WORD OF AUTHORITY

In Sanathana Dharma if there is any difference of opinion between a Stotra(hymn of praise) and a Kavya(literary treatise), Kavya takes precedence; if there is a difference between Kavya and Purana, Purana(Srimad Bhagavatam and the like) takes precedence, likewise the following are progressively superior source of authority for decision making if there is a conflict of opinions: Stotras, Kavyas, Puranas, Ithihasas(epics), Smrithis and Sruthi (the Vedas).

In the Kritha Yuga(the most idealistic age for righteousness), when all were pure, all could follow the path shown by Sruthi (the Vedas). As time progressed, deterioration set in gradually as it would in any system which begins from perfection. People could follow only the Samanya dharma (common social code of conduct) like truthfulness, respect to parents, compassion and affection – which is shown in Ithihasas(epics) like Ramayana. But now in this age, the Kali yuga, whence deterioration is maximum compared to the Kritha yuga, the path shown in Puranas – the Bhagavata Dharma of chanting the Divine Names is the only practical option for all.

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