- śamo damas tapaḥ śaucaṁ
- kṣāntir ārjavam eva ca
- jñānaṁ vijñānam āstikyaṁ
- brahma-karma svabhāva-jam
- (BG 18.42)
"Translation: Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, wisdom, knowledge, and religiousness—these are the qualities by which the brāhmaṇas work."
Prabhupāda: This is first-class man.
Dr. Copeland: I'm not a first-class man.
Prabhupāda: No, that I do not know, but if you have got these qualities... We have to judge by the qualities, not by birth. But since India accepted a brāhmaṇa by birth without these qualities, India's civilization fell down.
Dr. Copeland: Ah, that's why. Ah! Pretty! Are you a brāhmaṇa? By birth you're a brāhmaṇa, right?
Prabhupāda: No. I am brāhmaṇa yes. Yes. But we are not... We do not recognize brāhmaṇa by birth. Brāhmaṇa by these qualities. Anyone who has got... This is the shastric injunction, that if the qualities are found somewhere else—that means one who is not born in a brāhmaṇa family but he has the qualities of the brāhmaṇa—then he should be accepted as a brāhmaṇa. That is shastric injunction. Yasya hi yal lakṣaṇaṁ proktaṁ varṇābhivyañjakam, yad anyatrāpi. Anyatra means elsewhere. Tat tenaiva vinirdiśet (SB 7.11.35). "He should be accepted as such." Similarly, if a man, born in brāhmaṇa family but he has the qualities of the śūdras... Paricaryātmakaṁ kāryaṁ śūdra-karma svabhāva-jam (BG 18.44). Paricarya means service. To accept... (break) So therefore, according to Bhagavad-gītā, nobody is brāhmaṇa. A brāhmaṇa should remain independent. He should live by his qualities. People will honor him. Just like we are training. We do not serve anyone, but we are maintaining big establishment.
This is brāhmaṇa. We do not serve anyone, any merchant, officer, any... No. We chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. That's all. If Kṛṣṇa wants, He will give us food, or we shall starve. We are not going to serve. This is the proof. We are spending not less than twenty lakhs of rupees for maintaining our establishment throughout the whole world, but we do not know what is our next moment's income. We do not know... We have eaten today. We do not know whether we shall have any eatable next day. This is our position. If it is available, we shall eat; otherwise we shall starve. This is our position. Still, I don't seek any employment, "Give us some service to maintain our..." No, we don't do that. We never do that. When I was alone, I was not doing that. I was living alone. I had no income, no friend, no shelter. Since I left my home, since 1954, I never cared for anyone maintaining me. And there was no resource, fixed income, nothing of the sort. I depended on Kṛṣṇa. Similarly, in the whole society we are feeding daily ten thousand men.
We have got about hundred centers. And we are maintained in Eu..., just like European, American standard, not vagabond standard. But still, we have no fixed income. Depend on Kṛṣṇa. If He wants, He will give us food; if He wants, we shall starve. This is brāhmaṇa, practical. And "Now I have got all degrees, and unless I get a good master, then I am street dog." (Dr. Copeland laughs) That is śūdra. Without getting a master... Just like a street dog has no value unless he gets a good master. Then he can bark (Prabhupāda barks), "Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! I have got my master." And if he doesn't get a master, nobody cares for it, and he is lean and thin, here going, here going, that's all. This is śūdra. He has no power to live independently. That is śūdra.