Published On: Sat, Dec 28th, 2019

Jiva Goswami: Biography and Writings

by Jagadananda Das

1. Jiva’s life: sources

Though Jiva Goswami was a prolific writer and his position as a leader of the Gaudiya Vaishnavas in the late 16th century is well-documented, there is little told about him that goes beyond either hagiography on the one hand or bare fact on the other. Jiva himself is the source of information about his family genealogy in his précis of Sanatan’s Vaishnava-toshani (See fig. 1.1). (1) This series of verses has also been quoted by Narahari Chakravarti in Bhakti-ratnakara (BRK) (2) and discussed by, amongst others, S. K. De(3), Naresh Jana(4) and, more recently, Neal Delmonico. (5) Figure 1.1 indicates the salient features of this family tree, including some data found in a MS brought to light by Sukumar Sen that apparently accounts for the existence of a lineage claiming descent from Jiva. (6)

Some other documents have come to light fairly recently as a result of researches conducted into various papers found in the library of Jiva’s last home, the Radha Damodar temple in Vrindavan. These papers are currently held in the Vrindavan Research Institute (VRI). They consist primarily of land-deed transfers and the like, though of particularly great value is Jiva’s own last testament, written in his own hand in 1606 and witnessed on his deathbed in December of 1608. (7)

Another document named >mahAprabhv-Adi-prAkATya-saMvatsarANi (MPS), also preserved at the VRI, originally coming from the Radha-vallabha temple, contains the dates of some important events in the lives of several of Chaitanya’s associates, including Jiva Goswami. This document apparently lies closer to the origins of a fairly widespread tradition, for a large number of similar documents giving the same dates are in existence. Though these dates appear to be reliable in certain areas, they also seem to consistently place too late the birth dates of the persons named. (8)

The various Vaishnava chronicles, i.e. BRK, Prema-vilasa, Karnananda, etc. were written primarily as accounts of the lives of the third generation of Chaitanyaite Vaishnavas, Srinivasa, Narottam and Shyamananda. Jiva Goswami, the tutor of these three influential personalities, is mentioned peripherally in these narratives. Nearly all of these chronicles have been proved unreliable to one degree or another. Of them all, only Narahari’s BRK, written in the mid- or late eighteenth century, purports to give a biography of Jiva, albeit a limited one. In addition, Narahari has transcribed a number of extremely useful documents in his work, including a list of Jiva’s books made by his successor Krishna Das Adhikari(9) as well as four letters written by Jiva to his students in Bengal. (10) Two of these letters are also found in Karnananda, a work ascribed to Yadunandana which is probably a century or more earlier than Narahari’s work. (11) Chaitanya Charitamrita (CC), written by Jiva’s contemporary and a signatory of his testament, Krishna Das Kaviraj, is historically more reliable but contains only little information directly relevant to Jiva. This, no doubt, is the result of Jiva’s playing no direct role in the life of Chaitanya.

1.1 Jiva’s family, birth and early life

Jiva’s father, mentioned by him in GC 1.1.2, was named Vallabha. Krishna Das Kaviraj tells us that he had two names: Anupam Mallika, who was [referred to by the name] Sri Vallabha, was the younger brother of Rupa Goswami and a great Vaishnava. (12)

Though Krishna Das makes no specific mention of it, it would appear that just as Chaitanya had given Anupam Mallika’s two elder brothers the names Rupa and Sanatan, he had given him the name Vallabha. BRK seems to feel that Chaitanya bestowed the name Anupam on Jiva’s father. (13) However, wherever Jiva himself had occasion to mention his father’s name, either in books or in legal documents, he used Vallabha. Since he nowhere mentions Rupa or Sanatan according to the names by which they were known prior to their “baptism”, it would seem rather more likely that the name Vallabha was given his father by Chaitanya. Krishna Das also reports that Sanatan was previously known as Sakar Mallik(14); evidently Mallik was the family title being used at that time. It is not likely that Jiva’s father would have used a name given him by Chaitanya with his family name or wordly title. In the legal documents, Jiva constantly refers to himself as the son of Vallabha Gosai (Goswami), just as Rupa and Sanatan and he himself were known.

From both CC and GC, we know that Jiva’s father was a devotee of Rama. (15) Like his brothers, he is said to have held a position in the court of Hussain Shah. Jiva himself testifies to the three brothers “becoming indifferent to governmental responsibility.” (16) Jadunath Sarkar(17) states that Anupam Mallika was the director of the Gauda government mint, but does not indicate what historical sources have led him to make such an assertion. (18)

Two dates are given for Jiva’s birth. The first of these, VS 1580 (AD 1523-4), is preserved in the tradition represented by MPS. The alternative is based on the inference that Vallabha died in 1516, which would make the beginning of 1517 the latest possible date for Jiva’s birth. (19) Since the name Vallabha given by Chaitanya appears to signify renunciation of marital life (as it did for Rupa and Sanatan), then it is unlikely that Jiva was conceived after 1515 when his father left home with Rupa to meet Chaitanya at Prayag.

MPS tells us that Jiva spent 24 years in householder life after which he came to live in Braj (i.e. AD 1547-8). We know that Jiva was present in Braj on the Sept. 18, 1546 (21 Rajab, AH 953) when he assisted Raghunath Das in making the purchase of some land at Arith (Radha Kund). (20) The MPS date is thus suspect. (21)

The suggestion that Jiva was born much earlier than 1516(22) and was already a child of several years at the time of Chaitanya’s visit to Ramkeli in 1513 can be shown to have no foundation. This opinion, based on the evidence of BRK (1.638), is flatly contradicted in the same book only a few pages later (1.713), where any vision of Chaitanya had by the young Jiva is said to have taken place in a dream. (23)

According to BRK, Jiva was brought up by his widowed mother in Chandradwip, the home made by his great-grandfather, Kumar. Sukumar Sen’s document indicates that the fatherless family resided in Kumar Hatta.(24) According to this document, Jiva’s original name was Gopal. He also had a brother who Sukumar Sen says (without giving his authority) was named Rajendra(25), even though the document is illegible at this point. Jiva apparently left home on his wedding day. According to CC(26), he took Nityananda’s blessing before leaving for Braj. BRK(27) states that this meeting took place in Nabadwip when Jiva had gone there to study, and that Chaitanya’s associate Srivasa was also present. If Jiva had been living in Kumar Hatta, then he was a close neighbour of both these personalities and it seems rather more likely that he would have met them in their own homes.

