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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Compiled and Imp Scriptures > Jaiva Dharma > 6. Nitya-Dharma, Race & Caste



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

them seated.


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

brahmana-panditas here."


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

and Muslims?"


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

another birth?


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-

Bhagavatam (6.16.44):


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

mumuksatam tirtha-padanukirtanat

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

than yajnas.


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

spiritually qualified.


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

Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.20.29-30)


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

from sraddha.


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

Gita (6.47):


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

bhakty-unmukhi citta-vrtti-visesah


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

(Hari-bhakti-vilasa 11.47)


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

of devotion.


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

sakala-nigama-valli-sat-phalam cit-svarupam

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.


And (3.25.25):


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-

Bhagavatam (11.11.32):


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

the brahmanas.


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

manye tad-arpita-mano-vacanehitarthapranam

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

Manu-smrti (2.168)


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

Shrimad-Bhagavatam (11.14.3)


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

meeting ended.


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.