Sri Gopinath Ji Temple
Sri Gopinath Ji are the Deities worshiped by Srila Madhu Pandita Gosvami, disciple of Paramananda Bhattacarya and discovered at Vamsivata in Vrindavana by Paramananda Bhattacarya, the disciple of Gadadhara Pandita. Vajranabha originally installed Gopinatha in Vrindavana. Sri Gopinath Ji were brought to Jaipur from Vrindavana when the Muslims raided Vrindavana. Gopinatha exactly resembles Lord Krishna from the shoulders down to the waist. Sri Gopinath Ji temple has beautiful carved silver doors and gorgeous paintings on the walls. The worship of Gopinath was later handed over to the great acarya Sri Madhu Pandita, an intimate disciple of Gadadhar Pandita, the incarnation of Srimati Radharani in Lord Caitanya’s lila. Sri Madhu Pandita was also an intimate loving associate of the six Gosvamis of Vrindavana. It is explained that when Madhu Pandita saw the beautiful form of Sri Gopinath, he dedicated his life and soul, his everything, to the service and pleasure of His lotus feet. It was through Madhu Pandita that the beautiful temple was built for Sri Radha Gopinath in Vrindavana Dhama. On the ceiling of the temple are paintings of the rasa-lila. A unique embroidered tulasi-bead jacket and tulasi japa beads, both of which belonged to Madhu Pandita, are displayed in the courtyard.
Appearance of Sri Gopinath Ji
During the full-moon night of the Sharad season, Lord Sri Krishna, desiring to enjoy His most intimate loving exchanges with His dear most devotees, the gopisof Vrindavana, stood on the holy Vamsivat tree on the bank of the sacred river Yamuna and played upon His blessed flute. The sweet sound of the 5th note of His flute permeated all of Vraja-dhama, and when it entered from the ears into the hearts of the gopis, they detached themselves utterly from all of the social conceptions of this world. Hearing the sweetness of the transcendental vibration of His celebrated flute, all the gopis would leave whatever occupational duties they were engaged in. Whether it be feeding their children, whether it be feeding their families, whether it be sleeping, whether it be cleaning, whether it be milking the cows -they simply left everything, because they knew that the Lord of their life, Sri Gopinath, was calling them. Their husbands and their in-laws forbade them to go. But when the flute of Gopinath calls upon the gopis, the gopis must obey. That is the nature of the quality of their pure love. So it was under this great Vamsivat tree that the gopis would meet in the intimate forest of Vrindavana with Sri Gopinath.
sriman rasa-rasarambhi vamsi-vata-tata-sthitah, karsan venu-svanair gopir gopinathah sriye ‘stunah
“Sri Srila Gopinath, who originated the transcendental mellow of the rasa dance, stands on the shore in Vamsivat and attracts the attention of the cowherd damsels with the sound of His celebrated flute. May they all confer upon us their benediction.” This is considered by Srila Sukadeva Gosvami and all of the greatacaryas as the ultimate intensity of pure surrender for the pleasure of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Lord of the gopis, Sri Gopinath.
Three Deities are very important to all Gaudiya Vaishnavas. Madan Mohan is the Sambandha Deity; it is through Sri Madan Mohan that we establish our relationship with Krishna. Govinda Dev is the Abhidheya Deity; it is through worship of Lord Govinda Dev that we actively engage in devotional activities based on complete attachment to the lotus feet of Krishna. And through this divine process of devotional service, at the ultimate stage of purification, we worship the Prayojana Deity or Sri Gopinath, with pure unalloyed love or prema bhakti.
The beautiful form of Gopinath was carved by the great demigod Vishwakarma on the request of the great-grandson of Sri Krishna, Vajranabha. It is said that the face of this particular Deity of Sri Krishna is identical to the face of Krishna Himself. This Gopinath Deity was lost for a long period of time. But one great devotee of the name Paramananda Bhattacharya rediscovered Sri Gopinath ji. One day Gopinath appeared in his dream and told him, “You will find my beautiful form under the vamsivat tree” So Sri Paramananda Bhattacharya went there and Sri Gopinath was revealed to him.
In another version, it is explained that once the river Yamuna over-flooded, and the original Vamsivat tree was uprooted. So Paramananda Bhattacharya took one branch from, the Vamsivat tree and planted it so that another would grow. It was at that time that he found the original beautiful Deity of Sri Gopinath. The worship of Gopinath was later handed over to the great acarya Sri Madhu Pandita, an intimate disciple of Gadadhar Pandita, the incarnation of Srimati Radharani in Lord Caitanya’s lila. Sri Madhu Pandita was also an intimate loving associate of the six Gosvamis of Vrindavana. It is explained that when Madhu Pandita saw the beautiful form of Sri Gopinath, he dedicated his life and soul, his everything, to the service and pleasure of His lotus feet. It was through Madhu Pandita that the beautiful temple was built for Sri Radha Gopinath in Vrindavana dhama.
