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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Verses > Gaudiya Kanthahara > Varna-dharma-tattva

Varnadharma-tattva

 

Two Kinds of Varnasrama Divine and Demoniac

 

14.1

dvau bhuta-sargau loke'sminn daiva asura eva ca

visnu-bhaktah smrto daiva asuras-tada-viparyayah

 

          There are two classes of men in the created world the demoniac and the godly. The devotees of Lord Vishnu are the godly. All opposed are demons. (Padma Purana)

 

Divine Varnmnrama

 

14.2

varnasramacaravata purusena parah puman

visnuraradhyate pantha nanyat tat-tosa-karakah

 

          The Supreme Person, Lord Vishnu, is worshiped by a person who is engaged in the proper execution of prescribed duties in the system of varna and asrama. There is no other way to satisfy the Supreme Lord. (Vishnu Purana 3.8.9)

 

The Demoniac Social System

 

14.3

asatyam apratistham te jagad ahur anisvaram

aparaspara-sambhutam kim anyat kama-haitukam

 

          The demoniac say that this world is unreal, that there is no foundation and that there is no God in control. It is produced of sex desire, and has no cause other than lust. (Bhagavad-gita 16.8)

 

The Character of the Followers of Demoniac Society

 

14.4

asau maya hatah satrur hanisye caparan api

isvaro 'ham aham bhogi siddho 'ham balavan sukhi

          The demoniac think, "He is my enemy, and I have killed him; and my other enemy will also be killed. I am the Lord of everything, I am the enjoyer, I am perfect, powerful, and happy. (Bhagavad-gita 16.14)

 

The Future of the Followers of Demoniac Society

 

14.5

tan aham dvisatah kruran samsaresu naradhaman

ksipamy ajasram asubhan asurisv eva yonisu

 

          Those who are envious and mischievous, who are the lowest among men, are cast by Me into the ocean of material existence, into various demoniac species of life. (Bhagavad-gita 16.19)

 

14.6

asurim yonim apanna mudha janmani janmani

mam aprapyaiva kaunteya tato yanty adhamam gatim

 

          Attaining repeated birth and death amongst the species of demoniac life, such persons can never approach Me. Gradually they sink to the most abominable type of existence. (Bhagavad-gita 16.20)

 

The Birth, Family, and Knowledge

of the Followers of Demoniac Society is Useless

 

14.7

dhig janma nas tri-vrd yat tad dhig vratam dhig bahu-jnatam

dhik kulam dhik kriya-daksyam vimukha ye tv adhoksaje

 

          To hell with our birth as brahmanas! To hell with our learning of Vedic literature! To hell with our performing sacrifice and observing the rules and regulations of scripture! To hell with our families! To hell with our expert service in performing the rituals exactly according to the description of scripture! To hell with it all, for as result of these things we have become opposed to loving the blessed Supreme Lord, who is beyond the speculation of our body, mind, and senses. (Bhag. 10.23.40)

 

The Characteristics of Each Varna

 

14.8

samo damas tapah saucam santosah ksantir arjavam

jnanam dayacyutatmatvam satyam ca brahma-laksanam

 

          The symptoms of a brahmana are control of the mind, control of the senses, austerity, penance, cleanliness, satisfaction, forgiveness, simplicity, knowledge, mercy, truthfulness, and complete surrender to the Supreme Lord. (Bhag. 7.11.21)

 

14.9

sauryam viryam dhrtis tejas tyagas catmajayah ksama

brahmanyata prasadas ca satyam ca ksatra-laksanam

 

          To be influential in battle, unconquerable, patient, challenging and charitable, to control the bodily necessities, to be forgiving, to be attached to the brahminical nature, and to be always jolly and truthful are the symptoms of a ksatriya. (Bhag. 7.11.22)

 

14.10

deva-gurv-acyute bhaktis tri-varga-pariposanam

astikyam udyamo nityam naipunyam vaisya-laksanam

 

          Being always devoted to the demigods, the spiritual master and the Supreme Lord, Vishnu; endeavoring for advancement in religious principles, economic development and sense gratification (dharma, artha, and kama), believing in the words of the spiritual master and scripture, and always endeavoring with expertise in earning money are the symptoms of a vaisya. (Bhag. 7.11.23)

 

14.11

sudrasya sannatih saucam seva svaminy amayaya

amantra-yajno hy asteyam satyam go-vipra-raksanam

 

          Offering obeisances to the higher sections of society, being always very clean, being free from duplicity, serving one's master, performing sacrifices without uttering mantras, not stealing, always speaking the truth and giving all protection to the cows and brahmanas are the symptom of a sudra. (Bhag. 7.11.24)

 

Bhagavad-gita on Varnasrama

 

14.12

brahmana-ksatriya-visam sudranam ca parantapa

karmani pravibhaktani svabhava-prabhavair gunaih

 

          Brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas, and sudras are distinguished by their qualities of work, O chastiser of the enemy, in accordance with the modes of nature. (Bhagavad-gita 18.41)

 

Qualities of Brahmanas

 

14.13

samo damas tapah saucam ksantir arjavam eva ca

jnanam vijnanam astikyam brahma-karma svabhava-jam

 

          Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, wisdom, knowledge, and religiousness these are the qualities by which the brahmanas work. (Bhagavad-gita 18.42)

Qualities of Ksatriyas

 

14.14

sauryam tejo dhrtir daksyam yuddhe capy apalayanam

danam isvara-bhavas ca ksatram karma svabhava-jam

 

          Heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity, and leadership are the qualities of work for the ksatriyas. (Bhagavat-gita 18.43)

 

Qualities of Vaisyas and Sudras

 

14.15

krsi-go-raksya-vanijyam vaisya-karma svabhava-jam

paricaryatmakam karma sudrasyapi svabhava-jam

 

          Farming, cow protection, and business, are the qualities of work for the vaisyas, and for the sudras there is labor and service to others. (Bhagavat-gita 18.44)

 

The Division of Varna and asrama According to Gura and Karma

 

14.16

catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah

tasya kartaram api mam viddhy akartaram avyayam

 

          According to the modes of material nature and the work ascribed to them, the four divisions of human society were created by Me. Although I am the ultimate creator of this system, you should know that I am not the direct creator, being unchangeable. (Bhagavad-gita 4.13)

 

Evidence from Shrimad Bhagavatam

About the Divisions Varnasrama

 

14.17

mukha-bahuru-padebhyah purusasyasramaih saha

catvaro jajnire varna gunair vipradayah prthak

 

          [Camasa Yogendra said] From the mouth of Brahma, the brahminical order has come into existence. Similarly, from his arms, the ksatriyas have come, from his waist the vaisyas have come and from his legs the sudras have come. These four orders and their spiritual counterparts [brahmacari, gnhastha, vanaprastha, and sannyasa] combine to make society complete. (Bhag. 11.5.2)

14.18

ya esam purusam saksad atma-prabhavam isvaram

na bhajanty avajananti sthanad bhrastah patanty adhah

 

          For one who simply maintains an official position in varnasasrama but does not worship the Supreme Lord, Vishnu, he falls down from his puffed-up position into a hellish condition. (Bhag. 11.5.3)

 

14.18a

cari varnasrami yadi krishna nahi bhaje

svakarma karite se raurave padi' maje

 

          The followers of the varnasrama institutions accept the regulative principles of the four social orders (brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra) and four spiritual orders (brahmacari, gnhastha, vanaprastha, and sannyasa). If, one carries out the regulative principles of these orders but does not render service to Krishna, he falls into a hellish condition of life. (Cc. Madhya 22.26)

 

In Satya-Yuga, There was Only one Varna Paramahamsa

 

14.19

adau krta-yuge varno nrnam hamsa iti smrtah

krta-krtyah praja jatya tasmat krta-yugam viduh

 

          In the beginning, Satya-yuga, there was only one social class, called "hamsa". In that age everyone was perfect (in devotional service) from birth. That age is therefore known as Knta-yuga, or the age in which all religious duties are fulfilled. (Bhag. 11.17.10)

14.20

treta-mukhe maha-bhaga

pranan me hrdayat trayi

vidya pradurabhut tasya

aham asam tri-vrn makhah

 

          O blessed Uddhava, at the beginning of the Treta-yuga the threefold Vedas was manifest from My heart thorough My breath; and through the threefold Vedas I (who am known a Yajna) appear as sacrifice. (Bhag. 11.17.12)

 

14.21

vipra-ksatriya-vit-sudra mukha-bahuru-pada-jah

vairajat purusaj jata ya atmacara-laksanah

 

          The four social orders appeared from the universal form of the Lord. The brahmanas appeared from His face, the ksatriyas from His arms, the vaisyas from His thighs, and the sudras from His feet. Each social order is characterized by specific systems and behavior. (Bhag. 11.17.13)

 

Previously, Everyone was a Brahmana.

