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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Compiled and Imp Scriptures > Jaiva Dharma > Introduction



(written for the second Hindi edition)

by Shrila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja


Of the many religious traditions in the world, almost all of them

adopt various methods to propagate their respective ideals.

With this in mind, they publish literature in different languages.

It is self-evident that in the realm of secular education there are

elementary, intermediate and advanced levels, as well as higher

and lower branches of learning. Similarly, it is self-evident - and

those who are widely read and deeply learned in comparative religious

studies universally admit it - that there are gradations of

knowledge in the metaphysical teachings of the diverse religious

traditions. Amongst all these religious ideologies, the instructions

given by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu on the religion of prema (pure

love) are the highest revelation from all angles of vision. Surely,

once the world's impartial thinkers are exposed to such sublime

understanding, they will unanimously accept this fact.


Everyone wants to be inspired by the highest ideal and teachings,

but how can this auspicious desire come to bear fruit? It is

with this thought that the great liberated personality and crestjewel

of the educated elite, Shrila Thakura Bhaktivinoda established,

by his personal example the foremost ideal of spiritual life,

and composed many books on vaishnava-dharma in different languages.

In these books can be found a thorough description in

simple language of the instructions of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Out of all the author's books, this Jaiva-Dharma is considered to

be the quintessence by religious thinkers of the world.


Within this world the Vedas are the most ancient writings.

Their corollaries, which include the Upanisads and other literature

compiled by Shri Vedavyasa (such as Vedanta-sutra, Mahabharata and

Shrimad-Bhagavatam), are all consummate literary works. Over the

course of time, varieties of books were written, inspired by the

ideals enunciated in that body of literature. They were widely circulated

and thus gained broad popularity. In these books, not only

do we find gradations of thought, distinguishing characteristics

and contrasting views, but also we observe mutual exclusivity, polarization

of doctrine, and speculative philosophy. As a result, there

have been upheavals and calamities in the religious domain, and

these continue to the present day.


Under such precarious circumstances, the original Supreme

Lord, Svayam Bhagavan, who is the Absolute Truth, appeared approximately

500 years ago in the foremost of the seven holy places,

Shridhama-Mayapura within Navadvipa dhama, to deliver the conditioned

living beings. At that time the Lord specifically empowered

some of His beloved associates to compile voluminous books,

which contain the true purport and essence of all sastras. Through

the medium of this literature, the Lord desired to invest bhakti,

which is the root of divya-jnana (transcendental knowledge),

within the hearts of all people. All these books with the exception

of three or four, were written in the Sanskrit language.


Shri Rupa and Sanatana Gosvamis were among the most elevated

and confidential associates of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and Shrila

Jiva Gosvami was so dear to Shri Rupa and Sanatana that he was

practically their identical manifestation. Extracting the essence

of all the sastras, Shrila Jiva Gosvami composed the Sat-sandarbhas

and other books in Sanskrit. Through this effort, Svayam

Bhagavan manifested His confidential desire to enact His lila of

delivering the jivas.


Some people, who are incapable of ascertaining the true meaning

of the sastras, are compelled to interpret them according to

their relative understanding. In some cases, such people take only

a partial meaning of the sastra; in other cases, their interpretations

cloud the true meaning; and in other cases again, they adopt

a view that is thoroughly opposed to the original intention. Shrila

Jiva Gosvami is not in any of these categories, and the instructions

that flowed from his pen are the absolute and conclusive instructions

of Shriman Mahaprabhu, which are the instructions of the

Vedas, the Upanisads, the Mahabharata and Shrimad-Bhagavatam.

Taking support of the flawless and complete purport of these instructions,

Jaiva-Dharma has been compiled in an astonishing form. So

that readers may easily understand the utility and import of this

book, we shall now give an analysis of the title's significance.


The author has named this book Jaiva-Dharma. Since we all

maintain some particular conception of dharma (essential occupation

or religion), it is not necessary to elaborate further on this,

also due to a shortage of space. In Sanskrit, when the secondary

suffix an is added to the word jiva (living being), it causes the medial

vowel to be strengthened, and the n in the suffix an to be

dropped, and thus we obtain the word jaiva. The word jaiva means

'of or related to the jiva'. Therefore, Jaiva-Dharma means the

dharma of the jiva, or the characteristic function related to the

jiva. But what is meant by the word jiva in this context? The author

answers this question exhaustively in this book, but I still

think that it is essential to submit one or two points in brief.


