(The following sannyāsa initiation lecture was given by Śrīla Prabhupāda in Māyāpura on Gaura-Pūrṇimā, March 16th, 1976. On this day, Swami B.G. Narasiṅgha Mahārāja accepted the renounced order of life from His Divine Grace.)
So this purificatory process…according to Vedic system, there is purificatory process. Janmanā jāyate śūdraḥ –“By birth everyone is born a śūdra.” A śūdra means without any knowledge and simply full of lamentation – socati. So the Vedic process is that, from the low-grade position, to bring the human society to the highest, topmost position. Generally it is…the first, topmost position is to become a brāhmaṇa in the society.
catur-varṇyaṁ māyā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ
“I have created the four social divisions that are determined by the influence of the modes of material nature and their parallel activities.” (Gītā 4.13)
Four divisions of the social system are there according to quality and work. That is very natural in this world. Everyone is accepted on quality and work. If you have got a qualification of a good lawyer and if you have done very nicely your activities, then you are selected as the high-court judge. The high-court judge is selected amongst the lawyers in the court. It is not appointed from outside. A lawyer who has done his legal profession very nicely, the government offers him the post, that, “You become a high-court judge.” So this quality and work is estimated everywhere and in all circumstances. So Bhagavad-gītā recommends – Kṛṣṇa says personally, the Supreme Personality of Godhead – catur-varṇyaṁ māyā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ. So that process is applicable at all times. And Nārada Muni, he also gave description to Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja while they were talking about the varṇāśrama. So Nārada Muni gave different symptoms of different varṇa – brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra. Then, at the conclusion, he said:
yasya hi yal lakṣaṇaṁ proktaṁ puṁso varṇābhivyañjakam
yady anyatrāpi dṛśyeta tat tenaiva vinirdiśet
“If one exhibits the symptoms of a brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya or śūdra, even if one appears in a different class, one should be designated according to those classifications.” (Bhāg. 7.11.35)
He said that, “I have already explained the different symptoms of different varṇas – brāhmaṇa will be like that, kṣatriya will be like that, vaiśyas will be like that, śūdras will be like that.” So, he says, “If these symptoms are found, anyatra…suppose one is not born in the brāhmaṇa family, he might have taken birth in a lower family, but he has acquired…if he has acquired the qualities of a brāhmaṇa, he should be accepted as brāhmaṇa.” This is the process. Or if one is born in a brāhmaṇa family but he has not attained the qualities, neither he is working as a brāhmaṇa, then he should be accepted – either kṣatriya, vaiśya and śūdra. So this is the system. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu also wanted to introduce this system.
kibā śūdra kibā vipra nyāsī kene naya
yei kṛṣṇa-tattva-vettā sei guru haya
“Whether one is a śūdra, a brāhmaṇa or a sannyāsī if he is master in the science of Kṛṣṇa, one who knows the science of Kṛṣṇa can become guru.” (Cc. Madhya-līlā 8.128)
He never accepted this, that by birth, no. Either he is a brāhmaṇa or he is a śūdra, by caste or by birth, kibā vipra kibā śūdra nyāsī kene naya, either he’s a gṛhastha or a sannyāsī, it doesn’t matter. He can become a guru. How? Yei kṛṣṇa-tattva-vettā. One who knows the principles of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one who understands Kṛṣṇa, he can become a guru. So guru is the post given to the sannyāsīs, to the brāhmaṇas. Without becoming a brāhmaṇa, nobody can become a sannyāsī, and sannyāsī is supposed to be the guru of both all the āśramas and all the varṇas. So the preaching work…we require so many sannyāsīs. People are suffering all over the world for want of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. My Guru Mahārāja used to say that there is no scarcity. This is false propaganda. The only scarcity is that there is no Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is the difficulty. Actually that is the fact.
