Brāhmaṇa Initiation Lecture — May 25, 1969, New Vrindaban

Prabhupāda: Practically in every initiation ceremony, apavitraḥ pavitro vā, namaḥ. Namaḥ means surrendering. Namāmi: “I surrender unto You. He Kṛṣṇa, I am surrendering to You.” And apavitraḥ pavitro vā. Apavitraḥ means contaminated, and pavitra means liberated. So in either stage, either in the material, contaminated stage or in transcendental, liberated stage, apavitraḥ pavitro vā sarvāvasthām, in any situation… Yaḥ smaret puṇḍarīkākṣam. Sarvāvasthāṁ gato ‘pi vā. In any circumstances, if somebody remembers, smaret, remembers puṇḍarīkākṣam… Puṇḍarīka akṣam. Akṣam means eyes. One who is lotus-eyed, Kṛṣṇa or Viṣṇu, Puṇḍarīkākṣam, anyone who remembers always or at anytime, Kṛṣṇa, yaḥ smaret puṇḍarīkākṣam, sa, that person… Bahya. Bahya means externally, and abhyantaram means internally. Bahyābhyantaraṁ śuciḥ. Śuci means brāhmaṇa, or śuci means completely cleansed. The brāhmaṇa means completely clean. The brahminical qualification is first of all cleanliness. Satya śaucaṁ śamo dama titikṣa ārjavam, jñānaṁ vijñānam āstikyaṁ brahma-karma svabhāva-jam [Bg. 18.42]. To become brāhmaṇa means satyam saucam. First thing is truthful, and next, śaucam, very cleansed, internally and externally. Externally we can cleanse ourself by soap and water. That is necessary. Daily we should take bath with soap and water and oil. Bahyābhyantaram. And abhyantaraṁ śuciḥ means evacuating and cleansing. In yoga system there is a system they practice. They can get out all the intestines and cleanse it clearly. Dhauti. What do they know about this yoga system? They can take out the whole intestine and cleanse it nicely and again set it. So these are actually practicing yoga system. But who is going to do that? Simply a gymnastic process. So śaucam, cleanliness, is very necessary for advancing in spiritual life.

So brāhmaṇa qualification is truthfulness, cleanliness, satyaṁ śaucam. Sama, equilibrium of the mind, without any disturbance, without any anxiety. Satyaṁ śaucam śamo dama. Dama means controlling the senses. Śamo dama titikṣa. Titikṣa means tolerance. So many things in the material world will happen. We have to practice to tolerate. Tāṁs titikṣasva bhārata. Kṛṣṇa says, “You have to learn tolerance. The sukha-duḥkha, happiness, distress, they will come like seasonal changes.” Just like there is sometimes rain, there is sometimes snowfall, sometimes scorching heat. How you can fight? It is not possible. Try to tolerate. That’s all. Satyaṁ śaucaṁ śamo dama titikṣa ārjavam. Ārjavam means simplicity, no duplicity. Simplicity, ārjavam. Jñānaṁ vijñānam, knowledge and practical application in life. Jñānaṁ vijñānam āstikyam. Āstikyam means to believe firmly in the scriptures. Just like Bhagavad-gītā we are studying, or Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. We should firmly believe what Kṛṣṇa says, not interpretation. This is called āstikyam. And nāstikyam means not firm belief, atheism. Just like Lord Buddha. Lord Buddha simply said that “I don’t believe in the Vedas.” Therefore he is immediately calculated as atheist, nāstikyam. Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, veda nā māniyā bauddha haila nāstika: “The followers of Buddha, they did not accept Vedic, I mean to say, direction; therefore they are nāstika.” What is that Vedic direction? In the Dāsavatāra-stotra by Jayadeva Gosvāmī, he says, nindasi yajña-vidher ahaha śruti-jātam. In the śruti, in the Vedas, there is prescription of sacrifice, and in some of the sacrifice there is recommendation for sacrifice of some animals, goats. So that is… But Lord Buddha says, “No. I want to introduce nonviolence, no animal killing. So even there is Veda, prescription, I don’t accept Vedas.” Therefore he became nāstika. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu says that veda nā māniyā bauddha haila nāstika: “Because Lord Buddha did not accept the authority of the Veda, therefore he was considered nāstika, atheist.” He was Indian. He was Hindu. His forefathers were kṣatriyas, Vedic. He revolted. So therefore he was called nāstika. But a brāhmaṇa should not be nāstika; he should be āstik. Āstikyam: “He must believe in the scriptural injunction.” These are brahminical qualifications.