The word jivana (life) comes from the word jiva, which means

'one who has life'. In other words, all living beings are known as

jivas. Thus, the author has used the term 'jaiva-dharma' to indicate

the constitutional function of the jiva. Shri Chaitanya

Mahaprabhu has instructed jivas through His exclusively devoted

followers, the Six Gosvamis - headed by Shri Rupa, Sanatana and

Jiva Gosvami - as to what type of dharma they should accept and

follow. Approximately four hundred years later, the author of this

book, Shrila Thakura Bhaktivinoda, who is renowned as the Seventh

Gosvami, appeared not far from Shridhama-Mayapura, the

birthplace of Shri Gauranga. Being very soft-hearted and empathizing

with the plight of the jivas, he wrote Jaiva-Dharma in the

Bengali language.


By the desire of Bhagavan, Shri Krishna dasa Kaviraja Gosvami, a

beloved associate of Shri Gauranga, captured the essence of

Bhagavan Shri Gaurachandra's instructions in Shri Chaitanyacharitamrita.

This is expressed in the following sloka:


jivera svarupa haya krsnera nitya dasa

krsnera tatastha-sakti bhedabheda prakasa


The jiva's natural condition is to be a servant of Krishna. The jiva

is the marginal potency of Krishna, and a manifestation which is

both one with and different from Krishna. (Shri Chaitanyacharitamrita,

Madhya 20.108)


The author has based Jaiva-Dharma on this sloka, which is the

bija-mantra (fundamental aphorism) of all instructions for Gaudiya

Vaishnavas. Therefore, this book is beneficial and acceptable for

all human beings, beyond distinctions of race, caste, stage of life,

time, place or person. Not only that, it is beneficial even for jivas

who take birth in other species, whether stones, animals, birds,

insects, aquatics, or other moving and non-moving entities.


There are many examples worth mentioning of beings other

than humans who accepted jaiva-dharma. Ahalya is an example

in the body of a stone; the twin Yamalarjunas and the seven tala's

in the bodies of trees; King Nrga in the body of a lizard; Bharata

Maharaja in a deer's body; Surabhi in a cow's body; Gajendra in

an elephant's body; Jamavanta in a bear's body; and Angada and

Sugriva in the bodies of monkeys. The instructor of the entire

universe, Brahma, prayed to Svayam Bhagavan Shri Krishna to obtain

the service of His lotus feet, even if that meant taking birth within

species of grass, shrubs, animals or birds. This is stated in Shrimad-

Bhagavatam (10.14.30):


tad astu me natha sa bhuri-bhago

bhave 'tra vanyatra tu va tirascam

yenaham eko 'pi bhavaj jananam

bhutva niseve tava pada-pallavam


My dear Lord, I pray that You will bestow such good fortune upon

me that I may be counted as one of Your bhaktas and fully engage

in the service of Your lotus feet, whether in this life as Brahma, or

in the next, even if I should take birth among the animal species.


Prahlada Maharaja, the emperor of bhaktas, expressed still more

clearly the aspiration to obtain jaiva-dharma in the form of service

to Bhagavan, even if it meant taking birth as an animal, or in

any form among the thousands of species:


natha yoni-sahasresu yesu yesu vrajamy aham

tesu tesv acala bhaktir acyutastu sada tvayi


O Acyuta, in whichever of the thousands of species I may be

forced to wander, please let me always have unflinching devotion

unto You.


The author, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, has also prayed in a

similar manner in his book entitled Saranagati:


kita janma hau yatha tuya dasa

bahir-mukha brahma-janme nahi asa


Let me take birth, even as an insect, wherever Your bhaktas are

to be found. I do not wish to be born as a Brahma indifferent to

You. (Saranagati, Atma-nivedana Song 3)


The instructions of Jaiva-Dharma are therefore commendable

and acceptable for all jivas. By taking those instructions deeply

into our hearts, all living entities can easily obtain permanent

release from the dreadful torment caused by the invincible shackles

of illusion, and from the phantasmagoria of trivial and false

pleasure. Furthermore, such souls will become immersed in the

bliss of service to Bhagavan, and thus become fit to experience

supreme peace and ultimate transcendental pleasure.


