(written for the third Hindi edition)
by Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
I am delighted that the Gaudiya Vedanta Samitiís third Hindi
edition of Jaiva-Dharma is now being submitted before the public. This publication
has fulfilled my long-standing desire, for I was deeply concerned that this
book was not available in
The original Jaiva-Dharma, written in Bengali, is a priceless ornament for all Bengali-speaking Vaisnavas. The author, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, is a confidential associate of Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu, and is famous as the Seventh Gosvami. In the modern Vaisnava community, he reinitiated a powerful flow of the sacred Ganges of the unalloyed bhakti that Svayam Bhagavan Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu revealed. Thakura Bhaktivinoda wrote well over a hundred books about bhakti in several languages, and Jaiva-Dharma has ushered in a new era in the world of philosophy and religion.
This Hindi edition was produced under the direction of my most† highly revered holy master, Sri Gurupada-padma Om Visnupada 108 Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. He is
a guardian of the Sri Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya Sampradaya and has fulfilled the inner heartís desire of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Gaura-kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja, and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. He is an acarya in the line of disciplic succession coming from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and is the Founder-Acarya of the Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti and its branches, which are spread throughout India. By his causeless, unlimited mercy, inspiration and direct order, although I am unfit and incompetent in all respects, I was able to translate this book, which is full of exacting philosophy and profound and confidential truths regarding the worship of Bhagavan.
I have tried as far as possible in this translation to preserve the lofty philosophy and highly intricate and subtle moods concerning the analysis of rasa. I endeavored to the best of my ability to
express these things in clear and easily understandable language. It is for the readers to see how successful I have been in this attempt. Whatever value there is in this effort is exclusively due to
the credit of the lotus feet of Sri Guru.
The Hindi translation of Jaiva-Dharma was first published in the monthly magazine Sri Bhagavat-patrika, in a series of articles spanning six years. The faithful readers greatly appreciated this
and repeatedly begged me to publish it as a separate book. Our second edition of Jaiva-Dharma came out in book form for the benefit of the faithful Hindi-speaking public and for the delight of the pure devotees. This edition was very quickly exhausted, so a third edition was presented to fulfill the deep interest and demand of the readers.
My most revered holy master, Sri Acaryadeva, has given an elaborate introduction in his editorial preface detailing the unique characteristics of the book, its author, and other important topics.
However, I cannot restrain my enthusiasm to add a few words of my own on this subject. I beg the readers to study the introduction with serious attention before reading this book, and I have firm faith that by doing so, they will obtain clear guidance as to how to enter into the truth of the supreme reality.
The word jaiva-dharma refers to the dharma of the jiva, or the constitutional function of the living being. From external appearances, human beings seem to have different religions according to classifications of country, caste, race, and so on. The constitutional natures of human beings, animals, birds, worms, insects, and other living entities also seem to be of different varieties. But in reality, all living beings throughout the universe have only one eternal, immutable dharma. Jaiva-Dharma gives a compelling and thorough description of this dharma, which is eternal and which applies everywhere, at all times, and to all living beings. This book is filled with a highly concise form of the essence of the exceedingly deep and confidential topics of the Vedas, Vedanta, Upanisads, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Puranas, Brahma-sutra, Mahabharata, Itihasas, Pancaratra, Sat-sandarbhas, Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Bhaktirasamrta- sindhu, Ujjvala-nilamani, and other ideal sastras. Furthermore, it is written in the form of a tasteful, entertaining, and easily- comprehensible novel.
Jaiva-Dharma gives an unprecedented and poignant analysis of many vital topics, such as: bhagavata-tattva (the truth regarding Sri Bhagavan); jiva-tattva (the truth regarding the jivas); sakti-tattva (the truth regarding Bhagavanís potencies); the conditioned and liberated states of the jivas; a comparative study of the nature of karma, jnana and bhakti; a conclusive and meaningful discussion of the distinguishing characteristics of regulated and spontaneous devotional service (vaidhi and raganuga-bhakti); and the supreme excellence of sri-nama-bhajana. All these topics are discussed in terms of sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana.
Prior to the Bengali edition of Jaiva-Dharma published by the Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti, all editions of Jaiva-Dharma published by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada and the subsequent Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas in their line have included the section on rasa-vicara. However, for specific reasons, our most revered holy master, Srila Gurupada-padma,
published an edition containing only the first two sections of the book, which deal respectively with nitya-naimittika-dharma and sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana. He did not publish the third part of the book, which deals with rasa-vicara (a detailed consideration of the confidential, transcendental mellows of bhakti).
Later, however, when Sri Kesava Gaudiya Matha was in the process of publishing its Hindi edition from Mathura, Srila Gurupadapadma personally reviewed the entire book. In his introduction
to this edition, he very clearly instructed the readers to first examine their eligibility or lack thereof, and then cautiously proceed with their study of the third section dealing with rasa-vicara. Therefore, when all three parts of the book were published together in the second edition, I did not feel that it was necessary to give any further clarification.
At the time of writing Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, a doubt arose in the heart of Sri Krsna dasa Kaviraja Gosvami regarding whether he should present the discussion on rasa-vicara. He questioned
whether or not to include this topic in the book, lest ineligible people may read it to their detriment. Finally he resolved to include rasa-vicara in the book, expressing this in his own words in
Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila (4.231-235):
e saba siddhanta gudha, kahite na yuyaya
na kahile, keha ihara anta nahi paya
The esoteric and confidential conclusions regarding the amorous
pastimes of Rasaraja Sri Krsna and the gopis, who are the
embodiments of mahabhava, are not fit to be disclosed to the
common ordinary man.
ataeva kahi kichu karina nigudha
bujhibe rasika bhakta, na bujhibe mudha
But if they are not revealed, no one can enter into this topic. I
shall therefore describe these topics in a concealed manner, so
that only rasika-bhaktas will be able to understand them, whereas
ineligible fools will not.
hrdaye dharaye ye caitanya-nityananda
e saba siddhante sei paibe ananda
Anyone who has established Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and
Sri Nityananda Prabhu in their hearts will attain transcendental
bliss by hearing these conclusions.
e saba siddhanta haya amrera pallava
bhakta-gana kokilera sarvada vallabha
This entire doctrine is as sweet as newly grown mango sprouts,
which can only be relished by the devotees, who are compared
abhakta-ustrera ithe na haya pravesa
tabe citte haya more ananda visesa
The camel-like non-devotees cannot possibly gain admittance
into these topics. Therefore, there is special jubilation in my
It is always inappropriate to reveal confidential vraja-rasa topics before general people. However, there is every possibility that this sacred mystery will disappear if it is† not thoroughly explained. Although neem and mango trees may be present together in the same garden, a crow will sit on a neem tree and taste its bitter fruits, whereas the cuckoo, who has discriminating taste, will sit on the mango tree and savor its sweet sprouts and blossoms. Consequently, it is proper to present rasa-vicara.
Until now, the world of Hindi literature has lacked such an exceptionally fine and comprehensive book, which acquaints one through comparative analysis with the highest philosophical conclusions and super-excellent methods of worship of vaisnava dharma.† Jaiva-Dharma has fulfilled this need. It will usher in a new era in the philosophical and religious worlds, and particularly in the world of Vaisnavism.
Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha
An aspirant for a particle of mercy
of Sri-Sri Guru and Vaisnavas
Tridandi Bhiksu Sri Bhaktivedanta Narayana