miércoles, 2 de abril de 2014

Jaiva-dharma - Introduction by Rama Kānta Dāsa

Jaiva-dharma - Introduction
(Written for the second Hindi edition) by Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja
Of the many religious traditions in the world, almost all of them adopt various methods to propagate their respective ideals. With this in mind, they publish literature in different languages. It is self-evident that in the realm of secular education there are elementary, intermediate and advanced levels, as well as higher and lower branches of learning. Similarly, it is self-evident – and those who are widely read and deeply learned in comparative religious studies universally admit it – that there are gradations of knowledge in the metaphysical teachings of the diverse religious traditions. Amongst all these religious ideologies, the instructions given by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu on the religion of prema (pure love) are the highest revelation from all angles of vision. Surely, once the world's impartial thinkers are exposed to such sublime understanding, they will unanimously accept this fact.
Everyone wants to be inspired by the highest ideal and teachings, but how can this auspicious desire come to bear fruit?
It is with this thought that the great liberated personality and crest-jewel of the educated elite, Śrīla Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda established, by his personal example the foremost ideal of spiritual life, and composed many books on vaiṣṇava-dharma in different languages. In these books can be found a thorough description in simple language of the instructions of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Out of all the author's books, this Jaiva-dharma is considered to be the quintessence by religious thinkers of the world.
Within this world the Vedas are the most ancient writings. Their corollaries, which include the Upaniṣads and other literature compiled by Śrī Vedavyāsa (such as Vedānta-sūtra, Mahābhārata, and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam), are all consummate literary works. Over the course of time, varieties of books were written, inspired by the ideals enunciated in that body of literature. They were widely circulated and thus gained broad popularity. In these books, not only do we find gradations of thought, distinguishing characteristics and contrasting views, but also we observe mutual exclusivity, polarisation of doctrine, and speculative philosophy. As a result, there have been upheavals and calamities in the religious domain, and these continue to the present day.
Under such precarious circumstances, the original Supreme Lord, Svayam Bhagavān, who is the Absolute Truth, appeared approximately 500 years ago in the foremost of the seven holy places, Śrī Dhāma Māyāpura within Navadvīpa-dhāma, to deliver the conditioned living beings. At that time the Lord specifically empowered some of His beloved associates to compile voluminous books, which contain the true purport and essence of all śāstras. Through the medium of this literature, the Lord desired to invest bhakti, which is the root of divya-jñāna (transcendental knowledge), within the hearts of all people. All these books with the exception of three or four, were written in the Sanskrit language.
Śrī Rūpa and Sanātana Gosvāmīs were among the most elevated and confidential associates of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī was so dear to Śrī Rūpa and Sanātana that he was practically their identical manifestation. Extracting the essence of all the śāstras, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī composed the Ṣaṭ-sandarbhas and other books in Sanskrit. Through this effort, Svayam Bhagavān manifested His confidential desire to enact His līlā of delivering the jīvas.
Some people, who are incapable of ascertaining the true meaning of the śāstras, are compelled to interpret them according to their relative understanding. In some cases, such people take only a partial meaning of the śāstra; in other cases, their interpretations cloud the true meaning; and in other cases again, they adopt a view that is thoroughly opposed to the original intention. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī is not in any of these categories, and the instructions that flowed from his pen are the absolute and conclusive instructions of Śrīman Mahāprabhu, which are the instructions of the Vedas, the Upaniṣads, the Mahābhārata, and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Taking support of the flawless and complete purport of these instructions, Jaiva-dharma has been compiled in an astonishing form. So that readers may easily understand the utility and import of this book, we shall now give an analysis of the title's significance.
The author has named this book Jaiva-dharma. Since we all maintain some particular conception of dharma (essential occupation or religion), it is not necessary to elaborate further on this, also due to a shortage of space. In Sanskrit, when the secondary suffix aṇ is added to the word jīva (living being), it causes the medial vowel to be strengthened, and the ṇ in the suffix aṇ to be dropped, and thus we obtain the word jaiva. The word jaiva means ‘of or related to the jīva’. Therefore, Jaiva-dharma means the dharma of the jīva, or the characteristic function related to the jīva.
But what is meant by the word jīvain this context?
The author answers this question exhaustively in this book, but I still think that it is essential to submit one or two points in brief.
The word jīvana (life) comes from the word jīva, which means ‘one who has life’. In other words, all living beings are known as jīvas. Thus, the author has used the term ‘jaiva-dharma’ to indicate the constitutional function of the jīva. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has instructed jīvas through His exclusively devoted followers, the Six Gosvāmīs – headed by Śrī Rūpa, Sanātana and Jīva Gosvāmī – as to what type of dharma they should accept and follow. Approximately four hundred years later, the author of this book, Śrīla Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda, who is renowned as the Seventh Gosvāmī, appeared not far from Śrī Dhāma Māyāpura, the birthplace of Śrī Gaurāṅga. Being very soft-hearted and empathising with the plight of the jīvas, he wrote Jaiva-dharma in the Bengali language.
By the desire of Bhagavān, Śrī Kṛṣṇa dāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī, a beloved associate of Śrī Gaurāṅga, captured the essence of Bhagavān Śrī Gauracandra's instructions in Śrī Caitanya-Caritāmṛta. This is expressed in the following śloka:
jīvera svarūpa haya kṛṣṇera nitya dāsa 
kṛṣṇera taṭasthā-śakti bhedābheda prakāśa
(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 20.108)