Previously it was indicated that there are higher and lower

gradations of instruction in the field of secular knowledge. Similarly,

it is accepted that there are higher and lower gradations of

instruction in the field of religious truth. Only people of eminent

qualification can accept the ideal that is contained in the advanced

teachings. The purport is that human beings are superior to all

other species of life. There are many different types of living entities

other than human beings. The word prani (that which has

life), or jiva, refers to a conscious entity. We are not concerned

here with unconscious objects or inert matter. The natural function

of a conscious entity is called dharma, which implies the function

of consciousness, or the nature that stems from one's true

identity. The concept of dharma is inseperable from cetana (consciousness).


In the Sixteenth Chapter of this book, there is a minute analysis,

consistent with modern science, of the systematic development

of consciousness. Conscious beings who are bound by illusion are

found in five conditions: 1) acchadita-cetana (covered consciousness),

2) sankucita-cetana (stunted consciousness), 3) mukulitacetana

(budding consciousness), 4) vikasita-cetana (blossoming

consciousness), and 5) purna-vikasita-cetana (fully blossomed consciousness).

Such conscious beings are known as jivas, or prani.

These five stages of living beings are divided into two categories:

non-moving entities (sthavara); and moving entities (jangama).


Trees, creepers, shrubs, stones and other non-moving beings

are said to have covered consciousness (acchadita-cetana). The

other four types of conscious beings are moving, whereas these

entities are not, because their consciousness is fully covered.

Animals, birds, insects and aquatics have stunted consciousness

(sankucita-cetana). Jivas born in species other than human beings

are found in the covered and stunted states of consciousness. Jivas

in human species are found in the budding, blossoming and fully

blossomed stages of consciousness. Although sentient beings in

these last three states of awareness are all human by physical appearance,

they are graded according to their development of consciousness.

Bearing this gradation in mind, human consciousness

is considered to be in the preliminary, intermediate or advanced

stage of development. Nonetheless, trees, creepers, shrubs, animals,

birds and human beings are all jivas, and their only dharma is

to worship Bhagavan. Still, out of all of them, human beings are

superior by dint of developed consciousness, and their special

dharma is known as jaiva-dharma, which consists of the worship

of Bhagavan.


The function of consciousness is graded according to the degree

to which knowledge or awareness is covered. There is no

doubt that human beings are superior to all other earthly life

forms, yet it is essential to understand whence this superiority

stems. It cannot be said that human beings are superior to trees,

creepers, insects, animals, birds and aquatics from the point of view

of form and appearance, strength and prowess, and beauty and

charm. However, human beings are superior in every way to all

other species with regard to the mental faculty, the development

of the intellect, and the expansion of consciousness. It is this

special dharma that is being analyzed in Jaiva-Dharma. Although

in a general sense, jaiva-dharma is the dharma of all living beings,

it should be understood as the specific dharma of the human species,

because the special qualification for the highest dharma is

found only among those jivas with highly developed awareness.


The question may then be raised as to why this book was entitled

Jaiva-Dharma and not Manava-Dharma or Manusya-Dharma

(the religion of human beings). When we investigate, we learn

that the true function of human beings is found only in dharma;

dharma or religion is not found in other species. This is the general

rule. Trees, creepers, stones, worms, insects, fish, tortoises,

animals, birds, snakes and other living entities are counted as jivas,

but they do not exhibit the religious tendency which is characterized

by the aspiration for moksa (liberation) or the worship of



Some philosophers are of the opinion that living beings who

display only animalistic attributes, such as foolishness and mercilessness,

are in fact animals. It is observed that some jivas of this

animalistic class possess natural intuition by virtue of birth. To a

limited extent, this natural intuition is a semblance of human

nature. In reality though, it is not human nature, for the human

disposition is only observed when animalism is combined with

knowledge or rationality. Those who have this human disposition

are known as human beings.


