The Mission of Rupa Gosvami



The Mission of Rūpa Gosvāmi By Revati Devi Dasi The driving force behind Rūpa Gosvāmī’s acts, including his vast literary repertoire, was Caitanya Mahāprabhu, renowned as the initiator of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava lineage in sixteenth-century India. In the eyes of his followers, Śrī Caitanya descended to earth to enact a specific redemptive mission. Indeed, his bhakti movement changed the hearts and faith of countless people, both in the India of his day and worldwide in the modern era, by instilling in them the path of pure love of God.
Like many who were touched by Mahāprabhu and his teachings, Rūpa Gosvāmī left behind his worldly life and dedicated himself to the mission of his master. The significance of Rūpa Gosvāmī in Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism is implicitly accepted even by the present-day devotees of Lord Caitanya. It is so much so that they often refer to themselves as rūpānugas – the followers of Rūpa – instead of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas, using the two terms practically as synonyms. But what made Rūpa Gosvāmī so outstanding?By dedicating an entire volume exclusively to the ācārya, The Mission of Rūpa Gosvāmī is nearly unique; and it is definitely unique in terms of its approach to the subject. The book does not simply intend to provide a biography; it is an attempt to reveal Rūpa Gosvāmī’s prominent position by exploring the instructions and orders he received from Caitanya Mahāprabhu and how he accomplished his mission. All the while, as the theme unfolds, the reader is given an extensive overview of Śrī Rūpa’s literature.The Anthology of Essays, Verses, Excerpts following the main text of the book, includes a collection of verses praising and elaborating upon Rūpa Gosvāmī both in his sixteenth-century identity and as Rūpa-mañjarī, his eternal female form in the spiritual world; glorious narrations about Rūpa Gosvāmī’s life in Vṛndāvana and his work in refurbishing its sacred environment, and much more, all to give a complete picture of Śrī Rūpa, who is arguably the most important of all ācāryas.
Acknowledgement from the book: The book entitled The Mission of Rūpa Gosvāmī was originally born as an MA thesis at the Bhaktivedanta College, Hungary, in 2020. With minor changes to the Hungarian text, it was published as a book by the College a few months later. In the meantime, I began to translate some sections into English as one of my spiritual mentors, to whom the book was dedicated, does not speak Hungarian. The number of the translated pages gradually grew; an article appeared in the Journal of Vaishnava Studies based on a substantial part of the book; the original Hungarian version began to sell out; and thanks to the encouragement of senior devotees, I started to seriously consider its publication in English… I owe thanks to many. While working on the thesis, I received enhancing advice and critical comments from my advisor Mañjarī Devī Dāsī and from Mahārāṇī Devī Dāsī; therefore, I am very grateful to them. I am convinced that I won the support of two teachers with specific competence in their fields and genuine concern for the subject. However, my interest in the work and poetry of Rūpa Gosvāmī developed long before the MA programme. I had been working on Nava-vraja-mahimā, the wonderful book series of my spiritual master, Śivarāma Swami, for years, and having become absorbed in the enchanting descriptions of Vṛndāvana, I decided that I would like to study the books of Rūpa and Sanātana Gosvāmīs. Over the years I visited the holy places of Vṛndāvana under the guidance of Indradyumna Swami, and by regularly listening to his wonderful lectures, my interest in the subject deepened even more. The pages of this book are saturated with the knowledge I acquired in the footsteps and by the blessings of Śivarāma Swami and Indradyumna Swami.The text is naturally imbued with the spirit of Śrīla Prabhupāda. An important component of the book, Śrī Caitanya-caritāmrta, is available to us by his grace – we know about the Gosvāmīs’ era and work from his translation and commentaries. Other bibliographic sources of the book are mainly from Śrīla Prabhupāda’s disciples, wonderful authors, translators, gurus. I owe a dept of gratitude to Śrīla Prabhupāda who is as naturally present in our life – and on the pages of this book – as the sunlight. Publishing a book in English for a non-native English speaker is a great challenge. What gave me solace was to recall how Śrīla Prabhupāda published his first books. I owe a lot to Satyarāja Prabhu for his invaluable advice and encouragement, to Kaiśorī Devī Dāsī who kindly corrected an essential section of the book, as well as to Kalāvatī Devī Dāsī and Shisho, who helped me with the Anthology. However, I am most grateful to Deborah Marshall, who had not heard of Rūpa Gosvāmī before editing this book but certainly was destined to meet him. She amazed me with her humanity, helpfulness, and open-mindedness. Is it possible to write about Rūpa Gosvāmī without mentioning Sanātana Gosvāmī? I tried to formulate my words bearing the right answer in mind all the time. It is only possible by his blessings and for his pleasure. May he be satisfied with me!
Book details
Title: The Mission of Rūpa Gosvāmī
Author’s name: Revatī Devī Dāsī
Publication date: 2022
Subject: Rūpa Gosvāmī’s life, mission, and literary contribution / Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇnavism / bhakti movement in India in the sixteenth century
Binding: Paperback
Page count: 298
ISBN: 978-615-01-4615-7

About the Author (Revatī Devī Dāsī) : Revatī Devī Dāsī (Rita Renner) is a Hungarian-born translator, editor, and indexer at the Bhaktivedanta College, which is in Budapest, Hungary. Her studies include engineering, English language, and Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava theology. She had always loved books and travelling, but books turned into scriptures and journeys into pilgrimages as her interest turned more and more towards religions over the years. She is the translator and editor of dozens of books and textbooks in the field of Hinduism, Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism, and Yoga; however, her preference is to work on the publications of her spiritual master, Śivarāma Swami, because they are closest to her heart. She owes a dept of gratitude to Indradyumna Swami, whose lectures on Vṛndāvana serve as preeminent guides on her spiritual path. Living a quiet life near the Budapest ISKCON Temple, service to the wonderful deities of Gaura and Nitāi is also an integral part of her life. The subject of her M.A. thesis at the Bhaktivedanta College was specifically on Rūpa Gosvāmī. Shortly after a book was born and published in Hungarian from her thesis, which was recently translated into English under the title, The Mission of Rūpa Gosvāmī.

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