Dating of Bhagavat Purana

Question: There are many different opinions about the date of the Bhagavatam, some even suggesting that if was compiled after Shankaracharya. I disagree with that after studying Tattva Sandarva, Siddhanta Darpana and a fine note by another Bengali stalwart scholar, Prabhupad Sri Shyamlala Goswami in the introduction of Srimad Bhagavatam by Prabhupad Radha Vinode Goswami.

I had extended studies with Dr. R. C Hazra’s opinion on the dating of Bhagavata Purana where he assigns date before Shankara around 4 – 6 AD and want to do further studies with some of the Modern scholar opinion. It may be little demanding from my side to try to steal your valuable time, but in this regard I see you as a great source of inspiration and guidance in the path of “Satyam Param Dhimahi”. Therefore I hope you may clear some of my questions.

Answer: I do not have any more references than what you already have on the date of composition of the Bhagavatam. This is a time consuming process, and I am busy with writing and teaching. Tracing Indian history is a knotty issue, especially if it has to be done in the Western style. We have a different perspective of history – it is not linear. Even if it is concluded that Srimad Bhagavatam was written in 6th century AD, it does not mean that it did not exist before in some form. The Puranas have undergone different editions. Many verses cited by the Goswamis from the Puranas are not found in the present edition.

Sri Sanatana Gosvami himself wrote about a particular Purana that it has been interpolated.

That was 500 years ago. Sri Jiva writes on the internal authority of Srimad Bhagavatam that there were at least two or three different editions.

What is important is the message. When it is said that it is eternal, it may not be the exact words but the message. Srimad Bhagavatam is excellence – nothing comes close to it. It is Krishna in the form of sound. This can be realized from the message. If that is true, then it is as old as Krishna. – When the actual words were penned downed and by whom – that does not matter.

Caitanya Caritamrita is written in Bengali by Sri KrsnaDasa Kaviraja. Do you think when Sri Mahaprabhu came to Vrindavan or went to South India everybody spoke in Bengali couplets? Of course not. But we take those words as authority, as if spoken by Sri Mahaprabhu Himself.

The larger handwriting is a Bhagavatam commentary by Sri Gadadhar Pandit. The smaller writing is said to be the comment of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.