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Section Concerning Behavior
The readers have already been introduced to material and spiritual personalities in the previous two chapters. In this chapter we will discuss the comparison in the behavior of these two.
According to mundane consideration, one has to be qualified for any activity that he engages in. Otherwise, if an activity is performed by an unqualified person, there will be so many obstacles. Intelligent persons at different times have introduced various processes in order to benefit the people in general. Among these processes, some are beneficial for the present life and some are beneficial for the next life. Any simple-minded person can easily understand what is beneficial for the present life, yet being unable to experience subjects of the next life they introduce complex fallacious arguments. According to the variety of people's taste, behavior, and expertise, they reach various conclusions while discussing topics regarding the next life. People with similar natures who follow such people become attached to a particular opinion and reject contrary opinions. Generally, people in the mode of goodness have different opinions in every subject from those who are influenced by the modes of passion and ignorance. And when one is situated in pure goodness and exhibits a mood of indifference, his activities are distinct from the activities of one in goodness, which counteracts passion and ignorance. Conceptions regarding the next life in the hands of the four above-mentioned classes of thinkers assume four different forms. Thus there will certainly be differences among unregulated sense enjoyers, fruitive workers, mental speculators, and devotees. These four categories have descended through disciplic succession in various branches since time immemorial. People accept whatever they find favorable, and in this way they exhibit their individual qualifications.
If one speaks only of his own qualification without understanding other's qualifications, then there will be no benefit for the other party; rather this will create innumerable, never-ending arguments. That is why instructions according to one's qualification produce better results. We often hear about quarrels between two parties, and by taking sides we identify our position. This is called partiality. Yet as far as possible one should maintain neutrality on the strength of superior, noble education.
When realized through only the samvit aspect, the Absolute Truth appears devoid of eternal bliss and is called Brahman; when realized through the combined samvit and sandhini aspects, the Absolute Truth still appears devoid of hladini, or spiritual bliss, and is called Paramatma; and when the sac-cid-ananda aspects are simultaneously manifest, the Absolute Truth is called Bhagavan. Although the Absolute Truth is one, the knowers of the Truth have realized this advaya-jnana, or nondual supreme consciousness, in three different features. An absence of hladini, or eternal bliss, from the Absolute Truth is contradictory to advaya-jnana.
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (1.2.11) it is stated:
vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvam yaj jnanam advayam
brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti shabdyate
Dualist consciousness is called maya from the aspect of knowledge, viyoga from the aspects of existence and awareness, and abhakti (nondevotion) from the aspects of eternity, knowledge, and bliss. Learned transcendentalists who know the science of the Absolute Truth call this nondual consciousness “the nondual reality” (advaya-tattva). They call that one entity by the three names Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan. When the Mayavada philosophy is resorted to, Brahman and Paramatma are considered different from Bhagavan.
Some learned scholars are brahmanas, some are yogis, and some are bhagavatas. None of these three categories of men maintain material desires. Practically it is seen that when any of the above-mentioned transcendentalists forget their constitutional position as a result of dualistic consciousness born of material absorption and they consider themselves to some extent the doers in the field of activities due to various material desires, they then exhibit mutual differences in their tastes. They are then swallowed by the material kingdom's conceptions of superiority and inferiority. But when they realize their constitutional position, their fruitive mentality is diminished and they develop equal vision. At this point we do not wish to enter further into the complexities of the scriptures. But we can say this much: for one who has a particular material taste, that taste appears supreme. The faith of living beings is determined by how they identify themselves. Therefore if we want to make an impartial comparison, we should not be overcome by distorted understanding like the karmis. Our impartial statements will never be in agreement with those of the karmis. Therefore, until the karmis advance to a higher platform, they will not be able to understand our impartial statements; they will wrongly consider us selfish like themselves and hold us in contempt, thus uselessly wasting their time.
We have already discussed eligibility and position. One kind of eligibility may be strange to another person, but when he also attains that eligibility it beomes palatable to him. Although there are different positions, steadiness in one's own position is called piety and the opposite is called impiety. When one is situated in a particular position, he can see the faults of others; but if the statuses are equal, then there is no opportunity for such differences. If the brahmanas, yogis, and devotees do not consider each other's qualifications, there will certainly be quarrels among them and various difficulties in ascertaining their relative positions. If one impartially and carefully determines the position and eligibility of a subject, he will be able to reconcile everything properly; otherwise he merely becomes disturbed and accomplishes nothing.
