Śrīmad-bhāgavatam 5.4.13 –

 

yavīyāṁsa ekāśītir jāyanteyāḥ pitur ādeśakarā mahāśālīnā mahāśrotriyā yajña-śīlāḥ karma-viśuddhā brāhmaṇā babhūvu.

 

Misinterpreted by ISKCON’s BBTI –
“From this verse we have good information of how the castes are qualified according to quality and work. Ṛṣabhadeva, a king, was certainly a katriya. He had a hundred sons, and out of these, ten were engaged as katriyas and ruled the planet. Nine sons became good preachers of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (mahā-bhāgavatas), and this indicates that they were above the position of brāhmaas. The other eighty-one sons became highly qualified brāhmaas. These are some practical examples of how one can become fit for a certain type of activity by qualification, not by birth. All the sons of Mahārāja Ṛṣabhadeva were katriyas by birth, but by quality some of them became katriyas, and some became brāhmaas. Nine became preachers of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (bhāgavata-dharma-darśanāḥ), which means that they were above the categories of katriya and brāhmaa.

 

 

Actual explanation –

 

Since, most of the other commentators on the said verse of ŚBMP have omitted to comment due to ambiguous reasons, we come across the Vamśidharī Ṭīkā (in Sanskrit) serving as a sub-commentary to the Śrīdhara Svāmī’s Bhāvārtha-dīpikā commentary (considered authorized by the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava ācāryas including Śrī Caitanyadeva) which clarifies the whole dilemma –

 

brāhmaṇā yajana-yājanādhyāpanādi-vipra-karma-niṣṭhatvena tac-chabda-vācyāḥ. vastuto brāhmaa-prasādāvāptabrāhmaa-bhāvāḥ. yad vā yugāntare brāhmaa-karmaṇā katriyāder api brāhmaatā bhavati ‘kalau brāhmaatā vīryāt tapaścaryādinā na hi’ iti vāratantavyukte…”

 

Rendition –

 

Brāhmaas (in the context that the sons of katriya King Ṛṣabhadeva became brāhmaas in Satya-yuga)  means those who are fixed in the actions of performing fire sacrifice (for oneself) and performing fire sacrifice for others (in a priestly way) etc. (the total six duties of a brāhmaa as prescribed in the dharma-śāstras). Since, the eighty-one sons of Ṛṣabhadeva were engaged in this six-fold brāhminical occupation, therefore, they can be called as ‘brāhmaas’. Factually, these sons of Ṛṣabhadeva attained the brāhminical status by the mercy of the born brāhmaas. It, also, indicates that in eon like Satya-yuga, by the performance of brāhminical acts, even other castes like katriya etc. can attain to the brāhminical status. But, ‘in Kaliyuga, the brāhminical status is, solely, conferred by seminal birth and not by other aspects like austerity etc.’ – such is the scriptural command.”

 

 

The above explanation found in the Vamśidharī sub-commentary to Śrīdharasvāmī’s Bhāvārthadīpikā is, also, supported by Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī’s commentary on Viṣṇupurāṇa.

 

Viṣṇu-purāṇa:

 

samāna-pauruśa ceto bhāvi vipreu vai kalau |

kṣīra-pradāna-sambandhī bhāvi gou ca gauravam ||23||

 

Rendition – “In the Kali age, all people will consider themselves as equal with the brāhmaas; and cows will be held in reverence only because they supply milk.”

 

Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī’s commentary on the above cited verse –

 

samāna-pauruam asmāsu vipreu ca puruatva samānam | tad asmātto vipreu ko viśea ? ity anādara-yukta citta śūdrāder bhavishyatīty artha | samāna-paruam iti pāṭhe sa-garva-niṣṭhura ca ceta iti | kṣīra- iti | mahishyādiu iva kṣīra-pradānato gou satkāro bhaviyati ||23||”

 

(In Kaliyuga, śūdras will think) the puruatva (ability or masculine potency) of both us and the vipras (brāhmaas) is the same (that is, there is no specialty in the vipras). What is the speciality that the vipras have that we do not have? In this way, they will be disrespectful. That is the meaning. In reading samāna-pauruam, it means their minds will be full of arrogance and harshness (towards vipras). Just like buffalos, there will be proper treatment to go (cow) only if they will give milk.

(VP 6.1.23)

 

bhaika-vrata-parāḥ śudrāḥ pravrajyāligino’dhamāḥ |

pāṣaṇḍa-saṁśrayāṁ vttim āśrayiyanti satktāḥ ||6.1.37||

 

 

Rendition – “Śūdras, seeking a subsistence by begging and assuming outward symbols of parivrājakas (bahmaa sannyāsīs of Vedic order) will become the impure followers of impious and heretical doctrines.”

 

Furthermore, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmipāda proclaims in his Durgama-saṅgamanī commentary to Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s Bhaktirasāmṛtasindhu 1.1.21 –

 

brāhmaṇānāṁ śaukre janmani durjātittvābhāve ‘pi savanāya sujātitva-janaka-sāvitrya-janmāpekṣāvat. tataś ca savanna-yogyatva-pratikūla-durjāty-ārambhaka  prārabdham api gatam eva, kintu śiṣṭācārābhāvāt sāvitram janma nāstīti brāhmaa-kumārāṇām savanna-yogyatvābhāvāvacchedaka-puya-viśea-maya-sāvitra-janmāpekṣāvad asya janmāntarāpekṣā vartata iti bhāva.

 

Rendition – “Even for the seminally brāhmaa children who are not contaminated with the birth in a polluted caste, the eligibility for the performance of a Vedic sacrifice requires their undergoing the Sāvitrī birth (upanayana saskāra). In the case of a dog-eater outcaste cāṇḍāla (who is purified by bhakti), though his corrupt prārabdha (the fruit of his bad actions performed in his past lives; that fruit is his being born in a polluted caste) which bars his eligibility for the performance of a Vedic sacrifice – is removed (by bhakti), nevertheless, because it is not the ideal act (of Vedic civilization – ‘śitācāra-abhāvāt’), such an outcaste cannot undergo the Sāvitrī initiation (upanayana saskāra). Just as how the seminally born brāhmaa children are required to undergo Sāvitrī birth for removing the ineligibility for the performance of Vedic sacrifice (even a seminally born brāhmaa child is ineligible for Vedic sacrifice till he removes that ineligibility by undergoing sāvitrī dīkṣā), similarly, an outcaste devotee of Lord Hari (born in a polluted caste) is required to undergo another/new physical birth (next life) for being able to actually perform the Vedic sacrifice.”

 

 

  • Bhaktirasavedāntapīṭhādhīśvara Ācārya Śrī Gurupāda

 

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