Srila Jiva Gosvami made his appearance in 1455, Sakabdha (1533 A.D.), on the 12th day of the bright fortnight in the month of Bhadra. He disappeared from view at the age of 85 in 1540 A.D., (Sakabdha, 3rd day of bright fortnight, Pausa).
As a child, Sri Jiva took up the worship of Sri-Sri Rama-Krsna Deities. Carefully decorating Them, and offering bhoga and arati, he served Them attentively. Even when playing, Jivas games were often connected with Lord Krsna's pastimes.
Sri Jiva studied under the local pandits, becoming proficient in grammar, poetry and rhetoric. Watching the expression of his great intellect, his teachers predicted that he would be a very saintly person. Later in his life, he composed a grammar in Sanskrit for the pleasure of the Lord. This composition described the rules of grammar, which was explained with examples that used the holy names of the Lord. Known as Hari-namamrta-vyakarana, this grammar is still current and is prescribed in the syllabus of schools in Bengal.
Once in a dream, Sri Jiva saw that Sri Rama-Krsna had taken the forms of Nitai-Gauranga, and they were dancing. Giving him the dust of Their lotus feet, the Two Lords then disappeared. This wonderful dream greatly consoled Sri Jiva, who was anxious to leave behind his family life and become absorbed full time in serving Nitai-Gauranga. But, being the only son of the family, and in the absence of his father, Jiva was responsible for the care of his mother. When he learned that his father had left his body on the banks of the Ganges, Sri Jiva became extremely saddened. Friends suggested that he go to Navadwipa to bathe himself in the coolness emanating from the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda Prabhu, so that burning grief in his mind and body might be refreshed. As Sri Jiva headed for Navadwipa with a group of pilgrims, Nityananda Prabhu also set out for Navadwipa, from Khardaha. Arriving in Navadwipa, at the home of Srivasa Pandita, Sri Jiva met and fell down at the feet of Nityananada Prabhu.
Sri Jiva enjoyed various pastimes with Nityananda Prabhu, touring the nine islands of Navadwipa and taking darsana of the holy places of the Lord's pastimes. Jiva then traveled to Kasi (Varanasi), where he studied Vedanta under the instruction of Sri Madhusudana Vacaspati, a disciple of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya. The conclusions of Vedanta contained in Srimad-Bhagavatam, as they were given by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya in Puri, had in turn been taught by the Bhattacarya to Madhusudana Vacaspati. Sri Jvia mastered these same conclusions from him.
Sri Jiva later traveled to Vrindavana, where he joined the company of his two uncles, Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatana. Jiva stayed with Sri Rupa, who taught him Srimad Bhagavatam and gave him mantra initiation. Sri Jvia quickly become conversant with the conclusion of Srimad Bhagavatam, so Sri Rupa engaged him in proof-reading his Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. Sri Jiva compiled a commentary on Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu called Durgama sangamani. Later, in 1476 (Sakabda), Sri Sanatana Gosvami compiled Sri Vaisnava tosani, a commentary on the tenth canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, which Jiva also proofread. Following Sanatana's instruction, in 1500 (Sakabda) Sri Jiva compiled a commentary on the Bhagavatam called Laghu Vaisnava tosani.
While in Vrindavana, Sri Rupa took up the service of Sri Sri Radha-Damodara. According to the Sadhana dipika, this Deity of Damodara was fashioned by Rupa Gosvami's own hand for his dear disciple, Sri Jiva. Today, Sri Sri Radha-Damodara are being worshipped in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
Srila Jiva Gosvami composed many literatures during his lifetime, including:
- Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu-tika (Durgama-sangamani)
- Ujjvala-nilamani-tika (Locana-rocani)
- Sat-sandharbha (Tattva-sandarbha, Bhagavata-sandarbha, Paramatma sandarbha, Krsna-sandarbha, Bhakti-sandharbha, Priti-sandarbha)
- Srimad-Bhagavata-tika (Krama-sandarbha)
- Laghu-vaisnava-tosani (Tenth Canto Bhagavatam commentary)
- Sarva-sambadina (commentary on Sat-sandarbha)
- Gopala-tapani-tika (Sri-Suhkha-bodhini)
- Gayatri-vyakhya-vivrti (A commentary on the Gayatri mantra as
- described in the Agni Purana, chapters 216-217)
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.