On his way to Braj, Jiva stopped at Benares, where he studied Vedanta and Nyaya with Madhusudan Vachaspati (BRK 1.775-7). De confidently asserts that Jiva’s teacher can be identified as the author of a number of works on smriti, vedanta and grammar. (28) Jana is more reserved about such an identification. (29) Sundarananda states, on unknown authority, that this Madhusudan was the disciple of the well-known convert to Chaitanyaism, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya. (30) Though Jiva evidently showed the marks of having received thorough training in grammar and vedanta, he has nowhere mentioned the name of any teacher.

1.2 Jiva’s activities in Braj

The MPS tradition says that Jiva came to Braj after 24 years of household life. According to BRK, (31) he assisted Rupa in editing the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (dated complete in Shaka 1463, AD 1541-2) not long after his arrival in Braj. At this time he is said to have engaged in debate with Vallabhacharya or Vallabha Bhatta, the founder of the sect that takes his name. This story, found in BRK, though a typically unreliable piece of sectarian hagiography, is taken seriously by most people in the school. Vallabhacharya (d.1531) would have been long since dead by 1541 when Jiva is estimated to have first set foot in Braj.

According to Narahari’s narrative, Jiva was irritated by Vallabha Bhatta’s criticism of a certain verse of Rupa’s BRS and defended his uncle’s work with a certain amount of hubris. Rupa chastised his nephew, saying that such arrogance did not befit life in Braj, and banished him from his company. Jiva went to reside at Nanda Ghat, drinking only milk and eating dust in penance until Sanatan came to intervene on his behalf to Rupa. A guphA or cave is still shown to visitors to Nanda Ghat as being the site of Jiva’s penance. A tradition recorded by Entwistle says that Jiva started work on Bhagavata-sandarbha at this time(32), but it is not likely that he could have begun such an exhaustive commentary on Vaishnava dogma so soon after coming into contact with his uncles and teachers. KrishnaS owes much to Sanatan’s VT, which is dated as complete in 1555. (33) Jiva’s first dated work, Madhava-mahotsava, was also completed in that year, but by 1561, Devakinandan Das had noted his reputation as a scholar in the Vaishnava-vandana(34) It seems rather more likely that the Bhagavata-sandarbha was completed in between these dates.

Not long after Jiva’s arrival in Braj, he started engaging in land transactions, making several in association with Raghunath Das at Arith. In 1558 he bought land for the Radha Damodar temple from a certain Alisha ChaudhurI. It is said in Sadhana-dipika that the image of Radha Damodar was carved by Rupa(35), while MPS tells us that the deity’s footprints were first seen in a dream in 1519 and that it was consecrated

by Sanatan on Tues. Jan. 24, 1553. Later, this temple was to contain the library of the Goswamis Rupa and Sanatan, who bequeathed their collections to Jiva. In the remnants of the library now in the collection of the VRI, Jiva’s last will and testament and a copy thereof written sometime later, as well as MSS. with Rupa’s signature, etc., have been found.

Jiva’s last will and testament (original)

Radha Damodar’s first priest is named in MPS as Gopal Das. In the concluding verses to Hari-namamrita-vyakarana (HNV), Jiva prays that his friendship with Gopal Das should continue on earth and in heaven. (36) Radhakrishna Goswami, in his Sadhana-dipika, in the course of refuting the svakIyA-vAda, says that Jiva wrote his arguments in support of that doctrine at the behest of a certain Gopal Das, though he deliberately (and perhaps disparagingly) stresses that this person was a vaishya. (37) Radhakrishna cites the verse from HNV in support of this contention. Though numerous contemporary Gopal Das’s can be named, there is no record of any vaishya named Gopal Das who knew Jiva, whereas a pujari of that name at the Radha Damodar temple seems to be the most logical contender for a deep friendship with the temple’s chief resident.

Jiva appears to have been greatly concerned that the properties that had been accumulated by him and his uncles should remain under the stewardship of the Gaudiya Vaishnavas. In the VRI collection, there is an important farman dated AH 976 (AD 1568) issued by the emperor Akbar. (38) In this document, Akbar gives official recognition to the custodians of the Govinda Deva and Madana Mohan temples in response to a petition from Raja Todar Mall on behalf of Jiva Goswami (stating that he was “a poor, worshipful man”) in whose care the temples had been left. This date would appear to confirm Rupa Goswami’s death in that year. Rupa Goswami’s samadhi is maintained at the Radha Damodar temple.

