A devotee is a brahmana
Compiled by Yasodanandan dasa - 24.1 2017
"Those who give education in exchange of money, they are not brahmanas. Just like we are lecturing, educated, educating people. We don't say that 'Give us salary.' We simply ask them, 'Please come.' Therefore, we are making food. I'll give you food. I'll give you good seat. Please come and hear. We are not asking money, that 'First of all pay the fees. Then you come and learn Bhagavad-gita.' We never say so. So those, these so-called teachers, they first of all set up salary, 'What salary you'll give me?' That is dog's business. That is not brahmana's business. Brahmana will never ask. Brahmana is eager to give lesson only. That's all. Brahmana is eager to see that people are educated. 'Take free education and be educated. Be a human being.' This is brahmana's business. I came here not to ask for any money. But I want to give lesson. This is brahmana's business."
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, Paris, June 11, 1974)
"Another meaning of suci is brahmana, purified. A brahmana… According to nature's division, there are four classes of men: the brahmana, the ksatriyas, the vaisyas, and the sudra. Brahmana means the intellectual class of men who knows hygienic rules, keeps himself always purified and engaged in studying Vedic literatures for understanding this world, God, himself, the interrelation. They are called brahmana. And the ksatriya means those who live their life under the instruction of the brahmana but they are engaged in administration of the state, they are called ksatriyas. Then vaisyas, still less intelligent class. The brahmana is the first intelligent class of men, the ksatriyas, the next intelligent class of men, and the vaisyas, or the mercantile class of men interested in money by trade, commerce, agriculture, industry, they are called vaisyas. So next, the last class is called sudra. Sudra means workers. They haven't got much intelligence, neither they can work as administrator or traders but they work and get some salary. They are called sudras. So suci means the first-class intellectual class of men. So anyone who is always chanting the holy name of God and keeps himself purified, he is suci. Suci means the first-class purified intelligent class of men. So, they are called brahmanas in Sanskrit. So it is not that the brahmanas are to be found in India only. Any intelligent class of men, anyone who takes to Krishna consciousness, he is brahmana.
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Melbourne, April 6, 1972)
"Formerly even fifty year or sixty years ago in India a brahmana would not accept anyone's service. Because whatever he has knowledge, he would sit down anywhere, underneath a tree or in the corridor of somebody, and he will invite the village small children, and they will go, and he will teach little grammar, little mathematics, gradually. And the children will bring from their father and mother. Somebody will bring rice. Somebody will bring dal. Somebody will bring something. So, he had no necessity of making any contract, that 'You give me so many dollars. Then I shall teach you.' No. Free. Free education. In this way India was free education. So pathana-pathana yajana-yajana.
Then next business is brahmana should be a devotee, worshiping Deity, either Vishnu or sometimes other demigod. So yajana-yajna. He will personally do it, and he will teach others how to worship. Pathana-pathana yajana. And his livelihood – by voluntary contribution; whatever people will give, that's all right. People used to give brahmana. So pathana-pathana yajana-yajana dana-pratigraha. A brahmana would receive… People were very honest, that 'This man is teaching our children. He does not charge. This man is teaching me how to worship, how to become well behaved.' So they have no scarcity, enough. So he would simply use as much as he required; balance he will give in charity. Not that keep in stock for tomorrow. No. That is not brahmana's business. Whatever is come today, I use it for my necessities of life, and balance, I give to the poor or somebody else, somebody else, somebody…, or make some festival. So pathana-pathana yajana-yajana dana-pratigraha. So we require some income for our maintenance. So this was the brahmana's business. There is no question of doing some business or making some profession or going to the office or going to the factory. This is not brahmana's business."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Chicago, July 6, 1975)
"Brahmana should not accept any service. Formerly Sanatana Gosvami, because he accepted the service of Nawab Hussein Shah, he was rejected from the brahmana society. In the Bhagavata also it is stated if a brahmana is in difficulty, he may accept the profession of a ksatriya or a vaisya, but never of a sudra. Sudra has been described there as dog. A dog, without having a master, he cannot live very nicely. Street dog is very wretched, but a dog under the care of a good master is very healthy and very happy. Similarly a sudra cannot live without having a master. That has been described as the dog's business. So similarly, a brahmana will never accept any service. He'll starve, but he'll never accept any service. That is against brahmana principles. Therefore sat-karma-nipu… He can accept charity if somebody gives willfully. Dana pratigraha. But pratigraha dana. He'll take, pratigraha, accept charity, but whatever he requires, he'll spend, and the balance he'll immediately distribute. Dana. In Bengal, it is said, lakteke baundiki… Why? A brahmana gets one lakh of rupees; next day, he's again beggar. Why? He'll not keep anything. Whatever he requires for the day's expenditure, he will take it and balance he will again distribute."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Calcutta, January 28, 1973)
