Everyone - sudra birth, then vipra, then brahmana and finally Vaishnava

Lecture – Montreal, July 10, 1968                 

viprad dvi-sad-guna-yutad aravinda-nabha-
padaravinda-vimukhat svapacam varistham
manye tad-arpita-mano-vacanehitartha-
pranam punati sa-kulam na tu bhurimanah

So vipra means one who is fully conversant with Vedic knowledge. He is called vipra. For spiritual elevation there are gradual evolutionary stages. So vipra stage is just before becoming a qualified brahmana. That is called vipra. The first stage, by birth everyone is sudraSudra means affected by the miseries of this world. He is sudra. Socati. The material condition is full of anxiety, so anyone who is full of anxiety, he is sudraSo if you analyze the present society, that who is not anxiety, full of anxiety, oh, nobody will say that "I am not full of anxiety." "I have got so many anxieties." So that means he is a sudraKalau sudra-sambhavah: "In this age, everyone is sudra." That is concluded.

brahmana is not afraid. He is not anxious because he is dependent on God. He knows that "I have surrendered unto God completely, and He is all-powerful. Therefore I have no anxiety."

So to come to this platform of confidence or Krishna consciousness, there is training. That training is called viddhi-marga, regulative principles, following the regulative principles. So this whole varnasrama system, Vedic system, the different caste – brahmanaksatriyavaisyasudra, a brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha, sannyasa –  they are very scientifically designed to elevate one gradually to the standard of "no fear," "fearfulness-less," no more fear, confident. So vipra means just the previous stage of becoming completely a brahmanaJanmana jayate sudrah: "By birth everyone is born a sudra." Samskarad bhaved dvijah: "When he goes to the spiritual master and the spiritual master initiates him, at that time his second birth is there, dvija." DvijaThe birds are called also dvija because they get twice birth.

Once they come as egg, the form of birth in the egg, and then, when they come out from the egg and the shell, break the shell and come out, that is real life. Similarly, we are in the egg, within the shell of ignorance. So when we come out from the shell of ignorance, that is our second birth. The first birth is by father and mother, and the second birth is by the spiritual master and Vedic knowledge. There is also mother. The Vedic knowledge is mother, and the spiritual master is the father. So samskarad bhaved dvijah

The spiritual master trains the student gradually. That is called initiation. That is called dvija. Janmana jayatesudrah: "By birth by the father and mother, everyone is sudra." It doesn't matter where he takes his birth, not that only India they are brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra. Everywhere. There are ten kinds of samskaras, reformatory. This Vedic system is very scientific system to elevate the humankind to the highest perfection of life.

So samskarad bhaved dvijah. Then, when the samskara is given, when his, the spiritual master sees that "This boy is now competent to study Vedas…" That requires a qualification. A sudra is not allowed to study Vedas. There is restriction. Sometimes they think injustice, that "Why sudras?" That is modern convention. Actually that is very nice. What a sudra can understand Vedas? To the sudras, a different type of knowledge… Just like the same thing, that the two plus two in the lower class is different from the two plus two in the higher mathematics. So sudra cannot understand. 

So one has to become brahmanavipra at least, dvija, twice-birth by initiation. Then he is allowed to study. Then he will be able to understand the language of… It is not injustice that sudras are not… Just like… I do not know what is the system in your country, but in India, one who is not a graduate, he is not allowed to study law. If one, anyone wants to study law, if he wants to enter into the law college, then he must be a graduate first of all, at least B.A. Otherwise he cannot. So if somebody says, "It is injustice," why? "Everyone should." 

Everyone cannot understand. Similarly, without being initiated by proper spiritual master, nobody can understand. The Vedas is not like that: you purchase a book, the Bhagavad-gita or Bhagavata, and study at home, and you learn. Oh, it is not possible just like simply by purchasing some medical books and study at home you cannot become a doctor, medical man. That is not possible. Neither you can become a lawyer. The books are available in the market, but that is not the process. You have to enter yourself in an institution, take lessons from the professors, must attend lecture classes, seventy-five percent at least. Then you are allowed to sit in the examination.

So the gradual process… First birth is sudra, anyone. It doesn't matter. Even if he is born of a brahmana father, he is considered a sudra. So then, by initiation, he becomes dvija, second birth. Then he is allowed to study the Vedic literatures, and when he is conversant with the studies of Vedic literature, he is called vipra. And when one has become a vipra – because that is the just previous stage of becoming a brahmana – he acquires twelve kinds of qualities. Satya-sama-dama-titiksa. The first quality is truthfulness. The second quality is controlling the senses. Controlling the mind. Sama-dama-titiksa, to be very tolerant; arjava, very simple; full of knowledge; full of theism; so many qualities. These qualities are mentioned. So here Prahlada Maharaja says, viprad dvi-sad-guna-yutat. When one is a vipra, that means he has got all the good qualities, material good qualities. He is truthful. He is conversant with the science of religion. He knows what is God, what is Brahman. He is self-controlled. He is not sensual. So many good qualities.
—-Conversation – Mayapura, February 14, 1977

