Sri Sanatana Goswami

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By Krishna Maheshwari

Srila Sanatana Goswami was born in 1488. He was the older brother of Sri Rupa Goswami. They were educated in Sakurma, a village near the capital of Gauda (modern day West Bengal). The brothers were forced to work as government ministers for Nawab Hussein Shah (the ruler of Bengal at the time) in Ramekeli. Sanatana was known as Sakara Mallik and appointed private secretary.

In 1514, Sanatana Goswami met Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in Ramekeli and was initiated by him. He eventually managed to abjure his government duties and escape from eventual imprisonment by the Nawab and made his way to Benares, where he met Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu enlightened Sanatana into the truths of bhakti and further instructed him to

  1. write books on devotional service
  2. establish proper devotee etiquette
  3. install deities and proper deity worship
  4. to excavate the lost holy places of pilgrimage in Vrindavana

Sanatana's literary works include

  • Hari-bhakti-Vilasa
  • the Brihad-bhagavatamrita which expounds on the science of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's teachings.
  • Dasama-tippani, also known as the Brihad-Vaishanva-Tosani, is a commentary on the tenth canto of the Srimad-Bhagavatam
  • Dasama-charita covers Krishna's pastimes up to Mathura
  • Hari-Bhakti-Vilasa, which covers the code and conduct of Vaisnavas is considered to be his most important work.

Sanatana Goswami established worship of the Madana Mohana deity. With the help of a wealthy merchant Krishna Dasa Kapoor, a lavish temple was built for Sri Madana Mohana. This temple still stands today, and is an important place of pilgrimage for all Gaudiya Vaisnavas.

Sanatana passed away at the age of 70 in 1558.