Persons whose behavior we are presently comparing have various goals. Hence, the differences in their behavior are inevitable. Prakriti-jana refers to an enjoyer of temporary sense gratification. The term Prakrity-atita-jana, or one who is transcendental to material nature, is used to refer to a renunciate, while the term Hari-jana refers to the community of those who give up the propensities for enjoying and renouncing and are interested in the eternal service of Hari. Just because the Prakriti-janas do not respect the behavior of the Prakrity-atita-janas or the Hari-janas, that does not mean that the behavior of the Hari-janas is not respectable. Although the Hari-janas appear similar to the Prakriti-janas while living in this world, that does not mean that their behavior will not differ. While living with the Prakriti-janas, the Prakrity-atita-janas approve their activities, and since they deny their own liberated position they do not feel inclined to behave differently from others while living in this world. But because the contrary moods of the Hari-janas' eternal position are more or less opposite to those of the Prakriti-janas of this material world, there are bound to be differences between them. Differences in transcendental realization is the cause of this discrimination.
The three features of the nondual Absolute Truth are endowed with energies. Bhagavan is the supreme controller of all illusory and spiritual energies, Paramatma, as the indwelling Supersoul, is the Lord of most of the illusory energy and a portion of the spiritual energy, while Brahman is pure consciousness in isolation from all qualities that are known in terms of the Supreme Lord's energies. As an object is perceived differently by different senses, so the Absolute Truth, although one, appears in three forms. These three, however, should not be considered actually different. It has already been described that the possessor of the material and spiritual energies cannot be perceived simply through impersonal knowledge. Although through the combined features of the sat and cit aspects the Supreme Lord's mastery over the illusory enery and the variegatedness of Vaikuntha is found, these features do not reveal the fullness of the expanded pastimes of the energy and the energetic. The Supreme Lord fully manifests only through the combination of the sat, cit, and ananda aspects. Thus the indifferent brahmanas who know Brahman, the yogis who realize the Supersoul, and the devotees of the Supreme Lord are all engaged in serving the advaya-jnana Absolute Truth. The karmis, who are full of material desires, the jnanis, who have renounced material desires, and the devotees, who have developed faith in topics of Lord Hari, are all yogis. The difference between them is that some are karma-yogis, some are jnana-yogis, and others are bhakti-yogis. These three types of persons have the advaya-jnana Truth alone as their asset. The devotees of the Lord are in full knowledge of Krishna, the yogis are in full knowledge of the indwelling Supersoul, who resides in the heart of everyone and is the master of Vaikuntha, and the brahmanas are in full knowledge of impersonal Brahman, which is devoid of variegated, transcendental, blissful pastimes. On the pretext of philosophical argument, no one should say that the devotees have no knowledge of Krishna, the yogis have no knowledge of the Supersoul, and the brahmanas have no knowledge of Brahman. All three in their own capacity are actually worshipers of the advaya-jnana Truth.
If the brahmanas who know Brahman desire to practice yoga, they can do so; and if they desire to worship Krishna, they can also do so. If the devotees of Krishna become averse to worshiping Krishna, in other words, if they fall from the path of devotional service, they can become karma-yogis or jnana-yogis; and if they fall from knowledge of Krishna or knowledge of the Supersoul, they can become brahmanas on the platform of impersonal knowledge. The yogis are situated on a platform below the devotees of the Lord, and the brahmanas who know Brahman are situated on a platform below the yogis. The yogis who have realized the Supersoul can advance to the postion of the devotees or degrade to the position of impersonalist brahmanas. When brahmanas accept the doctrine of fruitive activities in the world of material qualities, they also become affected by material qualities. In such a condition, the brahmanas' impersonal knowledge becomes dormant. And when they are freed from material qualities by the influence of impersonal knowledge, they can also become transcendental brahmanas.
When the mode of passion is mixed with the mode of goodness, then a brahmana becomes identified as a kshatriya. When ignorance is mixed with passion, one is known as a vaishya. And when the mode of ignorance is prominent, then one gives up the mode of goodness, the status of a twice-born, and becomes known as a shudra. Since materialistic brahmanas are conditioned by the material mode of goodness, they accept various varnas within the material kingdom. When they are situated in the nonmaterial kingdom free from material qualities, they become known as transcendental impersonalist brahmanas in the form of knowers of exclusive, pure consciousness. When they are in the nonmaterial kingdom free from material qualities and endowed with knowledge of both matter and spirit, they become known as yogis in the form of mixed jnanis. When they are in the nonmaterial kingdom free from material qualities, those yogis who are knowers of Brahman endowed with all spiritual qualities are known as devotees of Vrajendra-nandana, who is the personification of spiritual pastimes. Therefore all living entities are eternal servants of Krishna. Giving up their eternal propensities, these servants of Krishna become yogis, brahmanas, members of the four materially conditioned varnas, animals, birds, insects, flies, worms, plants, and so on.
