Sri Sanatana, Sri Rupa and Sri Vallabha were three brothers,all employed in the service of the Badsa Hussain Shah. Amongst the three, there was only one descendent, Sri Jiva. Having been
rewarded richly by the Badsa for their sevices, their household life was very opulent. There was nothing lacking in whateverwas necessary for the upbringing of the only son. The house was
illuminated by the effulgence of the child’s golden complexion;his eyes were like the expanded petals of the lotus; every part of his body was gracedwith a lusterous, radiant splendor.
When Sri Gaurasundara came to Ramakeli, Sri Jiva was blessed by having darshana of His worshipable lord, though he was just ababy at the time. Placing the dust of His lotus feet on the child’s head, Mahaprabhu indicated him to be the future sovereign preceptor of theGaudiya sampradaya. Though he was only a child, Sri Jiva kept the formof the Lord, which fascinates all the world, within his heart. Ashe
grew up, while eating, lying down, in his dreams, while he was awake, at all times, he would meditate on that form.
Later on, when his father and uncles renounced their family lifein order to be with Mahaprabhu, the only child, Sri Jiva, was left with his mother in the family palace at Fateyabad. Lying in her lap, whichwas
wet with tears of separation, he gradually began to grow as the waxing moon. Seeing that the mother and the child’s face were always wet with tears, their friends also fell under the shadowof
sadness and only with great difficulty managed to assuage their grief. Whenever Sri Jiva would remember his father and uncles,or the lotus feet of Sri Gaura Hari, he would lose consiousnessand fall to the ground.
As he got a little older, Sri Jiva took up the worship of the Deities of Sri-Sri Rama-Krsna. He would carefully decorate Themand offer bhoga and arati, serving Them with his full attention.Even
in his play, whatever games he played were connected with Sri krsna’s pastimes.
While studying under the local panditas he became proficent in grammar, poetry and rhetoric. Noting his great intellect, his teachers commented,”Such brilliance is not often found in a child so young as this. Nodoubt he will be a very high-souled, saintly person.”
Even while engaged in his studies Jiva always thought of SriSri Nitai-Gauranga. Once he saw in a dream that Sri Rama-Krsna had taken the forms of Nitai-Gauranga and were dancing. [B.R.1.732] Giving him the dustof Their lotus feet, the Two Lords then disappeared. Having seensuch a wonderful dream, Sri Jiva was consoled somewhat. Then he beganto think, “When will I be able to crawl out of this well of family life and devote my full time and energy, my very self, toserving these two most magnanimous Lords?” But he was the only son ofthe family. Only in his company could his mother forget somewhatthe
pangs of separation in her heart. When Sri Jiva learned thathis father had given up his life on the banks of the Ganga, he was compeletelyunsettled. After that his eyes were never dry. The family members andfriends tried to console him but to little avail. Family life hadbecome the source of his utter sadness.
Someone suggested to Jiva to go to Navadwipa and bathe himselfin the coolness emanating from the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda Prabhu so that his mind and body, burning with with grief, couldbe refreshed. Thus Sri Jiva set our for Navadwipa with a group of pilgrims. [B.R.1/741]
Nityananda Prabhu, the omniscient Lord, could understand thatSri Jiva was on his way to Navadwipa. Therefore He also left forthere from Khardaha. After a few days, Jiva arrived at Navadwipa.Seeing
the beauty of that place he was charmed. Falling down on the ground, he offered his dandavats to Mother Ganges. Inquiringfrom the villagers the directions to Mayapura, he learned that Nityananda Prabhu was residing at Srivasa Pandita’s house. Atlast arriving there, he fell down at the door to offer hisdandavats. Nityananda Prabhu came out with Srivasa Pandita and picked himup and embraced him, asking, “Are you the nephew of Sri Rupa andSri Sanatana?”
As an answer, Jiva again fell down on the ground at the lotusfeet of Nityananda Prabhu. This time Nityananda Prabhu brought himin the house and began to inquire after the welfare of his familyat Fateyabad. Then Sri Jiva was introduced to the devotees presentin Navadwipa; he offered his salutations at their lotusfeet.Everyone was very happy to meet the nephew of Sri Rupa and Sanatana.That day Sri Jiva received the remnants of Nityananda prabhu’s prasadam.
The next day, the two of them came to Saci Mata’a house. Seeingthe birthplace of Sri Gaurasundara, which was filled with such splendor, Sri Jiva was greatly pacified and fell down on theground
to roll in the dust. Inthe large courtyard the devotees were singing songs praising the glories of Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Seeing NityanandaPrabhu, everyone stood up and then fell down, offering their dandavatsat His lotus feet. Then Jiva saw Saci Mata sitting on the veranda.
Dressed in white with silk chadder around her shoulders she looked radiant, the white ofher hair blending with her white sari. Though her body trembledwith old age and was very thin, still the courtyard was illuminatedby her divine effulgence. Forgetting herself in rememberance of Sri Gaursundara, she was sitting with her eyes closed. Becomingaware that Nityananda Prabhu had arrived, she covered her head withher sari and called her servant. “Isana! Srpada has arrived. Please wash His feet.”
