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Srila Jiva Gosvami Disappearance

Today is the disappearance day for Srila Jiva Gosvamipada, who is prominent amongst the six Gosvamis. I wish to discuss his life history and contributions.

vaiṣṇavera guṇa gāna

karile jīvera trāṇa


[If we glorify Vaishnavas, then one will be delivered from maya (illusory energy).]

Our six Gosvamis, that is, Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Sanatana Gosvami, Srila Bhatta Raghunatha Gosvami, Srila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, Srila dasa Raghunatha Gosvami and Sri Jiva Gosvami, are the nitya-parikaras (eternal associates) of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, whom they served sincerely and fulfilled all His heart’s desires.

When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was going to Vrindavana, on the way, in Ramakeli, Bengal, He met with two great personalities, Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Sanatana Gosvami.

Anupama’s Nishtha With Lord Rama

Rupa and Sanatana used to perform bhajana (performance of spiritual practices) and sadhana (spiritual cultivation) along with their brother, Vallabha, who Chaitanya Mahaprabhu affectionately referred to as Anupama. He was the father of Srila Jiva Gosvami. Incidentally, at that time, Srila Jiva Gosvami was only about six or seven years old.

Whilst performing bhajana and sadhana, Anupama would always be absorbed in Lord Ramachandra. However, Anupama was once advised by his brothers, Rupa and Sanatana, that he should perform bhajana and sadhana to Krishna, as He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Whereas, according to rasa-vichara (conception of transcendental mellows), Ramachandra is an incarnation of the Lord. Therefore, Rupa and Sanatana advised Anupama that he should perform bhajana and sadhana to Krishna.

According to the scriptures, there is no difference between Rama and Krishna. However, from the perspective of rasa-siddhanta, there are some specialities only found in Sri Krishna.

Sanatana Gosvamipada further explained to Anupama about the sixty four qualifications of Krishna, out of which, four are extraordinary: His rupa-madhurya (sweetness of His form), His lila-madhurya (sweetness of His pastimes), His prema-madhurya (sweetness of His love) and His venu-madhurya (sweetness of the sound of His flute). Krishna is lila-purushottama (The Lord of sweet pastimes). He performs these sweet lilas (pastimes) which surpass the rules and regulations outlined in scriptures and observed by society. On the other hand, Lord Ramachandra is called maryada-purushottama, the ideal of how to conduct oneself in society, therefore He strictly follows vidhi (rules and regulations laid out in scripture).

The unparalleled nature of Krishna’s pastimes are illustrated when He performs the rasa-lila (most exalted transcendental pastimes) with His gopis (the young cowherd maidens of Vraja), and when Krishna plays His flute, everyone’s heart becomes completely intoxicated and it begins to dance. For this reason, Vrajavasis traditionally sing,

rādhā nāce kṛṣṇa nāce nāce gopī gaṇa

man mero van gaia re sakhī pāvana vṛndāvan

Radha Nace Krishna Nace (1)

[Radha is dancing, Krishna is dancing, the host of gopis are dancing. My mind has gone to the forest, O sakhi! To pure Vrindavana.]

In this way, Rupa and Sanatana informed Anupama of Krishna’s four extraordinary qualifications. Krishna is rasa-rasikam (relisher of the mellows) and rasa-bihari (relisher of rasa dance), and thus He performs His sweet rasa-lila with the gopis, whereas, Ramachandra is very grave, following all the rules and regulations of society very strictly.

Thus, Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami instructed their brother to perform sadhana and bhajana to Krishna, krishna-bhajana. As a result of this glorification of Krishnachandra by his elder brothers, Anupama told Rupa-Sanatana that he will perform bhakti to Krishna.

But at night, while attempting to meditate on Krishna and His lilas, Anupama’s mind became very disturbed. Time and again, his focus was redirected to his ishtadeva (worshippable Deity), Lord Ramacandra. As a result, Anupama was crying profusely.

