Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura remarks that up to the advent of His Holiness Śrīpāda Lakṣmīpati Tīrtha, it was the system in the disciplic succession of Madhvācārya to worship Lord Kṛṣṇa alone. After Śrīla Mādhavendra Purī, worship of both Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa was established. For this reason Śrī Mādhavendra Purī is accepted as the root of worship in ecstatic love. Unless one is connected to the disciplic succession of Mādhavendra Purī, there is no possibility of awakening the symptoms of ecstatic love. The word gosāñi is significant in this connection. The spiritual master who is fully surrendered unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead and has no business other than the Lord’s service is called the best of the paramahaṁsas. A paramahaṁsa has no program for sense gratification; he is interested only in satisfying the senses of the Lord. One who has control of the senses in this way is called a gosāñi or a gosvāmī, master of the senses. The senses cannot be controlled unless one is engaged in the service of the Lord; therefore the bona fide spiritual master, who has full control over his senses, engages twenty-four hours a day in the Lord’s service. He can therefore be addressed as gosāñi or gosvāmī. The title gosvāmī cannot be inherited but can be given only to a bona fide spiritual master.
There were six great Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvana—Śrīla Rūpa, Sanātana, Bhaṭṭa Raghunātha, Śrī Jīva, Gopāla Bhaṭṭa and Dāsa Raghunātha—and none of them inherited the title of gosvāmī. All the Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvana were bona fide spiritual masters situated on the highest platform of devotional service, and for that reason they were called gosvāmīs. All the temples of Vṛndāvana were certainly started by the six Gosvāmīs. Later the worship in the temples was entrusted to some householder disciples of the Gosvāmīs, and since then the hereditary title of gosvāmī has been used. However, only one who is a bona fide spiritual master expanding the cult of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, and who is in full control of his senses can be addressed as a gosvāmī. Unfortunately, the hereditary process is going on; therefore at the present moment, in most cases the title is being misused due to ignorance of the word’s etymology.