Disapperance of Srila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami

Gauravani Dasa - July 25, 2005 9:05 pm

Volume IV, No. 9

Rice Once High in Price Has No Value



Q. I have a question on salagrama worship. Is it possible to worship a salagrama-sila as Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu with Gaura mantra? Is it accepted in our Gaudiya tradition? If so, then will the offering of tulasi leaves be of the same importance, as in the case of worshiping salagrama as Visnu?


A. The saligrama is a manifestation of Visnu in stone that is only found in the Gandaki river in the Himalayas. It is possible that there are as many forms of saligrama-silas as there are avataras of Visnu. Each saligram bears particular markings by which the sila can be identified as Vamana, Sudarsana, Narasingha, etc. All of these deities are viddhi marg Deities of Vaikuntha, where worship is steeped in awe and reverence. While the yuga avatara aspect of Sri Caitanya is Gaura-Narayana, who is worshipped reverentially, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in the most complete sense is Radha-Krsna combined, sri krsna caitanya radha krsna nahe anya. He is Krsna himself with the heart and halo of Radha. Although vaidhi bhakti plays an important part in his lila, his emphasis is on the raga marg of Vraja bhakti, not the love that characterizes Vaikuntha. So it would be difficult to find a saligrama-sila that represents this particular advent of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.


However, the power of love is unlimited and by it all things are possible. Gopala Bhatta Goswami worshipped several saligrama-silas. On a Narasingha caturdasi, Gopal Bhatta Goswami was contemplating the love of Prahlada that caused the Narasingha avatara to appear before Prahlada from a stone pillar. At that time Gopal Bhatta Goswami found it overwhelming to think of the nature of this love and Sri Krsna's reciprocation.


Prahlada was a devotee of Krsna. Krsna was his ista-devata and appeared before him full with six opulences in the form of Narasinghadeva. Gopala Bhatta Goswami was also a devotee of Krsna, and he wished he could be as fortunate as Prahlada. He also desired to have a Deity he could dress and decorate with ornaments, which for the most part is not part of the worship of saligrama.


At that time, Gopala Bhatta Goswami was living in Vrndavana, and he was waiting for Caitanya Mahaprabhu to again give him darsana, as he had said he would. The next morning when he awoke, to his surprise he found that his Damodara saligrama-sila had expanded into a Deity of Krsna, who from then on became known as Radha-ramana. Radha-ramanaji is considered to be the combined form of Radha-Krsna and thus the fulfillment of every detail of Gopla Bhatta Goswami's aspiration. In this saligrama/Deity we find Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.


So find out which saligrama you have. Then worship your saligrama appropriately with tulasi and love and try to understand the nature of pure devotion that Prahlada Maharaja exemplifies. Practice vaidhi bhakti and aspire for eligibility for raga marg bhakti of Vrindavana. Consider that the yuga avatara aspect of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared through Advaita's worship of saligrama. Pray that you can fully embrace the significance of the yuga avatara aspect of Maharpabhu and thus qualify yourself to understand and realize the significance of the internal reasons for Sri Caitanya's appearance in the world. In this way you will pass through Vaikuntha and enter Goloka Vrindavana, and if he so desires, Sriman Mahaprabhu might appear to you from your saligrama.