When the PanchaTattva came into this world, they broke the lock on the storehouse of love of God – premānanda. They went inside – they drank to their full satisfaction and then they began to … more
We are sometimes faced with smarta brahmanas – brahmanas who claims a brahmanical status by birth. This brahmanism in India was very very predominating in society throughout. One could really speak of the terror of the smarta brahmanas in India for hundred of years, and suppressing the rest of India. For example, we find descriptions of South Indian cultural life were sudras had to walk around with a bell, whenever they had to go in a brahminical area to do some necessary services there, and something that brahmanas couldn’t do themselves, because they were preoccupied with higher matters in life. So, for some of the more low types of work, a sudra had to enter into the brahminical areas. He had a bell and rung it so that all the brahmanas could quickly go indoors when he would come past – so that the shadow of that sudra wouldn’t touch them, because if it did touch them – then if one reads the Dharma-śāstras than it states that one becomes contaminated. You can also read it in the Manu-samhitā – that’s if you’re interested in it – then they couldn’t study vedic literature. They would have to take a bath first of all if a shadow of such a person would have touched them – then they would have to take a bath for purification – and one would also have to fast, and go through a whole preliminary purification process before one could again focus on studying the scriptures.
So, you can just imagine in modern times – kalau sudra sambhava – any decent self respecting brahmana would never get round to studying the scriptures for a moment, and would have to have the blinds down on all the windows and wear those dark glasses. It would be quite complicated. So this kind of smarta brahmanism became very very widely spread in India, and it is that which has killed the vedic culture! It is that where people became fed up with it – with this whole caste system.
So, that is interesting, but the fact of the matter is that there is some relevance to what these brahmanas are saying. Mainly it is not totally just fabricated and coming forth out of some sort of arrogance. No, a person afflicted by the lower modes of nature cannot just purify himself within a few moments through the vedic processes of austerity, of giving in charity – yága-mâna dānam tapaḥ, this sacrifice – that was the vedic means of purification prāyaścitta – riding above reactions of activities of ignorance and passion, and a slow process for purification. Therefore, their point was:
“ Well if a sudra is nicely trying to rectify himself in this life, than maybe in the next life he’ll take a better birth”.
There is something to say for that if one looks at the ordinary process of prāyaścitta of purification through as I said yága-mâna dānam tapaḥ -sacrifice, giving in charity and austerity, but the process of devotional service is completely different. In particularly, the process of chanting the holy name is very potent. Just by chanting the holy name once is so potent that Srila Prabhupada explains:
“If one chants the holy name just the once, than one is changed!”.
You can see it as I am chanting:
“ Hare Krishna. Have I changed? Have I? Anyone saw it? Who? Yeah…How have I changed?….I look more beautiful…
than usual? That’s extraordinary! …That’s practically a miracle”. Srila Prabhupada points out:
“Actually that’s not really the change. That is not really the substantial element of the change. It is only a side effect of the change. The real substantial change is that the subtle body has changed, just by chanting the Hare Krishna maha mantra the once – the subtle body has changed”
If we regularly chant the holy name, then at one point we have a whole different subtle body, and that means that the whole affliction due to previous karma of the modes of the material nature just disappears. The sankīrtana movement is really overthrowing this whole smarta brahmanism, and every argument that they might produce in support, because the potency of the holy name is tremendous. Even chanting just the once – it is explained:
“ It can destroy more sinful activities than one can commit in a lifetime!”
(Kadamba Kanana Swami, Radhadesh, January 2011)