Date of Birth:
12th day dark half of the month Ashvin V.S. 1567 (A.D. 1511)
Place of Birth:
Left the World:
During his pilgrimage, he visited Jagannathpuri and it is said that there he merged into the idol of Shri Jagannathji while beholding the deity.
He was the elder son of Shri Vallabhacharya. He had a son, Shri Purushottamaji (V.S. 1588 – 1620) and two daughters Shri Satyabhama-betiji and Lakshmi-betiji.
Different aspects of personalities:
As a son:
Shri Gopinathji was trained under the guidance of his father Shri Vallabhacharyaji. He shouldered the complete responsibility of being the head of the Sampradaya very capably at a very small age of twenty years when his father left this world. He used to take his daily prasad only after reciting all 18,000 verses of Bhagwat Puran. For this reason, very often he used to take his food at the interval of about two days. To avoid this, Shri Vallabhacharyaji composed Shri Purushottamsahastranaam Stotra, a hymn as the essence of the Bhagwat Puran and instructed Shri Gopinathji to recite this stotra instead of the whole Bhagwat Puran. Shri Gopinathji accepted the instructions and then started reciting Shri Purushottamsahastranaam.
As a Guru:
Shri Gopinathji composed Sadhan-Deepika which guides a disciple in living his daily life by maintaining delicate balance between devotional duties and vaidic and worldly duties. In Sadhan-Deepika he has clearly mentioned that one should have respect for one’s Guru.
Before he became twenty, he completed the study of all scriptures under the guidance of Shri Vallabhacharya. He used to take his daily Prasada (left over of the divine food offered to Bhagwan) only after reciting the entire Bhagavat-Purana with all its 18000 verses.
From his early childhood Shri Gopinathaji was keenly devoted to the divine worship and remembrance of Bhagwan. He used to take his daily Prasada (left over of the divine food offered to Bhagwan) only after reciting the entire Bhagavat-Purana with all its 18000 verses. For this reason, very often he could take his Prasada at the interval of about two days. This was very sad-sorrowful for his mother. Shri Vallabhacharya took a note of this and composed Shri Purushottama-Sahasranama-Stotra i.e. hymn of one thousand names of Shri Krshna, as the essence of the whole of Bhagavat-Purana for Shri Gopinathaji. Today Shri Purushottama-Sahasranama-Stotra is being recited as a daily routine in this tradition.
Post Balya Avastha:
Shri Vallabhacharya left this world and went to his abode when Shri Gopinathaji was twenty. At this small age, too, he shouldered complete responsibility of becoming the head of the Sampradaya. His love for the worship of Bhagwan is quite well known. Since he was trained under the guidance of Shri Vallabhacharya himself there remains nothing to say about his scholarship Since childhood his nature was very calm and always attached with Prabhu seva, pilgrimage and devotional scriptures. He used to visit Shri Jagannathpuri and Vrajbhumi very often. He offered all the wealth obtained during his first traveling to the service of Shrinathji. After untimely death of son Shri Purushottamaji, Shri Gopinathaji went for pilgrimage. During this he visited Shri Jagannathpuri. It is said the there he merged into the idol of Shri Jaggannathji while beholding Him. He lived in this world for very few years.
The greatness and importance of Shri Gopinathaji in Shuddhadvaita Pushtibhakti Sampradaya becomes apparent by seeing following verses. Shri Vitthalanathaji pays his obeisance to his elder brother Shri Gopinathaji and extols him in the following verse:
Yadanugrahato jantuh, sarva-duhkha-tigo bhavet;
Tamaham sarvada vande; shrimad Vallabha-nandanam.
A being, by whose grace, does go beyond all the miseries of the world, To him, always my obeisance be, the son of Mahaprabhu Shri Vallabha.
I always prostrate to Shri Vallabhacharya’s illustrious son Shri Gopinathji, by whose divine grace, the beings go beyond all the worldly sufferings.
Similarly, Shri Purushottamji delineates the character of Sri Gopinathaji:
Shri Vallabha-pratinidhim, tejorashim dayarnavam;
Gunatitam gunanidhim; shrigopinatham-ashraye.
The Representative of Shri Vallabha, The storehouse of effulgence, The ocean of compassion, Who is beyond worldly attributes, The treasure of transcendental attributes, I take refuge in Shri Gopinathaji.
Meaning: I take refuge in Shri Gopinathaji, who is the representative of Mahaprabhu Shri Vallabhacharya, who is the storehouse of effulgence, the ocean of compassion, who is beyond all earthly attributes and who is the very treasure of divine attributes.
Shri Vallabhacharya had composed a number of works to explain philosophy, doctrines, devotional course and fruit of the Pushti sect. But no independent work had been composed by Shri Vallabhacharya that may guide a disciple in living his daily life by maintaining delicate balance between devotional duties and worldly and Vaidic duties. Shri Gopinathaji accomplished this extremely important work by composing a fine small-book named ‘Sadhan-deepika’. If the instructions narrated in this work are followed in life, one can be a follower of Pushti sect in the true sense of the term.
Glimpses from Sadhan-deepika:
- One should perform the worship of Shri Krshna, who is the origin of all.
- If one spends even a moment without the remembrance of Bhagwan, one is flung far from Bhagwan.
- Devotion cannot be obtained without the grace of God, Guru, good company and the study of Shri Bhagwat.
- One should have respect for one’s Guru.
- Devotion can be obtained in an early stage if one performs the worship and remembrance of Bhagwan with reality, purity, faith, truth, mercy-charity and control over senses.
- Consciousness about the negative and harmful aspects of the objects, control over senses and contentment in what one has obtained these three are the remedies to develop detachment.
- One should always be conscious so as not to be deviated from Bhagwan.
- Worldly I-ness and My-ness cause hindrance in devotion.
- Company of a non-Vaishnava should not be sought.
- All worldly and Vaidic duties be performed through the offered objects to Bhagwan.
- A Vaishnava should welcome guests and help miserable.
- One should not make exhibition of idol, worship and offerings of Bhagwan. (One who is closed but is not a Vaishnava, and one who is a Vaishnava but not close, both of them should not be allowed to behold worship or Svarupa i.e. idol).
- Only those who are very much close to one who is worshipping should be allowed to behold his idol.
- One should attentively study Shri Bhagwat in ex-worship time.
Pushti Bhakti Prachar:
By composing Sadhan Deepika Shri Gopinathji made Pushti Bhakti followers, follow the sect in its true term.