Once, a digvijayī-paṇḍita, a scholar who claimed he had defeated his contemporaries in all four directions, and who was desirous of mundane fame and adoration, came to challenge Rūpa and Sanātana Gosvāmī in debate. Not wanting to waste their time with the mundane scholar, Rūpa and Sanātana Gosvāmī assented to his demands, which is that if they wouldn’t debate him, they both sign certificates signifying his victory over them.
The digvijayī-paṇḍita was critical toward vaiṣṇava-dharma, and he disparaged Mahāprabhu’s teachings.
When he came near Jīva Gosvāmī, he said, “Give me a victory certificate as well.”
Jīva Gosvāmī had heard that the paṇḍita previously obtained victory certificates from Rūpa and Sanātana Gosvāmī. He also knew that the paṇḍita had spoken against Mahāprabhu, and claimed that He was not a member of the Brahmā-Madhva-sampradāya. When he approached Jīva Gosvāmī, the scholar was surprised to see that Jīva Gosvāmī did not submit to him without debate, and was further stunned by Jīva Gosvāmī’s unparalleled scholarship. He was overwhelmed in defeat and stood motionless in shock. Jīva Gosvāmī corrected him for disrespecting the Gauḍīya Guru-varga and slighting the sampradāya.
The detractors of Guru and Vaiṣṇavas cause great harm to the world by their actions. They must be corrected. But one must be qualified, or he can cause more harm than good. Jīva Gosvāmī not only defeated the mundane views of antagonistic scholars, but he also changed their hearts and turned them into devotees.
As Madhvācārya, Ramānujācārya, Viṣṇusvāmī, and Nimbāditya Ācārya and so forth, made their critics understand the true conception of their respective philosophies, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī established everyone in the firm foundation of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava siddhānta.
Jīva Gosvāmī was an unparalleled scholar of the Vedānta. Once, an ācārya from the Viṣṇusvāmī sampradāya showed a composition he had made called Tattva-dīpa to Jīva Gosvāmī. Looking at it, Jīva Gosvāmī raised many points on the true purport of the Vedānta, and revealed the flaws in the book. On the advice of Jīva Gosvāmī, that ācārya made many corrections in the book.
Śrīman Mahāprabhu relieved Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya from his affiliations to Māyāvāda, and turned him into a dedicated follower of pure bhakti. Thus, Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya became established in the eternal servitude of Bhagavān. A proud, unqualified person, who is devoid of paramārtha (spiritual wealth), will work to destroy the world and himself by his exhibition of mundane learning and logic. Changing such a person’s nature is an act of true kindness. But one must be highly qualified to do so.
After the disappearance of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Sanātana Gosvāmī, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī became the foremost authority of the Vaiṣṇavas in the three dhāmas: Kṣetra-maṇḍala, Gauḍa-maṇḍala, and Vraja-maṇḍala. He founded the Viśva-vaiṣṇava-rāja-sabhā, or worldwide assembly of Vaiṣṇavas. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī had many qualities befitting an ācārya. He engaged everyone properly in hari-bhajana. He was dedicated in preaching the bhakti-śāstras and maintained an exemplary life of renunciation. He served Hari and the hari-jana at all times and possessed unshakable faith in Śrī Guru.
He completely dedicated himself to the service of the Gosvāmīs and Gauḍīya sampradāya, and established a devotional society for helping awaken the jīvas’ inclination to perform hari-bhajana.
In his life, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī displayed great opulence and extraordinary qualities. He was the proprietor of great wealth, possessed unprecedented scholarship, was born in a high-caste, and was beautiful. However, in order to teach the general populace, being an incarnation of mercy, he renounced everything and taught the jīvas of this world the highest ideal by using his life solely in search for Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
Jīva Gosvāmī gave up everything out of love for Kṛṣṇa—his position as the heir to the royal post of Rūpa and Sanātana, his home, and all varieties of enjoyment. Renouncing everything, he distributed his great wealth to the brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas.
He was a naiṣṭhika-brahmacārī, a perfect celibate from birth, and spent his whole life engaged in serving the pastimes of Śrī Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.
Srila Jiva Gosvami ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Srila Rupa Gosvami”. Available from: [email protected] )