The Supreme Lord eternally enjoys pastimes in various forms as svayam-rupa, prakasha, tad-ekatma, svamsha, and vibhinnamsha. The vibhinnamshas are known as “separated parts” because there is a quantitative difference between them and the others like the svamsha. But there is no difference in their spiritual qualities. Since the vibhinnamshas possess spiritual qualities in minute quantity, they are prone to come under the control of maya, the illusory energy of the fully spiritual svamsha; but they are not eternally under the control of the external material energy. The impersonal Brahman is the incomplete manifestation of the Supreme Lord. Due to the Supreme Lord's complete manifestation, the same unbroken Truth appears as the Paramatma, or Supersoul. When this feature of the Supreme Lord takes the role as controller of the living entities, He is known as Paramatma.
The unlimited energies of the Supreme Lord are divided into three categories. His internal energy manifests His eternally relishable qualities in the form of His spiritual pastimes. His external energy creates superior and inferior undesirable conditions within finite time and produces the temporary nature of things. When His separated marginal energy, the living entities, become conditioned, they become enjoyers of the external energy; but when they become liberated, they eternally engage in the service of the Lord, who is the supreme enjoyer. When the infinitesimal living entities become inclined to serve the undivided supreme consciousness, they no longer remain controlled by the external energy. The multitotal energetic Vishnu, who resides in everyone's heart as the Supersoul, maintains entire universes through His external energy. The Supreme Lord as the antaryami, the inner witness, resides in the topmost abode of Goloka, in the spiritual sky of Maha-Vaikuntha, in the three bodies of water [karanodaka, garbhodaka, and kshirodaka], in the vibhinnamsha living entities, and in the kingdom of Durga. In Goloka and in the Vaikunthas He is eternally present in His original identity as svayam-rupa and svayam-prakasha. He appears in the kingdom of Durga from time to time for particular purposes. Although the fully independent Lord is the master of maya, He descends into her kingdom. His eternal associates, the Vaishnavas, can and do come to this material world in their eternal spiritual forms. When the vibhinnamsha living entities become averse to the service of Hari due to being subject to the control of maya, they enjoy the fruits of their activities through their enjoyment prone material minds and bodies. But when such living entities become free from the coverings of karma and jnana and devoid of material desires through the process of sadhana-bhakti, they then cultivate the favorable service of Lord Krishna. Being liberated from the bondage of maya, they are established in the kingdom of bhava and prema, or ecstasy and love, and become famous as sadhana-siddha devotees.
Due to being situated in the marginal position, living entities who are averse to Hari assume the nature of mixed consciousness; in other words, when the marginal energy living entities mix with the external energy, they consider themselves the enjoyers and then enter the material world. The cause of the spirit soul's coming to live in this world in aversion to Krishna is his misuse of his free will. When this aversion becomes strong, the living entities accept a material mind and body in order to enjoy the temporary material world and thus come under the control of fruitive reactions. And when, on the strength of pious activities, they become transcendental to the varnashrama principles, which distinguish superior and inferior behavior in this world, they become paramahamsas by perfecting themselves through sadhana. Those who become paramahamsas are the Hari-janas. And those who fall from the platform of paramahamsa and engage in fruitive activities while associating with matter are situated on the platform of varnashrama. Conditioned souls who are situated on the platform of varnashrama consider that the Vaishnava paramahamsas are also situated on the platform of varnashrama. But when they see that the Hari-janas are actually different from the Prakriti-janas, they become favorably inclined towards Krishna. When conditioned souls take shelter of the Vaishnavas' lotus feet without duplicity, they give up their ideas of impersonalism and fruitive work. The living entities in this material world who are subject to punishment from Yamaraja consider the Hari-janas, who are offered obeisances by Yamaraja, as Prakriti-janas. In order to exhibit their humility, the swanlike paramahamsa Hari-janas follow varnashrama principles and thus deceive the Prakriti-janas. Actually the Prakriti-janas and the Hari-janas are completely opposite in nature to each other, like illusion and reality.