Our Aryan sages have described the animalistic demeanor as

having four compelling propensities: ahara (eating), nidra (sleeping),

bhaya (fearing), and maithuna (mating). The human disposition

manifests only when one overcomes these animalistic propensities

and develops rationality (dharma-vrtti). Western philosophers

have also stated that men are rational beings. However,

it is essential to note that the meaning of rationality in Western

philosophy is considerably limited.


In Aryan philosophy, the word dharma is extremely comprehensive.

Within only a single aspect of its meaning, it encompasses

the Western philosophical concept of rationality, and extends far

beyond that to include the proclivity for the worship of God.

Dharma is the true identifying characteristic of human nature, and

living beings who are devoid of dharma are designated as animals.

It is said in Hitopadesa (25):


ahara-nidra-bhaya-maithunan ca

samanyam etat pasubhir naranam

dharmo hi tesam adhiko viseso

dharmena hinah pasubhih samanah


Human beings are equal to animals in the matters of eating,

sleeping, fearing and mating. Yet the quality of religion is

unique to human beings. Without religion, they are no better

than animals.


The meaning of this sloka is that the natural propensity of living

beings is to satisfy the senses through the activities of eating,

sleeping, fearing and mating. These propensities are observed

equally in human beings and in all other species; there is no second

opinion about this. Human beings, however, can only truly live

up to the human status when the disposition to be religious is

found in them. The words dharmo hi tesam adhiko visesah mean

that dharma is the special quality which distinguishes human beings

from animals and other species. Those in whom dharma is

completely absent cannot properly be called human beings. The

words dharmena hinah pasubhih samanah mean that people who are

devoid of dharma are like animals. That is why, in our country,

human beings who are devoid of dharma are called nara-pasu (animalistic



It is especially noteworthy that today people have abandoned

dharma and remain engrossed in eating and various forms of sensual

enjoyment. This sense indulgence is the tendency of animals,

or species other than human beings. Currently, due to the influence

of Kali-yuga, humanity is gradually degrading and regressing

toward animalism. Thus, according to sastra, at present few people

can even be classified as human beings. Had the author named

this book Manusya-dharma, then from the sastric definition of humanity,

most would have been disqualified from this practice. It is

for this reason that Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, desiring the

welfare of everyone, gave his book the broad title Jaiva-Dharma,

and thus completely preserved the conventions of sastra. Dharma,

or the worship of Shri Bhagavan, is found only in human beings,

and not in animals, birds, and other species. Human beings, as the

most advanced species, are particularly qualified for the highest

teachings, or dharma. Jaiva-Dharma is especially meant to be studied

by them.


Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's unique quality is that He is merciful

even to the most fallen people, making them eligible for His

highest teachings. Such mercy was not bestowed by any other

avatara. Therefore, Shrila Rupa Gosvami has glorified Shriman

Mahaprabhu in very meaningful words in his drama, Vidagdhamadhava



anarpita-carim cirat karunayavatirnah kalau

samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasam sva-bhakti-shriyam

harih purata-sundara-dyuti-kadamba-sandipitah

sada hrdaya-kandare sphuratu vah saci-nandanah


May Shri Shachinandana€````@P@``€``PP@P€°`° `@```š`@°°`°°  @@P` ` P@ °P`0@````@`` P`€@ `P€PP```@`PP`°°°Ppppppp p````@@@@€p€€€€€€€pppp````````` P````    ```````€````````_›8œȰ_Ȱ_粜娈粜が粞〼粞 Gaurahari, who is resplendent with an

effulgence more glorious than gold, be ever manifest in the core

of our hearts. Out of His causeless mercy, He has appeared in

the age of Kali to bestow upon the world the wealth of His own

bhakti, the supreme, radiant mellow, ujjvala-rasa, the most confidential

mood of service to Radha and Krishna in Their conjugal

relationship. This rare gift has not been given for an extremely

long time. Human beings who receive this gift can very easily

become free forever from the bondage of maya, and by great fortune

receive krishna-prema.


The author of this sloka has effectively captured the speciality

of Shriman Mahaprabhu.