Later, According to Gura and Karma, Different Divisions Arose

 

14.22

na viseso' sti varnanam sarvam brahmam-idam jagat

brahmana purva-srstam hi karmabhir-varnatam gatam

 

          [Brghu Muni said] Previously there was only one varna. Because everyone was born of Brahma, everyone was a brahmana. However, later on different castes were categorized according to their activities. (Mahabharata, Santi Parva 188.10)

 

The Position of Varna-Dharma in Kali-yuga

 

14.23-27

brahmanah ksatriya vaisah sudrah papa-parayanah

nijacara-vihinas ca bhavisyanti kalau yuge

vipra veda-vihinas ca pratigraha-parayanah

atyanta-kaminah krura bhavisyanti kalau yuge

veda-nindakaras caiva dyutacaurya karas tatha

vidhava-sanga-lubdhas ca bhavisanti kalau dvijah

vrtty-artham brahmanah kecit mahakapata-dharminah

raktambara bhavisyanti jatilah smasrudharinah

kalau yuge bhavisanti brahmanah sudra-dharmina

 

          In Kali-yuga, all four varnas are devoid of character and proper behavior and are addicted to sin. The brahmanas are devoid of Vedic knowledge and sacrifice. Giving up the five sacrifices recommended in the Vedas and all brahminical behavior and consciousness, they engage in inferior activities. They collect charity to satisfy their unlimited appetite for sense enjoyment. The brahmanas of Kali-yuga are characterized by the qualities of lust and cruelty. Unholy in deed and thought, they take pleasure in envy and malice. These professional thieves blaspheme the Vedas, drink liquor, and exploit women for sex, taking great pleasure in adultery and fornication. They accept extremely sinful means of maintaining their lives and, posing as svamis, dress in red cloth and wear long hair and beards. In this way the wretched so called brahmanas of Kali-yuga accept the dharma of sudras, that is, they become fourth-class men. (Padma Purana)

 

Brahmanas in Kali-yuga are Brahmanas in Name only

 

14.28

raksasah kalim-ashritya jayante brahma-yonisu

utpanna brahmana-kule badhante srotriyan krsan

 

          Those who were raksasas in previous ages, have taken birth as brahmanas in Kali-yuga to torment the physically weak saintly persons who are engaged in the culture of hearing about the Lord. (Cb. Adi 11.298)

 

The Evidence from Chaitanya-Bhagavata

 

14.29

ei sakala raksasa "brahmana" nama matra

ei saba loka yama-yatanara patra

kaliyuge raksasa-sakala vipra-ghare

janmiveka sujanera himsa karivare

e-saba viprera sparsa, katha namaskara

dharma-sastre sarvatha nisedha karivare

 

          All these demons are "brahmanas" in name only. All of them will be finished by the agents of the king of death, Yamaraja. In Kali-yuga, demons take birth in the houses of brahmanas to harass saintly persons. All the dharma-sastras forbid one to touch, hear from or offer obeisances to such materialistic and demoniac brahmanas. (Cb. Adi 11.293-295)

 

The smrti on how the Brahmana Caste was Debased

 

14.30 and 31

jatiratra maha-sarpa manusyatve maha-mate

saokarat sarva-varnanam duspariksyeti me matih

sarve sarvasva patyani janayanti sada narah

vanghaithunamatho janma maranan ca saman nrnam

 

          [Yudhisthira told Nahusa] O noble-minded and great serpent, it is very difficult to ascertain one's caste because of promiscuity among the four orders. This is my opinion. Men belonging to all castes beget offspring among women of all the different castes. And among men of different caste the speech, sexual intercourse, birth, and death have become are common to all. (Mahabharata, Vana Parva 180.31-32)

 

The Opinion of the Truth-Loving Vedic rsis

 

14.32

'na caitad-vidmo brahmanah smo vayam abrahmana veti'

 

          "We don't know whether we were brahmanas or non-brahmanas. (Mahabharata, Vana Parva 179.33)

 

The Sruti, Smrti, Puranas, and Itihasas

 on the Occupational Duties of Brahmanas

 

14.33

Brahma-ksatriya-vaisya-sudro iti catvaro varnas tesam varnanam brahmana eva pradhana iti veda-vacananu-rupam smrtibhir apy uktam. Tatra codyam asti ko va brahmano nama. Kim jivah kim dehah kim jatih kim jnanam kim karma kim dharmika iti. Tatra prathmo jivo brahmana iti cettana, atitanagatan eka dehanam jivasyaika-rupatvat ekasyapi karma-vasadan-eka-deha sambhavat sarva sariranam jivasyaika-rupatvacca. Tasman na jivo brahmana iti. Tarhi deho brahmana iti cettnna, acandaladi-paryantanam manusyanam panca-bhautikatvena. Dehasyaika-rupatvaj-jara-marana dharmadharmadi samya-darsanad brahmanah svetavarnah ksatriyo rakta-varno vaisyah pita-varnah sudrah krishna-varna iti niyamabhavat. Pitradi-sarira dahane putradinam brahma-hatyadi-dosa-sambhavacca tasman na deho brahmana iti. Tarhi jati brahmana iti cenna. tatra jatyantarajantusu aneka-jati-sambhava maharsayo bahavah santi. Esya-srogo mrgyah kausikah kusat jambuko jambukat.Valmiko valmikat. Vyasah kaivartta-kanyayam. Sasaprsthat gautama. Vasisthah urvasyam. Agastyah kalase jata iti srutatvat. Etesam jatya vinapyagre jnana-prati-padita rsyo bahavah santi. Tasman na jatih brahmana iti. Tarhi jnanam brahmana iti cettnna. Ksatriyadayo'pi paramartha-darsino'bhijna bahavah santi. Tasmanha jnanam brahmana iti. Tarhi karma brahmanah iti cettanna. Sarvesam praninam prarabdha-sancitagami karma-sa dharmya-darsanat karmabhipreritah sant janah kriyah kurvaniti. Tasman na karma brahmana iti. Tarhi dharmiko brahmana iti cettnna. Ksatriyadayo hiranyadataro bahavah santi. Tasmanna dharmiko brahmana iti. Tarhi ko va brahmano nama. Yah kascid-atmanam-advitiyam-jati-guna-kriyahinam sadurmisad-bhavetyadi-sarva-dosa-rahitam satya-jnananandanta-svarupam svayam nirvikalpam asesa-kalpadharam asesabhutahtaryamitvena vartamanam antarbahis-cakasavadanu-syutama-khandananda-svabhavam-aprameya manu bha vai kavedya paroksataya basamanam karatalamalakavat saksad-aparoksi-krtya krtarthataya kama-ragadi-dosa-rahitah sama damadi-sampanno ceta vartata, eva mukta-laksano yah sa eva brahmana iti sruti-smrti-puranetihasanam-abhiprayah. Anyatha hi brahmantva-siddhir nasty eva.

 

          The four varnas are: brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, and sudra. Among these, the brahmanas are foremost. This is the verdict of the Vedas and the Smrti. In these places the question is asked, "Who is a brahmana? On what basis is someone a brahmana? Among life (jiva), body (deha), birth (jati), knowledge (jnana), work (karma), and duty (dharma) what is it that constitutes a brahmana?"

          The first question is: Since the jiva is part of Brahman, and alive, does that make him a brahmana? No. It is incorrect to call any jiva a brahmana. There are countless jivas who have accepted innumerable material bodies according to their karma and mentality, but they cannot all be called brahmanas).

