The Bhāgavata is known as the topmost pramāṇa for Caitanya Vaiṣṇavas. What this means, in practical terms, is that Caitanya Vaiṣṇavas do not accept those statements in other śāstras that are not line with the Bhāgavata, and/or try to interpret such other statements so that they are in consonance with the Bhāgavata. We see this approach play out again and again in the Sandarbhas. I examine Śrī Jīva’s justification for such an approach in this article.
Śrī Śuka taught Śrīmad Bhāgavatam to Śrī Vyāsadeva
Śrī Vyāsa is the compiler of the Vedas. It is therefore significant that Śrī Śuka taught the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam to Śrī Vyāsa. Śrī Jīva writes in Anuccheda 26 of the Tattva Sandarbha:
atra yadyapi tatra śrī-vyāsa-nāradau tasyāpi guru-parama-gurū, tathāpi punas tan-mukha-niḥsṛtaṁ śrī-bhāgavataṁ tayor apy aśruta-caram iva jātam | ity evaṁ śrī-śukas tāv apy upadideśa deśyam ity abhiprāyaḥ |
Śrī Vyāsadeva and Nārada Muni were present in that assembly. Although these two sages were Śrī Śuka’s guru and grand-guru, respectively, when they heard Śrīmad Bhāgavatam issuing from his lips, they felt as if they had never heard it before. For this reason it is said here that he taught this most significant wisdom even to them.
Śrī Jīva concludes that this is one more proof of the superiority of the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam over all other scriptures. These scriptures naturally include the Vedānta-sūtras, the Upaniṣads and the Vedas themselves. He writes:
yad uktaṁ,śuka-mukhād amṛta-dravya-saṁyutaṁ [1.1.3] iti | tasmād evam api śrī-bhāgavatasyaiva sarvādhikyam |
As mentioned earlier, “The Bhāgavatam is enriched with immortal nectar, having issued from the mouth of Śrī Śuka” ( śuka-mukhād amṛta-drava-saṁyutam , SB 1.1.3 ). Thus, in this sense also Śrīmad Bhāgavatam surpasses all other scriptures.
Bhāgavataṁ is svataḥ-pramāṇa
If we accept Śrī Jīva’s thesis that the Bhāgavatam surpasses all other scriptures, this has the startling implication that the the Bhāgavatam is svataḥ-pramāṇa or self-authoritative. Śrī Jīva explicitly acknowledges this implication next. He notes that the Bhāgavatam is called śruti, a word normally reserved for the Vedas in the following verse:
kathaṁ vā pāṇḍaveyasya rājarṣer muninā saha |
saṁvādaḥ samabhūt tāta yatraiṣā sātvatī śrutiḥ || [bhā.pu. 1.4.7] iti |
How did King Parīkṣit happen to converse with this great sage, as a result of which this Vedic text ( śruti ) for the pure Vaiṣṇavas ( sātvatī ) became available? ( SB 1.4.7 )
He notes that other Purāṇas are dependent on the Vedas for their authority, but not so for the Bhāgavataṁ. He concludes that it is actually the parama-śruti – the highest manifestation of śruti. This is because the Bhāgavatam is inclusive of what is in the Vedas, Purāṇas and other works:
vedāḥ purāṇaṁ kāvyaṁ ca prabhur mitraṁ priyeva ca |
bodhayantīti hi prāhus trivṛd bhāgavataṁ punaḥ ||
The supremacy of the Bhāgavatam is also confirmed by the words of both Muktā-phala [of Vopadeva] and Hemādri, its commentator: “The Vedas, Purāṇas, and poetic works instruct one like a master, friend, and beloved, respectively, but Śrīmad Bhāgavatam enlightens in all three capacities.”
