There is no such thing as brāhmaṇa dīkṣā

Śrī Babaji answers questions in Pearls of Wisdom

Question: What is dīkṣā? Does it refer to getting Hari-nāma and taking a different name? Or does it refer to getting brāhmaṇa initiation, when one gets the Brahma Gāyatrī?

Answer: There are three levels of dīkṣā, namely, harināma-dīkṣā, mantra-dīkṣā, and veśa- or vairāgī-dīkṣā. In the first one, the guru gives the harināma in the right ear of the would-be śiṣya, applies tilaka, and ties beads. In the second one, the śiṣya gets the Gāyatrī mantras in the right ear. The third one is for those who want to take to the renounced order of life. All three dīkṣās can be given simultaneously or in steps, depending on the qualification of the student and the will of the guru. 

There is no such thing as brāhmaṇa initiation. Brāhmaṇa is a varṇa or jāti and not a form of dīkṣā.  


Question: In SB 3.33.6, it is stated:

“To say nothing of the spiritual advancement of someone who sees Him face to face, even a person born in a family of dog-eaters immediately becomes eligible to perform Vedic sacrifices if he once utters the Holy Name of Bhagavān or chants about Him, hears about His pastimes, offers Him obeisance, or even remembers Him.”

Does Śrīdhara Svāmī say here that pūjyatvam means “He immediately becomes as respectable as a most learned brāhmaṇa and can be allowed to perform Vedic sacrifices?”

Answer: No. Śrīdhara Svāmī does not say so. He only says the first part, anena pūjyatvam lakṣyate—He becomes respectable like a brāhmaṇa. Śrīdhara Svāmī does not say that he is allowed to perform Vedic sacrifices. That is an extrapolation of the statement.

Question: This is also confirmed in the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 2.12 by Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī: “As a base metal like bell metal can be changed into gold by a chemical process, any person can similarly be changed into a brāhmaṇa by dīkṣā-vidhāna, the initiation process.”

Answer: This also does not imply that he can do yajña. Just think in practical terms. Let me assume that you are a brāhmaṇa by birth. Then I also assume that you did not study the Veda and did not learn how to do yajña, even if by chance you had upanayana-saṁskārā, which often is the case in contemporary Indian society. I also assume that you have taken Vaiṣṇava dīkṣā. Can you do a Soma-yāga? Can you chant Sāma Veda mantras? The answer is certainly categorically “no,” because you have never learned the Sāma Veda and the chanting of the mantras.

So, what is the point in saying that by taking Vaiṣṇava dīkṣā, one is qualified to do Soma-yajña? How can one become qualified to do Soma-yajña just by taking Vaiṣṇava dīkṣā? You need to study the Vedas, learn how to chant mantras, and then learn the process of doing a yajña. It takes years of training for a brāhmaṇa boy who may have saṁskāras from his family. Then how can one who is not even born as a brāhmaṇa do yajna, just because he has taken Vaiṣṇava dīkṣā? This is impossible. Of course, you can make a show of doing it in the midst of people who have no idea how a Soma-yajña is done.

As an aside, the verse from Hari-bhakti-vilāsa does not say that one becomes a brāhmaṇa but that one becomes a dvija. The word dvija literally means, “one who has a second birth.” It simply means that he has taken dīkṣā.

Question: If one does not take birth in a brāhmaṇa family, then can he become a brāhmaṇa just by dīkṣā into Brahma Gāyatrī from a spiritual master?

Answer: Brahma Gāyatrī is offered in varṇāśrama dīkṣā, not in Vaiṣṇava dīkṣā. Do not confuse the two. If Brahma Gāyatrī were given in Vaiṣṇava dīkṣā, then what would be the difference between varṇāśrama dīkṣā and Vaiṣṇava dīkṣā?

Question: What is the opinion of our previous ācāryas regarding this?

Answer: You yourself have quoted the opinion of a previous ācārya. So which other “previous ācārya” are you referring to? 

By Vaiṣṇava dīkṣā, one does not become a brāhmaṇa but respectable like one. Varṇāśrama is inferior to Vaiṣṇava dharma. I hope you know this. So why should dīkṣā with Vaiṣṇava mantra make one a brāhmaṇa? It makes one a Vaiṣṇava, who is superior to a brāhmaṇa. Why do you want to pull him down to the brāhmaṇa level?

Question: I understand that Gāyatrī mantra is not part of Vaiṣṇava dīkṣā but is part of varṇāśrama dīkṣā. In Tattva Sandarbha (Anuccheda 22), Śrī Jīva Gosvāmipāda has established that Gāyatrī mantra is for worshiping Lord Viṣṇu. I am unable to reconcile the fact that Gāyatrī mantra is for varṇāśrama dīkṣā while the Bhāgavata Purāṇa is about Vraja prema-bhakti, which is clearly far superior to varṇāśrama. As the essence of Gāyatrī is prema-bhakti, why it is only for varṇāśrama dīkṣā?

