[Glenville Ave. Temple]

Prabhupāda: We are very glad to receive Professor O'Connell in this auspicious meeting. And it will be very nice, because he's studying the process of Caitanya philosophy. And this ceremony is one of the function in devotional service. We have got a big book... I think, Professor O'Connell, you have secured that book, Hari-bhakti-vilāsa. Have you secured that book?

O'Connell: I have the book. I'm yet to be a professor or even get my degree beyond the... I have the book.

Prabhupāda: That's all right. So that Hari-bhakti-vilāsa is written by Sanātana Gosvāmī in the name of Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī. Because Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī was a very young boy, and Rūpa Gosvāmī and Sanātana Gosvāmī, they were very elderly. But because all the six Gosvāmīns happened to be direct disciples of Lord Caitanya, so Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, although very young, he was treated as younger brother of Sanātana Gosvāmī. So this book was actually written by Sanātana Gosvāmī, but it was published, or dedicated to, Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī.

In this book the rules and regulation of the Vaiṣṇavas are described—of the brahmacārīs, the students; of the gṛhasthas, householders; vānaprastha, retired men; and sannyāsī, renounced order—how gṛhastha should live, how brahmacārī should live, how vānaprastha should live, how sannyāsī should live. All the... It is called Vaiṣṇava smṛti.

Śruti and smṛti. Śruti means Vedic literature, which is traditionally, from time immemorial, it is learned simply by hearing from authoritative sources. Just like in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in the First Canto, first verse, it is said, tene brahma hṛdā ādi-kavaye [SB 1.1.1].

[O my Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, son of Vasudeva, O all-pervading Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. I meditate upon Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa because He is the Absolute Truth and the primeval cause of all causes of the creation, sustenance and destruction of the manifested universes. He is directly and indirectly conscious of all manifestations, and He is independent because there is no other cause beyond Him. It is He only who first imparted the Vedic knowledge unto the heart of Brahmājī, the original living being. By Him even the great sages and demigods are placed into illusion, as one is bewildered by the illusory representations of water seen in fire, or land seen on water. Only because of Him do the material universes, temporarily manifested by the reactions of the three modes of nature, appear factual, although they are unreal. I therefore meditate upon Him, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is eternally existent in the transcendental abode, which is forever free from the illusory representations of the material world. I meditate upon Him, for He is the Absolute Truth.]

The original authority of Vedic literature, Lord Brahmā, he was instructed about Vedic knowledge by Lord Kṛṣṇa. And he imparted Vedic knowledge to the world. So he was the first creature, living creature, after creation. So there was nobody to give him initiation, because he is the only living creature at that time. So the Lord Himself initiated.

How He initiated? Hṛdā, through the heart. Because He is situated in everyone's heart. Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe 'rjuna tiṣṭhati [Bg. 18.61].

[The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone's heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy.]

He is..., the Lord is seated in everyone's heart. So he initiated. Tene brahma hṛdā. Hṛdā means "through the heart." And that is also confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā, that buddhi-yogaṁ dadāmi tam: "I give instruction, buddhi-yogam, the yoga principle of intelligence, or bhakti-yoga." Whom? Teṣāṁ satata-yuktānāṁ bhajatāṁ prīti-pūrvakam [Bg. 10.10]:

[To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.]

One who is engaged with love and affection in devotional service, to him He gives instruction. Not to all. Samo 'haṁ sarva-bhūteṣu [Bg. 9.29]. God is equal to everyone.

[I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all. But whoever renders service unto Me in devotion is a friend, is in Me, and I am also a friend to him.]

That is a fact. So far eating, sleeping, mating, these four principles are concerned, God is giving everyone. Just like government provides maintenance, provision, even in the prison life. That is not very important thing for government. But education department or other higher cultural department, that is not for all. Similarly, although God is equal to everyone, he's especially inclined to the devotees. Ye tu bhajanti māṁ prītyā teṣu te mayi [Bg. 9.29].

Those who are engaged in devotional service, He's specially inclined to him. And to him He gives instruction from within. Teṣāṁ satata-yuktānām [Bg. 10.10]. Satata means always. Twenty-four hours, one who is engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, to him He gives instruction from within, because he's qualified. Others, instruction He's giving, but other is not obeying the instruction.

Just like a man is ready to commit some sinful activities. He thinks, "Shall I do it?" From within, "No, no. Don't do it." Again he says, "Why not? Let me do it." In this way, when he insists, oh, then He says, "All right, do it. Do it." So the word that "Nothing can happen without the sanction of God," that is a fact. Nobody can act anything... Then the question is why a man acts sinfully? Why...? Does God give sanction for sinful action? Yes. When one insists that "I shall do it," "All right, do it. And suffer the consequences."

