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In Chapter Two, the Thakura defines jaiva-dharma, “The unblemished pristine love for the Supreme Absolute Whole experienced by the minute particle of spiritual substance – the jiva – is defined as jaiva-dharma.” The book has four distinct parts that progressively illuminate the various levels of spiritual practice the jiva must persue to be established in his eternal jaiva-dharma, transcendental love of Godhead. Nitya-dharma: Sambandha, Abhidheya and Prayojana, the Practice of Regulative Devotional Service. By studying this book regularly one develops pure devotion.
In London, 23rd September1969, on the appearance day celebration of Srila Bhaktivinoda, Srila Prabhupada gave a lecture on the life and teachings of the Thakura. In the lecture, Srila Prabhupada explained:
“So Bhaktivinoda Thakura happens to be an acarya, one of the acaryas. And he has left behind him many books-Caitanya-siksamrta, Jaiva-dharma. These are very important books. They’re in Bengali and Sanskrit. …So we are trying to present Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s books also in an English translation. Gradually you will get them.”
The translator, Sarvabhavana dasa, was personally ordered by his spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, to translate the Vaisnava works into English. To date this he has done with distinction with many publications, being expert in his first language, Bengali, and also English.
The Jaiva-dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura is one of the greatest waves in the nectar-ocean of transcendental literature that the Thakura gifted to this parched world lost in the desert of materialism. Completed in the year 1896, it is recognized as a central work of Gaudiya Vaisnavism and an essential companion for the sincere aspirant to the highest levels of Krsna-consciousness.
The book is set in Navadvipa-dhama, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s birthplace, approximately one hundred years after His birth in 1486, and then moves on, as did the lila of Sri Mahaprabhu, to conclusion in Jagannatha Puri. The work is in the form of a highly entertaining novel, the central core of which is a series of dialogues between spiritual teachers and their disciples. There are also a number of debates on various topics between these teachers and antagonistic parties. Within this format, Srila Bhaktivinoda brilliantly elucidates the philosophy, practice and ultimate goal of transcendental life as taught by Kali-yuga-avatara Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
The book has been published in splendid style with one of the best presses in India, Thomson Press, New Delhi.
There are eight original paintings, four of which were specially commissioned, an elaborate introduction, and the book is presented hard-bound with a gold-embossed cover and laminated dust jacket. To facilitate the many blissful hours of study and contemplation this most important and recommended work warrants, fine paper and a comfortably sized font has been used.
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