Srila Gopala Bhatta Goswami (the son of a Venkata Bhatta, a Sri Vaishnava brahmana) appeared in Sri Rangam, South India. Lord Chaitanya once stayed four months in his home, and converted the family to Gaudiya Vaishnavism. A mere boy at this time, Gopala personally served the Lord. Sri Chaitanya treated him affectionately giving His remnants and blessings to’ become an acharya.
During His four month stay, Lord Chaitanya developed a close friendship with Vyenkata Bhatta, which Krishna Dasa Kaviraja describes as “sakhya rasa.” Freely conversing with each other, they would often laugh and joke together. One day in a humorous mood Lord Chaitanya asked Vyenkata:
“Why does your worshipable goddess of fortune, Sri Lakshmidevi, abandon the happiness of Vaikuntha and her service to Her Lord Narayana? Why does she go to Vrindavana and perform severe austerities to attain the association of My Lord Gopala, the cowherd boy of Vraja?”
“I can’t understand these mysteries,” said Vyenkata, “but You, being the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, can surely enlighten me.”
“Lord Krishna has one’ unique quality,” said Lord Gauranga, “He attracts the hearts of everyone with His personal conjugal love (madhurya). Lord Narayana only has sixty transcendental qualities but Sri Krishna has sixty-four. And all of them are saturated with His unique quality of madhurya (honey sweetness). The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, attracts the mind of Lakshmidevi. But Lord Narayana can never attract the minds of the Vraja gopis.
“In Vraja lila, Krishna, disguised as Lord Narayana, once appeared before the gopis who were searching for Krishna. Seeing Lord Narayana the gopis said, ‘0h Lord Narayana, pranams. Where did Krishna go, did You see?’ By following the gopis, who spontaneously love Krishna without awareness of His Godhood, one can attain Krishna. The Srutis worshiped Krishna in the ecstasy of the gopis. Following in their footsteps, they received gopi’s bodies to join Krishna in the rasa dance. Lakshmi, however, wanted to enjoy Krishna but retain Her spiritual form as Lakshmidevi. Without following the gopis’s footsteps no one can attain Krishna.”
After receiving initiation from Sri Prabodhananda Saraswati, Gopala Bhatta came to Vrindavana and became a dear friend of Sri Rupa and Sanatana Goswamis. He did bhajana in Vrindavana for forty-five years, mostly at Radha-Kunda.
On pilgrimage he obtained twelve Shalagrama shilas. Later the Damodara shila manifested Himself as the beautiful Radha Ramana Deity. Since 1542, Radha Ramanaji has been worshiped with pure devotion following precise sastric rituals.
Lord Chaitanya ordered Gopala Bhatta to write a book to check the spread of pseudo-loving rasas and negligence to vaidhi bhakti. In corroboration with Sri Sanatana Goswami he compiled the Hari-bhakti-vilasa, the authorized book explaining the ritual and devotional practices of the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya. He also wrote Sat-kriya-dipika and the outline for Sri Jiva Goswami’s Sat Sandarbhas.
He eternally serves Srimati Radharani as one of Her asta manjaris, Guna-manjari. His samadhi is within Radha Ramanaji’s Temple compound behind the appearance place of the Deity. Sri Gopala Bhatta Goswami initiated Gopinatha (Pujari Goswami), a lifelong brahmachari who served Radha Ramanaji for his whole life. Gopala Bhatta Goswami initiated Srinivasa Acharya and many other stalwart Vaishnavas.