Coming back to the lesson on Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami, I could realize some key takeaway points for practicing Krsna consciousness. I could identify a combination of Mahaprabhu’s instructions and Raghunath Bhatta Goswami’s personal behavior and conduct.
- Humility: Even though he was an exalted vaisnava, he still considered himself very humble. When Ramadasa Visvasa tried to serve him, he felt some hesitation in accepting the services. He said to Ramadasa, “You are a respectable gentleman, a learned scholar and a great devotee, please do not try to serve me. Just come with me in a happy mood.” (CC Antya 13.94-96)
- Devotional service to please the Lord: Real bhakti is to engage in some service for the Lord’s pleasure. Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami displayed that by periodically cooking rice with various vegetables and inviting Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to his home. Whatever he prepared tasted just like nectar. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu would accept with great satisfaction all the food he prepared. After the Lord was satisfied, Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa would eat His remnants. (CC Antya 13.106-108)
- Celibacy is conducive for spiritual life: Lord Caitanya instructed Raghunatha Bhatta not to marry and get entangled in family life. It is interesting to note the purport where Srila Prabhupada says that marriage is a concession for people who are unable to control their senses. In other words, marriage is a license for regulated sense gratification. If one can survive without getting married and is focused more on Krsna consciousness, his/her spiritual progress will be rapid. There is a very beautiful prayer by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura. It says:
ramani-jana-sanga-sukham ca sakhe
carame bhayadam purushartha-haram
O friend! The joys of intercourse with beautiful women are ultimately a source of fear, for they prevent the achievement of life’s goals. Become intoxicated with the nectar of the Holy Names and worship the moon of Godruma’s forest bowers.
- Fulfill family responsibilities as best as one could: Lord Caitanya instructed Raghunatha Goswami to maintain his aged parents. If the parents are devotees, then all the more so. We should maintain our worldly responsibilities while practicing Krsna consciousness.
- Study Srimad Bhagavatam: This is the most important instruction of Lord Caitanya. He instructed Raghunatha Goswami to study Srimad-Bhagavatam from a pure Vaiṣṇava who has realized God. Studying/hearing Srimad Bhagavatam is one of the 5 more potent devotional services (the other four are association of devotees, Deity worship, chanting the holy name, and residing in a dhama). We are fortunate to receive translation of Srimad Bhagavatam from one of the greatest Vaisanavs – Srila Prabhupada. Srimad Bhagavatam is the magnum opus on the Vedic civilization. I personally read Srimad Bhagavatam for at least 30 minutes every day. I started this a year ago and I am in 4th canto now. My realization is that reading Srila Prabhupada’s books means direct association with him. I can see the change in my consciousness since I started reading them. Just reading them purifies our heart. How much more purification can we obtain by discussing Srimad Bhagavatam in the association of devotees and preaching its teachings to others.
- Devotional service means taking shelter of advanced devotees: Lord Caitanya instructed Raghunatha Goswami to travel to Vrndavana and take shelter of Rupa and Sanatana Goswamis. We are ragatmikas – to progress in spiritual life, we must follow advanced devotees and work under their guidance. We cannot jump the ship. We must follow the disciplic succession.
- Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami is a prema-bhakta: Raghunatha Bhatta displayed signs of being a pure prema-bhakta. He would be overwhelmed with ecstatic love for Krsna when reciting Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in the company of Rūpa and Sanātana. By the mercy of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, he experienced the symptoms of ecstatic love — tears, trembling and faltering of the voice. His eyes filled with tears and his throat became choked, and thus he could not recite Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
- A pure devotee never causes anxiety to others: Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa never did anything harmful to a Vaiṣṇava. In other words, he was never inattentive in the service of the Lord, nor did he ever violate the rules and regulations of a pure Vaiṣṇava.
- Raghunatha Bhatta was a maha-bhagavata: Although a Vaiṣṇava preacher may sometimes criticize others, Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa avoided this. Even if another Vaiṣṇava was actually at fault, Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa would not criticize him; he saw only that everyone was engaged in Kṛṣṇa’s service. That is the position of a mahā-bhāgavata.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!