So this purification process, according to Vaiṣṇava smṛti, ādau gurvāśrayaṁ tato sad-dharma-pṛcchāt sādhu mārgāṇugamanam. [Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.1.74]

[In the beginning one should accept the shelter of a bona fide spiritual master and inquire submissively about religious principles. He should then desire to follow in the footsteps of the great devotees of the Lord.]

In the beginning one has to accept a spiritual master, bona fide spiritual master. And who is bona fide spiritual master? That is also described in several Vedic scripture. In the Upaniṣad it is said, śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham [MU 1.2.12]:

[To understand these things properly, one must humbly approach, with firewood in hand, a spiritual master who is learned in the Vedas and firmly devoted to the Absolute Truth.]

One who has come down in disciplic succession and as a result of such authorized succession one has become fully, firmly convinced in Brahman. Brahman, Paramātmā, Bhagavān, the same thing. Brahma-niṣṭham. He is transcendentally situated. So these things are there.

And in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam also it is said that who requires a spiritual master. That is also said. Tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta [SB 11.3.21].

[Therefore any person who seriously desires real happiness must seek a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of the bona fide guru is that he has realized the conclusions of the scriptures by deliberation and is able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personalities, who have taken shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, should be understood to be bona fide spiritual masters.]

One..., let one surrender himself unto the spiritual master. Who is that one? Jijñāsuḥ. One who is inquisitive. What about inquisitiveness? Jijñā..., śreya uttamam. The highest perfectional stage of life. If one is inclined what is transcendental life, what is spiritual life, what is perfection of life, if one is inclined to this subject matter, for him there is necessity of approaching a bona fide spiritual master.

To accept a spiritual master is not a hobby: "Because everyone accepts some spiritual master, let me have also a spiritual master, without following the instruction, without following the principle." That sort of acceptance of spiritual master is not required. He doesn't require to accept a spiritual master who is not inquisitive on transcendental subject matter. Jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam [SB 11.3.21].

Uttamam means... Ut means surpassing, and tamam means the darkness. This material world is darkness. And one who has transcended the darkness region and has come to the region of light... Jyotir gamaḥ tamasa mā, "Don't remain in this darkness. Go to the light." So that is called uttamam. Uttamam. Udgata tamaṁ yasmād.

So questions, jijñāsuḥ, inquisitive, of transcendental matter. There are many things to inquire. Śrotavyādīni rājan [SB 2.1.2], there is, in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.

[Those persons who are materially engrossed, being blind to the knowledge of ultimate truth, have many subject matters for hearing in human society, O Emperor.]

There are many subject matter for inquiry and hearing. But one who is interested in hearing about the transcendental subject matter, ramante yoginaḥ anante [Cc. Madhya 9.29], the unlimited, infinite subject matter, for him a spiritual master is needed.

[“‘The Supreme Absolute Truth is called Rāma because the transcendentalists take pleasure in the unlimited true pleasure of spiritual existence.’]

Not for all. Tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam [SB 11.3.21].

[Therefore any person who seriously desires real happiness must seek a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of the bona fide guru is that he has realized the conclusions of the scriptures by deliberation and is able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personalities, who have taken shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, should be understood to be bona fide spiritual masters.]

And who is spiritual master? That is also stated. Śābde pare ca niṣṇāta. Śābde means the Vedic śruti, śruti. This is called śābda-brahma. One who has learned both śruti and smṛti. Śruti means Vedas, and smṛti means books derived from Vedic knowledge. That is called smṛti. And Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī says in his Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu that śruti smṛti...

pāñcarātriki-vidhiṁ vinā
aikāntikī harer bhaktir
utpātāyaiva kalpate

[Brs. 1.2.101]

[Devotional service of the Lord that ignores the authorized Vedic literatures like the Upaniṣads, Purāṇas and Nārada-pañcarātra is simply an unnecessary disturbance in society.]

If one poses himself a great devotee but does not follow the principles of śruti, smṛti, purāṇa and Nārada Pañcarātra, and the rules and regulation thereof, then his presentation as great devotee is simply disturbance.

According to this Hari-bhakti-vilāsa and according to the direction of the Gosvāmīs in the Lord Caitanya's line, if one does not follow the principles of Vedas, principles of the smṛti or corollaries, Vedic literature... Just like Bhagavad-gītā is called smṛti, and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Mahā-purāṇa.

