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Position of a brahmana

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Srimad-Bhagavatam

SB Canto 1

A pure Vaiṣṇava is a liberated soul and is transcendental even to the position of a brāhmaṇa.
SB 1.2.20, Purport:

The brahminical stage is the highest stage of human life because of its good qualities. So one cannot be a devotee unless one at least qualifies as a brāhmaṇa. The devotee is already a brāhmaṇa by action. But that is not the end of it. As referred to above, such a brāhmaṇa has to become a Vaiṣṇava in fact to be actually in the transcendental stage. A pure Vaiṣṇava is a liberated soul and is transcendental even to the position of a brāhmaṇa. In the material stage even a brāhmaṇa is also a conditioned soul because although in the brahminical stage the conception of Brahman or transcendence is realized, scientific knowledge of the Supreme Lord is lacking. One has to surpass the brahminical stage and reach the vasudeva stage to understand the Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa.

As the high-court judgeship is a post for the qualified man, so also the post of a brāhmaṇa is attainable by qualification only.
SB 1.7.35, Purport:

The word brahma-bandhu is significant. A person who happens to take birth in the family of a brāhmaṇa but is not qualified to be called a brāhmaṇa is addressed as the relative of a brāhmaṇa, and not as a brāhmaṇa. The son of a high-court judge is not virtually a high-court judge, but there is no harm in addressing a high-court judge's son as a relative of the Honorable Justice. Therefore, as by birth only one does not become a high-court judge, so also one does not become a brāhmaṇa simply by birthright but by acquiring the necessary qualifications of a brāhmaṇa. As the high-court judgeship is a post for the qualified man, so also the post of a brāhmaṇa is attainable by qualification only. The śāstra enjoins that even if good qualifications are seen in a person born in a family other than that of a brāhmaṇa, the qualified man has to be accepted as a brāhmaṇa, and similarly if a person born in the family of a brāhmaṇa is void of brahminical qualification, then he must be treated as a non-brāhmaṇa or, in better terms, a relative of a brāhmaṇa. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the supreme authority of all religious principles, the Vedas, has personally pointed out these differences, and He is about to explain the reason for this in the following ślokas.

Aśvatthāmā failed to discharge the duties of a brāhmaṇa or teacher, and therefore he was liable to be rejected from the exalted position of a brāhmaṇa.
SB 1.7.43, Purport:

According to revealed scriptures, a teacher or spiritual master is liable to be rejected if he proves himself unworthy of the position of a guru or spiritual master. A guru is called also an ācārya, or a person who has personally assimilated all the essence of śāstras and has helped his disciples to adopt the ways. Aśvatthāmā failed to discharge the duties of a brāhmaṇa or teacher, and therefore he was liable to be rejected from the exalted position of a brāhmaṇa. On this consideration, both Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna were right in condemning Aśvatthāmā. But to a good lady like Draupadī, the matter was considered not from the angle of śāstric vision, but as a matter of custom. By custom, Aśvatthāmā was offered the same respect as offered to his father. It was so because generally the people accept the son of a brāhmaṇa as a real brāhmaṇa, by sentiment only. Factually the matter is different. A brāhmaṇa is accepted on the merit of qualification and not on the merit of simply being the son of a brāhmaṇa.

SB Canto 3

The bona fide spiritual master bestows upon the disciple the position of a brāhmaṇa by his own judgment.
SB 3.33.6, Purport:

Formerly the garbhādhāna reformatory system was prevalent, but at the present moment there is no such garbhādhāna, or seed-giving ceremony. Under these circumstances, no one knows if a man is factually born of a brāhmaṇa father. Whether one has acquired the qualification of a brāhmaṇa depends on the judgment of the bona fide spiritual master. He bestows upon the disciple the position of a brāhmaṇa by his own judgment. When one is accepted as a brāhmaṇa in the sacred thread ceremony under the pāñcarātrika system, then he is dvija, twice-born. That is confirmed by Sanātana Gosvāmī: dvijatvaṁ jāyate. By the process of initiation by the spiritual master, a person is accepted as a brāhmaṇa in his purified state of chanting the holy name of the Lord. He then makes further progress to become a qualified Vaiṣṇava, which means that the brahminical qualification is already acquired.

SB Canto 4

Brāhmaṇa is not a hereditary title or position.
SB 4.2.26, Purport:

In the Vedānta-sūtra also it is stated, athāto brahma jijñāsā: this human form of life is meant for realization of the Supreme Brahman, the Absolute Truth, or, in other words, human life is meant for one's elevation to the post of a brāhmaṇa. Unfortunately the modern brāhmaṇas, or so-called brāhmaṇas who come in originally brahminical families, have left their own occupational duties, but they do not allow others to occupy the posts of brāhmaṇas. The qualifications for brāhmaṇas are described in the scriptures, in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Bhagavad-gītā and all other Vedic literatures. Brāhmaṇa is not a hereditary title or position.

It is said that even a cobbler or person born in the family of a cobbler can be elevated to the position of a brāhmaṇa (śuci) if he takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
SB 4.12.37, Purport:

Persons in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or devotees of the Lord, can please everyone, as is evident in the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. We invite everyone, without discrimination; we request everyone to sit down and chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra and take as much prasāda as we can supply, and thus everyone is pleased with us. This is the qualification. Sarva-bhūtānurañjanāḥ. As for purification, no one can be more pure than devotees. Anyone who once utters the name of Viṣṇu immediately becomes purified, inside and outside (yaḥ smaret puṇḍarīkākṣam). Since a devotee constantly chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, no contamination of the material world can touch him. He is, therefore, actually purified. Muci haya śuci haya yadi kṛṣṇa bhaje. It is said that even a cobbler or person born in the family of a cobbler can be elevated to the position of a brāhmaṇa (śuci) if he takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Any person who is purely Kṛṣṇa conscious and who engages in chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is the purest in the whole universe.

A Vaiṣṇava is transcendental even to a brāhmaṇa. In the material conception, the position of a brāhmaṇa is the highest in human society, but a Vaiṣṇava is transcendental even to a brāhmaṇa.
SB 4.21.37, Purport:

A Vaiṣṇava is a learned brāhmaṇa and is therefore designated as brāhmaṇa-vaiṣṇava, brāhmaṇa-paṇḍita or as a Vaiṣṇava and brāhmaṇa. In other words, a Vaiṣṇava is supposed to be a brāhmaṇa already, but a brāhmaṇa may not be a pure Vaiṣṇava. When a person understands his pure identity, brahma jānāti, he immediately becomes a brāhmaṇa. In the brāhmaṇa stage, one's understanding of the Absolute Truth is mainly based on the impersonal view. When a brāhmaṇa, however, rises to the platform of personal understanding of the Supreme Godhead, he becomes a Vaiṣṇava. A Vaiṣṇava is transcendental even to a brāhmaṇa. In the material conception, the position of a brāhmaṇa is the highest in human society, but a Vaiṣṇava is transcendental even to a brāhmaṇa. Both the brāhmaṇa and Vaiṣṇava are spiritually advanced. A brāhmaṇa's qualifications are mentioned in Bhagavad-gītā as truthfulness, mental equanimity, control of the senses, the power of tolerance, simplicity, knowledge of the Absolute Truth, firm faith in the scriptures, and practical application of the brahminical qualities in life. In addition to all these qualifications, when one fully engages in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, he becomes a Vaiṣṇava.

Sometimes, due to their powerful positions, princes or government servants neglect the position of brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas, not knowing that because of their offense they will be ruined.
SB 4.21.37, Purport, Purport:

Pṛthu Mahārāja warns his citizens who are actually engaged in the devotional service of the Lord to take care against offenses to the brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas. Offenses at their lotus feet are so destructive that even the descendants of Yadu who were born in the family of Lord Kṛṣṇa were destroyed due to offenses at their feet. The Supreme Personality of Godhead cannot tolerate any offense at the lotus feet of brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas. Sometimes, due to their powerful positions, princes or government servants neglect the position of brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas, not knowing that because of their offense they will be ruined.

Mahārāja Pṛthu, although situated in the transcendental position of a pure devotee, came down to the position of brāhmaṇa and kṣatriya for the benefit of human society.
SB 4.21.52, Purport:

In the advanced stage of goodness one can become Kṛṣṇa conscious. Therefore Mahārāja Pṛthu is addressed here as vivṛddha-sattva, or one who is situated in the transcendental position. But Mahārāja Pṛthu, although situated in the transcendental position of a pure devotee, came down to the position of brāhmaṇa and kṣatriya for the benefit of human society and thus gave protection to the entire world by his personal prowess. Although he was a king, a kṣatriya, because he was a Vaiṣṇava he was also a brāhmaṇa. As a brāhmaṇa he could give proper instruction to the citizens, and as a kṣatriya he could rightly give protection to all of them. Thus the citizens of Mahārāja Pṛthu were protected in all respects by the perfect king.

SB Canto 5

Nine sons became good preachers of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (mahā-bhāgavatas), and this indicates that they were above the position of brāhmaṇas.
SB 5.4.13, Purport:

Ṛṣabhadeva, a king, was certainly a kṣatriya. He had a hundred sons, and out of these, ten were engaged as kṣatriyas and ruled the planet. Nine sons became good preachers of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (mahā-bhāgavatas), and this indicates that they were above the position of brāhmaṇas. The other eighty-one sons became highly qualified brāhmaṇas. These are some practical examples of how one can become fit for a certain type of activity by qualification, not by birth.

SB Canto 6

If one falls down from the exalted position of a brāhmaṇa through sexual indulgence, he can be saved from all calamities if he somehow or other chants the holy name of the Lord.
SB 6.1.63, Purport:

Devotional service, which begins with chanting of the holy name of the Lord, is so powerful that even if one falls down from the exalted position of a brāhmaṇa through sexual indulgence, he can be saved from all calamities if he somehow or other chants the holy name of the Lord. This is the extraordinary power of the Lord's holy name. Therefore in Bhagavad-gītā it is advised that one not forget the chanting of the holy name even for a moment (satataṁ kīrtayanto māṁ yatantaś ca dṛḍha-vratāḥ (BG 9.14)).

Every human being is expected to elevate himself to the position of a brāhmaṇa, the most intelligent man, and then one must transcend that position to become a Vaiṣṇava.
SB 6.3.13, Purport:

A human being is expected to follow the rules and regulations of varṇa and āśrama; otherwise he cannot escape punishment by Yamarāja. The point is that every human being is expected to elevate himself to the position of a brāhmaṇa, the most intelligent man, and then one must transcend that position to become a Vaiṣṇava. This is the perfection of life.

