Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami
Born in a dynasty of Vaisnavas, Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami was the only son of a wealthy landowner. As a boy, he received Haridasa Thakura's association and blessings. At fifteen he met Lord Caitanya. By the mercy of Lord Nityananda he renounced a beautiful wife and an opulent family. He ran to Jagannatha Puri to intimately serve Sri Gaura Raya and his siksa guru Svarupa Damodara Gosvami for sixteen years. Lord Gauranga gave His personal Govardhana sila and gunja mala to Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami.
Raghunatha Dasa couldn't live after Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu left this world. So, he came to Vrndavana to end his life by jumping off Govardhana Hill. Sri Rupa and Sanatana Gosvamis affectionately received him. They convinced him to live on and enlighten all the Vrajavasi Vaisnavas with Sriman Mahaprabhu's Puri pastimes. For three hours a day on the banks of Radha-kunda he spoke about Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Raghunatha Dasa did Radha-Krishna bhajana at Radha-kunda for forty years. He lived an austere life of pure devotion. Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami showed the standard of renunciation required to attain the eternal loving service of Radha-Giridhari in the nitya nikunja at Radha-kunda. His perfect example enthuses all Gaudiya Vaisnavas to develop unalloyed pure love for Radha-Krishna.
Sri Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami's daily bhajana included: chanting 64 rounds japa (100,000 holy names); doing manasi-seva in his spiritual body; worshiping Govardhana sila; bathing thrice in Radha-kunda; offering one-thousand obeisances to Krishna; offering two-thousand to Vaisnavas and embracing them; resting ninety minutes, and some days not at all; Keep in mind however, when an eternal associate of the Lord externally rests, internally he continues serving. He ate only one leaf cup (100 grams) of buttermilk daily.
Throughout his life he never ate anything for sense gratification. He took the bare minimum to keep body and soul together. It's said that after the disappearance of Lord Caitanya, Raghunatha Dasa ate only fruit and milk. After Sri Sanatana Gosvamipada left he existed on a leaf cup of buttermilk every day or two. And when Sri Rupa Gosvami entered nitya-lila, Raghunatha gave up all eating and drinking! He was slowly burning in the fire of separation from the Lord and His loving servants. The Vrajavasis would cry upon seeing his weakened condition.
Sri Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami wrote three books; Stavavalli (contains Manah Siksa, Vilapa-kusumanjali and more), Mukta-carita, Dana Keli Cintamani. In Jaiva Dharma, Srila Thakura Bhaktivinoda said, "Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami showed the esoteric method of engaging oneself in the loving service of Sri-Sri Radha-Krishna." Raghunatha Dasa wrote and taught that the divine service of Srimati Radharani in Vrndavana is the topmost spiritual perfection. For this he was known as the prayojana acarya, the teacher who reveals the highest fulfillment in life.
Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami clearly established the supremacy of Srimati Radharani. In Vilapa-kusumanjali, a collection of intimate prayers, he states that Sri Radha's service is the highest attainment. Feeling extreme impatience and hopelessness, due to separation from the "Queen of his life," he desperately prays for Radharani's service:
"My life is worthless. I will give it up without receiving Your mercy. Living in Radha-kunda and Vrndavana is meaningless to me. To say nothing of Vrndavana, even Krishna Himself is useless to me without You. 0 Srimati Radharani, You are the only object of my life. Please be merciful to me. Crying profusely in great lamentation, I hold Your lotus feet to my heart and beg for Your loving service. May this Vilapa-kusumanjali bring even the slightest satisfaction to You."Srila Raghunatha Dasa serves Sri Radha as Rati-manjari in Sri Vrndavana-dhama. His samadhi is at Radha-kunda and the 64 Samadhis Area.
[This article and more information at www.stephen-knapp.com]
[Home page] [Back to Biographies of Saints and Sages list]