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Shrila Jiva Gosvami
Shri Sanatan, Shri Rupa and Shri Ballabha were three brothers, all employed in the service of the Badsa Hussain Shah. Amongst these three, there was only one descendant, Shri Jiva.
Having been rewarded richly by the Badsa for their services, their household life was very opulent. There was nothing lacking in whatever was necessary for the upbringing of the only son. The house was illuminated by the effulgence of the child's golden complexion. His eyes were like the expanded petals of the lotus and in fact every part of his body was graced with a lustrous, radiant splendour.
When Shri Gaursundor came to Ramakeli, Shri Jiva was blessed by having darshan of his worshipful Lord, though he was just a baby at the time. Placing the dust of His lotus feet on the child's head, Mahaprabhu indicated him to be the future sovereign preceptor of the Gauriya sampraday. Though he was only a child, Shri Jiva kept the form of the Lord, which fascinates all the world, within his heart. As he grew up, while eating, while lying down, in his dreams, while he was awake, at all times, he would meditate on that form.
Later on, when his father and uncles renounced their family life in order to be with Mahaprabhu, the only child, Shri Jiva, was left with his mother in the family palace at Fateyabad. Lying in her lap, which was wet with tears of separation, he gradually began to grow as the waxing moon. Seeing that the mother and the child's face were always wet with tears, their friends also fell under the shadow of sadness and only with great difficulty managed to assuage their grief. Whenever Shri Jiva would remember his father and uncles, or the lotus feet of Shri Gaura Hari, he would lose consciousness and fall to the ground.
As he got a little older, Shri Jiva took up the worship of Deities of Shri Shri RamKrishna (KrishnaBalaram). He would carefully decorate Them with flowers and sandalwood paste and offer bhoga and aroti, serving Them with his full attention. Even in his play, whatever games he played were connected with Shri Krishna's pastimes.
While studying under the local pandits he became proficient in grammar, poetry and rhetoric. Noting his great intellect, his teachers commented, "Such brilliance is not often found in a child so young as this. No doubt he will be a very high-souled, saintly person."
Even while engaged in his studies Jiva always thought of Shri Shri NitaiGauranga. Once he saw in a dream that Shri RamKrishna had taken the forms of NitaiGauranga and were dancing. Giving him the dust of Their lotus feet, the Two Lords then disappeared. [Bhakti Ratna .732]
Having seen such a wonderful dream, Shri Jiva was consoled somewhat. Then he began to think, "When will I be able to crawl out of this well of family life and devote my full time and energy, my very self, to serving these two most magnanimous Lords?" But he was the only son of the family. Only in his company could his mother forget somewhat the pangs of separation in her heart.
When Shri Jiva learned that his father had given up his life on the banks of the Ganga, he was completely unsettled. After that his eyes were never dry. The 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 Nabadwip and bathe himself in the coolness emanating from the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda Prabhu so that his mind and body, burning with grief, could be refreshed. Thus, on the pretext of going there for studies, Shri Jiva set out for Nabadwip with a group of pilgrims.
Nityananda Prabhu, the omniscient Lord, could understand that Shri Jiva was on his way to Nabadwip. Therefore He also left for there from Khardaha. After a few days Jiva arrived at the birthplace of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Shridham Nabadwip. Seeing the beauty of that place he was charmed and fell down on the ground to offer his dandabats to Mother Ganges. When he inquired from the villagers for directions to Mayapur, he learned that Nityananda Prabhu was residing at Shribas Pandit's house. At last he arrived there and fell down at the door to offer his dandabats.
Nityananda Prabhu came out with Shribas Pandit and picked him up and embraced him, asking, "Are you the nephew of Shri Rupa and Shri Sanatan?"
As an answer, Jiva again fell down on the ground at the lotus feet of Nityananda Prabhu. This time Nityananda Prabhu brought him in the house and began to inquire after the welfare of his family at Fateyabad.
Then, as Shri Jiva was introduced to the devotees present in Nabadwip, he offered his salutations at their lotus feet. Everyone was very happy to meet the nephew of Shri Rupa and Sanatan. That day Shri Jiva received the remnants of Nityananda prabhu's prasadam.
The next day the two of them, Nityananda and Jiva, came to Saci Mata'a house. To see the birthplace of Shri Gaursundor, which was filled with such splendour, Shri Jiva was greatly pacified and fell down on the ground to roll in the dust. In the large courtyard the devotees were singing songs praising the glories of Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Seeing Nityananda Prabhu, everyone stood up and then fell down, offering their dandabats at His lotus feet. Then Jiva saw Saci Mata sitting on the veranda.
Dressed in white with a silk chaddar around her shoulders she looked radiant, the white of her hair blending with her white sari. Though her body trembled with old age and was very thin, still the courtyard was illuminated by her divine effulgence. Forgetting herself in remembrance of Shri Gaursundor, she was sitting with her eyes closed. Becoming aware that Nityananda Prabhu had arrived, she covered her head with her sari and called her servant, "Isan! Shripad has arrived. Please wash His feet."
