Radha Gokulananda Temple is an ancient shrine, located at Vrindavan, in Uttar Pradesh. It is in between the Kesi Ghat and the Radha-Raman Temple.

Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda

In this temple there is the small Radha-Vinoda Deities of Lokanatha Gosvami, the larger Deities of Vijaya Govinda of Baladeva Vidyabhusana, and the Radha Gokulananda Deities of Viswanath Cakravarti. The small Deity of Krishna in front of Gokulananda and the Deity of Caitanya Mahaprabhu were worshiped by Narottama Dasa Thakur. Viswanath Cakravarti arranged to have this temple built. Formerly, all the Deities in this temple were worshiped alone, in their own temples.

Originally, Viswanath Cakravarti worshiped the Deity of Gokulananda at Radha Kunda. He then moved to Vrindavana and stayed with Lokanatha Gosvami. Where this temple is located is where Lokanatha Gosvami would do his bhajana. When the original temple of Radha-Vinoda fell apart, Viswanath Cakravarti had another temple built and called it the Gokulananda Temple. Both his Deity of Gokulananda and Radha-Vinoda were worshiped here.

There is a Govardhana-shila in this temple that was given by Lord Caitanya to                Raghunath Dasa Gosvami. This shila bears the thumbprint of Lord Caitanya. He used to chant while holding the shila, pressing it to His heart or eyes. The shila was always moist with Lord Caitanya’s tears. He would place it on His head or smell it. Lord Caitanya kept this shila for three years and then gave it to Raghunatha dasa. This shila can be seen if you give a small donation. Krishna Priya Thakurani, the daughter of Ganganarayan Chakravarti (the disciple of Narottama dasa), got the service of worshiping Giridhara, the Govardhana shila of Raghunatha dasa Gosvami.

Govardhana-shila in this temple

The admirers of Lokanatha Gosvami built a temple for Radha-Vinoda, at the place where the Deity of Radha-Vinoda was being worshiped. Originally there was no Deity of Radharani in this temple. Jahnava Devi had a Deity of Radha made in Jagannatha Puri and installed the Deity next to Radha-Vinoda. The temple where Radha-Vinoda was installed eventually fell apart. The Deity of Radha-Vinoda is now in this temple of Gokulananda.

This original Deity of Radha-Vinoda is now being worshiped in Jaipur. The Deity was moved to Jaipur to protect the Deity from an attack on Vrindavana by Muslims. This temple contains the pratibhu-murtis of the original Deities. It is considered that there is no different in potency between the original Deity and the pratibhu-murti.

Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda

The samadhis of Lokanatha Gosvami, Narottama Dasa, and Visvanatha Cakravarti are located in a small courtyard next to the temple. Lokanatha Gosvami did his bhajana in this courtyard and left his body at this place. In Narottama Dasa’s puspa samadhi are his garland, kaupins, cloth and mala. Viswanath Cakravarti Thakura entered samadhi in 1674. He wrote the eight prayers of Sri Gurvashtakam, which are sung every morning in ISKCON temples.

There are also the puspa samadhis of Sri Ganga Narayana Cakravarti and Krishnadeva Sarvabhauma. Krishnadeva, who was a disciple of Visvanatha Cakravarti, went with Baladeva Vidyabhusana to Jaipur, to uphold the right of Gaudiya Vaishnavas to worship Govindaji. Sri Ganga Narayana was one of the main disciples of Narottama dasa Thakur.

Lokanatha Gosvami was a contemporary of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. When Sri Caitanya took sannyasa, Lokanatha came to Vrindavana. While visiting the places of Krishna’s pastimes, while in the village of Umaraa in the forest called Chatavana, Lokanatha Gosvami discovered the Deity of Radha-Vinoda. Lokanatha’s samadhi is just north of the village of Umaraa, on the bank of Kishori Kunda. The Deity of Radha-Vinoda was revealed to him from this tank. Lokanatha Gosvami used to carry this Deity in a bag hanging from his neck.

Samadhis of Visvanatha Cakravarti, Narottama dasa Thakura and Ganganarayana Cakravarti
Samadhis of Visvanatha Cakravarti

Lokanatha told Lord Caitanya that he did not want to take any disciples. Lord Caitanya told him that he would take only one and that he would send him to Lokanatha. When Narottama dasa came to Vrindavana, he was attracted to be initiated by Lokanatha Gosvami. Lokanatha Gosvami refused the repeated requests of Narottama to be initiated. Narottama acted as Lokanatha Gosvami menial servant. Every night Narottama cleaned and swept the bhajan kutir of Lokanatha, without his knowledge. He was finally pleased with Narottama and accepted him as his only disciple.

Narottama dasa Thakur, Syamananda Prabhu and Srinivasa Acarya, by the order of Jiva Gosvami, took the original manuscripts of the Gosvami and brought them to Bengal to be copied. These devotees preached the teaching of Caitanya Mahaprabhu where ever they went with great enthusiasm. Visvanatha Cakravarti appeared in the Gaudiya Vaishnava line about a hundred years later. He wrote elaborate philosophical writings.