"You have seen the picture of Vyasadeva. He's writing books just near a cottage only. But he's writing. Nobody can create such literature. But he was leading very simple life, in a cottage. Even, say, 2,000 years ago or little more, there was Chanakya Pandita. Chanakya Pandita, he was a brahmana, but great politician. His politics are studied even now in M.A. class. And because he was a great politician, diplomat, under his name in our India, in New Delhi, the capital, there is a neighborhood which is called Chanakya Puri, and all the foreign embassies are there. Your American embassy is also there. So he was a great politician. But still, he was living in a cottage. He was not accepting any salary because he was brahmana. Brahmana cannot accept any salary. Just like you have accepted me as your acarya, but you do not pay me any salary. This is forbidden. The teacher will not accept salary. Then he comes down to the sudra platform. The sudra accepts salary. 'I serve you, you pay me.' And the brahmana will distribute knowledge freely, and the ksatriya will give protection to the brahmana. This is the system of Vedic system. Even in fifty years ago, education in India, there was no charges. A learned brahmana will sit down in corner of a neighborhood and all the children will come there. They will learn primary education. And the parents of the children will send, somebody will send rice, somebody will send dal… Just like we are maintaining, by collecting."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Los Angeles, June 22, 1972)
"So this Chanakya Pandita was a great politician and brahmana. And as brahmana, he was vastly learned. He has got some moral instruction; they're very valuable, still going on. In India schoolchildren are taught. So this Chanakya Pandita, although he was prime minister, he maintained his brahminical spirit. He was not accepting any salary, yes, because for brahmanas to accept salary, it is understood that he becomes a dog. That is stated in theSrimad-Bhagavata. He can advise, but he cannot accept. So, he was living in a cottage, but he was prime minister.
So, this brahminical culture, the brahminical brain, is the standard of Vedic civilization. Just like Manu-smrti. Manu-smrti… You do not know; you cannot trace out the history, when Manu-smrti was written. But Manu-smrti is considered so perfect that it is the Hindu law. The Hindus are governed by Manu-smrti. There was no need of passing daily a new law by the legislative to adjust this social order. You see? The law given by Manu was so perfect that it can be applicable for all the time. This is perfect.Tri-kala-jnah. The word is there, tri-kala-jnah: past, present, future."
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, Moscow,June 22, 1971)
"If you simply come here, you understand everything. We don't charge anything. But how we can charge? We are servant of Krishna. Krishna says, You speak, so we are speaking. That's all. Why should we charge? But if somebody, out of sympathy, gives us something, we don't refuse. But we have no cost. We are working ourself as far as possible and maintaining ourself, but anyone who comes, we don't charge anything. So there is no cost. There is no official cost."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Honolulu, March 23, 1969)
"Actually, all our devotees are supposed to be brahmanas. A brahmana's business is to preach the glories of the Lord, to learn the essence of Vedic knowledge – Krishna Consciousness – and to teach others of the same knowledge. And for living condition, whatever they get in the form of contribution from others, they can barely to keep the body and soul together, and the balance spend for Krishna."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, April 18, 1970)
"According to the system of varnasrama-dharma, the pious and learned brahmanas were the natural guardians of society. The brahmanas, by their learned labor of love, would instruct the administrator-kings how to rule the country in complete righteousness, and thus the process would go on as a perfect welfare state. The kings or the ksatriya administrators would always consult the council of learned brahmanas. They were never autocratic monarchs. The scriptures like Manu-samhita and other authorized books of the great sages were guiding principles for ruling the subjects, and there was no need for less intelligent persons to manufacture a code of law in the name of democracy. The less intelligent mass of people have very little knowledge of their own welfare, as a child has very little knowledge of its future well-being. The experienced father guides the innocent child towards the path of progress, and the childlike mass of people need similar guidance. The standard welfare codes are already there in the Manu-samhita and other Vedic literatures. The learned brahmanas would advise the king in terms of those standard books of knowledge and with reference to the particular situation of time and place. Such brahmanas were not paid servants of the king, and therefore they had the strength to dictate to the king on the principles of scriptures. This system continued even up to the time of Maharaja Chandragupta, and the brahmana Chanakya was his unpaid prime minister."
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.7.9, Purport)
"The human life is only meant for tattva-jijnasa, to understand the Absolute Truth. That requires brahminical culture, not the dull brain of sudras and candalas. They cannot understand. Therefore, there must be an institution to educate a brahmana, to educate ksatriya. That is required. Catur-varnam maya srstam. If you don't do it, if you simply produce sudras, bolt-nut manufacturers, technicians, then how you can be happy, sudras? This is the business of the sudras. This is not business of brahmana. You keep sudras, but there must be brahmanas also. Just like leg is also required, the brain is also required. You cut the leg, simply keep the brain, that is also defective; and if you cut off the brain, then everything is finished. This is going on. There is no brahmana, there is no ksatriya, there is no vaisya – only sudras. So how you can be happy?
