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Cultural Re-Birth Trumps Birth & Training.

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The Second Birth that makes a person a Vaisnava is based on the infusion of culture that occurs by the company of his Second Mother and Father. The Mother is Transcendental Vedic Knowledge, and the Father is the Spiritual Master who helps him learn and realize that knowledge.


In the Krsna Consciousness Movement, even the dullest and least intelligent type of man, the Sudra, can accept the beginnings of culture by hearing the simple explanations given by the Spiritual Master that will convince him he is not the body but a spirit soul, part and parcel of the Supreme Lord Krsna. He can receive a simple beginners understanding of how great Krsna is. He can be directly engaged in simple labors on behalf of the Spiritual Master and his society, and see how that pleases Lord Krsna. From that small infusion of Culture he WILL make gradual advancement.


Just like with making yogurt from milk, one adds a small amount of culture, and then must put the milk into a condition in which the culture will gradually expand and permeate the milk, transforming it into a complete product of that culture. Yogurt.


This is what Srngi lacked as a boy, and why he developed a condescending disdain for the "lower castes" He was born and trained to acheive high brahminical power, yet lacked culture due to inexperience, and encountered a situation that preyed on his weakness and caused him to fall.


The second quote is the lecture on culture, and it is a good one. It uses the term sudra to refer to those with no culture. The third quote shows how due to Srila Prabhupada's and Mahaprabhu's mercy, in this age a sudra who gets initiated into Gaudiya Vaisnava culture becomes "as good as a brahmana" in the sense that they have some cultural infusion at their second birth wherein they accept instruction and service of the Acarya.



Naturally the son of a brāhmaṇa has a good chance to become a brāhmaṇa by the direction of his qualified father, as a son of a medical practitioner has a very good chance to become a qualified medical practitioner. So the caste system is quite scientific. The son must take advantage of the father's qualification and thus become a brāhmaṇa or medical practitioner, and not otherwise. Without being qualified, one cannot become a brāhmaṇa or medical practitioner, and that is the verdict of all scriptures and social orders. Herein Śṛṅgi, a qualified son of a great brāhmaṇa, attained the required brahminical power both by birth and by training, but he was lacking in culture because he was an inexperienced boy. By the influence of Kali, the son of a brāhmaṇa became puffed up with brahminical power and thus wrongly compared Mahārāja Parīkṣit to crows and watchdogs. The King is certainly the watchdog of the state in the sense that he keeps vigilant eyes over the border of the state for its protection and defense, but to address him as a watchdog is the sign of a less-cultured boy. Thus the downfall of the brahminical powers began as they gave importance to birthright without culture.


Lectures : Initiations : Initiation of Hrsikesa Dasa and Marriage of Satsvarupa and Jadurani -- New York, September 5, 1968 : 680905IN.NY :

So in our association we welcome this sort of marriage between trained brahmacārī and brahmacāriṇī so that we can welcome nice children for future Kṛṣṇa conscious generation. That is our viewpoint. So... And initiation... Initiation means to begin spiritual life. According to Vedic culture, there are two births. One birth is from the gṛhastha parents, father and mother, and the other birth is between the spiritual master and Vedas. The Vedic knowledge is considered mother, and the spiritual master is considered the father. And by the help of the spiritual master, when one gets into transcendental knowledge, that is called second birth. So janmanā jāyate śūdraḥ: "Everyone is born śūdra." Śūdra means without any culture. They are called śūdras. According to Vedic scriptures, there are four classes of men: brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, vaiśyas and śūdras. Out of these four classes of social order, the brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas and vaiśyas are considered higher caste. Brāhmaṇas means the most intelligent class of men in the society, and kṣatriya means the administrative class of men, and vaiśyas means the mercantile class of men, and śūdras means the laborer class of men. That division is everywhere, not only in India. These four classes of men are present in every country, every society. It may be in different names only, but the four divisions are already there everywhere. It cannot be without it. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said, cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭam [bg. 4.13]. These four classes of divisions are there according to different qualities, and Kṛṣṇa says, or God says, "That is My creation." So there cannot be any exception of His creation. Just like God's creation is sun. In every country there is sun, not that the sun can be seen in India. In every country there is moon. Similarly, this caste system is present in every country, in every society, but it may be called in different names. So the śūdras means the lowest class of men, who have no culture, but the higher classes, the brāhmaṇas, the kṣatriyas, they are considered highly cultured. And how they are called highly cultured? Because they are twice-born. First birth, janmanā jāyate śūdraḥ saṁskārād bhaved dvijaḥ. Saṁskārāt, by following this ritualistic ceremony of initiation or marriage, they are called dvija, twice-born. Saṁskārād bhaved dvijo veda-pāthād bhaved vipraḥ. This initiation means this boy is being accepted as initiated in order to give him Vedic instruction so that he may live as a student, as a brahmacārī, within the society and get complete instruction of Vedic knowledge. And when he is competent, he is called vipra. Veda-pāthād bhaved vipro brahma jānātīti brāhmaṇaḥ. And when he realizes the Supreme Self, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he will be called brāhmaṇa. At that time we offer thread ceremony.


Prabhupāda: He is a śūdra.

Nitāi: Would we retrain him as a farmer?

Prabhupāda: No, if he is prepared. If not, let him remain. But we can utilize that śūdra also.

Nitāi: He can remain in the factory.

Prabhupāda: Yes. But he cannot do the work of a brāhmaṇa. He cannot be trained as a preacher. But he can help. Just like my legs. The legs cannot do the work of brain, but it can help me. I am walking. So leg is as important as the brain. Similarly, śūdra is as important as the brāhmaṇa, provided he helps the movement, Kṛṣṇa conscious. That is wanted, not that artificially a śūdra should be working as a brāhmaṇa, no. But everyone should be engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is required.

Nitāi: So in that case he is a śūdra, and he is also doing the work of a...

Prabhupāda: Then he is not a śūdra. One who is engaged in Kṛṣṇa's service, he is neither brāhmaṇa nor śūdra. He is devotee. He is brahma-bhūta [sB 4.30.20]. Brahma-bhūyāya kalpate [bg. 14.26]. Apparently he looks like śūdra. Just like we have got so many men from different quarters, but we do not belong to that quarter any more. Vaiṣṇave jāti-buddhiḥ. Therefore anyone who takes, "Oh, here is an American Vaiṣṇava, here is an Indian Vaiṣṇava," that is nārakī. He is Vaiṣṇava. That understanding required.

Mahāṁsa: Just like that devotee who was making garlands for Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Mahāṁsa: He is a devotee. He is not a śūdra making garlands.

Prabhupāda: No. He is not a ordinary gardener.

Pañcadraviḍa: Or that devotee who was making leaf bowls for worshiping the Ganges.

Prabhupāda: Any engagement, any engagement for Kṛṣṇa, he is Vaiṣṇava. If he is under the guidance of his spiritual master and doing the business according to the direction, he is Vaiṣṇava. He is above all these.

Pañcadraviḍa: A śūdra, if he is working, he cannot take brāhmaṇa initiation, but he can take hari-nāma, is that it?

Prabhupāda: Just like sometimes our men, my devotee, they wash the cupboard. Does it mean he is a methar(?)? No. He can go to the Deity room also. He is not a methar(?) or sweeper. But sometimes we do that. So devotee is above all these consideration. But because there is management, they should appear as brāhmaṇa, as śūdra, as kṣatriya, like that.

sa guṇān samatītyaitān

brahma-bhūyāya kalpate

māṁ ca vyabhicariṇi

bhakti-yogena yaḥ sevate

[bg. 14.26]

A devotee, because he is working as a śūdra, he is not a śūdra; neither he is a brāhmaṇa. He is already in the spiritual platform. But for management we have to do that. One can do the śūdra's work nicely—let him be engaged in that way. Why he should imitate?

Mahāṁsa: Does he get second initiation?

Prabhupāda: Everything he will get.

Mahāṁsa: He gets.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Second initiation means recognized: "Now he has become fully competent Vaiṣṇava." Just like master is teaching the servant, "Now you give massage in this way, this way." But that does not mean he has become servant.

Pañcadraviḍa: What if the person working as śūdra says, "I can do so much. I can...,"

Prabhupāda: First of all, try to understand. A devotee is neither brāhmaṇa nor śūdra. He may act like a śūdra, but he is not śūdra. He may act like a brāhmaṇa; he is not brāhmaṇa. He is Vaiṣṇava. Just like gopīs. The gopīs, they are village cowherds women. They are, according to social construction, they are not very high class. They did not belong to the brāhmaṇa class. But their worship, method of worship, has been taken the highest. Ramyā kācid upāsanā vrajavadhū-vargeṇa. They were village girls, and practically their character was also not good. Because at dead of night they are going to Kṛṣṇa. But why they have been taken as the most topmost devotee of Kṛṣṇa? Because the love was so high class. It is the test, how much one has learned to love Kṛṣṇa. That is wanted. Apparently he may appear as a brāhmaṇa, a śūdra or vaiśya. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. The only business is to see: sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo yato bhaktir adho... [sB 1.2.6]. Aiye. Hare Kṛṣṇa. Jaya. That is wanted.


<table><tbody><tr><td width="80%">Prabhupāda: Not that a śūdra man is by force become a brāhmaṇa. You cannot improve. That is not possible. But even if he remains a śūdra and does accordingly, he will get the same position as devotee. Sva-karmaṇā tam abhyarcya sam... [Bg. 18.46]. He'll get the perfection. At the present moment the idea is: if one remains a śūdra, then he cannot get perfection. No. Even a śūdra can get perfection provided he does the work of a śūdra perfectly. (More...)

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