Glorification of Srila Jiva Goswami’s service to the sampradaya.
Translated from a Bengali lecture
published in Sri Gaudiya Darsan,
Volume 2, Issue 6,
Friday, 11 December 1956.
The Day of Separation from Sri Jiva
Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj
Today is the disappearance day of Srila Jiva Goswami Prabhu—the third day of the waxing fortnight. This day draws my attention to the time Srila Prabhupad performed his Pastime of undergoing illness. We all felt that Srila Prabhupad was an avatar of Srila Jiva Goswami Prabhu because of the way he perfectly established the dignity of the sampradaya through flawless deliberation on the principles of pure devotion. Srila Prabhupad withdrew exactly one fortnight before this day, and we thought that he aimed to withdraw on the day of Sri Jiva Goswami Prabhu’s disappearance.
As there is particular gradation in the rasas between heroes and heroines in this world, so there is also gradation between the rasas of the Lord’s liberated associates: some are immersed in dasya-rasa (servitorship), some are immersed in audarya-rasa (magnaminity), and some are immersed in madhurya-rasa (sweetness). Moreover, there is also gradation between [forms of] the Lord and His associates: Krishnachandra is dhira-lalita (playful), Ramachandra is dhirodatta (noble), Yudhisthir is dhira-santa (steady), and Bhimasen is dhiroddhata (insolent). Gradation in the characteristics of Acharyas is also observed: some Acharyas are vigorous, some Acharyas are mild, and some Acharyas are stern—in various ways, they all shine.
Once, a champion scholar, while travelling with the aim of conquering all the directions, came to Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatan in Vrndavan. Although Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatan were powerfully learned and brilliant, they did not enter into debate with the scholar and instead, out of natural humility, signed letters admitting defeat. Later, this scholar heard that one of their students and relatives was, like materialistic persons, a great scholar of all the philosophical scriptures, and that if one cannot defeat him, then one has not defeated anyone of importance. The scholar then came to discuss the scriptures with Srila Jiva Goswami and said, “I have heard that your learning is widely renowned. So, please discuss the scriptures with me or, like your Gurus, sign a letter admitting defeat.”
Jiva Goswami said, “Where are these letters of defeat? Let me see them.” The scholar placed the letters in the hand of Jiva Goswami, and Jiva Goswami Prabhu immediately tore up the letters of this scholar who proudly considered that he had defeated Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatan. Srila Jiva Goswami could not tolerate anyone trying to defeat Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatan. He considered, “As it is necessary for me to remove the offence of an offender at the feet of Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatan’s supramundane glory, so it is even more necessary for me to use my learning in the proper way—by serving their profound brilliance.” Knowing that only by doing so would there be any genuine good fortune for both of them, Jiva Goswami tore up the scholar’s letters of defeat and said to him, “Being unable to understand the greatness of Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatan as a result of your misfortune, you have only cheated yourself. I am their unworthy servant. You will be able to appreciate something of how great and how high the position they hold is if you converse with me, and then you will understand the reason why I tore up these letters of defeat. Come, what need is there for delay?”
Their discussion of the scriptures began. Within a short time, the scholar’s illusion was cut away. He was defeated and desired to rectify his mistake. Sri Jiva Prabhu then said, “If I had not defeated you and glorified them, you would not have understood them. So, I have had to proceed this far. Now, if you want genuine good for yourself, quickly go to them and pray for forgiveness. Being unable to understand their liberality and greatness, you have severely disrespected them.”
What was Srila Jiva Prabhu’s conception? To illustrate it we can explain as follows. A group of dacoits approached a house. When the dacoits wanted the key to the house from the proprietor, the proprietor immediately came out and gave it to them, but when they went to the treasury, they saw that there was a guard. The dacoits said, “Open the door. Look here. The proprietor has given us the key. We will now enter the treasury.”
