Srila Jiva goswami appearance day and Sri Vaman Dwadashi

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All glories to the shukla dwadashi tithi in the month of Bhadrapaad which marks the holy appearance day of Srila Jiva Goswami. Srila Jiva goswami, the nephew of Srila Rupa and Srila Sanatan Goswami and the son of the great Ram-bhakta Sri Anupam, was blessed by Mahaprabhu to become a prominent acharya in the Gaudiya line, who later composed numerous literatures describing the sublime pastimes of Sri Krishna and the super-excellent process of bhakti, by placing upon jiva’s head the holy foot dust from his lotus feet. Accepting the renounced order of life, his father and uncles left home and went to perform bhajan in the association of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, leaving him and his mother in immense grief. Being the only son in the family, he was then left with the responsibility of looking after his mother, and therefore he studied wholeheartedly , thus pleasing his teachers and becoming well known as a genius at a very young age. His heart, however, was constantly engaged in remembering the lotus feet of Sri Gaurahari. After getting news of his father’s departure from the world, he was extremely sad, and no one was able to console him until he had a dream of his deities Rama-Krishna in the form of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Nityananda Prabhu, who blessed him by placing their foot-dust upon his head. Thereafter, on someone’s suggestion he went to Sri Mayapur dham, where he was blessed with the darshan and association of Sri Nityananda Prabhu, who took him around to visit all the pastime places of Gaurahari. He was also blessed with the darshan of Sachi Mata, which gave him immense bliss and somewhat cooled his separation from Sachinandana. Following the order Nityananda Prabhu, he then went to Varanasi to study the Vedanta under Sri Madhusudan Vacaspati, the disciple of Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya. After having finished his studies with the Vacaspati, who came to Sri Vrindavan Dham, where he started studying under the guidance of Sri Rupa and Sanatana and served them with great devotion. After having received initiation from Srila Rupa Goswami, he started worshiping the deities of Sri Radha Damodar, who were persinally carved by Srila Rupa goswami for his nephew and disciple Jiva. After having studied the Srimad Bhagwatam and other bhakti literatures under Srila Rupa Goswami, he started proof reading the works of Rupa and Sanatana and wrote commentaries on their books, in compliance with their instruction. After the disappearance of his uncles, he continued the service of writing and preaching the glories of Krishna bhakti. It was under him that the three great acharyas, namely Srila Narottam das thakur, Srinivas Acharya and Shyamananda Prabhu, who later preached the goswami literatures through out India, studied the shastras in Vrindavan. He has blessed the vaishnava community with many great treasures, some of which are Sat Sandarbha, Gopal Champu, Harinamamrita Vyakaran, Madhav Mahotsav and Gopal Virudavali. On the auspicious occasion of his appearance, we pray to Srila Jiva Goswami, who is Vilas Manjari in Krishna Lila, to bless us with his foot-dust, obtaining which shall ensure one to receive the rare jewel of Krishna prem.

Today also marks the holy appearance day of Vaman dev, the son of Aditi and Kashyap muni and the younger brother of Lord Indra due to which another name of his is Upendra. Seeing her sons, the demigods headed by Indra, in distress after having lost the kingdom of the heavenly planets, Aditi requested her husband to do something to reinstate Indra on the throne of heaven, to which Kashyap muni told her to perform the payovrata and please the Lord. Following the instructions of her husband, the mother of the demigods pleased the Lord with her sincere performance of the Vrata and as a result was blessed with the good fortune of having the Supreme Lord as her son. Appearing as a dwarf Brahmana, Lord Vamandev decided to cheat Bali Mahara, the king of the demons and a great devotee of the Lord, and thus give back the heavenly planets to the demigods. Desiring the welfare of the sons of Aditi and to bestow special mercy upon Bali Maharaj, Vamandev went to the sacrificial arena where Bali maharaj was performing sacrifices in order to achieve victory over the entire universe. Seeing the young dwarf Brahmana, Bali Mahraj welcomed him and, giving him due respect, asked him how he could be of service. Lord Vaman dev asked the king to grant him three steps of earth in charity. The King was surprised by the apparent meagre charity requested by the Brahmana and was about to take a vow of giving him the said charity when Shukracharya, his guru, informed him about the true identity of the Brahmana and warned him against performing the Sankalpa, the promise to give the charity. Realising that the Supreme Lord was present before him as a mendicant, Bali Maharaj considered himself very fortunate and despite the repeated warnings of Shukracharya, he performed the Sankalpa. In order to obstruct the vow, Shukracharya even entered the hole of the water pot for performing sankalpa but Bali Maharaj poked the hole with a straw and performed the Sankalpa. Due to being poked by the straw, Shukracharya lost one of his eyes, yet he was not able to stop Bali Maharaj. After the king had promised to grant three steps of Land to Vamandev, the Lord expanded unlimitedly and with two steps covered all the planetary systems in the entire universe. He then asked the King where he should put his third foot, to which Maharaj Bali humbly submitted himself and the Lord put his third step on the head of the King. Being pleased with him, the Lord asked Maharaj Bali to ask for some benediction and being a great devotee of the Lord he simply prayed for the Lord to always have his lotus foot upon his head. Thus Vamandev returned the kingdom of the heavenly planets to the demigods and, being bound by the love and devotion of Bali Maharaj, always blessed him with his darshan.

This most auspicious day of Vaman dwadashi is especially important in ISKCON Vrindavan as the presiding deity of the Temple is a Vaman dev Shaligram Shila. Although the Vaman dev shila is present during all the abhisheks performed on the various festivals like Janmashtami, Radhashtami, Gaur Purnima and so on, yet on this day, only Sri Vaman Shila is offered panchamrita abhishek amidst Kirtan and then a special offering is offered to him. We therefore pray to him today to always keep us under his shelter and engage us eternally in the service of Sri Sri Gaur Nitai, Sri Sri Krishna Balaram and Sri Sri Radha Shyamsundar in Sridham Vrindava.