So you are going to be brāhmaṇa, qualified brāhmaṇa, this sacred thread ceremony; therefore you should follow all these principles, satyam, śaucam, cleanliness… Although in this age, not only in your country—you are completely out of Vedic culture—even in India, they are so-called. Nobody follows. But still, they claim, “I am brāhmaṇa. We are brāhmaṇas.” So this is parapidam [?], simply a social standard without any qualification, without any… So you are going to take the responsibility of brahmanism. This system is introduced according to pāñcarātrikī system. Pāñcarātrikī system means formerly in the Vedic system, without being born by a brāhmaṇa, nobody was given this sacred thread ceremony. “Without being born by a brāhmaṇa” does not mean hereditary, but actually, one who is brāhmaṇa… Just like you are not being created as brāhmaṇa. So if your son is born, he has the first claim to become a brāhmaṇa because by the birth he gets the brahminical culture, sees the father, mother. Just like this boy. Automatically he is getting Vaiṣṇava culture, he is associating with the Vaiṣṇavas. So the son of a brāhmaṇa has the chance. A practical example, this boy: from the very beginning becoming a Vaiṣṇava, more than a brāhmaṇa, more than. Vaiṣṇava position is above the brāhmaṇas. Brahmā jānātīti brāhmaṇaḥ. But Vaiṣṇava, he penetrates the brahma-jyotir. Just like you penetrate. If you are able to penetrate the sunshine and go to the sun and seek out the sun-god, if somebody is able, by going to the sun planet by sputnik, he is better than who is in the sunshine. Sunshine we can have by just little go up to the cloud. Say, about seven miles up, you get sunshine. But to go to the sun planet and enter into the…, that is very difficult job. That requires so many things. [aside:] Sit down properly. Chant. So Brahman, Nirviśeṣa-brahman, impersonal Brahman, when one understands, jñānaṁ vijñānam… Jñānaṁ vijñānam. And when one becomes Vaiṣṇava, brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate [SB 1.2.11]. When one understands what is impersonal Brahman, what is localized Paramātmā, and what is Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam… When you understand the Supreme, the original Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa… Ete cāṁśa-kalāḥ puṁsaḥ kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam [SB 1.3.28]. There are many incarnations. Rāmādi-murtiṣu kalā-niyamena tiṣṭhan [Bs. 5.39]. Rāma, Nṛsiṁha, Varāha… There are so many thousands and millions of incarnation. But Bhāgavata points out that “This name, Kṛṣṇa, He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” Kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam. So when one understands kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam, vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti [Bg. 7.19], that Vāsudeva is everything, then he becomes a Vaiṣṇava.