We elevate foreigners, who are supposed to be mlecchas and yavanas, to the position of brāhmaṇas.
SB 6.5.39, Purport:

In India the caste brāhmaṇas have become enemies of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement because we elevate foreigners, who are supposed to be mlecchas and yavanas, to the position of brāhmaṇas. We train them in austerities and penances and recognize them as brāhmaṇas by awarding them sacred threads. Thus the caste brāhmaṇas of India are very displeased by our activities in the Western world.

SB Canto 7

Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura explains the position of brāhmaṇas and kṣatriyas
SB 7.11.14, Purport:

Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura explains the position of brāhmaṇas and kṣatriyas as follows. Brāhmaṇas have six occupational duties, of which three are compulsory—namely, studying the Vedas, worshiping the Deity and giving charity. By teaching, by inducing others to worship the Deity, and by accepting gifts, the brāhmaṇas receive the necessities of life.

SB Canto 9

SB 9.2.17, Translation:

From the son of Manu named Dhṛṣṭa came a kṣatriya caste called Dhārṣṭa, whose members achieved the position of brāhmaṇas in this world. Then, from the son of Manu named Nṛga came Sumati. From Sumati came Bhūtajyoti, and from Bhūtajyoti came Vasu.

Although Viśvāmitra was born in a kṣatriya family, by austerities and penances he achieved the position of a brāhmaṇa.
SB 9.16.28, Purport:

From the history of Paraśurāma we can understand that although Paraśurāma belonged to the brahminical group, he circumstantially had to work as a kṣatriya. Later, after finishing his work as a kṣatriya, he again became a brāhmaṇa and returned to Mahendra-parvata. Similarly, we can see that although Viśvāmitra was born in a kṣatriya family, by austerities and penances he achieved the position of a brāhmaṇa. These histories confirm the statements in śāstra that a brāhmaṇa may become a kṣatriya, a kṣatriya may become a brāhmaṇa or vaiśya, and a vaiśya may become a brāhmaṇa, by achieving the required qualities. One's status does not depend upon birth.

The son of Mahāvīrya was Duritakṣaya, whose sons were of a kṣatriya king, they also achieved the position of brāhmaṇas.
SB 9.21 Summary:

Garga, the son of Bharadvāja, had a son named Śini, and Śini's son was Gārgya. Although Gārgya was a kṣatriya by birth, his sons became brāhmaṇas. The son of Mahāvīrya was Duritakṣaya, whose sons were of a kṣatriya king, they also achieved the position of brāhmaṇas. The son of Bṛhatkṣatra constructed the city of Hastināpura and was known as Hastī. His sons were Ajamīḍha, Dvimīḍha and Purumīḍha.

SB 9.21.19-20, Translation:

From Garga came a son named Śini, and his son was Gārgya. Although Gārgya was a kṣatriya, there came from him a generation of brahmaṇas. From Mahāvīrya came a son named Duritakṣaya, whose sons were Trayyāruṇi, Kavi and Puṣkarāruṇi. Although these sons of Duritakṣaya took birth in a dynasty of kṣatriyas, they too attained the position of brāhmaṇas. Bṛhatkṣatra had a son named Hastī, who established the city of Hastināpura (now New Delhi).

SB 9.21.21, Translation and Purport:

From King Hastī came three sons, named Ajamīḍha, Dvimīḍha and Purumīḍha. The descendants of Ajamīḍha, headed by Priyamedha, all achieved the position of brāhmaṇas.

This verse gives evidence confirming the statement of Bhagavad-gītā that the orders of society—brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya and śūdra—are calculated in terms of qualities and activities (guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ (BG 4.13)).

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta

CC Adi-lila

One who chants oṁkāra no longer remains a śūdra but immediately comes to the position of a brāhmaṇa.
CC Adi 7.128, Purport:

On the basis of all the Upaniṣads, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī says that oṁkāra is the Supreme Absolute Truth and is accepted as such by all the ācāryas and authorities. Oṁkāra is beginningless, changeless, supreme and free from deterioration and external contamination. Oṁkāra is the origin, middle and end of everything, and any living entity who thus understands oṁkāra attains the perfection of spiritual identity in oṁkāra. Oṁkāra, being situated in everyone's heart, is īśvara, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā (18.61): īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe ’rjuna tiṣṭhati. Oṁkāra is as good as Viṣṇu because oṁkāra is as all-pervasive as Viṣṇu. One who knows oṁkāra and Lord Viṣṇu to be identical no longer has to lament or hanker. One who chants oṁkāra no longer remains a śūdra but immediately comes to the position of a brāhmaṇa. Simply by chanting oṁkāra one can understand the whole creation to be one unit, or an expansion of the energy of the Supreme Lord

Everyone should respect the position of a brāhmaṇa, as indicated by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
CC Adi 17.9, Purport:

When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu went to Gayā, accompanied by many of His disciples, He became sick on the way. He had such a high fever that He asked His students to bring water that had washed the feet of brāhmaṇas, and when they brought it the Lord drank it and was cured. Therefore everyone should respect the position of a brāhmaṇa, as indicated by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Neither the Lord nor His followers displayed any disrespect to brāhmaṇas.

