Vrindavan, 2019.01.10 (VT): The 508th disappearance day of Srila Jiva Goswami was celebrated at the Jiva Institute with a short play in the Sanskrit language depicting a portion of his life. The students studying Sanskrit at the Institute were the main actors. The play was called “Jive Daya Natakam”, a play on the words “Compassion to Jiva” and “compassion to all living beings.”
The first of the five acts depicts Jiva’s leaving the family home in Bengal after a dream vision of Chaitanya and Nityananda, who pacify his mind of any doubts that he was being called to serve Rupa and Sanatana Goswamis in Vrindavan. The second act shows his arrival in Vrindavan and entry into the service of Rupa Goswami as the editor of his books.
The first of the five acts depicts Jiva’s leaving the family home in Bengal after a dream vision of Chaitanya and Nityananda, who pacify his mind of any doubts that he was being called to serve Rupa and Sanatana Goswamis in Vrindavan.
The second act shows his arrival in Vrindavan and entry into the service of Rupa Goswami as the editor of his books. In the third act, there is an encounter with the arrogant Digvijayi Brahmin, whom he felt had shown disrespect to Rupa Goswami. Rupa is not pleased with Jiva’s behaviour, which he feels is unbecoming of a Vaishnava in the Holy Dham and banishes him from his service.
The fourth act shows Sanatan Goswami, Rupa’s older brother and guru, chastising him for being so hard on Jiva. If they are writing books to show compassion on all the lost souls of this world, then how can they not show compassion on Jiva? Rupa admits that his work on the Bhakti-rasamrita sindhu has slowed to a halt in Jiva’s absence and that he feels great separation from his dear disciple. The two brothers set out to look for their nephew.
The final act shows Sanatan arriving in the village of Nandaghat, where Nanda Maharaj was stolen away by Varuna. Begging a roti from a Vrajavasi woman, he learns of the young sadhu practicing difficult tapasya in a nearby gopha. Sanatan goes there and finds that it is indeed Jiva. Rupa appears on the scene and the play finishes with Rupa giving Jiva a blessing, and then Jiva asking them to bless the entire audience that they will get Radharani’s mercy.
Ananda Gopal Dasji Shastri, Vedanta-Nyaya Tirtha, one of the teachers in the Chaitanya Sanskirt Shiksha Sansthan in Radha Kund, graced the performance. Speaking in Sanskrit, Shastriji Maharaj said that he was very pleased that this had been attempted as one rarely, if ever, sees such plays being written or performed anywhere. “It was very impressive to see that the students, many of whom were foreigners and only new to the language, were still able to pronounce so clearly and with such good intonation.”
The author of the play, Jagadananda Das, who also played the role of the Sutradhar and the Digvijayi Brahmin, said, “The play was written in easy Sanskrit so that the students could learn a more conversational and practical use of the language. It was also important that the audience should understand what was being said. Many of the people in the audience were Bengali Sanskrit students from Radha Kund and Vrindavan also.”
The actors were Malati Manjari Dasi (Germany), Jamie Lessard and Alanah Correia (Canada), Bharat Das and Marky Perez (USA), Maria Christanell (Italy), Willi Muller (Germany), Sujani Dasi (Spain), Jagadananda Das (Canada), Ananda Mohan, Rasamrita, Raghava and Neel Madhava (India).
Malati Manjari Dasi played a dramatic role as Jiva Goswami’s mother crying over her son leaving home after becoming lost in to the renounced life of a sadhu. Jagadananda Prabhu delighted the audience with his portrayal of the Digvijayi Brahmin who emphatically tells Jiva Goswami that he has insulted the Vedas by ignoring karma kanda rituals. Sujani Dasi was convincing as a modest yet upfront Brajwasi woman who gives madhukari to Sanatan Goswami, then directs him to Jiva Goswami, who was living in a cave nearby.
The drama was well attended by both locals and foreign guests and was filmed by local TV stations.
In the lead up to the presentation, the Mahant of Jiva Institute, Shri Satyanarayana Babaji, addressed the audience. There were several musical interludes, including kirtan at the beginning and end. Afterwards, the guests and actors sat together for a feast.