In the Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā (195) it is said that Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī was formerly Vilāsa-mañjarī gopī. From his very childhood Jīva Gosvāmī was greatly fond of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. He later came to Navadvīpa to study Sanskrit, and, following in the footsteps of Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu, he circumambulated the entire Navadvīpa-dhāma. After visiting Navadvīpa-dhāma he went to Benares to study Sanskrit under Madhusūdana Vācaspati, and after finishing his studies in Benares he went to Vṛndāvana and took shelter of his uncles, Śrī Rūpa and Sanātana. This is described in the Bhakti-ratnākara. As far as our information goes, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī composed and edited at least twenty-five books. They are all very much celebrated, and they are listed as follows: (1) Hari-nāmāmṛta-vyākaraṇa, (2) Sūtra-mālikā, (3) Dhātu-saṅgraha, (4) Kṛṣṇārcā-dīpikā, (5) Gopāla-virudāvalī, (6) Rasāmṛta-śeṣa, (7) Śrī Mādhava-mahotsava, (8) Śrī Saṅkalpa-kalpavṛkṣa, (9) Bhāvārtha-sūcaka-campū, (10) Gopāla-tāpanī-ṭīkā, (11) a commentary on the Brahma-saṁhitā, (12) a commentary on the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, (13) a commentary on the Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi, (14) a commentary on the Yogasāra-stava, (15) a commentary on the Gāyatrī-mantra, as described in the Agni Purāṇa, (16) a description of the Lord’s lotus feet derived from the Padma Purāṇa, (17) a description of the lotus feet of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, (18) Gopāla-campū (in two parts) and (19-25) seven sandarbhas: the Krama-, Tattva-, Bhagavat-, Paramātma-, Kṛṣṇa-, Bhakti- and Prīti-sandarbha. After the disappearance of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Sanātana Gosvāmī in Vṛndāvana, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī became the ācārya of all the Vaiṣṇavas in Bengal, Orissa and the rest of the world, and it is he who used to guide them in their devotional service. In Vṛndāvana he established the Rādhā-Dāmodara temple, where, after retirement, we had the opportunity to live from 1962 until 1965, when we decided to come to the United States of America. When Jīva Gosvāmī was still present, Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī compiled his famous Caitanya-caritāmṛta. Later, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī inspired Śrīnivāsa Ācārya, Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura and Duḥkhī Kṛṣṇadāsa to preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness in Bengal. Jīva Gosvāmī was informed that all the manuscripts that had been collected from Vṛndāvana and sent to Bengal for preaching purposes were plundered near Viṣṇupura, in Bengal, but later he received the information that the books had been recovered. Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī awarded the designation Kavirāja to Rāmacandra Sena, a disciple of Śrīnivāsa Ācārya’s, and to Rāmacandra’s younger brother Govinda. While Jīva Gosvāmī was alive, Śrīmatī Jāhnavā-devī, the pleasure potency of Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu, went to Vṛndāvana with a few devotees. Jīva Gosvāmī was very kind to the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas, the Vaiṣṇavas from Bengal. Whoever went to Vṛndāvana he provided with a residence and prasādam. His disciple Kṛṣṇadāsa Adhikārī listed all the books of the Gosvāmīs in his diary.
The sahajiyās level three accusations against Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī. This is certainly not congenial for the execution of devotional service. The first accusation concerns a materialist who was very proud of his reputation as a great Sanskrit scholar and approached Śrī Rūpa and Sanātana to argue with them about the revealed scriptures. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Sanātana Gosvāmī, not wanting to waste their time, gave him a written statement that he had defeated them in a debate on the revealed scriptures. Taking this paper, the scholar approached Jīva Gosvāmī for a similar certificate of defeat, but Jīva Gosvāmī did not agree to give him one. On the contrary, he argued with him regarding the scriptures and defeated him. Certainly it was right for Jīva Gosvāmī to stop such a dishonest scholar from advertising that he had defeated Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Sanātana Gosvāmī, but due to their illiteracy the sahajiyā class refer to this incident to accuse Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī of deviating from the principle of humility. They do not know, however, that humility and meekness are appropriate when one’s own honor is insulted but not when Lord Viṣṇu or the ācāryas are blasphemed. In such cases one should not be humble and meek but must act. One should follow the example given by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Lord Caitanya says in His Śikṣāṣṭaka (3):
- tṛṇād api su-nīcena taror iva sahiṣṇunā
- amāninā māna-dena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
- (CC Adi 17.31)
“One can chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking himself lower than the straw in the street. One should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.” Nevertheless, when the Lord was informed that Nityānanda Prabhu was injured by Jagāi and Mādhāi, He immediately went to the spot, angry like fire, wanting to kill them. Thus Lord Caitanya has explained His verse by the example of His own behavior. One should tolerate insults against oneself, but when there is blasphemy committed against superiors such as other Vaiṣṇavas, one should be neither humble nor meek: one must take proper steps to counteract such blasphemy. This is the duty of a servant of a guru and Vaiṣṇavas. Anyone who understands the principle of eternal servitude to the guru and Vaiṣṇavas will appreciate the action of Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī in connection with the so-called scholar’s victory over his gurus, Śrīla Rūpa and Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī.
Another story fabricated to defame Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī states that when Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī showed him the newly-completed manuscript of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Jīva Gosvāmī thought it would hamper his reputation as a big scholar and therefore threw it into a well. Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī was greatly shocked, according to this story, and he died immediately. Fortunately a copy of the manuscript of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta had been kept by a person named Mukunda, and therefore later it was possible to publish the book. This story is another ignominious example of blasphemy against a guru and Vaiṣṇava. Such a story should never be accepted as authoritative.
According to another accusation, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī did not approve of the principles of the parakīya-rasa of Vraja-dhāma and therefore supported svakīya-rasa, showing that Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are eternally married. Actually, when Jīva Gosvāmī was alive, some of his followers disliked the parakīya-rasa of the gopīs. Therefore Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, for their spiritual benefit, supported svakīya-rasa, for he could understand that sahajiyās would otherwise exploit the parakīya-rasa, as they are actually doing at the present time. Unfortunately, in Vṛndāvana and Navadvīpa it has become fashionable among sahajiyās, in their debauchery, to find an unmarried sexual partner to live with to execute so-called devotional service in parakīya-rasa. Foreseeing this, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī supported svakīya-rasa, and later all the Vaiṣṇava ācāryas also approved of it. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī was never opposed to the transcendental parakīya-rasa, nor has any other Vaiṣṇava disapproved of it. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī strictly followed his predecessor gurus and Vaiṣṇavas, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Sanātana Gosvāmī, and Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī accepted him as one of his instructor gurus.