Gaudiya Vaisnava Abhidhana p. 1350-1351: Rupa Gosvami was one of the six Gosvamis associated with Sri Gauranga-lila. According to Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika 180 he was Sri Rupa manjari in Krsna lila. He occupied a responsible post in the service of the Badshah Hussain Shah of Gauda. He later renounced everything and surrendered himself at the feet of Lord Gauranga. His fascinating biography is described in the CC, Bhaktamala, etc. Narottama Thakura has rightly praised him as "Sri Caitanyamanohabhista- stapaka" (the implementor of Lord Caitanya's desires).
Rupa Gosvami was specifically commanded by Lord Caitanya to carry out two tasks: (1) to re-locate and preserve the lost pilgrimage places of Vrndavana, and (2) to write and preach Vaisnava theology.
From Prayaga Rupa Gosvami went to Vrndavana. He then visited his native home where he settled his property concerns. Thereafter he traveled on to Nilacala to meet Lord Caitanya. While staying at Gauda, Rupa Gosvami developed the desire to write the Vidagdhamadhava and Lalitamadhava nataka. Initially he planned to present the Vraja-lila and the Pura-lila together in one drama with the view of calming the intensity of the Vrajaviraha by including the Dvaraka-lila. However, while in Satyabhamapura he was commanded by Satyabhamadevi to write two separate dramas. In Nilacala Lord Caitanya also gave him the same instruction. Only those who appreciate the true Vaisnava spirit will understand the immense pleasure which Lord Caitanya and His associates derived from listening to this drama. After surcharging and empowering Rupa Gosvami with divine energy, Lord Caitanya sent him back to Vrndavana.
The following is a list of the most well-known books of Rupa Gosvami: Bhaktirasamrtasindhu; Ujjvalanilamani; Laghubhagavatamrta; Vidagdhamadhava; Lalitamadhava; Nikunjarahasyastava; Stavamala; Sri Radha-Krsna-ganoddesa- dipika; Mathura-mahatmya; Uddhava Sandesa; Hamsadutam; Danakelikaumudi; Sri Krsnajanmatithividhi; Prayuktakhyatamanjari; Natakacandrika.
Kumara deva, the son of Mukunda, was an extremely religious man. When religious upheaval occurred in Naihati, Kumara deva moved to Bakla Candradvipa (in Jessore). He is said to have settled for some time at Fateyabad - located between Naihati and Bakla. The three most renowned sons of Kumaradeva were Sanatana, Rupa and Anupama (Vallabha). When their father died, these three sons went to their maternal uncle's home in Sakurma near the capital of Gauda where they continued their studies.
Sri Sanatana Gosvami was born in 1488 A.D. (1410 Saka). Sri Rupa Gosvami was born in 1493 A.D. (1415 Saka). In order to complete their education they lived at their uncle's house in a small village named Sakurma near the capital of Gauda.
Having heard the glories of Sri Rupa and Sanatana from many intelligent persons, Badshah Hussain Shah of Gauda appointed the two brothers as ministers in the court. Though reluctant to accept the Bhadshah's offer, out of fear of the Yavana King, they agreed to take the post. Hussain Shah happily offered them enormous amounts of wealth and riches. Sri Rupa and Sanatana thus lived in the village of Ramakeli, the capital of Gauda. Many great brahmana scholars from different parts of the country visited their house regularly, and the two brothers took great pleasure in serving and arranging accommodations for them.
The brother of Sarvabhauma, the famous Vidyavacaspati, was the philosophy teacher of Sri Rupa and Sanatana. As mentioned in the Dasama Tippani of the Bhagavata, their other teachers were Sri Paramananda Bhattacarya and Sri Ramapada Bhadrapada. From their early childhood Rupa, Sanatana and Anupama, were very devotionally inclined.
When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu arrived at the beautiful village of Ramakeli the brothers met the Lord and were overwhelmed with joy. On the eve of the Lord's departure from Ramakeli, He blessed Sri Sanatana and Rupa by saying, "Very soon Krsna will free you from the entanglement of material life."
