Phala Sruti - Benefits of Hearing
Ch.1 - Eternal and Temporary Dharmas of the Jiva
Ch. 2 - The Nitya Dharma of the Jiva is Pure & Eternal
Ch.3 - Naimittika-Dharma is to be Relinquished
Ch.4 - Vaisnava-Dharma is Nitya-Dharma
Ch.5 - Vaidhi-Bhakti is Nitya not Naimittika-Dharma
Ch.6 - Nitya-Dharma, Race & Caste
Ch.7 - Nitya-Dharma & Material Existence
Ch.8 - Nitya-Dharma & Vaisnava Behavior
Ch.9 - Nitya-Dharma, Material Science & Civilization
Ch.10 - Nitya-Dharma & History
Ch.11 - Nitya-Dharma & Idolatry
Ch.12 - Nitya-Dharma, Sadhana & Sadhya
Ch.13 - Pramana & The Commencement of Prameya
Ch.14 - Prameya: Sakti-Tattva
Ch.15 - Prameya: Jiva-Tattva
Ch.16 - Prameya: Jivas Possessed by Maya
Ch.17 - Prameya: The Jivas Free from Maya
Ch.18 - Prameya: Bhedabheda-Tattva
Ch.19 - Prameya: Abhidheya Tattva
Ch.22 - Prameya: Prayojana Tattva
Ch.23 - Prameya: Sri-Nama-Tattva
Ch.24 - Prameya: Nama-Aparadha
Ch.25 - Prameya: Namabhasa
Ch.26 - Introduction to Rasa-Tattva
Ch.27 - Rasa-Tattva: Sattvika-Bhava, Vyabhicari-Bhava & Rati-Abhasa
Ch.28 - Rasa-Tattva: Mukhya-Rati
Ch.29 - Rasa-Tattva: Anubhavas in Santa, Dasya, & Sakhya Rasas
Ch.30 - Rasa-Tattva: Anubhavas in Vatsalya & Madhurya Rasa
Ch.31 - Madhurya-Rasa: Krsna’s Svarupa, the Nayaka, & Svakiya-Nayikas
Ch.32 - Madhurya-Rasa: Parakiya-Nayikas
Ch.33 - Madhurya-Rasa: Sri Radha’s Svarupa, Five Types of Sakhis, & Messengers
Ch.34 - Madhurya-Rasa: Sri Radha’s Svarupa, Five Types of Sakhis, & Messengers
Ch.35 - Madhurya-Rasa: Uddipana
Ch.36 - Sthayibhava & Stages of Rati
Ch.37 - Srngara-Rasa: Srngara-Svarupa & Vipralambha
Ch.38 - Srngara-Rasa: Mukhya-Sambhoga & Asta-Kaliya-Lila
Ch.39 - Entering Lila
Ch.40 - Attaining Prema – the Supreme Wealth
(written for the second Hindi edition)
Excerpts from the Introduction to Jaiva-dharma by Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja
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 Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu 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, Srila Thakura Bhaktivinoda established, by his personal example the foremost ideal of spiritual life, and composed many books on vaisnava-dharma in different languages. In these books can be found a thorough description in simple language of the instructions of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. 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 Upanisads and other literature compiled by Sri Vedavyasa (such as Vedanta-sutra, Mahabharata and Srimad-Bhagavatam), 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, polarization 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 Bhagavan, who is the Absolute Truth, appeared approximately 500 years ago in the foremost of the seven holy places, Sridhama-Mayapura within Navadvipa dhama, 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 sastras. Through the medium of this literature, the Lord desired to invest bhakti, which is the root of divya-jnana (transcendental knowledge), within the hearts of all people. All these books with the exception of three or four, were written in the Sanskrit language.
Sri Rupa and Sanatana Gosvamis were among the most elevated and confidential associates of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and Srila Jiva Gosvami was so dear to Sri Rupa and Sanatana that he was practically their identical manifestation. Extracting the essence of all the sastras, Srila Jiva Gosvami composed the Sat-sandarbhas and other books in Sanskrit. Through this effort, Svayam Bhagavan manifested His confidential desire to enact His lila of delivering the jivas.
Some people, who are incapable of ascertaining the true meaning of the sastras, are compelled to interpret them according to their relative understanding. In some cases, such people take only a partial meaning of the sastra; 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. Srila Jiva Gosvami is not in any of these categories, and the instructions that flowed from his pen are the absolute and conclusive instructions of Sriman Mahaprabhu, which are the instructions of the Vedas, the Upanisads, the Mahabharata and Srimad-Bhagavatam. 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 an is added to the word jiva (living being), it causes the medial vowel to be strengthened, and the n in the suffix an to be dropped, and thus we obtain the word jaiva. The word jaiva means ‘of or related to the jiva’. Therefore, Jaiva-Dharma means the dharma of the jiva, or the characteristic function related to the jiva. But what is meant by the word jiva in 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 jivana (life) comes from the word jiva, which means ‘one who has life’. In other words, all living beings are known as jivas. Thus, the author has used the term ‘jaiva-dharma’ to indicate the constitutional function of the jiva. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has instructed jivas through His exclusively devoted followers, the Six Gosvamis – headed by Sri Rupa, Sanatana and Jiva Gosvami – as to what type of dharma they should accept and follow. Approximately four hundred years later, the author of this book, Srila Thakura Bhaktivinoda, who is renowned as the Seventh Gosvami, appeared not far from Sridhama-Mayapura, the birthplace of Sri Gauranga. Being very soft-hearted and empathizing with the plight of the jivas, he wrote Jaiva-Dharma in the Bengali language. By the desire of Bhagavan, Sri Krsna dasa Kaviraja Gosvami, a beloved associate of Sri Gauranga, captured the essence of Bhagavan Sri Gauracandra’s instructions in Sri Caitanyacaritamrta…
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 analyzed 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 jivas with highly developed awareness.
The question may then be raised as to why this book was entitled Jaiva-Dharma and not Manava-Dharma or Manusya-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 jivas, but they do not exhibit the religious tendency which is characterized by the aspiration for moksa (liberation) or the worship of Bhagavan.
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 jivas 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 Aryan sages have described the animalistic demeanor as having four compelling propensities: ahara (eating), nidra (sleeping), bhaya (fearing), and maithuna (mating). The human disposition manifests only when one overcomes these animalistic propensities and develops rationality (dharma-vrtti). 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 Aryan 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…
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 tesam adhiko visesah 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 dharmena hinah pasubhih samanah 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-pasu (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 sastra, at present few people can even be classified as human beings. Had the author named this book Manusya-dharma, then from the sastric definition of humanity, most would have been disqualified from this practice. It is for this reason that Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, desiring the welfare of everyone, gave his book the broad title Jaiva-Dharma, and thus completely preserved the conventions of sastra. Dharma, or the worship of Sri Bhagavan, 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…