The other justification for this is that the Bhāgavatam is the very representation of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, as expressed in the following famous verse:
kṛṣṇe sva-dhāmopagate dharma-jñānādibhiḥ saha |
kalau naṣṭa-dṛśām eṣa purāṇārko’dhunoditaḥ || [bhā.pu. 1.3.45] iti
After Kṛṣṇa’s departure to His own abode, accompanied by religion, knowledge, and so on, this Purāṇa [ Śrīmad Bhāgavatam ] has risen like the sun for those bereft of sight in the age of Kali. ( SB 1.3.43 )
So he concludes:
tasmān manyantāṁ vā kecit purāṇāntareṣu veda-sāpekṣatvaṁ, śrī-bhāgavate tu tathā sambhāvanā svayam eva nirastety api svayam eva labdhaṁ bhavati | ataeva parama-śruti-rūpatvaṁ tasya |
Consequently, while some scholars conclude that other Purāṇas are dependent upon the Vedas to derive their authority, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam explicitly refutes the possibility that it may be dependent in this way; rather, the Bhāgavatam stands on its own authority. For this reason it is in fact the highest manifestation of Śruti [the original Vedas].
Unlike other Purāṇas, the Bhāgavataṁ is self-authoritative and not dependent upon the Vedas for its validity. All other scriptures must be interpreted in line with it. This is ultimately because the Bhāgavataṁ is Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself, who is the source of the Vedas.
Thank you for this article.After you said “Yeah Sri Jiva slips that in in the tattva sandarbha while nobody is looking.. “.. I skimmed through it came across the statement ” kecit purāṇāntareṣu veda-sāpekṣatvaṁ, śrī-bhāgavate tu tathā sambhāvanā svayam eva nirastety api svayam eva labdhaṁ bhavati” Very interesting. Kindly share your email id or contact via my email.
Scooty Ram ji, I prefer to continue discussions on this site only. My time is limited and I am unable to carry out discussions with people on email. Thank you for understanding.
Origin of itihasa purana and vedas as same .
SB is mentioned as topmost pramana among other (sattvika) purana on the basis of it being natural commentary to Vedanta sutra and gayatri .
SB is essence of MBH.
SB is cream of vedas
Validity of SB is established progressively(not independent) by showing it as in agreement to MBH / Gayatri or other literature via anuchedas 17 to 25, Hence sApekshatva of MBH/Gayatri/Vedanta sutra/Vedas has been a content of these anucchedas and foundational to establish SB as pramana.
It seems SB is dependent upon the Vedas/MBH/Gayatri to derive its authority.
Can you please explain how to understand 26th anucheda where Sri Jiva denies such sApekshatva?
Commentary to 1.4.7 by Srila Jiva is “śrutir veda-sāraḥ ” To call SB as sruti seems AupacArika.
You can continue to think that it is aupcarika and sapeksa. It is not how I understand it. I may explain it later on in other articles, but no guarantees that you are going to like what I say or be convinced by it.
All this is done so people accept the Bhagavata as pramana. But in reality, Bhagavata is independent because it is Krsna Himself who is independent. In fact He is the only independent reality. He does not need a certificate from the vedas or the followers of the Vedas for His existence. That is your need. In fact last I checked the four Vedas don’t mention Him by name anywhere.
Your articles are beacon of hope for people who are not directly under tutelage of Sri Babaji.
https://bhaktitattva.com/2022/02/05/the-meaning-of-the-word-apauru%e1%b9%a3eya/ My comment on similar lines
Please continue writing .
The Bhāgavatam says that Kṛṣṇa is the dharma-varmaṇi (dharma protector), and Jīva considers that this purāṇa is the parama-śruti (highest śruti). But which dharma and śruti are they referring to? They refer to the same dharma contained in any śruti: yatraśrūyate dharmānuśāsanaśabdaḥ sāśrutiḥ | “If the sound revelation [śabda] relating to the principles of dharma is aurally perceived, it is accepted as śruti [that is, as the Vedas itself].”
So it may be worth stressing that the Bhāgavatam is a svataḥpramāṇa (self-evident authority) but cannot be isolated from the great corpus of vaidika literature or the unique socioreligious order that they establish, i.e., the varṇāśrama-dharma.
Sorry but I don’t think what you say is true. So I don’t think it is ‘worth stressing’.