The numerous other transactions recorded in land deeds found in the Radha Damodar temple library include properties in Vrindavan acquired 1572 and 1601 and in the Radha Kund area between 1577-9. In 1584, Raghunath Das bequeathed his worldly possessions to Jiva with the following words: “…dictating the document to Kaviraj on my deathbed, I, the blind and lowly Raghunath Das, zealous for the service of Sri Radha Kund, do hereby place the whole of my property at the lotus feet of the deity worshiped by Jiva”, i.e. to the Radha Damodar temple. (39) This bequest apparently consisted of six plots of land and is recorded in another document of AH 996 (AD 1588). Raghunath Das had previously shown his respect and affection for Jiva, his junior by some 17 years, by expressing the desire to die in his presence. (40)

A later statement by a certain Gopiramana (ca. 1723) states that Jiva was proprietor of twelve retreats (kunjas) in Vrindavan, including one in which Shyamananda lived, constantly attending on Jiva. This is evidently the Shyamasundar temple, which lies not far from Radha Damodar.(41)

1.3 Jiva and his students

Though Jiva Goswami never left Braj, he influenced the development of Vaishnavism in Bengal through his numerous students. Chief amongst these were Srinivas Acharya, Narottam Das and Shyamananda, all of whom appeared in Braj in the early part of the 1570’s. Srinivas was the first to come to Braj from Bengal, originally intending to study under Rupa Goswami, but arriving too late. He thus sought out Jiva Goswami (BRK 4.264) who made arrangements for him to stay in Vrindavan, first at Radha Damodar (4.278). Jiva introduced Srinivas to Gopal Bhatta who eventually initiated him (4.374ff). Both Prema-vilasa and BRK clearly state that Srinivas was given a thorough education by Jiva himself and was awarded the title of acharya by him.(42) Narottam Das arrived in Braj soon afterwards and also became Jiva’s student, while taking initiation from Lokanath Goswami. Jiva also conferred the title ThAkura mahAzaya on Narottam for his scholarship.(43)

Shyamananda was an Orissan who came to Braj expressly to study with Jiva. His original name was Dukhi Krishna Das, but Jiva gave him the name (or title) of Shyamananda by which he was later widely known. This seems to have been the result of a mystical experience rather than of any particular scholarship. Jiva at the same time also seems to have given approval to Shyamananda’s use of a different sectarian marking (tilak). Both of these actions are said to have incurred the wrath of Shyamananda’s spiritual master Hridaya Chaitanya who himself went to Vrindavan to settle the matter, eventually accepting Jiva’s authority. The problem was resolved when Hridaya Chaitanya realized that Shyamananda had the nature of a devotee in the madhura or erotic sentiment and not in his own sakhya (friendly) mood and that Jiva had not usurped his position as Shyamananda’s spiritual master. (44) Jiva himself does not appear to have given diksha to anyone.

When these three had completed their education, Jiva and other leaders of the Braj contingent of Gaudiya Vaishnavas decided to invest them with the responsibility of carrying copies of some of Rupa and Sanatan’s most important writings to Bengal. Jiva arranged for a cart with oxen and driver, several guards and a guide to accompany his three students with the books. Exactly which titles accompanied this trio is nowhere stated. It is evident from Jiva’s letters (see below, 2.1 LINK TO BE ADDED) that a number of significant works by Rupa and Sanatan were not sent on this first journey. The date of this event, important in that it marks the beginning of the Vrindavan school’s influence over the diverse theologies developing in post- Chaitanya Bengal, can be estimated at ca.1575.

BRK informs us that Srinivas, his disciple Ramachandra Kaviraj (who, along with his brother Govinda, both received their titles in Vrindavan), as well as Shyamananda, went back to Vrindavan after Narahari Sarkar’s death (1582). Upon hearing of their conversion, Jiva gave names Chaitanya Das and Gopal Das by proxy to Srinivas’s disciples, Bir Hambir, the king of Vishnupur, and his son. (45) Narahari pointedly mentions that Jiva had by this time (ca.1585) started his Gopala-champu and that he read to Srinivas from it. (46) Ramakanta Chakravarty suggests that Srinivas reported to Jiva the strength of the parakIyA concept in Bengal, and that Jiva Goswami advised him to counteract it by preaching the svakIyA doctrine elucidated in GC. (47)

Srinivas, Ramachandra Kaviraj and Shyamananda returned to Bengal with a program of action which was possibly chalked out for them by Jiva himself.

Ramakanta Chakravarty speculates that the strategy of holding festivals with a view to disseminating the Vrindavan theology may also have been fixed by Jiva Goswami during Srinivas’s second sojourn in the dhama. This led to the legendary Kheturi festival at the home of Narottam Das, at which so many of the still-living associates of Chaitanya were assembled and where Nityananda’s widow Jahnava presided. (48)

Jiva Goswami continued to maintain close connections with his Bengali followers through couriers. He evidently had a strong hold on both the emerging and the established leaders of the post-Chaitanya Vaishnava movement in Bengal, as is evident through the numerous visits made by not only the above-mentioned trio and their disciples, but by other important figures. Most prominent amongst these was, no doubt, Jahnava Devi, who went to Vrindavan with a large group of disciples at least twice. On both occasions, though treated with great deference by Jiva, she received instructions from him. (49) The first of her pilgrimages is likely to have taken place in the late 1580’s. Her son Virabhadra and uncle Gauri Das Pandit also made trips to Vrindavan where they heard scripture from Jiva.

About this phase of Jiva’s career, Ramakanta Chakravarty writes: Jiva Goswami wrote letters containing advice, instructions, and theological explanations to Srinivas Acharya, Ramachandra Kaviraj, Bir Hambir. It is safe to assume that he wrote similar letters to Narottam Datta and Shyamananda. Undoubtedly, the aim of Jiva Goswami was to put an end to heterodoxy in the Vaishnava movement in Bengal by placing over it the unifying mantle of the Vrindavan dogma. The leaders of Bengal Vaishnavism were, no doubt, eager to unify the sub-sects. The only creed which might be partly acceptable to all groups in Bengal was the creed of the Vrindavan goswamis in which the servile mood and the filial mood were properly recognized as steps towards the crescendo of madhura rasa.(50) Or, as S. K. De says, “Jiva became the highest court of appeal in doctrinal matters so long as he lived.” (51)

1.4 Jiva’s death

Even towards the end of his life, Jiva was active both in expanding the property ownership of the Gaudiya church in Vrindavan as well as writing books. His last work appears to be Sankalpa-kalpa-druma, which was written by him in his old age (vRndAvane jaran jIvaH…, 1.4) and which shows his continuing concern with the svakIyA-vAda. He died in the month of Paush, zukla-tRtIyA, VS 1665, i.e., Thursday, Dec. 29, 1608, at the age of 92. This date is found on both the document of Jiva’s last will and testament, the full edition of which had been written two years earlier, and confirmed in MPS. Jiva left all his property to Vilasa Das, saying that he was “a holy man entirely bent on the supreme truth,” and that “the most virtuous Brahmin Krishna Das, son of Sri Bharatacharya” should succeed him. This indeed is what took place.