The following morning, Sanatana Gosvamipada entered his youngest brother’s room. Anupama held Sanatana’s lotus feet while speaking the following words, “Brother, I cannot perform bhajana and sadhana to Krishna because my ishtadeva is Ramachandra.“

‘raghunāthera pāda-padme veciyāchoṅ māthā’

Chaitanya-charitamrita (Antya-lila 4.40)

[I have sold my head at the lotus feet of Lord Ramachandra.]

In this verse, Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami has explained, Anupama informed Sanatana Gosvamipada, “I have completely sold my head to the lotus feet of Ramachandra.” Sanatana Gosvamipada replied, “Anupama, you do not have to perform bhajana and sadhana to Krishna, your ishtadeva is Rama. Therefore, you should perform bhajana and sadhana to Sita-Rama.” This is showing how Jiva Gosvami’s father, Anupama, was one pointed to his ishtadeva, Lord Ramachandra.

The essence of this teaching is that when our nishtha (firm faith) develops for Guru and nama (names of God), we will develop our bhajana and sadhana. Nama-nishtha is required to develop intense chanting of the holy names. Nama-nishtha, guru-nishtha, ishtadeva-nishtha—nishtha means steadiness, being one pointed— only then will our bhajana and sadhana develop further.

Srila Jiva Gosvami Meets Nityananda Prabhu & Performs Navadvipa Parikrama

As Jiva Gosvami was growing up, his father departed from this world, so he went to live with his paternal family. Being a very intelligent and talented personality, he learned all the Vedas, Puranas, Upanishads and all the other scriptures, in a few short years. Subsequently, Jiva Gosvamipada met Nityananda Prabhu and throughout their association together, they performed Navadvipa-dhama parikrama (circumambulation). In a book Sri Navadvipa-dhama-mahatmya, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura glorified this pastime and their most intimate and profound conversations together.

Jiva Gosvamipada also received mercy from Vishnupriya-devi, the consort of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. After Navadvipa-dhama parikrama, Nityananda Prabhu told Jiva Gosvamipada, “O Jiva, listen! There is no difference between Navadvipa-dhama and Vrindavana.” The specialty of Navadvipa-dhama is Navadvipa-chandra (the moon of Navadvipa), Gaurasundara. His dhamа (holy site) is very merciful and magnanimous, all aparadhas (offences) will be destroyed if you go to Navadvipа-dhamа.

ārādhitam nava-vanam vraja-kānanam te

nārādhitam nava-vanaṁ vraja eva dūre

ārādhito dvija-suto vraja-nāgaras te

nārādhito dvija-suto na taveha kṛṣṇaḥ

Navadvipa-shataka (78)

by Prabodhananda Sarasvati

[If you worship the nine islands of Navadvipa, you are actually worshipping Vrindavana and can easily gain entrance into that confidential place. If you don't worship and take shelter of Navadvipa-dhama, Vrindavana will be very far away from you. If someone will worship dvija-suta (Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu), the son of the brahmana Jagannatha Mishra, that person will attain vraja-nagara Sri Krishna in Vrindavana. If one worships Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is actually Krishna Himself, in Navadvipa, one is performing complete worship of Krishna. Worshipping Sacinandana Gaurahari in Navadvipa is as good as worshipping Krishna in Vrindavana. If one does not worship dvija-suta Gaurahari, Lord Krishna will be very far away.]

Prabodhananda Sarasvatipada nicely glorifies Navadvipa-dhama in this verse. ‘Aradhito nava-vanam’—one who worships Navadvipa-dhama will very easily attain Vrindavana-dhama. ‘Naradhito nava-vanam’—one who does not worship Navadvipa-dhama, is very far from Vrindavana-dhama and can not attain it by any other method. ‘Aradhito dvija-suto’—one who worships Sacinandana Gaurahari, he will attain Krishna, the beloved of the gopis, very easily.

