Srila Jiva Goswami was born in Ramkeli on the 12th day of the bright fortnight in the month of Bhadra. Goswami means- Go senses, and swami means master, and it means the master of the senses. There is another word, ‘Go Das, ‘ which means the slave of the senses. Srila Jiva Goswami is considered to be the oldest scholar in our Gaudhariya Sampradaya.
Childhood PastTime Of Jiva Goswami
When Caitanya Mahaprabhu reached Ramkeli in 1514, Srila Jiva Goswami saw Caitanya Mahaprabhu for the first time there. Srila Jiva Goswami was the son of Anupam, the younger brother of Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Sanatana Goswami. From childhood, Srila Jiva Goswami’s inclination was very much towards devotion and service. His detachment was very natural. When children used to play with dolls, Srila Jiva Goswami worshipped the deities of Krishna and Balram. He used to offer them (bhog) food before anyone else and used to give them baths. It is said that there was not even a single second when he did not think about them.
When Srila Jiva Goswami was only 16 years old, he desired to go to Vrindavan. But before that, he went to Mayapur, Navadvip, to attain the principles. When he reached Shrivas Thakur’s house, Nityanand Prabhu was also there. Nityananda Prabhu told Srila Jiva Goswami that he had come here to give him his blessings.
After this, Nityananda Prabhu took Srila Jiva Goswami on Navadvipa Mandala Parikrama. This was their first circumambulation. Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur describes this circumambulation in his book – Navadvipa Dham Mahatya Parikrama Khanda.
Special Gift By Srila Rupa Goswami
Most people are knowledgeable, but they lack politeness. On the other hand, most people who are good at social interaction lack knowledge. But Srila Jiva Gosvām had a lot of knowledge and was also very Humble. He had no arrogance about his knowledge. He was always ready for any service. When Rupa Goswami met Srila Jiva Goswami, he made a magnificent statue of Damodar Ji with his hand and gave that as a gift to Jiva Goswami. Srila Jiva Goswami had a very loving relationship with Damodarji, his deities. When he used to offer them bhog, Damodar Ji himself used to sit there and eat it. One time when emotions overpowered Srila Jiva Goswami, he started shouting Sri Krishna Chaitanya loudly. The same day when he slept at night, Sri Krishna Balram appeared in his dream. Tears started flowing from Srila Jiva Goswami’s eyes after seeing them, and Krishna Balram turned into the form of Gaur Nitai. After that, Gaura Nitai places his feet on Srila Jiva Goswami’s head, and Srila Jiva Goswami washes his feet with his tears.
When Srila Rupa Goswami and Srila Sanatan Goswami Ji disappeared, Srila Jiva Goswami Ji was made the head there. He is known for his qualities, and he is the leading conformity of Gaudiya Vaishnavism.
Books Written By Srila Jiva Goswami
Nityananda Prabhu ordered Srila Jiva Goswami to go to Vrindavan and help Srila Rupa Goswami in writing books. Srila Jiva Goswami is said to have written about four lack verses. He has written more than 25 books.
He writes some Books –
1) Sri Tattva – sandarbha
2) Gopala champu
3) Sri hari namamrit vyakranvimarsh
4) Krishna Sandarbha
5) Priti Sandarbha
6) Sri Brahma Samhita
7) Gopal Tapani Upnishad
Srila Jiva Goswami formed the book distribution team with the help of these three devotees – Narottam Das Thakur, Shyamanand Pandit, and Srinivas Acharya.
Srila Jiva Goswami prepared a bullock cart to carry the books and also sent some people along to help these three people. So this book distribution is our family business. Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Prabhupada Thakura laid great emphasis on book distribution, and Srila Prabhupada also laid great emphasis on book distribution. We devotees should also do book distribution as well as read the books of Srila Prabhupada. And this mission of compassion which Srila Jiva Goswami started, should also be adopted by us. We get many lessons from Srila Jiva Gosvami, especially – how we should respect Vaishnavas, follow the Guru’s orders, and always adopt the spirit of politeness as much as we wish to progress.
Srila Jiva Goswami’s Samadhi is in Radha Damodar temple.
Srila Jiva Goswami is Vilas Manjari in Radha Krishna Pastime.
We should pray to Srila Jiva Goswami that we too can follow good conduct very well, respect Vaishnavas, and follow the orders of the Guru.
Srila Jiva Goswami Ki Jai
Sri Sri Rukmani dwarkadhish Ki Jai
Shobha Radhika Devi Dasi
(ISKCON-Dwarka New Delhi)