Jiva’s first testamentary document is dated Margasirsha kRSNa 2, 1663 (AD 1606). In it, Jiva states that its contents were to be confirmed by him on his deathbed. The deathbed declaration is given on the reverse side of the same document, and is signed by a number of the important Vaishnavas of the time, including Krishna Das Kaviraj, Gadadhar Bhatta, Haridas (who became the pre-eminent figure amongst the Vrindavan Gaudiyas after Jiva’s death), etc. Jiva’s samadhi is kept in the grounds of the Radha Damodar temple, near that of Rupa.

2. Jiva’s writings

2.1 Jiva’s letters to Bengal

From Jiva’s letters found in BRK and referred to above, we learn not only about approximately when many of the works ascribed to him were written, but also something about his work methods. It is evident from them that he revised his own writings continuously before releasing them for study by the Bengali devotees. In the first of these letters, probably written, as are the others, in the last decade of the century, Jiva tells Srinivas Acharya that he is still engaged in the proofreading (zodhanAni) of several titles, Rasamrita-sindhu, Madhava-mahotsava, Uttara-champu and Hari-nAmAmRta (HNV), and hesitates to send them because of this as well as the rains. Since the second of the titles listed was dated as complete in 1555, it could not possibly be a reference to the revising of a first draft. Indeed, the two MSS which went into Puridas’ critical edition of Madhava-mahotsava show vastly differing readings throughout, supporting the conjecture that that Jiva made considerable changes. A brief discussion of the case of MadhM is given below. It would appear that extensive additions and revisions were made of Krishna-sandarbha as well, though specific mention of this work is not expressly made in any of these letters. (52)

The Rasamrita-sindhu mentioned in letter #1 can only be Rupa Goswami’s classic, BRS, though Jana feels that this is a reference to Bhakti-rasamrita-sesha (BRSeS) for he cannot accept that Jiva would have had the audacity to make adjustments to the works of his gurus. If, however, we accept the truth of BRK’s story recounted above (1.2 LINK), Jiva participated with Rupa in the original redaction of the book in 1541. From another letter (#4; BRK, 633), it also appears that Jiva had withheld Sanatan’s Brihad-Bhagavatamrita until the 1590’s before sending it to the devotees in Bengal. Letter #2 also mentions Vaishnava-toshani, Sanatan’s commentary on BhP’s tenth book. This too may refer to a work by Jiva, his abridgement of that work, SaMkSepaVT or LaghuVT, completed in 1582. Nevertheless, it seems that the conclusion can be drawn that Jiva took the responsibility for editing the books of his uncles before sending them on to Bengal for general distribution. It is something of a surprise that these three books, all major works of Jiva’s uncles, were not included on the first trip of his students, a trip which has achieved a mythical importance in the Gaudiya Vaishnava chronicles.

In the same letter (#2, para. 3, 632), addressed to Srinivas Acharya, Jiva uses two verbs, /zudh and vi/car to indicate different stages of the editing process: samprati zodhayitvA vicArya ca vaiSNava-toSaNI-durgama-saGgaminI-zrI-gopAla-campU-pustakAni tatrAmIbhir nIyamAnAni. This would appear to mean that Jiva had finally sent these three completed works to Bengal with a certain Shyama Das Acharya, after making a thorough revision. In the following paragraph of that same letter (#2, para. 4), Jiva further states that he has already sent Hari-namamrita-vyakarana. Other books still remain and though he has completed the second part of Gopala Champu, he is withholding it because it still needs to be revised (vicArayitavyAsti).(53) If this is taken to be one and the same letter, the GC referred to in para. 3 is only the PUrva-campU.

The long process of editing might have permitted Jiva to put references to a later book into another that had been finished earlier. The Durga-saMgamanI, Jiva’s commentary on BRS (BRSc), is an example. We can see from letter #2 that Jiva had completed it before finishing Uttara-campU. Yet in his commentary to BRS 3.4.76, Jiva refers to a number of books, including GC and his commentary on UN, Locana- rocanI, both of which are likely to postdate BRSc. Gopala Champu is both quoted and mentioned by name in these two commentaries as well as in SaMkalpa-kalpa-druma (SKD), most probably Jiva’s last work. Jana certainly exaggerates when he concludes that besides these, Radha-kRSNArcana-dIpikA (RKAD) and Dig-darçinI (Jiva’s commentary on Brahma-saMhitA, abbreviated as BrSc) also postdate GC, i.e., AD 1592. Although it cannot be denied that Jiva’s creative powers were still strong in his old age and that the appreciation of his Bengali students and visitors no doubt inspired him to extend his productive life, it is doubtful that all of these works were written at such a late date, i.e., after he had reached the age of 75. By its very nature, GC comes at the end of Jiva’s exegetical career and resumes most of what is contained in the above-mentioned commentaries.

2.2 Jiva’s works

According to a list made by Jiva’s successor, Krishna Das AdhikArI, Jiva wrote a total of 25 different works to which Laghu-vaiSNava-toshani and Sarva-saMvAdinI and perhaps other works must be added. It goes without saying that all of these works are related to Krishnaism. The preceding discussion has shown that it is difficult to establish dates, or even an order of composition for most of these works. Thus, for the sake of facilitating a brief study of them, they have been divided into four categories in the subsequent pages:

  1. treatises on theology and philosophy,
  2. commentaries on other works,
  3. grammar and poetics, and
  4. literary works.

