Sri Jiva Goswami

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By Krishna Maheshwari

Jiva Goswami was the only child of Sri Vallabha and nephew of Sri Sanatana Goswami & Sri Rupa Goswami.

When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to Ramakeli, Sri Jiva was blessed by having darsana of the Lord, though he was just a baby at the time. Mahaprabhu indicated that baby Jiva would have a great future as a scholar in the Gaudiya sampradaya.

Later on, when his father and uncles renounced their family life in order to be with Mahaprabhu, Sri Jiva, was left with his mother in the family palace at Fateyabad. Jiva missed them greatly and whenever he would remember his father and uncles, or Sri Caitanya he would lose consciousness and fall to the ground.

As he got a little older, Sri Jiva took up the worship of the Deities of Sri-Sri Rama-Krishna. He would carefully decorate Them and offer bhoga and arati, serving Them with his full attention. Even in his play, whatever games he played were connected with Sri Krishna's pastimes.

While studying under the local pandits, he became proficient in grammar, poetry and rhetoric. His teachers noted his great intellect.

When Sri Jiva learned that his father had passed away on the banks of the Ganga, he was completely unsettled. Family members and friends tried to console him but to little avail. Family life had become the source of his utter sadness.

Someone suggested to Jiva to go to Navadwipa and see Lord Nityananda, so he set out for Navadwipa with a group of pilgrims. Everyone at Navadwipa was very happy to meet the nephew of Sri Rupa and Sanatana.

Sri Jiva spent some days with Nityananda Prabhu, touring the nine islands of Navadwipa, in order to visit the holy places of the Lord's pastimes there. Then, as ordered by Nityananda Prabhu, he set out for Varanasi. At Varanasi he studied Vedanta under Sri Madhusudana Vacaspati, a disciple of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya. The conclusions of Vedanta contained in Srimad-Bhagavatam that were expounded by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya in Puri had been in turn taught by the Bhattacarya to Madhusudana Vacaspati, who in turn established a school in Varanasi and passed it on to his students.

From here, Sri Jiva set out for Sri Vrindavana where he received shelter at the lotus feet of his two uncles. Sri Rupa and Sanatana. Jiva stayed with Sri Rupa, who began to teach him the Srimad-Bhagavatam. After initiating him with the divine mantra, Rupa engaged him in the service of Sri Sri Radha-Damodara.

Seeing that Jiva had quickly become conversant with the conclusion of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sri Rupa engaged him in proof-reading his Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhu. At this time Sri Jiva compiled a commentary on Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhu called Durgama-Sangamani. Sri Sanatana Goswami compiled Sri Vaisnava-Tosani, a commentary on the tenth canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, which he gave to Sri Jiva for proof-reading. Under the order of Sri Sanatana, Sri Jiva compiled a commentary on that named Laghu Vaisnava-Tosani.

While at Vrindavan, Sri Jiva took charge of taking care of Sri Rupa Goswami and Sri Sanatana Goswami -- regularly bringing them water for bathing, massaging their heads with oil, cleaning their asrama, worship the Deity, cooking, etc.

After the passing away of Sri Rupa and Sanatana, Sri Jiva continued the tradition that they had inaugurated. Once Sri Jiva traveled to Agra to debate with the Rajputs concerning the glories of Yamuna and Ganga rivers. He established that the Yamuna is more glorious than the Ganga as the Ganga emanates from Krishna's lotus feet whereas the Yamuna is His own consort. When the Rajputs wanted to give him a gift, he asked for some blank papers. So the emperor presented Jiva some stained paper (At that time paper was rare and most manuscripts were composed on leaves).

The disciple of Lokanatha Goswami, Narottama Dasa Thakura Mahasaya, Sri Gopala Bhatta Goswami's disciple Srinivasa Acarya Prabhu, and the disciple of Hrdaya Caitanya Prabhu, Sri Syamananda Prabhu, were greatly favoured by Srila Jiva Goswami. Under his tutelage they studied all the literature of the Goswamis. Later he sent them to preach this knowledge in Bengal.

Srila Jiva Goswami works include

  • Harinamamrta-Vyakarana
  • Sutra-Malika
  • Rasamrta-Sesa
  • Gopala-Virudavali
  • Sri-Madhava-Mahotsava
  • Sri-Sankalpa-Kalpavrksa
  • Brahma-Samhita-Tika
  • Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhu-Tika (Durgama-Sangamani)
  • Ujjvala-Nilamani-Tika (Locana-Rocani)
  • Gopala-Campu
  • Sat-Sandharbha (Tattva-Sandarbha, Bhagavata-Sandarbha, Paramatma Sandarbha, Krsna-Sandarbha, Bhakti-Sandharbha, Priti-Sandarbha)
  • Srimad-Bhagavata-Tika (Krama-Sandarbha)
  • Laghu-vaisnava-Tosani (Tenth Canto Bhagavatam commentary)
  • Sarva-Sambadina (commentary on Sat-Sandarbha)
  • Gopala-Tapani-Tika (Sri-Suhkha-Bodhini)
  • Padma-Puranastha-Yogasara-Stotra-Tika
  • Gayatri-Vyakhya-Vivrti (A commentary on the Gayatri mantra as described in the Agni Purana, chapters 216–217)
  • Radha-Krsnarcana-Candrika
  • Dhatu-Sangraha
  • Bhavartha-Sucaka-Campu

Srila Jiva Goswami passed away in 1618 in Vrindavana.