Srila Narottama Thakura, accompanied by Srila Syamananda Prabhu and Srinivasa Acarya, came to Vrndavana, seeking the shelter and guidance of a Vaisnava. The three of them approached the lotus feet of Srila Jiva Gosvami, who was at that time residing at the Sri Radha-Damodara temple. Srila Jiva Gosvami was very happy to see them. He considered that Lord Krsna and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had personally arranged for these three young devotees to be given classes on all the teachings of Srila Rupa Gosvami, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Srila Sanatana Gosvami and the other great acaryas. He was very pleased to have students like them, and he began to teach them sastras like Sat-sandarbha, Brhad-bhagavatamrta with the explanations of Srila Sanatana Gosvami, Brhad-vaisnava-tosani, Hari-bhakti-vilasa, Bhakti-rasamrta-sindu, Ujjavala-nilamani and many others. Thus, the three devotees very quickly became masters of all the subject matters.
During this period, Srila Jiva Gosvami was accepted by the entire Vaisnava community as the “Vaisnava king”, the topmost Vaisnava, of three mandalas: Sri Navadvipa Mandala, Sri Vraja Mandala, and Sri Ksetra Mandala (Jagannatha Puri). He established the Visva Vaisnava Raja Sabha. “Visva” means world and “Vaisnava-raja” means pure devotees. He established Visva Vaisnava Raja Sabha for the whole world, so that any person in any part of the world can come to that spiritual institution, to inquire from pure devotees and to read and study Vaisnava philosophy. Srila Jiva Gosvami was the second president of that society, Srila Rupa Gosvami having been the first, and that society still exists today under different nomenclatures.
Sat-Sandarbha is the scripture of Srila Jiva Gosvami. It is an exceptional book regarding Vaisnava philosophy and the culture and principles of Vaisnava etiquette and procedures. The thoughts of Srila Jiva Gosvami in Sat-Sandarbha appear in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta and all other Gaudiya Vaisnava literatures. Sat-Sandarbha came first, and after that, Sri Caitanya-caritamrta. All its essence has been taken from Sat-Sandarbha.
At that time, only those given the consent and authority of Srila Jiva Gosvami were considered learned and qualified Vaisnavas. On this basis, one would be accepted as a Vaisnava by the entire society of Gaudiya Vaisnavas in the three places: Navadvipa, Jagannath Puri and Vrndavana. Vaisnavas from every part of India used to come to Srila Jiva Gosvami to study the sastras under his guidance.
Although Srila Narottama dasa Thakura, Srila Srinivasa acarya and Sri Syamananda Prabhu were not his initiated disciples, Jiva Gosvami adopted them and became their siksa-guru, giving them all siddhanta. He taught them Srimad Bhagavatam, Sat-Sandarbha, all the books of Srila Rupa Gosvami with an emphasis on Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu and Sri Ujjvala-nilamani, the books of Srila Sanatana Gosvami like Srimad Brhad-bhagavatamrtam, and all the other books of Gaudiya Vaisnavism.
Although these three devotees had their own diksa-gurus, they held greater respect for Srila Jiva Gosvami. If the siksa-guru is fully qualified, he should be respected as much as Krsna, and if diksa-guru is similarly qualified, he should be also treated like that, as a manifestation of Lord Krsna. If both are qualified, both should be given equal respect and regarded as Krsna’s manifestations. Siksa-guru is not inferior to diksa-guru, and in some cases he is superior to diksa-guru. This is according to qualification. Srila Jiva Gosvami never made any formal disciple. He never gave anustanika-diksa (fire sacrifice); he gave only Krsna-siddhanta, which is more important than the fire sacrifice and other rituals.
Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha, Mathura
November 2, 1996