In the Eleventh Chapter of Jaiva-Dharma, the author has established

through the conversation between Mullah Sahib and

the Vaishnavas that all human beings are eligible for vaishnavadharma.

He has supported this conclusion with logical analysis

and with firm evidence from the sastra. Those who speak Urdu,

Farsi, English, or any other language can become Vaishnavas; it is

not confined only to those who speak Sanskrit. In fact, it is observed

that many people who speak Hindi, Bengali, Oriya,

Assamese, Tamil, Telegu and other Indian languages have already

attained the exalted status of Vaishnavas. Indeed, people from virtually

any social or religious background are eligible for this. Disparity

in language is certainly not a disqualification.


Disregarding the opinion of those who might have had a prejudice

about language, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has broadcast

the transcendental instructions of Shriman Mahaprabhu in many

different languages. He has written approximately one hundred

books in Sanskrit, Bengali, Oriya, Hindi, Urdu and English. The

names of some of the more important of these works have been

given below along with their dates of publication:


1 Hari-katha: Topics of Lord Hari, 1850

2 Sumbha-Nisumbha-yuddha, 1851

3 Poriade, 1857-58.

4 Mathas of Orissa, 1860.

5 Vijana-grama, 1863.

6 Sannyasi, 1863.

7 Our Wants, 1863

8 Valide Rejistri, 1866.

9 Speech on Gautama, 1866

10 The Bhagavat: Its Philosophy, Its Ethics,

and Its Theology, 1869

11 Garbha-stotra-vyakhya, 1870

12 Reflections, 1871

13 Thakura Haridasa, 1871

14 The Temple of Jagannatha at Puri, 1871

15 The Monasteries of Puri, 1871

16 The Personality of Godhead, 1871

17 A Beacon of Light, 1871

18 Saragrahi Vaishnava, 1871

19 To Love God, 1871

20 The Atibadis of Orissa, 1871

21 The Marriage System of Bengal, 1871

22 Vedantadhikarana-mala, 1872

23 Datta-kaustubham, 1874

24 Datta-vamsa-mala, 1876

25 Bauddha-vijaya-kavyam, 1878

26 Shri Krishna-samhita, 1880

27 Shri Sajjana-tosani, (monthly magazine) 1881

28 Kalyana-kalpataru, 1881

29 Review of Nitya-rupa-samsthapanam, 1883

30 Visva-Vaishnava-Kalpatari, 1885

31 Dasopanisad-curnika, 1886

32 Bhavavali (commentary), 1886

33 Rasika-Ranjana, (commentary on Bhagavad Gita) 1886

34 Shri Chaitanya Siksamrta, 1886

35 Prema-pradipa, 1886

36 Published Shri Vishnu-sahasra-nama, 1886

37 Manah-Siksa (translation and commentary), 1886

38 Shri Chaitanya-Upanisad (commentary), 1887

39 Shri Krishna-vijaya (published), 1887

40 Vaishnava-siddhanta-mala, 1888

41 Shri Amnaya-sutram, 1890

42 Siddhanta-darpanam (Bengali translation), 1890

43 Shri Navadvipa-dhama-mahatmya, 1890

44 Shri Godruma Kalpatari (essays on nama-hatta), 1891

45 Vidvad-ranjana (commentary on Bhagavad Gita), 1891

46 Shri Harinama, 1892

47 Shri Nama, 1892

48 Shri Nama-tattva-siksastaka, 1892

49 Shri Nama-mahima, 1892

50 Shri Nama-pracara, 1892

51 Shriman Mahaprabhura Siksa, 1892

52 Tattva-vivekah or Shri Saccidanandanubhutih, 1893

53 Saranagati, 1893

54 Gitavali, 1893

55 Gitamala, 1893

56 Soka-satana, 1893

57 Nama Bhajana, 1893

58 Tattva-sutram, 1894

59 Vedarka-didhiti (commentary on Shri Isopanisad), 1894

60 Tattva-muktavali or Mayavada-satadusani,

(translated and published), 1894

61 Amrta-pravaha-bhasya

(commentary on Chaitanya charitamrita), 1895

62 Shri Gauranga-lila-smarana-mangala-stotram, 1896

63 Shri Ramanuja Upadesa, 1896

64 Jaiva-Dharma, 1896

65 Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, His Life and Precepts, 1896