          The next point is whether one's body (deha) makes one a brahmana. The answer is no. The body of a candala as well as that of all other men are subject to infirmity and death. It is only with respect to the way in which the mentalities of different classes of men are colored by different conceptions of religion and irreligion that brahmanas are called "white," (nveta-varna) ksatriyas "red," (rakta-varna) vaisyas "yellow," (pita-varna) and sudra "black" (krishna varna). In this way, it should be clearly understood that one is not a brahmana on the basis of his body (deha). By burning up one's body one does not become free from the sin of killing a brahmana; nor is that sin transferred to one's son. In the same way one's brahminical status is not based on one's bodily condition, nor can brahminical status be transferred simply by seminal discharge and the procreation of children. Therefore it is concluded that the body (deha) does not make one a brahmana.

          The next point is whether one becomes a brahmana by birth (jati). The answer is no. In the midst of mixed ancestry have come great-souled rsis. The rsi Snrga took birth from a deer, and Kausika was born from straw, Jambhka rsi was raised by a jackal, and Valmiki came from an anthill. Vyasa was born from a fisherman's daughter and the sage Gautama was born from a rabbit. Vasistha was born from a dancing girl Urvasi. From a pitcher (in which semen was stored) the sage Agastya took birth. There are many examples of great saints who did not know in what circumstances they took birth. Therefore birth does not make a brahmana.

          And what of jnana? Knowledge does not make a brahmana either. Many ksatriyas are vastly experienced in knowing the supreme goal of life. Therefore knowledge does not make a brahmana.

          What about fate? Karma does not make one a brahmana either. All living beings have amassed karma from previous lives and have their karmic destinies to live out in the future along with their karmas and dharmas. According to one's karmic desires he is further implicated in karmic fate and continues to live in the world of action and reaction. A "brahmana" is more than this, and therefore karma does not make one a brahmana.

          Then what about dharma, religion? Mundane piety does not make a brahmana either. There are many examples of great ksatriyas who were highly religious and gave much gold in charity, but they were not brahmanas.

          Then what is a brahmana? A brahmana is one who is absorbed only in the Supreme Self. He is free from all mundane attributes of birth, work, and materialistic qualities, who is free from all faults. His very nature is that he takes pleasure in the knowledge of the limitless Supreme Truth. A real brahmana is completely absorbed in the infinite, limitless, absolute Supreme Person (present within the heart of every living being as the Supersoul just as ether pervades everything). That Supreme Lord is indivisible, and His very nature is divine ecstasy. The infinite is not a mango that can be grasped through sense experience; neither can He be known, directly or indirectly, through mental speculation.) Such a brahmana is free from faults such as lust, anger, greed, pride, illusion, and envy. He has all twelve brahminical qualities beginning with peacefulness and self-control (samo, dama, tapa, etc.). He is never envious and is free from illusion and from any touch of pride and false ego. One who has these qualities may be called a brahmana. This is the opinion of the Sruti, Smrti, Puranas and Itihasas. No other endowments of perfection can confer brahminical status. (Vajra-sucika Upanisad)

 

Evidence from the Mahabharata

 

14.34

sudre caitad-bhavel-laksma dvije tac ca na vidyate

na vai sudro bhavec-chudro brahmano na ca brahmanoh

 

          If it is seen that a sudra has the characteristics of a brahmana he should be considered a brahmana. Similarly, if a brahmana has the characteristics of a sudra he should be considered a sudra. (Mahabharata, Vana Purva 180.25)

 

Evidence From Shrimad-Bhagavatam

 

14.35

yasya yal laksanam proktam pumso varnabhivyanjakam

yad anyatrapi drsyeta tat tenaiva vinirdiset

 

          If one shows the symptoms of being a brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, or sudra, as described above, even if he has appeared in a different caste, he should be accepted according to those symptoms of classification. (Bhag. 7.11.35)

 

The Ancient commentator, Nilakantha, on the Conduct of Brahmanas

 

14.36

evanca satyadikam yadi sudro'pyasti tarhiso'pi brahmana eva syat sudra laksmakadikam na brahmano'sti napi brahmana-

laksmasamadikam sudro'sti.

sudro'pi samadyupeto brahmana eva, brahmano'pi

kamadyupetah sudra eva

 

          In the same way if a sudra has qualities like truthfulness then he is a brahmana. And if a brahmana does not show the qualities such as peaceful nature which are appropriate for a brahmana, then he is a sudra. If a sudra has qualities like equananimity then he is a brahmana. If a brahmana has qualities like lust then he is a sudra. (Nilakantha commentary on Mahabharata, Vana Parva 180.23-26)

 

Shridhara Svami's Opinion

 

14.37

samadibhireva brahmanadi vyavaharo mukhyah na jatimatrat.

yad yadi anyatra varnantare'pi drsyeta, tad-varnastaram

tenaive laksmana-nimittenaivavarnena

vinirdiset, na tu jatinimitenetyarthah

 

          The qualities of a brahmana, beginning with peacefulness (samo, dama, tapau, etc.) represent the chief characteristics or principle behavior of a brahmana. On the other hand, birth is no qualification for brahminical status. If one is seen to take birth in another varna, but has the qualifications of a brahmana, his birth should be disregarded and he should be accepted as a brahmana. One who is born a brahmana may be accepted as a brahmana if he has the qualifications, but otherwise he should not. (Bhavartha-dipika commentary on Shrimad Bhagavatam 7.11.35)

 

Mahaprabhu's Definition of What is and Isn't a Brahmana

 

14.38

sahaje nirmala ei 'brahmana'-hrdaya

krsnera vasite ei yogya-sthana haya

'matsarya'-candala kene ihan vasaile

parama pavitra sthana apavitra kaile

 

          The heart of a brahmana is by nature very clean; therefore it is a proper place for Krishna to sit. Why have you allowed envy to sit there? Because of this , you have become like a candala, the lowest of men, and you have also contaminated a most purified place your heart. (Cc. Madhya 15.274-275)

 

The Evidence of the Smrti

 

14.39

etan me samsayam deva vada bhutapate'nagha

trayo varnah prakrtyeha katham brahmanyamapnuyuh

sthito brahmana-dharmena brahmanyam-upajivati

ksatriyo vatha vaisyo va brahma-bhuyam sa gacchati

 

          [Uma said] "O Siva, master of the bhutas. O sinless one, through what kind of personal characteristics can the three classes of men ksatriya, vaisya, and sudra become brahmanas? Is it possible for them to become brahmanas? Please enlighten my doubts on this subject." Siva said, "If a ksatriya or vaisya is established in brahminical behavior, and spends his whole life in brahminical conduct, it is seen that such a person has attained brahminical status. (Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva 14.3.5,8)

 

The Verdict of the Mahabharata on the Occupation of Bramaras

 

14.40 and 41

 

sampratanca mato me'si brahmano natra samsayah

brahmanah pataniyesu vartamano vikarmasu

yastu sudro dame satye dharme ca satatothitah

tam brahmanam aham manye vrttena hi bhaved-dvijah

 

          (The brahmana told the "hunter"), "In my opinion, you are a brahmana. Of this there is no doubt. It is my consideration that the brahmana who is proud and addicted to sin, who is full of vice and always engaged in evil and degraded practices, is certainly a sudra. On the other hand, a sudra who is endowed with the virtues of righteousness, self-restraint, and truthfulness is, in my opinion, a brahmana. The only qualifications for brahminical status are truthful character and saintly behavior. (Mahabharata, Vana Parva 215.13-15)

 

14.42 and 43

 

himsanrta-priya lubdhah sarva-karmopjivinah

krishna saucaparibhrasthaste dvijah sudratam gatah

sarva-bhaksyaratirnityam sarva-karmakaro 'sucih

tyakta-vedastvanacarah sa vai sudra iti smrtah

 

          Brahmanas who live a life of violence, lies, and greed, who are impure and indulge in all kinds of karmic activity in order to maintain their lives are degraded to the status of sudras. Such a person, who eats anything and everything without discrimination, who is attached to worldly things, who will accept any occupation just to make money, who has given up Vedic dharma and proper behaviour is called a sudra. (Mahabharata, Santi Parva 189.7)

 

The Smrti on the Occupational Behavior of Brahmanas

 

14.44

yatraital-laksyate sarpa vrttam sa brahmanah smrtah

yatraitan na bhavet sarpa tam sudramili nirdiset

 

          [Yudhisthira said] "O serpent, whoever has the characteristics of a brahmana is said to be a brahmana. One who doesn't have the characteristics of a brahmana is a sudra, even if he is "born" a brahmana. (Mahabharata, Vana Parva 180.26)

 

An Example of the Conduct of a Brahmana

 

14.45

tam hovaca kim gotro nu saumyasiti.

Sa hovaca nahametadveda bho yad-gotro 'ham asmi.

Aprccham mataram sa ma pratyabravid

bhahvaham caranti paricarini yauvane tvamalabhe.

Saham etat na veda yad-gotras-tvamasi.

Jabala tu nama ahamasmi, Satyakamo nama tvamasiti.

So'ham satyakamo Jabalo 'smi bho iti.

Tam hovaca naitadabrahmano vivaktum-arhati samidham

saumya ahara. Upa tva nesye. Na satyadaga iti.

 

          Gautama asked Satyakama, "My dear boy, what is your gotra?" The boy said, "I do not know what my caste or family background is. I asked my mother, and she said, 'When I was young, I wandered here and there and knew many men. Then you were born. I knew so many men that I don't know who your father is, or what your caste is. All I know is that my name is Jabmla and your name is Satyakama (One who wants truth).' Therefore I am known as the Satyakama of Jabmla, and do not know my caste".

          Gautama said, "My dear boy, you speak truthfully, and therefore you must be a brahmana. No one but a brahmana could speak such an unpalatable truth. O beautiful young boy, go and bring me wood for the sacrificial fire. I shall initiate you as my disciple, for you never depart from the truth. (Chandogya Upanisad 4.4.4, Gautama)

 

14.46

arjvavam brahmane saksat sudro'narjava-laksanah

gautamastv iti vijnaya satya-kamamupanayat

 

          Truthfulness is the symptom of a brahmana, whereas dishonesty is the sysmptom of a sudra. Knowing this, Gautama Rsi initiated Satyakama as a brahmana. (Chandogya Upanisad, Madhva-bhanya, Smma-samhita)

 

The Evidence of Vedanta-sutra and the Example of Citraratha

 

14.47

"sugasya tadanadara-sravanat sucyate hi"

nasau pautrayanah sudrah sucad-bravanam eva hi suda tvam

raja pautrayanah sokac-chudroti muninoditah prana-vidyam-avapyasmat param dharma-vaptavan

 

          The following story is from the Chandogya Upanisad (Saavarga-vidya 4): There was a great king named Janasruti Pautrayara, who was famous for his good works. Two nnis wanted to create a desire for spiritual knowledge in his heart and they took the form of swans to accomplish this. One of them praised the king while the other contemptously accused him of lacking spiritual knowledge. The swan then praised the sage Raikva for being very learned. Upon hearing this the king was smitten with grief and approached the sage Raikva with presents seeking spiritual knowledge from him. Raikva twice addressed the king sudra. "O Sudra, you have brought all these presents, and now you want me to instruct you?" Thereafter, Raikva taught him the spiritual science.

          The Brahma-sutra says: "Raikva addressed Janasruti Pautrayana as sudra because Pautrayana was overwhelmed with sorrow." The use of the word sudra in this verse does not mean that Janasruti was a sudra at birth, but that he was lamenting. The purport is that those who are overwhelmed by lamentation are known as sudras. It is written in the Padma-Purana that King Pautrayana was a ksatriya and that because of his lamentation, Raikva Muni called him a sudra. [The word sudra, therefore, means "one who laments."] Later, Pautrayana gained knowledge of the ultimate goal of life and the supreme religion from Raikva. (Brahma-sutra 1.3.34)

 

Madhvacarya's Commentary, Quoting from Padma-Purana

 

14.48

"ksatriyatvavagates ca uttaratra caitra-rathena liogat" bhasye:

"ayam asvatariratha iti citraratha samvandhinitvena liogena pautrayanasya ksatriyatvavagates ca rathastvasvatariyuktascitra

ityabhidhiyate iti brahme yatra vedo rathas tatra na vedo yatra no ratha iti ca brahma-vaivarte"

 

          The Brahma-sutra says: "That Janasruti was ksatriya and not a sudra is understood from the rest of the story, where he is described along with a ksatriya, Abhipratmrin, who was a Caitra-ratha." [Because Janasruti was a ksatriya and not a sudra by quality, he was fit for hearing spiritual knowledge from Raikva Muni, who would not have instructed him if he actuallly was a sudra. The purpose of Raikva Muni's calling him a sudra was simply to illustrate that constant lamentation is the quality of a sudra, and that if he were to instruct Janasruti, the king would have to rid himself of the tendency toward lamentation. That Raikva did instruct Janasruti is proof that the king freed himself from the tendency, and was not a sudra, but was qualified to study the Vedas. Those who have the qualities of sudras are forbidden to study the Vedas because they will pervert the meaning of the Vedas.] The whole point is that one may know a person's varna from his qualities. (Brahma-sutra 1.3.35 and commentary)

 

Members of Other Castes who Became Brahmanas

 

14.49

nabhaga-distaputro dvau vaisyau brahmanatam gatau

 

          Nabhaga and Disthaputra were two vaisyas who attained the status of brahmanas. (Hari-vaasa 11)

 

14.50-56

evam vipratvamagamadvitahavyo naradhipah

bhrgoh prasadad rajendra ksatriyah ksatriyarsabha

tasya grtsamadah putro rupenendra ivaparah

sa brahmacari virprarsih shriman grtsamado 'bhavam

putro grtsamadasyapi sucetabhavat-dvijah

varcah sutejasah putro vihavyastasya catmajah

vihavasya tu putrastu vita-tasya catmajah

vitatasya sutah satyah santah satyas sya catmajah

sravastasya sutascarsih sravasascabhavattamah

tamasas ca prakaso 'bhuttanayo dvijasattamah

prakasasya ca vagindro babhuva jayatam barah

tasyatmajas ca pramitirveda-vedangaparanga

ghrtacyam tasya putrastu rururnamodapadyata

pramadvarayasta ruroh putrah samupadyata

sunako nama viprarsiryasya putro'tha saunakah

 

          [Bhinma] explained how King Vitahavya became a brahmana: "O King Rajendra, best of the ksatriyas, Vitahavya was a ksatriya, but by the grace of Bhrgu Muni, he became a brahmana. His son, Gntsamada, who was inferior to none save Indra, was a brahmacari and a learned Rsi. Gntsamada's son, Suceta, was a learned brahmana. Suceta's son was Varcah, and his son was Vitatya, whose son was Vagindra. His son was Santa, his son was nnisrava, his son was Tama. Tama's son, was the best of brahmanas, Prakasa, whose son was Vagindra, the foremost of all reciters of the Vedic mantras. Vagindra had a son whose name was Pramati. Pramati was a master of all the Vedas and their branches. Pramati begot in the womb of the apsara, Ghntmci, a son named Ruru, who had a son by his wife, Pramadvara. Ruru's son was the venerable rsi, Sunaka. The son of Sunaka was the great sage Saunaka (who heard Bhagavatam from Suta Gosvami at Naimisararya).

          In this way, O best of kings, the great king Vitahavya, a ksatriya, attained the status of a brahmana by the mercy of Bhrgu, and by dint of his sons and decendants becoming great brahmanas. (Mahabharata, Anusasana, 30.66, 58, 60-65)

 

Examples from Bhagavatam on Brahminical Conduct

 

14.57

yaviyamsa ekasitir jayanteyah pitur adesakara maha-salina maha-srotriya yajna-silah karma-visuddha brahmana babhuvuh

 

          In addition to these nineteen sons mentioned above, there were eighty-one younger ones, all born of Rsabhadeva and Jayanti. According to the order of their father, they became cultured, well-behaved, pure in their activities, expert in Vedic knowledge and the performance of Vedic rituals. (Bhag. 5.4.13)

 

14.58

puror vamsam pravaksyami yatra jato 'si bharata

yatra rajarsayo vamsya brahma-vamsyas ca jajnire

 

          [Sukadeva Gosvami said] O Maharaja Pariksit, descendent of Maharaja Bharata, I shall now describe the dynasty of Puru, in which you were born, in which many saintly kings appeared, and from which many dynasties of brahmanas began. (Bhag. 9.20.1)

14.59

kasyah kuso grtsamada iti grtsamadad abhut

sunakah saunako yasya bahvrca-pravaro munih

 

          Ksatravnddha's son was Suhotra, who had three sons, named Kasya, Kusa, and Grtsamada. From Gntsamada came Sunaka, and from him came Saunaka, the great saint, the best of those conversant with the ng Veda. (Bhag. 9.17.3)

 

The Words of Brahma From the Padma-Purana

 

14.60-62

sac-chrotriya-kule jato akriyo naiva pujitah

asat-kstrakule pujyo vyasa-vaibhandukay yatha

ksatriyanam kule jato visvamitro'sti matsamah

vesyaputro Vasisthas ca anye siddha dvijatayah

yasya tasya kule jato gunavaneva tairgunaih

saksad brahmanayo viprah pujiyah prayatnatah

 

          [Lord Brahma said] If one is born in a family of brahmanas who are absorbed in hearing divine sound, but has bad character and behaviour, he is not worshipable as a brahmana. On the other hand, Vyasa and Vaibhandaka Muni were born in unclean circumstances, but they are worshipable. In the same way, Visvamitra Muni was born a ksatriya, but he became equal to me by his qualities and activities. Vasistha was born as a son of a prostitute. Many other great souls who manifested the qualities of first-class brahmanas also took birth in similar humble circumstances, but they are also called perfect. The place where one takes birth is of no importance in determining whether one is a brahmana. Those who have the qualities of brahmanas are recognized everywhere as brahmanas, and those who have such qualities are worshipable by everyone. (Padma Purana, Snnthi-Khanda 43.321,322 Gautamiya-samskarana)

 

The Seminal Brahmanas of Kali-yuga are Impure

 

14.63

asuddhah sudra-kalpa hi brahmanah kali-sambhavah

tesam agama-margena suddhir na srota-vartmana

 

          The brahmanas born in the age of Kali are merely sudras. Their so-called Vedic path of karma is polluted and cannot purify them. They can only be purified by following the path of the aganas or pancaratrika-viddhi. (Hari-bhakti-vilasa 5.5, from Vishnu Yamala)

 

What is Diksa?

 

14.64

divyam jnanam yato dadyat kuryat papasya samksayam

tasmad-dikseti sa prokta desikais tattva-kovidaih

 

          The process by which divine knowledge (divya jnana) is given and sins are destroyed is called diksa by the highly learned scholars who are expert in spiritual affairs. (Hari-bhakti-vilasa 2.9, from Vishnu Yamala)

 

Diksa can Make a Common man a Brahmana

 

14.65

yatha kancanatam yati kamsyam rasa-vidhanatah

tatha-diksa-vidhanena dvijatvam jayate nrnam

 

          Just as bell metal is transformed into gold by alchemy, a common man is transformed into a twice-born brahmana by diksa from a bona find spiritual master. (Hari-bhakti-vilasa 2.12, from Tattva Smgara)

 

14.65a

nrnam sarvesam eva dvijatvam "viprata"

 

          The purport is that anyone can become twice-born if he is properly initiated. (Sanatana Gosvami's Dig Darsini commentary on the above verse)

 

The Guru Initiates the Humble Disciple

 

14.66

svayam brahmani niksaptan jatan eva hi mantratah

vinitanatha putradin samskrtya pratibhodhayet

          When the guru gives the mantra to his disciple according to the rules and regulations of pancaratrika-viddhi, then, by the influence of that mantra, the disciple never takes birth again. A humble disciple conducts himself with great respect for his spiritual master as if he is a son of the guru. To such a humble disciple, who has been purified by the appropriate samskaras, the guru teaches the meaning of the mantra. This is the way that spiritual initiation is performed according to the rules and regulations of scripture. (Narada Pascaratra, Bharadvaja-samhita 2.34)

 

The Evidence of Mahabharata

 

14.67

etaih karma-phalair-devi nyuna-jati-kulodbhavah

sudro'py agama-sampanno dvijo bhavati samskrtah

          O goddess, even a sudra can be purified though carefully following the proper conduct of a brahmana as prescribed in the Pancaratra. Thus he is purfied of karmic reactions and by accepting initiation from a bona fide spiritual master he becomes a brahmana. (Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva 143.46)

 

14.68

na yonir napi samskaro na srutam na ca santatih

karanani dvijatvasya vrttam eva tu karanam

 

          Neither birth, nor purificatory rites (samskaras), nor learning, nor offspring are qualifications for brahminical status. Only brahminical conduct is the basis for brahminical status. (Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva 143.50)

 

14.69

sarvo'yam brahmano loke vrttena tu vidiyate

vrtte sthitastu sudro'pi brahmanatvam niyacchati

 

          All genuine brahmanas in the world are brahmanas by virtue of their conduct. A sudra who is established in good conduct is regarded as having attained the status of a brahmana. (Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva 143.51)

 

The Conclusion of the Gosvamis

 

14.70

brahmana-kumaranam saukre janmani durjatitvabhavo'pi savana-yogy-atvaya punya-visesamaya savitra-janma-sapeksatvat. Tatasca adiksitasya svadasya. svadasya savana yogyatva-pratikula-durjatyaramakam prarabdhamapi gatam eva, kintu sisthacarabhavat adiksitasya svadasya diksam vina savitryam janma nastiti brahamana-kumaranam savana-yogyatva bhavavacchedaka punya visesamaya-savitra janmapeksavadasya adiksitasya svadasya savitrya-janmantaropekso vartata iti bhavah

 

          [This is a quotation from Jiva Gosvami's commentary on a verse of Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Purva Vibhaga 1.13, which Rupa Gosvami quotes from Shrimad Bhagavatam (3.33.6).]

           The Bhagavatam verse and its purport by Shrila Prabhupada is given as follows: "To say nothing of the spiritual advancement of persons who see the Supreme Person face to face, even a person born in a family of dog-eaters immediately becomes eligible to perform Vedic sacrifices if he once utters the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead or chants about Him, hears about His pastimes, offers Him obeisances or even remembers Him.

 

Purport: Herein the spritual potency of chanting, hearing or remembering the holy name of the Supreme Lord is greatly stressed. Rupa Gosvami has discussed the sequence of sinful activities of the conditioned soul, and he has established, in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, that those who engage in devotional service become freed from the reactions of all sinful activities. This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gita. The Lord says that He takes charge of one who surrenders to Him and makes him immune to all reactions to sinful activities.

          If by chanting the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead one becomes so swiftly cleared of all reactions to sinful activities, then what is to be said of those persons who see Him face to face? Another consideration here is that persons who are purified by the process of chanting and hearing become immediately eligible to perform Vedic sacrifices. Generally, only a person who is born in a family of brahmanas, who has been reformed by the ten kinds of purificatory processes and who is learned in Vedic literature is allowed to perform the Vedic sacrifices, but here the word sadyau, "immediately," is used.

          Shridhara Svami also remarks that one can immediately be eligible to perform Vedic sacrifices. A person born in a family of the low caste which is accustomed to eating dogs is so positioned due to his past sinful activites, but by chanting or hearing once in pureness, or in a offenseless manner, he is immediately relieved of the sinful reaction. Not only is he relieved of the sinful reaction, but he immidiately achieves the result of all purificatory processes. Taking birth in the family of a brahmana is certainly due to pious activities in one's past life, but still a child who is born in a brahmana family depends on his further reformation upon initiation, acceptance of a sacred thread, and many other reformatory processes.

           But a person who chants the holy name of the Lord, even if born in family of cardmlas, dog-eaters, does not need reformation. Simply by chanting Hare Krishna, he immediately becomes purified and becomes as good as the most learned brahmana. Shridhara Svami especially remarks in this connection, anena pujyatavam laksyate. Some caste brahmanas remark that by chanting Hare Krishna, purification begins. Of course, that depends on the individual process of chanting, but this remark of Shridhara Svami's is completely applicable if one chants the holy name of the Lord without offense for he immediately becomes more than a brahmana. As Shridhara Svami says, pujyatvam: he immediately becomes as respectable as a most learned brahmana and can be allowed to perform Vedic sacrifices.