So a Vaiṣṇava is already brāhmaṇa, but still, it is a function that one should not deride at Vaiṣṇava, that he is not brāhmaṇa. Therefore Vaiṣṇava-smṛti, Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, written by Sanātana Gosvāmī… That is called Vaiṣṇava-smṛti, how to conduct Vaiṣṇava life. There it is clearly stated by Sanātana Gosvāmī that tathā dīkṣā-vidhānena dvijatvaṁ jāyate nṛṇām: “By the process of initiation, a man can attain the position of the twice-born.” Twice-born means brāhmaṇa especially—brāhmaṇa, kṣatriyas, vaiśyas, three classes of twice-born. Several times I have explained: first born by father and mother, and second born, birth, is this. So you should have responsibility, you should follow. But you can be steady and you will be able to follow all these principles provided you chant regularly Hare Kṛṣṇa. That sixteen rounds you must complete. Then māyā will not be able to deviate you. That is… You must keep this. This kīrtana process, as we are performing morning, evening, this will keep your life steady, fixed up, firm. You will always be situated in brāhmaṇa’s position if you strictly follow this. Otherwise māyā will immediately: “My dear boy, please come here. Why you are taking so much botheration?” You see? Just like one boy wanted to be initiated from Montreal. His father and mother have sent me telegram. You have seen? “Oh, please save my boy. He is going to be brāhmaṇa. Oh, it will spoil my family.” That means if he becomes brāhmaṇa, he may be reluctant to be karmī. This is going on. If one becomes debauch, the father-mother is not so disturbed. But if he becomes brāhmaṇa, “Oh, it is horrible. It is horrible. It is horrible.” [laughter] Just see the social condition. If a young man becomes debauch, “Ah, young man. Let him do. What is there? When he will grow, he will be taken… All right.” But if a young man goes to a spiritual master to become brāhmaṇa, “Oh,” the father-mother is… “Oh,, it is horrible. My son is being killed.” You see? Just see. I have got practical telegram from India. Just see the position of India. Just now today I have received one telegram, Hanla [?]. “Oh, it is horrible condition.” And Bhāgavata says that “One should not become a father, one should not become a mother, if he cannot prepare his child, a brāhmaṇa, a Vaiṣṇava, so that will protect him from the cycle of repeated birth and death.” “No, we don’t want this thing. We want our boy a karmī, a demon. Let him earn and send the money. I eat very nicely.” This is going on.

So this propaganda against brahmanism or Vaiṣṇavism is always. It is not new thing. Just like Hiraṇyakaśipu. His little child wanted to become a Vaiṣṇava, and the father, “Oh, you are going to be Vaiṣṇava? I shall kill you.” A little child, five years old, just like this boy. He is taking care. If mother says, “Oh, you are doing this? I shall kill you,” most extraordinary. But there are instances. So you should be careful. The only precaution is that you chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Yaḥ smaret puṇḍarīkākṣam sa bahyābhyantaraṁ śuciḥ. Always. If you want to keep intact of transcendental position, chant Hare Kṛṣṇa sincerely. Then you will be kept. Nobody can harm you. Nobody can deviate you. Māyā will fly away. You see? Daivī hy eṣā guṇamayī mama māyā duratyayā [Bg. 7.14]. Māyā is very strong. You cannot conquer māyā by so-called meditation or this or that. No. Simply by surrendering to Kṛṣṇa. Mām eva ye prapadyante. Kṛṣṇa. Only He. Mām eva ye prapadyante māyām etāṁ taranti te. He can overcome the stringent laws of māyā. So don’t think that after finishing this ceremony you become all right. No. Māyā is always strong. Kṛṣṇa-nāma karo bhaya āra sab miche, palāivera path naya yo māche piche. The instruction is that you always chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Āra sab miche. Whatever except… Nāma vinā kichu nāhika āra, cauddha-bhuvana-majhe. “Within this fourteen world, if there is anything summum bonum substance, this is this Hare Kṛṣṇa. This is this Hare Kṛṣṇa. Mind that.” Nāma vinā kichu nāhika āra, cauddha-bhuvana-majhe. So this is secondary, this ceremony. Real strength is chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. So of course, people may not think you otherwise, that you are not brāhmaṇa, you are not purified. Therefore this ceremony is there, the thread ceremony here, that “Yes, we are properly… According to scriptural rules and regulations, we have become brāhmaṇa. There is no question of… Because I am not born in a brāhmaṇa family, it does not mean I am not brāhmaṇa. I am recognized by authorized ācārya in the line of disciplic succession of Nārada.” Nārada has given this definition in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam while instructing Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira about the four…, eight divisions, varṇa and āśrama. He said, yasya hi yal lakṣaṇaṁ syād varṇābhivyañjakam. Varṇa. Cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭam [Bg. 4.13]. Four classes, brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra—this is creation of God. It is not artificial. It is natural. God’s creation is natural. So cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ: “According to quality and work.” So your quality is Vaiṣṇava, and working as Vaiṣṇava. Then you are more than a brāhmaṇa. But you should keep. Similarly, Nārada also. We are initiating according to Nārada Pañcarātra. Because, as I told you, formerly only a person who is born by a brāhmaṇa… That means garbhādhāna ceremony. A child should be accepted that he is born of a brāhmaṇa. Everyone should know. That is called garbhādhāna ceremony, that when a man goes to his wife to beget child, there is a ceremony. It is not a secret, hide and seek behavior. Everyone should know that “Now this man is going to beget child.” So how that child should be very nice, that is called garbhādhāna ceremony. So if garbhādhāna ceremony is not performed according to scriptural direction, immediately he becomes a śūdra.