Answer: The Savitrī or Brahma Gāyatrī does not directly speak about Viṣṇu or Kṛṣṇa. However, the real meaning of Gāyatrī is worship of Viṣṇu. This is what Jīva Gosvāmī explains in Tattva Sandarbha. This is not known to people in general. They think that it is for the worship of the sun god or Brahman. There is no mention of Kṛṣṇa’s name in it. But in the Vaiṣṇava mantras, Kṛṣṇa’s name is directly mentioned. Gāyatrī can be interpreted at different levels. It is part of varṇāśrama, and the followers of this system don’t have the understanding that the essence of Gāyatrī is prema-bhakti. They consider it to be worship of fire or the sun or of Brahman.

Secondly, Gāyatrī is a Vedic mantra, and for that, one has to be born in a brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, or vaiśya family, whereas our dīkṣā mantras come from the Smṛti and not from the Vedas. Therefore, they don’t have a restriction of birth. They can be given to anyone who has śraddhā and wants to be a devotee. As far as the essence of Gāyatrī being prema-bhakti, that does not mean that Gāyatrī is for everyone. The essence of the Veda is also prema-bhakti, but the Veda has restrictions. It can be studied only by dvijas. The essence of the Veda is prema-bhakti, but still, Vyāsadeva wrote Bhāgavata Purāṇa to explain it. Just as traditionally, the Vedas can only be studied by a person born within varṇāśrama, whereas the Bhāgavata can be studied by anyone—so too, Gāyatrī dīkṣā is only for dvijas, while Vaiṣṇava dīkṣā can be taken by anyone.

Question: Dīkṣā would bestow the full blessings of the mantra, but would chanting without dīkṣā give any benefit? If such chanting is not harmful and only beneficial, then I am unable to understand the prohibitions behind sharing the mantra publicly. One can hear the Gāyatrī mantra blasting through loudspeakers in many holy places in India.

Answer: To get its full benefit, the mantra has to be received from the guru. This is the injunction of śāstra. But at present, everything is available on the internet, so one can do whatever one likes. Please investigate for yourself whether such chanting is bringing the desired benefit to the chanter. You do not need to ask anyone. Just remember the basic principle that if you want to achieve the benefits described in the śāstra, you have to follow śāstra. It is not that by rejecting the śāstric injunctions, you can get the benefits described in śāstra. Kṛṣṇa has made it very clear in Bhagavad Gītā (16.23–24):

yaḥ śāstra-vidhim utsṛjya vartate kāma-kārataḥ
na sa siddhim avāpnoti na sukhaṁ na parāṁ gatim

“One who casts aside the ordinances of scriptures and who acts instead under the impulse of material desires, attains neither perfection, nor contentment, nor the supreme goal.

tasmāc chāstraṁ pramāṇaṁ te kāryākārya-vyavasthitau
jñātvā śāstra-vidhānokta karma kartum ihārhasi

“Therefore, scriptural revelation is the means of authentic knowing available to you in ascertaining what is to be done and what is to be avoided. You should act in this world only after knowing the injunctions of scripture.”

It is just like taking an Āyurvedic medicine to cure an ailment. It is not that you can take the medicine but not follow the prescribed diet, not refrain from eating the prohibited food items, and still get the result described in the book. If you want the proper result from the medicine, you also have to follow the prescription and the prohibition.


Question: It is stated in Caitanya Bhāgavata, Adi 17.20: “Then the Lord prescribed His own medicine, ‘If I drink the water that has washed the feet of a brāhmaṇa (vipra), My suffering will be relieved.’” Here, what does “vipra” mean—only a qualitative brāhmaṇa (by dīkṣā irrespective of birth) or one who is born in the family of a brāhmaṇa and who has upanayana saṁskārā?

Answer: Vipra means one who is born in a family of a brāhmaṇa, has undergone upanayana saṁskārā, has studied the branch of Vedas belonging to his family, and observes the brāhmiṇical duties.

Question: I heard that in Gambhira Maṭh, Puri, there is a custom that only Vaiṣṇavas born in brāhmaṇa families are allowed to do deity worship, but SB 7.11.35 says:
“If one shows the symptoms of being a brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, or śūdra, as described above, even if was born in a different class, he should be designated according to those symptoms.”

This is also supported by Bhagavad Gītā (4.13), cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ. Thus the four divisions of society—brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya,and śūdra—are to be ascertained according to qualities and activities.

Although Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī has not commented on this verse, elsewhere he says that if he has no seminal birth from a brāhmaṇa family but chants Hare Kṛṣṇa, his purification starts and he shall be respected as a brāhmaṇa. This means that although he has the qualification of a brāhmaṇa, still he is not authorized to perform brāhmiṇicalfunctions. For this, he has to take birth again. This is even supported by Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī in the Gaura kṛpā taraṅgiṇī commentary in Caitanya-caritāmṛta (by Rādhā-Govinda Nātha). This seems to contradict Śrī Śrīdhara Svāmī and SB 7.11.35 in respect of one’s qualification being not by birth.

Answer: There is no contradiction. Whether it is Śrīdhara Svāmī or the SB verse 7.11.35 referred to by you, it is very clear that such a person is accepted like a brāhmaṇa, not that he can engage in brāhmiṇical duties without proper educational training. How is it possible for a person who simply displays brāhmiṇical qualities to engage in brāhmiṇical duties without proper education and training? Even a person born in a brāhmaṇa family needs proper education and training to execute brāhmiṇical duties.

