Gaudiya Acharyas

The Ghosh Brothers

Govinda, Madhavananda and Vasudeva were gopis in Vraja, namely Kalavati, Rasollasa and Guṇatunga, who used to sing the songs composed by Vishakha.

kalāvatī rasollāsā guṇatuṅgā vraje sthitāḥ
śrī-viśākhā-kṛtaṁ gītaṁ gāyanti smādya tā matāḥ
govinda-mādhavānanda-vāsudevā yathā-kramam

Govinda, Madhavananda and Vasudeva were gopis in Vraja, namely Kalavati, Rasollasa and Guṇatunga, who used to sing the songs composed by Vishakha.
(Gaura gaṇoddeśa dīpikā 188)

These three Ghosh brothers were born in an upper class kayastha family from northern Rarha. They hailed from Agradvipa. All three were singers famed for the sweetness of their voices.

The meritorious Madhava Ghosh devoted himself to kirtan. There was no singer on earth who was his equal. It was said of him that he was a singer from Vrindavan. He was most dear to Nityananda Prabhu. The three brothers, Govinda, Madhava and Vasudeva sang while Lord Nityananda Prabhu danced. (Chaitanya Bhagavata 3.5.257-9)

Chaitanya Mahāprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu danced to the kirtan of the three brothers, Govinda, Madhava and Vasudeva.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita1.15.115)

When Nityananda Prabhu returned from Puri to preach in Bengal, He was accompanied by Vasudeva and Madhava Ghosh, while Govinda remained with Mahāprabhu and thus felt great satisfaction
(Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.10.118).

Govinda is counted amongst Chaitanya Mahāprabhu’s personal branches. Eventually, he made his home in Agradvipa, Vasudeva in Tamluk, and Madhava Ghosh in Dain Hat. Govinda Ghosh Ṭhākura’s house is not far from Agradvipa in Kashipur Viṣṇutala. Some are of the opinion that Vaiṣnavatalā was his birthplace. Govinda Ghosh participated in Mahāprabhu’s lilas in Srivas Angan, in the nagara-sankirtan to the Kazi’s house, and in the house of Raghava Pandit. During the Rathayatra festival, he was the lead singer in the fourth kirtan group, accompanied by his two brothers, Chota Hari Das, Viṣṇu Das and Raghava Pandit. Vakresvara Pandit joined this group as the principal dancer.

On Mahāprabhu’s direction, Govinda revealed the Gopinath deity from a black stone in Agradvipa. Mahāprabhu also instructed him to get married. There is a legend that Govinda Ghosh’s wife and son both died untimely. As he grew older, Govinda began to wonder who would perform his last rites (as it is considered important to have a son who can do the śrāddha ceremony on his behalf). Govinda had a dream in which Gopinath appeared to him and said, “Don’t worry about this. I will perform the śrāddha ceremony for you Myself.”

When Govinda Ghosh left this world, Gopinath was true to His word and offered his piṇḍa. Gopinath continues to perform this ceremony every year on the anniversary of Govinda Ghosh’s departure from the world. This takes place on the waning moon (kṛṣṇā dvādaśī) of the month of Chaitra. Vasudeva Ghosh’s disappearance day is on the second day of the waxing moon (sukla dvitiya) in the month of Karttik.

Excerpt from “Sri Chaitanya: His Life & Associates” by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj