na tesam satya-silanam
asiso viphalah krtah
iti balakam adaya
hutva cagnim dvijatibhyah
pradad annam maha-gunam
ye—those brahmanas who; asuya—envy; anrta—untruthfulness; dambha—false pride; irsa—grudges; himsa—being disturbed by the opulence of others; mana—false prestige; vivarjitah—completely devoid of; na—not; tesam—of such brahmanas; satya-silanam—who are endowed with perfect brahminical qualifications (satya, sama, dama, etc.); asisah—the blessings; viphalah—useless; krtah—have become; iti—considering all these things; balakam—the child; adaya—taking care of; sama—according to the Sama Veda; rk—according to the Rg Veda; yajuh—and according to the Yajur Veda; upakrtaih—purified by such means; jalaih—with water; pavitra-ausadhibhih—mixed with pure herbs; abhisicya—after bathing (the child); dvija-uttamaih—with ceremonies performed by first-class brahmanas with the above qualifications; vacayitva—requested to be chanted; svasti-ayanam—auspicious hymns; nanda-gopah—Maharaja Nanda, the head of the cowherd men; samahitah—liberal and good; hutva—after offering oblations; ca—also; agnim—unto the sacred fire; dvijatibhyah—unto those first-class brahmanas; pradat—gave in charity; annam—food grains; maha-gunam—excellent.
When brahmanas are free from envy, untruthfulness, unnecessary pride, grudges, disturbance by the opulence of others, and false prestige, their blessings never go in vain. Considering this, Nanda Maharaja soberly took Krsna on his lap and invited such truthful brahmanas to perform a ritualistic ceremony according to the holy hymns of the Sama Veda, Rg Veda and Yajur Veda. Then, while the hymns were being chanted, he bathed the child with water mixed with pure herbs, and after performing a fire ceremony, he sumptuously fed all the brahmanas with first-class grains and other food.
Nanda Maharaja was very confident about the qualifications of the brahmanas and their blessings. He was fully confident that simply if the good brahmanas showered their blessings, the child Krsna would be happy. The blessings of qualified brahmanas can bring happiness not only to Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but to everyone. Because Krsna is self-sufficient, He does not require anyone’s blessings, yet Nanda Maharaja thought that Krsna required the blessings of the brahmanas. What then is to be said of others? In human society, therefore, there must be an ideal class of men, brahmanas, who can bestow blessings upon others, namely, upon the ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras, so that everyone will be happy. Krsna therefore says in Bhagavad-gita (4.13) that human society must have four social orders (catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah); it is not that everyone should become a sudra or a vaisya and human society will prosper. As enunciated in Bhagavad-gita, there must be a class of brahmanas with qualities like satya (truthfulness), sama (peacefulness), dama (self-control) and titiksa (tolerance).
Here also, in the Bhagavatam, Nanda Maharaja invites qualified brahmanas. There may be caste brahmanas, and we have all respect for them, but their birth in brahmana families does not mean that they are qualified to bestow blessings upon the other members of human society. This is the verdict of the sastras. In Kali-yuga, caste brahmanas are accepted as brahmanas. Vipratve sutram eva hi (Bhag. 12.2.3): in Kali-yuga, simply by putting on a thread worth two paise, one becomes a brahmana. Such brahmanas were not called for by Nanda Maharaja. As stated by Narada Muni (Bhag. 7.11.35), yasya yal laksanam proktam. The symptoms of a brahmana are stated in sastra, and one must be qualified with these symptoms.
The blessings of brahmanas who are not envious, disturbed or puffed up with pride and false prestige and who are fully qualified with truthfulness will be useful. Therefore a class of men must be trained as brahmanas from the very beginning. Brahmacari guru-kule vasan danto guror hitam (Bhag. 7.12.1). The word dantah is very important. Dantah refers to one who is not envious, disturbing or puffed up with false prestige. With the Krsna consciousness movement, we are trying to introduce such brahmanas in society. Brahmanas must ultimately be Vaisnavas, and if one is a Vaisnava, he has already acquired the qualifications of a brahmana. Brahma-bhutah prasannatma (Bg. 18.54). The word brahma-bhuta refers to becoming a brahmana, or understanding what is Brahman (brahma janatiti brahmanah). One who is brahma-bhuta is always happy (prasannatma). Na socati na kanksati: he is never disturbed about material necessities. Samah sarvesu bhutesu: he is ready to bestow blessings upon everyone equally. Mad-bhaktim labhate param: [Bg. 18.54] then he becomes a Vaisnava. In this age, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura introduced the sacred thread ceremony for his Vaisnava disciples, with the idea that people should understand that when one becomes a Vaisnava he has already acquired the qualifications of a brahmana. Therefore in the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, those who are twice initiated so as to become brahmanas must bear in mind their great responsibility to be truthful, control the mind and senses, be tolerant, and so on. Then their life will be successful. It was such brahmanas that Nanda Maharaja invited to chant the Vedic hymns, not ordinary brahmanas. Verse thirteen distinctly mentions himsa-mana. The word mana refers to false prestige or false pride. Those who were falsely proud, thinking that they were brahmanas because they were born in brahmana families, were never invited by Nanda Maharaja on such occasions.
Verse fourteen mentions pavitrausadhi. In any ritualistic ceremony, many herbs and leaves were required. These were known as pavitra-patra. Sometimes there were nimba leaves, sometimes bael leaves, mango leaves, asvattha leaves or amalaki leaves. Similarly, there were panca-gavya, panca-sasya and panca-ratna. Although Nanda Maharaja belonged to the vaisya community, everything was known to him.
The most important word in these verses is maha-gunam, indicating that the brahmanas were offered very palatable food of exalted quality. Such palatable dishes were generally prepared with two things, namely food grains and milk products. Bhagavad-gita (18.44) therefore enjoins that human society must give protection to the cows and encourage agriculture (krsi-go-raksya-vanijyam vaisya-karma svabhavajam). Simply by expert cooking, hundreds and thousands of palatable dishes can be prepared from agricultural produce and milk products. This is indicated here by the words annam maha-gunam. Still today in India, from these two things, namely food grains and milk, hundreds and thousands of varieties of food are prepared, and then they are offered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (Catur-vidha-sri-bhagavat-prasada. patram puspam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati .) Then the prasada is distributed. Even today in Jagannatha-ksetra and other big temples, very palatable dishes are offered to the Deity, and prasada is distributed profusely. Cooked by first-class brahmanas with expert knowledge and then distributed to the public, this prasada is also a blessing from the brahmanas or Vaisnavas. There are four kinds of prasada (catur-vidha). Salty, sweet, sour and pungent tastes are made with different types of spices, and the food is prepared in four divisions, called carvya, cusya, lehya and pehya—prasada that is chewed, prasada that is licked, prasada tasted with the tongue, and prasada that is drunk. Thus there are many varieties of prasada, prepared very nicely with grains and ghee, offered to the Deity and distributed to the brahmanas and Vaisnavas and then to the general public. This is the way of human society. Killing the cows and spoiling the land will not solve the problem of food. This is not civilization. Uncivilized men living in the jungle and being unqualified to produce food by agriculture and cow protection may eat animals, but a perfect human society advanced in knowledge must learn how to produce first-class food simply by agriculture and protection of cows.
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