As far as the verse 7.11.35, who will ascertain whether that person has the symptoms of a brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya,or śūdra?Who is the authority to give such a certificate? At present, I do not know of any such system, and in the absence of such a system, the only viable choice is by birth. Unless there is a system or an authorized group of learned wise men who are appointed to ascertain the varṇa of a person, we are left with the present custom of accepting varṇa by birth. Moreover, we should know the distinction between varṇa and jāti. Varṇa is by guṇa and jāti is by birth. However, at present both are based upon birth.

You have only mentioned Gambhira Maṭh, but in all the major temples of India and even outside of India, this system is practiced.

Question: In their pastimes, Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī and Śrī Haridās Ṭhākura showed respect to a brāhmaṇa qualified only by birth. Did they do so out of humility? What should be our vision regarding this?

Answer: Follow the example of Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī and Haridās Ṭhākura. They are our ācāryas and very dear associates of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who pointed out, amānina mana dena. Of course, they did so out of humility and such humility is not a show or a disqualification. It is quite amazing that you yourself quote these examples and then raise this question. Why not respect whom you are citing? Why shall we not follow their example?

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  1. Neo Organizations quote purvacharyas and misinterpret their teachings to propagate their mission. Varnashrama is a separate system from Bhakti established by Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Nobody can become a brahmin just by hearing Gayatri Mantra. People entering Sanatan dharma from non-varnashram backgrounds should follow the example of Sri Haridas Thakur. They should not cross their limits just by saying that I chant more rounds than you so I can do whatever I like.

  2. The Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā was delivered within the active socioreligious context known as varṇāśrama-dharma. Therefore, when Gītā 4.34 speaks of approaching a tattva-darśī in order to serve him and inquire about the truth, it is referring to a qualified brāhmaṇa who has reached the pinnacle of self-realization. Due to dharma principles, Kṛṣṇa could not have sent Arjuna to surrender to a mleccha, śūdra, vaiśya, or another kṣatriya to attain the truth.
    Now, it is evident that the modern gauḍīya-vaiṣṇava gurus do not come from unquestionable brāhmaṇa-gotras of irreproachable sadācāra, but they unhesitatingly consider that this śloka exclusively alludes to themselves and their socioreligious status. And so it is with any reference to the brāhmaṇas found in the scriptures, these modern gurus proudly think that the śāstras are referring entirely to them. And this is how they consider themselves teachers of the ancient traditions for their own sects and the whole society.
    Why do they so shamelessly appropriate the millennial identity of brāhmaṇas? Why do they feel this ridiculous need to steal the privileges of the varṇāśrama-dharma when they are out of it? Are they ashamed to accept themselves just as they are: dāsas or kiṅkaras, i.e., mere religious servants?

    • They appropriate the identity of past brahmanas while simultaneously condemning them as asuric. They claim to be the ‘daivi’ varnashramis. What’s more they suppress the fact that they became stamped as Brahmins by another non Brahmin guru through diksha at age 25 or 50 even, and take on brahminical duties for traditional Indians – shraddha, marriage etc. The unsuspecting Indians don’t know any better, given the shikhas and sacred threads of these daivi Brahmins. And the daivi Brahmins are not going to let on that they are not born in Brahmin families. But, they make sure their own children wear shikhas and grow up as brahmins without any requirement of diksha-stamping by a guru. There, birth is sufficient to be a Brahmin.

      All this, even after being told that the Goswamis’ writings do not support such dishonesty.

      It is breathtaking in its corruption or in its stupidity or both.

      • Well said. mere appropriation of not just rights, knowledge but also a “source of living”. I see it no different from brāhmaṇārtho hy apahṛto hartāraṁ pātayaty adhaḥ ajānantam api hy enaṁ nṛgaṁ brāhmaṇa-gaur iva. Thanks

  3. I have one question then what about Veda adhikara ? Demian Martins has translated Siddhanta ratnam An Introduction to the Govinda-bhāṣya. How far this is acceptable nowadays !!!!

    • I had asked a similar question to Sri Babaji. My question and his answer are below

      My question – As we are not part of the varnasrama system, how is that we can
      provide arguments based on the Vedas or Upanisads? Isnt it true that
      only dvijas are allowed to study them? Sri Rupa and Sanatana had ‘lost
      their caste’ according to the varnasrama system. But they still wrote
      books based on the Vedas.

      His reply-
      study of the Vedas and study of vedanta are two separate things.
      Study of Vedas is learning how to recite samhitas and chanting manras, doing yajna etc..
      It is primarily the domain of purva-mimamsa.
      Such restrictions do not apply to Vedanta.

      • Means anyone can study Upanishads Vedanta etc ……….. Irrespective of anything!