So śruti, smṛti, purāṇādi, and pāñcarātriki-vidhim, Nārada Pañcarātra. Without following the rules and regulation of these scriptures, if one poses himself as devotee of Kṛṣṇa, aikāntikī harer bhaktiḥharer means Lord; bhakti, devotional service—he is disturbance to the society.

So the general rule is that if one is inquisitive... Just as we follow in our this Kṛṣṇa consciousness Society, we ask everyone to come. We don't make any imposition that with such-and-such qualification one can sit here or hear. No.

All these students who are initiated, they know we don't impose anything, "You must be such and such," "You must be such and such educated," "You must be Hindu" or "You must be brāhmaṇa" or "You must be white" or "black..." No such restriction. Anyone. This is universal. Chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, everyone is welcome. Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. That's all. And hear something from Bhagavad-gītā.

So following this principle, if one is a little more interested, then he offers himself: "Swāmījī, I shall be initiated." So if I see that that boy or that girl is sincere and is following, then we say that "You have to follow these four principles." What are these? Niṣiddhācāra. These are injunction by Lord Caitanya, that no illicit sex life, no intoxication, no, I mean to say, nonvegetarian dishes and no gambling. These four principles. So they agree, and he is given initiation for chanting beads, Hare Kṛṣṇa, at least sixteen rounds daily.

So if one follows the rules and regulation rigidly... And the next initiation is this dvijatvam. Dvijatvam means twice-born. Twice-born one becomes immediately when he approaches a spiritual master, but the sacred thread is offered as the symbol that he has a spiritual master. Just like there is some vast[?], there is some degree. So this sacred thread is offered after one year.

One who has followed strictly the rules and regulation and chanted sixteen rounds Hare Kṛṣṇa at least, so he is given the second chance. The third chance is to offer renunciation. If he wants to completely in the service of the Lord, there is sannyāsa. Just like the other day we were discussing, anāśritaḥ karma-phalaṁ kāryaṁ karma karoti yaḥ, sa sannyāsī [Bg. 6.1].

[The Blessed Lord said: One who is unattached to the fruits of his work and who works as he is obligated is in the renounced order of life, and he is the true mystic: not he who lights no fire and performs no work.]

Of course, these are formal regulative principles. Real life is within: how much one is sincere in the service of the Lord.

So according to rigid class of Hindus, this sacred thread ceremony, they say it is to be offered only to the person who are born in the brāhmaṇa family. Perhaps you have studied all these things while you were in India. But Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam says no. There is no question of birthright, that because one is born in the brāhmaṇa family, therefore he can become a brāhmaṇa. Of course, the Vedic regulation is that unless one is born by a brāhmaṇa father, he cannot be initiated according to the Vedic regulation.

But to take birth in the brāhmaṇa family, that is now [indistinct] at the present moment. Because in the brāhmaṇa family formerly—not only in the brāhmaṇa; kṣatriya family and vaiśya family also—there was a garbhādhāna ceremony. Garbhādhāna ceremony means when the father goes to beget a child, there is a ceremony like this. It is not a secret service. It is open secret, that "Today he is going to have sex life with his wife for begetting a nice child." It is not sexual enjoyment; it is to beget a nice child. So there is a ceremony which is called garbhādhāna ceremony, pregnancy ceremony.

So at the present moment this ceremony is not observed. Even in rigid families they have already given up. And the śāstra injunction is, as soon as one gives up this ceremony, garbhādhāna ceremony, he at once falls down to the classification of a śūdra. The whole family, no more. Because who knows by whom this child is born? Nobody knows whether he's a brāhmaṇa's son or a śūdra's son or a rascal's son or a paṇḍita's son. Because there is so much freedom.

So kalau śūdra-sambhava. Therefore the general enunciation is that in this age everyone has to be accepted as born śūdra. But this principle is accepted always. By birth everyone is śūdra. Janmanā jāyate śūdraḥ. Everyone is born śūdra. Then? Saṁskārād bhaved dvijaḥ.

[By birth everyone is a śūdra, but by undergoing the purificatory ceremonies under the direction of a bona fide spiritual master, one may become a brāhmaṇa, and when one knows the Supreme Spirit, he actually becomes a truly learned brāhmaṇa.]

Dvijaḥ means this saṁskāra. This saṁskāra... By gradual process of cultivation of knowledge, of behavior, of rules and regulations, one becomes a dvijaḥ. Dvijaḥ means twice-born. The first birth is by the father and mother, and the second birth is by the spiritual master and Vedic knowledge. At that time, the second birth means mother is the Vedic knowledge and father is the spiritual master.

