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C H A P T E R 6
Nitya-Dharma, Race & Caste
Devidasa Vidyaratna was a teacher, and for a long time he had
been firmly convinced that the brahmanas were foremost
among all varnas. He believed that no one except brahmanas are fit
to obtain the highest goal of life, and that unless he takes birth in
a brahmana family, the jiva cannot attain mukti. He also believed
that birth in such a family is the sole cause of developing the characteristic
nature of a brahmana. When he heard the discussions
between the Vaishnavas and the descendant of Chand Kazi, he became
completely dissatisfied. He could not penetrate the statements
of Kazi Sahib at all, for they were full of deep, fundamental
Perturbed at heart, Devidasa Vidyaratna began to think, "Indeed
the Muslim race is a strange phenomenon, and one cannot make
any sense of what they say. Of course, father has studied Farsi and
Arabic, and he has been studying religion for a long time, but why
does he give so much respect to the Muslims? A Hindu is obliged
to take a bath in order to purify himself if he as much as touches a
Muslim, so what could Paramahamsa Babaji Maharaja have been
thinking when he invited such a person to be seated in the assembly
and offered him so much respect?"
That very night Devidasa said, "Sambhu! I cannot remain silent
in this matter. I shall ignite a blazing fire of logical debate and burn
this heretical view to ashes. It was here in Navadvipa that stalwart
scholars like Sarvabhauma and Siromani discussed the nyayasastra,
and Raghunandana churned the twenty-eight truths from
the smrti-sastra. How is it that the Hindus and Muslims are now
intermingling in this very same Navadvipa? Perhaps the teachers
of Navadvipa have not gotten wind of this news yet." Vidyaratna
applied himself wholeheartedly to his task for a couple of days.
At daybreak a light drizzle had fallen. By mid-morning, oppressed
by the clouds, the sun had not been able to cast a single glance
upon the earth. Devi and Sambhu finished a meal of khichri before
ten o'clock and got ready, sensing that the appropriate moment
was upon them. In Shri Godruma, the Vaishnavas had been delayed
in their madhukari. However, almost all of them had honored
prasada, and were sitting in a large kutira to one side of the madhavimalati
Paramahamsa Babaji, Vaishnava dasa, Pandita Ananta dasa from
the village of Shri Nrsimha-palli, Lahiri Mahasaya, and Yadava dasa
from Kuliya started chanting hari-nama on their tulasi-mala, absorbed
in paramananda. At that time, the famous pandita, Krishna
Cudamani, arrived, together with Vidyaratna Mahasaya,
Caturbhuja Padaratna from Samudragarh, Cintamani Nyayaratna
from Kasi, and Kalidasa Vacaspati from Purva-sthali. The
Vaishnavas offered great respect to the learned brahmanas and had
Paramahamsa Babaji said, "It is said that an overcast day is inauspicious,
but this day has become most auspicious for us. Today
the brahmana-panditas of the dhama have purified our kutira with
the dust of their feet."
Vaishnavas naturally consider themselves more insignificant
than grass, so they all offered pranama saying, vipra-caranebhyah
namah: "Obeisances unto the feet of the brahmanas." The brahmanapanditas,
who considered themselves to be respectable scholars,
responded by offering blessings to the Vaishnavas, and then sat
down. The brahmanas whom Vidyaratna had prepared for a debate
offered pranama to Lahiri Mahasaya, because he was senior to all
of them. Lahiri Mahasaya, who was by now conversant with the
confidential truths of the sastras, immediately returned pranamas
to the panditas.
Of all the panditas, Krishna Cudamani was the most eloquent. He
had debated the meaning of the sastra with many other panditas
in Kasi, Mithila and numerous other places, and had defeated all
of his opponents. He was short, with a lustrous dark complexion
and a grave countenance, and his eyes shone like a pair of stars.
Now he began the discussion with the Vaishnavas.
Cudamani said, "Today we have come to take darsana of the
Vaishnavas. Although we do not support all your conduct, we very
much admire your exclusive devotion. Shri Bhagavan Himself states
in Bhagavad-Gita (9.30):
api cet su-duracaro bhajate mam ananya-bhak
sadhur eva sa mantavyah samyag-vyavasito hi sah
Even if one is an abominable sinner, if he worships Me with
exclusive devotion, he is to be considered a sadhu, for his
intelligence is firmly situated in the proper determination.
"This statement of the Bhagavad-Gita is our evidence, and it is
because of this conclusion that we have come to take darsana of
the sadhus today. But we have one complaint. Why do you associate
with Muslims on the pretext of bhakti? We wish to discuss this
matter with you. Whoever amongst you is most expert in debate
should step forward."
The Vaishnavas were distressed by Krishna Cudamani's words, and
Paramahamsa Babaji said very humbly, "We are fools. What do we
know of debate? We simply act in accordance with the behavior
shown by the previous mahajanas. You are all scholars, so you may
recite the instructions of the sastra, and we will listen in silence."
Cudamani said, "How can you act according to such a statement?
You are under the auspices of Hindu society, and if you perpetrate
practices and teachings that are opposed to the sastra, the world
will come to ruin. 'We will practice and preach against sastra, and
at the same time claim that we are on the path of the mahajanas.'
What kind of talk is this? Who is a mahajana? One can be truly
known as a mahajana only if his behavior and teachings are in accordance
with sastra. How can there be any benefit for the world
if we simply label anyone we like a mahajana, and then quote the
saying, mahajano yena gatah sa panthah: 'One should follow the path
of the mahajanas.'?"
Cudamani's words became intolerable for the Vaishnavas, so they
left and consulted with one another in a separate kutira. They concluded
that, since the mahajanas were being accused of being at
fault, it was imperative that they refute the charges as long as it
was in their power to do so. Paramahamsa Babaji chose not to
participate in the debate. Pandita Ananta dasa Babaji was a scholar
of the nyaya-sastra, but everyone requested Shri Vaishnava dasa Babaji
to conduct the debate. The Vaishnavas could immediately understand
that Devidasa Vidyaratna had instigated this turmoil. Lahiri
Mahasaya was also present, and he added, "Devi is extremely proud.
His mind became disturbed on the day he witnessed our behavior
with Kazi Sahib, and that is why he has now brought all these
Vaishnava dasa took the dust of Paramahamsa Babaji's feet on
his head and said, "I shall bear the order of the Vaishnavas upon my
head. Today the knowledge that I have imbibed must certainly bear
By this time, the sky was clear. A broad sitting place was spread
out in the malati-madhavi grove, and the brahmana-panditas sat on
one side and the Vaishnavas on the other. All the brahmanas and
panditas of Shri Godruma and Madhyadvipa had been called there,
and many neighboring students and scholarly brahmanas also
joined the assembly, so it was by no means a small gathering. About
a hundred brahmana-panditas were seated on one side and about
two hundred Vaishnavas on the other. Vaishnava dasa Babaji, calm
and composed, sat at the head of the assembly by the request of
the Vaishnavas. Just then, an astonishing incident occurred-a
cluster of malati flowers fell on Vaishnava dasa's head from the vines
above. This enlivened the Vaishnavas, inspiring them to utter the
name of Hari loudly. "This is to be understood as the mercy of
Shriman Mahaprabhu," they declared.
On the other side, Krishna Cudamani grimaced and said, "You
may think that, but flowers will not do. The tree shall be known
by its fruit."
Dismissing the matter, Vaishnava dasa began, "This meeting that
is taking place in Navadvipa today resembles the assemblies which
take place in Varanasi, and this is a cause of great happiness for
me. Although I am a resident of Bengal, I spent many years studying
and lecturing in Varanasi and other places, so I am not so accustomed
to speaking in Bengali. It is my request that in today's
assembly the questions and answers be made in Sanskrit."
Cudamani had studied the sastra very diligently, but he could
not speak Sanskrit fluently, apart from some slokas that he had
committed to memory. He was somewhat dismayed by Vaishnava
dasa's proposal, and said, "Why? We are meeting in Bengal, so it is
best to speak in Bengali. I cannot speak Sanskrit like the panditas
of the Western provinces."
Everyone could understand by observing their respective moods
that Cudamani was becoming fearful of debating with Vaishnava
dasa. They all requested Vaishnava dasa to speak in Bengali, and he
Cudamani raised the first objection by asking, "Is jati, or caste,
nitya (invariable)? Are the Hindus and Muslims not different castes?
Do the Hindus not become fallen by associating with Muslims?"
Vaishnava dasa Babaji replied, "According to the nyaya-sastra, jati
(a term that refers to race, caste, or species) is invariable. However,
the term jati-bheda (caste distinction) mentioned there does
not refer to the difference of caste among human beings born in
different countries. This term refers to the difference of species,
such as that which is found between cows, goats, and human beings."
Cudamani said, "Yes, what you say is quite true. But does that
mean that there is no jati-bheda (caste distinction) between Hindus
Vaishnava dasa said, "Yes, there is a distinction between the castes,
but that type of jati is not eternal. Human beings have only one jati,
which in this case means "species". Within the human species, many
different jati, or castes, have been invented, based on the differences
of language, country, styles of dress, and skin color."
Cudamani: Is there no difference in terms of birth? Or does the
difference between Hindus and Muslims consist of nothing more
than the difference in clothing and other such things?"
Vaishnava dasa: Jivas are born into higher or lower varnas, castes, according
to their previous karma; and in congruity with their varnas,
they are eligible for different types of work. Brahmanas, ksatriyas,
vaisyas, and sudras are the four varnas. All others are antyaja, which
means that they are low-born and outside the caste system.
Cudamani: Are the Muslims not outcaste?
Vaishnava dasa: Yes, according to the sastra, they are outside the
jurisdiction of the four varnas (antyaja).
Cudamani: Then how can Muslims be Vaishnavas, and how can
respectable Vaishnavas associate with them?
Vaishnava dasa: Vaishnavas are those who have pure bhakti, and all
human beings are candidates for vaishnava-dharma. Muslims are not
eligible to perform the duties prescribed for the different varnas
in the varnasrama system because their birth disqualifies them.
However, they have every right to participate in the practices of
bhakti. One can never say that he knows the actual purport of the
sastras until he has minutely examined the subtle differences between
karma-kanda, jnana-kanda, and bhakti-kanda.
Cudamani: Very well, when one performs one's prescribed karma,
the heart is gradually purified so that one becomes eligible for
jnana. Amongst the jnanis, some are nirbheda-brahmavadis, who
advocate the undifferentiated impersonal brahma, while others are
Vaishnavas, who accept the personal form of Bhagavan possessing
transcendental attributes (savisesa-vada). According to this
progression, one cannot become a Vaishnava without first completing
one's eligibility for karma. Muslims are not eligible even to
perform the prescribed karma within the varna system, because they
are outcastes, so how can they become eligible for bhakti?
Vaishnava dasa: Outcaste human beings have every right to practice
bhakti. All the sastras accept this, and Bhagavan Himself has
stated it in Shrimad Bhagavad-Gita (9.32):
mam hi partha vyapashritya ye 'pi syuh papa-yonayah
striyo vaisyas tatha sudras te 'pi yanti param gatim
O Partha, women, vaisyas, sudras, and low-born people who
have taken birth in sinful families can attain the supreme
destination by taking shelter of Me.
Here the word ashritya, taking shelter, refers to bhakti. This is
corroborated in the Skanda Purana,Kasi-khanda (21.63):
brahmanah ksatriyo vaisyah sudro va yadi vetarah
visnu-bhakti-samayukto jneyah sarvottamas ca sah
quoted in Hari-bhakti-vilasa (10.106)
Whether one is a brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra, or an
outcaste, if he has taken shelter of visnu-bhakti, he is considered
to be superior to all.
It is said in the Naradiya Purana.
svapaco 'pi mahipala visnu-bhakto dvijadhikah
visnu-bhakti-vihino yo yatis ca svapacadhikah
quoted in Hari-bhakti-vilasa (10.87)
Cudamani: You may give many quotations from sastra as evidence,
but it is important to see what is the underlying principle in this
consideration. How can the defect of degraded birth be removed?
Can a defect relating to one's birth be removed without taking
Vaishnava dasa: The defect of a degraded birth is the result of
prarabdha-karma, previous activities that have begun to bear fruit
in this life, and this prarabdha-karma can be destroyed by uttering
the name of Bhagavan. The proof of this is stated in Shrimad-
yan-nama sakrc chravanat pukkaso 'pi vimucyate samsarat
Even a low-born dog-eater can be delivered from material
existence simply by hearing Your holy name once.
