The word ji or jiu (Bengali) is added to the name of any senior personality deserving our respect, honor, service and worship such as Krishna Ji, Ramachandra Ji, Thakura Ji, Govindadeva Ji, Sri Radha Ramana Ji and Sri Sri Radha Damodara Jiu.
Among elders and superiors, the honorific term “Ji” refers to the spiritual master (Guru Ji, Babaji, Swamiji, Maharaja Ji); or one’s father or mother (Pitaji/ Papaji, Mataji) or other relatives (Kakaji, Mamaji, Dadaji etc.)
The term Ji comes from the Sanskrit word JIVATU which has many meanings i.e. life and soul, life, source of life, enlivening, maintainer. The term Ji is also used as a blessing meaning “live a long life.”
What does it mean when a bhakta takes darshana of Thakura Ji and lovingly says, “Radha Govinda Deva Ji Maharaja ki jai!”
While speaking this, the bhakta is thinking and truly feeling, “O Radha Govinda Deva, You are my life and soul, my providers, my eternally enlivening Beloveds, and the most venerable and worshipable Ishvara and Ishvari of my life.
“May You live forever within my heart, and my I live forever in Yours, serving You with every breath!” This is the meaning of jivatu indicated in the honorific suffix Ji or Jiu.
In closing, we quote Sri Rupa Gosvami glorifying Sri Radha with the word JIVATU. One can remember this sweet meditation whenever one’s uses the term “Ji”.
“The honey-sweet nectar from Sri Radha’s delightful red lips is the life and soul of Shyama, the Prince of Vraja, goshthendra-suta jivatu, ramya bimbadhara amritam.” (Stava Mala, Prarthana Paddhati v.4)
Sri Giriraja Ji ki jai! Radha Govinda Devi Ji ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!