      • Sri Radhe
        How should apashUdrAdhikaraNa be seen in this context? Since it says that Shudras are unqualified to meditate on Brahman by upanishadic vidyas and meditations since they cannot study the Veda in the first place. Though Baladeva adds that they can get knowledge and moksha through purANAdi shravaNa

  4. No, I don’t have any problem with this on the other hand I loved to know this ! Thanks

    • In the samshaya for apashUdrAdhikarana, after citing some shrutis the question raised is whether Shudras have adhikAra in vedavidyA (…vedavidyAyAM shUdro’dhikriyate na veti…)…the Siddhanta paksha answers the objection (that indeed all humans including shudras have adhikAra into vedavidyA) in Sutra 1.3.34

      The vedavidyA there refers to Brahmavidyā as taught in the Upanishads. The logic is that if they are not entitled to upanayana and not study the Veda, then they have no entry into the Upanishads as well.

      Probably, the restriction here applies to the traditional study of the Vedantashastra while teaching the upanishads by the acharya to the shishya and making them memorise them and not academic study with reference to them.

      • In Sukshma tika to the first verse of the mangalacharana of Govinda bhashya, the tikakara writes:

        kRta-snAnAdirAsIno guru-shiShyashcha dhIradhIH/
        pAThayeShchhRNuyAd-bhAShyaM shAntipurvottaraM dvijaH//

        It seems to say that this is the traditional way of studying the bhAShya(by doing shAntipATha at the beginning and at the end etc.). The word ‘dvijaH’ is mentioned as well.

  5. Okay I am posting the commentary on the entire apashUdrAdhikarana here:


    || 1.3.34 ||

    manuṣyāṇāṁ devādīnāṁ ca sāmarthyādi-yogād brahmopāsanāyām adhikāraḥ proktaḥ | sā ca vedānta-pāṭhād ṛte na sambhavati | aupaniṣadaḥ puruṣaḥity ādi-śrutir iti sthitam | tat-prasaṅgād idam ārabhyate |

    chāndogye jānaśrutir hi pautrāyaṇa [chā.u. 4.1.1] ity ādir ākhyāyikā śrūyate | tatra haṁsokti-śravaṇānantaraṁ sayugvāno raiṅkasya sannidhi-gatena jānuśrutinā go-niṣka-rathān darśayitvā devatāṁ pṛṣṭo raiṅka āha—ahaha hāretvā śūdra tavaiva saha gobhir astv [chā.u. 4.2.3] iti taṁ śūdra-śabdena sambodhya punar apy āhṛta-go-noṣka-ratha-kanyopahāraṁ ājahāremāḥ śūdrānenaiva mukhenālāpayiṣyathā [chā.u. 4.2.5] ity uktvā saṁvarga-vidyām upadiṣṭavān iti varṇyate | iha bhavati saṁśayaḥ | veda-vidyāyāṁ śūdro’dhikriyate na veti | tatra manuṣyādhikāroktir aviśeṣāt sāmarthyādi-sattvāt śūdreti śrauta-liṅgāt purāṇādiṣu vidurādīnāṁ brahmavittva-darśanāc ca so’dhikriyate iti prāptau |

    śug asya tad-anādara-śravaṇāt tadādravaṇāt sūcyate hi ||

    nety anuvartate | tasyāṁ śūdro nādhikriyate | kutaḥ ? hi yasmād asya pautrāyaṇasya jānaśruter abrahmajñasya kam v are enam etat santaṁ sayugvānam iva raiṅkam āttha [chā.u. 4.1.3] iti haṁsoktānādara-vākya-śravaṇāt tadā brahmajñaṁ raiṅkaṁ pratyādravaṇāt śuk saṁjāteti sūcyate asyām ākhyāyikāyām | tathā ca śoka-yogād evāśudre’pi tasmin śūdreti sambodhanaṁ sva-sārvajñya-vijñāpanayaiva na tu caturtha-
    varṇatvād iti ||34||


    || 1.3.35 ||

    evaṁ śūdratva-liṅge niraste ko’yam iti jijñāsāyāṁ kṣatriyatvam asya vaktuṁ sūtrayati—

    kṣatriyatvāvagateś cottaratra caitrarathena liṅgāt ||

    asya jānaśruteḥ kṣatriyatvam avagamyate śraddhādeyo bahudāyī [chā.u. 4.1.1] ity aneka-dānādi-samadhigata-janapadādhipatyāt kṣattāram uvāceti kṣattuḥ preṣaṇāt raiṅkāya go-niṣka-ratha-kanyādi-dānāc ca | na hy etāni kṣatriyād anyasya sambhavanti | rāja-dharmatvād upakramākhyāyikāyāṁ kṣatriyatvam avagatam | athopasaṁhārākhyāyikāyāṁ tad avagamyata ity āha uttaratraitat saṁvarga-vidyā-vākya-śeṣe saṅkīrtitena caitrarathenābhipratārita-saṁjñena kṣatriyatvaṁ vijñāyate | vākya-śeṣas tathāha—atha śaunakaṁ kāpeyam abhipratāriṇaṁ ca kākṣaseniṁ pariviśyamānau brahmacārī bibhikṣe [chā.u. 4.3.5] ity ādi |

    nanv abhipratāriṇaś caitrarathatvaṁ kṣatriyatvaṁ ca nāsmin prakaraṇe pratīyate iti cet tatrāha liṅgād iti | atha śaunakam ity ādinā sāhacaryāl liṅgād abhipratāriṇaḥ kāpeya-sambandhaḥ pratītaḥ | anyatra caitena caitrarathaṁ kāpeyā ayājayann iti kāpeya-sambandhinaś caitrarathaṁ śrūyate | tasmāt caitrarathir nāma kṣatra-patir ajāyata [] iti caitrarathasya kṣatriyatvaṁ ceti | tad evaṁ tasya tat tac ca siddham | tathā ca saṁvarga-vidyopāsakau kāpeyābhipratāriṇau vā brāhmaṇa-kṣatriyau nirdiṣṭāv atas tasyām eva vidyāyāṁ guru-śiṣya-bhāvenānvitau raiṅka-jānaśrutī ca tathā syātām iti tasya kṣatriyatvam | tataś ca vede śūdrau nādhikārīty artho yuktyā sādhitaḥ ||35||


    || 1.3.36 ||

    tad evaṁ śruty-ādy-anugraheṇa darśayati—

    saṁskāra-parāmarśāt tad-abhāvābhilāpāc ca ||

    śruty-antare aṣṭa-varṣaṁ brāhmaṇam upanayīta tam adhyāpayed ekādaśe kṣatriyaṁ dvādaśe vaiśyam ity adhyāpanāya saṁskāra-vimarśanāt tatra brāhmaṇānāṁ evādhikāraḥ | nāgnir na yajño na kriyā na saṁskāro na vratāni śūdrasya iti saṁskārābhāva-kathanāc ca śūdrasya nādhikāraḥ | travarṇika-bāhyasya saṁskārāvidhānāt saṁskāra-sāpekṣe veda-pāṭhe tasya na saḥ ||36||

    || 1.3.37 ||

    saṁskārābhāvaṁ draḍhayati—

    tad-abhāva-nirdhāraṇe ca pravṛtteḥ

    chāndogye eva nāham etad veda bho yad-gotro’ham asmi [chā.u. 4.4.4] iti satya-vacasā jābālasya śūdratvābhāve nirdhārite sati, naitad abrāhmaṇo vivaktum arhati samidhaṁ somyāharopa tvā neṣye na satyād agāḥ [chā.u. 4.4.5] iti gautamasya guros tat saṁskārādau pravṛtteś ca brāhmaṇa-padopalakṣita-traivarṇikatvam eva saṁskāra-prayojakam avagamyate, ato na śūdro’dhikārī ||37||


    || 1.3.38 ||

    śravaṇādhyayanārtha-pratiṣedhāt smṛteś ca ||

    padyu ha vā etac chmaśānaṁ yac chūdra-samīpa nādhetavyam | tasmāc chūdro bahu-paśur ayajñīya[3] iti śūdrasya veda-śravaṇa-pratiṣedhān na sa tatrādhikārī | anupaśṛṇvanto’dhyayana-tad-artha-jñāna-tad-anuṣṭhānāni na sambhavantīty atas tāny api pratiṣiddhāni |

    nāgnir na yajñaḥ śūdrasya tathaivādhyayanaṁ kutaḥ |
    kevalaiva tu śuśrūṣā trivarṇānāṁ vidhīyate ||

    vedākṣara-vicāreṇa śūdraḥ patati tat-kṣaṇād ity-ādi-smṛteś ca | tathā vidurādīnāṁ tu siddha-prajñatvān na kiñcic codyam | śūdrādīnāṁ mokṣas tu purāṇādi-śravaṇaja-jñānāt sambhaviṣyati | phale tu tāratamyaṁ bhāvi || 38 ||

    • Are there references from SB where moksha was obtained by non traivarnikas? Gajendra, vidhura and others had higher birth in previous lives where they obtained vidhya and practised in future lives as jAtismara. Hence is there any sastric exception to the rule from apasudradikarana?

      What is the right understanding to Last line- taratamya in phala and sambhavisyati?

      • Scooty Ram ji, I read your message- and I have modified this message and deleted your response. I did not mean the address in a pejorative sense.

        This is not a website for ‘discussion’ although it often turns out that way and consumes too much of my time! If you have a question, ask. Sometimes I don’t know the answer. Those are the best questions as it helps me examine Sri Jiva’s teachings in even more depth. But I do not have the time for a protracted discussion. Do read the various articles on this site for answers.

        How about Narada? Do you think he got moksha because of his higher birth in a previous life or his execution of his dharma?