It is also stated in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (6.2.46):
natah param karma-nibandha-krntanam
na yat punah karmasu sajjate mano
rajas-tamobhyam kalilam tato 'nyatha
Those who desire liberation from the bondage of material existence
have no means of rooting out sin except by the chanting
of the holy names of Bhagavan, who sanctifies even the holy
places by the mere touch of His lotus feet. The reason is that
when one performs nama-sankirtana, the mind does not become
attached to karma again, whereas when one practices any other
means of atonement, the mind is again contaminated by the
material qualities of passion and ignorance, since the tendencies
to commit sin have not been destroyed at the root.
Again in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (3.33.7) it is stated:
aho vata svapaco 'to gariyan
yaj-jahvagre vartate nama tubhyam
tepus tapas te juhuvuh sasnur arya
brahmanucur nama grnanti ye te
Oh! What more can be said about the greatness of a person
who chants the holy name of Shri Hari? A person whose tongue
utters Your holy names is superior to all, even if he has taken
birth in a family of dog-eaters. His brahminical status has already
been established in his previous birth. Those fortunate
jivas who chant shri-hari-nama have already undergone austerities,
performed fire sacrifices, bathed at the holy places, followed
the rules of proper conduct, and thoroughly studied the
Cudamani: Then why is it that a candala who chants hari-nama is
barred from performing yajnas and other brahminical activities?
Vaishnava dasa: One must take birth in a brahmana family to perform
yajnas and other such activities, and even one who is born in
a brahmana family must be purified by the ceremony of investiture
with the sacred thread before he is eligible to perform the duties
of a brahmana. Similarly, a candala may have become purified by
taking up hari-nama, but he is still not eligible to perform yajnas
until he acquires seminal birth in a brahmana family. However, he
can perform the angas (limbs) of bhakti, which are infinitely greater
Cudamani: What kind of conclusion is that? How can a person
who is disqualified from an ordinary privilege be qualified for something
that is much higher? Is there any conclusive evidence for
Vaishnava dasa: There are two types of human activity: material
activities that relate to practical existence (vyavaharika); and spiritual
activities that relate to the ultimate truth (paramarthika). A
person may have attained spiritual qualification, but that does not
necessarily qualify him for particular material activities. For example,
one who is a Muslim by birth may have acquired the nature
and all the qualities of a brahmana, so that he is a brahmana from
the spiritual point of view, but he still remains ineligible for certain
material activities, such as marrying the daughter of a
Cudamani: Why is that? What is wrong if he does so?
Vaishnava dasa: If one violates social customs, one is guilty of
vyavaharika-dosa, secular impropriety, and members of society who
take pride in their social respectability do not condone such activities.
That is why one should not perform them, even if he is
Cudamani: Please tell me what is the cause of eligibility for karma,
and what is the cause of eligibility for bhakti?
Vaishnava dasa: 'Tat-tat-karma-yogya-svabhava-janma'-nature,
birth, and other such vyavaharika, or practical, causes that make
one suitable for a particular type of work are the sources of eligibility
for karma. The source of eligibility for bhakti is tattvikasraddha,
faith that is rooted in the Absolute Truth.
Cudamani: Don't try to intimidate me with the language of Vedanta.
Explain clearly what you mean by 'tat-tat-karma-yogya-svabhava'.
Vaishnava dasa: The qualities that are found in the nature of a
brahmana are: sama (control of the senses), dama (control of the
mind), tapah (austerity), sauca (purity), santosa (satisfaction), ksama
(forgiveness), saralata (simplicity), isa-bhakti (devotion to Bhagavan),
daya (mercy), and satya (truthfulness). The natural qualities of a
ksatriya are teja (prowess), bala (physical strength), dhrti (resoluteness),
saurya (heroism), titiksa (tolerance), udarata (magnanimity),
udyama (perseverance), dhirata (gravity), brahmanyata (devotion to
the brahmanas), and aisvarya (opulence). The qualities that characterize
the vaisyas are astikya (theism), dana (charity), nistha (faith),
adambhikata (absence of pride), and artha-trsna (eagerness to accumulate
wealth). The natural qualities of a sudra are dvija-go-devaseva
(service to the brahmanas, cows, and celestial deities), and yathalabha-
santosa (satisfaction with whatever is obtained). The
qualities in the nature of an antyaja (outcaste) are asaucam (uncleanliness),
mithya (dishonesty), caurya (thievery), nastikata (atheism),
vrtha kalaha (futile quarrelling), kama (lust), krodha (anger), and
indriya-trsna (hankering to satisfy one's senses).
The sastras prescribe that ones varna should be determined
according to these different natures. The determination of varna
on the basis of birth alone is a recent practice. An individual's
inclination for a specific type of work and his expertise in it are
both related to these natures. A person's nature gives rise to his
inclination and taste for particular activities, and it is this particular
nature (svabhava) that is known as the nature according to
specific types of work (tat-tat-karma-yogya-svabhava).
In some cases, birth is the prominent factor in ascertaining a
person's nature, and in other cases association is the primary factor.
Nature is formed by association, which begins from birth, so
birth is certainly one cause that determines the development of
nature. Indeed, nature develops from the moment of birth but that
does not mean that birth is the only cause of nature and eligibility
for a particular type of work. It is a great mistake to think like
this, for there are many other causes. Therefore, the sastras prescribe
that one must study a person's nature when one assesses
eligibility for work.
Cudamani: What is meant by tattvika-sraddha, faith in the Absolute
Vaishnava dasa: Tattvika-sraddha is pure-hearted faith in Bhagavan,
which gives rise to a spontaneous attempt to attain Him. Atattvikasraddha
(unreal faith) is that which is based on an erroneous conception
of Bhagavan, which arises in an impure heart on seeing
worldly activities, and which gives rise to self-interested endeavors
rooted in pride, prestige, and worldly desires. Some mahajanas
have described tattvika-sraddha as sastriya-sraddha, faith in the
sastras. It is this tattvika-sraddha that is the cause of eligibility for
Cudamani: Let us admit that some people have developed faith in
the sastras although their natures are not elevated. Are such people
also eligible for bhakti?
Vaishnava dasa: Sraddha is the only cause of eligibility for bhakti.
Nature is the cause of eligibility for karma, but not for bhakti. This
is clearly stated in the following slokas from Shrimad-Bhagavatam
jata-sraddho mat-kathasu nirvinnah sarva-karmasu
veda duhkhatmakan kaman parityage 'py anisvarah
tato bhajeta mam pritah sraddhalur drdha-niscayah
jusamanas ca tan kaman duhkhodarkams ca garhayan
A sadhaka who has developed faith in narrations about Me,
and who is disgusted with all kinds of fruitive activity, may
still be unable to give up material enjoyment and the desire
for such enjoyment. Knowing that such so-called pleasures
are actually sources of misery he should condemn himself
while attempting to enjoy them. Thereafter, in due course of
time, he may be able to worship Me with love, faith and fixed
proktena bhakti-yogena bhajato masakrn muneh
kama hrdayya nasyanti sarve mayi hrdi sthite
bhidyate hrdaya-granthis chidyante sarva-samsayah
ksiyante casya karmani mayi drste 'khilatmani
When the sadhaka constantly worships me by the method
of bhakti-yoga that I have described, I come and sit in his
heart. As soon as I am established there, all material desires
and samskaras, the impressions, on which the material desires
are based are destroyed. When the sadhaka directly sees
Me as Paramatma situated in the hearts of all living entities,
the knot of the false ego in his heart is pierced, all of
his doubts are cut to pieces, and his desires for fruitive activities
are completely eradicated.
yat karmabhir yat tapasa jnana-vairagyatas ca yat
yogena dana-dharmena sreyobhir itarair api
sarvam mad-bhakti-yogena mad-bhakto labhate 'njasa
svargapavargam mad-dhama kathancid yadi vanchati
Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11. 20. 32-33)
Whatever results are obtained with great difficulty through
fruitive activities, austerity, knowledge, renunciation, practice
of yoga, charity, religious duties, and all other auspicious
types of sadhana are easily obtained by My bhaktas
through the power of bhakti-yoga. Although my bhaktas are
free from all ambition, they could easily obtain promotion
to the celestial planets, or attain liberation, or residence
in Vaikuntha, if they at all desired such things.
This is the systematic development of bhakti-yoga that arises
Cudamani: What if I don't accept the authority of Shrimad-
Vaishnava dasa: This is the conclusion of all the sastras. If you don't
accept the Bhagavatam, you will be troubled by other sastras. There
is no need for me to quote many different sastras. You may simply
consider what is said in Bhagavad-gita, which is accepted by the
adherents of all philosophical systems. In fact, all instructions are
present in the Gita sloka that you uttered when you first arrived
here (Gita 9.30):
api cet su-duracaro bhajate mam ananya-bhak
sadhur eva sa mantavyah samyag vyavasito hi sah
When one has no object of devotion other than Me and
his faith is thus exclusively fixed in Me, he remains absorbed
in worshiping Me by hearing hari-katha and chanting
hari-nama. Such a person has adopted the path of sadhus,
and should therefore be considered a sadhu, even if he
behaves in opposition to the path of karma due to an abominable
and depraved nature.
The purport is that the system of varnasrama that belongs to
karma-kanda is one type of path; the process of knowledge and
renunciation that belongs to jnana-kanda is a second type of path;
and faith in hari-katha and hari-nama that develops in sat-sanga
is a third type of path. Sometimes these three paths are taken
together as a single yoga system, identified either as karma-yoga,
jnana-yoga, or bhakti-yoga, and sometimes they are practiced as
separate systems. The practitioners of these different systems are
known as karma-yogis, jnana-yogis, and bhakti-yogis. Amongst all
of these, the bhakti-yogis are the best, because bhakti-yoga is endowed
with unlimited auspiciousness and is unparalleled in its
supremacy. This conclusion is supported in the statement of the
yoginam api sarvesam mad-gatenantaratmana
sraddhavan bhajate yo mam sa me yuktatamo matah
O Arjuna, of all yogis, I consider the topmost yogi to be the
one who constantly worships Me with great faith, with his
mind deeply absorbed in loving attachment to Me.
The Gita (9.31-32) further explains:
ksipram bhavati dharmatma sasvac-chantim nigacchati
kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati
mam hi partha vyapashritya ye 'pi syuh papa-yonayah
striyo vaisyas tatha sudras te 'pi yanti param gatim
It is essential that you clearly understand the purport of the
sloka, ksipram bhavati dharmatma. Faithful people who have adopted
the path of ananya-bhakti, exclusive devotion, are quickly purified
of all faults in their nature and behavior. Dharma surely follows
wherever there is bhakti, because Bhagavan is the root of all dharma,
and He is easily conquered by bhakti. As soon as Bhagavan is established
in the heart, maya, who binds the jivas in illusion, is immediately
dissipated. There is no need of any other method of
sadhana. Dharma appears as soon as one becomes a bhakta, and makes
the bhakta's heart virtuous. The moment one's desires for mundane
sense enjoyment have dissipated, peace pervades the heart.
That is why Shri Krishna promises, "My bhakta will never perish." The
karmis and jnanis may fall prey to bad association in the course of
practicing their sadhana, because they are independent, but the
bhaktas do not fall down, because the influence of Bhagavan's presence
saves them from bad association. The bhakta has the supreme
destination in his grasp, whether he takes birth in a sinful family
or in the home of a brahmana.
Cudamani: Look here, the provision found in our sastras for determining
caste by birth seems to me to be superior. One who has
taken birth in a brahmana family comes to the platform of knowledge
by regular practice of sandhya-vandana, and in the end he is
destined to obtain liberation. I cannot understand how sraddha
develops. Bhagavad-gita and Shrimad-Bhagavatam explain that bhakti
arises from sraddha, but I would like to know clearly what the jiva
should do to attain this sraddha.
Vaishnava dasa: Sraddha is the jiva's nitya-svabhava (eternal nature),
but faith in the performance of varnasrama duties does not arise
from this eternal nature; rather it arises from naimittika-svabhava
(the circumstantial or temporary nature). It is said in the
Chandogya Upanisad (7.19.1):
yada vai sraddadhaty atha manute, nasraddadhan manute,
sraddadhad eva manute, sraddha tv eva vijijnasitavyeti
sraddham bhagavo vijijnasa iti
Sanat-kumara said, "When a person develops sraddha, he
can think about a subject and understand it, whereas one
cannot do so without sraddha. Indeed only a person who
has sraddha can reflect upon anything. Therefore you must
inquire very specifically about sraddha." Narada said, "O
Master, I particularly wish to know about this sraddha."
Some people who are learned in the conclusions of the sastras
have explained that the word sraddha means to have faith in the
Vedas and in the words of shri-guru. This meaning is not wrong, but
it is not entirely clear. In our sampradaya the meaning of the word
sraddha is given as follows:
sraddha tv anyopaya-varjam
Sraddha is the characteristic function of the heart that
strives toward bhakti alone, which is totally devoid of karma
and jnana, and which desires nothing other than the exclusive
pleasure of Krishna. (Amnaya-sutra 57)
When the sadhaka regularly hears the instructions of sadhus in
the association of suddha-bhaktas, a conviction arises in his heart
that he cannot obtain his eternal welfare by the methods of karma,
jnana, yoga, and so on, and that he has no means of success unless he
takes exclusive shelter at the lotus feet of Shri Hari. When this conviction
appears, it may be understood that sraddha has arisen in the
sadhaka's heart. The nature of sraddha is described as follows:
sa ca saranapatti-laksana
Sraddha is characterized by its external symptom known as
saranagati, surrender to Shri Hari. (Amnaya-sutra 58)
Saranagati is described in these words.
anukulyasya sankalpah pratikulyasya varjanam
raksisyatiti visvaso goptrtve varanam tatha
atma-niksepa-karpanye sad-vidha saranagatih
There are six symptoms of self-surrender. The first two are
anukulyasya sankalpa and pratikulyasya varjanam: "I will only do that
which is favorable for unalloyed bhakti, and I will reject all that is
unfavorable." This is called sankalpa or pratijna, a solemn vow. The
third symptom is raksisyatiti visvaso, faith in Bhagavan as one's protector:
"Bhagavan is my only protector. I can derive absolutely no
benefit from jnana, yoga, and other such practices." This is an expression
of trust (visvasa). The fourth symptom is goptrtve varanam,
deliberate acceptance of Bhagavan as one's maintainer: "I cannot
obtain anything, or even maintain myself, by my own endeavor. I
will serve Bhagavan as far as I am able, and He will take care of me."
This is what is meant by dependence (nirbharata). The fifth symptom
is atma-niksepa, surrender: "Who am I? I am His. My duty is to
fulfill His desire." This is submission of the self (atma-nivedana).
The sixth symptom is karpanye, meekness: "I am wretched, insignificant,
and materially destitute." This is what is meant by humility
(karpanya or dainya).
When these moods become established in the heart, a disposition
arises that is called sraddha. A jiva who has this sraddha is
eligible for bhakti, and this is the first stage in the development of
the svabhava like that of those pure jivas who are eternally liberated.
Therefore this is the nitya-svabhava of the jivas, and all other
svabhavas are naimittika.
Cudamani: I understand. But you still have not explained how
sraddha developes. If sraddha develops from sat-karma, virtuous
deeds, then my argument is still stronger, because sraddha cannot
arise without properly performing the sat-karma and svadharma of
varnasrama. Muslims do not perform sat-karma, so how can they
be eligible for bhakti?
Vaishnava dasa: It is a fact that sraddha arises from sukrti, pious deeds.
It is stated in the Brhan-Naradiya-Purana (4.33).
bhaktis tu bhagavad-bhakta-sangena parijayate
sat-sangah prapyate pumbhih sukrtaih purva-sancitaih
The inclination for bhakti is awakened by association with
Bhagavan's bhaktas. The jiva obtains the association of
suddha-bhaktas by the accumulated effect of spiritually pious
activities performed over many lifetimes.
There are two types of sukrti: nitya and naimittika. The sukrti by
which one obtains sadhu-sanga and bhakti is nitya-sukrti. The sukrti
by which one obtains material enjoyment and impersonal liberation
is naimittika-sukrti. Sukrti which bears eternal fruit is nityasukrti.
Sukrti which bears temporary results which are dependent
upon some cause is naimittika or anitya-sukrti.
All types of material enjoyment are non-eternal because they
clearly depend on some cause. Many people think that mukti is
eternal, but this is only because they do not know the actual nature
of mukti. The individual atma (soul) is suddha (pure), nitya
(eternal), and sanatana (primeval). The cause (nimitta) of the
jivatma's bondage is association with maya, and mukti is the complete
dissolution of this bondage. The act of deliverance or release
from bondage is accomplished in a single moment, so the act of
release is not in itself an eternal action. All consideration of mukti
ends as soon as emancipation is attained, so mukti is nothing more
than the destruction of a material cause. Therefore, since mukti is
only the negation of a temporary material cause, it is also naimittika,
causal and temporary.
On the other hand, rati, or attachment, for the feet of Shri Hari
never ends once it is established in the heart of the jiva. Therefore,
this rati or bhakti is nitya-dharma, and if we analyse its practices
(angas) correctly, none of them can be said to be naimittika.
The type of bhakti that terminates at the point that it bestows mukti
is only a type of naimittika-karma, while bhakti that is present before,
during and after mukti is a distinct and eternal truth, and it
is the nitya-dharma of the jivas. Mukti is but an irrelevant, secondary
result of bhakti. It is said in the Mundaka Upanisad (1.2.12):
pariksya lokan karma-citan brahmano
nirvedam ayan nasty akrtah krtena
tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet
samit-panih srotriyam brahma-nistham
A brahmana who has exhaustively studied the sastras will
become disinterested in the performance of karma by carefully
examining the temporary, impure and miserable nature
of Svarga-loka and the other celestial planets which
are attainable by performing material pious deeds. This is
so because the nitya-vastu, Bhagavan cannot be obtained
by worldy karma, for He is beyond the reach of karma. To
gain factual knowledge and realization of that eternal supreme
Person, one should find a qualified guru who is
learned in the Vedas, who is firmly established in the service
of Bhagavan, and who knows the Absolute Truth. One
should then approach that guru carrying wood for kindling
a sacrificial fire, and should surrender body, mind, and
words to him with faith and humility.
Karma, yoga, and jnana all produce naimittika-sukrti. Bhaktasanga,
the association of bhaktas, and bhakti-kriya-sanga, contact
with acts of devotion, produce nitya-sukrti. Only one who has
accumulated nitya-sukrti over many lifetimes will develop sraddha.
Naimittika-sukrti produces many different results, but it will not
lead to the development of faith in unalloyed bhakti.
Cudamani: Please explain clearly what you mean by bhakta-sanga
and bhakti-kriya-sanga (contact with acts of devotion). From what
type of sukrti do these arise?
Vaishnava dasa: Bhakta-sanga means conversing with suddha-bhaktas,
serving them, and hearing their discourses. Suddha-bhaktas perform
the activities of bhakti such as public congregational chanting
of shri-nama. Participation in these activities or performing
them on one's own is called bhakti-kriya-sanga, contact with acts
In the sastras, activities such as cleansing the temple of Shri Hari,
offering a lamp to Tulasi, and observing Hari-vasara (Ekadashi,
Janmastami, Rama-navami, and other such days) are called bhaktikriya.
Even if one performs them accidentally or without pure
sraddha, they still create bhakti-posaka sukrti, virtue that nourishes
devotion. When this sukrti acquires strength after many lifetimes,
sraddha for sadhu-sanga and ananya-bhakti (exclusive devotion)
It must be acknowledged that every vastu, substance, has some
particular potency which is known as vastu-sakti, the inherent potency
of that substance. The potency to nourish bhakti is found
only within the activities of bhakti. These activities produce sukrti
even if they are performed indifferently, what to speak when they
are being performed with faith. This is expressed in the Prabhasakhanda
quoted in Hari-bhakti-vilasa (11.451):
madhura-madhuram etan mangalam mangalanam
sakrd api parigitam sraddhaya helaya va
bhrgu-vara nara-matram tarayet krishna-nama
Shri-krishna nama is the sweetest among all things that are
sweet, and it stands supreme amongst all that is auspicious.
It is the eternal, fully ripened spiritual fruit of the wishfulfilling
tree of the Vedas. O best of the Bhrgus, if anyone
even once offenselessly chants shri-krishna nama, either with
faith or indifference, shri-krishna nama immediately delivers
that person from the ocean of material existence.
Thus, all types of sukrti that nourish bhakti are nitya-sukrti.
When this sukrti becomes strong, one gradually develops sraddha
in ananya-bhakti (unalloyed bhakti), and one attains sadhu-sanga.
Birth in a Muslim family is the result of naimittika-duskrti, or temporary
impious deeds, whereas faith in ananya-bhakti is the result
of nitya-sukrti, eternal pious deeds. What is surprising about this?
Cudamani: This is what I meant by my previous question. If there
is such a thing as bhakti-posaka-sukrti (virtue that nourishes devotion),
it must arise from some other type of sukrti. But Muslims
do not have any other type of sukrti, so it is not possible for them
to have bhakti-posaka-sukrti either.
Vaishnava dasa: That is not a fact. Nitya-sukrti and naimittika-sukrti
are classified separately, so they do not depend on one another.
Once there was a sinful hunter who was full of impious deeds, but
who chanced to stay up all night and fast on Siva-ratri. Because of
the nitya-sukrti he accrued from this, he developed eligibility for
hari-bhakti. It is said in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam (12.13.16):
vaishnavanam yatha sambhuh: "Among Vaishnavas, Sivaji is the best."
From this statement it is understood that Mahadeva is the most
worshipful Vaishnava, and one obtains hari-bhakti by observing a
vow to please him.
Cudamani: So do you mean to say that nitya-sukrti comes about by
Vaishnava dasa: Everything comes about by chance. This is also the
case on the path of karma. What is the circumstance by which the
jiva first entered the cycle of karma? Can it be anything other than
a chance occurrence? The mimamsa philosophers have described
karma as anadi (being without beginning), but actually karma does
have a root. The chance occurrence that brings one's original
karma into effect is indifference to Bhagavan (bhagavad-vimukhata).
Similarly, nitya-sukrti also seems to be a chance occurrence. It
is said in the Svetasvatara Upanisad (4.7):
samane vrkse puruso nimagno'nisaya socati muhyamanah
justam yada pasyaty anyam isam asya mahimanam eti vita-sokah
The jiva and the indwelling Paramatma both reside in the
same tree, namely the material body. The jiva is attached to
material sense enjoyment, and is therefore sunk in the
bodily conception of life. Bewildered by maya, he cannot
find any means of deliverance, and thus he laments. However,
by the influence of sukrti acquired over many lifetimes,
he can obtain the mercy of Isvara or His suddha-bhaktas. At
that time, he will see in his heart that there is a second individual
within the tree of his body. This is Isvara, who is
served eternally by His unalloyed bhaktas. When the jiva witnesses
the uncommon glories of Shri Krishna, he becomes free
from all lamentation.
It is said in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam (10.51.53):
bhavapavargo bhramato yada bhavej
janasya tarhy acyuta sat-samagamah
sat-sangamo yarhi tadaiva sad-gatau
paravarese tvayi jayate ratih
O Shri Acyuta, You are eternally situated in Your original,
spiritual form. The jiva has been wandering in the cycle of
birth and death since time without beginning. When the
time for his release from this cycle approaches, he obtains
sat-sanga, and through this, he becomes firmly attached to
You, who are the supreme goal of attainment for the sadhus
and the controller of both spirit and matter.
satam prasangan mama virya-samvido
bhavanti hrt-karna-rasayanah kathah
taj-josanad asv apavarga-vartmani
sraddha ratir bhaktir anukramisyati
In the association of suddha-bhaktas, the recitation and discussion
of My glorious activities and pastimes are pleasing
to both the heart and the ears. By cultivating knowledge in
this way, one becomes established on the path of liberation
and progressively attains sraddha, then bhava, and finally
Cudamani: In your opinion, is there no difference between an
Aryan and a Yavana?
Vaishnava dasa: There are two kinds of differences: paramarthika, those
that relate to absolute reality; and vyavaharika, those that relate to
practical experience. There is no paramarthika difference between
Aryans and Yavanas, yet a vyavaharika difference does exist.
Cudamani: Why do you insist on repeatedly showing off your verbosity
in Vedanta? What do you mean by a vyavaharika difference
between Aryans and Yavanas?
Ignoring Cudamani's impertinence, Vaishnava dasa answered,
"The term vyavaharika refers to worldly customs. In domestic life
Yavanas are considered untouchable, so their association is unsuitable
from the vyavaharika or practical point of view. Aryans
should not touch water and food that has been touched by a
Yavana. The body of a Yavana is insignificant and untouchable
because of his unfortunate birth."
Cudamani: Then how can there possibly be no difference
between Aryans and Yavanas from the absolute point of view?
Please explain this clearly.
Vaishnava dasa: The sastras have affirmed this lucidly. Bhrgu-vara
nara-matram tarayet krishna-nama: "O best of the Bhrgus, shri-krishnanama
delivers all men." According to this sloka, Yavanas and all
other human beings have an equal opportunity to attain the supreme
goal of life. Those who are devoid of nitya-sukrti are known
as dvi-pada-pasu, two-legged animals, because they have no faith
in krishna-nama. Such people have no human qualities, even though
they have attained a human birth. It is said in the Mahabharata:
mahaprasade govinde nama-brahmani vaisnave
svalpa-punyavatam rajan visvaso naiva jayate
O King, one whose past pious deeds are very meager cannot
have faith in mahaprasada, in Shri Govinda, in shri-krishnanama,
or in the Vaishnavas.
Nitya-sukrti is great sukrti that purifies the jiva. Naimittika-sukrti
is insignificant sukrti that does not have the power to awaken
sraddha toward transcendental objects. In this material world there
are four transcendental objects that awaken spiritual consciousness;
mahaprasada, Krishna, krishna-nama, and Vaishnavas.
Cudamani smiled slightly at this statement. He said, "What kind
of strange idea is this? This is simply the fanaticism of the
Vaishnavas. How can rice, dahl, and vegetables be chinmaya, spiritual?
There is nothing that you Vaishnavas are incapable of."
Vaishnava dasa: "Whatever you do, please do not criticize the
Vaishnavas. This is my humble request. In a debate, one should argue
the points in question. What is the use of deriding the
Vaishnavas? In this material world mahaprasada is the only food
which is fit to be accepted, because it provokes spiritual consciousness
and dissolves one's materialistic nature. Therefore, Shri
Isopanisad (1) says:
isavasyam idam sarvam yat kinca jagatyam jagat
tena tyaktena bhunjitha ma grdhah kasyasvid dhanam
Everything animate and inanimate within the universe is
situated in Isvara, and is also pervaded by Him. Therefore,
in a detached mood, one should accept only what is necessary
for one's maintenance, considering all things to be the
remnants of Isvara. One should not be attached to another's
wealth, considering himself to be the enjoyer.
"Whatever exists within the universe is connected to
Bhagavan's potency. One will give up the worldly-minded spirit
of enjoyment if he considers everything to be related to Bhagavan's
cit-sakti, spiritual potency. An introspective jiva will not be degraded
if he accepts only those worldly things that are necessary
for the maintenance of his body, considering them to be the remnants
of Bhagavan; on the contrary, his inclination toward spiritual
consciousness will be aroused. The remnants of food and other
articles offered to Bhagavan are known as mahaprasada. It is a great
misfortune that you have no faith in such extraordinary objects."
Cudamani: Let us drop this subject and return to the original point
of our discussion. What is the proper behavior between the Yavanas
and you people?"
Vaishnava dasa: As long as someone remains a Yavana, we remain
indifferent to him. However, when someone who was formerly a
Yavana becomes a Vaishnava by the influence of nitya-sukrti, we no
longer consider him a Yavana. This is very clear in the following
statement from the Padma Purana:
sudram va bhagavad-bhaktam nisadam svapacam tatha
viksate jati-samanyat sa yati narakam dhruvam
quoted in Hari-bhakti-vilasa (10.119)
If one considers a devotee of Bhagavan to be a member of
the lowest of the four castes (sudra), a member of an aboriginal
tribe of hunters (nisada), or an outcaste dog-eater
(svapaca), merely because the devotee has taken birth in
such families, one is assuredly destined for hell.
The Itihasa-samuccaya also says:
na me priyas catur-vedi mad-bhaktah svapacah priyah
tasmai deyam tato grahyam sa ca pujyo yatha hy aham
quoted in Hari-bhakti-vilasa (10.127)
A brahmana who has studied the four Vedas, but has no
bhakti, is not dear to Me, whereas My bhakta is very dear to
Me, even if he has taken birth in a family of dog-eaters. Such
a bhakta is fit to receive charity, and whatever he offers
should be accepted. Indeed, he is as worshipable as I am.
Cudamani: I understand. Then can a grhastha Vaishnava make a
marriage relationship with a Yavana family?
Vaishnava dasa: From the general point of view, a Yavana remains
a Yavana in the eyes of the general populace until he relinquishes
his body. But from the absolute point of view, he is no longer regarded
as a Yavana once he attains bhakti. Marriage is one of the
ten kinds of social rites (smarta-karma). If a grhastha Vaishnava is
an Aryan, that is, if he is included within the four varnas, he should
only marry within his own varna.
Even though the religious duties associated with the four castes
are naimittika in nature, they are still recommended for the maintenance
of domestic life. One cannot become a Vaishnava simply
by giving up the social customs of the four varnas. Vaishnavas should
adopt whatever is favorable for bhakti, and one can only give up
the duties of the varnas when he has become qualified to do so by
genuine detachment. Then one can give up the duties of the four
varnas, and everything associated with them.
Varna-dharma can be given up easily when it becomes unfavorable
to bhajana. Similarly, a Yavana who has awakened faith
in bhakti has the right to give up the association of the Yavana
community if it becomes unfavorable for bhajana. Suppose that one
Vaishnava is an Aryan who is qualified to give up the four varnas,
and another Vaishnava is a Yavana who is qualified to give up his
community. Then what is the difference between them? Both of
them have given up vyavahara, that which relates to ordinary life,
and both have become brothers in regard to paramartha, spiritual
However, this principle of rejecting varna-dharma does not apply
to a grhastha Vaishnavas. A grhastha Vaishnava should not give
up domestic society until he is fully qualified to do so, even if it is
unfavorable to bhajana. However, he can easily give up worldly
society when firm attachment and affection for that which is favorable
to bhajana awakens in his heart. It is said in the Shrimad-
ajnayaivam gunan dosan mayadistan api svakan
dharman santyajya yah sarvan mam bhajet sa tu sattamah
Shri Krishna says, "In the Vedas I have given duties to human
beings, explaining what are positive attributes and what
are faults. One is considered the best of sadhus if he knows
all this but abandons his duties to worship Me exclusively,
with the firm conviction that all perfection may be attained
by bhakti alone.
This is corroborated by the ultimate conclusion of the Bhagavadgita
sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami ma sucah
Abandon all varieties of naimittika-dharma, such as karma
and jnana, and surrender only unto Me. Do not lament, for
I will deliver you from all sinful reactions incurred by giving
up your prescribed duties.
This is supported further in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (4.29.46):
yada yasyanugrhnati bhagavan atma-bhavitah
sa jahati matim loke vede ca parinisthitam
Bhagavan bestows his mercy upon a jiva with whom He is
pleased because of his self-surrender, or serving Him with
complete absorption of his inner faculties. At that time, the
jiva gives up attachment for all social customs and religious
rituals prescribed by the Vedas.
Cudamani: Can you eat food, drink water, and conduct other such
activities with a Yavana who has truly become a Vaishnava?
Vaishnava dasa: A renounced Vaishnava who is indifferent to all
social restrictions is known as nirapeksa (without any needs or
requirements), and he can honor mahaprasada with such a
Vaishnava. A grhastha Vaishnava cannot sit and eat with him in the
context of ordinary social or family dealings, but there is no such
objection when it comes to honoring Vishnu or Vaishnava prasada;
in fact, it is his duty.
Cudamani: Then why is it that Yavana Vaishnavas are not permitted
to worship and serve the Deities in the Vaishnava temples?
Vaishnava dasa: It is an offense to refer to a Vaishnava as a Yavana,
simply because he has taken birth in such a family. All Vaishnavas
have the right to serve Krishna. If a grhastha Vaishnava serves the Deity
in a way that breaks the rules of varnasrama, it is considered to
be a fault from the worldly point of view. Nirapeksa Vaishnavas are
not required to worship the Deity, because that would hinder their
quality of being free from all external requirements and dependencies
(nirapeksata). They remain engaged in serving Shri Radha-
Vallabha through service carried out by the internally-conceived
spiritual form (manasi-seva).
Cudamani: I understand. Now please tell me what you think about
Vaishnava dasa: There are two types of brahmanas: brahmanas by
nature (svabhava-siddha) and brahmanas by birth alone (jatisiddha).
Those who are brahmanas by nature should be respected
by adherents of all philosophical systems because they are practically
Vaishnavas. Those who are only brahmanas by birth are given
conventional respect by everyone, and this is also approved by
the Vaishnavas. The conclusion of the sastra on this topic is expressed
in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (7.9.10):
viprad dvi-sad-guna-yutad aravinda-nabhapadaravinda-
vimukhat svapacam varistham
punati sa kulam na tu bhurimanah
A bhakta who is born in a family of dog-eaters, but who has
dedicated his mind, words, activities, and wealth at the
lotus feet of Krishna, is superior to a brahmana who has all
twelve brahminical qualities, but who is averse to the lotus
feet of Bhagavan, whose navel is shaped like a lotus. Such a
bhakta can purify himself and his whole family, whereas the
brahmana who is puffed-up with false prestige cannot even
purify himself. That is my opinion.
Cudamani: Sudras are not eligible to study the Vedas, so can a sudra
study the Vedas when he becomes a Vaishnava?
Vaishnava dasa: From the absolute point of view, when one becomes
a pure Vaishnava, he automatically attains the status of a brahmana,
whatever caste one may belong to. The Vedas are divided into two
sections: instructions regarding karma, the performance of prescribed
duties, and instructions regarding tattva, the Absolute
Truth. Those who are qualified as brahmanas in a worldly sense
are eligible to study the Vedas that promote karma, and those who
are brahmanas by spiritual qualification are qualified to study the
Vedas that promote tattva. Pure Vaishnavas can study and teach the
Vedas that promote spiritual truth, no matter what caste they are
born into, and it is practically observed that they do so. It is said
in the Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad (4.4.21):
tam eva dhiro vijnaya prajnam kurvita brahmanah
A brahmana is a sober and spiritually enlightened person
who clearly knows para-brahma, and serves Him through
prema-bhakti which is a manifestation of the highest knowledge.
It is also said in the Brhad-aranyaka Upanisad (3.8.10):
yo va etad aksaram gargy aviditvasmal lokat praiti sa krpanah
atha ya etad aksaram gargi viditvasmal lokat praiti sa brahmanah
O Gargi, he who quits this world without knowing the
supreme imperishable being, Shri Vishnu, is a wretched miser,
whereas he who quits this world knowing the supreme
being is recognized as a brahmana.
"Manu has said the following in regard to those who are
brahmanas by vyavaharika, or social considerations."
yo 'nadhitya dvijo vedam anyatra kurute sramam
sa jivann eva sudratvam asu gacchati sanvayah
A brahmana, ksatriya, or vaisya becomes twice-born by investiture
with the sacred thread, and this prepares him for
studying the Vedas. If a dvija fails to study the Vedas after
receiving the sacred thread, and instead studies other subjects
such as economics, science or logic, he and his family
members quickly become degraded in this very life to the
status of sudras.
Svetasvatara Upanisad (6.23) explains the eligibility to study the
Vedas that promote spiritual truth:
yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah prakasante mahatmanah
All the confidential truths described in this Upanisad will
be revealed to that great soul who has the same exclusive,
uninterrupted, transcendental devotion (para-bhakti) for
his guru that he has for Shri Bhagavan.
The word para-bhakti in the above sloka means suddha-bhakti
(pure bhakti). I don't want to elaborate any further on this topic.
You should try to understand it yourself. In short, those who have
faith in ananya-bhakti are eligible to study the Vedas that promote
tattva, spiritual truth, and those who have already attained ananyabhakti
are eligible to teach those Vedas.
Cudamani: Then do you people conclude that the Vedas that promote
tattva teach only vaishnava-dharma and no other religion?
Vaishnava dasa: Dharma, is one, not two, and it is also known as
nitya-dharma or vaishnava-dharma. All other forms of naimittikadharma
taught in the Vedas are simply steps leading to that eternal
religion. Shri Bhagavan has said:
kalena nasta pralaye vaniyam veda-samjnita
mayadau brahmane prokta dharmo yasyam mad-atmakah
Shri Bhagavan said: "The Vedas contain instructions on
bhagavata-dharma. At the time of annihilation, that message
was lost by the influence of time. Then, at the beginning
of the next creation known as Brahma-kalpa, I again
spoke the same Vedic message to Brahmaji."
The Katha Upanisad (1.3.9) states:
sarve veda yat padam amananti
tat te padam sangrahena bravimi
tad visnoh paramam padam sada
I shall now describe to you in brief that ultimate truth that
all the Vedas have repeatedly described as the supreme object
of attainment. That abode of Vishnu (the all-pervading
Paramatma, Vasudeva) is the only supreme destination.
By this point in the discussion, the faces of Devi Vidyaratna
and his associates looked pale and withered, and the teachers'
enthusiasm was shattered. It was nearly five o'clock in the afternoon,
so everyone agreed to adjourn the day's discussion, and the
The brahmana-panditas departed, enthusiastically praising the
scholarship of Vaishnava dasa, and the Vaishnavas left for their respective
places, loudly chanting the names of Hari.
THUS ENDS THE SIXTH CHAPTER OF JAIVA-DHARMA,
"NITYA-DHARMA, RACE & CASTE"