The jīva's natural condition is to be a servant of Kṛṣṇa. The jīva is the marginal potency of Kṛṣṇa, and a manifestation which is both one with and different from Kṛṣṇa.
The author has based Jaiva-dharma on this śloka, which is the bīja-mantra (fundamental aphorism) of all instructions for Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas. Therefore, this book is beneficial and acceptable for all human beings, beyond distinctions of race, caste, stage of life, time, place or person. Not only that, it is beneficial even for jīvas who take birth in other species, whether stones, animals, birds, insects, aquatics, or other moving and non-moving entities.
There are many examples worth mentioning of beings other than humans who accepted jaiva-dharma. Ahalyā is an example in the body of a stone; the twin Yamalārjunas and the seven tāla's in the bodies of trees; King Nṛga in the body of a lizard; Bharata Mahārāja in a deer's body; Surabhī in a cow's body; Gajendra in an elephant's body; Jāmavanta in a bear's body; and Aṅgada and Sugrīva in the bodies of monkeys. The instructor of the entire universe, Brahmā, prayed to Svayam Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa to obtain the service of His lotus feet, even if that meant taking birth within species of grass, shrubs, animals or birds. This is stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.14.30):
tad astu me nātha sa bhūri-bhāgo 
bhave 'tra vānyatra tu vā tiraścām
yenāham eko 'pi bhavaj janānāṁ 
bhūtvā niṣeve tava pāda-pallavam

My dear Lord, I pray that You will bestow such good fortune upon me that I may be counted as one of Your bhaktas and fully engage in the service of Your lotus feet, whether in this life as Brahmā, or in the next, even if I should take birth among the animal species.
Prahlāda Mahārāja, the emperor of bhaktas, expressed still more clearly the aspiration to obtain jaiva-dharma in the form of service to Bhagavān, even if it meant taking birth as an animal, or in any form among the thousands of species:
nātha yoni-sahasreṣu 
yeṣu yeṣu vrajāmy aham 
teṣu teṣv acalā bhaktir 
acyutāstu sadā tvayi
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.87.32)

O Acyuta, in whichever of the thousands of species I may be forced to wander, please let me always have unflinching devotion unto You.
The author, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, has also prayed in a similar manner in his book entitled Śaraṇāgati:
kīṭa janma hau yathā tuyā dāsa 
bahir-mukha brahmā-janme nāhi āśa

