(written for the second Hindi edition)
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. This is expressed in the following sloka:
jivera svarupa haya krsnera nitya dasa
krsnera tatastha-sakti bhedabheda prakasa
The jiva’s natural condition is to be a servant of Krsna. The jiva
is the marginal potency of Krsna, and a manifestation which is
both one with and different from Krsna.
(Sri Caitanyacaritamrta, Madhya 20.108)
The author has based Jaiva-Dharma on this sloka, which is the bija-mantra (fundamental aphorism) of all instructions for Gaudiya Vaisnavas. 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 jivas 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. Ahalya is an example in the body of a stone; the twin Yamalarjunas and the seven tala’s in the bodies of trees; King Nrga in the body of a lizard; Bharata Maharaja in a deer’s body; Surabhi in a cow’s body; Gajendra in an elephant’s body; Jamavanta in a bear’s body; and Angada and Sugriva in the bodies of monkeys. The instructor of the entire universe, Brahma, prayed to Svayam Bhagavan Sri Krsna 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 Srimad- Bhagavatam (10.14.30):
tad astu me natha sa bhuri-bhago
bhave ‘tra vanyatra tu va tirascam
yenaham eko ‘pi bhavaj jananam
bhutva niseve tava pada-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 Brahma, or
in the next, even if I should take birth among the animal species.
Prahlada Maharaja, the emperor of bhaktas, expressed still more clearly the aspiration to obtain jaiva-dharma in the form of service to Bhagavan, even if it meant taking birth as an animal, or in any form among the thousands of species:
natha yoni-sahasresu yesu yesu vrajamy aham
tesu tesv acala bhaktir acyutastu sada tvayi
O Acyuta, in whichever of the thousands of species I may be
forced to wander, please let me always have unflinching devotion
The author, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, has also prayed in a similar manner in his book entitled Saranagati:
kita janma hau yatha tuya dasa
bahir-mukha brahma-janme nahi asa
Let me take birth, even as an insect, wherever Your bhaktas are
to be found. I do not wish to be born as a Brahma indifferent to
(Saranagati, Atma-nivedana Song 3)
The instructions of Jaiva-Dharma are therefore commendable and acceptable for all jivas. 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 Bhagavan, 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 prani (that which has life), or jiva, 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 inseperable 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) acchadita-cetana (covered consciousness), 2) sankucita-cetana (stunted consciousness), 3) mukulitacetana (budding consciousness), 4) vikasita-cetana (blossoming consciousness), and 5) purna-vikasita-cetana (fully blossomed consciousness). Such conscious beings are known as jivas, or prani. These five stages of living beings are divided into two categories:
non-moving entities (sthavara); and moving entities (jangama).
Trees, creepers, shrubs, stones and other non-moving beings are said to have covered consciousness (acchadita-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 (sankucita-cetana). Jivas born in species other than human beings are found in the covered and stunted states of consciousness. Jivas 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 jivas, and their only dharma is to worship Bhagavan. 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 Bhagavan.
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.
It is said in Hitopadesa (25):
samanyam etat pasubhir naranam
dharmo hi tesam adhiko viseso
dharmena hinah pasubhih samanah
Human beings are equal to animals in the matters of eating,
sleeping, fearing and mating. Yet the quality of religion is
unique to human beings. Without religion, they are no better
The meaning of this sloka 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 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.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’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 avatara. Therefore, Srila Rupa Gosvami has glorified Sriman
Mahaprabhu in very meaningful words in his drama, Vidagdhamadhava
anarpita-carim cirat karunayavatirnah kalau
samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasam sva-bhakti-sriyam
sada hrdaya-kandare sphuratu vah saci-nandanah
May Sri Sacinandana 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 Radha and Krsna 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 maya, and by great fortune
The author of this sloka has effectively captured the speciality
of Sriman Mahaprabhu.
In the Eleventh Chapter of Jaiva-Dharma, the author has established through the conversation between Mullah Sahib and the Vaisnavas that all human beings are eligible for vaisnavadharma. He has supported this conclusion with logical analysis and with firm evidence from the sastra. Those who speak Urdu, Farsi, English, or any other language can become Vaisnavas; 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 Vaisnavas. 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, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has broadcast the transcendental instructions of Sriman Mahaprabhu 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 Hari-katha: Topics of Lord Hari, 1850