Parama Shruti as interpreted in Baladeva’s tika on this portion of Tattva sandarbha:
तस्माद् इति वेद-सापेक्षत्वं वेद-वाक्येन पुराण-प्रामाण्यम् इत्यर्थः | अतएवेति परमार्थावेदकत्वाद् वेदान्तस्येव भागवतस्य परम-श्रुति-रूपत्वम् इत्यर्थः |
In Tattva sandarbha Anuccheda 28, Sri Jiva says:
atra ca sva-darśitārtha-viśeṣa-prāmāṇyāyaiva, na tu śrīmad-bhāgavata-vākya-prāmāṇyāya, pramāṇāni śruti-purāṇādi-vacanāni yathā-dṛṣṭam evodāharaṇīyāni |
He says that in the Sandarbhas, he will support his interpretation of the statements of the Bhāgavata from Vedas, Puranas etc. as he had seen them but he will not use them for supporting the statements of the Bhāgavata which are self-authoritative. This shows that Sri Jiva considers the Bhagavatam as of the same nature as Shruti.
Likewise Baladeva comments:
atreti | iha granthe yāni śruti-purāṇādi-vacanāni mayā dhriyante tāni svadarśitārtha-viśeṣa-prāmāṇyaiva | na tu śrī-bhāgavata-vākya-prāmaṇyāya, tasya svataḥ pramāṇatvāt
Thank you. You can explain this left, right up and down, but people will say all this is aupcarika! People will see what they want to see- not accept what is plain like the nose on their face. It is quite remarkable!
I am getting tired of the comments going round and round on varnasrama, and round on round on the issue of Bhagavata being svatah-pramana. This is Jiva Goswami. Take it or leave it.
And leave me alone!
@T.Krsna dasji. Did you delete my comment and edited your comment.
Yes, but be warned that I don’t have time for a back and forth discussion with you. I have said this a few times now.
What you call ‘a pramana based discussion’. No that is not the purpose of this site. It is not to discuss. It is to present what Sri Jiva has to say and if something is unclear, you can ask.
In my opinion, the Veda does mention the name Vishnu in all the four sections(Samhita, Brahmana, etc.). Narayana is mentioned in the Satapatha Brahmana, The Vishnu Gayatri with names like Narayana, Vasudeva in Maitarayani samhita of Krishna yajurveda. Taittiriya aranyaka(Mahanarayanopanishad), Narayana suktam. Krishna-Devakiputra in Chhandogya Upanishad(this is referenced by Jiva Goswami in Brahmasamhita commentary), Gopalatapani upanishad etc. Narasimha in Naradimhatapaniyopanishad, Rama in Ramatapaniyopanishad etc
Besides the Veda mantras can be interpreted as describing lilas of Bhagavan like in Mantra Ramayana and Mantra Bhagavatam etc.
I think such arguements should not be made. As the Bhāgavata itself says:
vedo nārāyaṇaḥ sākṣāt
svayambhūr iti śuśruma
The Veda is Narayana Himself.
I humbly think these things are to be kept in mind lest others can brand us as Avaidikas.
I am not talking about Vishnu but Krsna. I am not making an argument here at all. It is a fact. Citing the Bhagavata proves nothing.
I have no problem if others brand me as avaidika.
Also adding relevant commentary of Baladeva to Tattva sandarbha’s Anuccheda 27:
तद् एवम् इति | ननु वेद एवास्माकं प्रमाणम् इति प्रतिज्ञाय पुराणम् एव तत् स्वीकरोतीति किम् इदं कौतुकम् इति चेन् मैवं भ्रमितव्यम् |
एवं वा अरेऽस्य महतो भूतस्य [बृ.आ.उ. २.४.१०] इत्यादि-श्रुत्यैव पुराणस्य वेदत्वाभिधानात् | वेदेषु वेदान्तस्यैव पुराणेषु श्रीभागवतस्य श्रैष्ठ्य-निर्णयाच्च तद् एव प्रमाणम् इति किम् असङ्गतम् उक्तम् इति |