Let me take birth, even as an insect, wherever Your bhaktas are to be found. I do not wish to be born as a Brahmā indifferent to You.
The instructions of Jaiva-dharma are therefore commendable and acceptable for all jīvas. By taking those instructions deeply into our hearts, all living entities can easily obtain permanent release from the dreadful torment caused by the invincible shackles of illusion, and from the phantasmagoria of trivial and false pleasure. Furthermore, such souls will become immersed in the bliss of service to Bhagavān, and thus become fit to experience supreme peace and ultimate transcendental pleasure.
Previously it was indicated that there are higher and lower gradations of instruction in the field of secular knowledge. Similarly, it is accepted that there are higher and lower gradations of instruction in the field of religious truth. Only people of eminent qualification can accept the ideal that is contained in the advanced teachings.
The purport is that human beings are superior to all other species of life. There are many different types of living entities other than human beings. The word prāṇī (that which has life), or jīva, refers to a conscious entity. We are not concerned here with unconscious objects or inert matter. The natural function of a conscious entity is called dharma, which implies the function of consciousness, or the nature that stems from one's true identity. The concept of dharma is inseparable from cetana (consciousness).
In the Sixteenth Chapter of this book, there is a minute analysis, consistent with modern science, of the systematic development of consciousness. Conscious beings who are bound by illusion are found in five conditions:
(1) ācchādita-cetana (covered consciousness), 
(2) saṅkucita-cetana (stunted consciousness), 
(3) mukulita-cetana (budding consciousness), 
(4) vikasita-cetana (blossoming consciousness), 
(5) pūrṇa-vikasita-cetana (fully blossomed consciousness).

Such conscious beings are known as jīvas, or prāṇī. These five stages of living beings are divided into two categories:
Non-moving entities (sthāvara) and moving entities (jaṅgama).
Trees, creepers, shrubs, stones and other non-moving beings are said to have covered consciousness (ācchādita-cetana). The other four types of conscious beings are moving, whereas these entities are not, because their consciousness is fully covered. Animals, birds, insects and aquatics have stunted consciousness (saṅkucita-cetana). Jīvas born in species other than human beings are found in the covered and stunted states of consciousness.
Jīvas in human species are found in the budding, blossoming and fully blossomed stages of consciousness. Although sentient beings in these last three states of awareness are all human by physical appearance, they are graded according to their development of consciousness. Bearing this gradation in mind, human consciousness is considered to be in the preliminary, intermediate or advanced stage of development.
Nonetheless, trees, creepers, shrubs, animals, birds and human beings are all jīvas, and their only dharma is to worship Bhagavān. Still, out of all of them, human beings are superior by dint of developed consciousness, and their special dharma is known as jaiva-dharma, which consists of the worship of Bhagavān.
The function of consciousness is graded according to the degree to which knowledge or awareness is covered. There is no doubt that human beings are superior to all other earthly life forms, yet it is essential to understand whence this superiority stems. It cannot be said that human beings are superior to trees, creepers, insects, animals, birds and aquatics from the point of view of form and appearance, strength and prowess, and beauty and charm. However, human beings are superior in every way to all other species with regard to the mental faculty, the development of the intellect, and the expansion of consciousness. It is this special dharma that is being analysed in Jaiva-dharma. Although in a general sense, jaiva-dharma is the dharma of all living beings, it should be understood as the specific dharma of the human species, because the special qualification for the highest dharma is found only among those jīvas with highly developed awareness.
The question may then be raised as to why this book was entitled Jaiva-dharma and not Mānava-dharma or Manuṣya-dharma (the religion of human beings). When we investigate, we learn that the true function of human beings is found only in dharma; dharma or religion is not found in other species. This is the general rule. Trees, creepers, stones, worms, insects, fish, tortoises, animals, birds, snakes and other living entities are counted as jīvas, but they do not exhibit the religious tendency which is characterised by the aspiration for mokṣa (liberation) or the worship of Bhagavān.
Some philosophers are of the opinion that living beings who display only animalistic attributes, such as foolishness and mercilessness, are in fact animals. It is observed that some jīvas of this animalistic class possess natural intuition by virtue of birth. To a limited extent, this natural intuition is a semblance of human nature. In reality though, it is not human nature, for the human disposition is only observed when animalism is combined with knowledge or rationality. Those who have this human disposition are known as human beings.
Our Āryan sages have described the animalistic demeanour as having four compelling propensities: āhāra (eating), nidrā (sleeping), bhaya (fearing), and maithuna (mating). The human disposition manifests only when one overcomes these animalistic propensities and develops rationality (dharma-vṛtti). Western philosophers have also stated that men are rational beings.
However, it is essential to note that the meaning of rationality in Western philosophy is considerably limited.
In Āryan philosophy, the word dharma is extremely comprehensive. Within only a single aspect of its meaning, it encompasses the Western philosophical concept of rationality, and extends far beyond that to include the proclivity for the worship of God. Dharma is the true identifying characteristic of human nature, and living beings who are devoid of dharma are designated as animals. It is stated in śāstra:
āhāra-nidrā-bhaya-maithunañ ca 
sāmānyam etat paśubhir narāṇām
dharmo hi teṣām adhiko viśeṣo 
dharmeṇa hīnāḥ paśubhiḥ samānāḥ
(Hitopadeśa 25)