66 Brahma-samhita (commentary), 1897

67 Shri Goloka-mahatmya

(Bengali translation of Brhad Bhagavatamrta), 1898

68 Shri Krishna-karnamrtam, (translation), 1898

69 Piyusa-varsini-vrtti (commentary on Upadesamrta), 1898

70 Shri Bhajanamrtam (translation and commentary), 1899

71 Shri Navadvipa-bhava-taranga, 1899

72 The Hindu Idols, 1899

73 Shri Harinama-cintamani, 1900

74 Shri Bhagavata Arka-marici-mala, 1901

75 Shri Sankalpa-kalpadruma (Bengali translation), 1901

76 Shri Bhajana-rahasya, 1902

77 Shri Prema-vivarta (published), 1906

78 Svaniyama-dvadasakam, 1907


When one sees this list, one can easily infer that the author

was a vastly learned scholar of many different languages. I think it

necessary at this point to shed some light on a special feature of

the author's life. Although he was a pre-eminent scholar of Western

thought, he was completely free from Western influences.

Western educators say, "Don't follow me; follow my words." In other

words, "Don't do as I do; do as I say." The life of Shrila Bhaktivinoda

Thakura refutes this principle, for he personally applied and demonstrated

all the instructions of his books in his own life. Therefore,

his instructions and manner of bhajana are known as

"Bhaktivinoda dhara" (the line of Bhaktivinoda). There is not a

single instruction in his books that he did not personally follow.

Therefore, there is no disparity between his writings and his life,

between his actions and his words. They are one in all respects.


It is natural for readers to be curious to learn about a great personality

who possesses such extraordinary character. Modern readers,

in particular, who seek to know about any subject, cannot have

faith in an author's writings without being acquainted with him.

Therefore, I am submitting a few words about Shrila Bhaktivinoda



When it comes to discussing the life of maha-purusas (great selfrealized

personalities who are transcendental to mortal existence),

it would be a mistake to consider their birth, life span and death

to be similar to that of mere mortals, because maha-purusas are beyond

birth and death. They are situated in eternal existence, and

their coming and going from this world is strictly a matter of their

own appearance and disappearance.


Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura appeared on Sunday, September

2, 1838, and thus illuminated the sky of Gaudiya Vaisnavism. He

took birth in a high-class family in a village named Vira-nagara

(also known as Ulagrama or Ula), which is located within the

Nadiya district of West Bengal, not far from Shridhama-Mayapura,

the appearance place of Shri Gauranga. He disappeared from this

world on June 23, 1914, in the city of Calcutta. At that time, he

entered the midday pastimes of Shri Shri Gandharvika-Giridhari, who

are the supreme objects of worship for the Gaudiya Vaishnavas.


In his brief lifespan of seventy-six years, he instructed the world

by personally carrying out the duties of the four asramas (stages of

spiritual life): brahmacarya (celibate student-life), grhastha (religious

householder-life), vanaprastha (withdrawal from worldly duties),

and sannyasa (formal renunciation). He first underwent

brahmacarya, and obtained various elevated instructions. After

that, he entered grhastha life, and set an ideal example of how to

maintain family members through honest and noble means. All

householders should follow this example.


During his grhastha life, Shrila Bhaktivinoda traveled all over India

as a highly placed officer in the administration and justice department

of the British government of India. By his exacting discrimination

and expert administrative skills, this great personality

managed to regulate and bring to order even those places that were

infamous as lawless states. In the midst of family duties, he astonished

all his contemporaries by the religious ideal he displayed.

Although engaged in pressing responsibilities, he wrote many books

in different languages. We have recorded the dates of composition

in our list of his books. If the reader studies this, he can clearly deduce

Bhaktivinoda's incredible creative power.


After retiring from his government responsibilities, Shrila

Bhaktivinoda adopted the stage of vanaprastha, and intensified his

spiritual practice. At that time, he established an asrama at

Surabhi-kunja in Godrumadvipa, one of the nine districts of

Navadvipa. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura remained there and performed

bhajana for a considerable time.