Navadvipa Dhama Is Most Merciful

The conclusion is, one must first take shelter of Navadvipa-dhama and Navadvipa-chandra, Sacinandana Gaurahari, and this is especially important in this Kali-yuga (fourth age in Vedic astronomy). Brahma committed an offence in Krishna‘s vrindavana-lila and in order to destroy this offence, he went to Navadvipa-dhama and performed bhajana and sadhana. Gaura-dhama and gaura-nama are very holy and auspicious. Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami explains:

‘kṛṣṇa-nāma’ kare aparādhera vicāra kṛṣṇa balile aparādhīra nā haya vikāra

Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita (Adi-lila, 8.24)

[There are offences to be considered while chanting the Hare Krishna mantra. Therefore simply by chanting Hare Krishna one does not become ecstatic.]

caitanya-nityānande nāhi e-saba vicāra

nāma laite prema dena, vahe aśrudhāra

Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita (Adi-lila, 8.31)

[But if one only chants, with some slight faith, the holy names of Lord Chaitanya and Nityananda, very quickly he is cleansed of all offences. Thus as soon as he chants the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, he feels the ecstasy of love for God.]

If you chant krishna-nama—‘Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare’— then you have to consider the ten offences in relation to the holy names, dasha-vidha nama-aparadha. The first three are very prominent: satam ninda, to think the demigods, or even Shiva, is equal to Krishna; to believe krishna-nama is equal to shiva-nama and guror avajna, to ignore or outrightly disobey guru. Furthermore, Krishna and krishna-nama are unique and unfathomable. So Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami explains:

caitanya-nityānande nāhi e-saba vicāra

Without these considerations, it is impossible to attain the lotus feet of Nityananda Prabhu and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. If one simply chants gaura-nama, one will attain krishna-prema (pure love to Krishna) and it will manifest in one’s heart. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura wrote this beautiful song where he mentions — ‘Doyāl nitāi caitanya’ bole’ nāc re āmār man’—“O, my mind, always dance while taking the name of Nityananda Prabhu and Sacinandana Gaurahari.”

Srila Jiva Gosvami Journeys Onwards to Vrindavana

While Jiva Gosvami was performing Navadvipa-dhama parikrama, Nityananda Prabhu told him, “O Jiva! You have to go to Vrindavana and stay with your uncles, Rupa and Sanatana.” Obeying the instruction of Nityananda Prabhu, Jiva Gosvamipada therefore decided to depart for Vrindavana.

On his way there, he decided to stay in Kashi (Varanasi) for a few days because of his desire to listen to a scholar, Madhusudana Vachaspati, who was an expert in all Vedanta. He was also conversant in the discussions which took place between Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya on advaita-siddhanta (the teachings of non-dualism) and knowledgeable about the final conclusions of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in defeating the philosophy of impersonalism. Nonetheless, time quickly passed and Jiva Gosvamipada had now remained there, listening to hari-katha for a few months.

Sri Jiva Receives Diksha

After some time, Srila Jiva Gosvami arrived in Vrindavana reuniting with Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami. And he eventually took diksha (initiation) from Rupa Gosvami. But, what is the actual meaning of diksha?

divyaṁ jñānaṁ yato dadyāt

kuryāt pāpasya saṅkṣayam

tasmād dīkṣeti sā proktā

deśikais tattva-kovidaiḥ

Hari-bhakti-vilasa (2.9)

[That religious undertaking which bestows divya-jnana (transcendental knowledge) and destroys papa (sin), papa-bija (the seed of sin) and avidya (ignorance) to the root is called diksha by learned authorities in the absolute truth.]

Diksha means divya-jnana (transcendental knowledge), gradually developing transcendental knowledge of Krishna‘s form and one‘s specific relationship with Him; otherwise known as sambandha-jnana (knowledge of relationship).

Sambandha-jnana gradually eradicates and destroys papa (sinful activities) in the heart. According to one‘s eternal relationship, one can serve his ishtadeva in a mood of possessiveness. However, diksha is not complete on the first day, rather, it is a slow process where, one step at a time, we progress through stages of shraddha (faith), sadhu-sanga (association with devotees), bhajana-kriya (performance of devotional service), anartha-nivritti (decreasing of unwanted attachments), nishtha (steadiness), ruchi (taste), asakti (attachment) and then, bhava (spiritual sentiments). Once these stages are fully matured, your diksha will be complete.

