On what basis do you accept your scripture as truth?

Vedic knowledge presents itself as factual, and we've found no reason to doubt it. Those familiar with their comprehensive, consistent, and detailed information on so many aspects of human endeavor—spiritual, ethical, and practical—would likely find it hard to believe that they could have been fabricated with no basis in fact.

Respected scholars—past and present, east and west, secular and traditional—accept the knowledge contained in the Vedas—including the Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita—as both factual and timeless. Vedic teachings are the basis of one of the world's most enduring cultures. We wouldn't be interested in them if we thought they were fiction. Their scope and accuracy—along with considerable reliable testimony attesting to their validity—make it difficult for us to dismiss them as make-believe.

Fiction can't help us. If we mention a health concern to our doctor, for example, we wouldn't expect him to base his diagnosis and treatment on something he read in a book of fairy tales. We would hope he has factual knowledge of how the human body works, and experience dealing with a wide variety of diseases. Likewise, if we're looking for spiritual knowledge, knowledge of the self beyond the body, we don't want to waste our time—and life—with information that may or may not be true.
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Some accounts in Vedic literature describe persons, places, and circumstances that are beyond our experience. They may not make "logical" sense to us or agree with what we've been taught in school. We may want to dismiss the information as made up or false. (Of course, some believe that everything is false, but that idea is also logically false.)

But if something is true, it ought to be verifiable. We say what you'll find in the Srimad-Bhagavatam is verifiable by personal experience. Krishna tells Arjuna in the Bhagavad-gita, "When, however, one is enlightened with the knowledge by which nescience is destroyed, then his knowledge reveals everything, as the sun lights up everything in the daytime." (Bhagavad-gita, 5.16).

What Krishna is talking about isn't about "believing" in something, although all knowledge begins with faith, and if someone is determined to not believe anything, they won't learn anything. It helps to have a degree of skepticism when approaching any new subject—especially spiritual knowledge—so that we're not misled. It also helps to at least theoretically accept that there is an Absolute Truth and we can know something about it. And, when we apply what we've learned, our consciousness should change for the better.

But how can we factually know what's beyond our experience? The most direct way to identify your father, for example, is to ask your mother. Similarly, we say that Vedic writings like Srimad-Bhagavatam are the most direct way to learn about the supreme Father, the Absolute Truth, Krishna.

The twentieth century's foremost Vedic scholar and teacher, Srila Prabhupada, had this to say about whether the Vedas (including Srimad-Bhagavatam) are truth or fiction:

"Men with a poor fund of knowledge only accept the history of the world from the time of Buddha, or since 600 B.C., and prior to this period all histories mentioned in the scriptures are calculated by them to be only imaginary stories. That is not a fact. All the stories mentioned in the Puranas and Mahabharata, etc., are actual histories, not only of this planet but also of millions of other planets within the universe.

Sometimes the history of planets beyond this world appear to such men to be unbelievable. But they do not know that different planets are not equal in all respects and that therefore some of the historical facts derived from other planets do not correspond with the experience of this planet. Considering the different situation of different planets and also time and circumstances, there is nothing wonderful in the stories of the Puranas, nor are they imaginary.

We should always remember the maxim that one man's food is another man's poison. We should not, therefore, reject the stories and histories of the Puranas as imaginary. The great rishis like Vyasa had no business putting some imaginary stories in their literatures." (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 1.3.41, Purport)

We're not asking you to take our word for it. We encourage you to put the information to the test. For starters, try chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, the Vedas' most recommended practice for achieving peace of mind and enlightenment in the modern era. Your personal experience will demonstrate the authenticity of Vedic teachings more effectively than anything we could say.

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