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.

Pañcadraviḍa: …such devotees that they do service, they may be very big, they attract so many people, they are successful, kīrtana and everything, but we know they are not chanting japa. What can we do in that situation? Are we…
Prabhupāda: Situation, he is doing some service. He is doing some service.
Pañcadraviḍa: Yes.
Prabhupāda: So because on account of that service, if he could not, that can be excused. But not that practice should be taken as permanent business. The regulation is that if you cannot finish your chanting that day, then next day you should forget sleeping and eating and must finish it.
Pañcadraviḍa: Some persons we encounter they don’t even chant at all, and yet we are in association with them, and they are…
Prabhupāda: No, if you miss on account of busy-ness, then next day you must finish it. You should not go to sleep. You should not… Yes, that day you should forget all other business. First of all compensate this.
Satsvarūpa: Some devotees have it as a chronic condition, though.
Prabhupāda: Then he is animal.
Satsvarūpa: But still, he’s doing lots of good devotional service.
Pañcadraviḍa: He may even be manager.
Prabhupāda: Then they will get some chance later on. What is that devotee, if you do not follow the regulative principles? The business is that if one day you cannot, but finish. The next day you must finish. Now, for eating, he is very eager, and for sleeping, he is very eager, and for finishing chanting, he has no eagerness. Then he is animal. It is simply an excuse. Yesterday you had no time? You were very busy? All right. Today you forget your sleeping and eating. Finish it. That is wanted. [break] And only for chanting, you have no time. This is not allowed. This is not allowed. This is cheating, that “I am so busy.”
Pañcadraviḍa: Most of these devotees in Hyderabad, they are chanting twenty-five rounds a day or more.
Prabhupāda: That’s all right. If you can chant more, that is good. [break]
Pañcadraviḍa: …must associate with them, that is difficult.
Prabhupāda: But you do your business. You don’t follow them. That’s all. You remain perfect. There are many imperfects, admitting, but you try to remain perfect so that they may see you, your behavior, and they may follow you.
 
Some Conclusions–Srila Prabhupada sums up the entire conversation with these words…. 
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.
Prabhupada also gave another nice example of an apprentice learning how to become a master electrician . The master would say do this, and don’t do that and if the apprentice follows his instructions he learns how to master the art of electricity. If he doesn’t follow, he gets electrocuted ! So this student  of bhakti must be working under the instructions of a bona fide guru, otherwise his work is all karma khanda. If he works under the bona fide gurus instructions with a motive to please Krsna, that is pure devotional service.
SB 3.29.8 purport...To act under the direction of a bona fide spiritual master with a motive to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead is pure devotional service. But if one has a motive for personal sense gratification, his devotional service is manifested differently. Such a man may be violent, proud, envious and angry, and his interests are separate from the Lord’s.
Hare Krsna
damaghosa das
 below-queen of the prairie and scarlet red runner beans growing on the greenhouse arbor
 
fresh picked sweet peas for Krsna’s dinner
the squash growing over and thru the peas