Actually, there are two kinds of diksha. One is called anusthanika-diksha (formal initiation) and another is called paramarthika-diksha (absolute diksha). Anusthanika means to formally approach guru, pay your obeisances, offer flowers, fruits, dakshina (recompense) and then, guru gives you diksha-mantras. This is called anusthanika-diksha. However, paramarthika-diksha is a gradual spiritual initiation, which occurs in individual steps through the processes of: rendering of services to the lotus feet of guru; adau guru padashraya (taking shelter of guru's lotus feet); diksha; shiksha (taking instruction) and vishrambhena guroh seva (service based on a deep sense of identity with the guru).

Eventually, mamata will manifest in the heart of the practitioner, mamata means possessiveness towards Guru and Krishna. In this manner, Jiva Gosvami received his diksha-mantras from Srila Rupa Gosvamipada and he nicely served him with mamata. Again, what is the meaning of mamata? It means possessiveness.

Lesson on Humility & Guru Nishtha - Sri Jiva Confronts Srila Vallabhacharya

Once, Rupa Gosvami was compiling a scripture (grantha). In the meantime, Sri Vallabhacharya, who was a very learned scholar, visited him.

During his stay, Vallabhacharya humbly questioned, “Rupa, which grantha are you writing?”

“I am writing Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (Nectar of Devotion),” answered Rupa Gosvami.

Vallabhacharya further enquired, “What shloka (verse) are you writing?”

Sri Rupa Gosvamipada responded:

bhukti-mukti-spṛhā yāvat piśācī hṛdi vartate

tāvad bhakti-sukhasyātra katham abhyudayo bhavet

Chaitanya-charitamrita (Madhya-lila, 19.176)

[The material desire to enjoy the material world and the desire to become liberated from material bondage are considered to be two witches, and they haunt one like ghosts. As long as these witches remain within the heart, how can one feel transcendental bliss? As long as these two witches remain in the heart, there is no possibility of enjoying the transcendental bliss of devotional service.]

There are many types of desires to relish material sense objects in one’s heart. Bhukti refers to one’s propensity for enjoying material sense gratification and mukti means liberation from the material world. How is it possible for shuddha-bhakti (pure devotion) to manifest in one’s heart, if these types of desires are still present? ‘Bhukti-mukti-spṛhā yāvat piśācī hṛdi vartate’. Piśācī, means like a ghost. If one‘s body is possessed by a ghost, it will never develop. Anything eaten, will only nourish the ghost instead. So, how is it possible for the spiritual body to develop? Do you understand this concept?

The definition of shuddha-bhakti is:



ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu-śīlanaṁ

bhaktir uttamā

Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.1.11)

[The cultivation of activities that are meant exclusively for the pleasure of Sri Krishna or in other words the uninterrupted flow of service to Sri Krishna performed through all endeavours of the body, mind and speech, and through the expression of various spiritual sentiments (bhavas), which is not covered by jnana (knowledge aimed at impersonal liberation) and karma (reward seeking activity) and which is devoid of all desires other than the aspiration to bring happiness to Sri Krishna is called uttama-bhakti, pure devotional service.]

Vallabhacharya asked, “Rupa, why did you give this comparison of liberation, mukti? Because mukti is not so easy to attain. Why do you think that liberation is like a witch or ghost?” Srila Rupa Gosvami is very humble. What does being a Vaishnava mean? Always remaining humble.

tṛṇād api su-nīcena

taror iva sahiṣṇunā

amāninā māna-dena

kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ

Shikshashtaka (verse 3)

[One who thinks himself lower than the grass, who is more tolerant than a tree, and who does not expect personal honour yet is always prepared to give all respect to others can very easily always chant the holy name of the Lord.]