Take some practical example. I have travelled all over the world many times. I have seen America from village to village, Africa, Australia. There is so much land vacant that if we properly utilise that, we can produce so much food grains that we can feed ten times as many population as it is now. That’s a fact. We do not utilise the land properly. And Kṛṣṇa has given us the formula, annād bhavanti bhūtāni: “You produce anna.” Annād bhavanti bhūtāni. Then the animals and the human being will be well-fed and they will be happy. If anyone, either animal or man has his belly filled up with sufficient food, he’ll never be dissatisfied. That is the nature. So unfortunately, we are not following the instruction of Bhagavad-gītā. If we follow the whole social system, political system, economic system of the whole world will be very, very nice, and everyone will live very peacefully and there will be no fight, no ism, no schism. Everything will be alright. That is the purpose of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Don’t think that Kṛṣṇa consciousness is a matter of sentiment. No, it is practical.
Just like in America they produce huge amount of grains. Sometimes they throw it in the sea on account of overproduction. Why overproduction should be given on the sea? It should be utilised. There are so many people starving. But this political situation is there that everyone is thinking “This is my country. This is my home. This is my land.” This is called māyā. Ahaṁ mameti. Janasya moho’yam ahaṁ mameti – everyone is under this impression, “I am this body, and anything belonging to this body, that is mine.” or “My nation.” This conception should be given up. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Īśāvāsyam idaṁ sarvam – everything belongs to the Supreme Lord. In the Bhagavad-gītā also, the same thing is confirmed:
bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ sarva-loka-maheśvaram
suhṛdam sarva-bhūtānāṁ jñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛcchati
“One attains peace by knowing Me to be the original enjoyer of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Controller of all the planets and the benefactor and friend of all living beings.” (Gītā 5.29)
The śānti…everyone is trying to have peace-peace of the mind, peace of the society, peace of the nation. Very good, but you do not know how to get this peace. That is described in every Vedic literatures. Therefore, Vedic knowledge is so important.
nityo nityānāṁ cetanas cetanānām
“He is the prime Eternal amongst the eternals, the Supreme Consciousness amongst those that are conscious.” (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13)
The Supreme Lord is the leader. He’s also a living being like us. He’s not a dead stone. Just like Kṛṣṇa, when He comes, He lives like us, just like human being. So similarly the…no, not similarly. Kṛṣṇa is a living being like us. He has got also two hands, two legs, one head, as you have got. But what is the difference between you and Him? The difference is that eka, that singular number living being, vidadhāti kāmān bahūnām – He maintains everyone, and we are maintained. That is the difference. We plural number living entities, we are maintained, and He, the Supreme Lord, being Supreme Being.
In the dictionary, English dictionary, God means Supreme Being. So Supreme Being, He’s also living being. He’s not a dead stone. The difference is that He is the maintainer and we are maintained. He is the ruler; we are ruled. This difference we have to understand. And He is the proprietor; we are servants. Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s philosophy is this. That is a fact.
jīvera svarūpa haya nitya kṛṣṇa dāsa
“The jīva’s original position is to be an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa.” (Cc. Madhya-līlā 20.108-109)
So this consciousness, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, is being spread all over the world for the peace of the world, for the peace of the mind, for the peace of the society. So take it very seriously. It is very authorised. It is not a concocted speculation, it is fact.
And it is happening so. Now these American boys and girls who have come, spending thousands of rupees here…and they have no such distinction that, “He is Indian. He is African. He is brāhmaṇa. He is kṣatriya.” Why? Because they have taken to Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
So this movement is so important that everyone from every part of the world, they should take part in this movement, and there will be peace in the world. Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s mission is this. Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s birthday is today. In this land, in this very spot we are sitting now, He appeared for this mission. And He said that:
bhārata-bhūmite haila manuṣya-janma yāra
janma sārthaka kari para-upakāra
“One who has taken birth as a human in the land of India (Bhārata-varṣa) should make that birth successful by benefiting others.” (Cc. Ādi-līlā 9.41)
This is Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s mission.
pṛthivīte āche yata nagarādi grāma
sarvatra pracāra haibe mora nāma
“In every town and village of the world, My Holy Name will be sung.” (Caitanya-bhāgavata, Antya-khaṇḍa 4.126)
And that is being done. And the people from all parts of the world, they are responding. There is very, very good scope for spreading this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, and learned circle, important men in all parts of the society and world, they are appreciating this mission. Bhārata-bhūmite manuṣya…it was Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s desire that especially those who are born in India, and especially in Bengal, because Caitanya Mahāprabhu appeared in this land of Bengal, so it is the duty to spread this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. But unfortunately they are not coming forward.
Anyway, it doesn’t matter whether he is Bengali or am Hindu or Muslim – anyone who knows the science of Kṛṣṇa, he can spread this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. And there is great necessity, great necessity. And the preaching work is meant for the sannyāsīs. So we have got some sannyāsīs who are doing very nicely, so today we shall make a number of sannyāsīs more to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world. And those who are going to take sannyāsa, they should remember how much responsibility they have got. So live like a very strict sannyāsī. Caitanya Mahāprabhu took Himself sannyāsa at the age of twenty-four years. So it is not that in old age one has to take sannyāsa. That is not in the śāstra. From brahmacārī-āśrama one can enter into the gṛhastha-āśrama or vānaprastha-āśrama or sannyāsa-āśrama as he thinks fit. There is no such rules and regulation that only the old man without any energy, he’ll take sannyāsa. No. Rather, the young men…
Just like Caitanya Mahāprabhu did personally. He was twenty-four years old. He had beautiful wife, young wife, sixteen years old, at home, very, very affectionate mother, and His position was very great. Not as a brāhmaṇa, but still, as young man, He could collect hundreds of thousands of men by His order only, to make civil disobedience movement upon the Kazi in this land. So the civil disobedience movement was started by Caitanya Mahāprabhu for a good cause. So there are so many things. I especially appeal to the native of this land to take part in this movement of Caitanya Mahāprabhu for the benefit of the world. And we are trying to construct a very attractive temple here. Let them cooperate. It doesn’t matter whether he is Hindu, Muslim – Caitanya Mahāprabhu is for everyone. Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted Haridāsa Ṭhākura as His chief disciple. Haridāsa Ṭhākura was born in a Muhammadan family and his mission was to introduce this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra chanting.
harer nāma harer nāma harer nāma eva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā
“In the age of Kali the only means of attaining deliverance is through the chanting of the Holy Name of Lord Hari. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way.” (Bṛhan-Nāradīya Purāṇa)
And He made Haridāsa Ṭhākura nāmācārya – the ācārya to introduce Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, and Haridāsa Ṭhākura was chanting three lakhs, counting daily. That means the whole day and night. So nice movement, everyone should take part in it and dedicate to the mission of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. And it is not at all difficult. It is very easy. Caitanya Mahāprabhu said:
āmāra ājñaya guru haña tāra ei deśa
yāre dekha tāre kaha ‘kṛṣṇa’-upadeśa
“Whomever you see, tell them about the instructions of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. By My order, become guru and deliver this land.” (Cc. Madhya-līlā 7.128)
Anywhere, either you are in this district or that district, it doesn’t matter. Either you are at home or outside home, it doesn’t matter. You become a guru. Everyone. “How shall I become guru? I have no qualification.” Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, “You don’t require any qualification. You simply require one qualification, that you repeat the instruction of Bhagavad-gītā. That’s all.” Yāre dekha tāre kaha ‘kṛṣṇa’-upadeśa. That’s all. You become a guru. Don’t adulterate kṛṣṇa-upadeśa like a rascal or nonsense. Present it as it is, Bhagavad-gītā. Then you become a guru. You can become a guru in your family. You can guru your society, your nation, wherever you are. And if it is possible, you go outside and preach this mission of Bhagavad-gītā. Therefore, our movement’s name is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Whatever Kṛṣṇa says, you accept and preach. You become guru!
Thank you very much.