Shrila Rupa Goswami was extremely dear to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Through him and his elder brother, Shri Sanatan, Mahaprabhu disseminated His own teachings, the essential conclusions of all the scriptures. Amongst the Devotees of Mahaprabhu these two were known as His generals. In the Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika, Kavi Karnapura has written that Shri Rupa Goswami was known as Shri Rupa Manjari during Krishna lila. There is an anecdote as to how they came to be the ministers of the king of Gaudadesha, Hussain Shah Badsha. Even at a very young age they had become quite learned in all of the scriptures. The guru (moulabi) of Hussain Shah was supposedly capable of seeing into the future. Hussain Shah inquired him about the prosperity of his kingdom. The moulabi replied, "There are two extremely learned brahmana boys who are endowed with all good qualities. If you appoint them as your ministers then you will attain a very opulent kingdom." Having heard of the glories of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Shri Rupa had written a letter to Him praying for His darshan. In His reply Mahaprabhu explained to him, "As a woman who is attached to another man makes a show of being devoted to her husband, so you should, while being internally attached to the lotus feet of Shri Krishna, externally make a show of being engaged in your worldly duties. Krishna will bestow His mercy on you very soon." While residing at Ramakeli, Shri Rupa and Shri Sanatana were visited by many brahmanas and panditas from Navadwipa, Karnataka and various other parts of India. They were always careful to receive these guests and serve them in a befitting manner.
They lived in a very opulent surroundings at Ramakeli. Their court, which rivalled that of Lord Indra, was always attended by brahmanas, pandits from many lands as well as poets, singers, musicians and dancers. At great expense they maintained these guests and were always very careful that no one was disrespected in any way. They were always engaged in studying the shastras and could establish and defeat the same philosophical arguments alternatively. Near their house were solitary gardens of Kadamba and other trees in the middle of which were Radha-kunda and Shyama-kunda. There they would meditate on the Vrindavana pastimes of Shri Shri Radha-Shyama and thus, losing their patience, a constant stream of tears would flow from their eyes. They were always absorbed in the service of Shri Madana Mohana and constantly assuaged their grief by praying for His mercy. Hearing of the pastimes of Sri Gaurasundara at Nadia they were always meditating when they might get His darshan. [B.R. 1/585].
Rupa Goswami's worshipable Deity in Vrindavana was Shri Govinda Deva. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had instructed the Goswamis to re-discover the holy places of Krishna's pastimes in Braja and to establish worship of His Shri vigraha. One day Shri Rupa was sitting on the banks of the Jamuna, lamenting that they hadn't been able to properly carry out His instructions. It was known to them that Shri Krishna's grandson Vajranabha had installed a number of Deities in Braja, among them Hari Deva, Madana Mohana Deva, Gopinath Deva and Shri Govinda Deva. Shri Rupa had tried to locate these Deities, but to no avail. As he was sitting and thinking in this way a very beautiful cowherd boy came along and asked him, "He Swamin! Why do you look so sad?" Hearing the boy's cheerful voice, Shri Rupa's melancholy reverie was broken and his heart felt engladdened. He replied that he was feeling sad because he hadn't been able to follow Mahaprabhu's instructions properly. The cowherd boy told him, "Swamin! Please come with Me. I know where what you are looking for is." Then the boy brought him to Gomatila and explained, "Everyday a cow comes on top of this hill and pours down her milk here. There is a good chance you will find what you are looking for inside.
Now I have to go." Shri Rupa turned to see the cowherd boy off, but found no one present. He began to reflect, "Who was that cowherd boy and where did he run off so suddenly?" His body thrilled with ecstatic symptoms as he intently gazed at the Mahayoga Pith (Gomatila), and then went back to his kutir. The next morning he again came to Gomatila and quietly waited. After a little while an exquisitely beautiful Surabhi cow came there and poured milk down on top of the hill which immediately disappeared inside the earth. Then she sauntered on into the woods.
Now Shri Rupa was positive that Shri Govinda Deva must be within the earth here. He came very quickly to the village of cowherds nearby and excitedly told them everything that had happened. The cowherd men hurriedly gathered up some spades and hatchets and came running to Gomatila. Digging where Shri Rupa indicated they saw, after removing a small amount of earth, the all enchanting form of Shri Govinda. They all erupted in shouts of ecstasy, "Hari! Hari! Shri Govinda has again manifested Himself." Shri Rupa with tears flowing from his eyes fell down at the lotus feet of Shri Govinda deva to offer his obeisances, all the while reciting prayers and hymns. Very quickly the news spread and the other Goswamis, floating in an ocean of joy, came there also. Soon an incessant flow of people from all quarters began to arrive, carried by waves of joy. Lord Brahma and the other demigods, having assumed mortal appearances, mixed in with the other people and gazed upon the body of Shri Govinda. There was not a lull in the crowd for even a moment as people continued to pour in from places unknown. Shri Rupa Goswami immediately sent word to Mahaprabhu in Puri concerning this auspicious event. Shri Gaurasundara along with His associates couldn't contain their ecstasy on receiving this happy news. Meanwhile the brahmanas performed the abhisheka of the Deity and began to prepare offerings of bhoga from the milk, yogurt, rice, flour and vegetables which the villagers were bringing. Mahaprabhu sent Kashishvar Pandit from Puri to assist in worshiping the Deity.
