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Re: Validity of the Samhitas (was Re: Am Namo Narayanaya)

From: Krishna Susarla (krishna_at_ticnet.com)
Date: Wed Jun 24 1998 - 23:43:39 PDT

Hare Krishna.

Sri Keshava dasa writes:

>Brahma-samhita is a purely Gaudiya shastra. It is only the 5th chapter of a
>work supposed to have 100 chapters, found by Sri Chaitanya on his visit to
>the Adi Keshava Perumal temple at Tiruvattur in Tamil Nadu near to
>Tiruvanantapuram on the Kerala border. It is not to be confused with
>another work by the same name which is recognized as part of the Pancaratra
>Canon.


In that case, the question then becomes this. Is there any objective
evidence which validates Brahma-samhita as authentic shaastra? An answer I'm
likely to get when I pose this question to devotees around me is, "Lord
Chaitanya is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and He approved of it,
therefore it is bona fide." But what I'm looking for is evidence beyond mere
tradition that justifies our position that this is in fact an authentic
shaastra. After all, we quote Brahma-samhita to all sorts of people,
expecting them to accept its evidence. That being the case, we should be
prepared to discuss with them why Brahma-samhita is to be considered an
authentic pramaana.

>Sri Adi Shankara says in his Bhasya that he rejects the Pancaratra
>(Samhitas) as authority, this is due to his misunderstanding of the roles
>of the Vyuhas like Sankarsana. He misunderstands that the Pancaratra
>mistakenly propounds an origin of the Jivatma. It in fact does not. Later
>Sri Ramanuja pointed this out in Sri Bhasya. Also Sri Yamunacharya has
>written Agama Pramanya which deals with proving the authenticity of the
>Agama (Samhitas, there are two Vaisnava Agamas, the Pancaratra and the
>Vaikhanasa). And then later Sri Vedanta Desika has written Pancaratra
>Raksha which also deals with the same subject, ie proving the authenticity
>of the Pancaratra (Samhitas) as Pramanam.


Thanks for this enlightening discourse. So then the Samhitas = Agamas,
correct? And the Sri Vaishnavas clearly do accept these Samhitas as
authentic. In that case, does anyone know exactly what the origins are of
these Samhitas/Agamas? Are they also breathed out by Lord Narayana at the
beginning of creation, or are these considered to be authored works?

Also, you may be familiar with Gaudiya works like Bhakti-rasaamR^ita Sindhu.
In it, numerous Samhitas are quoted to establish various points; are these
Pancharaatra Samhitas which would be considered by Sri Ramanuja and Sri
Yamunacharya as canonical? Or are these also purely "Gaudiya shaastras?"

While we're on the subject, are you at all familiar with scriptures such as
the Vishnu-yaamala, Brahma-yaamala, etc? These are also quoted in Srila
Prabhupada's books, but I have yet to find any information on what they are,
where they came from, evidence for their authenticity, etc.

adiyen Krishna Susarla