Devotee means above the social positions of brahmana, sudra,etc–SP

July 8, 2021 in Articles by Damaghosa dasa

April 20 1974 Hyderabad conversations.
Prabhupāda: So we must know how to please Kṛṣṇa. Generally, the śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ [SB 7.5.23], that is pleasing. Therefore these rules and regulation for everyone. But when one becomes mature devotee, he knows how to please Kṛṣṇa. He knows.
Nitāi: One question came up the other day when I was talking with this clergyman.
Prabhupāda: Clergyman?
Nitāi: Yes, that man I was talking to was a clergyman.
Prabhupāda: Where he was?
Nitāi: He was on the airplane when we were coming here to Hyderabad. And he was asking what our program was. And I was telling him that first of all, in order to relieve the confusion of society, we wanted to establish the Vedic culture with this varṇāśrama system. And he asked me what would be the program that we would have for a man who works in the factory…
Prabhupāda: He is a śūdra.
Nitāi: Would we retrain him as a farmer?
Prabhupāda: No, if he is prepared. If not, let him remain. But we can utilize that śūdra also.
Nitāi: He can remain in the factory.
Prabhupāda: Yes. But he cannot do the work of a brāhmaṇa. He cannot be trained as a preacher. But he can help. Just like my legs. The legs cannot do the work of brain, but it can help me. I am walking. So leg is as important as the brain. Similarly, śūdra is as important as the brāhmaṇa, provided he helps the movement, Kṛṣṇa conscious. That is wanted, not that artificially a śūdra should be working as a brāhmaṇa, no. But everyone should be engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is required.
Nitāi: So in that case he is a śūdra, and he is also doing the work of a…
Prabhupāda: Then he is not a śūdra. One who is engaged in Kṛṣṇa’s service, he is neither brāhmaṇa nor śūdra. He is devotee. He is brahma-bhūta [SB 4.30.20]. Brahma-bhūyāya kalpate [Bg. 14.26]. Apparently he looks like śūdra. Just like we have got so many men from different quarters, but we do not belong to that quarter any more. Vaiṣṇave jāti-buddhiḥ.Therefore anyone who takes, “Oh, here is an American Vaiṣṇava, here is an Indian Vaiṣṇava,” that is nārakī. He is Vaiṣṇava. That understanding required.
Mahāṁsa: Just like that devotee who was making garlands for Kṛṣṇa.
Prabhupāda: Yes.
Mahāṁsa: He is a devotee. He is not a śūdra making garlands.
Prabhupāda: No. He is not a ordinary gardener.
Pañcadraviḍa: Or that devotee who was making leaf bowls for worshiping the Ganges.
Prabhupāda: Any engagement, any engagement for Kṛṣṇa, he is Vaiṣṇava. If he is under the guidance of his spiritual master and doing the business according to the direction, he is Vaiṣṇava. He is above all these.
Pañcadraviḍa: A śūdra, if he is working, he cannot take brāhmaṇa initiation, but he can take hari-nāma, is that it?
Prabhupāda: Just like sometimes our men, my devotee, they wash the cupboard. Does it mean he is a methar(?)? No. He can go to the Deity room also. He is not a methar(?) or sweeper. But sometimes we do that. So devotee is above all these consideration. But because there is management, they should appear as brāhmaṇa, as śūdra, as kṣatriya, like that.
sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate māṁ ca vyabhicariṇi bhakti-yogena yaḥ sevate
[Bg. 14.26]
A devotee, because he is working as a śūdra, he is not a śūdra; neither he is a brāhmaṇa. He is already in the spiritual platform. But for management we have to do that. One can do the śūdra’s work nicely—let him be engaged in that way. Why he should imitate?
Mahāṁsa: Does he get second initiation?
Prabhupāda: Everything he will get.
Mahāṁsa: He gets.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Second initiation means recognized: “Now he has become fully competent Vaiṣṇava.” Just like master is teaching the servant, “Now you give massage in this way, this way.” But that does not mean he has become servant.
Pañcadraviḍa: What if the person working as śūdra says, “I can do so much. I can…,”
Prabhupāda: First of all, try to understand. A devotee is neither brāhmaṇa nor śūdra. He may act like a śūdra, but he is not śūdra. He may act like a brāhmaṇa; he is not brāhmaṇa. He is Vaiṣṇava. Just like gopīs. The gopīs, they are village cowherds women. They are, according to social construction, they are not very high class. They did not belong to the brāhmaṇa class. But their worship, method of worship, has been taken the highest. Ramyā kācid upāsanā vrajavadhū-vargeṇa. They were village girls, and practically their character was also not good. Because at dead of night they are going to Kṛṣṇa.But why they have been taken as the most topmost devotee of Kṛṣṇa? Because the love was so high class. It is the test, how much one has learned to love Kṛṣṇa. That is wanted. Apparently he may appear as a brāhmaṇa, a śūdra or vaiśya. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. The only business is to see: sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo yato bhaktir adho… [SB 1.2.6]. Aiye. Hare Kṛṣṇa. Jaya. That is wanted.
Pañcadraviḍa: What if the person cannot chant sixteen rounds a day. He says, “I can’t…
Prabhupāda: Then he is not even a human being. He is a rascal. That’s all. He is not a human being. What to consider of talking…? Don’t talk about him if he cannot chant sixteen rounds. He is not even a human. He is animal. [break]
Pañcadraviḍa: …even he may be employed as factory worker or something.
Prabhupāda: Well, if you take factory workers are better than animals, that is another thing.