Therefore, it is very essential to understand this verse. Catur-varnam, train a class of men. Everyone required. There is intelligent class of men, but their brain is being misused, and intelligent man is being taught technology, how to manufacture machine. This is sudra's business. This is sudra's business. Misuse. Brain misuse. There must be university where brain is properly utilized. Here is a child or here is a boy, he has good intelligence. Train him as brahmana. Less than that, train him as ksatriya, train him as vaisya. Everything is there in the Bhagavad-gita. There is no difficulty. So if you actually want happiness, prosperity of the society, not only of this society, that – whole human society – they must accept this Krishna consciousness movement, and then they will be happy."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Bombay, April 2, 1974)
"Tell them that 'We are not going to take any salary. You simply take our advice and govern.' The modern legislative assembly, they should be composed of first-class brahmanas – no salary. Then the government will be first class. All of them are after money; therefore, they are trying to capture the power. They have no idea, no desire for the well-being of the citizens."
(Srila Prabhupada Morning Walk, Mauritius, October 25, 1975)
Srila Prabhupada: Legislative assembly, the senators, they must be all first-class brahmanas. Otherwise he cannot be elected. This is should be introduced. Unless one is following the brahminical principles, he cannot be elected. He must give up these four principles of sinful life. He should not accept any salary. Very much learned scholar in Vedic literature. Then he will be elected.
Devotee: That will happen one day.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. That will guide the whole nation. The rascals, anyway, the naked and prostitute-hunter, what they can do? These third-class, fourth-class, tenth-class men are being elected. There is no happiness. There is no solution of problems. All tenth-class men. I directly challenged one gentleman that 'You are all tenth-class men.'"
(Srila Prabhupada Morning Walk, Bhuvanesvara, January 21, 1977)
"The spiritual master, the teacher, he did not accept any payment in pound shilling pence. That was not accepted because mostly brahmanas, they used to become the teachers. So, they were not accepting any salary. The brahmanas are forbidden to accept any service. So, the education was free. So, every student, education was free. And village to village education was… So, in former days, even fifty years before I have seen in villages, there was some small school, and all the villages boys, they were coming and taking education. So education was very much widespread because education was free in this way. So, students were meant to go for begging alms for the teachers. These are some of the regulative principles."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, New York, August 12, 1966)
"To become teacher is the business of the brahmana. Brahmana means they have got six kinds of… Everyone must have livelihood. This material world is that you must work; otherwise you cannot get your livelihood. That is the law, whatever you may be. So the brahmanas' means of livelihood, six things: pathana pathana yajana yajana dana pratigraha. Pathana means he must be a very learned scholar, study the Vedic literature, and must teach others also. That is brahmana's business. And in that way, whatever the disciples bring, that is his income. No salary, no contract, that 'If you pay me hundred dollars or five hundred dollars weekly, then I can teach you.' No. There is no such contract. Teaching is free. It is the business of a brahmana to give free education to everyone. Now, it is the… Just like in our institution, I am your teacher, but there is no such contract that you have to pay me. But you pay me more than anything. So pathana pathana, that is the means of livelihood of brahmana."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Los Angeles, May 27, 1972)
"So, a brahmana should be truthful in any circumstances. He will never speak lie. Truthful, satya. Sama. Sama means keeping the mind always in equilibrium. And dama, dama means keeping the senses under control. Sama dama titiksa. Titiksa means toleration. There may be so many tribulations, but a brahmana is supposed to be very, very tolerant. Toleration. The first-class example of toleration in the Western country: Lord Jesus Christ. He was being crucified; still, he did not take any steps. If he wanted, he could take steps, but he was tolerating. So, this is the sign of brahminical symptom.Titiksa arjava. Arjava means simplicity. A brahmana is not supposed to be crooked and duplicity. No. Simple. It is said even the enemy wants to know something from him, he will clearly say, 'It is this.' That is called simplicity. Then jnanam. Jnanam means knowledge, full knowledge. And vijnanam means scientific knowledge, practical application in life. That is called vijnanam. Astikyam. Astikyam means to have full faith in Vedic literature. That is called astikyam. These are the signs of brahmana.
So, those who are going to be initiated with this sacred thread, they must always remember to follow all these rules and regulations. We should always remember that this Krishna consciousness movement is meant for purifying the human society. Unless the human society is purified, there will be so many problems and disturbances in the human society.