Appearance of Srimati Radharani
Neither of these Deities appeared with Srimati Radharani visible. The devotees understand that Srimati Radharani is the empress of the heart of Govinda, Gopinath and Madan Mohan. So the Gosvamis would worship Srimati Radharani, the supreme object of all their veneration, within the heart of the Deity. In this way, they worshiped Radha Govinda, Radha Madan Mohan and Radha Gopinath.
After the Gaura Purnima festival in Kheturigram that Srinivas Acharya, Shyamananda Gosvami, and Narottama das Thakur arranged, Srimati Jahnava Devi came to Vrindavana with many of her intimate associates. She travelled throughout the land of Vrindavana. One of the very special features of her visit was that in her motherly love she went to each of the temples of the Gosvamis, cooked for the Deities, and offered gifts to the Deities. Whatever she had she utilized to bring ornaments and clothes from Bengal to offer to Radha Govinda, Radha Gopinath, Radha Madan Mohan, Radha Ramana and Radha Vinod. Just before she left Vrindavana, she went to all the sacred temples to offer her love and devotion and take permission to depart. When she was at Radha Gopinath temple, she was thinking, “The Deity of Srimati Radharani is very, very small in comparison to Gopinath. Perhaps it would look more appropriate if She was taller.” But then she thought, “Who am I to say how They should match.” So she did not say a single word to anyone. Then the arati started and after the shayan darshan, she went back to her place that was arranged by Jiva Gosvami.
That night Lord Gopinath appeared in her dream in His most beautiful and charming form playing upon His flute and spoke, ‘What you were thinking is correct. Radharani is too small for Me. You should have another Deity made of Srimati Radharani that is harmonious with My size, and you should put Her on My left and this little Radharani Deity on My right side.’ Then the little form of Srimati Radharani standing beside Gopinath said, ‘Whatever My beloved Gopinath is speaking is true. Know for certain that this is also My desire. So without hesitation prepare another Deity of Srimati Radharani to stand to the left of Sri Gopinath ji.’
Upon hearing this, Jahnava Devi woke up from her sleep and was very, very joyful. She bid farewell to all the devotees in Vrindavana, and then returned to Bengal to the village called Kardaha. There she summoned one very great devotee sculptor, Nayanana, and requested him to carve a new Deity of Radharani. In fact, Jahnava Devi herself personally designed the Deity.
Srimati Radharani’s Journey to Vrindavana
Jahnava Devi is Ananga Manjari, the younger sister of Radharani. She organized and oversaw the making of the Deity. When Srimati Radharani’s Deity was complete, then Jahnava Devi bought a boat, made nice arrangements, and placed Srimati Radharani in the boat. Traveling on the boat with Srimati Radharani were many of the greatest associates of Nityananda Prabhu. Among them was Parmeshwar Thakur, who was one of the eight gopas – eight principal cowherd boy associates of Lord Nityanandä Prabhu. Jahnava Devi gave Parmeshwar Thakur 700 gold coins and beautiful silk garments and ornaments for all the Deities in Vrindavana. As the boat was about to depart from Kardaha on the banks of the Ganga to sail all the way to Vrindavana, Jahnava Devi offered a prayer to Gopinath, “O Gopinath! I pray, please let Your Srimati Radharani have a very quick and easy journey to Vrindavana so as to be united with You without any difficulties.” And with this prayer the Deity began Her journey.
Jahnava Devi wrote a letter to Srinivas Acharya, Sri Narottama Das Thakur and others that after the stop in Navadvipa, the boat would stop for a day in Katwa. Katwa is the place where Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted the order of sannyasa. When Srinivas Acharya received this news, he and his associates – the great king Birhambhir, who was formerly the leader of dacoits, Sri Narottama das Thakur, Ramachandra Kaviraj, Gokulananda, and many other great maha bhagavats, went to Katwa to greet Srimati Radharani and Her devotees. When the boat arrived, Parmeshwar Thakur invited the devotees onto the boat and offered them the opportunity to have the beautiful darshan of Sri Radharani. When Srinivas Acharya saw the beautiful form of Srimati Radharani, his heart was overwhelmed with love. He offered a hundred gold coins, beautiful ornaments, jewels, and silken clothes for the Deity. Then Parmeshwar invited all the other devotees onto the boat. In this way, all the Vaishnavas had a wonderful festival in Katwa, and began the beautiful sankirtan of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare | Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare || Throughout the night they chanted and danced, in the beautiful kirtan of the Maha-mantra, and songs of glorification of Lord Caitanya and Radha Krishna. When King Birhambhir saw the loving spirit of all the Vaishnavas dealings with one another, his heart was overwhelmed with ecstatic joy.