2 Sumbha-Nisumbha-yuddha, 1851
3 Poriade, 1857-58.
4 Mathas of Orissa, 1860.
5 Vijana-grama, 1863.
6 Sannyasi, 1863.
7 Our Wants, 1863
8 Valide Rejistri, 1866.
9 Speech on Gautama, 1866
10 The Bhagavat: Its Philosophy, Its Ethics,
and Its Theology, 1869
11 Garbha-stotra-vyakhya, 1870
12 Reflections, 1871
13 Thakura Haridasa, 1871
14 The Temple of Jagannatha at Puri, 1871
15 The Monasteries of Puri, 1871
16 The Personality of Godhead, 1871
17 A Beacon of Light, 1871
18 Saragrahi Vaisnava, 1871
19 To Love God, 1871
20 The Atibadis of Orissa, 1871
21 The Marriage System of Bengal, 1871
22 Vedantadhikarana-mala, 1872
23 Datta-kaustubham, 1874
24 Datta-vamsa-mala, 1876
25 Bauddha-vijaya-kavyam, 1878
26 Sri Krsna-samhita, 1880
27 Sri Sajjana-tosani, (monthly magazine) 1881
28 Kalyana-kalpataru, 1881
29 Review of Nitya-rupa-samsthapanam, 1883
30 Visva-Vaisnava-Kalpatari, 1885
31 Dasopanisad-curnika, 1886
32 Bhavavali (commentary), 1886
33 Rasika-Ranjana, (commentary on Bhagavad Gita) 1886
34 Sri Caitanya Siksamrta, 1886
35 Prema-pradipa, 1886
36 Published Sri Visnu-sahasra-nama, 1886
37 Manah-Siksa (translation and commentary), 1886
38 Sri Caitanya-Upanisad (commentary), 1887
39 Sri Krsna-vijaya (published), 1887
40 Vaisnava-siddhanta-mala, 1888
41 Sri Amnaya-sutram, 1890
42 Siddhanta-darpanam (Bengali translation), 1890
43 Sri Navadvipa-dhama-mahatmya, 1890
44 Sri Godruma Kalpatari (essays on nama-hatta), 1891
45 Vidvad-ranjana (commentary on Bhagavad Gita), 1891
46 Sri Harinama, 1892
47 Sri Nama, 1892
48 Sri Nama-tattva-siksastaka, 1892
49 Sri Nama-mahima, 1892
50 Sri Nama-pracara, 1892
51 Sriman Mahaprabhura Siksa, 1892
52 Tattva-vivekah or Sri Saccidanandanubhutih, 1893
53 Saranagati, 1893
54 Gitavali, 1893
55 Gitamala, 1893
56 Soka-satana, 1893
57 Nama Bhajana, 1893
58 Tattva-sutram, 1894
59 Vedarka-didhiti (commentary on Sri Isopanisad), 1894
60 Tattva-muktavali or Mayavada-satadusani,
(translated and published), 1894
(commentary on Caitanya caritamrta), 1895
62 Sri Gauranga-lila-smarana-mangala-stotram, 1896
63 Sri Ramanuja Upadesa, 1896
64 Jaiva-Dharma, 1896
65 Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, His Life and Precepts, 1896
66 Brahma-samhita (commentary), 1897
67 Sri Goloka-mahatmya
(Bengali translation of Brhad Bhagavatamrta), 1898
68 Sri Krsna-karnamrtam, (translation), 1898
69 Piyusa-varsini-vrtti (commentary on Upadesamrta), 1898
70 Sri Bhajanamrtam (translation and commentary), 1899
71 Sri Navadvipa-bhava-taranga, 1899
72 The Hindu Idols, 1899
73 Sri Harinama-cintamani, 1900
74 Sri Bhagavata Arka-marici-mala, 1901
75 Sri Sankalpa-kalpadruma (Bengali translation), 1901
76 Sri Bhajana-rahasya, 1902
77 Sri Prema-vivarta (published), 1906
78 Svaniyama-dvadasakam, 1907
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 Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura 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 dhara” (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 Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura.
When it comes to discussing the life of maha-purusas (great selfrealized 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 maha-purusas 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.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura appeared on Sunday, September 2, 1838, and thus illuminated the sky of Gaudiya Vaisnavism. He took birth in a high-class family in a village named Vira-nagara (also known as Ulagrama or Ula), which is located within the Nadiya district of West Bengal, not far from Sridhama-Mayapura, the appearance place of Sri Gauranga. He disappeared from this world on June 23, 1914, in the city of Calcutta. At that time, he entered the midday pastimes of Sri Sri Gandharvika-Giridhari, who are the supreme objects of worship for the Gaudiya Vaisnavas.
In his brief lifespan of seventy-six years, he instructed the world by personally carrying out the duties of the four asramas (stages of spiritual life): brahmacarya (celibate student-life), grhastha (religious householder-life), vanaprastha (withdrawal from worldly duties), and sannyasa (formal renunciation). He first underwent brahmacarya, and obtained various elevated instructions. After that, he entered grhastha 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 grhastha life, Srila Bhaktivinoda traveled 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, Srila Bhaktivinoda adopted the stage of vanaprastha, and intensified his spiritual practice. At that time, he established an asrama at Surabhi-kunja in Godrumadvipa, one of the nine districts of Navadvipa. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura remained there and performed bhajana for a considerable time.