          If simply by changing the holy name of the Lord one becomes sanctified instantly, then what can be said of those persons who see the Supreme Lord face to face and who can understand the descent of the Lord as Devahuti understands Kapiladeva. Usually, initiation depends on the bona fide spiritual master, who directs the disciple. If he sees that a disciple has become competent and purified by the process of chanting, he offers the sacred thread to the disciple just so that he will be recognized as one-hundred-percent equal with a brahmana. This is also confimed in the Hari-bhakti-vilasa by Shri Sanatana Gosvami:

          "As base metal can be changed into gold by a chemical process, any person can similarly be changed into a brahmana by diksm-vidhana, the initiation process." It is sometimes remarked that by the chanting process one begins to purify himself and can take birth in his next life in a brahmana family and then be reformed.

          But at this present moment, even those who are born in the best brahmana families are not reformed, nor is there any certainty that they are actually born of brahmana fathers. Formerly the garbhadhana reformatory system was prevalent, but at the present moment there is no such garbhadhana, or seed-giving ceremony. Under these circumstances, no one knows if a man if factually born of a brahmana father. Whether one has acquired the qualification of a brahmana depends on the judgement of the bona fide spiritual master. He bestows upon the disciple the position of a brahmana by his own judgement. When one is accepted as a brahmana in the sacred thread ceremony, under the pancaratrika system, then he is dvija, twice-born. That is confimed by Sanatana Gosvami: dvijatvam jayate. By the process of initiation, a person is accepted as a brahmana in his purified state of chanting the holy name of the Lord. He then makes further progress to become a qualified Vaishnava, which means that the brahminical qualification is already acquired.

 

          The import of the above commentary by Jiva Gosvami on this verse is summarized as follows by Bhakti Hrdaya vana Maharaja in his translation of Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (which Shrila Prabhupada at one time authorized us to read in a letter to Yamuna Dasi in 1968):

          "According to Shri Jiva Gosvami, though this rudimentary bhakti in a born candala will remove the effects of his past misdeeds, yet he must wait for the next birth in a higher social status to qualify himself for the performance of the Vedic sacrifices. [Shrila Jiva Gosvaai says that just as one who is born a brahmana must wait to be purified though the sacred thread ceremony in order to perform sacrifice, in the same way, one who has chanted the holy name is eligible to perform Vedic sacrifice, but must wait to take birth as a brahmana in order to actually perform Vedic sacrifice.]

 

          Jiva Gosvami, it is obvious, is reluctant to disturb the social order and tries to conform, as far as possible to the extant practices and ideas of the Hindu society of his time. Visvanatha Cakravarti, however, considers Jiva Gosvami's view to give away the whole case for the quality of prarabdha-pmpaharatva [power of deliverance from sin] that is claimed for bhakti. Visvanatha's view is that bhakti, however slight, will at once remove all taints from the fallen human being and qualify him for the highest social duties of the Hindus. This is rather a controversial problem. The question is between 'eligibility' and ' capability'. Jiva Gosvami here argues that a brahmana born in a higher social order because of good deeds in previous births is eligible to perform Vedic rituals; while even a candala born in the lowest social order owing to his misdeeds in previous births, becomes fully capable of performing such Vedic rituals when his prarabdha is wiped out by singing and listening to the name of the Lord in the stage of practice of bhakti."

          But, as even a person born in a brahmana family has to wait till his sacred thread ceremony before he can actuallly perform such Vedic rituals in spite of his eligibility, so a devotee born in a candala family, is cleansed of his sins committed in previous births by practising the rudiments of bhakti and becomes eligble to perform Vedic rites, but he does not do this as he is not interested in the fruits of Vedic karma."

 

14.71

tad evam diksatah parastad eva tasya dhruvasyeva

dvijitva-samskarasta-davadhi-tatvattattan-mantradhi devaj-jatah

 

          As soon a Lord Brahma was initiated by the gayatri mantra he was twice born. After this, the mantra sprang forth from the lotus mouth of that foremost of the demigods and he began to chant the gayatri [by which all subsequent brahmanas are initiated.](Brahma-samhita 5.27, Jiva Gosvami's commentary)

 

Three kinds of Birth Seminal, Brahminical, and Mantra-diksa

 

14.72

maturagre'dhi-jananam dvitiyam maunjibandhane

trtiyam yajna-diksayam dvijasya sruti-codanat

 

          The sruti states that a brahmana gets his first birth from his mother (saukra-janma, seminal birth). He gets his second birth by receiving the sacred thread (smvitra-janma), and finally he gets his third birth by yajna-diksa (ceremonial initiation at a fire sacrifice). (Manu-samhita 2.169)

Shridhara Svami's Remarks on the Three Kinds of Birth

 

14.73

trivrt sotram savitram daiksamiti trigunitam janma

 

          [In this verse from Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.23.39), dhig janma nastrivnd..."To hell with our threefold birth as brahmanas!] The word tnvnt means the threefold births saukra-janma, purity of heredity and family, smvitra-janma, investiture with the sacred thread and initiation into the gayatri-mantra, and daiksa-janma (consecration for Vedic sacrifices). (Shridhara Svami, Bhavartha-dipika 10.23.39)

 

Who has Done the Forty-eight Kinds of Samskaras is a Brahmana

 

14.74

"yasyaite'stha catvarimsat samskarah sa brahmanah"

 

          One who has performed the forty-eight kinds of samskaras is a brahmana.

1. garbhadhana impregnation

2. pumsavana causing the birth of a male child

3. simantonnayana parting of the hair

4. jata-karma the duties after the birth of a child

5. nama-karara naming ceremony

6. niskramana taking the child out of the room for the first time

7. anna-prasana eating grains

8. kararavedha piercing ears

9. caudakarma shaving the head

10. upanayana sacred thread

11. samavartane completing education

12. vivaha marriage

13. antyesti funeral

14. deva yajna sacrifice to the gods

15. pitr yajna sacrifice to manes

16. bhuta yajna sacrifice to living beings.

17. nara yajna sacrifice to human beings

18. atithi yajna treating the guests

19-41. deva-vrata catunthaya, anthaka-sraddha, pmrvara-sraddha, sravani, agrayari, praunthapadi, caitra, cmturmasya, niruda pasubandha, sautramari, agninthoma, atyagninthoma, uktha, nodani, vajpeya, atiratra, aptoryama, rajasuya names of various sacrifices

42-45. agnyadheyam, agnihotram, darsa-paurnamasya, agrayarenti.

46. sauca cleanliness

47. anayasa-mangalacara The auspicious acts done without endeavor.

48. akarparya asprha freedom from miserliness and desire. (Mahabharata, Santi Parva 189.2)

 

The One Branch and the Many Branches

 

14.75

yad apy uktam garbhadhanadi-dahanta-samskarantara-sevanad bhagavata nama-brahmanyam-itih tatrapy-ajnanam-evaparadhyati, na punarayusmato dosah; yadete vamsa-paramparaya bajasaneya-sakha-madhiyanah katyayanadi-grhyokta-margena garbhadhanadi-samskaran kurvate, ye punah sarvatranuvacana-prabhrti trayi-dharma-tyagena ekayana-sruti-vihitaneva catvarimsat samskaran kurvate te'pi svasakha grhyoktam-artham yathadanutisthamanah na sakhantariya-karmanusthanad-brahmanyat pracyavante, anyesamapi parasakha-vihita-karman-anusthana-nimitta-brahmanya-prasangat.

 

          [In the Agama-Pramanya, Yamunacarya establishes the Pramanya, or authority, of the Pancaratrika scriptures (agama, tantra, sastra) in defense against the community of smarta brahmanas who were at the time challenging the authority of the Pancaratra traditions as being non-Vedic. Because Yamunacarya's credibility as a Vedic brahmana could not be challenged, he was in a strong position to mount a defense of Pancaratrika traditions.

