Nothing genuine can be ascertained by logic and argument, as this ancient statement proves:
‘Any logician can clearly establish any subject matter using arguments, but someone who is more expert in argument can easily refute him. You use logic to establish one siddhanta today, but a more intelligent and qualified logician will be able to refute it tomorrow, so why should you rely on logic?’
Well-versed readers of the Puranas[i], have accepted eight types of Pramana:
- pratyaksa, (direct perception).
- anumana, (inference based on generalized experience).
- upamana, (analogy).
- sabda, (revealed knowledge).
- aitihya, (traditional instruction).
- arthapatti, (inference from circumstances).
- sambhava (speculation).
- anupalabdhi, (understanding something by its non-perception).
Pratyaksa and other types of evidence depend on the senses, but since the senses of the conditioned jiva, (soul), are always subject to,
- Bbhrama, (illusion).
- Pramada, (error).
- Vipralipsa, (cheating).
- Karanapatava, (imperfection of the senses).
So, how can the knowledge acquired through the senses be factual and faultless? The fully independent possessor of all potencies, Sri Bhagavan Himself, personally manifested as perfect Vedic knowledge, within the pure hearts of great maharsis and saintly acharyas, who were situated in full Samadhi. Therefore, the Vedas, which are the embodiment of self-manifest, pure knowledge, are always faultless and fully dependable as evidence. …
Bhrama, (illusion), is the baddha-jiva’s, conditioned soul’s, false impression of reality resulting from familiar knowledge gathered through imperfect senses. For example, in the desert, the rays of the sun sometimes produce a mirage, which creates the impression of water.
Premada is the fault of making errors. Since the material intelligence of the baddha-jiva, (conditioned-soul), is by nature limited, mistakes are inevitably present in whatever siddhanta his limited intelligence discerns in relation to the unlimited para-tattva.
Vipralipsa, is the cheating propensity. This is manifest, when one, whose intelligence is limited by time and space, is suspicious, and reluctant to believe in the activities and authority of Krishna, who is far beyond time and space.
Karanapatava, means that our senses are imperfect and ineffective. Because of this, we cannot avoid making mistakes in everyday circumstances. For example, when we see an object suddenly, we may mistake it for something else and draw faulty conclusions. …
The evidence gained from pratyaksa and other Pramanas is only worth considering when it follows the guidelines of the self-evident Vedic knowledge; otherwise, its evidence can be discarded. That is why the self-evident Vedas are the only evidence.
Pratyaksa, and other pramanas can also be accepted as evidence, but only if they are in pursuance of the Vedas. …
The Bhagavad-gita is called an Upanisad[ii], (Gita Upanisad), because it is the Vani (instructions) of Bhagavan; hence, the Gita is Veda. Similarly, Dasa-mula-tattva, is also bhagavat-vani, because it is Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s instructions, so it is also Veda. Srimad-bhagavatam is the crest-jewel of all the Pramanas, because it is the compilation, of the essence of the meaning of the Vedas. The instructions of different scriptures are authoritative evidence, only as long as they follow the Vedic knowledge. There are three types of tantra-scriptures,
- Sattvika, (goodness).
- Rajasika, (passion).
- Tamasika, (ignorance).
Of these, the Pancharatra and so on are in the sattvika group, and they are accepted as evidence because they expand the confidential meaning of the Veda.
There are many books in the Vedic line. Which of these may be accepted as evidence and which may not?
In the course of time, unscrupulous and untruthful personalities have interpolated many chapters, mandalas, (sections and divisions), and mantras into the Vedas, in order to fulfill various self-interests. Those parts that were added at a later time are called praksipta, (interpolated), parts. It is not that we should accept any and every Vedic text as reliable evidence. Those Vedic granthas, (sacred books), that the acharyas in the sat–Sampradayas have accepted as evidence are definitely Veda and are authoritative evidence, but we should reject literature or parts of literature that they have not recognized.”
Therefore, references from Srila Prabhupada, his writing and speaking, are to be understood as Sabda-pramana, i.e., the evidence of transcendental sound, especially of the Vedas, proof from revealed scripture or from the words of a genuine sadhu.
Srila Prabhupada is certainly, surely, positively, definitely, undoubtedly, and unquestionably, a genuine sadhu.
This is the Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya protocol on establishing siddhanta, or “an essential conclusion”.
FOOT & END NOTES
 Inference: a conclusion reached on the basis of evidence and reasoning
 Bhagavan — means the Almighty God who is the controller of all opulences, power, fame, beauty, knowledge and renunciation.
 Samadhi — total absorption and trance of the mind and senses in consciousness of the Supreme Godhead and service to Him.
 Dasa Mula Tattva: Is a philosophical treatise written by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Dasa Mula Tattva is a must-have book for any serious student of Gaudiya Vaisnavism. The importance of this book cannot be overstated, for herein, all the essential teachings of the Vedas are concisely expounded.
 Caitanya Mahaprabhu, (1486-1534)—Lord Krishna in the aspect of His own devotee. He appeared in Navadvipa, West Bengal, and inaugurated the congregational chanting of the holy names of the Lord to teach pure love of God by means of sankirtana. Lord Caitanya is understood by Gaudiya Vaisnavas to be Lord Krishna Himself; The Golden Avatara of the Supreme Personality of Godhead who descended into the material world 500 years ago at Sridhama Mayapur. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu inaugurated the yuga-dharma of sankirtana.
 Pancaratra—Vedic literatures describing the process of Deity worship.
 Protocol—The accepted or established code of procedure or behavior in any group, organization, or situation.
[i] Purana—Literally, very old. Within the smrti section of the Vedic scriptures, there are eighteen Maha-puranas (great books of ancient wisdom). Of these, the greatest is the Bhagavata Purana, also called Srimad-Bhagavatam. Puranas—the eighteen major and eighteen minor ancient Vedic literatures compiled about five thousand years ago in India by Srila Vyasadeva that are histories of this and other planets; literatures supplementary to the Vedas, discussing such topics as the creation of the universe, incarnations of the Supreme Lord and demigods, and the history of dynasties of saintly kings. The eighteen principal Puranas discuss ten primary subject matters: 1) the primary creation, 2) the secondary creation, 3) the planetary systems, 4) protection and maintenance by the avataras, 5) the Manus. 6) Dynasties of great kings, 7) noble character and activities of great kings, 8) dissolution of the universe and liberation of the living entity, 9) the Jiva (the spirit soul), 10) the Supreme Lord.
[ii] Upanisads: One-hundred and eight Sanskrit treatises that embody the philosophy of the Vedas. Considered the most significant philosophical sections and crest jewels of the Vedas, the Upanisads are found in the Aranyaka and Brahmana portions of the Vedas. They are theistic and contain the realizations and teachings of great sages of antiquity; The term Upanisad literally means that which is learned by sitting close to the teacher. The texts of the Upanisads teach the philosophy of the Absolute Truth (Brahman) to those seeking liberation from birth and death, and the study of the Upanisads is known as Vedanta, the conclusion of the Veda. The contents of the Upanisads are extremely difficult to fathom; they are to be understood only under the close guidance of a spiritual master (guru). Because the Upanisads contain many apparently contradictory statements, the great sage Vyasa systematized the Upanisadic teachings in the Vedanta-sutra. His natural commentary on the Vedanta-sutra is the Srimad-Bhagavatam.