Sri Swarup Damodar Goswami


Sri Swarup Damodar is the eternal associate of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. His previous name was Sri Purushottama acharya and he resided at Navadvipa. He was always present with Mahaprabhu. When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu exhibited His pastimes of accepting sannyasa, Swarup Damodar behaved like a madman and, journeying to Varanasi, he also accepted sannyasa from a sannyasi named Chaitanyananda. His sannyasa guru ordered him that, “You should yourself study the Vedanta and also teach it to others.”

Sri Purushottama acharya didn’t accept the dress of sannyasa, but simply gave up his shikha and brahmana thread. Therefore his name became Swarup (a brahmachari name). Thereafter, by the order of his guru, he came to Sri Nilachala, where he again met Mahaprabhu.

Swarup Damodar, who was very intimate with Mahaprabhu, came to Sri Jagannatha Puri. Though his scholarship was practically unlimited, he spoke very little with others and preferred to remain alone. Thus very few were aware of his actual position. Whenever anyone wanted to present to Mahaprabhu some book, verse or song that they had composed, Swarup Damodar would first hear what they had written before it could be presented to Mahaprabhu.

He would recite Sri Gita Govinda, and the writings of Chandi Das and Vidyapati, for the transcendental happiness of Mahaprabhu. In music and singing he was like a Gandharva and in knowledge of the shastras he was like Brihaspati. He was extremely dear to Sri Advaita and Nityananda Prabhu and was the life and soul of devotees like Srivasa and others.

In His lila as the golden avatar, Mahaprabhu is Krishna himself enveloped by the desire and bodily luster of Srimati Radharani. Sri Swarup Damodar Goswami was His alter ego. Because of his intimate connection to the Lord, he was able to know all the most confidential reasons for His incarnation as well as the most secret aspects of His lila. He later divulged these understandings to a larger audience of devotees. In Vraja-lila, he was also Radharani’s alter-ego, Lalita Sakhi. In the Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika, Kavi Karnapura identifies Sri Svarupa Damodar Goswami as Radha’s other companion, Vishakha Devi.

That same Vishakha who previously taught Radha the arts in Vraja is today Swarup Goswami, who rejoices in the moods of Radha and Krishna.

In the last twelve years of His pastimes in Puri, the Lord remained constantly absorbed in the mood of Radharani. During this time, only Swarup Damodar and Ramananda Raya were able to experience the depths of His emotion through relishing topics known only to them.

Swarup Damodar’s place of residence in Puri was the Satasan Math. This is located near Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s “bhakti kutir”, near the ocean at Svarga Dwar. Mahaprabhu entrusted him to look after and instruct Raghunatha Das Goswami.

Swarup Damodar Goswami disappeared on the second day of the bright fortnight in the month of Asar.