If you aspire to become a Vaishnava, you must learn this shloka. ‘Tṛṇād api su-nīcena’—always be very humble, more than the blade of grass. ‘Taror iva sahiṣṇunā amāninā māna-dena’—be tolerant like a tree, give respect to others and never hanker for your own name, fame and reputation.

Rupa Gosvami meekly answered, “You are such a learned scholar. Hence, you may edit this book as you wish and change any shloka in whatever way you deem fit.” Vallabhacharya replied, “It is now midday. I have to bathe in the Yamuna river. Perhaps, I will return tomorrow to review and edit your book.”

At this time, Jiva Gosvami was still a small boy. However, he listened to the conversation between Sri Rupa Gosvami and Vallabhacharya, and he became very angry at Vallabhacharya’s comments. Despite being quite upset, Jiva Gosvami, respectfully, did not utter a single word in front of his Guru. Still, he thought to himself, “Everything written by my Gurudeva is perfect. How could it be possible to edit my Guru‘s books?”

Srila Sanatana Gosvami was a very prominent acharya (spiritual preceptor), who was conversant with all tattva-siddhanta (ontological truths in Vedas). Once, he also tried to edit a verse written by Rupa Gosvami. However, he quickly came to know that whatever Rupa Gosvami writes is perfect.

Once, Sanatana Gosvami met with his younger brother, Rupa, and he asked, “Rupa, which shloka are you writing now?“ Then, Sri Rupa Gosvami replied, “Oh! I am writing one shloka on Srimati Radhika. Specifically about how beautiful and attractive Her braid is.” In this particular verse, he had compared Srimati Radhika‘s braid to a black serpent.

In a respectful way, Sanatana Gosvami questioned, “Rupa, why do you compare Srimati Radhika‘s braid with a black, poisonous serpent?” “Brother, you may edit my writing as you like. You may replace any words or verses,” humbly suggested Rupa. However, Sanatana Gosvami replied, “I will return tomorrow to edit the verse.”

Sanatana Gosvami left to perform his bhajana and sadhana and on the way to his kutira (hut), he saw a group of young Vraja cowherd girls surrounding a swing; they were swinging a very nice and beautiful young girl.

As he approached them, he noticed a black serpent dangling on the head of the young girl seated on the swing. In anxiety, Sanatana Gosvami shouted, “O lali!, there is a poisonous serpent on your head!“ As he neared, he realised the young cowherd girls were actually laughing and to his astonishment, quickly disappeared. Immediately, he knew that these were no ordinary cowherd girls. Rather, they were Srimati Radhika and Her sakhis, Lalita and Vishakha. Sanatana Gosvami finally understood that Rupa Gosvami’s verse was indeed perfect and very accurately compared Srimati Radhika’s braid to that of a black, venomous serpent.

Thereafter, he immediately decided to go back to Rupa Gosvami‘s ashrama (temple) to inform him that he cannot and will never edit any of his shlokas.

Recalling this whole incident, Jiva Gosvamipada thought, “Even Sanatana Gosvami was not able to edit my Gurudeva‘s grantha, because anything my Gurudeva writes is perfect, then it must not be possible for Vallabhacharya to edit my Gurudeva’s grantha too.“ And thus, Jiva Gosvami became very upset with Vallabhacharya’s comments.

As an excuse, Jiva Gosvami requested permission from Sri Rupa Gosvami to go and fill a water pitcher which actually did not require a refill. In this way, Sri Rupa Gosvami allowed him to leave. So, Jiva Gosvami proceeded straight to the Yamuna river and arrived at the same location where Vallabhacharya was taking his bath.

Thereafter, he began to challenge Vallabhacharya. He said, “Whatever my Gurudeva manifests is perfect. Why do you wish to edit this particular verse?”