So Sanātana Gosvāmī says, because he has enunciated this rule for the so-called rigid brāhmaṇas, they say, "Without taking birth in a brāhmaṇa family there is no possibility of one's becoming a brāhmaṇa." But Bhagavad-gītā does not say like that. Bhagavad-gītā says, cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ [Bg. 4.13].

[According to the three modes of material nature and the work ascribed to them, the four divisions of human society were created by Me. And, although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the non-doer, being unchangeable.]

"These four principles of caste—brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra—I have created that division." Now, it is creation of God. Nobody can nullify it.

So that division is everywhere. Not only in India or Hindu society or... No. Everywhere. Guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ: by classification of quality and work. Here also the same thing is there. And Śrīmad-Bhāgavata also confirms this by Nārada Muni, when he describes about these four principles of social division, he says, yasya hi yal lakṣaṇaṁ syād varṇābhivyañjakam [SB 7.11.35].

[If one shows the symptoms of being a brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya or śūdra, as described above, even if he has appeared in a different class, he should be accepted according to those symptoms of classification.]

Now there is classification who is a brāhmaṇa, who is a kṣatriya, who is a vaiśya, the qualities. Because according to quality, the divisions shall be there. Now in the Bhagavad-gītā you'll find the brāhmaṇa's quality, the vaiśya's quality, the śūdra's quality.

So Bhāgavata also confirms that yasya hi yal lakṣaṇaṁ syāt. The symptoms of a person qualifying himself to become a brāhmaṇa or kṣatriya or vaiśya or śūdra, that is the main principle. If that symptom is found elsewhere, he should be accepted in that classification. Suppose a man is born in a śūdra family or less than a śūdra family, but if his qualities are just like brāhmaṇa, then he should be accepted as brāhmaṇa. That is Bhāgavata's...

So this process of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is a manufacturing process of brāhmaṇa, Vaiṣṇava. Vaiṣṇava means surpassing the brahminical stage. Brahma jānātīti brāhmaṇaḥ. One who has realized Brahman, he is called brāhmaṇa. After realization of Brahman, then realization of Paramātmā, then realization of Bhagavān.

And one who comes to the stage of understanding Bhagavān, the Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, he is called Vaiṣṇava. A Vaiṣṇava means he is already a brāhmaṇa. Because in the Bhagavad-gītā it is said,

brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā
na śocati na kāṅkṣati
samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu
mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām

[Bg. 18.54]

[And of all yogīs, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.]

The devotional service begins when one has already realized Brahman. Because to whom rendering devotional service? To the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavān. And Bhagavān is the last word in the Absolute Truth.

vadanti tat tattva-vidas
tattvaṁ yaj jñānam advayam
brahmeti paramātmeti
bhagavān iti śabdyate

[SB 1.2.11]

[Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this nondual substance Brahman, Paramātmā or Bhagavān.]

The Absolute Truth is realized in three phases: first impersonal Brahman realization, then localized Paramātmā realization, and then the last word is to realize the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And that is also confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā:

bahūnāṁ janmanām ante
jñānavān māṁ prapadyate
vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti
sa mahātmā su-durlabhaḥ

[Bg. 7.19]

[After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.]

One who has accepted that Vāsudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa—Kṛṣṇa is Vāsudeva—sa mahātmā, he is the greatest soul. And Bhāgavata confirms,

vāsudeve bhagavati
janayaty āśu vairāgyaṁ
jñānaṁ ca yad ahaitukam

[SB 1.2.7]

[By rendering devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, one immediately acquires causeless knowledge and detachment from the world.]

If one is engaged in the transcendental loving service to Vāsudeva, then automatically the stage of Brahman realization automatically becomes revealed.

So this ceremony is just according to the strict principle of Vaiṣṇava smṛti. And today... And Sanātana Gosvāmī confirms this, that yathā kāñcanatāṁ yāti kāṁsyaṁ rasa-vidhānataḥ [Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 2.12].

[By chemical manipulation, bell metal is turned into gold when touched by mercury; similarly, when a person is properly initiated, he can acquire the qualities of a brāhmaṇa.]

By chemical process, one can turn the bell metal into gold. That is alchemistry, that bell metal, if it is treated with mercury properly, then it can become gold. Formerly people knew it. So the example is given that as bell metal, a base metal, can be turned into gold by a chemical process, similarly, yathā... [break] [end]