Thus far, I have tried to explain the siddhānta of bhakti by way of describing the independent nature of devotion and how it chooses to come through the agency of the sādhu. Also, I have quoted pertinent and compelling sections from our founding ācāryas and their scriptures concerning śakti-tattva and the position of the taṭastha-jīva in relation to the svarūpa-śakti/bhakti-śakti. I have also tried to prove that just as bhakti is a reality that is not inherent for the taṭastha-śakti, similarly prema, rasa, and the siddha-deha are also not intrinsic to the jīvātmā. Moreover, in the two previous chapters, I presented some of the most quoted evidence against the possibility of non-inherence as well as its ultimate meaning when understood in the proper context. While doing so, I began my presentation by sharing important statements from the spotless Bhāgavata Purāṇa, the main form of revelation embraced by Mahāprabhu himself, and thus the most authoritative source of divine knowledge for members of the Gauḍīya sampradāya. At the same time, I have given śāstra-pramāṇa from other various works. And going even beyond the Bhāgavata, I have concentrated my attention on the books of our śāstra-gurus, the Six Goswāmīs. I have done so because the Goswāmī granthas are the most natural extension of both the Bhāgavata and Mahāprabhu’s own inner heart, which have been expertly disclosed by the Goswāmīs’ commentaries and original works. To this has been added the contribution of stalwarts such as Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, who has provided us with unique commentaries to the Bhāgavata and the Goswāmīs’ books.
At this point, however, the following (and reasonable) question may arise: Where are the quotations from more contemporary Gauḍīya ācāryas belonging to the Bhaktivinoda parivāra, especially beginning with its founding father, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, from whom the idea of bhakti’s inherence in the jīva seems to have originated in our sampradāya? There are two main reasons for this. First, if we intend to speak about the present topic to a wider Gauḍīya community than that of the Bhaktivinoda parivāra, we would do well to establish our points by quoting authorities that have been unanimously accepted by the whole Gauḍīya sampradāya (beginning with the Goswāmīs and ending with personalities such as Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Goswāmī, Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, and Baladeva Vidyābhūṣana). Second, when we quote Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda and his followers along with their presentation of this particular topic, there is an unfortunate twofold tendency: (1) those who do not belong to the Bhaktivinoda parivāra may reject the Ṭhākura’s presentation by considering it a totally unacceptable heterodoxy, or (2) those who do belong to his parivāra may absolutize certain relative points in his presentation, without understanding the difference between principles and details. Both of these extremes are definitely unbecoming, so in order to avoid them, I will next address the main controversial points that beg to be reconciled in this regard.