“The Ṣaṭ Sandarbhas were the first works I studied under my Guru Maharaja. The memories of that amazing experience are locked in my heart. Guru Maharaja always lamented about the neglect of the Sandarbhas by the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas. He stressed that without studying them, one would not know the philosophy of Mahāprabhu.”
Vrindavan, 2014.08.09 (VT): The Jiva Institute publications department today announced the publication of Śrī Bhagavat Sandarbha: God — His Qualities, Abode and Associates, the second in the series of Jiva Goswami’s six Sandarbhas. The work includes the Sanskrit text of Jīva Gosvāmī, English translation and the Jīva-toṣaṇī commentary of Satyanarayana Dasa, the director of the Jiva Institute.
After studying the entire gamut of Vedic literature, including the Vedas, Purāṇas, Āgamas, six Darśanas and their various branches, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī, the sixteenth century saint and follower of Śrī Caitanya, wrote as his literary masterpiece the Ṣaṭ Sandarbhas, six treatises on the Bhāgavata Purāṇa. This work, the most systematic and complete synthesis of Vedānta, contains the essential message of Vedic literature, and, most importantly, is a thorough and systematic presentation of the theology of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. Jīva Gosvāmī had concluded that, in the present age, the easiest and best way to understand the message of the Vedas was through the Śrīmad Bhāgavata and its revelation of divine love, prema.
With this new English edition of the six Sandarbhas, beginning with the publication of the Bhagavat Sandarbha that has just been published, Satyanarayana Dasa and the Jiva Institute of Vaishnava Studies will have produced an outstanding scholarly work that can take a distinguished place alongside other treatises of philosophy and theology, not just for practitioners of bhakti, but for academics as well.
Through the Ṣaṭ Sandarbhas, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī has provided the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava School with a clear identity on a par with those of Śrī Rāmānujācārya, Śrī Madhvācārya, and others. He drew freely from the entire heritage of Vaiṣṇava philosophical thought available to him. Śrī Jīva wrote no important conclusion without supporting scriptural references, and yet his conclusions are not mere repetitions, but bear the mark of originality and deserve independent consideration. They are widely acknowledged within the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava tradition as Jīva Gosvāmī’s philosophical magnum opus.
Bhagavat Sandarbha, the second book of Jīva Gosvāmī’s Ṣaṭ Sandarbhas, is quite simply a book about Bhagavān, or God, the Supreme Being. To avoid narrow and misleading notions, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī first establishes an objective and far-reaching context in which Bhagavān can be self-evidently understood, free from constrictive or reductionist interpretations. In striking opposition to popular spiritual ideas, such as “All is One,” he supplies the reader with knowledge of Ultimate Reality with unparalleled precision and exacting detail. This Reality, which is described as Nondual Consciousness (advaya-jñāna), is realized in three aspects: as Brahman (God without any qualities, the Unqualified Absolute), as Paramātmā (the Immanent Self residing in each of us), and as Bhagavān (the all-powerfull, all-blissful, infinitely charming playful Person). Jīva Gosvāmī analyzes each of these aspects and demonstrates with conclusive evidence that Bhagavān is the complete and indivisible Absolute Reality and that all other manifestations are dependent on, and thus subordinate to, Him.
The author of this edition, Dr. Satyanarayana Dasa, is the director of the Jiva Institute of Vaishnava Studies in Vrindavan, India, and a visiting professor at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. He studied the complete Sandarbhas in the traditional manner, sitting by the side of his spiritual teacher, Śrī Haridāsa Śāstrī Mahārāja (1918-2013), day after day for several years. Thus, the commentary included here is rooted in knowledge handed down in parampara, just as the Ṣaṭ Sandarbha, a traditional and highly sophisticated teaching in devotional Vedānta, was meant to be. Satyanarayana Dasa remembers:
“The Ṣaṭ Sandarbhas were the first works I studied under my Guru Maharaja. The memories of that amazing experience are locked in my heart. Guru Maharaja always lamented about the neglect of the Sandarbhas by the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas. He stressed that without studying them, one would not know the philosophy of Mahāprabhu. Just by studying these works, one is transported to another world. I received the inspiration from Guru Maharaja to present the Sandarbhas to the English speaking world and also to found Jiva Institute, a place where students can come and study Śrī Jīva’s and other Gauḍīya’s works.”
In Bhagavat Sandarbha, Satyanarayana Dasa has translated the entire Sanskrit text, which is rendered in the original Devanagari script, and has given commentary on each section. Special attention has been given to the topic of epistemology, which is the beginning point and foundation of Śrī Jīva’s exposition.
Dr. Jan Brzezinski (Jagadananda Das) did the preliminary editing while Bruce Martin (Navadvipa Das) did the final editing and coined new terminology to precisely represent the subtlety, depth and complexity of Jīva Gosvāmī’s thought.
The other five Sandarbhas will be published within the next few years, with Tattva Sandarbha scheduled for release in early 2015. The remaining four, Paramātma, Kṛṣṇa, Bhakti, and Prīti Sandarbhas, will follow.
For more information, please visit: http://sandarbhas.jiva.org/
Statements by Scholars
“Gaudiya Vaishnavism is one of the most important traditions to emerge in devotional Hinduism, and is primarily responsible for the eruption of Krishna devotion that spread across especially the North of India in the 16th century. Despite being a grass roots movement, the school has deep scholastic roots in the Vedanta tradition and larger philosophical landscape of its time. This philosophical basis is encapsulated in the six-volume Sandarbha treatise written by Jiva Gosvamin, the primary theologian of the tradition. Satyanarayana Dasa’s rendition of the Bhagavat Sandarbha, to be followed by the remaining volumes, combines superb Sanskrit and hermeneutical skills with academic standards of scholarship. This volume will be well received by all scholars and students of Vedanta and devotional Hinduism.”
Edwin F. Bryant
Professor of Hindu Religion and Philosophy at Rutgers University
“The Sandarbhas of Śrī Jīva Gosvāmin represent the highest exegetical and philosophical theology of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava school. Satyanārāyaṇa Dāsa Bābā is uniquely positioned to translate them since he was trained by the 20th century’s most prolific and knowledgeable Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava scholar, Śrī Haridāsa Śāstrī, whose published editions and Hindī translations and commentaries of Gauḍīya works are well known to all scholars of the tradition. Satyanārāyaṇa brings a sensitivity to academic discourse, having taught at a number of American and European universities, as well as a seasoned understanding of Indian logic, grammar, hermeneutics, and poetics, all of which Jīva draws upon in his Sandarbhas. This first installment, the Bhagavat Sandarbha, will surely be a welcomed and widely used text by Krishna devotees, Indologists, and scholars of Indian religion in general.”
Assistant Professor of Religion at Mississippi State University