Jiva Tirtha Sanskrit and Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta readings

Jai Jai Sri Radhe. 

It is a little late, but here is my invitation to all Jiva bhaktas to learn Sanskrit with me this academic year.

At Jiva this year I will be offering two courses on Zoom, beginning Oct. 15th.  

  • * Beginners Grammar Course (following the Jiva Tirtha Sanskrit manual): 3:30-4:30 IST 
  • * Bṛhad Bhagavatāmṛta reading course: 430-5:30 IST 

Check with jiva.orgjiva.org to find out about registration and participation or contact me directly.

I hope that some of you will take this valuable opportunity to learn Sanskrit.   The beginners' course is meant to give a good general introduction to the use of Sanskrit in our sampradāya, remembering that there are several genres within the Gauḍīya corpus.

It fits a lot into a one-year period, but it is meant for people who are serious about going deeply into the scriptures.  

Those who understand Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji's mindset and his goals for the Jiva Institute and the Jiva Tirtha course in particular, will know how he wishes to inculcate in serious bhakti-sādhakas a sense of the importance of scripture in this tradition and to revive such scholarship in our sampradāya. 

In his own personal sādhana, he has put a great emphasis on the Sanskrit language, as indeed did the Goswamis themselves. I am sure that many of those who follow his lectures but whose knowledge of Sanskrit is limited will recognize how they are missing a big part of what he is trying to communicate. 

The Jiva Tirtha course has been in development for several years and is improving with each revision.

Babaji is always stressing the need of learning from a teacher. I can honestly tell you without any false pride that there are very few people with my experience and background teaching Sanskrit in the English language, who also have a broad specific knowledge of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava literary corpus and its history, etc. 

The course is about more than just learning a language. It is my fervent desire to communicate a feeling of love for Sanskrit by exposing students to many sample verses related to the lesson at hand. 

Learning Sanskrit should not be a forced labor, but one of enjoyment and love.  

The relationship of kāvya-rasa to bhakti-rasa is something that is pervasive in the writings of our tradition and very much characteristic of it. Don't you think that it is an integral part of our sādhana to become qualified to enter into that rasa? 

For those who wish to go on to learning Hari-nāmāmr̥ta-vyākaraṇa, this will be a first-class preparation. But by the end of the first year course, one should have a broad basis of understanding -- grammar and vocabulary -- that is sufficient for following the Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta reading course. 

The Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta is a very special and interesting work. Sanātana Gosvāmi was the Boro Baba, the seniormost of the six Goswamis in age. This book was one of the first composed by any of the Goswamis and Sanatan himself considered it important enough to write his own commentary to it.

Rupa Goswami thought it important enough to write a concise version of the same siddhāntas in Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta, but without the entertaining narratives of Nārada and Gopakumāra, or the sweet phrasings that are Sanātana Prabhupāda's calling card.

It is the earliest attempt to give an overview and analysis of the Bhāgavatam, which is the characteristic feature of our sampradāya, so one can the basis of the teachings of all the Sandarbhas therein.

Since the primary reading material is Sanātana's svayaṁ-ṭīkā, Dig-darśinī, this reading course gives an especially good introduction to the art of reading Sanskrit prose commentaries.

And since the Vaiṣṇava-toṣaṇi-ṭippaṇī on the Tenth Canto was also written by Sanātana, it will give one a familiarity with his personal style that will be useful in later reading.

Sanātana Goswami's reputation as a Sanskrit poet and scholar is often overshadowed by the achievements of his brother and nephew, but anyone who reads the Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta  will recognize his influence on them.

This is, in short, a rare opportunity that anyone who is serious about following Babaji and the Jiva Tirtha program, or indeed anyone who wishes to enter deeply into the ocean of rasa of the Goswami literature, should try very hard not to miss.

It is my fervent prayer that some of you will take this chance and enter into the rasa of Sanskrit and its literature, in particular that of our sampradāya. 

Jai Jai Sri Radhe Shyam! 

Check with jiva.org to find out about registration and participation.


Anonymous said…

As dimock has shown, Kṛṣṇa and his erotic encounters with rādhā would seem to be natural choices for adaptations by late medieval Sahajiyā tantrics as they sought to express the need to reverse the phenomenal flow of creation—engendered as the “play” of male and female powers—“upwards against the current” (sroter ujāna) back to the unitive state of Sahaja, the “Innate” or “Primordial” condition. of course, the popular notion of the religious leader Kṛṣṇa Caitanya (ca. 1486–1533 Ce) as the dual incarnation of both rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, developed by Kṛṣṇa-dāsa Kavirāja (ca. 1615 Ce) in his Caitanya-caritāmṛta,20was also taken up by some Sahajiyā gurus as a clear reflection of their own belief that all Sahajiyās must themselves realize the indwelling of both male and female powers within their own physical bodies.

Page 45-46 The Guru’s Tongue: Metaphor, Imagery, and Vernacular Language in Vaiṣṇava Sahajiyā Traditions (Glen Alexander Hayes)



Caitanya Caritamrta of Krsnadasa Kaviraja
A Translation and Commentary
Translated with commentary by Edward C. Dimock, Jr.
Edited by Tony K. Stewart

Read online in two parts:

Part 1:


Part 2:


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Part 2:

chaitanya said…
Jai Radhe Shyam babaji. I was looking for the lyrics of Vamshi Vibhooshita sung by Pandit Jasraj. While I found it on your blog (and it is nowhere else on the internet!!), the blog on bhakti sampradaya itself was so enriching and engaging that I ended up spending 2 hours on it. I am also a student of Samskrutam, so happy to read about this course, although my interest is in vedic vangmaya rather than Gaudiya literature. May I join please? Chaitanya.

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