Prabhupada: Kanistha-adhikari (third class devotee) means he must be a brahmana. That is kanistha-adhikari. The spiritual life, kanistha-adhikari, means he must be a qualified brahmana. That is kanistha. What is esteemed as very high position in the material world, brahmana, that is kanistha-adhikari. The brahmana means from the material stage gradually he is elevated to the spiritual stage. And below the brahmana there is no question of Vaisnava.
—-KRSNA, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Chap 51 – Deliverance of Mucukunda          

The Lord then assured King Mucukunda, "In your next life you will take your birth as a first-class Vaisnava, the best of brahmanas, and in that life your only business will be to engage yourself in My transcendental service." The Vaisnava is a first-class brahmana, because one who has not acquired the qualification of a bona fide brahmana cannot come to the platform of a Vaisnava. When one comes to the platform of a Vaisnava, he is completely engaged in welfare activities for all living entities. The highest welfare activity for living entities is the preaching of Krishna consciousness. It is stated herein that those who are specifically favored by the Lord can become absolutely Krishna conscious and be engaged in the preaching work of the Vaisnava philosophy.
—-KRSNA, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Chap 52 – Krishna, the Ranacora

Reaching the gate of Dvaraka, the brahmana informed the doorkeeper of his arrival, and the doorkeeper led him to the place where Krishna was sitting on a golden throne. Since the brahmana had the opportunity of being Rukmini's messenger, he was fortunate enough to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, who is the original cause of all causes. A brahmana is the spiritual teacher of all the social divisions. Lord Sri Krishna, in order to teach everyone the Vedic etiquette of how to respect a brahmana, immediately got up and offered him His throne. When the brahmana was seated on the golden throne, Lord Sri Krishna began to worship him exactly in the manner in which the demigods worship Krishna. In this way, He taught everyone that worshiping His devotee is more valuable than worshiping Himself.

 Krishna appeared before the brahmana and said, "My dear brahmana, I hope that you are executing the religious principles without any difficulty and that your mind is always in a peaceful condition."

A peaceful mind is the basis for becoming truthful, clean, equipoised, self-controlled and tolerant.  Lord Krishna continued: "O best of all the brahmanas, you should always remain satisfied because if brahmana is always self-satisfied he will not deviate from his prescribed duties; and simply by sticking to one's prescribed duties, everyone, especially the brahmanas, can attain the highest perfection of all desires.

This instruction of Krishna to the brahmana is very significant. The purport is that a true brahmana should not be disturbed in any situation. In this modern age of Kali-yuga, the so-called brahmanas have accepted the abominable position of the sudras or less than sudras and still want to pass as qualified brahmanas.

Actually, a qualified brahmana always sticks to his own duties and never accepts those of a sudra or of one less than a sudra. It is advised in the authorized scriptures that brahmana may, under awkward circumstances, accept the profession of a ksatriya or even a vaisya, but never is he to accept the profession of a sudra. 

Lord Krishna declared that a brahmana should never be disturbed by any adverse conditions of life if he scrupulously sticks to his religious principles. In conclusion, Lord Sri Krishna said: "I offer My respectful obeisances to the brahmanas and Vaisnavas, because the brahmanas are always self-satisfied, and the Vaisnavas are always engaged in actual welfare activities for the human society. They are the best friends of the people in general; both are free from false egoism and are always in a peaceful condition of mind.

CONCLUSIONS – Hare Krishna. The above statements are meant to show us the gradual progression to perfection, from a kali yuga sudra who meets a pure devotee such as Srila Prabhupada. These steps begin with hearing from the pure devotee, developing some sraddha or faith in him, taking initiation from him, and then by following the daily regulative principles one become a learned person, or a Vipra. After attaining this stage with further development, one then becomes a fully qualified brahmana and has no anxieties but full confidence in the Personality of Godhead.

Based upon lack of personal qualifications, the sudra typically is not allowed to study the Vedas, not out of prejudice but because that person just has no taste for it. This is due to the infection of the lower modes of passion and ignorance. But when one begins to actually serve the spiritual master, [one main reason why we chant Hare Krishna] this attitude gives one the taste for studying the Vedas, and then all good qualities develop in that person.

Srila Prabhupada states that a fully qualified brahmana, a very prestigious position in the material world, is still on the material platform. But when this same brahmana begins to preach Krishna Consciousness this distinction gradually takes him out of the material modes of nature and then his activities become completely spiritual or transcendental. (see above)

Finally, Lord Krishna offers His obeisances to the brahmanas and the Vaisnavas. His respect and love for the brahmanas is due to their being self-satisfied (mode of goodness) and for the Vaisnavas due to their caring for the general welfare of all human society.