Rūpa Gosvāmī

(c. 1489—1564)

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A poet, dramatist, and theologian who, as one of the six Gosvāmīs, helped to establish the Gāuḍīya Vaiṣṇava tradition at the behest of Caitanya. Originally from a brahmin family, he and his brother, Sanātana Gosvāmī, had been employed by the Muslim ruler of southern Bengal before they devoted themselves to Caitanya. Rūpa was the author of two major works in Sanskrit, Ujjvalanīlamaṇi (‘The Beautiful Sapphire’) and Bhaktirasāmṛta- sindhu (‘The Ocean of the Immortal Nectar of Devotion’), which applied the classical rasa theory of Sanskrit poetics to the practice of Kṛṣṇa devotionalism (bhakti). According to these, the means to realizing one's loving relationship with God starts in repetition of his name (nāmajapa), and proceeds through various emotional states (bhāvas), which are engendered in a meditational engagement with Kṛṣṇa's līlā. This process culminates in an identification with Kṛṣṇa's lover, Rādhā, and it is this experience (or rasa) of a comprehensive divine love (preman) which is concomitant with salvation.

Subjects: Hinduism.

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