Srila Sanatana Goswami was born in 1488 in West Bengal . He was the elder brother of Sri Rupa Goswami. They were educated in Sakurma, a village near the capital of Gauda (Bengal ). The brothers were forced to work as government ministers for Nawab Hussein Shah (the ruler of Bengal) in Ramekeli. Sanatana was known as Sakara Mallik and appointed private secretary.
In 1514, Sanatana Goswami met Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Ramekeli and was initiated by him. He eventually managed to shake off his government duties and escape from imprisonment by the Nawab, to make his way to Benares where he met Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu enlightened Sanatana into the truths of bhakti and devotion and further instructed him to:
- write books on devotional service
- establish proper devotee etiquette
- install Deities and proper Deity worship
- to excavate the lost holy places of pilgrimage in Vrindavana
Sanatana’s literary works include Haribhakti Vilasa, the Brihad-bhagavatamrita, Dashama-tippani, also known as the Brihad-Vaishnava-Toshani, and the Dashama-charita. His most important work is the Haribhakti Vilasa, which covers the code and conduct of Vaishnavas. The Brihad-bhagavtamrita expounds on the science of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s teachings. The Dashama-tipanni is a commentary on the tenth canto of the Srimad-Bhagavatam and the Dashama-charita covers Krishna’s pastimes up to Mathura.
Sanatana Goswami established worship of the Madana Mohana deity. With the help of a wealthy merchant Krishna Dasa Kapoor, a lavish temple was built for Sri Madana Mohana. This temple is an important place of pilgrimage for all Gaudiya Vaishnavas even to this day.
Sanatana Goswami passed away at the age of 70 in 1558.