So in this age nobody is observing garbhādhāna ceremony; therefore it is to be understood that everyone is born a śūdra. Therefore pāñcarātriki-vidhi. Vedic system cannot be applied because nobody is born of a brāhmaṇa. Who knows? Who knows how he is born? There is no ceremony. That is witness, that “Oh, he will go.” Just like marriage is a ceremony, there are so many witnesses, similarly, garbhādhāna ceremony, there is ceremony. It is no hide and seek. So because the garbhādhāna ceremony is not current at the present age, therefore everyone should be accepted as born śūdra, either in any place, either here or India or anywhere. But the Pāñcarātrika system, it gives chance to a person, if he has got symptoms. Just like this boy has got the symptom to become a brāhmaṇa, to be Vaiṣṇava. Just like in the Jabala Upaniṣad. This, by symptoms, he was accepted brāhmaṇa, a small boy like this. Satyakaṁ Jabala. Satyakam. He went to Gautama Muni: “My dear sir, will you initiate me?” Just like this boy can ask us. Oh, he was very kind: “Oh, yes. Very nice boy. What is your father’s name?” “Oh, I do not know.” “Oh, just ask your mother. Go.” Mother says, “I do not know whose son you are.” He came back. “What your mother says?” “Oh, Mother says she does not know who is my father.” “Oh, you are brāhmaṇa. Oh, you are brāhmaṇa. Come on. I shall initiate you.” He was so truthful. That is real symptom of brāhmaṇa, satya, śama. He does not disclose that “I do not know.” Everyone will try to hide if he does not know his father’s name. But here is a boy, “Oh,” he said, “Oh, you are brāhmaṇa. Come on. I shall initiate you.” This is lakṣaṇa, symptom. “Such a truthful boy. Never mind what he is born, how he is born.” This system is not new. Therefore we shall have to accept by the symptom. If one is inclined to go to Kṛṣṇa—he is chanting, he is doing, following the principles—then, according to Nārada’s version, yasya hi yal lakṣaṇaṁ syāt, here is the lakṣaṇa, symptom, varṇābhivyañjakam, to understand to what class he belongs. Now, he is truthful—he belongs to the brāhmaṇa class. He is truthful; therefore he belongs to the brāhmaṇa class. Yasya hi yal lakṣaṇaṁ syāt varṇābhivyañjakam. Abhivyañjakam means just to find out what class of man he is. If he is truthful, he is brāhmaṇa. Lakṣaṇa. The lakṣaṇa is there; the symptom is there. Yasya hi yal lakṣaṇaṁ varṇābhivyañjakaṁ tat tenaiva vinirdiśet [SB 7.11.35]. One should take him into that classification. He is truthful? Oh, he is immediately to the brahminical place. If he is a liar, immediately he is pañcama, less than śūdra. You see? So these things were done. People have misused the whole thing: “Now I am born of a brāhmaṇa. By force I am brāhmaṇa.” You see? Just like Paṇḍitajī, our late Prime Minister Paṇḍitajī. He was less than the caṇḍāla, but he was addressed as “Paṇḍitajī.” “Paṇḍitajī” is the address of the brāhmaṇa. You see? By lakṣaṇam… Nobody cared for lakṣaṇa because his forefather, somebody, was a brāhmaṇa, although there was no garbhādhāna ceremony, no system, still. This is not accepted. People misunderstand Hindu culture, Vedic culture, that there are forced caste system. No. It is varṇābhivyañjakam, by the symptom, quality, qualification. It is not by birth.

So we, our… One of the item of this mission, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, is to establish real varṇāśrama by qualification. We have to pick up brāhmaṇas from everywhere, throughout the whole world, not that we have to pick up brāhmaṇas in India in some class. No. There are brāhmaṇas every part of the world. We have to pick up. Just see. None of these boys are born in India or a brāhmaṇa family, but they have got the symptom. They have got the brahminical… They have either acquired willingly or by some way. So we have to pick up. Anyone who is truthful, who is controlling the senses, no illicit sex life… That is controlling senses. There are many other things. This is the most important thing. Śamo dama titikṣa. They are tolerant. To these American boys, to take up another culture, which they are not accustomed from the birth, that is tolerance. This is tolerance. But it is not painful, but it is tolerance. I am asking the American boys, “Don’t smoke. Don’t take intoxication.” They are accustomed to this habit from the very childhood, but they are doing this. This is tolerance. So these are brahminical qualification, tolerance, truthful. And śauca, śauca, this śauca. Anyone who is chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, he is pure, bahyābhyantaram, inside and outside. So in this way, in this age, the chance should be given. Not that when the Satyakam spoke the truth of his life… So he was accepted. So you are being accepted as qualified brāhmaṇa, but keep your qualification. Then your life will be sublime. Keep your life. Yes. So this is a chance given by the Pāñcarātrika system. It doesn’t matter how he is born. Nobody is responsible for his birth, but everyone is responsible for his work. So you work like a brāhmaṇa, like a Vaiṣṇava, and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, and chant this Gāyatrī mantra, and your life will be sublime. So don’t neglect it. You are being initiated according to the order of our predecessors, Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Pṛthivīte āche yata nagarādi grāma. [CB Antya-khaṇḍa 4.126] We should have to preach this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement in every village, in every town of this planet. Therefore we have come to your country. You are kindly cooperating. You also spread. I am old man. I may not live very long. Any moment I can be finished. But try. That is actually feeling. That is actually fellow feeling, that people are simply… Anādi bahirmukha kṛṣṇa bhuli gelā. They have forgotten Kṛṣṇa from time immemorial. Athaeva kṛṣṇa veda purāṇa karila. Therefore this propaganda, this literature, Vedic literature, is there to remind them. Aham eva sarva-yajñānāṁ blokta ca prabhur eva ca. Kṛṣṇa says, “I am the Lord of everything.” So we have to capture Kṛṣṇa. So this is the… Namo apavitraḥ pavitro vā sarvāvasthāṁ gato ‘pi vā. This is explanation of this verse. And now we begin our ceremony.

[continues with ceremony—chanting of prayers with devotees repeating] Now put slowly, like this. [leads chanting of mahā-mantra twice] Now bow down.

namo brahmaṇya-devāya
go-brāhmaṇa-hitāya ca
jagad-dhitāya kṛṣṇāya
govindāya namo…

Nama oṁ visnu-pādāya kṛṣṇa-preṣṭhāya bhū-tale. Chant. Śrīmate bhaktivedānta sarasvatī iti nāmine. All right. Come on, Toṣaṇa Kṛṣṇa. You have no robe?

Toṣaṇa Kṛṣṇa: No.

Prabhupāda: All right. Come on. [end]

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