From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Gosvāmi literally means ‘master of the senses’.

This word can be used as an honorific for anyone who has mastered his senses. However, it is normally used as a title indicating the religious status of a person. It is much more common among the Vaiṣṇavas.[1]

A Vaiṣṇava gosvāmī[2] may be a monk or a householder. He may be the head of a religious institution or just an ordinary devotee. The luminaries among the gosvāmīs are the following spiritual leaders of the Caitanya cult.[3] Rupa Gosvāmī (A. D. 1493-1568), Sanātana Gosvāmī (A. D. 1481- 1558) and Jīva Gosvāmī (16th cent. A. D.) are the famous personalities of this cult.

Tulasidās, a gosvāmī, was the famous author of the monumental work. He was the author of Rāmcaritmānas.

Gosvāmī word is also used as a surname for the descendants of the gosvāmīs.


  1. Vaiṣṇavas are the followers of the Viṣṇu cults.
  2. Gosvāmī can be called as gosāī or gusāī.
  3. Devotees of this cult are the followers of Srī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya of Bengal.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore