Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.3.8

September 14
Los Angeles

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tṛtīyam ṛṣi-sargaṁ vai
devarṣitvam upetya saḥ
tantraṁ sātvatam ācaṣṭa
naiṣkarmyaṁ karmaṇāṁ yataḥ
[SB 1.3.8]

Third incarnation, Devarṣi, ṛṣi among the demigods. Just like there are ṛṣis among the kings, they are called rājarṣi. In the Bhagavad-gītā the word rājarṣi is used. Evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ [Bg. 4.2]. Formerly the kings were just like great saintly persons. They were not ordinary vote collectors. They were so saintly there was no need of electing another president every five years. They are ṛṣis. These words are there. So in the third millennium, they were almost all ṛṣis. They were so enlightened that everyone of the population were just like great saints, saintly persons. 

So this Devarṣi means Nārada, saintly sage among the demigods. He is also one of the demigods. So he compiled Vedic principles for executing devotional service, Nārada Pañcarātra. Our method, this devotional service, is according to the Nārada Pañcarātra. Especially in this age, Vedic system is not very much convenient. It is very strict. Just like according to Vedic system, if one wants to become a brāhmaṇa, he must be born of a brāhmaṇa father. Otherwise he cannot be accepted as a brāhmaṇa. But according to the Nārada Pañcarātra system, even if one is lowborn, he can be accepted as a brāhmaṇa by this reformatory process. Because kalau śūdra sambhavaḥ—everyone in this age is a śūdra. Śūdra means no intelligence, little better than animals, that’s all. 

So how from the śūdras a brāhmaṇa can be selected? According to the Vedic system, it is not possible. One, to be accepted as brāhmaṇa, must be son of a brāhmaṇa. That means background of the person must be brahminical culture. But if people are śūdras, where is the background of brahminical culture? Therefore Nārada, he is Vaiṣṇava; he is very compassionate to the fallen souls. He is travelling all over the universe to make Vaiṣṇavas. He made many sons of Dakṣa Mahārāja Vaiṣṇavas. So Dakṣa Mahārāja became very angry upon him: “Nārada, you come and you train my sons as Vaiṣṇavas, and they do not take care of the family affairs. So I curse you: You cannot stay anywhere more than some time.” So even a Vaiṣṇava has to face some difficulty while preaching devotional service; even Nārada. 

So sātvata-tantra means books or literature of devotional service. In the Vedas there are different departments, they are divided into three parts—karma-kāṇḍa, jñāna-kāṇḍa and upāsanā-kāṇḍa. Therefore the other name of the Vedas is trayī. Strī-śūdra-dvijabandhūnāṁ trayī na śruti-gocarā [SB 1.4.25]: for women, for śūdras and for dvija-bandhus, sons of the higher class but not properly educated. Bandhu means friend, a man born by a brāhmaṇa father, but he is not qualified as a brāhmaṇa. He will be called a dvija-bandhu, not dvija. Dvija means twice-born; actually he is twice-born. The birds are also called twice-born: one birth is the egg, and the other birth is from the egg, closed. Similarly, every human being is born śūdra, without any knowledge. Either he is born by the brāhmaṇa father or a śūdra father, he is born a śūdra, because there is no knowledge. 

Brāhmaṇa means knowledge, and śūdra means no knowledge. That is the difference. One who knows… Just like in this age there are so many scientists, so many philosophers, but they have no perfect knowledge; therefore they are śūdras. One scientist putting forward one theory—after a few years this theory is changed. That means knowledge is not perfect. They take it as advancement in research, but actually the knowledge is imperfect. Otherwise, where is the necessity of research and advancement? Advancement means you are in the lower grade. So all their advancement, the same lower grade. Because it is going on, they do not know what is the end of advancement. Therefore all their knowledge is imperfect; they are all śūdras. 

We cannot accept knowledge from śūdras. Knowledge must be taken from a brāhmaṇa. 

tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet
samit-pāṇiḥ śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham
[MU 1.2.12]

This word brahma-niṣṭham means brāhmaṇa, one who knows Brahman. Therefore knowledge has to be taken from a brāhmaṇa, not from a śūdra. 

So reformatory system is to make one first of all a brāhmaṇa. Janmanā jāyate śūdraḥ saṁskārād bhaved dvijaḥ. Every person is born a śūdra, a rascal. Then by reformatory process… Just like we send our children to school, college, to teachers for reforming. That is reformation. The animals, they are unable to accept this reformatory process. You cannot send a cat or a dog to the school and become educated. That is not possible. All human beings, although they are born śūdra, he can be made a brāhmaṇa by the process. Saṁskāra means by reformatory process, bhaved dvijaḥ. Dvija means second birth. Second birth means by reformatory process, when he is eligible, then he is initiated by the spiritual master. That is second birth. Then initiation means he is allowed to study Vedic literature to achieve real knowledge. Because real knowledge means Vedic knowledge, and any knowledge which is not corroborated with the Vedic version, that is not knowledge; that is imperfect knowledge. 

Therefore whenever we speak something, we quote from the Vedas, from Vedic literature, to s