CC Madhya-lila

A Vaiṣṇava is understood to be above the position of a brāhmaṇa.
CC Madhya 8.128, Purport:

Sometimes a Vaiṣṇava who is a bhajanānandī does not take the sāvitra-saṁskāra (sacred thread initiation), but this does not mean that this system should be used for preaching work. There are two kinds of Vaiṣṇavas—bhajanānandī and goṣṭhy-ānandī. A bhajanānandī is not interested in preaching work, but a goṣṭhy-ānandī is interested in spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness to benefit the people and increase the number of Vaiṣṇavas. A Vaiṣṇava is understood to be above the position of a brāhmaṇa. As a preacher, he should be recognized as a brāhmaṇa; otherwise there may be a misunderstanding of his position as a Vaiṣṇava.

Sanātana Gosvāmī, however, says in the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa (2.12) that anyone can be elevated to the position of a brāhmaṇa by the process of initiation.
CC Madhya 23.105, Purport:

In those days, India was more or less following the principle of smārta-vidhi. Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī had to keep pace with this, and his Hari-bhakti-vilāsa was compiled with this in mind. According to smārta-brāhmaṇas, a person not born in a brāhmaṇa family could not be elevated to the position of a brāhmaṇa. Sanātana Gosvāmī, however, says in the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa (2.12) that anyone can be elevated to the position of a brāhmaṇa by the process of initiation.

yathā kāñcanatāṁ yāti kāṁsyaṁ rasa-vidhānataḥ
tathā dīkṣā-vidhānena dvijatvaṁ jāyate nṛṇām

"As bell metal is turned to gold when mixed with mercury in an alchemical process, so one who is properly trained and initiated by a bona fide spiritual master immediately becomes a brāhmaṇa."

Sanātana Gosvāmī felt unfit to write Vaiṣṇava smṛti about the behavior of Vaiṣṇavas because he had fallen from the brahminical position.
CC Madhya 24.325, Purport:

A brāhmaṇa is never supposed to engage in anyone's service. Serving others for a livelihood (paricaryātmakaṁ karma (BG 18.44)) is the business of śūdras. The brāhmaṇa is always independent and busy studying śāstra and preaching śāstra to subordinate social members such as kṣatriyas and vaiśyas. Sanātana Gosvāmī felt unfit to write Vaiṣṇava smṛti about the behavior of Vaiṣṇavas because he had fallen from the brahminical position. Thus Sanātana Gosvāmī clearly admits that the brahminical culture should be standardized. Presently in India, so-called brāhmaṇas are almost all engaged in some mundane service, and they do not understand the import of the Vedic śāstras. Nonetheless, they are passing themselves off as brāhmaṇas on the basis of birth.

When a person is initiated according to the pāñcarātrika-vidhi, he has already attained the position of a brāhmaṇa.
CC Madhya 24.331, Purport:

As far as dīkṣā is concerned, one should consult Madhya-līlā 15.108. On the whole, when a person is initiated according to the pāñcarātrika-vidhi, he has already attained the position of a brāhmaṇa. This is enjoined in the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa (2.12):

yathā kāñcanatāṁ yāti kāṁsyaṁ rasa-vidhānataḥ
tathā dīkṣā-vidhānena dvijatvaṁ jāyate nṛṇām

"As bell metal can be turned into gold when treated with mercury, a disciple initiated by a bona fide guru immediately attains the position of a brāhmaṇa."

As far as the time of dīkṣā (initiation) is concerned, everything depends on the position of the guru. As soon as a bona fide guru is received by chance or by a program, one should immediately take the opportunity to receive initiation.

CC Antya-lila

If a person born in a śūdra family has developed the qualities of a brāhmaṇa he attains the exalted position of a brāhmaṇa."
CC Antya 16.29, Purport:

Similarly, in the Vana-parva, Chapter 203.11–12, it is said:

śūdra-yonau hi jātasya
sad-guṇānupatiṣṭhataḥ
ārjave vartamānasya
brāhmaṇyam abhijāyate

"If a person born in a śūdra family has developed the qualities of a brāhmaṇa, such as satya (truthfulness), śama (peacefulness), dama (self-control) and ārjava (simplicity), he attains the exalted position of a brāhmaṇa."

Other Books by Srila Prabhupada

Nectar of Devotion

A bona fide spiritual master, under the guidance of authorities, can turn anyone to the Vaiṣṇava cult so that naturally he may come to the topmost position of a brāhmaṇa.
Nectar of Devotion 5:

In the Skanda Purāṇa, in the Kāśī-khaṇḍa portion, where it is said, "In the country known as Mayūradhvaja, the lower-caste people who are considered less than śūdras are also initiated in the Vaiṣṇava cult of devotional service. And when they are properly dressed, with tilaka on their bodies and beads in their hands and on their necks, they appear to be coming from Vaikuṇṭha. In fact, they look so very beautiful that immediately they surpass the ordinary brāhmaṇas."

Thus a Vaiṣṇava automatically becomes a brāhmaṇa. This idea is also supported by Sanātana Gosvāmī in his book Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, which is the Vaiṣṇava guide. Therein he has clearly stated that any person who is properly initiated into the Vaiṣṇava cult certainly becomes a brāhmaṇa, as much as the metal known as kaṁsa (bell metal) is turned into gold by the mixture of mercury. A bona fide spiritual master, under the guidance of authorities, can turn anyone to the Vaiṣṇava cult so that naturally he may come to the topmost position of a brāhmaṇa.

Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead

Persons accepted as śūdras can gradually be elevated to the position of brāhmaṇas by the cultural advancement known as saṁskāra, or the purificatory process.
Krsna Book 51:

According to Vedic culture, anyone who does not follow the regulative principles observed by the higher castes (the brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas and vaiśyas) or even those observed by the laborer class (the śūdras) is called a mleccha or yavana. The Vedic social situation is so planned that persons accepted as śūdras can gradually be elevated to the position of brāhmaṇas by the cultural advancement known as saṁskāra, or the purificatory process. The verdict of the Vedic scriptures is that no one becomes a brāhmaṇa or a mleccha simply by birth; by birth everyone is accepted as a śūdra. One has to elevate himself by the purificatory process to the stage of brahminical life.

If he improperly uses the position of a brāhmaṇa without actual realization, then his elevation to the brahminical position is not valid.
Krsna Book 78:

When Lord Balarāma saw that Romaharṣaṇa Sūta did not understand the highest principle of religion in spite of his having studied all the Vedas, He certainly could not support his position. Romaharṣaṇa Sūta had been given the chance to become a perfect brāhmaṇa, but because of his ill behavior in his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his low birth was immediately remembered. Romaharṣaṇa Sūta had been given the position of a brāhmaṇa, but he had not been born in the family of a brāhmaṇa; he had been born in a pratiloma family. According to the Vedic concept, there are two kinds of mixed family heritage, called anuloma and pratiloma. When a male is united with a female of a lower caste, the offspring is called anuloma; but when a male unites with a woman of a higher caste, the offspring is called pratiloma. Romaharṣaṇa Sūta belonged to a pratiloma family because his father was a kṣatriya and his mother a brāhmaṇa. Because Romaharṣaṇa's transcendental realization was not perfect, Lord Balarāma remembered his pratiloma heritage. The idea is that any man may be given the chance to become a brāhmaṇa, but if he improperly uses the position of a brāhmaṇa without actual realization, then his elevation to the brahminical position is not valid.

A devotee who is fully surrendered unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead has already acquired the position of a brāhmaṇa.
Krsna Book 81:

Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Supersoul of all living entities, knows everyone's heart very well. He is especially inclined to the brāhmaṇa devotees. Lord Kṛṣṇa is also called brahmaṇya-deva, which means that He is worshiped by the brāhmaṇas. Therefore it is understood that a devotee who is fully surrendered unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead has already acquired the position of a brāhmaṇa. Without becoming a brāhmaṇa, one cannot approach the Supreme Brahman, Lord Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is especially concerned with vanquishing the distress of His devotees, and He is the only shelter of pure devotees.

Lectures

Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

"Work according to your capacity, according to your position." That position is brāhmaṇa position, kṣatriya position, vaiśya position, śūdra position.
Lecture on BG 4.16 -- Bombay, April 5, 1974:

Kṛṣṇa said that man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru (BG 18.65), but never said that "You sit down idly." Never said that. Kṛṣṇa, rather, said that "You better do akarma than sit down idly. Even you do something mischievous, that is also good than to sit down idly." He never said. Karmaṇy evādhikāras te mā phaleṣu kadā... Simply He said that "You work. You have got the right to work according to your capacity, according to your position." That position is brāhmaṇa position, kṣatriya position, vaiśya position, śūdra position. In any position, you work, but the result should be given to Kṛṣṇa.

Those who are actually in the position of a brāhmaṇa, actually in the position of a kṣatriya, siddhānām... They are called siddha.
Lecture on BG 7.3 -- Bombay, March 29, 1971:

So manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu kaścid yatati siddhaye (BG 7.3). Siddhaye means to enter into the institution of daiva-varṇa and āśrama. That is called siddhi. Otherwise animals. And yatatām api siddhānām (BG 7.3). Those who are engaged in the four orders or varṇa and āśrama, out of them, yatatām api siddhānām. Those who are actually in the position of a brāhmaṇa, actually in the position of a kṣatriya, siddhānām... They are called siddha. Actually following the rules and regulation of brāhmaṇas, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, they are called siddha.

You have to transcend the position of brāhmaṇa and become a Vaiṣṇava.
Lecture on BG 7.3 -- Bombay, March 29, 1971:

Brāhmaṇa qualities means brahma jānāti iti brāhmaṇaḥ. That is nirākāra, of course, but you have to transcend the position of brāhmaṇa and become a Vaiṣṇava. Then you will understand the Kṛṣṇa's form, Kṛṣṇa's qualities, Kṛṣṇa's pastimes. Sevonmukhe hi jihvādau svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ (Brs. 1.2.234). Nāhaṁ prakāśaḥ sarvasya yoga-māyā-samāvṛtaḥ (BG 7.25). Those who are not Kṛṣṇa conscious, those who are not advanced in Kṛṣṇa science, for them, Kṛṣṇa is covered by the yoga-māyā curtain.

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

The idea is to elevate everyone gradually to the position of brāhmaṇa and Vaiṣṇava and thus make their life perfect.
Lecture on SB 1.2.16 -- Vrndavana, October 27, 1972:

The idea is to elevate everyone gradually to the position of brāhmaṇa and Vaiṣṇava and thus make their life perfect. That is the scheme of Vedic civilization. Cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ (BG 4.13). Not that "Keep the śūdras or the mlecchas in the downtrodden position, and let me advance."

