Excerpt from The Bhagavata: Its Philosophy, Its Ethics, and Its Theology by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura
"The Bhagavata teaches us that God gives us truth as He gave it to Vyasa: when we earnestly seek for it.
Truth is eternal and unexhausted. The soul receives a revelation when anxious for it. The souls of the great thinkers of the bygone ages, who now live spiritually, often approach our inquiring spirit and assist in its development. Thus Vyasa was assisted by Narada and Brahma.
Our Shastras, or in other words, books of thought, do not contain all that we could get from the infinite Father.
No book is without its errors.
God's revelation is absolute truth, but it is scarcely received and preserved in its natural purity. We have been advised in the 14th Chapter of 11th Skandha of the Bhagavata to believe that truth when revealed is absolute, but it gets the tincture of the nature of the receiver in course of time and is converted into error by continual exchange of hands from age to age. New revelations, therefore, are continually necessary in order to keep truth in its original purity. We are thus warned to be careful in our studies of old authors, however wise they are reputed to be.
Here we have full liberty to reject the wrong idea, which is not sanctioned by the peace of conscience. Vyasa was not satisfied with what he collected in the Vedas, arranged in the Puranas and composed in the Mahabharata. The peace of his conscience did not sanction his labors. It told him from within, "No, Vyasa! You cannot rest contented with the erroneous picture of truth which was necessarily presented to you by the sages of bygone days. You must yourself knock at the door of the inexhaustible store of truth from which the former ages drew their wealth. Go, go up to the fountainhead of truth, where no pilgrim meets with disappointment of any kind." Vyasa did it and obtained what he wanted. We have been all advised to do so.
Liberty then is the principle which we must consider as the most valuable gift of God. We must not allow ourselves to be led by those who lived and thought before us. We must think for ourselves and try to get further truths which are still undiscovered. In the Bhagavata we have been advised to take the spirit of the Shastras and not the words. The Bhagavata is therefore a religion of liberty, unmixed truth and absolute love."