Dear devotees, dandavats! pranam! All glories to our beloved Srila Prabhupada! All glories to the auspicious appearance of Sri Jiva Goswami Mahashaya! Hare Krsna!
The most dear Sri Jiva Goswami was the Mahashaya of the many of our acharyas. He was teaching shastra to Srinivasa Acarya, Narottam das Thakur, Syamananda Pandit and Gopala Batta Goswami. He was a very dynamic vaishnava, he was writing books and teaching, organizing festivals in Vrindavan, sometimes cooking, serving prasada and he took care of the books of the Goswamis to be carried to Bengal. Below there is a description of some of his very inspiring activities in Vrindavan dham’s vaishnava community, that took place around 500 hundred years ago.
“…Then the vaishnavas were invited to sit in rows in the courtyard of Sri Jiva’s cottage. There were so many Vaishnavas! Each was effulgent, and it appeared that innumerable moons had simultaneously arisen above the horizon. All the devotees sang and offered prayers as Srinivasa Acharya offered betelnut to the Lords. Finally, Srinivasa Acaraya came out of the Deity room after putting the Lords to rest. The atmosphere in the courtyard was surcharged with ecstasy, the devotee were in a joyful mood.
When Jiva Goswami begged everyone’s permission to serve prasada, they heartily gave it. Sri Jiva first offered his obeisances to all the devotees and then personally served the prasada. The devotees were astonished to smell the wonderful aroma coming from the prasada. Aside from serving, Sri Jiva also personally supervised the serving, considering himself most fortunate. Tears of ecstasy flowed from his eyes as he gazed at the blissful devotees with love and respect.
Suddenly, Sri Jiva began to cry, feeling deep separation from Sri Rupa and Sri Sanantana Goswamis. It is impossible to describe the waves of ecstatic emotions that appeared in his heart during this festival.
When everyone had finished eating, Sri Jiva Goswami offered them spices to freshen their mouths, after which the devotees began to depart.
The Vraja devotees had no other engagement than discussing krsna katha and chanting His holy names. One day not too long after, Sri Jiva held another grand festival. After all the devotees had honored sumptuous prasada and appeared satisfied and relaxed, Sri Jiv Goswami began to speak about Srinivasa Acarya. “With great endeavor I have instructed this devotee, Srinivasa Acarya, in the confidential teachings of the sastra. May all of you please shower your mercy on him. It is certain that my Lord has empowered him, and that he has also being blessed by Sri Gopala Bhatta Goswami. From the day he took shelter of his spiritual master he began to seriously study all the Vaishnava literature. All of you came to Vrindavan and compiled many books on Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s order. Now there are many books that chalk out the path of pure devotional service to the Lord.
Lord Caitanya wanted these books to be widely distributed in Bengal, because Bengal is dear to Him and there are innumerable vaishnavas residing there. If these books are distributed in Bengali, the Bengali vaisnavas will be able to relish them and propagate their message. Considering this, please help fulfill Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission.
When the devotees heard Sri Jiva’s appeal, they agreed to do the needful without hesitation, pledging to cooperate in every way possible. Sri Jiva then proposed, “If you so desire, then we can entrust the responsibility of carrying the Vaishnava books to Srinivasa Acarya. He is the most qualified. We can send Narottama das Thakur to accompany and assist him on his journey. Narottama das Thakur is a capable and exalted Vaishnava, for he has been blessed by Lokanatha Goswami. if all of you agree, then we will send a cart full of books to Bengal with Srinivasa Acarya and Narottama das Thakura.”
The assembled Vaishnavas readily consented an gave heartfelt blessing to both Srinivasa and Narottama, who offered their obeisances to their spiritual masters. With folded hands they said “O masters, we wish to remain in Vrndavana so that we may serve you eternally. That is our only goal of life. Still, we know that to distribute the Goswami’s teachings and to share Sri Sri Radha Krsna’s pastimes with the Bengali Vaishnavas, we have to leave Vrindavana. We accept this task as our duty, so we do not mind it. To spread Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s teachings is the best form of service and the supreme religious principle. Therefore please order us and bless us so that we may execute this duty without obstacles.”
ei chay gosair kori carana vandan
jaha hoite bighna-nas abhishta-puran
I offer my obeisances to the feet of these six Gosvamis. By bowing to them, all obstacles to devotion are destroyed and all spiritual desires are fulfilled.
ei chay gosai jar—mui tar das
ta-sabara pada-renu mora panca-gras
I am the servant of that person who is a servant of these six Gosvamis. The dust of their lotus feet is my five kinds of foodstuffs.
Srila Narottama das Thakur
Nama Sankirtana verses 5 and 6
Picture 1: Srila Jiva Goswami’s samadhi in Vrindavan, Radha Damodara mandir
Picture 2: Srila Jiva Goswami’s japa beads