Prabhupāda: Now, just like to be educated, one must be admitted in a school, must be. Now, what kind of school he has to select, that is another thing, but he must. That's a fact. Similarly, you have to accept a guru. Now, whom you will accept a guru, that is another thing. But you have to do it. That is the injunction of all śāstras. Vedic process is like that. This upanayana, the sacred thread, upanayana. Upa means near, and nayana means bringing. Anayanam, coming or going, like that, nayanam. So "to go near the spiritual master," upanayana.
Guest (3): Upanayana-saṁskāra.
Prabhupāda: Yes. And that sacred thread is the certificate that he has accepted a spiritual master. That is our Vedic system, identity, thread, sacred thread. So the upana... The saṁskāra is called upanayana-saṁskāra. Upanayana means he has gone near the spiritual master. Therefore he is now dvija, second birth. When a person goes to the spiritual master, that is his second birth because he is born foolish. Take birth by the combination of father, mother—that is material birth—that is a birth of ignorance, just like animals. The animals also take their birth in that way. There is no different process, the sex life. So what is the difference between animal and man? Therefore, upanayana, dvija.
Guest: Janmanā jāyate śūdraḥ.
Prabhupāda: Janmanā jāyate śūdraḥ saṁskārad bhaved dvijaḥ. Unfortunately there is no saṁskāra at the present moment. So therefore they remain śūdra. A śūdra means fourth-class. So how a fourth-class man can speculate on the science of God?
Guest (2): But śūdras are not allowed to upanayana-saṁskāra.
Prabhupāda: No. No, no, no. Now, don't take that way. One who does not take saṁskāra, he is śūdra, because janmanā jāyate śūdraḥ. Everyone is born śūdra. But if one does not accept the saṁskāras, he remains a śūdra, not that śūdras are not allowed to take saṁskāra. Then how it is, that janmanā jāyate śūdraḥ?
Guest (4): (indistinct)
Prabhupāda: There are many instances. But this very word, "by birth one is śūdra," so there is no discrimination that "You are not śūdra. I am not...," by birth, abodha-jāto, because he is born foolish rascal. Now, by saṁskāra, by culture, by education, he becomes dvija, second birth. The practical example is these European and American students. They were doing all nonsense but since they have come to guru their life is reformed; therefore they are dvija. Saṁskārad bhaved dvijaḥ, veda-paṭhet... Now, when he becomes dvija, then he is allowed to study Vedas, not as a śūdra. When we say śūdra has no right to study Vedas, that means he will not be able to understand. Just like you became lawyer, but the condition is, unless you become graduate, unless you have graduated yourself, you cannot enter law college. That does not mean law is prohibited for anyone. It is open for everyone, but first of all you make yourself university graduate; then enter law. Similarly, everyone is śūdra.
Guest (2): A particular standard of understanding should be qualified.
Prabhupāda: Yes. So unless he has got saṁskāra, he is enlightened by culture and knowledge, unless he has become dvija, then there is no authority for studying Vedas. Veda-paṭhet. After one has become dvija, then he is allowed to study Vedas. Janmanā jāyate śūdraḥ saṁskārad bhaved dvijaḥ, and veda-paṭhed bhaved vipraḥ. Vipra. Then he becomes... Gradually increasing, from śūdra he comes to dvija, then vipra. And after being vipra, after studying all the Vedas, when he realizes Brahman, then he is brāhmaṇa. Brahmā jānātīti brāhmaṇaḥ. So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is that, gradual process, gradual process and to make him a qualified brāhmaṇa. And when he becomes brāhmaṇa, then he knows Brahman. Then he makes spiritual progress. Without... Therefore, without becoming brāhmaṇa nobody can make spiritual progress. That is the door of spiritual knowledge. Then he makes progress, makes progress. So after understanding Brahman knowledge, then he comes to Paramātmā knowledge, then he comes to Bhāgavata knowledge.