My dear Śrutadeva, you may therefore accept all these great saintly persons, brāhmaṇas and sages as My bona fide representatives. By worshiping them faithfully, you will be worshiping Me more diligently. I consider worship of My devotees to be better than direct worship of Me. If someone attempts to worship Me directly without worshiping My devotees, I do not accept such worship, even though it may be presented with great opulence.”
In this way both the brāhmaṇa Śrutadeva and the King of Mithilā, under the direction of the Lord, worshiped both Kṛṣṇa and His followers, the great sages and saintly brāhmaṇas, on an equal level of spiritual importance. Both brāhmaṇa and King ultimately achieved the supreme goal of being transferred to the spiritual world. The devotee does not know anyone except Lord Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa is most affectionate to His devotee. Lord Kṛṣṇa remained in Mithilā both at the house of the brāhmaṇa Śrutadeva and at the palace of King Bahulāśva. And after favoring them lavishly by His transcendental instructions, He went back to His capital city, Dvārakā.
The instruction we receive from this incident is that King Bahulāśva and Śrutadeva the brāhmaṇa were accepted by the Lord on the same level because both were pure devotees. This is the real qualification for being recognized by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Because it has become the fashion of this age to be falsely proud of having taken birth in the family of a kṣatriya or a brāhmaṇa, we see persons without any qualification other than birth claiming to be a brāhmaṇa or kṣatriya or vaiśya. But as stated in the scriptures, kalau śūdra-sambhavaḥ: “In this Age of Kali, everyone is born a śūdra.” This is because there is no performance of the purificatory processes known as saṁskāras, which begin from the time of the mother’s pregnancy and continue up to the point of the individual’s death. No one can be classified as a member of a particular caste, especially of a higher caste—brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya or vaiśya—simply by birthright. If one is not purified by the process of the seed-giving ceremony, or garbhādhāna-saṁskāra, he is immediately classified amongst the śūdras because only the śūdras do not undergo this purificatory process. Sex life without the purificatory process of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is merely the seed-giving process of the śūdras or the animals. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is therefore the best process of purification. By this process everyone can come to the platform of a Vaiṣṇava, which includes having all the qualifications of a brāhmaṇa. The Vaiṣṇavas are trained to become freed from the four kinds of sinful activities—illicit sex, indulgence in intoxicants, gambling and eating animal foods. One cannot be on the brahminical platform without having these preliminary qualifications, and without becoming a qualified brāhmaṇa, one cannot become a pure devotee.