Śrī Jīva Goswāmī’s opinion about Context-Relevance and Ācārya-Absolute-Infalibility

I am translating from Śrī Tattva Sandarbha 27:

In these Six Essays (Ṣaḍ-Sandarbha) we will ascertain the supreme objective of life primarily by scrutinizing the statements of Śrī Bhāgavatam in due consideration of the context in which those statements are made.

Statements must be understood in context, not as isolated quotes one found on the internet or in a vedabase as the result of searching for a particular idea one likes.

We will divide our analysis into thematic sections. A few brief words will introduce the topic of each section, followed by a relevant passage from Śrī Bhāgavata, followed by our explanation of the passage.

To validate our explanation of Bhāgavatam, sometime we will refer to the Veda, Upaniṣads, Purāṇas and so on, in exactly the form we have seen them. We will also refer to Śrīdhara Swāmī, Rāmānujācārya, and Madhvācārya.

Śrīdhara Swāmī occasionally included monistic concepts in his explanation of Bhāgavatam, to attract readership from the monists who flourished in Central India and elsewhere. We will not give much attention to these, or any other, monistic explanations of Bhāgavatam, for these are already too well known. We will refer to the Swāmī’s explanations when they are harmonious with the conclusions of pure Vaiṣṇava philosophy.

Śrīdhāra Swāmī was an ācārya held in the utmost esteem by Śrī Caitanya and all his followers, as well as so many others. Here Śrī Jīva makes the plain, direct statement that Śrīdhāra Swāmī sometimes spoke things that are not absolutely true, but are relative to his particular time, place and circumstance. Therefore I reject the claim that it makes me a traitor or a betrayer to suggest that somethings Śrīla Prabhupāda said have to be comprehended in the context of his particular time, place and circumstance.

– Vraja Kishor dās


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