Venu Kupa / Sixty-four Samadhi Pitha
In the Vraja-riti-cintamani it says. “In the midst of the rasa-dance Radha and Krishna left the gopis company and enjoyed pastimes in a solitary place. When Radha became thirsty, Krishna created this well by playing on His flute.” There were many pastimes where Krishna would suddenly disappear from the gopis taking only Radharani. On some occasions Krishna would also suddenly disappear leaving Radharani all alone, but due to the influence of yogamaya, neither Radharani nor the gopis would remember the previous events. The Bhakti-ratnakara says that Krishna created this well to quench the thirst of the cowherd boys. The word ‘venu’ means ’flute’ and ‘kupa’ means a ‘well’. This well which has now completely disappeared was formerly located on the north-eastern side of the garden containing the Sixty-four Samadhi Pitha. This sacred pitha was established at the same time
the Govindaji Mandira was built. The Sixty-four Samadhi Pitha, which is a ‘garden of remembrance’ contains two baithakas (sitting places) belonging to Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda, which are smriti-sthalas. The word smriti means places of remembrance and They did not actually sit here. These two baithakas are surrounded by the samadhis of Lord Chaitanya’s sixty-four principle followers, who are referred to as the ‘Sixty-four Mahanta’s’, or leaders of Lord Chaitanya’s sankirtana movement, and also includes all the Gaudiya Goswamis of Vrindavana. The word ‘mahant’ generally refers to a temple founder or hereditary administrator. The majority of samadhis are pushpa-samadhis, smriti-samadhis, or namasamadhis,
and in some cases sacred articles like clothing, beads, or garlands belonging to those mahanta’s are buried. Amongst the sixty-four samadhis are three full samadhis including the vibhuti samadhi of Shrila Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami, and the full samadhis of Kasishwara Pandita and Subuddhi Raya.
Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami Samadhi
This samadhi contains the ashes of Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami, who disappeared in the year 1579, while performing bhajana on the banks of Radha-kunda where his sacred body was cremated. It was decided to cremate his mortal remains to avoid in the future any chance of desecration by Muslim fanatics. This was also done in the case of both Raghunatha Dasa Goswami and Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami, who were also cremated at Radha-kunda. A portion of Radhunatha Bhatta Goswami’s ashes were entombed at the Teen Goswami Samadhi Pitha at Radha-kunda and also at the Sixty-four Samadhi Pitha in Vrindavana. It is also said that Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami used to perform bhajana in this garden near to Venu Kupa.
Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami was born in the year 1505, as the son of Tapan Mishra, a close associate of Lord Chaitanya. When Lord Chaitanya went in His youth to East Bengal to teach Sanskrit grammar, he met Tapan Misra and advised him to live in Benares (Varanasi). Later when Lord Chaitanya was on His journey from Puri to Vrindavana, he stayed in Benares for a few days at the house of Tapan Mishra and also met another associate named
Chandrasekhara. While on His return journey, He stayed in the house of Chandrasekhara and took prashadam at Tapan Misra’s house. During these visits to Benares, whenever Lord Chaitanya took his meals at the house of Tapan Misra, his young son Raghunatha, who was at that time around ten years old, obtained the Lord’s association and had the opportunity to massage the Lord’s lotus feet while He rested after His meal. When Lord Chaitanya left for Puri, Raghunatha was so attached to the service of Lord Chaitanya that he wanted to go with the Lord to Puri, but the Lord forbade him to do so as he was still very young. After completing his studies, Raghunatha finally left for Puri to meet Lord Chaitanya who was extremely happy to see him and kept him at Puri for about eight months. Raghunatha was a very expert cook and would sometimes prepare meals for Lord Chaitanya.
As Tapan Mishra was very old at that time, Lord Chaitanya sent Raghunatha back to Benares to care for his aged parents who were pure Vaishnavas, and also advised him that he should remain as a life-long brahmachari. After the demise of his parents, Raghunatha returned to Puri staying there in the association of Lord Chaitanya for another eight months, before the Lord ordered him to join Rupa and Sanatana in Vrindavana to assist them in excavating the lost holy places of Krishna’s Vrindavana pastimes and propagating the sankirtana movement.
On arrival in Vrindavana, Rupa and Sanatana were very happy to see Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami, and immediately accepted him as their younger god-brother. Raghunatha Bhatta exhibited all the good qualities of a pure Vaishnava and was of very humble demeanor. During the course of his life, he would never hear criticism of others, saying that as they are engaged in Krishna’s service, he did not mind their faults. He gained great notoriety for his recitation of the Shrimad Bhagavatam, and his chanting of the slokas from the Bhagavatam was especially wonderful to hear. His voice was as sweet and melodious as a cuckoo and all those who heard him chanting the sacred slokas became enraptured. He would always recite the Bhagavatam before Rupa and Sanatana and the assembled Goswamis, singing each sloka three or four times over, each time in different meter and raga (tune). During such recitations he would often manifest ecstatic symptoms and his body would shake and his eyes would fill with tears. His hair would also stand on end his voice would begin to falter, on some occasions he would also swoon. The original Bhagavatam used by Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami as been preserved and can be seen at the Bhattaji Mandira in Vrindavana. He was the spiritual master of Raja Man Singh, the king of Jaipura, and after Emperor Akbar granted permission for the construction of the Goswami temples in Vrindavana, Raghunatha Bhatta asked Raja Man Singh to take charge and supervise the construction work. According to the Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika, Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami was Raga-manjari in Krishna’s Vrindavana pastimes.
—Adapted from the book ‘ Vrajmandal Parikrama’ by Sri Rajshekhar das Brahmachari