The next morning the boat departed and later arrived in Vrindavana without any difficulty. When that boat arrived in Vrindavana all the great devotees of Vraja were there to greet Srimati Radharani and Her associates. With very, very grateful hearts, they were again and again thanking Srimati Jahnava Devi for making this wonderful arrangement for the pleasure of Sri Gopinath. Then there was a grand festival, a wonderful celebration, where Srimati Radharani was installed on the left side of Sri Gopinath ji.
Shortly after this Sri Jahnava Devi, being anxious to see her beloved Lord Sri Gopinath, came again to Vrindavana. When she arrived in Vrindavana, she immediately rushed to the temple of Sri Sri Radha Gopinath, and there with great love she beheld the beautiful darshan of Sri Gopinath ji, standing in His three-fold bending form, playing upon His flute, with Srimati Radharani standing both on His left side as well as on His right side. After offering prayers to the Lord, she offered wonderful gifts that she had brought from Gaudadesh for the pleasure of the Deities. Then she cooked a wonderful feast with her own loving hands for Sri Sri Radha Gopinath, after which she went to visit Sri Madan Mohan and Sri Govindaji – the Deities that are the life and soul of the Gaudiya Vaishnavas.
Our acaryas always declare that when she left this world, Jahnava Devi, who is Ananga Manjari, entered into the smaller Deity of Srimati Radharani. And now she is worshipped as Jahnava Ananga Manjari.
Raghunath das Gosvami – the Prayojana Acharya
Raghunath das Gosvami wrote a beautiful verse describing the very essence of Gaudiya Vaishnava Siddhanta – to be the, servant of the servant of the servant of Srimati Radharani, the dear most beloved of Lord Krishna. In this verse, Srila Raghunath das Gosvami is praying to Srimati Radharani in separation, begging Her to award him the ultimate benediction of Her service. He is praying, “Through all my life I have waited for Your mercy and I am growing impatient, old and tired. Srimati Radharani, I cannot wait any longer without Your love and Your mercy. I will give up my life; I cannot tolerate the separation any more. Without Your mercy, I do not even care to live in Vrindavana. Even Vrindavana has no appeal or charm to me without connection to Your loving service. I do not even care for Krishna, the all-attractive Supreme Lord. I have no desire even for Krishna without service to You.” In this prayer of separation, Sri Raghunath das Gosvami revealed the perfection of Prayojana. Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has taught that the supreme of all devotees are the gopis, and the ultimate perfection of our life is service in separation to Lord Krishna, which is obtained through the mercy and grace of Srimati Radharani. Srila Raghunath das Gosvami did not want Vrindavana or even Krishna. He just wanted to please the associates of Srimati Radharani and assist them in their service to Lord Krishna.
Sri Sri Radha Gopinath – the Prayojana Vigraha
Srila Krsnadas Kaviraj Gosvami explains that the Gopinath Deity is presiding over the highest principle of Prayojana jnana. Prayojana is the ultimate perfection of ones spiritual development. By the grace of Srimati Radharani, one is blessed with ecstatic love in the mood of the servants of the gopis of Vrindavana. This is the ultimate stage of purified consciousness in the spiritual world as taught by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Through prayer and worship of Radha Gopinath, we are gradually given the highest perfection of pure love.
Prayers to Sri Sri Radha Gopinath
Let us all pray at the lotus feet of Sri Radha Gopinath that we can all eternally aspire to be the servant of the servant of the servant. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu prayed: gopir bhartur padkamalayor das das dasanu das.
“I identify Myself only as the servant of the servant of the servant of the lotus feet of Lord Sri Krishna, the maintainer of the gopis.” Gopi bhartur and Gopinathmean the same thing – the Lord of the gopis. It was Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s eternal desire to be the servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord of thegopis – Sri Gopinath. So let us worship Sri Sri Radha Gopinath ji and Sri Ananga Manjari, Jahnava Devi, with this prayer. Please bless us that we may also follow in the footsteps of the most glorious residents of Vrindavana, giving up all desires, all activities, save and except those which give great pleasure to Radha Gopinath ji and Their devotees.
Srila Madhu Pandit Gosvami’s Tulsi Coat and Cap at Sri Gopinath Ji Temple
Their Lordships Sri Gopinath Ji at Sri Vrindavana Dhama Temples Timings of Sri Gopinath Ji
Monday to Sunday 6:00AM to 1:00PM – 4:00PM to 7:00PM
Sri Gopinath Ji,1729, Chandpole, Purani Basti, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302001, India.
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