While remaining in the material world, the living entities display two different tastes regarding their object of worship. The first taste is for Brahman, which is impersonal, without variety, and without qualities. Because Brahman is eternally without variety, it is not a suitable object of enjoyment for the living entities who are impelled by the illusory energy. That is why those who have a taste for impersonalism imagine five or seven demigods as worshipable, while in reality they are establishing various material things as their objects of worship. The second taste is for eternal spiritual variegatedness. The worshipable object for such living entities has an eternal name, an eternal form, eternal qualities, eternal associates, and eternal pastimes. The impersonalatists, however, consider that in the liberated state there is neither variegatedness nor spiritual pastimes-this mundane, proud explanation is conceived by those who are nondevotees of Vishnu. Some of these persons even deny the existence of the spiritual world and become known as atheists.
There are three main opinions found among the living entities-full rejection of the existence of the spiritual world, full acceptance of the existence of the spiritual world, and the uncertain position of both accepting and rejecting the existence of the spiritual world. Among those who reject the existence of the spiritual world, some have concluded that the spiritual world has no existence at all, some have concluded that its existence is doubtful, and others say it is unknowable. Those who fully accept the existence of the spiritual world realize the supermundane Personality of Godhead in two different features-aishvarya and madhurya, or opulence and sweetness. And those who both accept and reject the existence of the spiritual world consider that the transcendental eternal existence of the living entities is to be either in complete knowledge or devoid of knowledge. Due to their lack of faith in the existence of the spiritual world, those who reject its existence endeavor for material enjoyment while living in this world. In their independent spirit they do not serve anyone other than themselves. Following in their footsteps, those who claim to accept the existence of the spiritual world accept the impersonal Brahman as the supreme goal while concocting various objects of worship for themselves.
There are two concepts of impersonal philosophy-denial of spiritual propensities and denial of spiritual activities, both devoid of eternal worship. When people consider the absense of the conscious function as the goal of life it results in shunyavada, or voidism. And when they consider the idea that consciousness is devoid of activity it is called Mayavada, or spiritualism without variety. In their ordinary activities, the voidists give respect to the niti-shastras, or social codes. And the Mayavadis, considering consciousness covered by ignorance as the Supreme Lord, create five different idols and address the totality of ignorance as the Supreme Lord. Due to the absence of nondual knowledge, the so-called liberated Mayavadis consider themselves as temporary worshipers and worship five gods. Observing their complete absence of devotional propensities, Shri Vyasadeva has written in the Padma Purana as follows:
dvau bhuta-sargau loke 'smin daiva asura eva ca
vishnu-bhaktah smrito daiva asuras tad-viparyayah
“There are two kinds of created beings in this world, godly and demoniac. Those dedicated to the devotional service of Lord Vishnu are godly, and those opposed to such service are demoniac.”
In other words, varnashrama-dharma is of two varieties. That which is established on the basis of devotional service to Lord Vishnu is called daiva, and the opposite variety, meaning that kind of varnashrama in which there is no exclusive devotion to the Supreme Lord, which denies His eternal name, form, qualities, and pastimes, and which considers spiritual objects as illusory and thus recomends the worship of five gods is called material enjoyment-prone adaiva.
An elaboration on this verse is given by Shri Krishna-dvaipayana in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.5.3) as follows:
ya esham purusham sakshad atma-prabhavam ishvaram
na bhajanty avajananti sthanad bhrashtah patanty adhah
“If any of the members of the four varnas (brahmanas, kshatriyas, vaishyas, or shudras) and four ashramas (brahmacari, grihastha, vanaprastha, or sannyasa) fail to worship or intentionally disrespect the Personality of Godhead, who is the source of their own creation, they fall down from their position, in other words, they fall from daiva-varnashrama into the contrary situation of the demonic varnashrama.”
The varnashrama followed by the atheists or those who worship five gods is nothing like the daiva-varnashrama ascertained by the devotees of Vishnu. It is stated in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (7.11.35) as follows:
yasya yal lakshanam proktam pumso varnabhivyanjakam
yad anyatrapi drishyeta tat tenaiva vinirdishet
“If one shows the symptoms of being a brahmana, kshatriya, vaishya or shudra, as described above, even if he has appeared in a different class, he should be accepted according to those symptoms of classification.” If one rejects this process, he will incure sin. The process of assigning designations is that one should give an unreformed person the opportunity to purify himself by the ten purificatory processes, engage in studying the Vedas, engage in the six activities beginning with worship and teaching worship, become situated in pure conduct, eat the remnants of the spiritual master, become attached to the spiritual master, observe regular vows, and be truthful. But if the symptoms of vaishyas and shudras appear in a brahmana who has undergone the ten purificatory processes, then either he should be deprived of his purified status or he should be engaged appropriately as a vaishya-this is honesty. To act contrary to this is selfishness and laxity in following the injunctions of scripture.
