Srila Jiva Goswami


Srila Jiva Goswami was the son of Sri Vallabha and nephew of Sri Sanatana and Sri Rupa, all of whom were employed in the service of Badsha Hussein Shah. Having been rewarded richly by the Badsha for their services, their household life was very opulent.

When Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to Ramakeli, Sri Jiva was blessed by having darshana of his worshipable Lord, though he was just a baby at that time. Mahaprabhu indicated that he would be a great scholar in the Gaudiya sampradaya. Though he was only a child, Sri Jiva would meditate on Sri Chaitanya constantly.

Later on, when his father and uncles renounced their family life in order to be with Mahaprabhu, the only child, Sri Jiva, was left with his mother in the family palace at Fatehbad. As he grew up, Sri Jiva took up the worship of the Deities of Sri-Sri Radha-Krishna. While studying under the local pandits he became proficient in grammar, poetry and rhetoric.

When Jiva learned that his father had passed away on the banks of the Ganga, he was completely unsettled. Family life had become the source of his utter sadness. Someone suggested that he go to Navadvipa and see Lord Nityananda, so he set out for Navadvipa with a group of pilgrims. Everyone at Navadvipa was very happy to meet the nephew of Sri Rupa and Sanatana.

Sri Jiva spent some days with Nityananda Prabhu, touring the nine islands of Navadvipa, in order to visit the holy places of the Lord’s pastimes there. Then, as ordered by Nityananda Prabhu, he set out for Kashi where he studied Vedanta under Sri Madhusudana Vachaspati, a disciple of Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya. The conclusions of Vedanta contained in Srimad-Bhagavatam that were expounded by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya in Puri had been in turn taught by the Bhattacharya to Madhusudana Vachaspati, who established a school at Kashi.

From here Sri Jiva set out for Vrindavana where he received shelter at the lotus feet of his two uncles, Sri Rupa and Sanatana. Jiva stayed with Sri Rupa, who began to teach him Srimad-Bhagavatam. After initiating him with the divine mantra, Rupa engaged him in the service of Sri Sri Radha-Damodara.  Seeing that Jiva quickly became conversant with the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sri Rupa engaged him in proofreading his Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu. Under the order of Sri Sanatana, Sri Jiva compiled a commentary named Laghu Vaishnava-tosani.

It was the beginning of a golden age at Vrindavana. Sri Jiva regularly brought water for Sri Rupa and Sanatana’s bath. He massaged their heads with oil, cleaned their ashrama, worshiped the Deity, cooked and corrected manuscripts.

There is a legend that once, when a Mogul emperor wanted to confer something on the Goswamis of Vrindavana, they requested that no living beings should be killed within Vraja. As a result of this no king would come to hunt there anymore.

Srila Jiva Goswami composed many literatures. He passed away in 1618 in Vrindavana aged 85 years.