After this was done, Nityananda offered namaskar to the motherof the Supreme Lord and took His seat. He then introduced Sri Jivato her. Saci Mata placed her hand on his head to bless him, andSri
Jiva floated in the ocean of happiness. Saci Mata thenrequested the two of them to honor the Lord’s prasada. “Take prasada hereat your mother’s house today, my child. I offered therepreparations
in secret to Sri Gaurcandra.”
Sri Jiva spent some days with Nityananda Prabhu, touring thenine islands of Navadwipa, in order to have darsana of the holyplaces of the Lord’s pastimes there. Then, as ordered by Nityananda
Prabhu, he set out for Kasi (Varanasi) . At Kasi he studied Vedanta underSri Madhusudana Vacaspati, a disciple of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya.The conclusions of Vedanta contained in Srimad-Bhagavatam that were expounded by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to Sarvabhauma Bhattacaryain Puri had been in turn taught by the Bhattacarya to Madhusudana Vacaspati, who established a toll at Kasi. From him, Sri Jiva mastered the same conclusions.
From here Sri Jiva set out for Sri Vrindavana where he received shelter at the lotus feet of his two uncles. Sri Rupa andSanatana. They were very pleased to see him and received from him all the
news. Jiva stayed with Sri Rupa, who began to teach him Srimad Bhagavatam. After initiating him with the divine mantra, Rupa engaged him in theservice of Sri Sri Radha-Damodara. According to Sadhana dipika, thisDeity of Damodara was fashioned by Rupa Gosvami’s own hand for hisdear disciple Sri Jiva. Sri Sri Radha-Damodara are presently being worshipped in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
Seeing that Jiva had quickly become conversant with theconclusion of the Srimad Bhagavatam, Sri Rupa engaged him in proof-readinghis Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. At this time Sri Jiva compiled acommentary
on Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu called Durgama sangamani. In the year 1476 (Sakabda) Sri Sanatana Gosvami compiled Sri Vaisnava tosani,a commentary on the tenth canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, which hegave to Sri Jiva for proof reading. Under the order of Sri Sanatana,Sri Jiva compiled a commentary on that named Laghu Vaisnava tosaniin the year 1500 (Sakabda). His writings, along with those of SriRupa and Sri Sanatana, Sri Gopal Bhatta, Sri Raghunatha Bhatta, Sri Raghunath das, Sri Krsna das, Sri Kasisvar Pandit, and SriMadhu Pandit, completely captivated the learned men of that time.
It was the beginning of a golden age at Sri Vraja dhama.
Sri Jiva regurlarly brought water for Sri Rupa and Sanatana’sbath. He massaged their heads with oil, cleaned their ashram, worshipthe Deity, cooked and corrected manuscripts.
After the disappearance of Sri Rupa and Sanatana, Sri Jiva continued the tradition that they had inaugerated. Once SriJiva travelled to Agra to debate with the Rajputs concerning theglories
of Jamuna and Ganga rivers. He established that the Jamuna ismore glorious than the Ganga as the Ganga emanates from Krsna’slotus feet whereas the Jamuna is His own consort. At this the Moghul
emperor was very much satisfied and wanted to present him something. Sri Jiva replied that he would accept some blankpapers. So the emperor presented Jiva some stained paper. (At that time
paper was very rare and most manuscripts were usually composedon leaves.)
There is also a legend that once, when a moghul emperor(possibly Akbar) wanted to confer something on the Goswamis ofVrindavana, they requested a farman (emperor’s order) that no living beings
would be killed within Vraja. As a result of this no king would come to hunt there anymore.
The disciple of Lokanatha Gosvami, Narottama dasa Thakura Mahasaya, Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami’s disciple SrinivasaAcarya Prabhu, and the disciple of Hrdaya Caitanya Prabhu, SriSyamananda
Prabhu, were greatly favored by Srila Jiva Goswami. Under his tutelage they studied all the literatures of the Gosvamis. Laterhe sent them to preach this knowledge in Bengal.
Srila Jiva Gosvami composed many literatures, amongst them:
Sat-sandharbha (Tattva-sandarbha,Bhagavata-sandarbha, Paramatma
sandarbha, Krsna-sandarbha, Bhakti-sandharbha, Priti-sandarbha)
Laghu-vaisnava-tosani (Tenth Canto Bhagavatamcommentary)
Sarva-sambadina (commentary on Sat-sandarbha)
Gayatri-vyakhya-vivrti (A commentary on theGayatri mantra as
described in the Agni Purana, chapters 216-217)
Birth: 1533 (Christian calendar), 1455 (Sakabdha),12th day of the
bright fortnight in the month of Bhadra.
Disappearance : 1540 (Sakabdha), 3rd day of brightfortnight,
Age: 85 years