The meaning of this śloka is that the natural propensity of living beings is to satisfy the senses through the activities of eating, sleeping, fearing and mating. These propensities are observed equally in human beings and in all other species; there is no second opinion about this. Human beings, however, can only truly live up to the human status when the disposition to be religious is found in them.
The words dharmo hi teṣām adhiko viśeṣaḥ mean that dharma is the special quality which distinguishes human beings from animals and other species. Those in whom dharma is completely absent cannot properly be called human beings. The words dharmeṇa hīnāḥ paśubhiḥ samānāḥ mean that people who are devoid of dharma are like animals. That is why, in our country, human beings who are devoid of dharma are called nara-paśu (animalistic men).
It is especially noteworthy that today people have abandoned dharma and remain engrossed in eating and various forms of sensual enjoyment. This sense indulgence is the tendency of animals, or species other than human beings. Currently, due to the influence of Kali-yuga, humanity is gradually degrading and regressing toward animalism. Thus, according to śāstra, at present few people can even be classified as human beings. Had the author named this book Manuṣya-dharma, then from the śāstric definition of humanity, most would have been disqualified from this practice. It is for this reason that Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, desiring the welfare of everyone, gave his book the broad title Jaiva-dharma, and thus completely preserved the conventions of śāstra. Dharma, or the worship of Śrī Bhagavān, is found only in human beings, and not in animals, birds, and other species. Human beings, as the most advanced species, are particularly qualified for the highest teachings, or dharma. Jaiva-dharma is especially meant to be studied by them.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's unique quality is that He is merciful even to the most fallen people, making them eligible for His highest teachings. Such mercy was not bestowed by any other avatāra. Therefore, Śrīman Mahāprabhu has been glorified in śāstra in very meaningful words:
anarpita-carīṁ cirāt karuṇayāvatīrṇaḥ kalau 
samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasāṁ sva-bhakti-śriyam
hariḥ puraṭa-sundara-dyuti-kadamba-sandīpitaḥ 
sadā hṛdaya-kandare sphuratu vaḥ śacī-nandanaḥ
(Vidagdha-mādhava 1.2)

