The history of the Rādhā-Dāmodar Mandir began when Śrīla Rupa Gosvāmī and ŚrīlaSanātana Gosvāmī came to Vrndāvan in 1516. Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu ordered them touncover the pastime places of Śrī Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa and distribute bhakti-rasa for thebenefi t of all human beings.
ESTABLISHED IN 1542
Established by Śrīla Jiva Gosvāmī in 1542, the Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Dāmodar Mandir remains dear to devotees in theMadhva Gaudiya Sampradaya to this day. Th e presiding Śrī Rādhā Dāmodar deities were manifested by Śrīla RupaGosvāmī who later gave them to his dear disciple and nephew, Śrīla Jiva Gosvāmī for service and worship.
MANIFESTATION OF DĀMODARA DIETIES
When Sripad Jiva Gosvāmī came to Vrindavan, he was engaged in devotional practice under the valuable guidance ofhis Gurudev, Sripad Rupa Gosvāmī. Sripad Rupa Gosvāmī's heart became so overwhelmed by his feeling ofseparation from Śrī Rādhā-Dāmodar that he was unable to concentrate on anything due to the constant fl ow of tearsfalling from his eyes. He could not bear the pain of separation from Śrī Rādhā-Dāmodar and became weaker day byday. Śrī Krishna mercifully appeared Śrīla Rupa Gosvāmī's dream and amazingly asked him to manifest a deity ofhim by hand. Sripad Rupa Gosvāmī asked the Lord how it would be possible as he had never even broken a smallstone, let alone carve a beautiful deity. Śrī Krishna explained that He would come only through Rupa Gosvāmī'shands and no one else's. He also ordered Rupa Gosvāmī to give the deity to Jiva Gosvāmī since he considered him avery dear devotee and wanted to be worshipped and served by him especially. Finally, Lord Krishna explained moredetails to Rupa Gosvāmī about how he has to manifest the deity. As evidenced by Śrīla Rupa Gosvāmī's dream, if the Lord wants to give His mercy to a devotee, no one can stop Him.Śrīla Rupa Gosvāmī considered himself as an instrument chosen by the Lord. He did not consider himself the doerand understood the Lord was completely self-manifesting (swayambhu). With this thought, he went to Yamuna for abath and it was then that he saw a most unique stone that he would carve as ordered by the Lord.
Śrīla Rupa Gosvāmī engaged in the process of helping Krishna reveal Himself from the stone with great wonder.While manifesting the face, he was seeing Govind Dev ji, while manifesting the chest, Śrī Gopinath ji, and whilemanifesting the feet, Śrī Madan Mohan ji. Śrī Damodar's manifestation was complete on Magh Shukla Dashmi in1542 C.E. Śrīla Rupa Gosvāmī then bestowed service of the deities upon Śrīla Jiva Gosvāmī in the presence of manyGosvāmīs and other devotees.
This occasion is celebrated annually as the appearance day of Śrī Rādhā-Dāmodar ji Maharaj. Śrīla Sanatan Gosvāmī,Raghunath Das Gosvāmī, and Gopal Bhatt Gosvāmī said that while looking at Sri Damodar, they have the pleasureof seeing three Th akurs; in the feet they saw Sri Madan Mohan, in the chest they saw Gopinath ji, and in the face, ŚrīGovind Dev ji. Th e deities' worship and service continues here even today.
SRI RĀDHA RĀNI AND LALITĀ SAKHI
In Rādhā-Dāmodar Mandir, the deities of Śrī Rādhā Rāni and Lalitā Sakhi are on the left and right of Śrī Dāmodarrespectively. Th ese deities have a beautiful history attached to their origin. Th e historical context of this beautifulstory is handwritten by the ancestors of Śrī Nirmal Chandra Gosvāmī.
Once in Bengal, a fi sherman two deities instead of the expected fi sh. He gave them to the king. Th e king had a dreamthe very same night that he should send these deities to Srila Jiva Goswami at Sri Dham Vrindavan.
According to the instruction, the king brought the deities to Srila Jiva Goswami. Srila Jiva Goswami was pleasedupon receiving them but he was unable to identify who is who. At night when he slept, Sri Radha Rani came in hisdream and told him their identities. Th us Srila Jiva Goswami placed Sri Radha Rani on left and Lalita Sakhi on rightside of Damodar and started to serve them.
TO JAIPUR AND BACK
Later due to the terror of the Muslim king Aurangzeb, Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Dāmodar were shift ed to Jaipur for sometimeand when the social conditions became favorable, they were returned to Śrī Dham Vrindavan in 1739 C.E. Th esedeities have been served here since then. In Jaipur, however, a counterpart (pratibhu) of the deity was installed.
Some devotees are under the impression that the Deities of Rādhā-Dāmodar in the Rādhā-Dāmodar Temple inVrndavan are not the original Deities of Śrīla Jiva Gosvāmī. Some think that the original Deities now reside inJaipur. However, this is not a fact.
In 1670, when the Muslim fanatic Aurangzeb invaded Śrī Vrndavana, he planned to destroy many temples and defacethe Deities there. For this reason, the principle Deities of Vraja were moved to the safe confi nes of the city of Jaipurin Rajasthan under the auspices of the Rajput kings. Most of the Deities remained there, such as Govindadeva,Gopinatha, and Madana-mohana.
The Radhadamodar Deities, however, returned to Vrndavana and have been worshipped here ever since. Th e Deitiesthat replaced the originals in the temples of Govinda, Gopinatha and Madana-mohana are known as pratibhu-murtis which were installed and worshipped as substitute Deities by the Gosvāmīs of those temples. All pratibhu-murtis are smaller in size than the original Deities installed by the acaryas. However, it is worth noting that theDeity of Damodarji in Jaipur is smaller than the Deity in Vrndavana, thus further confi rming that the original Deityof Śrī Damodarji is in Vrndavana and the pratibhu-murti is being worshipped in Jaipur today.
Before Sri Jiva’s disappearance in 1596, he left his Deities and library in the care of his
successor Sri Krishna Dasa, the head pujari. The present sevaites are directly coming in line
from his descendants.
Śrīla Jiva Gosvāmī
Śrī Vilash Dāsa
Śrī Krishna Dās Gosvāmī
Śrī Nandakumar Gosvāmī
Śrī Brij Kumar Gosvāmī
Śrī Vrndavan Dev Gosvāmī
Śrī Gopiramana Gosvāmī
Śrī Brijalal Gosvāmī
Śrī Naval Lal Gosvāmī
Śrī Govinda Lal Gosvāmī
Śrī Kesavananda Gosvāmī
Śrī Brijmohan Deva Gosvāmī
Śrī Gaurachand Gosvāmī
Śrī Nirmal Chandra Gosvāmī
Shri Tarun Goswami, Shri Karun Goswamis, Shri Krishna Balram Goswami, Shri Puran Chandra Goswami (Current Authorized Sevayat)