Shri Govinda Deva is presently being worshiped in Jaipur, Rajasthan, which is easily reached by bus from Vrindavana. One has to proceed by rickshaw to Shri Shri Radha-Govinda Mandir from the bus stand. Overjoyed that Shri Govindaji and Madan Mohan had reappeared and thus the responsibilities which Mahaprabhu had given them were gradually being carried out, Shri Rupa and Sanatan began to compose the Bhakti-shastras, in compliance with Mahaprabhu's further instructions. After completing Vidagdha – madhava, Lalita-madhava, and various other books, Shri Rupa began to work on Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. One day Shri Vallabhacharya (of the Visnuswami sampradaya) came to visit Rupa Goswami. After offering him a seat the two of them began to discuss krishna-katha. In the house of their conversation, Sri Rupa presented the opening verse of Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhu to Vallabhacharya to read. After studying this verse for some time Vallabha commented that there were a few mistakes. At this time Sri Jiva, who had arrived from Bengal a few days before, was fanning his uncle Sri Rupa. He was extremely learned in all the sastras and was unsatisfied with Vallabha's remark. When Vallabhacharya went to the Jamuna to take his bath, Shri Jiva also came there on the pretext of fetching some water. He inquired from the acharya as to what actually were the mistakes in that verse. Vallabhacharya, after discussing some points with him, was amazed at the boy's scholarship. After a few days Vallabha again came to Shri Rupa. After inquiring about the boy scholar, he greatly praised his learning. After Vallabha had gone to his residence, Shri Rupa called Jiva and spoke to him, "Those whom we respect as our Guru and to whom we offer our obeisances you are ready to debate with on an equal level. This is not at all polite. What he spoke was for my benefit but you couldn't tolerate that. You should return home and when you can control your mind then you can come back to Vrindavana." [B.R. 5.1643] Hearing this decision of his uncle Shri Jiva left that place and decided to proceed eastwards. When he came to an old dilapidated Temple at Nanda-ghat, he sat down and began to cry. Soon the villagers began to worry: "Such a handsome young man, but he sits there crying for so long without taking food." After a while, Shri Sanatana Goswami came by and the villagers informed Sanatana of the boy's presence at the old Temple.
Sanatana went there and saw his nephew, who looked very pale from not eating. Sanatana picked him up from the ground and affectionately asked him what was the matter. Shri Jiva explained everything that had happened. Sanatana Goswami pacified him and, taking his nephew with him, went to see his brother. At first Sanatana spoke with Rupa alone. When Shri Rupa happened to mention Jiva, Sanatana explained everything. Shri Rupa immediately called Jiva. Seeing his forlorn and pale appearance, he gradually nursed him back to health and a happy state of mind.
Then he entrusted him with proof reading and various litratures which he had composed. Just as he was very strict with his young nephew, so also he was very affectionate and loving. Their relationship was an ideal example of how the guru and shishya behave together. When Shri Rupa had finished writing Lalita-madhava, he gave it to Raghunatha dasa Goswami to read. Lalita-madhava is a description of Krishna's pastimes after He left Vrindavana and is thus full with sentiments in the mood of separation. By reading this book Dasa Goswami began to cry day and night, having become completely absorbed in love in separation to the point of being ready to leave his body. [B.R.5.768] He became as though deranged in mind from sadness, and he compeletely lost all patience. When Shri Rupa requested Shri Dasa Goswami to return the manuscript so that he could correct it, Raghunatha dasa held on to it very tightly, not saying anything, refusing to part with it. After considering what to do, Shri Rupa composed Dana-keli-kaumudi. He managed to exhange this manuscript with Lalita-madhava.
By reading Dana-keli-kaumudi, full of narrations of Krishna's Vrindavana pastimes, Raghunatha dasa Goswami now became totally absorbed in the ecstacy of happiness. On another occasion the Goswamis were having a discussion about the ecstatic feelings of separation of Radha-Krishna and Their associates. Some of the Vaishnavas were fainting to the ground, while Shri Rupa Goswami began to breath very heavily. His heart felt as though it was burning. At one point as he sighed his breath happened to fall on the body of one Devotee present there.
Shortly thereafter a boil developed on that Devotee's body where Shri Rupa's breath had touched it. [B.R. 5.1326] After the re-appearance of Shri Govinda, Madana Mohana and the Yoga Pith, Shri Rupa began to contemplate where Vrindadevi might be. One night she came to him in a dream and said, “I am on the banks of Brahma-kunda. You can have my darsan there.” The next morning, after finishing his bath and puja, he came to Brahma-kunda and began to look everywhere. Suddenly he saw a heavenly damsel whose bodily effulgence defeated the luster of gold. All the directions were illuminated by this glow and the atmosphere created by her presence was very sweet and cooling. Shri Rupa offered his dandavats and various prayers and hymns. In this way, Vrinda Devi reappeared in Vrajabhumi. Shri Gaurasundara established the glories of Shri Vrajadhama through His two generals Shri Rupa and Shri Sanatan Goswamis. Within their hearts He awakened, through oral transmission, the knowledge of what was in His own heart. “Shri Rupa Goswami has established in this world the mission to fullfill the desire of Lord Chaitanya. When will he give me the shelter at his lotus feet?” [Shrila Narottama dasa Thakura in his Shri Rupa Pranama].
Shri Rupa Goswami completed many literatures, among them: Shri Hamsaduta Kavya, Sgri Uddhava-sandesh, Sgri Krishna-janma-tithi-vidhi, Brhat Radha-Krishna-ganoddesha-dipika, Laghu Radha-Krishna ganoddesah-dipika, Stavamala, Vidagha-madhava, Lalita-madhava, Dana-keli-kaumudi, Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Ujjvala-nilamani, Prayuktakhyata-manjari, Mathura-mahima, Padyavali, Nataka chandrika, Laghu-Bhagavatamrta, among others.
Birth: 1493 (Christian calendar), 1415 (Sakabda) Disapearance: 1564 (Christian calendar), 1486 (Sakabda) Appearance day? Disappearance day: 12th day of the bright fortnight of Shravan.