Brahmana Initiation Lecture
New Vrindaban, May 25, 1969
Prabhupada: Practically in every initiation ceremony, apavitrah pavitro va, namah. Namah means surrendering. Namami: "I surrender unto You. He Krsna, I am surrendering to You." And apavitrah pavitro va. Apavitrah means contaminated, and pavitra means liberated. So in either stage, either in the material, contaminated stage or in transcendental, liberated stage, apavitrah pavitro va sarvavastham, in any situation... Yah smaret pundarikaksam. Sarvavastham gato 'pi va. In any circumstances, if somebody remembers, smaret, remembers pundarikaksam... Pundarika aksam. Aksam means eyes. One who is lotus-eyed, Krsna or Visnu, Pundarikaksam, anyone who remembers always or at anytime, Krsna, yah smaret pundarikaksam, sa, that person... Bahya. Bahya means externally, and abhyantaram means internally. Bahyabhyantaram sucih. Suci means brahmana, or suci means completely cleansed. The brahmana means completely clean. The brahminical qualification is first of all cleanliness. Satya saucam samo dama titiksa arjavam, jnanam vijnanam astikyam brahma-karma svabhava-jam [Bg. 18.42]. To become brahmana means satyam saucam. First thing is truthful, and next, saucam, 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. Bahyabhyantaram. And abhyantaram sucih 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 saucam, cleanliness, is very necessary for advancing in spiritual life.
So brahmana qualification is truthfulness, cleanliness, satyam saucam. Sama, equilibrium of the mind, without any disturbance, without any anxiety. Satyam saucam samo dama. Dama means controlling the senses. Samo dama titiksa. Titiksa means tolerance. So many things in the material world will happen. We have to practice to tolerate. Tams titiksasva bharata. Krsna says, "You have to learn tolerance. The sukha-duhkha, 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. Satyam saucam samo dama titiksa arjavam. Arjavam means simplicity, no duplicity. Simplicity, arjavam. Jnanam vijnanam, knowledge and practical application in life. Jnanam vijnanam astikyam. Astikyam means to believe firmly in the scriptures. Just like Bhagavad-gita we are studying, or Srimad-Bhagavatam. We should firmly believe what Krsna says, not interpretation. This is called astikyam. And nastikyam 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, nastikyam. Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, veda na maniya bauddha haila nastika: "The followers of Buddha, they did not accept Vedic, I mean to say, direction; therefore they are nastika." What is that Vedic direction? In the Dasavatara-stotra by Jayadeva Gosvami, he says, nindasi yajna-vidher ahaha sruti-jatam. In the sruti, 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 nastika. So Caitanya Mahaprabhu says that veda na maniya bauddha haila nastika: "Because Lord Buddha did not accept the authority of the Veda, therefore he was considered nastika, atheist." He was Indian. He was Hindu. His forefathers were ksatriyas, Vedic. He revolted. So therefore he was called nastika. But a brahmana should not be nastika; he should be astik. Astikyam: "He must believe in the scriptural injunction." These are brahminical qualifications.
So you are going to be brahmana, qualified brahmana, this sacred thread ceremony; therefore you should follow all these principles, satyam, saucam, 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 brahmana. We are brahmanas." 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 pancaratriki system. Pancaratriki system means formerly in the Vedic system, without being born by a brahmana, nobody was given this sacred thread ceremony. "Without being born by a brahmana" does not mean hereditary, but actually, one who is brahmana... Just like you are not being created as brahmana. So if your son is born, he has the first claim to become a brahmana because by the birth he gets the brahminical culture, sees the father, mother. Just like this boy. Automatically he is getting Vaisnava culture, he is associating with the Vaisnavas. So the son of a brahmana has the chance. A practical example, this boy: from the very beginning becoming a Vaisnava, more than a brahmana, more than. Vaisnava position is above the brahmanas. Brahma janatiti brahmanah. But Vaisnava, he penetrates the brahmajyoti. 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, Nirvisesa-brahman, impersonal Brahman, when one understands, jnanam vijnanam... Jnanam vijnanam. And when one becomes Vaisnava, brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti sabdyate [SB 1.2.11]. When one understands what is impersonal Brahman, what is localized Paramatma, and what is Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, krsnas tu bhagavan svayam... When you understand the Supreme, the original Personality of Godhead Krsna... Ete camsa-kalah pumsah krsnas tu bhagavan svayam [SB 1.3.28]. There are many incarnations. Ramadi-murtisu kala-niyamena tisthan [Bs. 5.39]. Rama, Nrsimha, Varaha... There are so many thousands and millions of incarnation. But Bhagavata points out that "This name, Krsna, He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead." Krsnas tu bhagavan svayam. So when one understands krsnas tu bhagavan svayam, vasudevah sarvam iti [Bg. 7.19], that Vasudeva is everything, then he becomes a Vaisnava.
So a Vaisnava is already brahmana, but still, it is a function that one should not deride at Vaisnava, that he is not brahmana. Therefore Vaisnava-smrti, Hari-bhakti-vilasa, written by Sanatana Gosvami... That is called Vaisnava-smrti, how to conduct Vaisnava life. There it is clearly stated by Sanatana Gosvami that tatha diksa-vidhanena dvijatvam jayate nrnam: "By the process of initiation, a man can attain the position of the twice-born." Twice-born means brahmana especially—brahmana, ksatriyas, vaisyas, 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 Krsna. That sixteen rounds you must complete. Then maya will not be able to deviate you. That is... You must keep this. This kirtana process, as we are performing morning, evening, this will keep your life steady, fixed up, firm. You will always be situated in brahmana's position if you strictly follow this. Otherwise maya 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 brahmana. Oh, it will spoil my family." That means if he becomes brahmana, he may be reluctant to be karmi. This is going on. If one becomes debauch, the father-mother is not so disturbed. But if he becomes brahmana, "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 brahmana, "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 Bhagavata says that "One should not become a father, one should not become a mother, if he cannot prepare his child, a brahmana, a Vaisnava, 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 karmi, a demon. Let him earn and send the money. I eat very nicely." This is going on.
So this propaganda against brahmanism or Vaisnavism is always. It is not new thing. Just like Hiranyakasipu. His little child wanted to become a Vaisnava, and the father, "Oh, you are going to be Vaisnava? 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 Krsna. Yah smaret pundarikaksam sa bahyabhyantaram sucih. Always. If you want to keep intact of transcendental position, chant Hare Krsna sincerely. Then you will be kept. Nobody can harm you. Nobody can deviate you. Maya will fly away. You see? Daivi hy esa gunamayi mama maya duratyaya [Bg. 7.14]. Maya is very strong. You cannot conquer maya by so-called meditation or this or that. No. Simply by surrendering to Krsna. Mam eva ye prapadyante. Krsna. Only He. Mam eva ye prapadyante mayam etam taranti te. He can overcome the stringent laws of maya. So don't think that after finishing this ceremony you become all right. No. Maya is always strong. Krsna-nama karo bhaya ara sab miche, palaivera path naya yo mache piche. The instruction is that you always chant Hare Krsna. Ara sab miche. Whatever except... Nama vina kichu nahika ara, cauddha-bhuvana-majhe. "Within this fourteen world, if there is anything summum bonum substance, this is this Hare Krsna. This is this Hare Krsna. Mind that." Nama vina kichu nahika ara, cauddha-bhuvana-majhe. So this is secondary, this ceremony. Real strength is chanting Hare Krsna. So of course, people may not think you otherwise, that you are not brahmana, 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 brahmana. There is no question of... Because I am not born in a brahmana family, it does not mean I am not brahmana. I am recognized by authorized acarya in the line of disciplic succession of Narada." Narada has given this definition in the Srimad-Bhagavatam while instructing Maharaja Yudhisthira about the four..., eight divisions, varna and asrama. He said, yasya hi yal laksanam syad varnabhivyanjakam. Varna. Catur-varnyam maya srstam [Bg. 4.13]. Four classes, brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra—this is creation of God. It is not artificial. It is natural. God's creation is natural. So catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah: "According to quality and work." So your quality is Vaisnava, and working as Vaisnava. Then you are more than a brahmana. But you should keep. Similarly, Narada also. We are initiating according to Narada-pancaratra. Because, as I told you, formerly only a person who is born by a brahmana... That means garbhadhana ceremony. A child should be accepted that he is born of a brahmana. Everyone should know. That is called garbhadhana 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 garbhadhana ceremony. So if garbhadhana ceremony is not performed according to scriptural direction, immediately he becomes a sudra.
So in this age nobody is observing garbhadhana ceremony; therefore it is to be understood that everyone is born a sudra. Therefore pancaratriki-vidhi. Vedic system cannot be applied because nobody is born of a brahmana. 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, garbhadhana ceremony, there is ceremony. It is no hide and seek. So because the garbhadhana ceremony is not current at the present age, therefore everyone should be accepted as born sudra, either in any place, either here or India or anywhere. But the Pancaratrika system, it gives chance to a person, if he has got symptoms. Just like this boy has got the symptom to become a brahmana, to be Vaisnava. Just like in the Jabala Upanisad. This, by symptoms, he was accepted brahmana, a small boy like this. Satyakam 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 brahmana. Oh, you are brahmana. Come on. I shall initiate you." He was so truthful. That is real symptom of brahmana, satya, sama. 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 brahmana. Come on. I shall initiate you." This is laksana, 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 Krsna—he is chanting, he is doing, following the principles—then, according to Narada's version, yasya hi yal laksanam syat, here is the laksana, symptom, varnabhivyanjakam, to understand to what class he belongs. Now, he is truthful—he belongs to the brahmana class. He is truthful; therefore he belongs to the brahmana class. Yasya hi yal laksanam syat varnabhivyanjakam. Abhivyanjakam means just to find out what class of man he is. If he is truthful, he is brahmana. Laksana. The laksana is there; the symptom is there. Yasya hi yal laksanam varnabhivyanjakam tat tenaiva vinirdiset [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 pancama, less than sudra. You see? So these things were done. People have misused the whole thing: "Now I am born of a brahmana. By force I am brahmana." You see? Just like Panditaji, our late Prime Minister Panditaji. He was less than the candala, but he was addressed as "Panditaji." "Panditaji" is the address of the brahmana. You see? By laksanam... Nobody cared for laksana because his forefather, somebody, was a brahmana, although there was no garbhadhana ceremony, no system, still. This is not accepted. People misunderstand Hindu culture, Vedic culture, that there are forced caste system. No. It is varnabhivyanjakam, by the symptom, quality, qualification. It is not by birth.
So we, our... One of the item of this mission, Krsna consciousness, is to establish real varnasrama by qualification. We have to pick up brahmanas from everywhere, throughout the whole world, not that we have to pick up brahmanas in India in some class. No. There are brahmanas every part of the world. We have to pick up. Just see. None of these boys are born in India or a brahmana 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. Samo dama titiksa. 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 sauca, sauca, this sauca. Anyone who is chanting Hare Krsna, he is pure, bahyabhyantaram, 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 brahmana, but keep your qualification. Then your life will be sublime. Keep your life. Yes. So this is a chance given by the Pancaratrika 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 brahmana, like a Vaisnava, and chant Hare Krsna, and chant this Gayatri mantra, and your life will be sublime. So don't neglect it. You are being initiated according to the order of our predecessors, Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Prthivite ache yata nagaradi grama. We should have to preach this Krsna 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... Anadi bahirmukha krsna bhuli gela. They have forgotten Krsna from time immemorial. Athaeva krsna veda purana karila. Therefore this propaganda, this literature, Vedic literature, is there to remind them. Aham eva sarva-yajnanam blokta ca prabhur eva ca. Krsna says, "I am the Lord of everything." So we have to capture Krsna. So this is the... Namo apavitrah pavitro va sarvavastham gato 'pi va. 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 maha-mantra twice) Now bow down.
Nama om visnu-padaya krsna-presthaya bhu-tale. Chant. Srimate bhaktivedanta sarasvati iti namine. All right. Come on, Tosana Krsna. You have no robe?
Tosana Krsna: No.
Prabhupada: All right. Come on. (end)
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