          According to Yamunacarya, the class of qualified brahmanas included those Deity worshipers who were not professional, but who worshiped only for their own benefit and the benefit of others, and who performed forty samskaras or purificatory practices based on the ancient Vajasaneya or Sukla Yajur Veda as an alternative to the traditional Vedic practices. The ritualistic priests, or smarta-brahmanas, who were Yamunacarya's enemies claimed that the practice of these alternate samskaras were non-Vedic, and therefore unholy. They accused Yamunacarya of deceit by trying to base the system of samskaras on the lost Vedic scriptures. The acarya's arguments on this point were difficult for the smartas to defeat, however, since the practice of referring to lost Vedic scriptures was invented by the smartas themselves to justify their own non-Vedic practices and give them a "Vedic" basis. Even the strictest smarta brahmana has to admit that there are injunctions and rituals in the dharma-sastras for which there are no known Vedic injuctions, but for which a Vedic basis must be presumed.

          In light of this, smarta brahmanas have often appealed to the lost Vedic scriptures (such as the single original Veda which Vyasadeva divided into three parts) in order to justify the practices and rules of corollary Vedic literatures such as the Manu-samhita, which forms much of the basis for smarta ritual. While the smartas attempt to discredit the idea that their own arguments can be used against them to establish Vedic support for Pancaratrika practice, Yamunacarya's arguments cannot be defeated without also destroying the basis for smarta ritual.

          Yamunacarya says: It has been said that the Bhagavatas are polluted, because they have given up the Vedic samskaras, and have accepted an alternative system of purifactory rituals, beginning with the garbhadhana-samskara and ending with the funeral ceremony. My opponents have argued that the verdict of the scripture concerning offenders is clear on this point. In answer to this, I must say, in the words of Ayunman, that there is no fault in my opponents; the only fault is with their ignorance, because the forty purificatory rituals of samskaras practiced by the Bhagavatas have descended from the "one Veda," the Ekayana Sakha, or the "one branch" of the Sukla Yajur Veda, beginning with the Katyayana, which includes scriptural injuctions about the prescribed religious ceremonies to be performed at birth, marriage, and so on.

          This process has descended through an ancient and unbroken family tradition in different brahminical families who for many generations have followed all these purifcatory practices, beginning with the garbhadhana and other samskaras. In fact, those who perform these forty samskaras cannot be considered unbrahminical for failing to follow the samskaras as they are mentioned in the three Vedas. They do not fall from brahminical status simply for favoring the ancient and more traditional samskaras mentioned in the One Veda (Ekayana-sruti) over those recommended in the three Vedas.                These devotee brahmanas are simply following carefully the ancient tradition of the one Veda and cannot be faulted for not following another branch of the Vedas. If it were the case that a brahmana who follows the rules of one branch of the Vedas is not "Vedic" and loses his caste for not following the rules of another branch of the Vedas, then all brahmanas would lose their caste, because different systems of rules governing rituals are found in differenct parts of the Vedas. (And it is not possible to follow all of them, since by following the rules of one system one will violate the rules of other systems). (Shri Yamunacarya, Agama-pramana)

 

Vaishnavas are not Sudras

 

14.76

na sudra bhagavad-bhaktaste tu bhagavata matah

sarva-varnesu te sudra ye na bhakta janardane

 

          One who is a paragon of devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead can never be called a sudra; rather he is glorified as a Bhagavata, or one who is connected with Bhagavan. On the other hand, those who are antagonistic to bhakti are considered to be sudras, no matter what caste they are born in. (Hari-bhakti-vilasa, 10.165)

Except for Paramahamsas, Devotees Worship

in Varnasrama and Accept the Sacred Thread

 

14.77

bahih sutram tyajed-vidvan yogam uttamam asthitah

brahma-bhava-mayam sutram dharayed yah sa cetanah

 

          Established in the state of the highest yoga, the wise should reject the external sacred thread. One who is really self-conscious must put on the thread constituted by awareness of spiritual reality. (Brahmopanisad 28)

 

The Sacred Thread Worn by Those who are Brahmanas

in Name Only is the Ugly Conceit of the Proud

 

14.78

brahma-tattvam na janati brahma-sutrena garvitah

tenaiva sa ca papena viprah pasurudahrtah

 

          A so-called brahmana who has no spiritual knowledge, but who, out of pride, wears the thread of a brahmana is certainly only a sinful impostor who is no better than a two-legged animal. (Atri Samhita 372)

 

Real Brahmanas

 

14.79

yatha kasthamayo hasti yatha carma-mayo mrgah

yas ca vipro'nadhiyanas trayaste nama vibhrati

 

          Just as an elephant made of wood is an elephant in name only, and a deer made of leather is a deer in name only, similarly a brahmana who is devoid of Vedic knowlege is a brahmana in name only. (Manu-samhita 2.157)

 

Giving the Sacred Thread to Those not on the

Vedic Path is Forbidden

 

14.80

yo'nadhitya dvijo vedam anyatra kurute sramam

sa jivan eva sudratvam asu gaccati sanvayah

 

          A brahmana who without studying the Vedas who labors for other things material wealth, position, adoration, and other opulences, becomes sudra along with all his family members. (Manu-samhita 2.168)

 

14.81 - 84

viprah samskara-yukto na nityam sandhyadi-karma yah

naimitikastu no kuryat brahmana-bruva ucyate

yuktah syat sarva-samskarair-dvijastu niyama-vrataih

karma kincit na kurute vedoktam brahmana bruvah garbhadhanadibhir yuktas tathopanayanena ca

na karma-krt na cadhite sa jneyo brahmana-bruvah

adhyapayati no sisyan nadhite vedam uttamam

garbhadhanadi-samskarair yutah syad brahmana-bruvah

                    

          A"brahmana" who has failed to perform any of the ten kinds of samskaras, who fails to regularly perform the duties of a brahmana, beginning with sandhya, vandya, etc., is a brahmana in name only (brahmana-bruva). Such a "brahmana" fails to follow any rules or vows, nor does he perform the ceremonial purificatory rituals mentioned in the Vedas. He has not been properly purified either by garbadhana-samskara or by the sacred thread ceremony, and neither does he study the Vedas. Such a worthless, so-called brahmana does not study the best of Vedic scriptures, nor does he teach them to his so-called disciples. (Padma Purana)

 

14.85

kulluka-bhatta-tika yo brahmanah kriya-rahita

atmanam brahmanam braviti, sa brahmana-bruvah

 

          According to the commentary of Kulluka Bhatta, one who is devoid of proper behavior of a brahmana, and yet represents himself as a brahmana is a brahmana in name only. (Manu-samhita 7.58)

 

14.86

atapas-tvanadhiyanah pratigraha-rucir-dvijah

ambhasy-asma-plavenaiva saha tenaiva majjati

 

          A brahmana devoid of austerity, who has not studied the Vedas, and yet accepts charity as a brahmana is condemned. Such brahmanas are like a stone raft both themsleves and those who give them charity are doomed to go down in the ocean of hellish material existence. (Manu-samhita 4.190)

 

The Consequences for the Brahmanas in Name Only

 

14.87

alingo lingivesena yo-vrttim-upajivati

sa linginam haratyenas-tiryag yonau cajayate

 

          When one unfit to wear the sacred thread of a brahmana wears it and earns his livelihood through sinful and unholy behaviour, such a person incurs sin and takes birth in sub-human wombs. (Manu-samhita 4.200)

 

Students and Pracitioners of Professional

Brahmanism are Condemned

 

14.88

bhrtak-adhyapako yas ca bhrtak-adhyapitas-tatha

sudra-sisyo gurus caiva vag dustah kunda-golokau

 

          One who teaches the Vedas by accepting salary, one who studies by giving salary, disciple of a sudra, guru of a sudra, one who speaks nonsense and bastards should be avoided. (Manu-samhita 3.156)

 

Demigod Worship and Other Unbrahminical Activities

 

14.89

api cacaratas-tesam abrahmanyam pratiyate

vrttito devata-puja-diksa-naivedya-bhaksanam

garbhadhanadi-dahanta-samskarantara-sevanam

srautakriya' nanusthanam dvijaih sambandha-varjanam

 ity-adibhiranacarair-abrahmanyam sunirnayam

         