Happiness will be possible when, first of all, you are situated in the brahminical position, sattva-guṇa.
Lecture on SB 1.5.28 -- Vrndavana, August 9, 1974:

It is a false idea that one will be satisfied or be happy simply by economic development. No, that is not possible, practically. In your country, America, there is immense economic development, but you could not get any happiness. That is not possible. Happiness will be possible when, first of all, you are situated in the brahminical position, sattva-guṇa, and to come to that brahminical position, you have to give up the activities of rajas-tamo-guṇa. The rajas-tamo-guṇa is that illicit sex, meat-eating, intoxication and gambling.

If we take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, it doesn't matter in which position he is, either he is on the brāhmaṇa position or kṣatriya position or vaiśya position or śūdra position or caṇḍāla position.
Lecture on SB 1.7.5-6 -- Johannesburg, October 15, 1975:

So in any quality, in any position, even by sentiment, tyaktvā sva-dharmaṁ caraṇāmbujaṁ hareḥ (SB 1.5.17), if we take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, that is the greatest profit from any position. It doesn't matter in which position he is, either he is on the brāhmaṇa position or kṣatriya position or vaiśya position or śūdra position or caṇḍāla position.

That is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā. Māṁ hi pārtha vyapāśritya ye 'pi syuḥ pāpa-yonayaḥ (BG 9.32).

You have to come to the platform of goodness, brahminical position. Then you have to purify that goodness.
Lecture on SB 1.8.18 -- New York, April 10, 1973:

So Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement means to bring persons from the wretched, low qualities, ignorance and passion, to bring him to the platform of goodness. And that goodness also has to be purified. In the material world the goodness is also attacked by the other, lower qualities. Big, big men, very good men, but there are so many defects. Because unless... First of all you have to come to the platform of goodness, brahminical position. Then you have to purify that goodness, sattvaṁ viśuddham, viśuddha-sattva, vasudeva-sattva, vasudeva platform. Then you will be able to understand what is God.

Not that everyone can be elevated to the position of a brāhmaṇa, but at least they must have the chance to see that "Here is a class of men, brāhmaṇa."
Lecture on SB 5.5.23 -- Vrndavana, November 10, 1976:

This is animal civilization, working so hard day and night for eating. That is the business of the hogs and dogs. You will find the hogs and dog, they are loitering on the street whole day and night: "Where is food? Where is sex?" That is not civilization. They must be peaceful brāhmaṇa. Of course, not that everyone can be elevated to the position of a brāhmaṇa, but at least they must have the chance to see that "Here is a class of men, brāhmaṇa." That is wanted. Otherwise the civilization is failure.

But the civilization is how a śūdra or less than śūdra can be elevated to the position of a brāhmaṇa.
Lecture on SB 6.1.21 -- Chicago, July 5, 1975:

So according to the Vedic civilization, a human being must be trained up to become dvija, or take his birth second time. This is human civilization. Saṁskārād bhaved dvijaḥ. Janmanā jāyate śūdraḥ. Simply by ordinary birth by father and mother, it is śūdra. But the civilization is how a śūdra or less than śūdra can be elevated to the position of a brāhmaṇa. That is civilization.

At that time he is fixed up in devotional service; therefore we offer the brahminical position.
Lecture on SB 6.2.24-25 -- Gorakhpur, February 13, 1971:

The devotional service is so nice. As soon as you are fixed up, the other two qualities... To be fixed up in devotional service. Therefore we offer the brahminical position. One who is... When we see that "This man is chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, and his bad habits, contaminated stage, is much improved, naṣṭa prāyeṣu..." Prāyeṣu means almost he is purified. At that time he is fixed up in devotional service; therefore we offer the brahminical position, sacred thread, because a person who is fixed up in devotional service, he is a brāhmaṇa.

He may be coming from the most abominable family, but as soon as he is fixed up, immediately he is fixed up in the position of a brāhmaṇa.
Lecture on SB 6.2.24-25 -- Gorakhpur, February 13, 1971:

Vaiṣṇava is not in the particular caste. As soon as he is fixed up... He may be coming from the pāpa-yoni, from the most abominable family, but as soon as he is fixed up, immediately he is fixed up in the position of a brāhmaṇa because sattva-guṇa... Naṣṭa-prāyeṣu abhadreṣu. Naṣṭa. Tato rajas-tamo-bhāvāḥ (SB 1.2.19). He has no more inclination to be attracted by the activities of tamo-guṇa and rajo-guṇa.

He knows how to deal with them, how to elevate them to the brahminical position.
Lecture on SB 7.6.7 -- Vrndavana, December 9, 1975:

A devotee, a pure devotee of the Lord, and if these persons take shelter of a pure devotee of the Lord, then śudhyanti—they become purified by following the injunction of the spiritual master. He knows how to deal with them, how to elevate them to the brahminical position. So that is not artificial.

Now, just like people protest because we are giving the position of a brāhmaṇa to the mlecchas, yavana. Yavanāḥ khasādayaḥ.
Lecture on SB 7.6.7 -- Vrndavana, December 9, 1975:

Now, just like people protest because we are giving the position of a brāhmaṇa to the mlecchas, yavana. Yavanāḥ khasādayaḥ. Khasādayaḥ means Mongolians, the Chinese, Japanese and the Philippines. So they are khasādaya. The Manipuris, Assamese, they are considered as khasādaya. So there is no distinction. Caitanya Mahāprabhu has given open declaration: kṛṣṇa-bhajanete nāhi jāti kulādi vicāra. Anyone who is desirous of becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious, it is open.

