The Bhagavatam in Modern Times

The Gaudiya’s primary text is the Bhagavatam, the Vedic new testament. Although ancient Gaudiya commentators found the need, in their times, to connect it with the sruti and so on, and did so to the satisfaction of others in their times, Gaudiya’s today do not have the same academic necessity. Our necessity is different. We need to make credible the essence of the Bhagavata‘s theology and philosophy in light of the thinking in our times. And our Deity is the historical and spiritual Caitanya Mahaprabhu. It is in him and his life and ecstasy that we find all the evidence necessary to support the divinity of Krsna.

The Puranas in general are considered future revelation. That is their purpose. Among them the Bhagavatam stands out in every possible way, philosophy, theology, language, aesthetics, and so on. There is truly no comparison, and many of the other Puranas glorify the Bhagavatam in their own time. And today among all the Puranas the Bhagavata is by far the most popular in India and abroad. Most of the other Puranas are unknown by comparison and have no commentaries and those that do have one or two. There are more than 88 Sanskrit commentaries on the Bhagavatam and it has been translated into every Indian dialect and many foreign languages.

The Gaudiya position is that the other Puranas deal with the different modes of nature and thus appeal theistically to different psychologies. Whereas the Bhagavatam is the amala Purana, dealing as it does only with the nirguna.

The Bhagavatam is our Bible, Bhagavatam and Bhagavad Gita. That is sufficient. Gaura Krsna is our God, the Easter Savior. We take our stand there and go forward sharing the Gaudiya good tidings.

Sri Vaisnavism

In Sri Vaisnavism, the Alwars are considered to be incarnations of the club, conch, etc of Visnu. Is it a prerequisite that one believe this in order to embark upon the path of Sri Vaisnavism.

The difference here between the two sampradayas with regard to their founding members, Sri Caitanya and Sri Ramanuja, is that it is central to Gaudiya Vedanta to acknowledge the divinity of Sri Caitanya, whereas this is not the case with Ramanuja and the Sri Sampradaya. Furthermore, it is central to Gaudiya Vedanta to acknowledge that Sri Caitanya is svayam bhagavan, Sri Krsna and moreover Radha Krsna combined. Without acknowledging this, one cannot be a Gaudiya Vaisnava in any real sense of basic sambandha jnana.

Now if one really understands that Sri Caitanya is svayam bhagavan and one also understands what svayam bhagavan means, then one understands that svayam bhagavan is never alone. Indeed, all of the incarnations of Godhead have their entourage. Who is the entourage of svayam bhagavan? Will they not come with him when he appears? How could they not and how could he be what he is without them (bhedadbheda)? The blessed Kavi Karnapura has tried to answer these important questions.