jump in the valley. And this is how I will end up my life.’ Rupa, Raghunath, other Gosvamis, other devotees of Gauranga those who were residing in Vrindavan- there was one team in Jagannath Puri, but there was another team in Vrindavan. So, some of them found out, Rupa Gosvami we could say found out what Raghunath Das Gosvami was contemplating on. So, they sat with him and told him, ‘no, no you can’t do this. This is not your body. This body is property of Mahaprabhu. And you should continue to live in this body and use this body in service of Gauranga.’ So, they were talking to him and dispreading him and they finally succeeded and Raghunath Das Gosvami- now he has become Raghunath Das Gosvami here- he stayed on here in Vrindavan for another 40 years or so.
So, residents of Vrindavan, especially residents of Radhakunda or the senior associates, followers of Gauranga Mahaprabhu were greatly benefited by association of Raghunath Das Gosvami, because Raghunath Das Gosvami had witnessed all the pastimes of Gauranga in Jagannath Puri and he also had taken the notes. So now regularly on the banks of Radhakunda, Shyamakunda, Raghunath Das Gosvami was sharing all the pastimes of Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu in Jagannath Puri with residents of Vrindavan and Radhakunda residents who were deprived of all those pastimes. They had no idea what different pastimes Lord had performed. Now Raghunath Das Gosvami was sharing all those pastimes day after day after day.
Amongst the listeners in the audience there was one very special person, so many were very special, but one was very very special and that was Krishnadas Kaviraj Gosvami Maharaj. Krishnadas Kaviraj in fact he became a neighbor, staying next door to Raghunath Das Gosvami and he was listening and he was the one, Krishnadas Kaviraj Gosvami, he compiled Caitanya Caritamrita. He had never ever met or seen Caitanya Mahaprabhu, but vaisnavas had asked him, Krishnadas Kaviraj Gosvami, to compile Caitanya Caritamrita. So, he was able to do so with the help of Raghunath Das Gosvami as he was listening to the pastimes of Gauranga Mahaprabhu in Jagannath Puri and Raghunath Das Gosvami was also sharing his notes, his diary with Krishnadas Kaviraj Gosvami. With the help of these talks of Raghunath Das Gosvami and his Caitanya diary, Krishnadas Kaviraj Gosvami was able to compile, especially the antya lila part of Caitanya Caritamrita.
So, Raghunath Das Gosvami amongst the other Gosvamis, he was known for his renunciation, his vairagya. So now here in Vrindavan at the banks of Radhakunda where he was residing, he hardly ate anything. He used to just take one cupful of buttermilk. That is what all that he was eating and of course hardly he was sleeping, one two hours and hardly eating. So, all the Gosvamis especially Raghunath Das Gosvami is known for his renunciation, vairagya vidya nija bhakti yoga.
Time is up. Then Raghunath Das Gosvami attained Samadhi in Vrindavan at the banks of the Radhakunda. Right at the banks of Radhakunda in fact there is Samadhi of Raghunath Das Gosvami. We could also think that way that acharyas are also accessible, they reside in there samadhis, so whenever next time you go to Radhakunda, don’t miss the Samadhi mandir darsana and offer your prayers to Raghunath Das Gosvami on the banks of Radhakunda.
May Raghunath Das Gosvami bless you, but blessing is ‘Krishner mati astu’. Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to bless like that. All the acaryas used to bless like that. I am also blessing like that. That’s nice blessing. ‘Krishner mati astu’, let your mati reside in Sri Krishna and may you all become fully Krishna conscious. Gauranga! Raghunath Das Gosvami ki jai!