Of course, chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is beyond the position of brāhmaṇa.
Lecture on SB 7.9.39 -- Mayapur, March 17, 1976:

So this process, that we first of all accept anyone who is prepared to chant, we accept to give him hari-nāma—what is the idea? The idea is that he'll gradually become brāhmaṇa. Of course, chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is beyond the position of brāhmaṇa. Nivṛtta-tarṣair upagīyamānāt. This chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is meant for the nivṛtta-tarṣaiḥ. Nivṛtta-tarṣaiḥ means one who has finished all kinds of desires, all kinds of material desires. For him... Nivṛtta-tarṣair upagīyamānāt. But for the ordinary man, bhavauṣadhi, even it is meant for the liberated person, chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, but still, those who are not liberated, if he chants, then he becomes cured from the material desires.

Unless I become a Vaiṣṇava, I come to the position of a brāhmaṇa and then I engage himself in the Brahman's service.
Lecture on SB 7th Canto -- Calcutta, March 7, 1972:

We have to come to that position when we don't identify with this body. This varṇāśrama-dharma is identification with this body: "I am a brāhmaṇa." "I am a brāhmaṇa," what does it mean? This is bodily qualification, but I have got little more knowledge than others. I know what is Brahman. But still, I am not a Vaiṣṇava. Unless I become a Vaiṣṇava, I come to the position of a brāhmaṇa and then I engage himself in the Brahman's service, that is Vaiṣṇava. That is required. Simply... But in order to raise oneself to the highest standard of life, these principles of varṇāśrama-dharma should be followed.

Nectar of Devotion Lectures

A brāhmaṇa... Position means, cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ.
The Nectar of Devotion -- Vrndavana, October 17, 1972:

Sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhiḥ. This is the instruction given by Lord Brahmā and accepted by Lord Caitanya. Sthāne sthitāḥ. "Let everyone remain in his position." A brāhmaṇa... Position means, cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ (BG 4.13). According to different qualities—goodness, passion, ignorance—there are different divisions of the society, cātur-varṇyam.

Initiation Lectures

By initiated process one is elevated to the highest position in this material world. Brāhmaṇas' position.
Initiation Lecture Excerpt -- London, September 7, 1971:

By initiated process one is elevated to the highest position in this material world. Brāhmaṇas' position, in this material world, is the highest position. So this is a training to come to the brahminical stage. Then one has to surpass that brahminical stage also. That is called pure goodness. Brāhmaṇa is goodness, but there is chance of being contaminated with passion and ignorance, because it is material world. But when (one) surpasses that brahminical stage and becomes pure Vaiṣṇava, then Kṛṣṇa becomes revealed to him. Therefore Kṛṣṇa's name is Vasudeva. Pure stage of life is called vāsudeva stage. Just like Vasudeva was father of Kṛṣṇa. That means when one is situated in the Vāsudeva stage, śuddha-sattva, pure goodness, Kṛṣṇa is born. Kṛṣṇa born means Kṛṣṇa becomes visible, revealed. So this initiation process is gradually to raise a devotee to that platform.

Wedding Ceremonies

There is pāñcarātrikī-viddhi for this age, when śūdras can be elevated to the position of brāhmaṇa or Vaiṣṇava by the Vaiṣṇava-viddhi.
Initiation of Sri-Caitanya dasa and Wedding of Pradyumna and Arundhati -- Columbus, May 14, 1969:

A brāhmaṇa is not expected to serve anyone. A kṣatriya is not expected to serve anyone, nor the vaiśyas. Only the śūdras. So kalau śūdra sambhava. Therefore actually there is no Vedic ritualistic performance for the śūdras. It is meant for the brāhmaṇas only. But there is pāñcarātrikī-viddhi for this age, when śūdras can be elevated to the position of brāhmaṇa or Vaiṣṇava by the Vaiṣṇava-viddhi. That viddhi is a voluminous book by Sanātana Gosvāmī. But there is everything, how a brahmacārī will live, how a gṛhastha will live, how a vānaprastha will live. The summary is being practiced.

General Lectures

You come to the brahminical position, or stage. Then you will be truthful.
Lecture -- New Vrindaban, June 7, 1969:

First of all, you come to the goodness of consciousness. When you come to the goodness of consciousness, then you become a brāhmaṇa. What is the quality of brāhmaṇa? Satya śama dama titikṣa ārjava, jñānaṁ vijñānam āstikyaṁ brahma-karma svabhāva-jam (BG 18.42). You come to the brahminical position, or stage. Then you will be truthful. First thing is truthful, satyam. Śamam, self-controlled; damam, the senses are controlled, mind is controlled. We are practically driven by the uncontrolled mind and uncontrolled senses. So when you come to the brahminical position, then your senses become controlled, your mind becomes controlled.

If one does not observe this garbhādhāna-saṁskāra, he immediately falls down to the group of śūdra from brahminical position.
Hare Krishna Festival Address -- San Diego, July 1, 1972, At Balboa Park Bowl:

Those who are in the higher position of the society, they are obliged to observe ten kinds of purificatory processes, out of which, the first purificatory process is garbhādhāna-saṁskāra. So the parents, when they take to sex life for begetting nice children, there is garbhādhāna-saṁskāra, and if one does not observe this garbhādhāna-saṁskāra, he immediately falls down to the group of śūdra from brahminical position. These are the injunctions in the Vedic literature. Sex life is not denied, but one must take responsibility for sex life; otherwise, he becomes entangled in so many sinful activities.