May Śrī Śacīnandana Gaurahari, who is resplendent with an effulgence more glorious than gold, be ever manifest in the core of our hearts. Out of His causeless mercy, He has appeared in the age of Kali to bestow upon the world the wealth of His own bhakti, the supreme, radiant mellow, ujjvala-rasa, the most confidential mood of service to Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa in Their conjugal relationship. This rare gift has not been given for an extremely long time. Human beings who receive this gift can very easily become free forever from the bondage of māyā, and by great fortune receive kṛṣṇa-prema.
The author of this śloka has effectively captured the speciality of Śrīman Mahāprabhu.
In the Eleventh Chapter of Jaiva-dharma, the author has established through the conversation between Mullah Sāhib and the Vaiṣṇavas that all human beings are eligible for vaiṣṇava-dharma. He has supported this conclusion with logical analysis and with firm evidence from the śāstra. Those who speak Urdū, Farsi, English, or any other language can become Vaiṣṇavas; it is not confined only to those who speak Sanskrit. In fact, it is observed that many people who speak Hindi, Bengali, Oriya, Assamese, Tamil, Telegu and other Indian languages have already attained the exalted status of Vaiṣṇavas. Indeed, people from virtually any social or religious background are eligible for this. Disparity in language is certainly not a disqualification.
Disregarding the opinion of those who might have had a prejudice about language, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has broadcast the transcendental instructions of Śrīman Mahāprabhu in many different languages. He has written approximately one hundred books in Sanskrit, Bengali, Oriya, Hindi, Urdu and English. The names of some of the more important of these works have been given below along with their dates of publication:
(1) Vedāntādhikaraṇa-mālā, 1872
(2) Datta-kaustubham, 1874
(3) Datta-vaṁśa-mālā, 1876
(4) Bauddha-vijaya-kāvyam, 1878
(5) Śrī Kṛṣṇa-saṁhitā, 1880
(6) Sanmodana bhāṣya (Śikṣāṣṭakam), 1886
(7) Daśopaṇiṣad-cūrṇikā, 1886
(8) Bhāvāvalī (commentary), 1886
(9) Śrī Caitanya-caranāmṛta bhāṣya (commentary on Śrī Caitanya-Upaniṣad), 1887
(10) Śrī Āmnāya-sūtram, 1890
(11) Tattva-vivekaḥ or Śrī Saccidānandānubhūtiḥ, 1893
(12) Tattva-sūtram, 1894
(13) Vedārka-dīdhiti (commentary on Śrī Īśopaniṣad), 1894
(14) Śrī Gaurāṅga-līlā-smaraṇa-maṅgala-stotram, 1896
(15) Śrī Bhagavad-dhāmāmṛtam (commentary), 1898
(16) Śrī Bhāgavata Arka-marīci-mālā, 1901
(17) Śrī Bhajana-rahasya, 1902
(18) Svaniyama-dvādaśakam, 1907 
(19) Brahmamsūtra bhāṣya (commentary)
(20) Śikṣā-daśamūlam etc.

Bengali (prose)
(1) Garbha-stotra (translation), 1870
(2) Śrī Sajjana-toṣaṇī (monthly magazine), 1881
(3) Rasika-Rañjana (commentary on Bhagavad Gītā), 1886
(4) Śrī Caitanya Śikṣāmṛta, 1886
(5) Prema-pradīpa, 1886
(6) Published Śrī Viṣṇu-sahasra-nāma, 1886
(7) Vaiṣṇava-siddhānta-mālā, 1888
(8) Siddhānta-darpaṇam (Bengali translation), 1890
(9) Vidvad-rañjana (commentary on Bhagavad Gītā), 1891
(10) Śrī Harināma, 1892
(11) Śrī Nāma, 1892
(12) Śrī Nāma-tattva, 1892
(13) Śrī Nāma-mahimā, 1892
(14) Śrī Nāma-pracāra, 1892
(15) Śrīman Mahāprabhura Śikṣā, 1892
(16) Tattva-muktāvalī or Māyāvāda-śatadūṣaṇī (translated and published), 1894
(17) Amṛta-pravāha-bhāṣya (commentary on Caitanya caritāmṛta), 1895
(18) Śrī Rāmānuja Upadeśa, 1896
(19) Jaiva-Dharma, 1896
(20) Prakāśinī-vṛtti (commentary on Brahma-saṁhitā), 1897
(21) Pīyūṣa-varṣiṇī-vṛtti (commentary on Upadeśāmṛta), 1898
(22) Śrī Bhajanāmṛtam (translation and commentary), 1899 
(23) Śrī Saṅkalpa-kalpadruma (Bengali translation), 1901 etc.

