This quiz is designed to motivate you to study the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava scriptures in specific, and the Sad Darshanas in general, which are necessary to understand Gauḍīya philosophy properly.
Jnana or knowledge related to bhakti is also part of bhakti. In fact, hearing, which includes studying shastra, is the first limb of bhakti. Learning, followed by consolidating and then testing our knowledge in the form of a quiz is a fun and effective way to help us retain information.
This quiz is in multiple-choice questions format. (MCQs). If you see the response that you anticipated simply click on it. The quiz will immediately show which answers are correct or incorrect so we can learn as we go.
1 / 10
What is pūrvapakṣa?
Pūrvapakṣa means the opponent’s view. There are no specific rules for pūrvapakṣa. Anything which is against the principles of one’s own school is considered as pūrvapakṣa.
When we explain the principles of our own school, it is customary to refute the pūrvapakṣa so that the students or followers will have deeper understanding and faith in one’s own school. Usually first one states the pūrvapakṣa and then gives it refutation.
In Bhagavad Gītā, Kṛṣṇa said that doubts are destructive to one’s spiritual life. Therefore in philosophy they are answered in the form of refuting the pūrvapakṣa.
2 / 10
Does Sāṅkhya accept or deny Īśvara?
Learn more: Questions on Indian Schools of Philosophy
3 / 10
Why is dīkṣā compulsory to get the real blessing of the Name (which is Kṛṣṇa prema)?
One must be free from Nama-aparadha to get the blessings of the Name. One of the aparadhas is guroravajna – disrespect to guru. Now, to do that, one must have a guru. Otherwise, the term aparadha makes no sense. This is the implied meaning of the aparadha (vyanjana vritti).
The other aparadha is sruti-sastra-nindanam – criticizing sruti and scriptures based on sruti. Not following the scripture knowingly is as good as criticizing it. The very sastra which gives so many details and glorification of the Name also instructs about the need to take a guru. Accepting one part and rejecting the other is called ardha-kukkuti-nyaya –– the half-hen principle, i.e., that I accept what is convenient and leave what is troublesome. This does not work.
Moreover, there are descriptive and injunctive statements. They must be distinguished. All the glorificatory statements are descriptive, but diksha is an injunction. It cannot be avoided. All this is explained in the booklet Nama Tattva.
Learn more: Necessity of Diksha and Chanting
4 / 10
What is the meaning of the name "Śrīmad Bhāgavata"?
The very name Śrīmad Bhāgavata indicates its paramount position. Śrīmat means “endowed with beauty, luster, and opulence,” and bhāgavata means “related to (or, ‘of the nature of ’) Bhagavān.” Śrīmad Bhāgavata is thus the most beautiful literary creation because it describes the beautiful pastimes of the Supreme Person.
Śrīmat also means “opulent.” Śrīmad Bhāgavata is most opulent because it is identical with Bhagavān, the original Supreme Person, who is replete with all opulences.
Bhāgavata also means "one that talks about the devotees of Bhagavān". Śrīmad Bhāgavata, therefore, also means the glorious devotees of Bhagavān.
5 / 10
What are the distinctive features of Śrīmad Bhāgavata?
There exist two Bhāgavata-Purāṇas, viz. Devī Bhāgavata and Śrīmad Bhāgavata, that have similar characteristics. Some scholars of Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī's time held that Devī Bhāgavatam, rather than Śrīmad Bhāgavata, was actually the Bhāgavata Purāṇa glorified in the Purāṇas.
Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī solves the controversy by citing references that list distinctive features of Śrīmad Bhāgavata:
Jīva Gosvāmī further supports his opinion by quoting from the Bhāvārtha-dīpikā, Śrīdhara Svāmī’s commentary on Śrīmad Bhāgavata.
6 / 10
How many chapters are there in most editions of Śrīmad Bhāgavata?
Most editions of the Śrīmad Bhāgavata have 335 chapters, divided into twelve cantos.
Some commentators acknowledge only 332 chapters. They claim that chapters 12 to 14 of the Tenth Canto are interpolations. However, great authorities such as Śrīdhara Svāmī and Vopadeva have accepted these three chapters and commented on them, and Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has done so as well.
