Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies

Articles

An early testamentary document in Sanskrit

Tarapada Mukherjee and J. C. Wright

Among manuscripts and documents collected for the Vrindaban Research Institute (VBI) from the Rādhādāmodara Temple in Vrindaban (Uttar Pradesh) are two (referred to below as documents A and B) which contain the text of testamentary depositions in the name of Jiva Gosvāmī. He is known to have founded the Rādhādāmodara Temple and to have been alive at the dates given in the text. It was Jīva who, consolidating the work of his uncles Sanātana and Rūpa, definitively established Vrindaban as the headquarters of the Caitanyapanthī Gauxs1E0Dīya Vaixs1E63xs1E47ava sect. The testament, which envisages both posthumous implementation and possible revocation, contains Jlva's provisions for succession to the custody of the temple, idols, and library. The principal parties involved are known from other documents in the collection, and most names recur in Bhaktamāl and other related literary sources. Its over-riding importance lies, however, in the fact that no written Will has hitherto come to light in India, except those that are clearly influenced by European practice.