The guard said, “Where is the key? Let me see.” The dacoits gave him the key. The guard took the key and said, “First, defeat me. Then, enter the treasury.” Thereafter, in an intense fight, the guard defeated them all and protected his master’s honour and wealth.
Everywhere, we see in a similar way the greatness of Srila Jiva Goswami’s service to the sampradaya, and in the conduct of Srila Prabhupad, we have seen the same sort of endeavour to serve the sampradaya and his Gurus. By discussing the philosophies of nyaya, sankhya, Patanjali, and so on, Sri Jiva Prabhu endeavoured to make the world appreciate the wondrous nature of devotion to the Lord. As an Englishman should be taught in English and a Chinaman should be taught in Chinese, so he grasped the teachings of these sampradayas and endeavoured to make them understand his desired end. Still today, distinguished scholars become fascinated to see the great outcome of Sri Jiva’s expertise in all the scriptures.
The foremost aspect of Srila Jiva Goswami Prabhu’s Pastimes that naturally appears before our eyes is his protection of the proper conception of loving devotion to Sri Krishna, replete with knowledge, realisation, and detachment. He cut asunder the conceptions of those who were proud of their materialistic learning and firmly established the conception of devotion to Sri Krishna through his six sandarbhas. Furthermore, so that students would not go down the wrong path and instead follow the path of pure devotion from the start of their education, and so that they would be engaged in chanting the Names of the Lord at every moment, he wrote Sri Hari-namamrta-vyakarana and started a new era even in the world of grammar. His style and endeavours were like those of a prince. To follow and please his Gurus, he would go out and spend his days and nights at the base of a tree, yet the expression that is seen in this world of his tremendous propensity to engage in the service of Sri Sri Radha-Govinda is extremely rare. Through his conduct, the position of being a prideless, respectful, surrendered servant of the Vaisnavas has been established throughout the world in a highly revered form.
Our Sri Guru-pada-padma also, in the same way, accepted the position of a servant of the crown-jewel of paramahamsas Srila Gaura Kisor Das Babaji Maharaj, demonstrated the process of negating all other conceptions, and fully revealed throughout the world the position of being a surrendered servant of the Lord’s devotees. In the statements of Srila Babaji Maharaj, we find, “When I die, tie my feet with ropes and drag my body down the street. Why? I have not served the Lord. I am sinner, a cheat, and I should be punished.” In this and other such expressions, he reproaches himself, feeling himself to be fallen and unqualified. In the statements of Sriman Mahaprabhu, we see that He has said (Cc: Madhya, 25.183), “Katha karangiya Mora kangala bhakta-gana: My devotees are poor. They carry only a quilt and water pot.” Devotees of the Lord’s always feel, “Alas! Alas! I have not served the Lord; I have not been able to serve the Lord. Everyone is serving Krishna, but I am unable to.”
vanchito ’smi vanchito ’smi vanchito ’smi na samsayah
visvam gaura-rase magnam sparso ’pi mama nabhavat
(Sri Chaitanya-chandramrta: 46)
[“I have been cheated! I have been cheated! I have been cheated! There is no doubt. The whole world has been submerged in Sri Gaura’s love, but I have not even been touched by it.”]
“Alas! Alas! My birth has gone in vain. All the people of the world are serving the Lord; I alone have been cheated.” Day and night, Srila Raghunath Das Goswami Prabhu would drink one leaf-cup of buttermilk and simply lament, “O Radha! O Krishna!” He would reproach himself as follows (SB: 7.15.40):
atmanan ched vijaniyat param jnana-dhutasayah
kim artham kasya va hetor deham pusnati lampatah
[“When one whose desires have been purified by knowledge can understand that the self is superior to the body, then with what intention and for what reason does such a debauchee nourish the body?”]