“Because your Gurudeva stated, ‘Mukti is like pishachi (witch)’,” replied Vallabhacharya. Jiva Gosvamipada retorted, “No! No! My Gurudeva wrote, ‘The desire for liberation is called a witch’,” clearly defeating Vallabhacharya and also creating some confusion in his mind. Subsequently, Vallabacharya, after taking his bath, returned to see Sri Rupa Gosvami.

When Vallabhacharya arrived at his ashrama, he asked, “Rupa, who is this boy? He is very intelligent.”

Sri Rupa Gosvamipada, very humbly replied, “He is related to me in two separate ways as he is my nephew and also my disciple.” “Oh! Well, I will never edit your book because he has just defeated me,” conceded Vallabhacharya.

Rupa Gosvami’s Chastisement

After Vallabhacharya had left, Rupa Gosvami, externally, seemed to become very angry with Jiva and said, “Jiva, listen! What is the teaching of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu?”

tṛṇād api su-nīcena

taror iva sahiṣṇunā

amāninā māna-dena

kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ

Shikshashtaka (3)

[One who thinks himself lower than the grass, who is more tolerant than a tree, and who does not expect personal honour yet is always prepared to give all respect to others can very easily always chant the holy name of the Lord.]

Srila Rupa Gosvami continued, “He is a scholar, who came in front of me for his name, fame and reputation. Why did you not offer proper respect to him? You are no longer qualified to stay with me or to perform bhajana and sadhana. Go, leave!”

Following the instructions of his Gurudeva, Srila Jiva Gosvami departed and found shelter in a low place, one infested with crocodiles and lamented, “What will I do now?” For three days, Jiva Gosvami did not take prasada (sanctified food) and all the Vrajavasis were searching for him, even Sanatana Gosvami joined the search. Eventually, it was rumoured that he was living in a hole where crocodiles also resided.

Quickly, Sanatana Gosvami went to this location and upon discovering Jiva Gosvami, convinced him to go back with him to Rupa Gosvami’s ashrama.

A short while later, after arriving at Rupa Gosvami’s residence, Sanatana Gosvami affectionately chastised Rupa, “ O Rupa! What is the teaching of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu?”

“Giving mercy to all the living entities,” simply answered Rupa Gosvami.

Sanatana Gosvami further said, “Your disciple Jiva is also a jiva (living entity).”

jive-daya parama-dharma

[To be merciful to all living entities, is the highest form of religiosity.]

After hearing his brother’s beautiful instructions, Rupa Gosvami once again granted shelter to Jiva Gosvami, by embracing his disciple and allowing him to resume service unto his lotus feet.

What are the teachings here? In one aspect there is a lesson to be learned from Srila Rupa Gosvami, and in the other, we can equally learn from Srila Jiva Gosvami’s exemplary behaviour.

Rupa Gosvami’s teaching is that one should always be humble and offer proper respect to others and Jiva Gosvamipada is showing us how we should have strong guru-nishtha. In the scriptures, it is stated that one who criticises guru, never achieves faith again. Always be very careful not to do this.

Importance of Respecting Both Guru & Vaishnava

‘Gurupada-padma nishtha’—never criticise Guru and never criticise any Vaishnavas. Never even associate with one who criticises Guru and Vaishnavas, otherwise, you will be unable to properly show respect towards Guru and Vaishnavas. Always remember, Vaishnava is Guru and Guru is Vaishnava. There are no differences between Guru and Vaishnava; you receive diksha from guru, and someone accepts diksha from another guru. What is the difference? Again, Guru is Vaishnava and Vaishnava is Guru.

For example, when your Gurudeva is in front of me, to me he is a Vaishnava and when my Gurudeva is in front of you, you consider him to be a Vaishnava. Thus, there are no differences between Guru and Vaishnava. Do not forget, one who criticises Guru and Vaishnava, never associate with them, be very cautious in this regard. ‘Guru ninda’ (criticising guru). Our shastras explain, “One who criticises Guru and Vaishnava, never even look at his face.” Be very careful with this matter and always perform your bhajana and sadhana without criticising anyone, especially Guru and Vaishnava.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare

Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

According to Srila Bhakti Prajnana Keshava Gosvami Maharaja, “Vaishnava is Guru and Guru is Vaishnava.” In this regard, one should always offer proper respect.