From the statements of the smritis, as quoted by Nilakantha in his commentary on Mahabharata (Shanti-parva 189.2), we receive the following information:
yasyaite 'shta-catvarimshat samskarah sa brahmanah
“One who has performed these forty-eight kinds of samskaras is a brahmana.7
In Shri Yamunacarya's Agama-pramanya it is stated:
yad apy uktam garbhadhanadi-dahanta-samskarantara-sevanad bhagavatanam abrahmanyam iti, tatrapy-ajnanam evaparadhyati, na punar ayushmato doshah; yad ete vamsha-paramparaya vajasaneya-shakham adhiyanah katyayanadi-grihyokta-margena garbhadhanadi-samskaran kurvate; ye punah savitry-anuvacana-prabhriti-trayi-dharma-tyagena ekayana-shruti-vihitan eva catvarimshat samskaran kurvate te 'pi sva-shakha-grihyoktam artham yatha-vad anutishthamanah na shakhantariya-karmanushthanad briahmanyat pracyavante, anyesham api para-shakha-vihita-karmanushthana-nimittabrahmanya-prasangat.
“Those who say that the bhagavatas are fallen from the status of brahmanas because they have given up the Vedic samskaras beginning with the garbhadhana-samskara and ending with the funeral ceremony and have accepted an alternative system of purificatory rituals are ignorant offenders. In fact, however, the long-lived speakers of these statement are not at all wrong, since having studied the Vajasaneya branch of the Vedas which belongs to their family tradition, the bhagavatas perform their garbhadhana and other samskaras in accordance to the methods prescribed by the Grihya-sutras of Katyayana and others. Furthermore, these bhagavatas who have abandoned Vedic duties such as savitry-anuvacana (chanting the Vedic mantras which establish someone as a wearer of the sacrificial thread) and instead observe the forty samskaras enjoined in the Ekayana-shruti are properly adhering to the principles enunciated in the Grihya-sutras of their own branch and thus have never fallen from the status of brahmanas on account of not performing the rituals of a different branch. After all, if by not following the rules of all the Vedic branches a brahmana becomes fallen, then the followers of other branches would also have to be considered fallen from brahminical status because they do not perform the rituals of other branches.”
The community of sense enjoyers who are devoid of devotional service and bereft of simplicity disrespect the Absolute Truth and can never be accepted by the inititiated devotees of Lord Vishnu. In order to maintain their self-interest, the ignorant asslike community exhibit envy of daiva-varnashrama and thus prove their disqualification. Simply because the demoniac community is fallen, that does not mean the daiva-varnashrama community has to join them. The devotee community is always ready to disassociate from the demoniac followers of Vishvashrava's son [Ravana] and always eager to associate with Hiranyakashipu's son, Prahlada. The godly devotees of Vishnu also appear in demoniac families. And it is not unheard of for those who are averse to the devotional service of Lord Vishnu to take birth in the families of demigods and brahmanas. The devotees of Vishnu can take birth in all types of families. Yet if one considers that they are following demoniac varnashrama because they are situated in an inappropriate family due to their past activities and birth in a particular family, the daiva-varnashrama community, who are devoted to Vishnu, do not agree. The acaryas of the Vaishnava sampradayas do not accept either the worship of five gods by the impersonalist sampradaya or the immature application of varnashrama principles. Due to humility, the swanlike Vaishnavas do not formally accept the symptoms of varnashrama. That is why the Vaishnava acaryas did not always push them to give up their humility and perform ordinary Vedic rituals. Whenever the Vaishnavas are abused by the followers of demoniac varnashrama, pure varnashrama is protected by the understanding that varna is determined according to qualification.
We have cited the histories of more than a thousand followers of pure varnashrama in the Prakriti-jana-kanda of this book. Apart from those, many other topics concerning the topmost position of Vaishnavas who renounce nondevotional varnashrama and nondevotee behavior are found in the scriptures. Particularly due to their Vaishnava behavior, there was no obstacle in accepting them as initiated brahmanas.