      • T.Krsna dasji
        Thank you for your understanding. A pramana based discussion enriches all involved. A sensitive topic like this perhaps needs objective handling as mere analyses of sastra based on pramana and not take it to individual level of any sorts! No

        Moksha is not dependent on birth. Any one in any form of life can do bhakti and attain perfection in any form of life. However in the line of brahma sutras,as Hari ji pointed out there is a restriction on who is eligible for brahma vidya as per apasudradikarana. These adhikarana are avantara sangatis to actual topic discussed in that section.
        apasudradikarana occurs twice -once in jaimini sutra and second in vyasa brahma sutra. Disqualification for karma kanda activities is already established in jaimini sutra. Brahma sutra context is not on karma kanda rituals but on upasana which is a manOvyApara . Hence the pUrvapaksha is that if vidhya is a function of mind,can 4th varna perform vidya which has sravana as a mandate. Siddhanta is No. So the answer is not that restriction is only to karma kanda.
        This is elaborated in sukshma tika by Sri Baladeva ,who some claim as not a brahmana but his prior learning under other sampradaya implies he is a brahmana, as follows
        “pūrvatra devaśabdaśrutyā manuṣyādhikāraniyamāpavādena devānāmadhikāro yathoktastatheha mumukṣau jānaśrutau śūdreti śrotaliṅgato dvijādhikāraniyamāpavādena vede śūdrasya cādhikāro’stvitidṛṣṭāntasaṅgatyāha manuṣyāṇāmityādi | siddhānte śūdraśabdaśya kṣantriye samanvayādadhyāyantarbhāvo’sya yuktaḥ | cāturvarṇasya brahmavidyāyāmadhikārasāmyaṁ pūrvapakṣe phalaṁ | siddhānte tu tattāratamyaṁ taditi bodhyaṁ |”
        So the teaching of the 2 adhikarana is A devata can learn vidya as much as traivarnikas (human) can and not 4th varna..

        Hariji made a comment “śūdrādīnāṁ mokṣas tu purāṇādi-śravaṇaja-jñānāt sambhaviṣyati | phale tu tāratamyaṁ bhāvi ||” to which my question is to learn examples of characters who got moksha with no touch of Varnashrama in any lives.

        Narada was a gandharva in earlier life and as per the adhikarana just before apasudradikarana, he or any devata is also equally eligible for vidya but not 4th varna. So it seems narada started bhakti as upabarhana and continued in future lives and attained perfection as a son of maidservant.

        Narada – the name is so because he offered water to pitrus , is a role like that of kumaras / rishis etc in every creation.

        What is the right understanding to Last line- taratamya in phala and sambhavisyati?Concluding words of sukshma tika is
        eṣāṁ pūrvajanmānuṣṭhitaśravaṇādinā vāmadevādivajjñānotpattiriti sarvaṁ susthaṁ | tāratamyamiti ānandotkarṣāpakarṣarūpamityarthaḥ ||

      • Yeah Scooty Ram ji, Sri Jiva disagrees with you emphatically about Narada. I will write that in a separate article. And for us Bhagavata is the supreme pramana, and it disagrees with you totally. I will write about that separately. Our understanding, as you know well, is that bhakti is beyond the gunas, and comes about only from bhakti. Not from any of the four varnas, which are inferior designations caused by the material gunas. The varnas are utterly irrelevant when it comes to bhakti. For us, as you know well, varnasrama is a separate path, and bhakti is an independent, separate path, unlike in Sri Vaisnavism.

        Baladeva’s prior learning or not implies nothing. Baladeva was not a brahmana according to our tradition.

        ity alam.

      • I missed to include : the example of narada is a classic one in this context. Srila Vishvanatha makes this point in 7.15.69 to explain how bhakti is independent of varnashrama. We need to understand how it is in line with brahma sutra esp when bhagavatam is parama pramana only because it is a natural commentary to vedanta sutra.

      • We dont need to understand how it is in line. It is a supreme authority, with which we interpret everything else including the Vedanta sutras, the Upanisads, the Gita and everything else. It is opposite to how you think about this.

      • It would be of immense help if you continue with such articles. I thought Tattva sandarbha established SB as parama pramana based on pramanas outside of it and along with its own verses like calling it as nigama kalpa taru’s fruit. It would be interesting to know how SB is svatah pramana. Continue writing!

      • It is too much out of the context of this post. Drop me an email from yours.

      • Pranaam
        As you have given the reference to sukshma tika itself regarding the samshaya and purvapaksha of the apashUdrAdhikarana:
        “cāturvarṇasya brahmavidyāyāmadhikārasāmyaṁ pūrvapakṣe phalaṁ | siddhānte tu tattāratamyaṁ taditi bodhyaṁ |”

        The above tika itself gives the context to the bhashya’s concluding words: “śūdrādīnāṁ mokṣas tu purāṇādi-śravaṇaja-jñānāt sambhaviṣyati | phale tu tāratamyaṁ bhāvi ||”

        The tāratamya, in my opinion there refers to the tāratamya between the varnas and hence the qualification of the Brahmanas and others into the Aupanishada-brahmavidya tradition(i.e. jnana and ashtanga yoga paths) like that of sad-vidya, madhu-vidya and the rest and the disqualification of Shudras into the practice of these. The tāratamya there doesnot mean ānanda-tāratamya in
        the state of moksha among the three varnas and Shudras due to difference in Adhikara into vedAdhyayana. Such a conclusion is against Gaudiya Siddhanta, moreover difference or uniqueness in mokSha is due to upAsana which is established elsewhere in the Bhashya

      • Hariji – Thank you for responding
        It is mentioned as phale tu tāratamyaṁ bhāvi – taratamya in the phala and not in the process or adhikari. How do you say it refers to the tāratamya between the varnas and hence the qualification of the Brahmanas and others?