Later, he accepted the life of an ascetic, and stayed at Svanandasukhada-

kunja, which was nearby. While residing there, he established

the appearance place of Shri Chaitanyadeva and many other

places of gaura-lila. In this, he followed the example of Shri Chaitanya

Mahaprabhu and His followers, the Six Gosvamis, who had discovered

the birthplace and other pastime places of Shri Krishna. If

Shrila Thakura Bhaktivinoda had not appeared in this world, the

pastime places and instructions of Shri Gauranga Mahaprabhu

would have disappeared from the world. The entire world of

Gaudiya Vaishnavas will therefore remain indebted to him forever.

It is for this reason that he has been awarded the highest honor

in the Vaishnava community by being addressed as the Seventh



This maha-purusa instructed the world both through the ideal

example of his personal life and by writing books in many different

languages. In addition, there is yet another unique gift that

he bestowed, and it would be a display of ingratitude on my part if

I neglected to mention this. Shrila Thakura Bhaktivinoda brought

a great personality into this world, who was the commander-inchief

in propagating the dharma revealed by Shri Chaitanya

Mahaprabhu. This great personality is my beloved Gurudeva, and

he is renowned throughout the world as Jagad-guru Om Vishnupada

Paramahamsa-kula-cudamani Astottara-sata Shri Shrimad Bhaktisiddhanta

Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura. It was an incomparable

and unprecedented accomplishment on the part of Shrimad

Bhaktivinoda Thakura to bring this maha-purusa into the world.

The Vaishnava community honors Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati

Thakura with the shorter title of Shrila Prabhupada, and hereafter,

I will also refer to this supremely liberated maha-purusa as Shrila



Shrila Prabhupada appeared as Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's son

and successor. Throughout the world, he raised the brilliant banner

of Shri Madhva Gaudiya Vaishnava dharma, which was practiced

and propagated by Shriman Mahaprabhu, Shri Chaitanyadeva. In so

doing, he brought tremendous welfare and elevation to the religious

domain. Even Western and Far Eastern countries like

America, England, Germany, France, Sweden, Switzerland and

Burma were not deprived of his mercy. He established sixty-four

Gaudiya Matha preaching centers in India and around the world,

and from these he propagated the teachings of Shri Chaitanya. He

also circulated all the books of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and

thus established his incomparable fame throughout the world.


By the influence of time and the onslaught of the age of Kali,

various types of corruption and false doctrines had infiltrated

Gaudiya Vaishnava dharma. As a result, thirteen distorted sects

(apasampradayas) had emerged, and they are named in this sloka:


aola baola karttabhaja neda darvesa sai

sahajiya sakhi-bheki smartta jati-gosai

atibadi cudadhari gauranga-nagari

tota kahe e teraha sanga nahi kari


Tota says that he will not associate with the thirteen

apasampradayas: aola, baola, karttabhaja, neda, darvesa, sai,

sahajiya, sakhi-bheki, smartta, jati-gosai, atibadi, cudadhari and



Shrila Prabhupada significantly curbed the mischievous activities

of these apasampradayas through his preaching and by publishing

the books of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Despite all this,

however, due to the influence of Kali, eating, leisure and material

security unfortunately tend to become the primary interests of any

religious sect. In reality, all these things are just other names for

animal propensities or the expansion of animalistic endeavors. We

have discussed this earlier.


Jaiva-Dharma contains a thorough discussion of the nature of

dharma, our relationship with dharma, the result of following

dharma, the true import of dharma, the fact that so-called religion

that is impelled by Kali is not dharma at all, and many other topics.

In fact, one can know the meaning of all the sastras in a condensed

form simply by studying this compact book, which contains a comparative

analysis of all the religions of the world through the medium

of questions and answers. In brief, I may say that this little

book is filled with the essence of all the sastras of India, like the

ocean contained in an earthen pitcher. It is no exaggeration to

say that unless religious-minded people read this book, there will

certainly be a dearth of philosophical knowledge regarding spiritual

truth in their lives.