The following of pure varnashrama has not been stopped in the Shri Ramanandi branch of the Shri Ramanuja-sampradaya. Pure varnashrama was functioning in this same way in ancient times. Due to the gradual increase in selfishness and material absorption the real purport of varnashrama has been forgotten and a lifeless varnashrama has become current. We cannot call the current system daiva-varnashrama. Shrimad Gopala Bhattapada, the smrity-acarya of the Shri Gaudiya Vaishnava-sampradaya, has given the arrangement for purifying qualified students of all varnas through ten Vedic samskaras in pursuance of the daiva-varnashrama principles. Following his directions, the samskara of brahmana initiation by qualification was begun long ago and is still practiced today in the sampradaya of Shri Shyamananda-deva, the branch of Shri Nityananda, the sampradaya of Shri Krishnadasa Navina-hoda, and the branch of Gaura's follower Raghunandana. Moreover, descendants of various branches of the Gaudiya Vaishnava grihasthas who have fallen from the standard due to their indifference to spiritual life consider themselves as belonging to their previous seminal caste. It is the nature of unqualified people to identify themselves as belonging to a low class. Sometimes the seminal descendants of an acarya become bereft of devotional service and think that following the principles of demoniac varnashrama is their constitutional duty. Fearing their social degradation, such people even associate intimately with nondevotee worshipers of the five gods. Such exchanges are meant only for fallen people who are indifferent to spiritual life.
Although it is accepted that out of Vaishnava magnanimity a devotee of Vishnu can take birth among miscreants, the statement of the scriptures that says, “A Vaishnava purifies and delivers whichever family he appears in,” has now simply turned into some words. All the same, we should know that a Vaishnava does not take birth in any family at all. It should be understood that even if Vaishnavas do take birth, demoniac self-centered communities do not accept them. The pure form of varnashrama can never be found in any society that has become degraded due to the absence of devotion to Vishnu. The Padma Purana states:
shva-pakam iva neksheta loke vipram avaishnavam
vaishnavo varno-bahyo 'pi punati bhuvana-trayam
na shudra bhagavad-bhaktas te tu bhagavata matah
sarva-varneshu te shudra ye na bhakta janardane
shudram va bhagavad-bhaktam nishadam shva-pacam tatha
vikshate jati-samanyat sa yati narakam dhruvam
bhaktir ashta-vidha hy esha yasmin mlecche 'pi vartate
sa viprendro muni-shreshthah sa jnani sa ca panditah
tasmai deyam tato grahyam sa ca pujyo yatha harih
“If a person born in a brahmana family is an avaishnava, a nondevotee, one should not see his face, exactly as one should not see the face of a candala, or dog-eater. A Vaishnava, however, can purify the three worlds, no matter what varna he was born in.
“Devotees of the Lord are never shudras, rather they are all first-class bhagavatas. But if one is not a devotee of Lord Krishna, he should be considered a shudra even if he was born in a brahmana, kshatriya or vaishya family.
“One who considers a devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead who was born in a family of shudras, nishadas, or candalas to belong to that particular caste certainly goes to hell.”
“If these eight types of devotional service are seen in a person, even if he was born in a family of mlecchas, then such a topmost brahmana, best of sages, jnani, and pandita should be offered food and his remnants should be accepted, for such a Vaishnava is as worshipable as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
All these statements of the scriptures are meant for uplifting the fallen followers of varnashrama and for humiliating the followers of varnashrama who are devoid of devotional service.
The Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.17.10, 12-13) states:
adau krita-yuge varno nrinam hamsa iti smritah
krita-krityah praja jatya tasmat krita-yugam viduh
treta-mukhe maha-bhaga pranan me hridayat trayi
vidya pradurabhut tasya aham asam tri-vrin makhah
vairajat purushaj jata ya atmacara-lakshanah
“In the beginning, in Satya-yuga, there is only one social class, called hamsa, to which all human beings belong. In that age all people are unalloyed devotees of the Lord from birth, and thus learned scholars call this first age Krita-yuga, or the age in which all religious duties are perfectly fulfilled.
“O greatly fortunate one, at the beginning of Treta-yuga Vedic knowledge appeared from My heart, which is the abode of the air of life, in three divisions-as Rig, Sama, and Yajur. Then from that knowledge I appeared as threefold sacrifice.
“In Treta-yuga the four social orders were manifested from the universal form of the Personality of Godhead. The brahmanas appeared from the Lord's face, the kshatriyas from the Lord's arms, the vaishyas from the Lord's thighs and the shudras from the legs of that mighty form. Each social division was recognized by its particular duties and behavior.”
In the beginning there is only one social class called hamsa. Later, when Satya-yuga was finished and Treta-yuga began, the four varnas were divided according to qualifications and activities.
