Srila Prabhupada speaks – “This conception of caste on the basis of birthright has killed the Vedic culture. “

June 20, 2021 in Articles by Laksman dasa

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Srila Prabhupada speaks – “This conception of caste
on the basis of birthright has killed the Vedic culture.”

Our movement is for everyone. It is not sectarian. When we speak of no intoxication, it is meant for everyone. You should always remember the statement of Caitanya Mahaprabhu:
yei bhaje sei bada abhakta-hina chara“Anyone who takes to devotional service is exalted, whereas a nondevotee is always condemned and abominable. Therefore in the discharge of devotional service of the Lord, there is no consideration service of the Lord, there is no consideration of the status of one’s family.” [Cc. Antya 4.67].
The devotee is great and the nondevotee is downtrodden. And in the matter of devotional service of Krishna, there is no concern of caste and creed. Krsna also says, mam hi partha vyapasritya ye’pi syuh pata-yonayayah [Bg. 9.32]. Even the papa-yonayayah, if he takes to devotional service, he also goes back to Home, Back-to-Godhead. This conception of caste on the basis of birthright has killed the Vedic culture. Also in the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said:yasya yallaksanam proktampuso varnabhivyanjakam,
yadanyatrapi drsyeta
tat tenaiva vinirdiset
[SB 7.11.35]So despite all these things, these people are still insisting that one can only be Vaisnava if born in a brahmana family. That is not a very learned position.
[Srila Prabhupada Letter. ,24 June, 1976]
English SynonymsDurjati-low caste, eba-only, sabana-sacrifice, ayogyatwe-in the matter of disqualification, karanam-cause, malam-concluded, durjati-low caste, arambhakam-beginning of, eba-alone, papam-vice, yat-that which is, prarabdham-current, tat-that.TranslationLow caste birth is the concluded cause only for disqualification in the matter of taking part in the execution of sacrifices. Therefore the low caste is the beginning of current result of past vices.PurportThe rigidity of caste system according to the law of Karma is undoubtedly very scientific and the Vedic shastras which accept this divisions of castes are right in that scientific estimation. It does not however mean that a low caste born man cannot rise up to the standard of a qualified Brahmin. It depends on the undaunted desire of the candidate for rising up to that standard. Those who are supporters of the caste system by birth right only are as much mistaken as those who fight to dismantle the scientific institution of caste system without being qualified for the purpose. Here is a right adjustment for the two opposite schools in the matter of supporting and breaking the caste system respectively.In the Bhagwat Geeta it is admitted that the caste system is a scientific plan made by the Personality of Godhead Himself. He does not however give much stress on the point of birth right because for a devotee of the Personality of Godhead the birth right of caste system is quite immaterial. What is the difference between a born Brahmin and born Chandala? It is the difference of the material semen only. The body is made out of the semen of the father and in the case of a born Brahmin it is taken for acceptance that the semen is pure while in the case of the chandala the semen is impure. Purity and impurity of the semen depend also on the purity of the father in respect of his daily habits in life. It depends on the quality of the foodstuffs the father takes. Dr. Barnard Shaw said that you are what you eat. Therefore even to the modern man it depends on the eating of a man to constitute the different secretion of the bodily glands. This is a vast subject however not to be dealt with here but our point of discussion is that a man even born of a Chandala semen it does not make any barrier for his rising up to the plane of pure Brahmin provided he has adopted the devotional services of the Lord under bonafide guidance of the spiritual master. As stated in the stanza 20 the devotional service is like the blazing fire and therefore it is able to purify even impure birth semen of the Chandala if he is in the line. One may argue that in order to change the impure blood in the body of Chandala it will be necessary for him to wait for the change of the body. But SrilaJiva Goswami who is one of the authorised Acharya by Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu answers this question very saliently as follows:-“Children of the Brahmin family may be freed from the vice which causes the low caste birth but to become qualified for the office of performing sacrifices such children have to undergo the process of pious actions like the second birth by initiation from an Acharya generally known as the sacred thread ceremony. This means that the Chandala has to wait for the next birth in the family of a Brahmin as much as the Brahmin boy has to wait for the thread ceremony for the particular office. It may be an argumentative point that even though a Chandala on account of his pure devotional service is freed from the vice which caused his birth in the Chandala family yet according to social custom a Chandala born man cannot be allowed to have the facility of second birth by thread ceremony. But that sort of argument is invalid in the presence of evidence of the Shastras. It is clearly mentioned that such devotee becomes at once eligible for the purpose.”He becomes at once pure and cleansed of all vices of his previous birth and thereby he becomes at once venerable as much as a qualified Brahmin. By dint of his actual activities in the devotional line under the guidance of a bonafide Acharya he is at once washed of all sins and therefore this example is quite appropriate with reference to the context that a devotee of Vasudeva has nothing like inauspicity. He is transcendental to all the bodily reactions of birth, death, old age and diseases.SrilaBhaktiSiddhanta Saraswati Thakur a powerful Acharya as SrilaJiva Goswami in the recent years (1918-1936) reformed the Goudiya Vaishnava association by establishment of the Goudiya Math establishment which institute initiates all persons without any caste and creed distinction and gives them the right of a qualified Brahmin by initiation in terms of the Haribhaktivilas an authorised law book compiled by Srila Sanatan Goswami. Lord Chaitanya wanted that everybody from all corners of the world shall be initiated in the cult of Bhakti as it is propounded by Him and the Gaudiya Math institution has taken up the initiative action on this behalf very timely. Solution of all problems like the dissolution of the caste system and other similar social movement can actually take a valid form only under the auspicious direction of the Goswamins. All contending elements of the world problems can be easily mitigated by the blessings of Lord Chaitanya if the path is followed strictly under direction of the Goswamins headed by SrilaRupa Goswami the author of the Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu.
Link to this page: https://prabhupadabooks.com/btg/25/25a