Mad guru jagad guru—my guru is the universal guru. Mad guru jagad guru does not mean that I only respect my Guru and dishonour other Vaishnavas. One simply cannot do this, this is vaishnava-aparadha (offence against Vaishnavas). Simultaneously, it is also guru-aparadha (offence against guru). Guru will not be pleased if you disobey other Vaishnavas. Guru will only be pleased if you offer proper respect to Vaishnavas; always try to give respect to any Vaishnava. We are given two hands, a left hand and right hand. Which hand is stronger? This cannot be determined as both hands are equal. In this analogy, one hand is Guru and the other is a Vaishnava.

Hari, Guru and Vaishnava — you should give the same respect to Gurudeva, as you do to a Vaishnava and respect them all, in the same way you would respect Lord Sri Hari. Those who respect Guru, yet disrespect or dishonour Vaishnavas, will never please their guru.

Some actually think, “I prefer my guru, but I don’t prefer some Vaishnavas.” This is a great offence and if you think or say this, guru will never be pleased with you. Listen very carefully, always pay equal respects to guru and Vaishnavas. When I speak of guru I refer to diksha and shiksha-gurus. In this specific reference, a shiksha-guru is the Vaishnava and diksha-guru is the guru. Nonetheless, both are guru-tattva.

Srila Jiva Gosvami explained, “I have to chastise those who criticise my Guru. Whatever my Gurudeva has written is one hundred percent perfect.” Still, due to our misunderstandings of Guru and Vaishnava tattvas, we sometimes respect Guru and disrespect Vaishnavas. However, our scriptures clearly state that you must always show respect towards both Guru and Vaishnava.

I recall a pastime from my earlier days, when Gurudeva once visited a devotee’s house. That devotee had incorrectly placed only Gurudeva’s picture, Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja, on his altar. Noticing this, Gurudeva became very upset and heavily chastised him, “Why are you not also putting Srila Vamana Gosvami Maharaja there?” The devotee answered, “Because you are my Guru.” Then, Gurudeva told him, “What stupid nonsense! Without Srila Vamana Gosvami Maharaja, do not place my picture on the altar either. If you put my picture, you must also have Srila Vamana Gosvami Maharaja and Srila Trivikrama Gosvami Maharaja too. Otherwise, how will you possibly become liberated?”

The meaning of this is that Guru is teaching us how to respect Vaishnavas and guru as being non-different. Hence, never disrespect any Vaishnavas. Pay very careful attention to this. Those who think or say, “After my Gurudeva, there is no guru-parampara (disciplic succession),” are really just disciples of Kali. Gurudeva would always say that our guru-parampara will never end, like the endless stream of the Ganges which never stops. Our guru-parampara will never be finished.

Still, some think, “After my Gurudeva, there is no guru-parampara.” This is just another form of impersonalism as our guru-parampara will always be ongoing. Also take great caution in this issue. For this regard, Gurudeva once gave a strong lecture where he said, “Some of you think, ‘After my Gurudeva, there is no guru-parampara.’ This is called ritvik philosophy. Rather, think, ‘This person is a guru,’ and take initiation from him and become his disciple.” What is our guru-parampara exactly? Guru-shakti (potency of Guru) and bhagavat-shakti (potency of the Lord), which will always continue and will never cease.

Jaya Srila Gurudeva ki jaya!

(Jaya Srila Jiva Gosvamipada ki jaya!)

Date: 28 December 2014 Location: Brazil


Transcriber: Govinda-priya dasi (Lithuania) First editor: Janardana dasa (UK), Prema-bhakti dasa (Brazil) Second editor: Damodara dasa (UK), Sanatana dasa (USA) Proofreader: Chandrika dasi (UK), Divya-premamayi dasi (Slovakia) Photo: Navina-krishna dasa (Holland)

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