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.5.2) it is stated:
mukha-bahuru-padebhyah purushasyashramaih saha
catvaro jajnire varna gunair vipradayah prithak
“Each of the four social orders, headed by the brahmanas, was born through different combinations of the modes of nature, from the face, arms, thighs and feet of the Supreme Lord in His universal form. Thus the four spiritual orders were also generated.”
In other words, the brahmanas were born from the mouth of the universal form through the mode of goodness, the kshatriyas were born from His arms through the mode of passion, the vaishyas were born from His thighs through the modes of passion and ignorance, and the shudras were born from His feet through the mode of ignorance.
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.17.14) it is also said:
grihashramo jaghanato brahmacaryam hrido mama
vakshah-sthalad vane-vasah sannyasah shirasi sthitah
The sannyasis appeared from the head of the universal form, the brahmacaris came from the heart, the vanaprasthas appeared from the chest, and the grihasthas appeared from the loins. In course of time, people deviated from the principles of varnashrama and began to ignore the qualifications. That is why the varnas are presently ascertained only by seminal consideration. If the ascertainment of varna by qualification is completely discarded, however, and ascertainment only through seminal consideration is followed, then the upanayana-samskara, or sacred thread ceremony, should be given along with the jata-samskara, or birth ceremony. But instead of this, a person's propensities should be examined, and if the mode of goodness is seen, then he should be awarded the sacred thread and be allowed to study the Vedas. The upanayana-samskara must be awarded in the early stage of one's life. After undergoing this samskara one is allowed to study the Vedas and perform other rituals. But if one wants to become a brahmana at the end of one's life, there are many Vedic mantras that oppose this. If one does not begin to study the Vedas at the proper time, one will not have the fortune of becoming competent. If one spends most of his life uselessly as a kshatriya, vaishya, or shudra, then his spiritual progress is hindered. That is why persons like Vishvamitra and Vitahavya had to struggle hard to become brahmanas. Many times kshatriya, vaishya, and shudra children were awarded the upanayana-samskara and accepted as brahmanas after their propensity or nature was examined by an acarya. Those who failed to exhibit higher propensities at the proper time were obliged to accept a varna according to their nature. The Mahabharata, the Hari-vamsha, the eighteen Puranas, and other ancient histories of India are evidence of this fact. Whenever an acarya was not able to determine a person's varna, he was considered as being of the same varna as his father. In the Mahabharata it is mentioned that in the age of Kali there will be doubts about deciding a person's varna according to seminal consideration. The principle qualifications of brahmanas, who are in the mode of goodness, are simplicity and truthfulness. But there are many opinions regarding seminal qualifications.
The time for examining a person's worldly inclination is between the ages of eight and twenty-two. According to worldly considerations, if a student's position remains undetermined through this period of examination, he is called a vratya. This does not mean, however, that the spiritual inclinations of a person should be examined in the same way. The reason for this is that a person's inclination for spiritual life may arise by some good fortune at any time. Then he should no longer be considered a fallen vratya, and if evidence of devotional service to Lord Vishnu is found in him, there is no harm in calling him a Brahman-realized spiritualist. Unqualified vratyas are often awarded spiritual or pancaratrika initiation. The spiritual activities of a duly initiated brahmana are called performance of Vedic sacrifice. The Vedic initiation of a vratya who has not first acquired the qualfications for brahminical initiation should not be accepted as authentic. Since it is not possible to properly execute the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies in this age of quarrel, Kali-yuga, those who have taken savitrya brahminical initiation should be known as shudra-kalpa, as good as shudras. Therefore, all sampradayas agree that rather than considering how to enhance one's position, one should accept inititation according to the pancaratrika system and engage oneself in the activities enjoined in the Vedas. In this way the biased opinions of conflicting parties are reconciled through the combined help of the Vedas and Pancaratras. During the Buddhist revolution in India, when it became impossible to carry out Vedic duties without deviation, such instructions were often accepted in order to reestablish the principles of varnashrama. When people's spiritual endeavors gradually diminished and society fell from the devotional service of Lord Vishnu, people began following a distorted system of varnashrama.
