The importance of Śrī Jīva Goswami

Why is Śrī Jīva Goswami important? Why should one study his Sandarbhas? I can think of no better answer to this question than two verses that Śrī Babaji has composed which I reproduce below. They appear at the beginning of each of the Sandarbha books that he has published containing translations and commentaries. The verses are below.

hastāmalakavat-tattvaṁ śrīmad-bhāgavatasya yaḥ
darśayāmāsa jīvebhyas taṁ śrī-jīva-prabhuṁ numaḥ

We bow down to Śrīla Jīva Goswami Prabhupāda who revealed the essential meaning of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam to the people of the world just as plainly as one would display an āmalakī fruit kept on one’s palm.

sandarbhā yena nādhītās tasya bhāgavate śramaḥ
sandarbhā yena cādhītā nāsti bhāgavate bhramaḥ

One who has not undergone comprehensive study of Ṣaṭ Sandarbhas must struggle to assimilate the message of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam . One who has studied Ṣaṭ Sandarbhas , however, will have no misgivings about the essential meaning of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam.

This then is Śrī Jīva’s importance: the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam as explained by Śrī Caitanya will remain beyond the understanding of those who have not studied the Sat Sandarbhas. One can go on studying each of the 18000 verses of the Bhāgavatam or read it three, four or even five times, but will still be guaranteed to remain in the dark about its actual meaning.

It is sad that the Goswamis today have been simply reduced to mere models of renunciation. They are respected today because they seem to have slept under a different tree every night!

In reality, they are important because of their writings. Their books are the foundation of the Caitanya tradition, and must be studied by anyone interested in genuine understanding. Their books are not optional. Nor are their books so esoteric that they should only be studied when one has sufficiently advanced in bhakti. They are actually the means to advance in bhakti. They reveal the mind of Śrī Caitanya. No one else can take their place.

Categories: Opinion

Tagged as:

6 replies »

  1. It’s really sad how many people put qualifications in the way for those who want to read the Sandarbhas. I was once told I need to read all the books and letters (!) of a certain teacher before I could even begin to contemplate reading the Sandarbhas. Having these Sandarbhas translated into English with the tika of Srila Satyanaryana das Babaji is an amazing gift for devotees today.

    I have a question unrelated to this post. Someone was trying to tell me that as time goes on all the spots in Goloka Vrndavan will be filled up. They specifically mentioned that the manjari roles will all be taken or perhaps already are. I thought this was a strange idea and they didn’t offer Shastra to back it up so I ignored them. However, I did wonder, are there multiple Goloka Vrndavans for people to serve Sri Radha Govinda in or is there only one Goloka Vrndavan that all devotees eventually go to. If I am remembering correctly there is a pastime in the SB where Krishna wants to visit two of His devotees at the same time so He manifests Himself in two forms along with His accompanying entourage to facilitate this.

    I hope my question is clear.


    • Somewhere on this website, I have written an article (dont remember the title) that shows that Krsna has infinite expansions, and infinite dhamas in infinite parallel universes. He flits in between these, which explains how He leaves but does not leave Vrindavana. Check it. The idea that Goloka fills up is .. well.. silly.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Krsna Dasji! There is a statement of Paramhamsa Swaminarayan on this. And he says:

        “Furthermore, the master of countless millions of such Virãt-Purushes is Purushottam Bhagwãn Krsna – whose abode is Imperishable. Within that abode, countless millions of such brahmãnds float like mere atoms. Such is the abode of God. In that abode, Purushottam Bhagwãn Himself resides eternally in a divine form. Moreover, countless divine objects exist in that abode.”


    • Reading that 2021 article, it was striking to realize that even a simple word like “place” is prone to misunderstanding if we try to apply our finite intellect to Krishna’s infinite pastimes. Even to ask “where” is the “place” where a pastime is performed is likely to find us getting it wrong by imposing finite logic on the infinite.

      But it is a huge leap from “some roles in the lila are not for jivatmas” to “All the manjari spots are filled; you’ll presumably need to wait until one of them falls into maya” is a large one. And it’s sad that without Jiva Goswami as an anchor so many modern neo-Gaudiyas seemingly feel free to “make it up as they go along.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s