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Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī

[January 14, 2024 is the disappearance day of Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī in Vṛndāvana, India. The following is an excerpt of a bhāva anuvāda of a discourse by Śrīla Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja on September 13, 2016. Editors’ input: Additional text has been included in square brackets to facilitate the flow of content.]

Today is the āvirbhāva tithi of Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, who is one amongst the six gosvāmīs (ṣaḍ-gosvāmīs) – Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī, Śrīla Raghunātha Bhatta Gosvāmī, Śrīla Gopāla Bhatta Gosvāmī, Śrīla Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī.

After the disappearance of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī became the leader of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava society and the president of the Viśva-Vaiṣṇava Rāja Sabhā. He studied scriptures under Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī while residing at Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa and Vṛndāvana. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī used to dictate and Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī used to write. In this way, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī assisted in writing the books of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī.


One day a dig-vijayī paṇḍita [A scholar who had defeated all other scholars in a debate] approached Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī for a debate [eager to amass mundane prestige]. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī readily signed his jaya-patra [a document declaring him a winner in the debate] without uttering a word or creating any opposition. Were they aspiring for any such prestige, for name and fame? No! They considered it a complete waste of time discussing worthless topics with materialistic people when they could be performing bhajana instead.

The Vrajavāsīs were distressed thinking, ‘Is there no scholar in the whole of Vraja-maṇḍala who can defeat this dig-vijayī in a debate?’ On his way, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī happened to meet that dig-vijayī [who insisted that Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī also sign the jaya-patra admitting defeat. However Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī decided to tame the dig-vijayī paṇḍita in a debate] Overwhelmed by his defeat, that dig-vijayī paṇḍita couldn’t help but pass stool. [In this way, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī preserved the integrity of his spiritual master’s reputation and demonstrated the ideal behavior of one who is guru-devatātmā, i.e., one who recognizes his spiritual master to be his worshipable deity and source of life.]


At Imlitālā, during the occasion of the festival of Mahāprabhu's 500th birth anniversary, a religious assembly (dharma sabhā) was arranged. In that assembly, Pūjyapāda Śrīla Bhakti Kumuda Santa Gosvāmī Mahārāja was assigned chairperson, and that same day, the department head of Sanskrit at Agra University also attended. After seeing him, Śrīla Santa Gosvāmī Mahārāja requested me to speak. He did not invite the guest speaker to speak first because he realized he would [most likely] speak on a variety of topics, thus I understood that he was inviting me to set the tone and establish the thread of subject matter.

I explained that had Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī not come, none would have known the glories of Vṛndāvana. Residing underneath every tree of Vṛndāvana they revealed the various important [pastime] places. The University departmental head then spoke, “Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī was such a scholar that up until now, no one has been able to refute any of his words from the Ṣaṭ-sandarbha”, He went on to glorify the six gosvāmīs and said, “All these books are authentic. What Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī has written is also authentic. Devotees of the Vallabha sampradāya say that Vallabhācārya discovered Gopāla but we have done research and proven that the Deity of Gopāla was discovered long before Vallabhācārya came, hence Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta is correct. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī's work is beautiful. Without the help of Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī's scriptures, how could Gauḍīyas uphold and support the teachings of the Gauḍīya sampradāya?”

[Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī systemically presented the teachings of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, supporting them with scriptural references in his philosophical magnum opus known as the Ṣaṭ Sandarbhas. In other words, he protected the pure current of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s teachings from being contaminated with fraudulent ideologies.]

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