Later, he accepted the life of an ascetic, and stayed at Svanandasukhada- kunja, which was nearby. While residing there, he established the appearance place of Sri Caitanyadeva and many other places of gaura-lila. In this, he followed the example of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His followers, the Six Gosvamis, who had discovered the birthplace and other pastime places of Sri Krsna. If Srila Thakura Bhaktivinoda had not appeared in this world, the pastime places and instructions of Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu would have disappeared from the world. The entire world of Gaudiya Vaisnavas will therefore remain indebted to him forever. It is for this reason that he has been awarded the highest honor in the Vaisnava community by being addressed as the Seventh Gosvami.
This maha-purusa 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. Srila Thakura Bhaktivinoda brought a great personality into this world, who was the commander-inchief in propagating the dharma revealed by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. This great personality is my beloved Gurudeva, and he is renowned throughout the world as Jagad-guru Om Visnupada Paramahamsa-kula-cudamani Astottara-sata Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta
Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura. It was an incomparable and unprecedented accomplishment on the part of Srimad Bhaktivinoda Thakura to bring this maha-purusa into the world. The Vaisnava community honors Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura with the shorter title of Srila Prabhupada, and hereafter, I will also refer to this supremely liberated maha-purusa as Srila Prabhupada.
Srila Prabhupada appeared as Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s son and successor. Throughout the world, he raised the brilliant banner of Sri Madhva Gaudiya Vaisnava dharma, which was practiced and propagated by Sriman Mahaprabhu, Sri 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 Gaudiya Matha preaching centers in India and around the world, and from these he propagated the teachings of Sri Caitanya. He
also circulated all the books of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, 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 Gaudiya Vaisnava dharma. As a result, thirteen distorted sects (apasampradayas) had emerged, and they are named in this sloka:
aola baola karttabhaja neda darvesa sai
sahajiya sakhi-bheki smartta jati-gosai
atibadi cudadhari gauranga-nagari
tota kahe e teraha sanga nahi kari
Tota says that he will not associate with the thirteen
apasampradayas: aola, baola, karttabhaja, neda, darvesa, sai,
sahajiya, sakhi-bheki, smartta, jati-gosai, atibadi, cudadhari and
Srila Prabhupada significantly curbed the mischievous activities of these apasampradayas through his preaching and by publishing the books of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. 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 endeavors. 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 sastras in a condensed form simply by studying this compact book, which contains a comparativeanalysis 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 sastras 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 sastra-maryada (sastric 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 Sri Krsna), then abhidheya (engagement in the means to awaken love for Sri Krsna), and finally prayojana (attainment of the goal of love for Sri Krsna). Some inexperienced authors transgress this order, and discuss prayojanatattva
first, followed by sambandha-tattva and abhidheya-tattva. This is completely contrary to the conclusions of the Vedas, Upanisads, Puranas, Mahabharata, and especially Srimad-Bhagavatam, the crestjewel of all spiritual evidence.
In the first division of the book, there is an analysis of nityadharma, 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 sastra. In the third division, there is a penetrating
discussion of the nature of rasa.
According to Srila Prabhupada’s line of thought, one should not enter into rasa-vicara (a consideration of the confidential, transcendental mellows of bhakti) until he has attained higher qualification. An unqualified sadhaka will impede his progress, rather than helping it, if he makes an unauthorized attempt to enter into rasa-vicara. Srila Prabhupada has expressed this clearly in numerous articles, such as Bhai Sahajiya (My Brother Who Cheapens the Sanctity of Spiritual Life by Equating His Material Instincts with Spiritual Emotions) and Prakrta-rasa-sata-dusani (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 sastra. 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 Bengaliedition of Jaiva-Dharma, published in a new format by the Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti. Tridandi Svami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja, the highly competent editor of the Hindi monthly spiritual magazine ‘Sri Bhagavata Patrika’, 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
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 labor 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, Srila Prabhupada and Bhaktivinoda Thakura will definitely bestow great mercy on him for his tireless service.
Above all, I must say that it is only because the sadhakas 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, Tridandi Svami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja, 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 Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. By so doing, they will become eligible to enter the prema-dharma of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. In conclusion, I pray that the readers will bestow profuse blessings upon us by reading this book very carefully.
Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha
Mathura, U.P., 1966
Srila Prabhupada Kinkara
Tridandi-bhiksu Sri Bhakti Prajnana Kesava