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Who is to decide whether a person is first-class, if they are a brahmana or whether they are ksatriya or vaisya

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"Who is to decide whether a person is first-class, if they are a brahmana or whether they are ksatriya or vaisya"

Conversations and Morning Walks

1975 Conversations and Morning Walks

The book of knowledge. You can read Bhagavad-gītā. Find out, śamaḥ damaḥ titikṣa... This is first-class. Now śamo damaḥ... Śamaḥ means controlling the mind, mind is always peaceful. You can train. Then controlling the senses. Then truthful. Then full of knowledge, practical application of knowledge in life. These are the qualification of first-class man. Everything is there.
Room Conversation with Mr. & Mrs. Wax, Writer and Editing Manager of Playboy Magazine -- July 5, 1975, Chicago:

Mrs. Wax: The four natural divisions... I understand that at Vṛndāvana, that that will be an example to American society, but how can the four natural divisions of man be translated into American society?

Prabhupāda: It has to be. If you don't, then you must suffer with all these criminals. That is natural. Just like in your body there is head, and there is arm, and there is belly, and there is leg. The head is the most important part. Why? Why not all legs? Why there are different divisions? Similarly, in the human society, if we want to make it perfect, there must be head, there must be arm, there must be belly, there must be legs. So leg can walk, but leg cannot do the work of brain. So at the present moment we have got all walking men, no brain. Therefore the society is in chaotic condition. There is no brain in the society. That is the defect of modern civilization. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is stated, cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ (BG 4.13). According to quality and work, there are four divisions. (aside:) You can push it back. Four divisions. So similarly, four divisions must be there: a group of men, first-class; a group of men, administrators; a group of men, food producer; and a group of men, general worker. So the brain is the chief. If your body... There are other parts, but if your head is cut off, then what is the use of other parts? If your hand is cut off, you can live. If your leg is cut off, you can live. But if your head is cut off, then finished. So that is lacking in the present society, no brain how to guide, so that whole human... If the brain is there, then it can guide. It can ask the hand to work in a certain way, the leg to work in certain way, to eat in a certain way. Then the health of the whole body will be quite competent. But if there is no brain, then everything... Just like a man becomes mad when the brain is not working.

Mrs. Wax: Who will decide what the propensities are, Prabhupāda?

Prabhupāda: Hm?

Jayatīrtha: Who is to decide whether a person is first-class, if they are a brāhmaṇa or whether they are kṣatriya or vaiśya?

Prabhupāda: The book of knowledge. You can read Bhagavad-gītā. Find out, śamaḥ damaḥ titikṣa.

Jayatīrtha:

śamo damas tapaḥ śaucaṁ
kṣāntir ārjavam eva ca
jñānaṁ vijñānam āstikyam
brahma-karma svabhāva-jam
(BG 18.42)

"Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, wisdom, knowledge, and religiousness—these are the qualities by which a brāhmaṇa works."

Prabhupāda: This is first-class. Now śamo damaḥ... Śamaḥ means controlling the mind, mind is always peaceful. You can train. Then controlling the senses. Then truthful. Then full of knowledge, practical application of knowledge in life. These are the qualification of first-class man. Everything is there. If you train a boy to become first-class man, he can become first-class man. If you don't train, then he will become a debauch, criminal, disturbing. So we are training in the Gurukula to become first-class men. This is our aim. Unless in the society an ideal first-class man, then how one will become, or follow the ideal? There is no ideal. Now what is the idea of first-class man now? Can I ask you? What is your idea of first-class man? Whom do you call first-class man?

Jayatīrtha: Do you know any first-class men?

Mrs. Wax: I can't find any in the society. (laughs)

Prabhupāda: That is the defect. We have no idea who is first-class man. Everyone is drunkard, everyone smoker, everyone is gambler, everyone is illicit sex, where is first-class man? So in the absence of first-class man there must be criminals. Aiye. So there is a need of first-class men, first-class men and second-class men. Third-class, fourth-class, fifth-class, they are automatically there. So at the present moment fourth-class, fifth-class men. Third-class is also very scarcely found, and there is no question of first-class, second-class. But as in the full body we require brain, we require arm, we require belly, we require leg... Everything is required for different purposes of work. But at the present moment there is no place for the first-class men. When we ask our students that "You become free from all these four classes of sinful activity: no illicit sex, no meat-eating," people laugh: "Oh, why you are asking?" They do not know what is the ideal man. They think, "Illicit sex, what is wrong there? Meat-eating, what is wrong there?" They do not know what is right and wrong. Therefore all fourth-class men. They cannot understand even what is the value of these things. So you cannot be happy with fourth-class men. At least there must be a section, first-class men. That we are trying to create, a first-class man from this Gurukula.

Mrs. Wax: The ten-year-old boys who left Gurukula and went to Vṛndāvana and then went to Māyāpur, what will they...? They will be trained in the divisions there and come back?

Prabhupāda: No, that is the ideal, mind completely controlled, senses completely controlled, truthful and simple life. In this way they will be trained up gradually. And we have got one hundred books like that. If they read all these books and if they are trained up in their character, then they will be, in future, first-class men.

Mrs. Wax: Would you comment on the current political situation in India, what's happening right now?

Prabhupāda: Yes, that will happen everywhere because there is no first-class man.

Mrs. Wax: So it doesn't matter if Nārāyaṇa is successful?

Prabhupāda: No.

Mrs. Wax: None of them are first-class people is what you're saying.

Prabhupāda: They are politician. That also... All of them are fourth-class men. The fighting is between two section of fourth-class men. They do not know what is first-class man. Although the Bhagavad-gītā is there, they do not know, neither do they care. Just like I was telling. When we propose that "No illicit sex, no meat eating," they laugh, "Hah! What is that?" But when they are put into trouble they say, "What to do?" When there is crime they say, "What to do?" They do not know how to tackle the situation because they are all third-class, fourth-class men. They do not know. They become disappointed.

Mrs. Wax: I realize that we're all considered spirit souls. But can a woman be first-class if she...

Prabhupāda: Anyone can become first-class. Woman can become first-class if she is chaste and very much attached to husband. And if the husband is first-class, she becomes first-class. Because woman's duty is to follow husband. So if the husband is first-class, the wife is first-class, if she sticks to the husband.

Mrs. Wax: But she can never be first-class unless she has a first class husband.

Prabhupāda: No, she is first class by following faithfully husband. And if the husband is first-class, then woman is first-class.