śrī śrī guru gaurāṅga jayataḥ!
Year 11, Issue 4
Posted: 5 May 2018
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda
Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja
Inspired by and under the guidance of
Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja
Do Vedic Brāhmaṇas Know the Truth?
Part 2 of 2
[In Answer to Paṇḍit Śyāma Sundara’s Questions:]
Śrīla Prabhupāda: In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 7.11.35, Śrī Nārada says, “If a person’s symptoms do not match the varṇa (societal role, or caste) he was born in, that person should be regarded as belonging to the varṇa indicated by his symptoms.” In his commentary on this śloka, Śrīdhara Svāmīpāda has said, “One may ascertain a person’s caste, such as brāhmaṇa, by observing the presence or absence of attributes like self-control, tranquility, and so on, not by birth alone”. If such virtues are observed in a person not born in a brāhmaṇa family, it must be determined that his varṇa is brāhmaṇa. He should not be compelled to assume the caste he was born into.
The many neighbours of Śrī Advaita Ācārya were high class brāhmaṇas. But among them, he could not find one single brāhmaṇato whom he might offer the śrāddha-pātra – the oblation meant for his ancestors. At last, he honoured his ancestors by offering the śrāddha-pātra to Śrīla Ṭhākura Haridāsa, who had been born into a Muslim family. He told him: “Crores (tens of millions) of brāhmaṇas are fed by feeding you.”
Paṇḍit Śyāma Sundara: But why is this custom not currently observed in your Vaiṣṇava community?
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Everything becomes obsolete over the course of time. Even Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s teachings have become distorted over time. Nowadays, in the name of Vaiṣṇavism, trade, lecherousness, hypocrisy, deceitfulness and the like have become rampant in society. Ṭhākura Haridāsa came from a Muslim family, yet the devotees of God regarded him as the guru of brāhmaṇas. As such, Yadunandana Ācārya, Rāmānanda Vasu and other persons born in very respectable families did not feel the least bit diffident about becoming his disciples. Śrī Advaita Prabhu did not hesitate to offer the srāddha-pātra of his ancestors to Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura at his own home in Śāntipura, nor did he hesitate to sit alongside Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura and accept śrī mahāprasādam with him.
And when Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura completed his manifest pastimes, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu danced, taking his holy body in His arms, and made His devotees sip the water that washed Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura’s feet. Those who do not have eyes to see the scriptural evidence pave the way to their own perdition by looking down on Vaiṣṇavas who have not taken birth within the brāhmaṇa caste, for they mistakenly perceive them as non-brāhmaṇas. They should engage their ears in listening to these unbiased conclusions of scripture. In this way, they may purify themselves and be delivered from a miserable fate.
Paṇḍit Śyāma Sundara: What you are propagating will rid many people of their prejudices and the Vaiṣṇava world may be greatly benefitted.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: It is from the teachings of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu that the world can derive true benefit, for those teachings are not tinged with the colour of narrow sectarianism. It is these teachings that can supply jīvas with the greatest advantages, and the highest and ultimate self-interest can be secured by following them.
Paṇḍit Śyāma Sundara: I am fully convinced and much delighted at your most scholarly gift of genius.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Nothing of all this is mine. Personally, I have no worth; I only reproduce what I have learnt from śrī gurudeva. I have only recapitulated the eternal truth that has come down to my gurudeva through the medium of Śrī Brahmā, Śrī Nārada, Śrī Vyāsadeva, Śrī Śukadeva, and so on. I am only the recounter.
Adapted from The Gauḍīya, Volume 8, Number 2, Part 2 of 2
by the Rays of The Harmonist Team