After the Lord departed from Ramakeli Rupa and Sanatana began to devise means to get out of their government service. Both brothers appointed some brahmanas to perform purascarana ceremonies and chant the holy name of Krsna. Rupa Gosvami deposited ten thousand gold coins with a grocer, and the balance he brought in two boats to a place called Bakla Candradvipa. There he divided this money among the brahmanas, Vaisnavas and his relatives, and a portion he kept for emergency measures and personal needs.
When Rupa Gosvami was informed that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was going to Vrndavana from Jagannatha Puri through the forest of Madhyapradesh, he sent two people to Jagannatha Puri to find out when the Lord would leave for Vrndavana. When Mahaprabhu started for Vrndavana, Rupa left home and sent news to Sanatana that he was leaving with his younger brother (Anupama Mallika) to meet Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Meanwhile, Sanatana Gosvami told the Nawab that he was sick and could not attend to his work. Giving this excuse, he sat home and studied Srimad Bhagavatam with learned brahmana scholars. The Nawab Hussain Shah first sent his personal physician to see what the real facts were; then he personally came to see why Sanatana was not attending to official business. Knowing that he wanted to resign his post, the Nawab had him arrested and imprisoned. The Nawab then went off to attack Orissa.
Rupa Gosvami finally reached Prayaga. While Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was sitting in a solitary place in the home of a Deccan brahmana, Rupa Gosvami and Sri Vallabha (Anupama) came to meet Him.
At the time of Mahaprabhu's visit to Prayaga, Sri Vallabhacarya was living in the village of Araila on the other bank of the Triveni. One day he invited the Lord to his house for lunch and Sri Rupa and Anupama accompanied Him.
Due to the great crowds in Prayaga, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to a place called Dasasvamedha-ghata. It was there that the Lord instructed Sri Rupa Gosvami for ten successive days and empowered him to understand the philosophy of devotional service.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu taught Rupa Gosvami the ultimate limit of the truth about Lord Krsna, the truth about devotional service and the truth about transcendental mellows, consummating in conjugal love between Radha and Krsna. Finally He told Rupa Gosvami about the ultimate conclusions of Srimad Bhagavatam. By entering the heart of Rupa Gosvami, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu empowered him to ascertain properly the conclusions of all truths. He made him an experienced devotee whose decisions correctly agreed with the verdicts of the disciplic succession. Thus Sri Rupa Gosvami was personally empowered by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. After giving so much instruction, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu advised Sri Rupa to go to Vrndavana. The Lord then departed for Varanasi. With a grievous heart due to separation from the Lord, Sri Rupa and Anupama started for Vrndavana.
In Vrndavana, Rupa Gosvami began to write a drama. In particular, he composed the introductory verses to invoke good fortune. On his way to Gauda-desa, Rupa Gosvami had been thinking of how to write the action of the drama. Thus he had made some notes and begun to write. In this way the two brothers Rupa and Anupama reached Bengal, but when they arrived there Anupama passed away. After performing the funeral rites, Rupa Gosvami traveled on. In the province of Orissa, Rupa Gosvami rested for a night at Satyabhama-pura. That night he dreamed that a celestially beautiful woman had come before him and very mercifully gave him the following order. "Write a separate drama about me. By my mercy it will be extraordinarily beautiful." After having this dream, Rupa Gosvami considered, "It is the order of Satyabhama that I write a separate drama for her."
Thus absorbed in thought, he quickly reached Jagannatha Puri. When he arrived, he approached the hut of Haridasa Thakura. Out of affectionate love and mercy, Haridasa Thakura told Rupa Gosvami, "Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has already informed me that you would come here." Shortly thereafter the Lord arrived and warmly embraced Rupa. They sat down together and inquired from one another about auspicious news. The Lord asked Rupa about Sanatana. Rupa explained that he had not met Sanatana and informed the Lord of Anupama's disappearance.