Bengali (verse)
(1) Hari-kathā: Topics of Lord Hari, 1850 
(2) Śumbha-Niśumbha-yuddha, 1851
(3) Vijana-grāma, 1863.
(4) Sannyāsī, 1863.
(5) Kalyāṇa-kalpataru, 1881
(6) Manaḥ-Śikṣā (translation and commentary), 1886
(7) Śrī Kṛṣṇa-vijaya (published), 1887
(8) Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma-mahātmya, 1890
(9) Śaraṇāgati, 1893
(10) Gītāvalī, 1893
(11) Gītāmālā, 1893
(12) Śoka-śātana, 1893
(13) Śrī Navadvīpa-bhāva-taraṅga, 1899
(14) Śrī Harināma-cintāmaṇi, 1900
(15) Śrī Prema-vivarta (published), 1906 etc.

(1) Vālide Rejiṣṭrī, 1866. Etc.
(1) Poriade, 1857–58.
(2) Maṭhas of Orissa, 1860.
(3) Our Wants, 1863
(4) Speech on Gautama, 1866
(5) The Bhāgavat: Its Philosophy, Its Ethics, and Its Theology, 1869
(6) Reflections, 1871
(7) Ṭhākura Haridāsa, 1871
(8) The Temple of Jagannātha at Purī, 1871
(9) The Monasteries of Purī, 1871
(10) The Personality of Godhead, 1871
(11) A Beacon of Light, 1871
(12) Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, His Life and Precepts, 1896 etc.