Conversations and Morning Walks

1973 Conversations and Morning Walks

But they have taken the position of brāhmaṇas in the society.
Morning Walk At Cheviot Hills Golf Course -- May 13, 1973, Los Angeles:

Prabhupāda: The Industrial Revolution means revolution of the śūdras. That is Industrial Revolution. Increasing the number of śūdras. These scientists, they are also śūdras. Because they have no real knowledge. Brāhmaṇa means one who has got real knowledge. Brahma-jānātīti brāhmaṇaḥ. And this industrial development means technologists; they are śūdras.

Kṛṣṇa-kāntī: But they have taken the position of brāhmaṇas in the society.

Prabhupāda: No, no. They are never as... They are always working. How they can take the position of the brāhmaṇa? Brāhmaṇa's position is to teach brāhmaṇa knowledge, brahma-jñāna. That is brāhmaṇa.

1974 Conversations and Morning Walks

Those who are engaged in the service of the Lord, they are beyond, transcendental to the position of brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya.
Morning Walk -- March 25, 1974, Bombay:

Dr. Patel: But a sannyāsīs are also from the varṇāśrama.

Prabhupāda: They are also. They are also. Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu has denied: "I am not a sannyāsī, I am not a brāhmaṇa, I am not a kṣatriya, I am not a vaiśya, none of these." He said, gopī-bhartuḥ pada-kamalayor dāsa-dāsānudāsaḥ (CC Madhya 13.80). "I am the servant of the servant of Gopī-bhartuḥ." That is Caitanya Mahāprabhu's identification. So those who are actually in the, engaged in the service of the Lord, they are beyond, transcendental to the position of brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya... Yes.

We shall give you the highest post, brahminical post.
Morning Walk -- April 23, 1974, Hyderabad:

Prabhupāda: If we say, "Now you come to us. We shall raise you from degradation," that they will not do. That they will not agree. Now go to them, all these students, that "You are thinking that you are degraded. So why you should be, mean dog...? Come on, we shall reform you. We shall give you the highest post, brahminical post. Give up these four principles." That they will not do. Will they do?

1976 Conversations and Morning Walks

By reformatory process recommended in the śāstras one should be elevated to the position of brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśyas, and śūdra.
Answers to a Questionnaire from Bhavan's Journal -- June 28, 1976, Vrndavana:

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.

Instead of taking the brāhmaṇa position, if he wants to take again kṛpaṇa position, then what is the use of being initiated?
Room Conversation -- September 6, 1976, Vrndavana:

Prabhupāda: Kṛpaṇa, he does not know how to utilize this asset of human life. He's wasting the asset in a different way. Kṛpaṇa. One has to become brāhmaṇa. The opposite word of kṛpaṇa is brāhmaṇa. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā (BG 18.54). That is wanted. So we are giving brāhmaṇa's position. Instead of taking the brāhmaṇa position, if he wants to take again kṛpaṇa position, then what is the use of being initiated?

Correspondence

1969 Correspondence

If he is a pure devotee of Lord Krishna, he is above the position of brahmana.
Letter to Krsna dasa -- Los Angeles 5 August, 1969:

Krishna Consciousness Movement is for understanding one God, one scripture, one mantra, and one engagement for all living entities, not only within this world, but throughout the whole universe. So far as sacred thread ceremony is concerned, Bhagavad-gita accepts that anyone, from any place, if he is a pure devotee of Lord Krishna, he is above the position of brahmana.

1974 Correspondence

We shall keep ourselves in ideal brahminical position and if need be if no ksatriya or Vaisya is here we can take up their work as emergency.
Letter to Rupanuga -- Tirupati 28 April, 1974:

For example, Parasaram was a Brahmin but when he found the ksatriyas were mismanaging he killed them twenty one times and some of them fled to European countries. This is the history. So far we are concerned we shall keep ourselves in ideal brahminical position and if need be if no ksatriya or Vaisya is here we can take up their work as emergency. Our business is to create ideal ksatriyas and vaisyas but beyond that our real business is to keep ourselves as ideal Brahmins.

1975 Correspondence

At the present moment, even though one is qualified brahmana, he does not get sufficient opportunity to act as brahmana, and therefore he is obliged to accept the occupational duty of someone who is outside the brahminical post.
Letter to Prabhakar -- Honolulu 31 May, 1975:

In the days past, when Prthu Maharaja was the emperor, his government was inspecting to see whether a brahmana is acting actually as a brahmana, whether a ksatriya is acting as a ksatriya, and all the different castes were engaged in all their respective duties. At the present moment, even though one is qualified brahmana, he does not get sufficient opportunity to act as brahmana, and therefore he is obliged to accept the occupational duty of someone who is outside the brahminical post. But if we accept the principle of varna and asrama as they are recommended in the sastra, and if we push on the Krishna Consciousness movement, surely everyone will be engaged in his occupation and the question of unemployment will be finished.

... more about "Position of a brahmana"
Visnu Murti +, ChandrasekharaAcarya +  and Labangalatika +
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April 10, 0010 JL +
BG: 0 +, SB: 19 +, CC: 7 +, OB: 4 +, Lec: 20 +, Conv: 5 +  and Let: 3 +