By Victor Epand
The Six Goswamis of Vrindavan were the people who revived Vrindavan. Rupa and Sanatana were direct disciples of Sri Chaitanya and they compiled literatures based on the teachings they received from Him. The other goswamis also were disciples of Sri Chaitanya with the exception of Jiva who was initiated by his uncle, Rupa Goswami. Sanatana was accepted by the inhabitants of Vrindavan as their Guru.
The Goswamis are famous for their devotional literatures, their staunch practices and renunciation, their establishing of temples, and their discoveries of deities. They also spent a lot of time going around Vrindavan to find the lost places of pastimes connected with Radha, Krishna and the inhabitants of Vrindavan. They rediscovered those places according to the description in the Srimad Bhagavatam and as detailed by Sukadev Goswami, son of Vyasadev. Although they had renounced everything and had no material wealth in their possession, the Goswamis inspired rich people to build temples for the pleasure of the Lord. These temples are a major attraction to this day for pilgrims. The Goswamis had such spiritual power and influence in people's lives that they were loved by everyone. They had no private lives. They gave themselves fully for the benefits of society.
In Srila Prabhupada's words: "There were six great Gosvamis of Vrindavana--Srila Rupa, Sanatana, Bhatta Raghunatha, Sri Jiva, Gopala Bhatta and Dasa Raghunatha--and none of them inherited the title of gosvami. All the Gosvamis of Vrindavana were bona fide spiritual masters situated on the highest platform of devotional service, and for that reason they were called gosvamis. All the temples of Vrindavana were certainly started by the six Gosvamis. Later the worship in the temples was entrusted to some householder disciples of the Gosvamis, and since then the hereditary title of gosvami has been used. However, only one who is a bona fide spiritual master expanding the cult of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Krishna consciousness movement, and who is in full control of his senses can be addressed as a gosvami. Unfortunately, the hereditary process is going on; therefore at the present moment, in most cases the title is being misused due to ignorance of the word's etymology.
Those who have gone to Vrindavana have seen the temple of Radha-Madana-mohana. That was established by Sanatana Gosvami, the first disciple of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Rupa Gosvami established the Govindaji's temple, and the Jiva Gosvami established Radha-Damodara temple. Gopal Bhatta Gosvami established Radha-Ramana temple. In this way, in Vrindavana there are seven temples believed to have been established by the Gaudiya-sampradaya, Caitanya Mahaprabhu's sampradaya.
Later on, many big kings and zamindars (landlords) also established many big temples. And altogether there are five thousand temples in a small city like Vrindavana, and thousands of men go to see the Deities in every temple almost every day, and especially during the four months Sravana, Bhadra, Asvina, and Karttika (July, August, September, and October). So Vrindavana is always crowded with lots and lots of pilgrims. Anyone who goes there will immediately feel spiritual consciousness.
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