There are two kinds of varnashrama-demoniac and divine. The system of varnashrama that is based on fruitive activities meant for material enjoyment that is followed by those who are averse to Lord Hari is called demoniac varnashrama, and the other is the varnashrama of the community of those who want to serve Hari. This has already been elaborately described. Both the seminal brahmana community and the initiated brahmana community can progress side-by-side towards spiritual life if they put aside their quarrels. But if they fall from their goal and become the servants of worldly lust, then they will not have the good fortune of becoming eternal Hari-janas. If one gives up spiritual practices to protect demoniac society and if one glorifies the system of materialistic varnashrama, it will certainly hamper one's eternal auspiciousness. Pseudo devotees should impartially consider what benefit can be achieved if one's spiritual life is covered by mundane selfishness. We will hereby refrain from publicly discussing their foolishness. If we see that they are gradually and silently progressing toward the spiritual kingdom, then our happiness will increase.
The followers of varnashrama who are on the path of spiritual life under the guidance of the paramahamsas are not mad with the false pride of the temporary material world; therefore they can become transcendentally situated. When they actually attain such an impartial platform, they will understand that worship with material desires is mundane and that there is no conflict between one's constitutional duties, in the form of love for Krishna, and daiva-varnashrama. When a person is maddened to defy a Vaishnava with his body and mind, it is to be understood that he is not situated in his constitutional position as spirit soul. Only Vaishnavas are qualified to worship Lord Vishnu. The material body and mind cannot worship Vishnu through the medium of matter. The followers of demoniac varnashrama can never worship Vishnu. Their worship of Vishnu pricks Him like a pin. It is not possible to worship Vishnu without first worshiping the Vaishnavas. Most persons who have studied the scriptures should know that before worshiping Vishnu one must worship the spiritual master and Ganesha, who is a Vaishnava and the destroyer of obstacles. According to the logic of half-hen, or ardha-kukkuti, there is no value in worshiping Vishnu without worshiping the Vaishnavas.
Only a Vaishnava is capable of giving others the right to worship Vishnu. Those who are envious of the Vaishnavas can never give Vishnu mantras to others. A person who does not worship or who criticizes the spiritual master and the Vaishnavas is not qualified to receive a Vishnu mantra. If a person is not qualified to own something, how can he give it to others? Therefore the scriptures declare that one cannot worship Vishnu with mantras that are received from a nondevotee. One should give up the association of such nondevotees and take initiation, in the form of transcendental knowledge, from a Vaishnava spiritual master. Unless one gives up the bad association of persons who are averse to the Vaishnavas, he achieves no benefit. Wise Vaishnava acaryas like Shrila Ganga-narayana Cakravarti and Shri Ramakrishna Bhattacarya took initiation from Vaishnavas and thus established spiritual life as the highest goal in this world.
Learned persons who want to act piously in human life perform the sacrificial performance called shraddha in order to show gratefulness to their forefathers and deliver them from ghostly life. Although this ceremony is taken seriously by the general, ungrateful human society, in spiritual life it is not practiced in the same way. All living entities are servants of Krishna. When they forget that they are transcendental servants of the Lord, they are seen to traverse the field of activities through the endeavors of their bodies and minds. But this is not the eternal function of the pure soul. It is superficial and based on nothing more than material desires. The spiritual community serves their worshipable departed elders by faithfully offering them shri maha-prasada. This is completely different from the fruitive method of offering shraddha. The Vaishnavas are completely unable to concur with the beliefs of the fruitive workers, because this would obstruct their spiritual progress. Simply because the Vaishnavas live in the social shadow of the godless materialists, they should not deviate from their goal and forsake their spiritual life. The process of Vaishnava shraddha mentioned in Shri Hari-bhakti-vilasa should be followed by devotees in all respects.
The conceptions of purity and impurity and proper and improper codes of conduct are accepted by the daiva and asura varnashrama systems in different ways. A Vaishnava does not subscribe to any activity that hinders his spiritual life. The worldly smartas simply consider the purity and impurity of objects. Since they have no spiritual knowledge at all, whatever standards they establish may not necessarily be accepted by transcendentalists. It is not logical to try to place the smartas and Vaishnavas on equal level, because their behavior and activities are different. Though a brahmacari is forbidden from sexual activities, in the grihasthas' code of conduct there are various circumstances in which sexual activity is appropriate. Should grihasthas therefore be condemned? Behavior in accordance with one's status is said to be virtuous, although the same cannot be accepted as proper for someone whose status is different. The behavior of a Vaishnava or paramahamsa is totally different from the behavior of a follower of varnashrama. Therefore attempts to consider their activities on an equal level are offensive.
This Vyavahara-kanda needs to be elaborately discussed, and since such discussion is not feasible at this time we are ending this comparative essay, waiting for the opportunity for further discussion.