After this was done, Nityananda offered namaskar to the Mother of the Supreme Lord and took His seat. He then introduced Shri Jiva to her. Saci Mata placed her hand on his head to bless him, thus plunging Jiva into the ocean of happiness in which he continued to now float. Saci Mata then requested the two of them to honour the Lord's prasad. "Take prasad here at your mother's house today, my child. I offered these preparations in secret to Shri Gaurcandra."
Shri Jiva spent some days with Nityananda Prabhu, touring the nine islands of Nabadwip, in order to have darshan of the holy places of the Lord's pastimes there. Then, as ordered by Nityananda Prabhu, he set out for Kasi (Baranasi).
At Kasi he studied Bedanta under Shri Madhusudana Bacaspati, a disciple of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarja. The conclusions of Bedanta contained in Shrimad Bhagavatam that were expounded by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to Sarvabhauma Bhattacarja in Puri, had been in turn taught by the Bhattacarja to Madhusudana Bacaspati, who established a tol at Kasi. From him, Shri Jiva mastered the same conclusions.
From here Shri Jiva set out for Shri Brindaban where he received shelter at the lotus feet of his two uncles, Shri Rupa and Sanatan. They were very pleased to see him and received from him all the news.
Jiva stayed with Shri Rupa, who began to teach him Shrimad Bhagavatam. After initiating him with the divine mantra, Rupa engaged him in the service of Shri Shri RadhaDamodara. According to Sadhanadipika, this Deity of Damodar was fashioned by Rupa Gosvami's own hand for his dear disciple Shri Jiva. Shri Shri RadhaDamodara are presently being worshipped in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
Seeing that Jiva had quickly become conversant with the conclusions of the Shrimad Bhagavatam, Shri Rupa engaged him in proofreading his Bhakti rasamrtasindhu. At this time Shri Jiva compiled a commentary on Bhakti rasamrtasindhu called Durgamasangamani. In the year 1476 (Sakabda) Shri Sanatan Gosvami compiled Shri Baisnabtosani, a commentary on the tenth canto of Shrimad Bhagavatam, which he gave to Shri Jiva for proofreading.
Under the order of Shri Sanatan, Shri Jiva compiled a commentary on that named Laghu Baisnabtosani in the year 1500 (Sakabda). His writings, along with those of Shri Rupa and Shri Sanatan, Shri Gopal Bhatta, Shri Raghunath Bhatta, Shri Raghunath das, Shri Krishna das, Shri Kasisvar Pandit, and Shri Madhu Pandit, completely captivated the learned men of that time. It was the beginning of a golden age at Shri Brajadham.
Shri Jiva regularly brought water for Shri Rupa and Sanatan's bath. He massaged their heads with oil, cleaned their ashram, worshipped the Deity, cooked and corrected manuscripts.
After the disappearance of Shri Rupa and Sanatan, Shri Jiva continued the tradition that they had inaugurated. Once Shri Jiva travelled to Agra to debate with the Rajputs concerning the glories of the Jamuna and Ganga rivers. He established that the Jamuna is more glorious than the Ganga as the Ganga emanates from Krishna's lotus feet whereas the Jamuna is His own consort. At this the Moghul emperor was very much satisfied and wanted to present him something. Shri Jiva replied that he would accept some Chinese writing papers. So the emperor presented Jiva some stained paper. (At that time paper was very rare and most manuscripts were usually composed on leaves.)
There is also a legend that once, when a moghul emperor (possibly Akbar) wanted to confer something on the Goswamis of Brindaban, they requested a farman (emperor's order) that no living beings would be killed within Braja. As a result of this no king would come to hunt there any more. The disciple of Lokanath Gosvami, Narottam das Thakur Mahasoy, Shri Gopal Bhatta Gosvami's disciple Shrinibas Acarja Prabhu, and the disciple of Hrdoy Chaitanya Prabhu, Shri Syamananda Prabhu, were greatly favoured by Shrila Jiva Goswami. Under his tutelage they studied all the literatures of the Gosvamis. Later he sent them to preach this knowledge in Bengal.
Shrila Jiva Gosvami composed many literatures, amongst them: Harinamamrtavyakarana, Sutramalika, Bhakti Rasamrtasesa, Gopalavirudavali, ShriMadhavamahotsava, ShriSankalpakalpavrksa, BrahmaSamhitatika, Bhaktirasamrtasindhutika (Durgamasangamani), Ujjvalanilamanitika (Locanarocani), Gopalacampu, Satsandharbha (Tattvasandarbha, Bhagavatasandarbha, Paramatmasandarbha, Krishnasandarbha, Bhaktisandharbha, Pritisandarbha), ShrimadBhagavatatika (Kramasandarbha), LaghuBaisnabtosani (Tenth Canto Bhagavatam commentary), Sarvasambadina (commentary on Satsandarbha), Gopalatapanitika (ShriSuhkhabodhini), Padmapuranasthayogasarastotratika, Gayatrivyakhyavivrti (A commentary on the Gayatri mantra as described in the Agni Purana), RadhaKrishnarcanacandrika, Dhatusangraha, Bhavarthasucakacampu and Shri RadhaKrishna karapada cihna samahriti.
Birth: 1533 (Christian calendar), 1455 (Sakabdha), 12th day of the bright fortnight in the month of Bhadra.
Disappearance : 1540 (Sakabdha), 3rd day of bright fortnight, Pausa.
Age: 85 years