Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: The next question, Śrīla Prabhupāda, fifteen. "Hinduism has been defined as a way of life."
Prabhupāda: Yes. Actually it is the way. That, I have already described it. It is not a sectarianism like Muslimism, Christianism or "Thisism..." Hinduism also now one of them. Actually, it is a way of life, varṇāśrama-dharma, how to become elevated to the spiritual platform. So that begins by the varṇāśrama-dharma, to select persons according to his capacity to different varṇas. Some of them selected, trained as brāhmaṇas. Some of them trained as kṣatriya, some of them as vaiśya, some of them as, remain... Those who cannot take any training, they are śūdras. So in the ways (indistinct) there must be social division not by birth, but by education. Cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ (BG 4.13). That we have lost. The so-called Hinduism they have lost. And because they did not follow real varṇāśrama-dharma, therefore India, so many renegades, Muslim became... Once they become Muslim, there was no reformation. But according to Vedic principle, even one is fallen, he can be raised to the highest standard. Māṁ hi pārtha vyapāśritya ye 'pi syuḥ pāpa-yonayaḥ (BG 9.32). One may... Saṁskārād bhaved dvija. And Sanātana Gosvāmī says that
- yathā kañcanataṁ yati
- kaṁsyaṁ rasa-vidhānataḥ
- tathā dīkṣā-vidhānena
- dvijatvaṁ jāyate nṛṇam
As by chemical process the bell metal can be turned into gold by adding with the mercury.... This is a chemical process. If you can add in the bell metal proportionately mercury, then it will turn into gold. Here is the process given in the śāstra. If you are able to do it, you can do it, turn gold some of these bell metals. So the example is given that as the bell metal, base metal, can be turned into gold by chemical process, similarly, by dīkṣā-vidhānena, by proper initiation by the bona fide spiritual master, everyone can be turned into dvija, twice-born. Dvijatvaṁ jāyate nṛṇam. Nṛṇam means all men. It is not there is no discrimination, that only the Hindus, only the Indians, or only the so-called brāhmaṇas can be turned. Everyone can be turned. That is the injunction. So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is trying to do that, trying everyone to become a bona fide brāhmaṇa. Without becoming a brāhmaṇa you cannot become Vaiṣṇava. So this reformatory process is recommended in the śāstras. What is the question?
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Hinduism has been defined as a way of life. In...
Prabhupāda: Yes, this is the way of life, that by reformatory process recommended in the śāstras one should be elevated to the position of brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśyas, and śūdra. Śudra means one who cannot take any reformation. But one who can take up the reformation, he can be situated as a brāhmaṇa, as a kṣatriya, as a vaiśya. This is not by birth, but by education, by training. That is recommended for the all human society. Not for the Hindus or... Otherwise, why Kṛṣṇa says pāpa-yoni? Pāpa-yoni. Striyo vaiśyās tathā śūdrās. They are also taken as pāpa-yoni. And what to speak of the śūdras and caṇḍālas? They must be pāpa-yoni. Only the brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, they are taken as highly elevated. But nowadays, kalau śūdra-sambhavaḥ. In this age you cannot distinguish who is brāhmaṇa, who is kṣatriya, who is a vaiśya, who is a śūdra. It is accepted that everyone is a śūdra because there is no reformation. So according to Pāñcarātriki-vidhi everyone should be given the chance of becoming a Vaiṣṇava, a dvija. And that is recommendation in the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, that by the proper initiation process everyone can be brought into the platform of dvija, twice-born, and then he becomes... After initiation, his second birth is there. Saṁskārād bhaved dvijaḥ. Then he's allowed to read the scripture. Veda-pathād bhaved vipraḥ. He becomes vipra. Then when he really comes to the knowledge of Brahman, his relationship with Brahman, and acts accordingly, then he is brāhmaṇa. And when he is perfectly situated in the eternal relationship with God, Viṣṇu, then he becomes a Vaiṣṇava. That is perfection of life.