The Six Goswamis

It was the six Goswamis who not only founded this holy city of Vrindavana but also firmly established the teachings of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu through their various writings. They explained the doctrine and philosophy of Sri Chaitanya for the benefit of the whole world. The two brothers Rupa and Sanatana Goswamis were ordered by Lord Chaitanya in the year 1516 to go and live in Vrindavana and search out all the lost holy places connected with Lord Sri Krishna’s transcendental pastimes.

He also ordered them to compile books on the great science of bhakti-yoga, the process of devotional service to God. In their sacred mission, Rupa and Sanatana Goswamis were ably assisted by Raghunatha dasa, Raghunatha Bhatta, Gopala Bhatta and Jiva who altogether formed the famous transcendental group, the six Goswamis of Vrindavana.

Even though both Rupa and Sanatana were very important ministers in the government of Bengal, by the divine inspiration of Lord Chaitanya, they completely renounced mundane family life in order to fully serve the mission of Lord Chaitanya. When they first came to Vrindavana, it was just a large forest, and at night they would sleep under the trees. They dressed only in simple kaupins (loincloths), and subsisted on forest roots and dry chapatis obtained by begging alms (madhukari). The six Goswamis hardly slept more than two hours a day and spent most of their time in meditation and writing books on the science of bhakti-yoga. Some of their original works, written on parchment leaves, have been preserved and can be seen at the Vrindavana Research Institute. The fame of the six Goswamis spread so far and wide that even Emperor Akbar decided to pay a visit to Vrindavana in the year 1570. Jiva Goswami led him blindfolded into the sacred kunja of Nidhuvana. So great was the Emperor’s spiritual experience there, that to commemorate the event, he granted permission to construct four grand temples dedicated to Lord Krishna. The temples were Govindaji, Gopinatha, Madana-mohana and Jugal-kisore. The Emperor also donated funds to set up a library for the preservation of the Goswami’s books at Radha-Damodara temple. This library used to be in the room to the left of the altar and is still known as grantha ghar (book house). Akbar even provided first class sandstone, normally reserved for the Emperor’s palaces and forts; such was his appreciation for the six Goswamis. Unfortunately, one hundred years later, these same temples were desecrated by the soldiers of Emperor Aurangzeb, the Muslim zealot, in the year 1670.