On the next day, Caitanya Mahaprabhu again met Rupa Gosvami, and with great mercy the Lord introduced him to all the devotees. Every day the Lord would go to see Rupa Gosvami, and whatever prasada He received from the temple He would deliver to Rupa Gosvami and Haridasa Thakura.
During the Ratha-yatra ceremony Rupa Gosvami heard a verse uttered by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu during the ceremony, and he immediately composed another verse dealing with the same subject. Only Svarupa Damodara Gosvami knew the purpose for which the Lord recited that verse. According to the Lord's attitude, he used to quote other verses to enable the Lord to relish mellows. Rupa Gosvami, however, could understand the intention of the Lord, and thus he composed another verse. After writing this verse on a palm leaf, he put it somewhere in his thatched roof and went to bathe in the sea. At that time, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went there to meet him, and when He saw the leaf pushed into the roof and saw the verse, He read it and was overwhelmed by ecstatic love. At that time Rupa Gosvami returned and offered his obeisances. The Lord slapped him mildly in love and said, "My heart is very confidential. How did you know My mind in this way?" Svarupa Damodara said, "I can understand that You have already bestowed Your causeless mercy upon him. No one could otherwise understand this meaning."
One day while Rupa Gosvami was writing his book, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to the cottage of Haridasa Thakura. The Lord inquired, "What kind of book are you writing?" He held up a palm leaf that was a page of the manuscript, and when He saw the fine handwriting, His mind was very pleased. "The handwriting of Rupa Gosvami is just like rows of pearls," He said. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu ordered Rupa Gosvami to read from his book, Rupa Gosvami, because of great shyness, did not read it but instead remained silent. When the Lord persisted, Sri Rupa read, much to everyone's pleasure. After hearing from him, both Ramananda Raya and Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya said to the Lord, "Without Your special mercy, how could this Rupa Gosvami have understood Your mind?" Ramananda remarked to Sri Rupa, "This drama of yours is a mine of conclusive statements."
After four months had passed and the Dola-yatra festival ended, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu bade farewell to Rupa Gosvami. The Lord empowered him and bestowed upon him all kinds of mercy. "Now go to Vrndavana and stay there," the Lord said. "You may send here your elder brother, Sanatana. When you go to Vrndavana, stay there, preach transcendental literature and excavate the lost holy places. Establish the service of Lord Krsna and preach the mellows of Lord Krsna's devotional service. I shall also go to Vrndavana once more." Having thus spoken, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu embraced Rupa Gosvami, who then placed the lotus feet of the Lord upon his head.
When Sri Sanatana Gosvami and Sri Rupa Gosvami lived in Vraja, they won the heartfelt affection of all the residents there, who regularly brought the two brothers gifts of curd and milk. The Gosvamis also regarded the inhabitants of Vraja as the dear associates of Lord Krsna. They respected them in that way and were always concerned about their well being. When they visited different areas of Vraja, the inhabitants there did not want them to leave their village. If many days passed without a visit from the Gosvamis, the Vrajavasis would anxiously seek them out. Thus the Vrajavasis were the life of Sri Rupa and Sanatana, and Sri Rupa and Sanatana were the life of the Vrajavasis.
The Books of Sri Rupa Gosvami:
2. Uddhava Sandesa
3. Sri Krsnajanmatithividhi
4. Sri Radha-Krsna-ganoddesa-dipika (Brhad and Laghu)
5. Sri Stavamala
6. Sri Vidagdha Madhava (drama)
7. Sri Lalita Madhava (drama)
8. Danakeli Kaumudi
9. Sri Bhaktirasamrtasindhu
10. Ujjvala Nilamani
12. Sri Mathura-mahatmya
15. Samkhepa Bhagavatamrta
16. Samanya Virudavali Laksmana
Gosvami left this world in 1486 Saka era, 1564 A.D., on the day of Sukla Dvadasi in the month of Sravana (July-August). According to another view, he disappeared in 1490 Saka era, 1568 A.D.