Comprehensive discussions of most of these works are given in both S. K. De’s Vaishnava Faith and Movement and Jana’s VRndAvaner chaya gosvAmI (156-87). The comments made here are meant to complement these previous studies and unnecessary repetition has been avoided. I shall attempt to point in particular to those elements that relate to the GC.

It can be argued that Jiva’s literary life was built around a single theme to which he returned again and again. In most of his commentaries and original writings, he took pains to make a case for the svakIyA-vAda, establishing that Krishna married the gopIs at the end of his earthly career. Jiva’s arguments are built around pramanas given from scripture, in particular the Bhagavata Purana. The unity of his life’s work is most easily demonstrable by pointing to the places where Jiva has repeated numbers of these “items of evidence”. Table 1.1 below (Table 1.1 : SELECT QUOTATION CONCORDANCE to be added) is given with the intention of showing how these stepping-stones of Jiva’s argument found in one book are partially or extensively matched in other works.

From this table it is clear that there is considerable overlap between the verses cited in the control section of SKD (i.179-264, references given in the last column) and (Sanatan’s) VT 78.13, KrishnaS 163-177, PrItiS 413-23, BRSc 3.4.76, UNc 15.208, GC i.33 and 2.29. The overlap is naturally more marked in certain texts than in others and should one care to repeat the exercise using any other of these texts as the control, the patterns of duplication would no doubt be different. Nevertheless, the essential element of overlapping would continue to be demonstrable. Though elements of another of Jiva’s works such as BhaktiS would have revealed far less overlap with Jiva’s other works, the demonstration made here is nevertheless instructive of the thematic have revealed far less overlap with the rest of Jiva’s corpus, the demonstration made here is nevertheless instructive of the thematic unity to be found in much of his writing, showing that he returned again and again to a few particular points of concern. In this particular case, the argument centres around Krishna’s promises to the residents of Vraja to return, given both by himself and by his messengers, and evidence of his return there. It ends with Krishna’s entry into Goloka. This subject is particularly dear to Jiva and it must be said that SKD’s presentation is comparatively sketchy compared to that given in some of his other works. Nevertheless, it was deliberately chosen as the control text because, as Jiva’s last work, it was felt to reflect his deepest concerns.

2.21 Works on theology and philosophy

Jiva’s reputation as a scholar largely rests upon a series of treatises on Bhagavata Purana, known as Bhagavata-sandarbha or SaT-sandarbha. These six volumes encompass the entire spectrum of the Gaudiya Vaishnava dogma, and much of their contents are found in Krishna Das’s CC in guise of Chaitanya’s own teaching to Sanatan. Jiva states at the outset of this work that he was made to write the book by Rupa and Sanatan, and furthermore that he wrote it on the basis of an earlier work written by their friend Gopal Bhatta Goswami who was inspired by other, senior Vaishnavas. (54) Jiva’s debt to Sanatan’s VT is particularly evident in KrishnaS and PrItiS, and at the end of the latter treatise he refers those who wish to know more to that commentary. (55)

BhAgS is an attempt to structure the contents of BhP around the Vedanta categories of sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana, supplementing them with exegesis. Sambandha, or theology, takes up the first four volumes: Tattva, Bhagavat, Paramatma and Sri-Krishna-sandarbhas. Amongst Rupa’s works, it is to LbhAg that these four volumes are parallel in terms of content, though they are rather more elaborate. An introductory verse in srag-dharA metre at the beginning of TattvaS gives an idea of the direction of the work:

May that Sri Krishna whose purely spiritual essence is referred to in the Veda as brahman, of whom a portion is the puruSa who controls Maya and exists in glory with his fragmentary portions (the jivas), and only one of whose forms is the Narayan who sports in the supreme sky, may he, the self-same supreme Lord (svayaM bhagavAn), grant divine love to the devotees who worship his feet. (56) Thus TattvaS establishes Bhagavata Purana as the ultimate scriptural authority, criticizes the advaita-vAda and gives a general synopsis of the contents of the other five volumes. BhagavatS establishes the highest truth as bhagavAn, i.e. Narayan and his various forms, while ParamatmaS describes the nature of the world, Maya, the individual soul (jiva) and their relation to the creator god who pervades them all.

KrishnaS is longer than the first three volumes and, judging from the number of times to which this work is referred to elsewhere in the corpus of Jiva’s writings, the most important. Radha-krishnrchana-dipika (RKAD), BrSc and GC are all stated by Jiva to be synopses or expansions on this work, and indeed literally repeat entire sections of it. (57) The relationship of KrishnaS to GC is more fully demonstrated in the article “Does Krishna Marry the Gopis in the end?”.

KrishnaS first establishes that Krishna is bhagavAn and then that his abode (dhAman) and associates (parikara) are, like him, eternal. As Jiva must argue to show the primacy of Krishna over other forms of Narayan, his parents, friends and girlfriends are all similarly shown to be ontologically the origins of the associates of the other forms. Radha and the gopIs are thus demonstrated to be the origins of Lakshmi, Narayan’s consort, and indeed superior to her. The book concludes:

Thus the sambandha (“relationship”) has been explained by these four treatises. In this relationship, it has been shown that he who is related (sambandhin) is at his ultimate perfection in the manifestation of the form of Radha and Madhava. Thus Shruti says, “The Lord Madhava is accompanied by Radha…” It is to establish this end that I have elaborated all the foregoing. The [discourse on] relationship is complete.