I invite the readers to consult the table of contents for a glimpse

of the range of important topics covered. The author has preserved

the sastra-maryada (sastric convention) by explaining the truth

in relation to the three divisions: sambandha, abhidheya and

prayojana. Spiritual topics should always be presented in this

proper order, which begins with sambandha (establishing knowledge

of one's relationship with Shri Krishna), then abhidheya (engagement

in the means to awaken love for Shri Krishna), and finally

prayojana (attainment of the goal of love for Shri Krishna). Some

inexperienced authors transgress this order, and discuss prayojanatattva

first, followed by sambandha-tattva and abhidheya-tattva. This

is completely contrary to the conclusions of the Vedas, Upanisads,

Puranas, Mahabharata, and especially Shrimad-Bhagavatam, the crestjewel

of all spiritual evidence.


In the first division of the book, there is an analysis of nityadharma,

eternal religious duties related to the very nature of the

soul, and naimittika-dharma, occasional or temporary religious

duties related to one's moral obligations in this world. In the second

division, there is a thorough description of the truths of

sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana, which is solidly based on evidence

from the sastra. In the third division, there is a penetrating

discussion of the nature of rasa.


According to Shrila Prabhupada's line of thought, one should

not enter into rasa-vicara (a consideration of the confidential,

transcendental mellows of bhakti) until he has attained higher

qualification. An unqualified sadhaka will impede his progress,

rather than helping it, if he makes an unauthorized attempt to

enter into rasa-vicara. Shrila Prabhupada has expressed this clearly

in numerous articles, such as Bhai Sahajiya (My Brother Who

Cheapens the Sanctity of Spiritual Life by Equating His Material

Instincts with Spiritual Emotions) and Prakrta-rasa-sata-dusani

(One Hundred Objections to Perverted Material Mellows). One

should therefore exercise caution in this matter.


The original Jaiva-Dharma was written in Bengali, but the book

uses Sanskrit extensively, for it contains many quotations from

sastra. In a very short time at least twelve large editions of this

book have already been published in Bengali, which shows how

popular it is. This present Hindi edition of Jaiva-Dharma has been

printed according to the system used for the most recent Bengali

edition of Jaiva-Dharma, published in a new format by the Gaudiya

Vedanta Samiti. Tridandi Svami Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta

Narayana Maharaja, the highly competent editor of the Hindi

monthly spiritual magazine 'Shri Bhagavata Patrika', took great pains

to translate this book into Hindi, and published it in the magazine

in a series of articles spanning a period of six years. At the

repeated request of many faithful readers, he has now published

these articles in book form for the benefit of the Hindi-speaking

religious populace.


In this connection, I feel compelled to note that our highly distinguished

translator's mother-tongue is Hindi, and he learned

Bengali in order to study this book. After thoroughly mastering

both the language and the subject matter, he accepted the difficulty

and substantial labor of translating it into Hindi. I am very

pleased at heart that he has expertly preserved the rigorous philosophy,

the deeply profound analysis of rasa, and the lofty and

subtle moods of the original book. The Hindi-speaking world will

remain indebted to him for this monumental work. In particular,

Shrila Prabhupada and Bhaktivinoda Thakura will definitely bestow

great mercy on him for his tireless service.


Above all, I must say that it is only because the sadhakas who

were involved in the production of this book hold me in some esteem

that my name has been used in connection with the editing

of this book. In reality, it is the translator and publisher, Tridandi

Svami Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja, who has

done all the editing work, and who is thus the object of my special

affection and blessings.


I have complete faith that by studying this book, both the faithful

public and the learned scholars of this country will gain knowledge

of the fundamental truths of sambandha, abhidheya and

prayojana, which were practiced and preached by Shri Chaitanya

Mahaprabhu. By so doing, they will become eligible to enter the

prema-dharma of Shri Shri Radha-Krishna and Shri Chaitanya

Mahaprabhu. In conclusion, I pray that the readers will bestow

profuse blessings upon us by reading this book very carefully.


Shrila Prabhupada Kinkara

Tridandi-bhiksu Shri Bhakti Prajnana Kesava

Shri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha

Mathura, U.P., 1966