When one sees this list, one can easily infer that the author was a vastly learned scholar of many different languages. I think it necessary at this point to shed some light on a special feature of the author’s life. Although he was a pre-eminent scholar of western thought, he was completely free from Western influences. Western educators say:
“Don’t follow me; follow my words.”
In other words:
“Don’t do as I do; do as I say.”
The life of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura refutes this principle, for he personally applied and demonstrated all the instructions of his books in his own life. Therefore, his instructions and manner of bhajana are known as “Bhaktivinoda dhārā” (the line of Bhaktivinoda). There is not a single instruction in his books that he did not personally follow. Therefore, there is no disparity between his writings and his life, between his actions and his words. They are one in all respects.
It is natural for readers to be curious to learn about a great personality who possesses such extraordinary character. Modern readers, in particular, who seek to know about any subject, cannot have faith in an author’s writings without being acquainted with him. Therefore, I am submitting a few words about Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura.
When it comes to discussing the life of mahā-puruṣas (great self-realised personalities who are transcendental to mortal existence), it would be a mistake to consider their birth, life span and death to be similar to that of mere mortals, because mahā-puruṣas are beyond birth and death. They are situated in eternal existence, and their coming and going from this world is strictly a matter of their own appearance and disappearance.
Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura appeared on Sunday, September 2, 1838, and thus illuminated the sky of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism. He took birth in a high-class family in a village named Vīra-nagara (also known as Ulāgrāma or Ulā), which is located within the Nadiyā district of West Bengal, not far from Śrī Dhāma Māyāpura, the appearance place of Śrī Gaurāṅga. He disappeared from this world on June 23, 1914, in the city of Calcutta. At that time, he entered the midday pastimes of Śrī Śrī Gāndharvikā-Giridhārī, who are the supreme objects of worship for the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas.
In his brief lifespan of seventy-six years, he instructed the world by personally carrying out the duties of the four āśramas (stages of spiritual life): brahmacārya (celibate student-life), gṛhastha (religious householder-life), vānaprastha (withdrawal from worldly duties), and sannyāsa (formal renunciation). He first underwent brahmacārya, and obtained various elevated instructions. After that, he entered gṛhastha life, and set an ideal example of how to maintain family members through honest and noble means. All householders should follow this example.
During his gṛhastha life, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda travelled all over India as a highly placed officer in the administration and justice department of the British government of India. By his exacting discrimination and expert administrative skills, this great personality managed to regulate and bring to order even those places that were infamous as lawless states. In the midst of family duties, he astonished all his contemporaries by the religious ideal he displayed. Although engaged in pressing responsibilities, he wrote many books in different languages. We have recorded the dates of composition in our list of his books. If the reader studies this, he can clearly deduce Bhaktivinoda's incredible creative power.
After retiring from his government responsibilities, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda adopted the stage of vānaprastha, and intensified his spiritual practice. At that time, he established an āśrama at Surabhī-kuñja in Godrumadvīpa, one of the nine districts of Navadvīpa. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura remained there and performed bhajana for a considerable time.
Later, he accepted the life of an ascetic, and stayed at Svānanda-sukhada-kuñja, which was nearby. While residing there, he established the appearance place of Śrī Caitanya-deva and many other places of gaura-līlā. In this, he followed the example of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His followers, the Six Gosvāmīs, who had discovered the birthplace and other pastime places of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. If Śrīla Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda had not appeared in this world, the pastime places and instructions of Śrī Gaurāṅga Mahāprabhu would have disappeared from the world. The entire world of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas will therefore remain indebted to him forever. It is for this reason that he has been awarded the highest honour in the Vaiṣṇava community by being addressed as the Seventh Gosvāmī.
This mahā-puruṣa instructed the world both through the ideal example of his personal life and by writing books in many different languages. In addition, there is yet another unique gift that he bestowed, and it would be a display of ingratitude on my part if I neglected to mention this. Śrīla Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda brought a great personality into this world, who was the commander-in chief in propagating the dharma revealed by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. This great personality is my beloved Gurudeva, and he is renowned throughout the world as jagad-guru oṁ viṣṇupāda paramahaṁsa-kula-cūḍāmaṇi aṣṭottara-śata Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Ṭhākura. It was an incomparable and unprecedented accomplishment on the part of Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura to bring this mahā-puruṣa into the world. The Vaiṣṇava community honours Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura with the shorter title of Śrīla Prabhupāda, and hereafter, I will also refer to this supremely liberated mahā-puruṣa as Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Śrīla Prabhupāda appeared as Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura's son and successor. Throughout the world, he raised the brilliant banner of Śrī Madhva-Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava dharma, which was practiced and propagated by Śrīman Mahāprabhu, Śrī Caitanyadeva. In so doing, he brought tremendous welfare and elevation to the religious domain. Even Western and Far Eastern countries like America, England, Germany, France, Sweden, Switzerland and Burma were not deprived of his mercy. He established sixty-four Gauḍīya Maṭha preaching centres in India and around the world, and from these he propagated the teachings of Śrī Caitanya. He also circulated all the books of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, and thus established his incomparable fame throughout the world.
By the influence of time and the onslaught of the age of Kali, various types of corruption and false doctrines had infiltrated Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava dharma. As a result, thirteen distorted sects (apasampradāyas) had emerged, and they are named in this śloka:
āola bāola karttābhajā neḍā darveśa sāī 
sahajiyā sakhī-bhekī smārtta jāti-gosāī
atibāḍī cūḍādhārī gaurāṅga-nāgarī 
totā kahe e teraha saṅga nāhi kari
(Gauḍīya-kaṇṭha-hāra 13.111)

