This year, 2016, Sri Jiva Goswami’s disappearance day is January 1st. The following is a lecture Sri Narayan Maharaj gave in the 1990s
Srila Jiva Goswami’s father, Anupam, was the brother of Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Sanatan Goswami. His exalted father and uncles were employed by the Muslim ruler: Srila Sanatan Goswami as prime minister, Srila Rupa Goswami as the private secretary, and Anupam as treasurer. All three of them met Caitanya Mahaprabhu when He came to Ramakeli where they lived.
As the only son of the three brothers, Jiva received abundant affection. Srila Rupa Goswami was always especially affectionate towards him and treated him as if he were his own son. When Jiva was still very young, Srila Rupa Goswami took him to Mahaprabhu, who blessed him by placing His hand on his head.
During childhood, Jiva studied and soon learned all logic, Sanskrit grammar, and theistic philosophy from the books in his father’s home. Before Srila Rupa Goswami and Anupam left household life to retire in Vrindavan, they divided all the family’s wealth and property, allocating sufficient funds for Jiva to continue his studies. All three brothers realized that he was the only son in their dynasty, so they nurtured him with great affection and ensured he had whatever material facility he required.
Jiva had a very soft nature, and as he grew, he gradually began worshipping Deities of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna. Making garlands for Them and offering puja to Them, he would become immersed in meditation, preferring these activities to playing with other children. When he was about fourteen years old, he went to Navadwip. By then, Mahaprabhu had returned to the spiritual world and all the devotees of Navadwip had left and gone elsewhere. Because Navadwip now brought them all great sadness; Srivas Pandit, Advaita Acarya, and everyone else had left, and Navadwip was deserted.
A few days before Jiva’s arrival, Nityananda Prabhu had arrived at Srivas Angan from Khardah. When Jiva Goswami arrived, Nityananda Prabhu was very pleased to meet him. Nityananda prabhu placed His feet on Jiva’s head and said, “I came here just to meet with you; otherwise I would have stayed in Khardah.” He showed Jiva all the places of Mahaprabhu’s pastimes in Navadwip, and then showed him great mercy by ordering him to go stay with Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Sanatan Goswami in Vrindavan.
Rupa Goswami would read everything he was writing to Jiva Goswami. One day while they were in the midst of reading together, an effulgent, elderly Brahmin arrived there. This was most likely, judging from his age and his scholarship, Sri Vallabhacharya, who knew Rupa Goswami from the time Mahaprabhu was in Prayag. He was approximately the same age as Advaita Acharya, so Rupa Goswami would have been the appropriate age to have been his son. He asked, “Rupa, what are you writing these days?”
At that time Jiva Goswami was fanning Rupa Goswami with a leaf from the taal tree, but when he heard Vallabhacharya say this, he felt disturbed; according to him, his Gurudeva was being criticized. Later when he went to the river to fetch water, he met Vallabhacharya, who was just finishing his midday bath. Jiva Goswami said, “Gosai, you said before that you would proofread the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu which Rupa Goswami is writing. If you have found any errors, precisely where are they?”
Vallabhacarya replied, “How can you understand, child? Have you studied Sanskrit grammar?”
“Yes, a little.”
“Then what could you possibly understand?”
“Still, please just show me any errors you have detected.” When Vallabhacarya showed him an apparent error, a fierce debate commenced between them. Eventually Jiva Goswami established the point so convincingly that Vallabhacharya could neither refute it nor give any answer.
When Vallabhacharya returned to Rupa Goswami’s hut, he asked, “Who was that boy who was fanning you? He is very intelligent and extremely learned in the scriptures.”
Very humbly and with folded hands Rupa Goswami replied, “He is the son of my younger brother and is also my disciple. He does not know how to behave.”
“No, he is a genius, and in the future he will be very famous.”
Soon afterwards, Vallabhacharya left. When Jiva Goswami arrived with the water, Srila Rupa Goswami said to him, “You are so intolerant that you quarrel with an elderly, scholarly Brahmin who kindly proofread something for my own good? Your behavior is unacceptable; leave now.”
Being obliged to obey his guru, Jiva Goswami left Vrindavan. He went to the village of Bhayagaon to live in a cave infested with crocodiles. There, for some days, he remained in the cave doing bhajan and crying, feeling bereft of his guru’s affection. He stopped eating and taking water, and within a short time he became emaciated. After some time, Sanatan Goswami happened to visit that village as he was wandering around Vraj. The local people said to him, “Baba, we always considered you to be a great bhajananandi (one who is absorbed in bhajana), but a young boy who is even more of a bhajananandi than you has come to our village. Day and night he calls out the names of Radha-Krishna and weeps. We take him food but he refuses it, and he never sleeps either. Day and night he remains immersed in bhajan; we have never seen anything like it.”
Srila Sanatan Goswami could understand that this was Jiva, and immediately went to him. Reunited, they both wept. Sanatan Goswami then took him back to Vrindavan, where he said to Rupa Goswami, “The duty of Vaishnavas is to be compassionate to others (jive daya), yet you renounced this young disciple of yours who is adorned with so many extraordinary qualities. You should be merciful to Jiva, but instead you banished him. This was a mistake and you should correct it. I am ordering you to quickly call him back.”
Hearing this, Rupa Goswami began crying for Jiva, whom he loved so much. When Sanatan Goswami brought Jiva there and placed him in the lap of Rupa Goswami, both guru and disciple wept. Rupa Goswami arranged for Jiva to be treated by the best doctors from Mathura, and gradually Jiva became strong again. From then on, their former practice resumed with Rupa Goswami giving whatever he wrote to Jiva to proofread.
He also analyzed paramatma-tattva, and in the Krishna-sandarbha he explained how Krishna alone is the original Personality of Godhead. He explained how Krishna is all-powerful (sarva-shaktiman), how He is an ocean of rasa, how from Him the jivas and all else emerge, and how the jivas can achieve His eternal association. He refuted the concept that Krishna is an incarnation of Narayan. Using evidence from the Vedas, Upanishads, and Puranas, he established that Krishna is the original Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and that all other incarnations are His plenary or partial expansions. On the basis of scriptural evidence, he reinforced Mahaprabhu’s conception, which had been established in the literatures of Rupa Goswami and Sanatana Goswami. In doing so, he established our sampradaya upon a firm philosophical foundation. He protected the flowing river of rasa by placing large rocks of siddhanta on both its banks; in that way no contaminated water of misconceptions could ever enter it.
If we endeavor to enter into these books, and if we examine both the personal conduct and conceptions of Jiva Goswami and try to personally follow them, our spiritual lives will certainly be successful. May Srila Jiva Goswami be merciful upon us so we can learn all the instructions he gave, in order to perform bhajan purely.
Shri Radha-Damodar Temple Copyright Braj Discovery
Shri Jiva Goswami’s Handwriting Copyright Unknown