Today is the auspicious disappearance day of three great acharyas in the Gaudiya-Vaishnava sampradaya: Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Srila Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami, and Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami. We shall read about Srila Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami from Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja’s Sri Caitanya-caritamrta.
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila, Chapter Thirteen: “Pastimes with Jagadananda Pandita and Raghunatha Bhatta.”
etha tapana-misra-putra raghunatha-bhattacarya
prabhure dekhite calila chadi’ sarva karya
During this time, Raghunatha Bhattacarya, the son of Tapana Misra, gave up all his duties and left home, intending to meet Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
kasi haite calila tenho gauda-patha diya
sange sevaka cale tanra jhali vahiya
Accompanied by a servant carrying his baggage, Raghunatha Bhatta started from Varanasi and traveled along the path leading through Bengal.
pathe tare milila visvasa-ramadasa
visvasa-khanara kayastha tenho rajara visvasa
In Bengal he met Ramadasa Visvasa, who belonged to the kayastha caste. He was one of the king’s secretaries.
PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada
The words visvasa-khanara kayastha indicate a secretary or clerk belonging to the kayastha caste. Kayasthas were usually secretaries to kings, governors, or other important persons. It is said that anyone working in the government secretariat at this time was a kayastha.
sarva-sastre pravina, kavya-prakasa-adhyapaka
Ramadasa Visvasa was very learned in all the revealed scriptures. He was a teacher of the famous book Kavya-prakasa and was known as an advanced devotee and worshiper of Raghunatha [Lord Ramacandra].
Commenting on the word parama-vaisnava, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that anyone who desires to merge into the existence of the Lord cannot be a pure Vaisnava, but because Ramadasa Visvasa was a great devotee of Lord Ramacandra, he was almost a Vaisnava. In those days, no one could distinguish between a pure Vaisnava and a pseudo Vaisnava. Therefore Ramadasa Visvasa was known as a Vaisnava because he worshiped Lord Ramacandra.
asta-prahara rama-namajapena ratri-dine
sarva tyaji’ calila jagannatha-darasane
Ramadasa had renounced everything and was going to see Lord Jagannatha. While traveling, he chanted the holy name of Lord Rama twenty-four hours a day.
When he met Raghunatha Bhatta on the way, he took Raghunatha’s baggage on his head and carried it.
Ramadasa served Raghunatha Bhatta in various ways, even massaging his legs. Raghunatha Bhatta felt some hesitation in accepting all this service.
“You are a respectable gentleman, a learned scholar, and a great devotee,” Raghunatha Bhatta said. “Please do not try to serve me. Just come with me in a happy mood.”
Ramadasa replied, “I am a sudra, a fallen soul. To serve a brahmana is my duty and religious principle.
“Therefore please do not be hesitant. I am your servant, and when I serve you my heart becomes jubilant.”
Thus Ramadasa carried the baggage of Raghunatha Bhatta and served him sincerely. He constantly chanted the holy name of Lord Ramacandra day and night.
Traveling in this way, Raghunatha Bhatta soon arrived at Jagannatha Puri. There he met Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu with great delight and fell at His lotus feet.
Raghunatha Bhatta fell straight as a rod at the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Then the Lord embraced him, knowing well who he was.
Raghunatha offered respectful obeisances to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu on behalf of Tapana Misra and Candrasekhara, and the Lord also inquired about them.
“bhala ha-ila aila, dekha ‘kamala-locana’
aji amara etha kariba prasada bhojana”
“It is very good that you have come here,” the Lord said. “Now go see the lotus-eyed Lord Jagannatha. Today you will accept prasada here at My place.”
The Lord asked Govinda to arrange for Raghunatha Bhatta’s accommodations and then introduced him to all the devotees, headed by Svarupa Damodara Gosvami.
Thus Raghunatha Bhatta lived with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu continuously for eight months, and by the Lord’s mercy he felt increased transcendental happiness every day.
He would periodically cook rice with various vegetables and invite Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to his home.
Raghunatha Bhatta was an expert cook. Whatever he prepared tasted just like nectar.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would accept with great satisfaction all the food he prepared. After the Lord was satisfied, Raghunatha Bhatta would eat His remnants.
When Ramadasa Visvasa met Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Lord did not show him any special mercy, although this was their first meeting.
Within his heart, Ramadasa Visvasa was an impersonalist who desired to merge into the existence of the Lord, and he was very proud of his learning. Since Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the omniscient Supreme Personality of Godhead, He can understand the heart of everyone, and thus He knew all these things.
Ramadasa Visvasa then took up residence in Jagannatha Puri and taught the Kavya-prakasa to the Pattanayaka family [the descendants of Bhavananda Raya].
asta-masa rahi’ prabhu bhatte vidaya dila
“vivaha na kariha” bali’ nisedha karila
After eight months, when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu bade farewell to Raghunatha Bhatta, the Lord flatly forbade him to marry. “Do not marry,” the Lord said.
Raghunatha Bhattacarya had become a greatly advanced devotee while still unmarried. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu could see this, and therefore He advised him not to begin the process of material sense gratification. Marriage is a concession for people who are unable to control their senses. Raghunatha, however, being an advanced devotee of Krsna, naturally had no desire for sense gratification. Therefore Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu advised him not to enter the bondage of marriage. Generally a person cannot make much advancement in spiritual consciousness if he is married. He becomes attached to his family and is prone to sense gratification. Thus his spiritual advancement is very slow or almost nil.
COMMENT by Giriraj Swami
I once had the good fortune to receive a similar instruction from Srila Prabhupada. We were in Gorakhpur, and Prabhupada had received the latest issue of Back to Godhead, with an article I had written in Boston before I went to India—“The Genuine Spiritual Master.” He was pleased with the article and asked to see me. I was still quite young in Krishna consciousness, and Srila Prabhupada didn’t generally call for me. He said, “I have read your article, and it was very nice. You should write.” And he invited me to travel with him so he could train me how to write. Then he asked, “Do you ever think of getting married?” I said no. “Better to remain brahmachari,” he said, “and after some time I will give you sannyasa.” He said that the demands of the senses are like itches and that if you scratch the itches, the itching will get worse. It is better to tolerate the itches, and if you tolerate, gradually the itching will subside. The demands for eating and sleeping too—all of them—if we indulge them they become aggravated. But if we tolerate them, they gradually subside.
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