Totā says that he will not associate with the thirteen apasampradāyas: āola, bāola, karttābhajā, neḍā, darveśa, sāī, sahajiyā, sakhī-bhekī, smārtta, jāti-gosāī, atibāḍī, cūḍādhārī and gaurāṅga-nāgarī.
Śrīla Prabhupāda significantly curbed the mischievous activities of these apasampradāyas through his preaching and by publishing the books of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. Despite all this, however, due to the influence of Kali, eating, leisure and material security unfortunately tend to become the primary interests of any religious sect. In reality, all these things are just other names for animal propensities or the expansion of animalistic endeavours. We have discussed this earlier.
Jaiva-dharma contains a thorough discussion of the nature of dharma, our relationship with dharma, the result of following dharma, the true import of dharma, the fact that so-called religion that is impelled by Kali is not dharma at all, and many other topics. In fact, one can know the meaning of all the śāstras in a condensed form simply by studying this compact book, which contains a comparative analysis of all the religions of the world through the medium of questions and answers. In brief, I may say that this little book is filled with the essence of all the śāstras of India, like the ocean contained in an earthen pitcher. It is no exaggeration to say that unless religious-minded people read this book, there will certainly be a dearth of philosophical knowledge regarding spiritual truth in their lives.
I invite the readers to consult the table of contents for a glimpse of the range of important topics covered. The author has preserved the śāstra-maryādā (śāstric convention) by explaining the truth in relation to the three divisions: sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana. Spiritual topics should always be presented in this proper order, which begins with sambandha (establishing knowledge of one's relationship with Śrī Kṛṣṇa), then abhidheya (engagement in the means to awaken love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa), and finally prayojana (attainment of the goal of love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa). Some inexperienced authors transgress this order, and discuss prayojana-tattva first, followed by sambandha-tattva and abhidheya-tattva. This is completely contrary to the conclusions of the Vedas, Upaniṣads, Purāṇas, Mahābhārata, and especially Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the crest jewel of all spiritual evidence.
In the first division of the book, there is an analysis of nitya-dharma, eternal religious duties related to the very nature of the soul, and naimittika-dharma, occasional or temporary religious duties related to one’s moral obligations in this world. In the second division, there is a thorough description of the truths of sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana, which is solidly based on evidence from the śāstra. In the third division, there is a penetrating discussion of the nature of rasa.
According to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s line of thought, one should not enter into rasa-vicāra (a consideration of the confidential, transcendental mellows of bhakti) until he has attained higher qualification. An unqualified sādhaka will impede his progress, rather than helping it, if he makes an unauthorised attempt to enter into rasa-vicāra. Śrīla Prabhupāda has expressed this clearly in numerous articles, such as Bhāī Sahajiyā (My Brother Who Cheapens the Sanctity of Spiritual Life by Equating His Material Instincts with Spiritual Emotions) and Prākṛta-rasaśata-dūṣaṇī (One Hundred Objections to Perverted Material Mellows). One should therefore exercise caution in this matter.

The original Jaiva-dharma was written in Bengali, but the book uses Sanskrit extensively, for it contains many quotations from śāstra. In a very short time at least twelve large editions of this book have already been published in Bengali, which shows how popular it is. This present Hindi edition of Jaiva-dharma has been printed according to the system used for the most recent Bengali edition of Jaiva-dharma, published in a new format by the Gauḍīya Vedānta Samiti. Tridaṇḍi Svāmī Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja, the highly competent editor of the Hindi monthly spiritual magazine ‘Śrī Bhāgavata Patrikā’, took great pains to translate this book into Hindi, and published it in the magazine in a series of articles spanning a period of six years. At the repeated request of many faithful readers, he has now published these articles in book form for the benefit of the Hindi-speaking religious populace.
In this connection, I feel compelled to note that our highly distinguished translator's mother-tongue is Hindi, and he learned Bengali in order to study this book. After thoroughly mastering both the language and the subject matter, he accepted the difficulty and substantial labour of translating it into Hindi. I am very pleased at heart that he has expertly preserved the rigorous philosophy, the deeply profound analysis of rasa, and the lofty and subtle moods of the original book. The Hindi speaking world will remain indebted to him for this monumental work. In particular, Śrīla Prabhupāda and Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura will definitely bestow great mercy on him for his tireless service.
Above all, I must say that it is only because the sādhakas who were involved in the production of this book hold me in some esteem that my name has been used in connection with the editing of this book. In reality, it is the translator and publisher, Tridaṇḍi Svāmī Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja, who has done all the editing work, and who is thus the object of my special affection and blessings.
I have complete faith that by studying this book, both the faithful public and the learned scholars of this country will gain knowledge of the fundamental truths of sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana, which were practiced and preached by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. By so doing, they will become eligible to enter the prema-dharma of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. In conclusion, I pray that the readers will bestow profuse blessings upon us by reading this book very carefully.
Śrī Keśavajī Gauḍīya Maṭha Mathurā, U.P., 1966
Śrīla Prabhupāda Kiṅkara
Tridaṇḍi-bhikṣu Śrī Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava

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