May my mind be assailed on all sides
by the sweetness of Radha and MAdhava
lustrous from their golden and black complexions,
dancing with the pure and playful festivals of their eyes,
their souls filled with the wisdom of the unlimited maddening arts
themselves maddened by the heaps of fragrant ambrosia
which arise from their dearness to each other.(58)

Bhakti-sandarbha discusses various aspects of the abhidheya, the rituals and duties expected of one who wishes to attain union with Krishna. In terms of content it may be paralleled with the pUrva-laharI of Rupa’s BRS. The PritiS is the longest of the six volumes. It discusses the prayojana or the state of spiritual perfection, which Jiva calls priti, synonymous with prema. It covers much of the same material as Rupa’s works on rasa, BRS and UN, describing the different relations with Krishna and how they are expressed. Unlike Rupa, however, Jiva illustrates all aspects of bhakti-rasa without recourse to original examples, using BhP alone, rather like Vopadeva’s MuktA-phala. These works are written in the utilitarian style of the Sanskrit exegete. Only KrishnaS slips from time to time into a prose with pretensions of literary sophistication.

Radha-Krishnarchana-dipika (RKAD), also known simply as Krishnarchana-dipika, is a small prose work that defends the worship of Radha together with Krishna. Its primary purpose is thus to glorify Radha, first by stating the ubiquity of shakti in the company of the personified deity. Some of its passages are quoted almost entirely from Bhagavat-sandarbha, while others are taken verbatim from KrishnaS. It may have been written at the time when Jiva took up the worship of Radha and Damodar, a yugala-vigraha or pair of deities, in order to defend a practice that was not yet in wide currency. One verse (4) is found in GC (1.1v17), which Jana seems to think demonstrates that RKAD was written after GC. The opposite could, of course, as easily be true.

2.22 Commentaries

Jiva wrote a number of commentaries that are composed in a style comparable to the works described above. The Krama-sandarbha, on BhP, is the most remarkable of these. As the title of this work indicates, it has a relation to the above-mentioned BhagS. BhAgS is in fact a selection of verses from BhP with commentary illustrating aspects of Vaishnava dogma. Many of these commentaries are found in their proper place in the BhP and this was given the appropriate name Krama-sandarbha, or the seventh sandarbha as Krishna Das AdhikArin has it. Jiva does not, however, include an elaborate commentary on the tenth book of BhP in this work, feeling no doubt that the job had been sufficiently well done in VT and his own SaMkSepa or LaghuVT, completed in 1582 and remarkable primarily for the historical information given in the colophon. Sarva-saMvAdinI is a supplementary volume to the first four books of BhagS, containing additional arguments and supportive evidence. It is most remarkable for a defense of the deity of Chaitanya.

Dig-darshini (BrSc), Jiva’s commentary to Brahma-samhita also claims to repeat matters which are described in extenso in KrishnaS.(59) Jiva has used the BrS extensively in developing his conception of Goloka, the eternal abode of Krishna. Portions of those paragraphs of KrishnaS which contain an exposition of Goloka are repeated word for word in BrSc. (60) The first chapter of GC is itself a commentary on a selected number of BrS verses. The introductory verse to GC contains a discourse on the verse kRSir bhUvAcakaH çabdo, etc. which is a sophisticated development of a portion of BrSc 1. Jiva also mentions RKAD in this work, (61) on which basis Jana concludes that it postdates GC, having come to same conclusion about RKAD (op.cit., 166). On the other hand, Jiva has referred to GC directly in most of his later works and, in view of the subject matter covered in this work, had ample occasion to do so here as well.

Jiva wrote two commentaries on works by Rupa Goswami, Durgama-sangamini on BRS and Lochana-rochani on UN. They are both important works, apparently written at about the same time that Jiva wrote GC, which is cited in them both. (62) The two works are characterized by occasional glosses of the text except where he wishes to make an important point. In such places, he carries on an extended discussion. In his comments on BRS 3.4.76, Jiva addresses the issue of Krishna’s return to Vraja even after his stay in Dvaraka.

Lochana-rochani starts with the following verse: hari-bhakti-rasAmRta-sindhau jAte purA durAloke/

ujjvala-nIlamaNau mama locana-rocany asau vivRtiH//

Jana somehow construes this to mean, “When BRS was not previously commented upon, I wrote this commentary on UN.” It should rather be understood to mean, “The Locana-rocanI (‘pleasing to the eyes’) is my commentary on the Ujjvala- nIlamaNi (‘the effulgent sapphire’) which [though] previously produced from BRS (‘the ocean of ambrosia of devotion to Hari’), has remained difficult to understand.”

Jiva’s arguments in favour of the svakIyA-vAda are perhaps most forcefully expressed in this work under 1.21 and 15.208, two comments that form the bulk of the work as a whole. It is also clear that he was engaging in a polemic against those who, like some later writers, felt that Rupa Goswami gave precedence to the parakIyA position. In both these commentaries, Jiva cites Rupa’s other works, notably Lalita-madhava and Sankshepa-bhagavatamrita to prove that Rupa also favoured the svakIyA position.

Sukha-bodhini is a commentary on the Gopala-tapani Upanishad, which Jiva cites fairly frequently in his Sandarbhas, particularly KrishnaS, in defending the divinity of Krishna. Perhaps the most important quotation used by Jiva is Durvasas’s statement to the gopIs, “He is your husband” (sa vo hi svAmI bhavati, 2.27), which clearly supports the svakIyA doctrine and is cited elsewhere, including GC. This commentary bears great similarity to another attributed to PrabodhAnanda SarasvatI and may possibly have been based on it. (63) A number of other minor omissions have been made in the commentary attributed to Jiva, as well as a few additions which bear his distinctive mark on them(64), but otherwise the two works are exactly the same. The general tone of the arguments matches that of KrishnaS and Jiva’s other works, many of the familiar “stepping-stone” verses are cited, but Jiva’s characteristic terseness is missing. One is thus led to conclude that Jiva made a slightly abridged version of PrabodhAnanda’s commentary to which his signature has been added.

