Radha Raman temple
Gopala Bhatta Gosvami established this temple. The Deity of Sri Radha-Raman was manifested from one of Gopala Bhatta Gosvami’s shalagram-shilas (Damodara), on the full moon day (Purnima), 15th day of the month of Vaishaka (April-May) in 1542. It is the day after the appearance day of Lord Narasimha. This event is celebrated every year (April-May) by bathing the Deity of Radha-Raman with over 300 litres of milk and other auspicious items.
Radha-Raman is bathed in panchamrita, which are milk, yogurt, ghee, honey and sugar. The remnants of this abhiseka (bathing) are like nectar.
Sri Radha Raman’s Appearance Place is in the Radha-Raman Temple, next to the samadhi of Gopala Bhatta. It is said that there are markings of discs on the Deity’s back and feet. The Deity of Radha-Raman is around 30cm (1 foot) tall. Gopala Bhatta Gosvami’s other shalagram-shilas are also worshiped on the altar here. Radha-Ramanji is one of the few original Deities of the Gosvamis still in Vrindavana.
The standard of worship in this temple is very high. There is no Deity of Radha in this temple. The name of Radharani is worshiped in this temple, because according to scriptures the name and the person are considered non-different. There is a golden plate next to Krishna, which has the name of Radharani engraved into it. A Deity of Radharani is not worshiped in this temple because the Deity of Radha-Raman is self-manifested and there was no Deity of Radharani self-manifested.
The present temple was built in 1826 at the cost of 80 thousand rupees by Shah Behari Lallji from Lucknow, the grandfather of Shah Kundan Lall and Shah Fundan Lall, who built the Shahji Temple. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s kaupina (cloth) and asana (seat), which Gopala Bhatta Gosvami brought from Jagannath Puri, are also in this temple. The asana is black wood and is about 31cm (12") by 25cm (10"). They are brought out to be seen by the public for six days a year. They can be seen on Gaura Purnima, the appearance day of Radha Raman, the actual day and day after the disappearance of Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, Janmasthami and Nandotsava (the day after Janmasthami).
There is a daily abhiseka of the asana with Yamuna water. There is no decay of the asana or any cracks, even after 450 years. For the raja bhoga offering, Radha Raman’s pujaris first offer all of the bhoga (food) to Radha-Raman and the shalagrama shilas, then they make a second offering to Srimati Radharani, and then a third offering for Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. There are not three different plates, but the same plate is offered in the order above. The fires for cooking in the temple kitchen have been burning continuously for over 440 years, since the Deity was installed. This is so no foreign elements, such as matches, are used for ignition purposes. Before the present temple was built, there was another temple at the same place that is now the kitchen and prasadam area for the present temple.
Gopala Bhatta Gosvami’s Samadhi is to the left, after you enter the first gate from the street into the temple compound. After entering the temple compound you turn left and walk fifty metres (150 ft). He passed away at the age of 85, in 1596, exactly 100 years after the appearance of Lord Caitanya. His disappearance day is celebrated in the month of Sravana (July-Aug) on the Shukla Panchami (5th) day. There are also smaller samadhis here of the previous sevaits (priests) of Radha-Raman. There is regular worship at this samadhi. Daily bhajans and kirtanas are chanted and the Srimad Bhagavatam is recited. Twice a day a full plate of Radha-Raman’s maha-prasada is offered. They also offer him fresh drinking water. In a separate kitchen, five bhoga (food) offerings are prepared and offered to Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. After the offerings, five aratis are performed. After the last arati of the day, Radha Raman’s pujari give Radha-Raman’s maha flower garlands to Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. In the area of the present Radha-Raman Temple, there used to be a lake connected to the Yamuna River. The Yamuna River used to be close to the Radha-Raman temple, but has moved away over the years. Until about 400 years ago Radha-Raman was worshiped in a tree. At night the Deity would be put on a boat, anchored in the middle of the lake. Devotees would stand guard with bows and arrows. The arrows were dipped in a homemade poison, so that even if the arrows nicked you, you would go down. At the Radha Raman Temple they still have these arrows.