Biography of Sanatana Goswami
Sanatana Goswami (1488-1558 AD) was the chief disciple of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He had composed many texts of ‘Gaudiya Vaishnava Bhakti Sampradaya’. He was the eldest among the six influential Goswamis of Vrindavan along with his brother Roop Goswami.
Sanatana Goswami was a Karnat grade Panchadravid Bharadwaja Gotriya Yajurvedi Brahmin. His ancestors belonged to the Karnat dynasty and Rupeshwar, the son of Sarvagya, came to Bengal and settled in Barisal, a neutral Ganga.
His grandson Mukunddev was appointed as a royal servant in the court of the Nawab of Bengal and started living in Ramkeli village near Gaur. His son Kumardev, leaving three sons Amardev, Santoshdev and Vallabh, went to the hereafter in his youth, due to which Mukundadeva followed the three grandsons and gave them proper education. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu named these three as Sanatan, Roop and Anupam respectively.
Sanatan’s Birth No. He was born around 1523 and got a good education of Persian Arabic along with Sanskrit. In 1483 AD, at the age of eighteen on the death of the grandfather, it was appointed in his post and took over the work with great ability.
During the time of Husain Shah, he became the Prime Minister and got the special title of the court. The three brothers were supreme devotees, detached and lovers of satsang even while doing royal duties.
He had built “Kanai Natyashala”, in which there was a collection of many idols related to Krishnalila. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was illuminated, he too was eager to have his darshan, but did not get leave from his official duties.
Therefore, writing a letter to him urged him to come to Ramkeli village. When Sri Chaitanya came to the village of Ramkeli on his way to Vrindavan, these three brothers had darshan of him and all of them resolved to get rid of the worldly entanglements.
Education and initiation
Sanatana Goswami’s paternal grandfather Mukundadeva was holding a high position in the Gaur kingdom for a long time. He lived in Ramkeli. His son Srikumar Dev lived in Baklachandra island. After the death of Kumardev, Mukundadeva brought Shriroop-Sanatan etc. to Ramkeli. He made arrangements for the education of Roop-Sanatan.
Sanatana Goswami has used the word ‘Guru’ only for Vidyavachaspati in the invocation, from which it is clear that he was his initiation guru, and all other education gurus. Although the word ‘Guru’ is plural, it is often used in a verse in the sense of pride. Here also it is associated with Vidyavachaspati by being used in a verse. If both Vidyavachaspati and Sarvabhaum Bhattacharya were attached to both, it would have been used in the dialectic.
Arrival in Vrindavan
Caitanya Mahaprabhu, after keeping Sanatan in his close association for two months and having mastered Vaishnava-siddhanta, said to him- “Sanatan, a few days ago I sent your brother Roop to Prayag by preaching Krishna rasa and for its propagation. You have also sent to Vrindavan after transmitting power. I am entrusting you with the burden of four responsible tasks.
You go there and save the lost pilgrimages and Leela places of Mathura Mandal, establish the principle of pure devotion, manifest Krishna-deity And by compiling Vaishnava-smriti, propagate Vaishnava virtue.” After this, the Thakur of the poor, Param Karuna Gauranga Mahaprabhu said with a compassionate mind, in a compassionate voice – “Besides this, you have to take care of another important responsibility.
You have to do it too.” Sanatan said- “Lord! If you want to get this work done by me, then please put your feet on my head and infuse power.” Mahaprabhu blessed Sanatan by placing his lotus hand on his head. When Sanatan was departing from Mahaprabhu to go to Braj on the orders of Mahaprabhu, his life was wrapped around his feet. When were they letting them go? The legs were moving back and forth.
As they went, they were looking at Mahaprabhu again and again with tearful eyes and they were saying in their mind, not knowing when their fortune will rise again. When will they again be able to cool their lives with detachment after seeing that real idol of compassion and love.
When Sanatan walked towards Vrindavan, at the same time Roop and Vallabh walked from Vrindavan towards Prayag with the aim of meeting him on the way. But the meeting of the two did not take place, because the Sanatan went from the Rajpath, Roop and Vallabh came from another path along the banks of the Ganges.
Vrindavan return and service of Madan Gopal
After coming to Vrindavan, Shri Sanatan Goswami first established the Vrindavan Devi temple. After this he got engaged in the work given by Mahaprabhu. One day Shri Goswamiji went to Mathura for Madhukari. The idol of Shri Shri Madan Gopal was seen in Shri Damodar Choubey’s house. On seeing that idol, he felt that his mind and life were stolen.
Now he awakened the desire to serve Shri Murti. He would visit Chaube ji’s house again and again and see the idol. That idol would destabilize him again and again. Choubey ji’s wife used to take care of Madan as much as she used to take care of her son’s house. Served both equally.
It is said that Madan Gopal used to jump with the house. Shri Sanatan told Chaube ji’s wife that you serve Madan Gopal with a lot of heart. He is fine, but he is God, the service of God should be done by special rituals. Hearing this, Brijmai said that it is okay, I will take care.
Next time when Goswamiji went to his house, she said, Baba, I tried to do as you said, but Madan Gopal did not like it. They Told me in my dream that mother, you are starting to differentiate between me and the house.
You keep the house close to you, consider me a favor and keep it away from you. I don’t feel well Now Goswami’s tears were not taking the name of stopping. He felt that I kept Shri Madan Gopal away from Prem Vatsalya Ras for some time.
The following are the compositions of Sanatan Goswami-
- sri krishna lilastava
- Sri Brihat Bhagavatamrit
- Hari Bhaktivilas and
- devotional practice
- Sanatan and Roop Goswami
Sanatana Goswami lived in Muslim garb while in the Sultan’s camp in Gaur’s court, the unrestrained Chaitanya-Charitamrita in Arabic and Persian mentions that when Rupa and Sanatana went to see Ramakeli Mahaprabhu, at that time Nityananda and Haridas, who were Mahaprabhu Were with you, said – Roop and Sakar have come to your darshan. Here Sanatan is called Sakar (Mallik).