Two other minor commentaries are listed by Krishna Das, GayatrI-vyakhya-vivriti and Yoga-sara-stava-tika. The first is a very short work published by Haridas Das along with BRzeS, a commentary on the explanation of the GayatrI mantra found in the Agni-purana (ch.216). The other is a commentary on those verses in Padma Purana Uttara-khanda 127, in which the sage Devadyuti praises Krishna after which he gets a vision of him. (65) Neither of these works is of particularly great interest.

2.3 Grammar and rhetoric

The enthusiasm of Jiva’s students no doubt inspired him to write two major didactic works, one on grammar, Hari-namamrita-vyakarana (HNV) which includes a DhAtu- saMgraha(66), and Bhakti-rasAmRta-çeSa (BRçeS) (67) on poetics. According to the commentary of Harekrishna Acharya(68), HNV is an elaboration of an earlier, shorter work that has been published as SaMkSepa-hari-nAmAmRta-vyAkaraNa, and is ascribed to either Sanatan or Rupa Goswami though it does not figure in the listed works of either of those authors. Since no colophon or any outside attestation exists to clarify the issue, it may just as easily be concluded that it is an earlier draft of the same work by Jiva. From his letters, HNV seems to have been written in Jiva’s period of ferment, and he himself appears to have used many of HNV’s sutras as inspiration for verses in GC. Most of these playful verses are found in the Purva rather than Uttara-champu. Some examples of these shall be given elsewhere.

In his grammar, Jiva uses names of Krishna, etc., as grammatical terms (e.g. pItAmbara = bahuvrIhi, etc., etc.) and in so doing has opened the door to various humorous possibilities. Nevertheless, Jiva indicated that he meant the work to be used as a serious grammar even for those who were evidently already well-versed on the subject such as Srinivas, etc.

Besides quoting the various grammarians, Jiva gives numerous examples from well- known works of literature, including RaghuvaMza, AbhijJAna-zakuntala, KumAra- sambhava, PANini-kAvya, BhaTTi-kAvya, KirAtArjunIya, ShizupAlavadha, NaiSadhIyacarita, AnargharAghavanATaka, CANakya, PadmapurANa, UdbhaTaçloka, etc., as well as from the lexicons Amara, Vizva, RudrakoSa, etc.

Nowhere does Jiva draw on Gopala Champu in HNV. It is further to be noted that in GC, when Jiva uses several variations on a particular grammatical theme (e.g. a group of superlatives), several of these might be typically be found in Jiva’s own grammar, but one or more of the others may be drawn from the Varttikas or commentaries on Panini or some other grammarian (most frequently, it would seem, Vopadeva). It is thus probable that the HNV was completed before the Gopala Champu, that Jiva’s extensive studies of Sanskrit grammar served him well in his writing of this work.

BRzeS is intended to be an appendix to Rupa Goswami’s important works dealing with the rasas. It might more profitably compared with HNV, however, for it appears that Jiva’s intention was to produce a work on the alankaras that would be suitable for Vaishnavas who took seriously the instruction to remember Krishna in everything that they did. Thus, though Jiva follows the Sahitya-darpana almost word for word in its substance, he goes to his own works and those of other Vaishnava colleagues for his examples. Even so, the great majority of the examples remain those either composed or selected by Vishwanath Kaviraj, merely being “doctored” by Jiva in order to make them suitable for the Krishna story, much in the same way that his uncle Rupa did with a number of verses in the anthology, Padyavali. (69) Thus, verses from even such classical erotic authors as Amaru are made acceptable for the holy ears of renounced devotees by the changing of a word, by replacing the anonymous or secular lovers with the transcendental Radha and Krishna. In this way, BRçeS is a less original work in its field than HNV.

A number of verses quoted from the GC indicate that BRzeS was compiled after that work. (70) The great majority of the some 18 quotes come from the Purva-champu. The other major sources of quotes are Kavi Karnapur’s Alankara-kaustubha and Krishna Das Kaviraj’s Govinda-lilamrita. Rupa Goswami himself has not been cited more than once, other than for the entire twelve verses of his citra-kAvya taken from Stava-mala.

2.4 Poetry

Jiva wrote four books which can be classed as literary works. First among these is Madhava-mahotsava, Jiva’s earliest dated work and possibly his earliest creative effort. Two editions of this poem have been published, the first by Haridas Das with a Bengali translation, the second an interesting critical edition by Puri Das. (71) It is a work of the mahA-kAvya genre, most of whose general conventions it respects. The work contains nine chapters with a total of 1192 verses; its last chapter written in a wide variety of metres. Jiva’s affection for the name “Madhava”, discernable in the few original verses written for BhAgS, appears to be in imitation of Rupa, who similarly preferred this name of Krishna. Jiva later shows a tendency to the name “Gopal”.

The work is unique amongst Jiva’s works in a number of respects. It does not show the didactic tendency which affects the GC and SKD; not a single quotation from BhP is anywhere to be found. Furthermore, it is the sole work in which Jiva overtly accepts elements of the parakIyA-lIlA. In several places in Madhava-mahotsava, Jiva writes about Jatila, Radha’s mother-in-law. who is prominently featured in Rupa Goswami’s plays and in Krishna Das’s GLA. Though she is decidedly a minor character, the sakhIs’ deceptions of her are given a cameo role in the story. In the following passage (MadhM 4.83), the word zvazrU, “mother-in-law”, and Jatila, the name of Abhimanyu’s mother in Rupa Goswami’s writings, indicates that Radha’s marriage to Abhimanyu was considered acceptable subject matter for poetic description by Jiva at this time. A second passage is longer and describes not only how Chandravali’s friend Shyamala, being envious of Radha’s trysts with Krishna, directs Jatila and her son (still unnamed) to Vrindavan, but how her plans are foiled by Vrinda so that no disturbance comes to the meeting of the two lovers. This passage (6.6-16) is not found in one of the two manuscripts used to make the critical edition. It is not easy to determine whether this passage was later added or deleted in the course of Jiva’s self-avowed recension of the work. It would seem more likely, in view of his frequent denial of the parakIyA position, that he deleted it. The other option, i.e. that some other person interpolated the passage seems unlikely; the language and style are consistent with the rest of the work.