“By mouth, you say, ‘I am spirit. I have no old age. I have no disease’, but if truly you have experience of this, then why is your identification of the body with the self so strong? For what reason do you try merely to maintain the body?” In this way, advanced devotees always mercilessly whip themselves. Sriman Madhavendra Puripad, who refrained even from the practice of begging, also reproached his desire to taste the prasad of Sri Gopinath in Remuna hundreds of times: “Alas! Only for the satisfaction of my tongue, I ventured to taste this prasad on the pretext of service to Gopal.” In the Lord’s message within the verse na paraye ’ham, we find evidence that such condemnation of their personal pleasure and endeavour to increase the pleasure of Krishna by advanced devotees deeply moves the Lord.
Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatan were embodiments of Sriman Mahaprabhu’s verse trnad api sunichena to the extent that even Mahaprabhu Himself said (Cc: Madhya, 1), “Tava dainye phate Mora hiya [“Your humility breaks My heart].” With tears in His eyes, the Lord said, “I cannot tolerate it anymore. Sanatan, check your humility.” Here, the servant has defeated the Master; giving the Lord one hundred times more than He desired, the servant has gone beyond the limit.
Again, Srila Jiva Goswami, through his conduct, unlocks the door to the second chamber [or the treasury of Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatan] and amazes everyone. He has said, “So that no one makes any offence at the supremely glorious, supramundane feet of my Gurus, and so that everyone understands the greatness of my Gurus, first of all I have had to raise my head.” Here is the foundation for the mentality of an Acharya described in Srimad Bhagavatam. Srila Jiva Goswami was fully adorned with all good qualities: boundless learning, nobility, vigour, and so on. From boyhood onwards, he lived a very long life as a brahmachari. Even if the storehouse of nectarean knowledge whose door he opened and whose contents he distributed all over the world is looted for infinite time, it will always and in ever-new ways continue to gradually increase.
Thakur Srila Bhakti Vinod has said about him (Kkt: 3.4.6),
sri-jiva gosvami kabe siddhanta-salile
nivaibena tarkanala chitta yahe jvale
[“When will Sri Jiva Goswami extinguish the fire of argument that burns in my heart with the water of his siddhanta?”]
Argument, or doubt, is a troublesome disease. It burns like fire. Instead of peace, it increases agitation. But when Sri Jiva is merciful to us, we can find peace. What we understand to be matters of argument—he has raised, rebutted, and refuted a thousands times more arguments than that in his six sandarbhas. Thus, still today, the educated society praises him as a well-spring of learning and brilliance. After perfectly serving the sampradaya with great reverence for a very long time and completely fulfilling the desires of his Gurus, Sri Jiva Prabhu purified today’s date and withdrew.
Today, on this day, we are begging specially for his mercy. He is the guardian of the door to loving devotion (raga-bhakti). May he mercifully open the door to the path of love (raga-marga) manifested by his Sri Guru-pada-padma and bless us by giving us the qualification to enter it. This is our prayer. The fatal downfall of the mundane imitationists (the prakrta sahajiya sampradaya) that ignore him is truly heartbreaking. He is the guardian of our wealth—our everything. This is our conviction.
yah sankhya-pankena kutarka-pamsuna
vivarta-gartena cha lupta-didhitim
suddham vyadhad vak-sudhaya mahesvaram
krsnam sa jivah prabhur astu me gatih
[“With his nectarean teachings, Srila Jiva Goswami Prabhu revealed the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna, whose effulgence had been hidden by the mud of calculation, the dust of fallacious logic, and the ditch of illusionism. May he be our shelter.”]
na paraye ’ham niravadya-samyujam
sva-sadhu-krtyam vibudhayusapi vah
ya mabhajan durjaya-geha-srnkhalah
samvrschya tad vah pratiyatu sadhuna
(Srimad Bhagavatam: 10.32.22)
[Krishna to the Vraja-gopis:] “Your meeting with Me is irreproachable. You have served Me, completely severing yourselves from the difficult-to-overcome bondage of family life. I cannot compensate you for this even if I obtained the lifetime of a demigod. May your virtue be your compensation.”]