At least a certain percentage of the human society must be brahmana; otherwise the society cannot make any progress in spiritual life. And if we cannot make progress in spiritual life, then our human life is frustrated. After 8,400,000 species of life, evolution, one gets this human form of life. And if he does not properly utilize it, then he is committing suicide."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Melbourne, April 6, 1972)
"This philosophy, Krishna consciousness, according to the Bhagavad-gita and Bhagavata, we don't accept brahmana by birth. We accept brahmana by quality. Catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah (Bg. 4.13). Quality and work."
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, San Diego, June 29, 1972)
Devotee: Prabhupada, generally in colleges in the West, they charge some fee for going to the college. What is our position?
Srila Prabhupada: No, we don't charge any fee. There is no question of money. Because the brahmanas, they'll teach free. They require money because they have to give fat salary to these rascals. But we haven't got to. And even we have to feed them, we produce our own grain. So where is the question of taking money? So therefore, it is required, somebody must produce food. Then there is no necessity of money."
(Srila Prabhupada Morning Walk, Vrndavana, March 14, 1974)
"Parantapa means one who gives trouble to the enemies. This is the material world. A ksatriya cannot behave like a brahmana, to excuse. Brahmana business is to excuse. Ksama-rupa-tapasvinah. Those who are tapasvi, they can excuse, but those who are in the governmental power, to make justice there is no question of excuse. Life for life. 'You have killed one man; you must be killed.' This is justice. A brahmana, he may excuse, 'All right, you have killed my man. Never mind. I excuse you.' That is a brahmana's business. But a ksatriya, the government, the ruling power, he cannot do so. It is his mercy. It is the government's mercy when a murderer is hanged. That is the injunction in the Manu-samhita."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Johannesburg, October 17, 1975)
"There is a pandita, learned man. His name is Chanakya. If you, some of you, had been in India, in New Delhi, where foreign ambassadors are settled, in New Delhi, capital of India, there is a quarter which is called Chanakya Puri. Chanakya Puri. This Chanakya Puri has been named due to the name of this gentleman, Chanakya. He was a great politician and prime minister during the reign of Emperor Candragupta. Long, long years before. He was a great politician. So, his politics are studied in higher, M.A. class, and so he has got some, he has got a book which is called Canakya Sloka and some principles of morality, some principles of morality. So, we, in our childhood, we had to study that small book,Chanakya Sloka. So, in that principles of morality even Chanakya Pandita says that sannimitte varam tyaga vinase niyate sati. Vinase niyate sati: 'Oh, this body, this body is destined to be destroyed. You cannot protect it. It is to be destroyed. 'Sannimitte varam tyage vinase. Vinase means it is sure to be destroyed. 'As sure as death.' There is nothing sure as death. Therefore, this body should be utilized, sannimitte, for purpose of spiritual realization. Before it is finished… In all the sastras, this is the advice. This is the advice. The dog's body will be finished, and the man's body will be finished, but what is the difference of dog and man? The dog does not know how to utilize his body, but we are given instruction in so many books of knowledge, how to utilize this body.
So Chanakya Pandita says that sannimitte varam tyaga. You have to give up this body. Why don't you give it up for the highest cause? Highest cause. This is the highest cause, spiritual realization. Somebody's offering his body for country's cause. Somebody's offering body for the society's cause. Or somebody's offering body for theft case or some murdering case. We have, everyone has to offer his body at the end. But the man who sacrifices this body for the purpose of self-realization, he's the most intelligent man. Sannimitte varam tyaga vinase niyate sati. You'll have to meet death, undoubtedly, but before meeting death… (break)… as fully spiritualized. This is the instruction given. Buddhau saranam anviccha krpanah: 'Don't be miser. Don't misuse this great opportunity.'"
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, New York, April 5, 1966)
"So, if you work the same thing, sva-karmana, never mind you are doing the sudra's business or brahmana's business – it doesn't matter – whether you are acting for Krishna? That is wanted. If you are acting for Krishna, then you are not becoming entangled by the resultant action, pious or impious. It is above. Pious and impious, they are consideration of this material platform. In the spiritual platform there is no such thing. Absolute. Whatever you are doing, it is all-good, all-spiritual. That is called absolute. In the absolute, there is no such distinction, 'This is pious, this is impious.' Everything is spiritual.
So, we have to act like that. If you act spiritually for satisfying Krishna, varnasrama-vibhagasah… Svanusthitasya dharmasya samsiddhir hari-tosanam (SB 1.2.13). If you can satisfy Krishna by your activities – it doesn't matter whether it is sudra activity or brahmana activity – but the aim is whether you are satisfying Krishna. Then it is akarma. Just like in this institution, somebody is washing the dishes and somebody is taking care of dressing Deity. It does not mean that one who is taking care of dressing the Deity, he is higher than the man who is washing the dishes. No. They are not karma. By washing dishes he is executing devotional service, and by dressing the Deity he is also executing. Real point is devotional service. That is called akarma."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Bombay, April 7, 1974)