“Because Jatila came here with her son, Madhava, not being too pleased, has gone with his friends [to hide] in the madhavi bower. Now listen, Radha, how Shaivyika practised the following deception on the old woman. The mental anguish which has departed does nevertheless not disappear entirely if not related to a friend.

“[Shaivya said,] ‘Old woman! you have done well to see that your daughter-in-law is taken care of by Hari. But be careful to insure that he does not become separated from her, for he is easily distracted by the beauty of passing women. Therefore, you and your son should have a word with him who brings peace to those who have controlled their passions…'”(72)

Elsewhere (MAdhM 1.62-5) Yashoda, while telling Nandimukhi of her great affection for Radha, expresses her feeling of misfortune that Radha had not become her son’s bride. She tells her that she feels as though Radha were in fact her daughter-in-law and sends her a message revealing her love for her. (73)

If these events are considered to take place on the plane of the prakaTa-lIlA, the manifest pastimes, there is no contradiction to Jiva’s position of svakIyAtva in the aprakaTa-lIlA. Nevertheless, the contrast is marked when one compares this work with GC where the names of Abhimanyu and Jatila, Kutila (Radha’s unpleasant sister-in-law) and her rather stupid husband are not mentioned at all. The only word Jiva uses in GC to refer to the gopIs’ husbands is patiM-manya or “those who merely think themselves to be their husbands.”

Gopala-virudavali(74) is another of the few works by Jiva without any maGgala dedication to Rupa and Sanatan. It shows great formal similarity to Rupa’s Govinda- virudavali. The printed edition appears to be incomplete for only seven of the 24 metrical exercises found in Govinda-virudavali have been executed. The commentator Rasika Das does not appear to have known a lengthier text. To suggest, as Jana does, that this too was written after GC cannot be substantiated simply on the basis of Jiva’s use of viruda-type metres there. (75) Some discussion of these metres will be found in the analysis of GC prosody to be posted later.

The Gopala Champu(76) itself was Jiva’s most ambitious work. He states at the outset that it was written in an attempt to expand on the themes of KrishnaS in a more poetic manner. Evidently, Jiva was aware that his numerous works of theology and exegesis were insufficient if he wished to achieve his ends in transforming the way that people viewed the activities of Krishna. He basically had to rewrite the BhP’s tenth book, which narrates the life of Krishna. Jiva’s view of Krishna, based more on Sanatan’s commentaries than on Rupa’s poetic works, needed a more literary presentation if it were to compete with Rupa’s.

Krishna Das Kaviraj mentions the work twice in CC(77), where it is called a “great hero of a book” (grantha mahA zUra), referring no doubt to its size as well as its theological daring. Krishna Das Kaviraj’s other comments are also interesting; he states that the book establishes the nitya lila, which indeed it does by reuniting, in the words of the KrishnaS, the prakaTa and aprakaTa activities of Krishna, first by describing in detail Krishna’s return to Vraja, then his ascension into his heaven Goloka and his activities there. It would appear, then, that though Krishna Das Kaviraj seems to have had an alternative view of the nitya-lila, as demonstrated in his GLA, he nevertheless did not see any contradiction between his ideals and those of Jiva.

There is little doubt that Sankalpa-kalpa-druma(78) is Jiva’s last oeuvre, for at its beginning he makes it clear that he is on his deathbed, or at least near the end of his life. (79) Like Raghunath Das in his ManaH-zikSA, Jiva addresses his mind, instructing it to remember Krishna in the way that he directs. The contents, i.e. the nitya lila, appear suitable to a life-long sadhaka who is preparing to leave the mortal realm.

The book begins and ends with the same introductory verse as the GC (1.1, 5.6). GC is also referred to on two occasions. Indeed, SKD might be said to contain the essence of Gopala-champu, written in somewhat simpler language.

The format of the work is both interesting and original. The first chapter (janmAdi- lIlA) is written in anushtubh metre as a single syntactical entity, i.e. as a mahA- kulaka. The main clause in this 275 çloka long sentence is, “Krishna entered the nitya lila”, at which point the metre changes to puSpitAgrA. Jiva cannot resist once again rehearsing the same arguments that have been covered in the Gopala-champu, and indeed many of the familiar verses are quoted, either in full or pratIka form. The next two chapters, nitya-lIlA (315 verses) and nityalIlAntargata-sarvartu-lIlA (131) are also written in the same puSpitAgrA metre. The first of these chapters recapitulates a day in the life of Krishna in Goloka, in terms similar to those found in GC i.2. (80) The sarvartulIlA describes Krishna and the gopIs wandering through the magical forest of Vrindavan in which the six seasons are manifest. The book concludes with ten verses (phala-niSpatti) in the srag-dharA metre, in which Jiva once again stresses his theological obsession. Jiva likens the work to a tree (kalpa-druma); these four chapters are its roots, trunk, branches and fruit, respectively. (81)

2.5 Other possible works

A number of other books reportedly written by Jiva include a Jahnavashtaka,(82) Vaishnavavandana,(83) commentaries on Danakelikaumudi, Vidagdhamadhava, etc. The authenticity of these and other works attributed to Jiva has been discussed by Jana (op. cit., 179-87). None have any relevance to GC.

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