Guru Carana Padma
So today we are bestowing brahminical initiation upon one disciple. This brahminical culture is very important therefore Prabhupada has given second initiation. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur also has given this second initiation. It is to empower the devotee in the primary activity of chanting Hare Krishna maha mantra. After one has taken the first initiation and has proven that they are steady in their practice then they can be further empowered in their practice by being made a brahmana. Brahmana is described in Bhagavad-Gita :
samo damas tapah saucam
Controlling the mind, controlling the senses, being austere, being clean, being honest, arjavam, having full faith in the scriptures, having theoretical knowledge of scripture and being fixed in the practical application of scripture. These are the qualities of the Brahmanas. Actually I know the most important qualification is that one is chanting sixteen rounds regularly. When I went to receive my brahminical initiation from Srila Prabhupada in 1975 in Atlanta, he had one question and one question only. He said, “Are you chanting sixteen rounds regularly?” You see. So the qualification is to be very fixed in following the vows of one’s first initiation and then one can be further recognized that, “ yes this person now is fixed in their practice.” They can be recognized as a brahmana, one who is qualified to go on the altar and offer the arati to the Deities and one who is qualified also to teach.
A brahmana means one who knows what is Brahman and spreads the knowledge of Brahman to everyone he meets. You see. So, of course in the Vedic culture there are the four varnas and four ashrams. The brahmana position, Prabhupada explains actually brahmana means he is the spiritual master of the entire human society. Of course if one is Vaishnava, one is actually qualified as Vaishnava, then they are automatically brahmana even if they are acting in different capacities for livelihood. In the Vedic culture a brahmana would never be an employee for example. Under emergency he could act as vaisya, or he could act as ksatriya but he could never act as an employee. But Prabhupada explained he had one disciple who’s now one of our big leaders actually, Gopala Krsna Maharaja. At the time he was working a job. I think he was in Toronto at the time or Montreal working a job. He was thinking, “Oh, now I’m a sudra.” But Prabhupada no said, “No”. So even if one has to in the present situation work a job if he is fixed in Krishna consciousness he is accepted as brahmana.
The brahmanas are actually very, very glorious in the Vedic culture. Prabhupada gives very nice story of one brahmana in the kingdom of that king, Krishna Candra. Just like near our Mayapur in West Bengal there is that city Krishna Nagar. You may have heard Krishna Nagar. So some centuries ago the king of that area he was Krishna Candra. So he heard that there was a brahmana in his kingdom who was poverty stricken. So he thought, “no, no. No brahmana in my kingdom should be poverty stricken. They must all be well situated materially.” You see. So he went to that brahmana. He was living under a tamarind tree and he was teaching in the daytime; the students would come and he would teach Sanskrit and bhakti and like that. So the king came he said, “Brahmana, I have heard that you are poverty stricken. I have come to bestow wealth upon you.” He said, “What do you mean poverty stricken? Don’t you see that I’m living under this tamarind tree and my wife she takes the leaves from the tamarind tree and the students when they come for lesson they bring palm full of rice and she boils the rice with the tamarind leaf. We are living very opulently here. What do you mean poverty stricken? No, thank you I don’t need anything.” So you see this is brahmana. He is simply happy to give this knowledge, that’s all.
That is actual brahmana. He studies the absolute truth and he teaches the absolute truth and he depends on Krishna for whatever his maintenance may be. If that requires him, if under his Guru’s direction he has to, he is working a job, that’s all right. He is still considered a brahmana. Whatever his guru says he does. If guru says you live under a tree, he does that. If he says you, you know, start a business and make, you know, ten million dollars to build temples he does that. You see. He is simply acting under the orders of his spiritual master. Whatever will help to push forward the knowledge of param brahmana, Krishna, that he accepts.
So brahminical initiation means one has to reaffirm one’s vows taken at first initiation to become very, very sober and very, very fixed in Krishna bhakti. The mind of a brahmana is very peaceful: brahma-bhutah prasannatma na socati na kanksati (BG 18.54) You see. The brahmana means he is free from hankering and lamenting. He is equipoised. He doesn’t allow himself to be, blown this way and that way by the modes of nature. He studies, “oh this mode is now acting. That mode is now acting.” Just like a weatherman studies the weather. He can study his own physic movements and be detached from them, you see, that is brahmana. He’s not carried away by the winds of the modes of nature. So these brahminical qualifications are the platform from which one can build Krishna bhakti. Brahmin means he is situated in sattva guna, the mode of goodness. So that is the launching pad or the platform from which one can then enter into pure Krishna bhakti.
So therefore we do stress this brahminical culture even though it is not the absolute platform, it is a platform that enables us to enter the absolute platform. Just like when you want to fly somewhere, first you must go to the airport and then from there you achieve your destination. So, brahmincal culture that is the airport. Brahminical culture means no illicit sex, no meat eating, no intoxication and no gambling. Become free from sin and absorb yourself in devotional activities and by these brahminical activities you will be gradually, gradually, gradually elevated to the position of pure Krishna bhakti. So in this way you now must take your vows of becoming brahmana that you’re now accepting most seriously and not be carried away by the modes of nature. Keep yourself always on an even keel: brahma bhuta prasanatma. No hankering. No lamenting. Simply always blissfully engaged in Krishna consciousness twenty fours hours a day. Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!
Transcribed by Her Grace Radhapriya devi dasi