    • Sri Baladeva himself was not a Brahmana! Nor was Suta Goswami, the speaker of the Bhagavata. Interesting! I know that at least some respected and conservative Advaitins in India who are staunch Vedantis, reject the notion that tra-varnikas alone have the adhikara to study Vedanta. Makes sense to me. I would interpret this as supporting what Sri Babaji wrote – that the purva-mimamsa of the Vedas are allowed only for trai-varnikas. But Vedanta is open to all. Otherwise the conclusion goes against the Bhagavata, which is the supreme pramana for us.

      I will write an article on this topic separately, so hold your questions if you have more for that one.

      • The Shyamanandi parivara(where Baladeva was initiated), does accept that Baladeva was born into a Brahmana Kula though he accepted the virakta vesha in Gaudiya sampradaya. They have a illustrated description along with a Hindi comment regarding this which says:

        “श्रीश्यामानन्द प्रभु के आह्वान पर उड़ीसा के बालेश्वर जिला के अन्तर्गत रेमुणा क निकटवर्ती अठान्तर नामक गांव में ईस्वी सन् 1678 की अग्रहायण शुक्ल प्रतिपदा तिथि को उच्च ब्राह्मण वंश में श्रील बलदेव विद्या भूषण प्रभुपाद जी का जन्म हुआ था।”

        The rumour of his being a non Brahmana by birth was unknown before Bhaktivinoda thakur made this opinion and Bhaktididdhanta Saraswati and his later parampara popularised it. It also doesnot make sense on how a non Brahmana can write a Brahmasutra bhashya going by the strong Varnashrama based society the then Jaipur King lived in and was trying to strengthen. Besides all philosophical works of the Gaudiya sampradaya have been done by Brahmana acharyas only. Even Rupa Sanatana Goswamis though out of humility considered themselves low, but they were directly worshipping the vigrahas of Govinda and Madanmohana and were supported by the Hindu Rajput kings. It is inconceivable to do so during those times if the society had thought that they had lost caste. They were indeed accepted as viraktas belonging to uccha Karnata Brahmana kulas by everyone.

      • I think the restriction in Brahmasutra is only about practicing the brahmavidyas mentioned in the Upanishads like sadvidyA, anguShTamAtra, madhuvidyA etc. which are modes of meditations on various forms of Brahman. They are the methods which are parts of the jñāna and aShTA~Nga yoga Mishra bhakti upAsanas. Sri Krishna in the Gītā, says that women, vaishyas, shUdras and pApayonis(antyaja and mlecChas) are allowed to do sharaNAgati which is an Anga of shuddhabhaktimArga characterised by shravana-kIrtanam etc. (navavidhA bhakti). The Brahmasutras are practical to understand the nature of Brahman in today’s time where only shuddhabhakti is the only practical path for ordinary humans and thus it will help the Bhaktas to understand the Supreme object.

      • pranams, it is possible to provide a translation of the Syamanandi Parivara´s statement? Thanks.

      • “श्रीश्यामानन्द प्रभु के आह्वान पर उड़ीसा के बालेश्वर जिला के अन्तर्गत रेमुणा क निकटवर्ती अठान्तर नामक गांव में ईस्वी सन् 1678 की अग्रहायण शुक्ल प्रतिपदा तिथि को उच्च ब्राह्मण वंश में श्रील बलदेव विद्या भूषण प्रभुपाद जी का जन्म हुआ था।”

        On Sri Syamananda prabhu’s request to appear, Srila Baladeva Vidya Bhushana Prabhupada was born in an exalted Brahmin kula on the agrahayana month’s shukla pratipada in 1678 in a village named AThAntara, which is near Remuna in Baleshvara district of Orissa.

  6. If it is not possible to be a brāhmaṇa unless you are born into such a kula, how can you properly study Vedanta if you don’t have a solid ground in svādhyāya or the study of Vedas? Could you please mention a traditional ṭīkākāra on the Brahma-sūtras emerged from the lowest socioreligious strata?

    • Ok but then there is no bar on studying the Bhagavata or the Mahabharata. Why? The Bhagavata is called the Vedanta-sara. It even begins with janmadyasya yato. It teaches about Brahman and it teaches the method to achieve it. You can trace every Vedanta sutra back to some verse in thee Bhagavata. The Gita is called an Upanishad by Sri Jiva Goswami.

      • The only reason to study the Upanishads or the Vedanta sutras for us — Bhagavata- followers — is to understand how the Bhagavata achieves samanvaya of shastra. Otherwise there is no need to study them. So the varnashramis need not worry! We only intend to drink the amrta of the Bhagavata.

  7. Yes, we can hear and learn from the prasthānatrayīs, purāṇas, and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam; we can study them. But who is qualified and authorized to teach them?… Within a community still bound to sanātana-dharma, the formal teaching of scriptures has always been the prerogative of brāhmaṇas; people who adhere to tradition are constantly learning from them through their refined writings. Now, could you point me to the theological-philosophical legacy of a non-brāhmaṇa who has been part of the early Gauḍīya-Vaiṣṇavism? The amṛta you drink may have been churned only by dvijottamas.