          Professional temple priests, who perform ritual worship of demigods in order to maintain their livelihood and who accept non-Vedic tantric initiations to do so find that their puja, their diksa, their sacrificial offerings, and their offerings of foodstuffs are all unclean and unbrahminical. The results of their so-called samskaras, beginning with the garbhadhana-samskara, are burned to ashes. In order to correct themselves they must again undergo all the samskaras mentioned in the scriptures. Their study of the sruti is without any positon; having given up their connection with the genuine communtiy of twice-born brahmanas, their worship is void and unbrahminical, and their association is polluting to true brahmanas. (Shri Yamunacarya, Agama Pramanya, discussion of Satvata Sastra)

 

Demigod Worship by Brahmanas is Condemned

 

14.90

devakosopajivi yah sa devalaka ucyate

vrttyartham pujayed-devam trini varsani yo dvijah

sa vai devaloko nama sarva-karmasu garhitah

 

          One who worships the demigods in order to increase his material wealth is called a "devala." Any brahmana who worships the demigods for three years is considered to be a devala. All his work is condemned from beginning to end. (Shri Yamunacarya, Agama Pramanya)

14.91

esam vamsakrama deva devarca vrttito bhavet

tesam adhyayane yajne yajane nasti yogyata

 

          Whoever worships the demigods on the basis of his family tradition his study of the Vedas, his yajna, and his worship have no connection with proper brahminical conduct. (Shri Yamunacarya, Agama Pramanya)

 

Demigod Worship is Damned

 

14.92

apadyapi ca kasthayam bhito va durgato'pi va

pujayenaiva vrttyartam deva-devam kadacana

 

          One should not engage in demigod worship, in which one must suffer pain, trouble, fear, danger, and difficulty. (Shri Yamunacarya, Agama Pramanya)

 

Spiritual Brahmanism

 

14.93

ya etad aksaram gargi viditvasmal-lokat praiti sa brahmanah

 

          O Gmrgi, one who is acquainted with that infallible truth by which one transcends death is a brahmana. (Bnhad-Aranyaka 3.9.10)

 

14.94

tam eva dhiro vijnaya prajnam kurvita brahmanah

 

          A wise person who knows the Supreme Lord, Parabrahman, through the process of devotion, is a brahmana. (Bnhad-Aranyaka 4.4.21)

 

Who is a Brahmana?

 

14.95 and 96

jata-karmadibhir-yastu samkaraih samskrtah sucih

vedadhyayana-sampannah sad sat karmasvasthitah

saucacarasthitah samyag vighasasi gurupriyah

nityabrali satyaparah sa vai brahmana ucyate

 

          [Bharadvaja Muni said, "O best of the twice-born, Rsi among the brahmanas, best of the orators of Vedic knowledge, kindly instruct us in the differences between brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas, and sudras." Bhrgu Muni replied]:

          One whose birth and subsequent works have all been purified by the appropriate samskaras, who has the qualities of purity and cleanliness, who is devoted to Vedic study, who performs worship of the Supreme Lord, Vishnu, and who instructs others in that worship, who is a paragon of the six activities of a brahmana, whose behaviour is never impure, who eats the remnants of his guru's prasmda, who is dear to the guru, who always carefully follows his vows, and who is fixed in the truth is known as a brahmana. (Bharadvaja Muni)

 

A Vaishnava is the Best of all and the Guru of Everyone

 

14.97

visnor ayam yato hyasit tasmad-vaishnava ucyate

sarvesam caiva varnanam vaishnavah sresthah ucyate

 

          One who is related to Vishnu through devotion is known as a Vaishnava. A genuine Vaishnava is superior to all the varnas and is the best of all. (Padma Purana, Uttara Khanda 39)

 

A Vaishnava from a Candala Family is Worshipable by Brahmanas

 

14.98

urdha pundram mrjum saumyam sacihnam dharayed yati

sa candalo'pi suddhatma pujya eva sada dvijaih

 

          A candala who is a pure Vaishnava at heart and who decorates the eleven parts of his body with visnu-tilaka and sandalwood paste is always worshipable, even by the best of brahmanas. (Padma Purana, Uttatra Khanda 66.84)

 

14.99 and 100

sakrt pranami krishnasya matuh stanyam pibenna hi

haripade mano yesam tebhyo nityam namo namah

pukkasah svapaco vapi ye canye mleccha-jatayah

te'pi vandya mahabhaga haripadaika-sevakah

 

          One who even once completely gives up false ego and offers obeisances to the lotus feet of Krishna will never have to take birth again. One who keeps the holy feet of Hari within his mind is always worthy of worship. Whether one is a pukkasau, a dog-eater, or a mleccha, if he takes shelter of the lotus feet of Shri Hari with pure devotion, and serves Him with attachment, is to be considered most fortunate and highly worshipable. (Padma Purana, Svarga Khanda, 50.10)

 

Vaishnavas are Infallible

 

14.101

sarvatraskhalitadesah sapta-dvipaika-danda-dhrk

anyatra brahmana-kulad anyatracyuta-gotratah

 

          Maharaja Pnthu was an unrivalled king who had the scepter for ruling all seven islands on the surface of the globe. No one could disobey his irrevocable orders except for the saintly persons, the brahmanas, and the decendants of the Supreme Personality of Godhead (the Vaishnavas). (Bhag. 4.21.12)

 

The Difference Between a Devotee

who is Low-Born and an Expert Brahmana

 

14.102

 

na me priyas caturvedi mad-bhaktah svapacah priyah

tasmai deyam tato grahyam sa ca pujy yatha hyayam

 

          A brahmana who is expert in studying all four Vedas is not dear to Me. But a devotee who comes from a family of candalas is dear to Me. He should be offered gifts and one should accept gifts from him. He is as worhipable as I am. (Hari-bhakti-vilasa 10.127)

 

One who Takes the Holy Name of Krishna, has Performed Austerity, Sacrifice, Holy Baths, and Vedic Study, and is Saved

 

14.103

 

aho bata sva-paco 'to gariyan yaj-jihvagre vartate nama tubhyam

tepus tapas te juhuvuh sasnur arya brahmanucur nama grnanti ye te

 

          O Lord, how glorious are they whose tongues always chant Your holy name! Even if born in a family of dog-eaters, such persons are worshipable. Those who chant Your holy name must have performed all kinds of austerities and sacrifices. They must have achieved all the good qualities of the Aryans. They must have bathed at all the holy places, studied the Vedas, and fulfilled all to chant the Vedas and perform yajna. (Bhag. 3.33.7)

 

The Behavior of Advaita Prabhu Instructs

that a Vaishnava is the Guru of the Brahmanas

 

14.104

acarya kahena, "tumi na kariha bhaya

sei acariba, yei sastra-mata haya

tumi khaile haya koti-brahmana-bhojana"

eta bali, sraddha-patra karaila bhojana

 

          [After Advaita Acarya offered Haridasa Thakura the sraddha-patra, which is usually offered to a worshipable brahmana, Haridasa Thakura was surprised. Reassuring him] Advaita Acarya replied, "My dear Haridasa, do not be afraid, I shall behave strictly according to the principles of the revealed scriptures. Feeding you is equal to feeding ten million brahmanas. Therefore, accept this sraddha-patra." Thus Advaita Acarya made him eat. (Cc. Antya 3.221-222)

 

A Vaishnava is the Guru for Millions of Brahmanas

 

14.105

brahmananam sahasrebhyah satrayaji visisyate

satra-yaji sahasrebhyah sarva-vedanta-paragah

sarva-vedanta-vit-kotya visnu-bhakto visisyate

vaishnavanam sahasrebhya ekanty eko visisyate

 

          Among many thousands of brahmanas, a yajnika brahmana is best. Amount thousands of yajnika brahmanas, one who fully knows Vedanta is best. Among millions of knowers of Vedanta, one who is a devotee of Vishnu is best. And among thousands of devotees of Vishnu, one who is an unalloyed Vaishnava is best. (Bhakti-sandarbha 177)

 

Thus ends the Fourteenth Jewel of the Gaudiya-Kanthahara, entitled Varnadharma-tattva