Srila Gopal Bhatta Goswami is one of the six goswamis of Vrindavan, who are the direct disciples of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the incarnation of Godhead who inundated the whole world with the ecstasy of the chanting of holy names of Lord Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Gopal Bhatta Goswami appeared in this material world on the Amavasya of the Pausha Masa in the year 1503 in a south Indian family. His father was Vyenkata Bhatta, a devout devotee of Sri Lakshmi Narayan, being initiated in the Sri Sampradaya. Their family members were all followers of Sripada Ramanujacharya, one of the authorities of the four schools of devotional service.
When Mahaprabhu came to Sri Rangam, he performed ecstatic kirtan there whose sound roared in the whole temple premises, shunning the usual chanting of the Vedic hymns. On seeing the deity of Sri Ranganatha, he fell unconscious in the moods of ecstasy.
When Vyenkata saw him, he offered him obeisances and took the dust of his lotus feet and then asked him to come home. At his home, he served him to the best of his capacity and Mahaprabhu stayed there for the four months of Chatumasa. His son Gopal was very much attracted by Mahaprabhu and he used to render service to him. Mahaprabhu, being affectionate towards him, gave him his remnants.
When Mahaprabhu began to leave, Gopal fell at his lotus feet and prayed not to go. Seeing his intense love and attachment, Mahaprabhu initiated him and asked him to go to Vrindavan when his parents leave this material world. He asked him to do his bhajan there and write literature about Krishna.
Very soon, he started to master all the systems of studies including Grammar, Rhetoric, Nyaya etc.and his uncle Sripada Prabodhanand Saraswati, a tridandi sanyasi taught him about the secrets of devotional service . When his parents retired, he went to Vrindavan and met the two other disciples of Mahaprabhu, Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatan Goswami. They took care of him as a brother.
He had 12 Shaligram shilas and one day, a rich person in order to render some service to him, gave him paraphernalia to decorate the deity. When he received them, he was unhappy since he could decorate the shaligram with that material. He prayed out of selfless love to the lord, “Oh my Lord, you are very merciful and always fulfill the desires of your Devotees. I wish to serve you in your form, having arms and legs and blissful smiling face, with lotus eyes. If I had a Deity then I would be able to decorate Him so nicely with these clothes and ornaments.”
The next day, when he came after taking a bath, he uncovered the shilas to worship them and to his surprise, one of the shilas i.e. damodar shila had manifested into a beautiful deity of Radha Raman. He began to cry and offer prayers and hymns in praise of the lord. Soon all the other goswamis came and they literally bathed the deity in their transcendental tears.
This deity is still there in Vrindavan in its original form, since most of the deities of Vrindavan were transported to Jaipur. This deity has the highest standard of Vedic worship in Vrindavan.
Every year, there is a great procession on the appearance day of Sri Radha Raman Jiu, the deity of Gopala Bhatta Goswami.
He wrote many books including: Sat-sandarbha karika, Shri Krishna-vallabha (Krishna karnamrtatika), Sat kriya sara dipika (a brilliant work on Vaishnava samkara viddhi), and Laghu Hari-bhakti vilasa with Dig darshini tika. From this work, Sri Sanatana Goswami compiled the Hari-bhakti-vilasa now followed by all Gaudiya Vaishnavas.
It is said, “Out of affection for Srila Gopala Bhatta Goswami, Srila Sanatana Goswami compiled the famous Vaishnava smriti titled Hari Bhakti Vilas, and published it under Gopala Bhatta Goswami’s name.