Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj glorifies Śrīla Jīva Goswāmī’s service to the sampradāya.
Translated from a Bengali lecture
published in Śrī Gauḍīya Darśan,
Volume 2, Issue 6,
Friday, 11 December 1956.
The Day of Separation from Śrī Jīva
Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj
Today is the disappearance day of Śrīla Jīva Goswāmī Prabhu—the third day of the waxing fortnight. This day draws my attention to the time Śrīla Prabhupād performed his Pastime of undergoing illness. We all felt that Śrīla Prabhupād was an avatār of Śrīla Jīva Goswāmī Prabhu because of the way he perfectly established the dignity of the sampradāya through flawless deliberation on the principles of pure devotion. Śrīla Prabhupād withdrew exactly one fortnight before this day, and we thought that he aimed to withdraw on the day of Śrī Jīva Goswāmī 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 dāsya-rasa (servitorship), some are immersed in audārya-rasa (magnaminity), and some are immersed in mādhurya-rasa (sweetness). Moreover, there is also gradation between [forms of] the Lord and His associates: Kṛṣṇachandra is dhīra-lalita (playful), Rāmachandra is dhīrodātta (noble), Yudhiṣṭhir is dhīra-śānta (steady), and Bhīmasen is dhīroddhata (insolent). Gradation in the characteristics of Āchāryas is also observed: some Āchāryas are vigorous, some Āchāryas are mild, and some Āchāryas are stern—in various ways, they all shine.
Once, a champion scholar, while travelling with the aim of conquering all the directions, came to Śrī Rūpa and Śrī Sanātan in Vṛndāvan. Although Śrī Rūpa and Śrī Sanātan 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, like persons who are averse to the soul, was 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 Śrīla Jīva Goswāmī 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.”
Jīva Goswāmī said, “Where are these letters of defeat? Let me see them.” The scholar placed the letters in the hand of Jīva Goswāmī, and Jīva Goswāmī Prabhu immediately tore up the letters of this scholar who proudly considered that he had defeated Śrī Rūpa and Śrī Sanātan. Śrīla Jīva Goswāmī could not tolerate anyone trying to defeat Śrī Rūpa and Śrī Sanātan. He considered, “As it is necessary for me to remove the offence of an offender at the feet of Śrī Rūpa and Śrī Sanātan’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, Jīva Goswāmī tore up the scholar’s letters of defeat and said to him, “Being unable to understand the greatness of Śrī Rūpa and Śrī Sanātan 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. Śrī Jīva 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 Śrīla Jīva 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 Śrīla Jīva Goswāmī’s service to the sampradāya, and in the conduct of Śrīla Prabhupād, we have seen the same sort of endeavour to serve the sampradāya and his Gurus. By discussing the philosophies of nyāya, sāṅkhyā, Pātañjali, and so on, Śrī Jīva 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 sampradāyas and endeavoured to make them understand his desired end. Still today, distinguished scholars become fascinated to see the great outcome of Śrī Jīva’s expertise in all the scriptures.
The foremost aspect of Śrīla Jīva Goswāmī Prabhu’s Pastimes that naturally appears before our eyes is his protection of the proper conception of loving devotion to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, 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 Śrī Kṛṣṇa 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 Śrī Hari-nāmāmṛta-vyākaraṇa 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 Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Govinda is extremely rare. Through his conduct, the position of being a prideless, respectful, surrendered servant of the Vaiṣṇavas has been established throughout the world in a highly revered form.
Our Śrī Guru Pāda-padma also, in the same way, accepted the position of a servant of the crown-jewel of paramahaṁsas Śrīla Gaura Kiśor Dās Bābājī Mahārāj, 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 Śrīla Bābājī Mahārāj, 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 Śrīman Mahāprabhu, we see that He has said (Cc: Madhya, 25.183), “Kā̐thā karaṅgiyā Mora kāṅgāla bhakta-gaṇa: 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 Kṛṣṇa, but I am unable to.”
vañchito ’smi vañchito ’smi vañchito ’smi na saṁśayaḥ
viśvaṁ gaura-rase magnaṁ sparśo ’pi mama nābhavat
(Śrī Chaitanya-chandrāmṛta: 46)
[“I have been cheated! I have been cheated! I have been cheated! There is no doubt. The whole world has been submerged in Śrī Gaura’s love, but I have not even been touched 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, Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī Prabhu would drink one leaf-cup of buttermilk and simply lament, “O Rādhā! O Kṛṣṇa!” He would reproach himself as follows (SB: 7.15.40):
ātmānañ ched vijānīyāt paraṁ jñāna-dhutāśayaḥ
kim arthaṁ kasya vā hetor dehaṁ puṣṇāti lampaṭaḥ
[“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. Śrīman Mādhavendra Purīpād, who refrained even from the practice of begging, also reproached his desire to taste the prasād of Śrī Gopīnāth in Remuna hundreds of times: “Alas! Only for the satisfaction of my tongue, I ventured to taste this prasād on the pretext of service to Gopāl.” In the Lord’s message within the verse na pāraye ’haṁ, we find evidence that such condemnation of their personal pleasure and endeavour to increase the pleasure of Kṛṣṇa by advanced devotees deeply moves the Lord.
Śrī Rūpa and Śrī Sanātan were embodiments of Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s verse tṛṇād api sunīchena to the extent that even Mahāprabhu Himself said (Cc: Madhya, 1), “Tava dainye phāṭe Mora hiyā [“Your humility breaks My heart].” With tears in His eyes, the Lord said, “I cannot tolerate it anymore. Sanātan, 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, Śrīla Jīva Goswāmī, through his conduct, unlocks the door to the second chamber [to the treasury of Śrī Rūpa and Śrī Sanātan] 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 Āchārya described in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. Śrīla Jīva Goswāmī 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 brahmācharī. 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.
Ṭhākur Śrīla Bhakti Vinod has said about him (Kkt: 3.4.6),
śrī-jīva gosvāmī kabe siddhānta-salile
nivāibena tarkānala chitta yāhe jvale
[“When will Śrī Jīva Goswāmī extinguish the fire of argument that burns in my heart with the water of his siddhānta?”]
Argument, or doubt, is a troublesome disease. It burns like fire. Instead of peace, it increases agitation. But when Śrī Jīva 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 sampradāya with great reverence for a very long time and completely fulfilling the desires of his Gurus, Śrī Jīva 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 (rāga-bhakti). May he mercifully open the door to the path of love (rāga-marga) manifested by his Śrī Guru Pāda-padma and bless us by giving us the qualification to enter it. This is our prayer. The fatal downfall of the mundane imitationists (the prākṛta sahajiyā sampradāya) that ignore him is truly heartbreaking. He is the guardian of our wealth—our everything. This is our conviction.
yaḥ sāṅkhya-paṅkena kutarka-pāṁśunā
vivarta-gartena cha lupta-dīdhitim
śuddhaṁ vyadhād vāk-sudhayā maheśvaraṁ
kṛṣṇaṁ sa jīvaḥ prabhur astu me gatiḥ
[“With his nectarean teachings, Śrīla Jīva Goswāmī Prabhu revealed the Supreme Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, 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 pāraye ’haṁ niravadya-saṁyujāṁ
sva‑sādhu-kṛtyaṁ vibudhāyuṣāpi vaḥ
yā mābhajan durjaya-geha‑śṛṅkhalāḥ
saṁvṛśchya tad vaḥ pratiyātu sādhunā
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 10.32.22)
“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.”