    • Sri Santana and Sri Rupa considered themselves non- brahmanas. Suta Goswami himself, the speaker of the Bhagavata, did not have the adhikaar to speak on the Vedas.

      • Let’s see. Vrtrasura’s prayers in the Bhagavata- an exemplar of devotion- not a brahmana by a long shot.
        Prahlada- another asura.
        The nagapatnis- not even humans.
        Dhruva – a kshatriya.
        Vidura- a shudra
        Bhishma- kshatriya
        Jada Bharat- refused upanayana.
        Sri Sukadev – refused upanayana.
        The gopis- definitely not qualified to hear the Vedas.
        Interesting discussion but I have said enough.

  8. The explanation of tAratamya in sukShmaTIkA is AnandasyotkarShapakarSharupam…
    In my view it refers to the tAratamya in the sense of more Ananda in Brahmanas with the decreasing Ananda to the shUdra and then antyaja, mlecchas, pashus etc.

    “phale” in my view doesnot refer to the result in mokSha but the bhAShyakAra is concluding his Siddhanta view in the sense of “as a result, certainly there is tAratamya”

  9. Srila Vishvanatha says a dog-eater who has been purified is eligible to become a mantra guru in 3.33.7.

    • Śrī Viśvanātha has systematically explained this verse :—
      sadyaḥ savanāya kalpata iti yad uktaṁ tad api na kiñcid yataḥ soma-yāga- kartṛbhyo’py ādhikyam evāsya phalato bhaved ityāha aho batety āścaryād apyetad
      āścaryam ityarthaḥ. yasya śvapacasya jihvāgre jihvāyā agre eva na tu
      sampūrṇāyāṁ tasyām ity asamyak tayoccāritam ityarthaḥ. vartate eva na tu vṛttam
      ity asampūrṇam uccāritam ity arthaḥ. nāma ekam eva na tu nāmānīty arthaḥ. sampūrṇa-jihvāyāṁ sampūrṇoccāritāni bahūni nāmāni tu kim uteti bhāvaḥ. tubhyaṁ tava tvāṁ prīṇayituṁ ceti vā. ataeva sa śvapaco garīyān atiśayena gurur
      bhavatīty anyān api nāmātmaka-mantram upadeṣṭuṁ yogyatāṁ dhatte iti bhāvaḥ. nanu tarhi sa śvapaco yajñādhyayana-tapa-ādikaṁ karotv iti tatrāha tepur iti.
      tasyaikasya kā vārtā anye’pi ye tava nāma gṛṇanti te eva tepur ity avadhāraṇaṁ
      labhyate. anyeṣāṁ tapaḥ sāmastya-sāṅgatvādy-adarśanāt | evaṁ viśeṣānukteḥ
      sarvam eva tapaḥ | juhuvuḥ | sarveṣv eva tīrtheṣu | āryā api ta eva nānye | brahma
      vedaṁ ta eva anūcur adhītavantaḥ | anūcānaḥ pravacane sāṅge’dhītī guros tu yaḥ
      ity amaraḥ | atra tepur ity ādiṣu bhūta-nirdeśāt gṛṇantīti vartamāna-nirdeśāt tvan- nāmāni gṛhyamāṇa eva tapo yajñādayaḥ sarve kṛtā eva bhavanti | na tu kriyamāṇā
      nāpi kariṣyamāṇā ity atas tāṁs tu kathaṁ punaḥ kuryur ity ataeva bhaktānāṁ karmasv anadhikāro’pi jñeyaḥ | parokṣa-vāci liḍ-anta-pada-prayogeṇa siddhāny
      eva tāni tapa-ādināpi te na jānanti kiṁ punas tat-sādhana-śramam iti bhāvaḥ. atra
      gṛṇantīti vartamāna-prayogeṇa nāma-grahaṇāviccheda eva yadi syāt tadaivaivaṁ
      syād iti tu na vyākhyeyam. citraṁ vidūra-vigataḥ sakṛd ādadīta yan-nāma- dheyam adhunā sa jahāti baddham iti. Yan nāma sakṛt śravaṇāt pukkaśo’pi
      vimucyate saṁsārāt ityādi vākyeṣu sakṛt-pada-prayoga-vyākopāt

  10. The underlying idea is that the traivarṇika-gauḍīya-vaiṣṇavas respect all bhaktas equally, irrespective of their birth or social condition or rough behavior, and appreciating the potential they have to climb up the path of bhakti-yoga. If taken out of context and literally, Viśvanātha Cakravartī would be invoking a socialist spirit within the sampradāya and a radical disorder within the structure of varṇāśrama-dharma. I don’t think his commentary is a revolutionary or hinduphobic pamphlet.

  11. The term used is namatmaka mantra. It seems to only say that the bhakta has attained qualification to instruct others into chanting the Harinama(which is being said to be of the nature of a mantra. A practical example would be Haridas Thakur.

  12. In another place Srila vishvanatha SB 6.2.9 says – While ajamila a sinner, by the strength of “namabhasa” attained vaikunta, smartas (brahmins) and others, though knowing scriptures, and though chanting the name, continue their existence in frightful samsara because of the offense of interpreting the name.

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