The three chapters in question describe the killing of Aghāsura and Śrī Brahmā’s bewilderment by Kṛṣṇa. In Chapter 12 of the Twelfth Canto, Sūta Gosvāmī gives a list of the līlās of Bhagavān, and in the twenty-eighth text of that list, he mentions the killing of Aghāsura and Śrī Brahmā’s bewilderment. The inclusion of the pastimes from the three disputed chapters clearly indicates that these chapters have a place in Śrīmad Bhāgavata.
Thus, in the opinion of Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, the Śrīmad Bhāgavata contains 335 chapters, since it would otherwise fall short of eighteen thousand verses.
7 / 10
Why does Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī consider Śrīmad Bhāgavata to be the supremely authoritative text or the emperor of all pramāṇas?
Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī points that Śrīmad Bhāgavata is the emperor of all pramāṇas because:
The Bhāgavata has the ten characteristics of a major Purāṇa; it is transhuman in nature (apauruṣeya); it is the natural commentary on the Vedānta-sūtra and thus constitutes the purport of all the Vedas, Itihāsas, and Purāṇas; it is available in its entirety; it is respected by all Vaiṣṇava ācāryas and many others including the Advaitavādīs; it is the most popular of the Purāṇas; it has an intact tradition of Vaiṣṇava commentaries; and it is the culmination of Śrīla Vedavyāsa’s literary output, being composed in His maturity.
8 / 10
Are all the stories in the Bhāgavata to be taken literally?
The Bhāgavata Purāṇa is one of the eighteen Purāṇas with the additional characteristic of rasa, placing it in the category of kāvya (lit., poetry) as well.
Kāvya is described in Sāhitya-darpaṇa, an authoritative book on poetics by Viśvanātha Kavirāja as vakyam rasatmakam kāvyam: that whose very essence is rasa is called kāvya. Without rasa, a poetic work cannot be called kāvya.
The fact that Śrīmad Bhāgavata is a kāvya is expressed in the following verse cited by Śrī Jiva Gosvami in Tattva Sandarbha (Anuccheda 26, quoted from Harī Līlāmṛta 1.9), which also establishes Śrīmad Bhagavata as the highest authority in disseminating knowledge of the Absolute:
vedāḥ purānaṁ kāvyam ca prabhur mitraṁ priyeva cabodhayantīti hi prābhus tri-vṛd bhāgavataṁ punaḥ
“The Vedas, Purāṇas and poetic works (kāvya) instruct one like a master, friend, or beloved, respectively, but Śrīmad Bhagavatam instructs like all three.”
This statement reflects the traditional Indian understanding that one can be instructed as if by a ruler, a friend, or a lover. The Vedas utilize an imperative voice, resembling an overlord: satyaṁ vāda dharma cara. “Speak the truth and be religious” (Taittirīya Upaniṣad 1.11).
The Vedas do not need to offer logical reasons for following their instructions, because one is expected to obey without question. The Purāṇas instruct like a friend, narrating stories with moral conclusion and providing reasoned explanations when required. Kāvya, or poetic literature, gives counsel like a beloved woman, who uses sweet words while sharing indirectly. Such instructions are expressed in an aesthetically pleasing way to attract the reader or hearer. Śrīmad Bhagavatam uses all three of these methods to convey its teachings.
The intention of Śrī Vyāsa is not to give us historical information, but to impart transcendental knowledge. Still there may be historical facts articulated to convey the intended meaning. Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī makes this clear in the verse:
kathā imās te kathitā mahīyasāṁvitāya lokeṣu yaśaḥ pareyuṣāmvijñāna-vairāgya-vivakṣayā vibhovaco-vibhūtīr na tu pāramārthyam
“O King, I have narrated to you these stories of glorious kings, who achieved great fame in this world and then met their demise, in order to impart to you knowledge of the insubstantiality of sense enjoyment, and thereby to evoke in you a spirit of detachment from the same. These stories are merely a display of eloquence and have no bearing on the Absolute Truth.” (SB 12.3.14)
The last sentence in the verse says that “the stories are merely a display of eloquence,” vaco-vibhūtī, which implies that not everything is to be taken literally. Sometimes facts are exaggerated to make the description appear very attractive, extraordinary, and wonderful.
Learn more: Bhāgavatam Pedagogy
9 / 10
What is the purpose behind storytelling in the Bhāgavata?
Learn more: The Purpose behind Storytelling in the Bhagavatam.
10 / 10
Why does Śrīmad Bhāgavata also have statements about jñāna-mārga?
Learn more: Types of Worship, Impersonalism, Universal Form.
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