Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the authoritative reference book from which to understand devotional service, but because it is very elaborate, few men can understand its purport. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the original commentary on the Vedānta-sūtra, which is called nyāya-prasthāna. It was written to enable one to understand the Absolute Truth through infallible logic and argument, and therefore its natural commentary, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, is extremely elaborate. Professional reciters have created the impression that Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam deals only with Kṛṣṇa’s rāsa-līlā, although Kṛṣṇa’s rāsa-līlā is described only in chapters 29 through 33 of the Tenth Canto. They have in this way presented Kṛṣṇa to the Western world as a great woman-hunter, and therefore we sometimes have to deal with such misconceptions in preaching. Another difficulty in understanding Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is that the professional reciters have introduced bhāgavata-saptāha, or seven-day readings of the Bhāgavatam. They want to finish Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in a week, although it is so sublime that even one verse of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, if properly explained, cannot be completed in three months. Under these circumstances, it is a great aid for the common man to read Śrīla Vṛndāvana dāsa Ṭhākura’s Caitanya-bhāgavata, for thus he can actually understand devotional service, Kṛṣṇa, Lord Caitanya and Nityānanda. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has said:
- śruti-smṛti-purāṇādi-pañcarātra-vidhiṁ vinā
- aikāntikī harer bhaktir utpātāyaiva kalpate
“Devotional service to the Lord that ignores the authorized Vedic literatures—the Upaniṣads, Purāṇas, Nārada-pañcarātra, etc.—is simply an unnecessary disturbance in society.” Due to misunderstanding Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, people are misled regarding the science of Kṛṣṇa. However, by reading Śrīla Vṛndāvana dāsa Ṭhākura’s book one can very easily understand this science.