Brahmanas: Respect or Not?

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das


It is very sad to see that in the holiest of places, Sri Dhama Vrindavana, the yatris and pilgrims show very little if any respect to the brahmanas, pandas and tirtha gurus.


Of course, such neglect can be expected since this is the age of Kali which is characterized by ignorance and degeneration, a lack of quality,  and total distrust in anyone and everything. It is very, very rare to find a good anything; be it a good teacher, good parent, good spouse, friend, politician, doctor, soldier, merchant or laborer, or a good devotee, guru or brahmana.


Everyone is faulty in one way or another. The Srimad Bhagavatam confirms that Kali-Yuga is the AGE OF FAULTS—each and every one of us is drowning in an ocean of faults and shortcomings, kaler dosha nidhe. (SB 12.3.51)


Thus we all have a “faulty outlook” and for various reasons or even no reason, many people have personal prejudices or negative feelings toward brahmanas.


However, if we just follow our minds and impulses, whims and wants, impressions, negative samskaras, dislikes and prejudices we will never attain any happiness or success in human life.


Follow the mind and attain frustration, anxiety and failure at last. Or follow shastra and attain happiness, perfection and liberation forever.


Sri Krishna describes these two paths in Gita (16.23): “One who rejects and neglects the shastra vidhi (rules and suggestions of scripture) and just follows his/her desires and lust will never achieve happiness, perfection or the spiritual world, yah shastra vidhim utsrjya, vartate kama-karatah, na sa siddhim avapnoti, na sukham na param.


An intelligent person should guide his thinking, desiring and actions on the basis of the perfect knowledge given by Bhagavan Sri Krishna, personally appearing before us in the form of shastra to guide, be friend and help all of us. In Srimad Bhagavatam (10.85.42), Daityaraja Bali said, “O Bhagavan, Your divine form comprises the revealed scriptures, tvayi shastra sharirini.


To create a healthy attitude toward brahmanas, to improve our understanding of their position, and to learn how to properly respect, honor and treat them, we offer the following shastric references for the benefit of all.

While touring South India, Bhagavan Sri Krishna and His exalted entourage visited the home of a brahmana devotee named Shrutadeva. At that time, Sri Krishna gave some very important “eternal instructions for everyone” regarding the proper vision and treatment of brahmanas.

By reading, reflecting upon, and trying to follow these Puranic teachings one will acquire a peaceful, controlled mind which will be shown by proper behavior toward the brahamanas.

Bhagavan Sri Krishna said, “My dear brahmana Shrutadevaji! You should know that these great sages have come here just to bless you. They travel throughout the worlds with Me, purifying them with the dust of their feet.”

Tika: Sri Krishna said, “I have heard you praise Me but not the brahmanas accompanying Me. Being favorable to the brahmanas, I will personally praise them in order to teach devotion to the brahmanas.” By saying this Krishna implies, “Even though I am Your object of praise, the brahmanas are Mine.

Sri Krishna: “One can gradually become purified by seeing, touching and worshiping temple deities, places of pilgrimage and holy rivers. But one can attain the same result immediately simply by receiving the glance of exalted sages.”

Tika: “Moreover, the brahmanas, who immediately purify one just by their darsana, are even greater than temple deities who slowly purify one.”

Sri Krishna: “By his very birth, a brahmana is the best of all living beings in this world, and he becomes even more exalted when he is endowed with austerity, learning and self-satisfaction, what to speak of devotion to Me.”

Tika: Krishna continued, “By birth, austerity, peace and knowledge the brahmana is the best of all living entities. He is even more so when he has attained direct realization of Me by intensely worshiping Me.”

Sri Krishna: “Even My own four-armed form is no dearer to Me than a brahmana. Within himself a learned brahmana comprises all the Vedas, just as within Myself I comprise all the demigods.”

Tika: The phrase sarva-veda-mayo vipraḥ means that the brahmana sages, who are the Vedas personified, can reveal Krishna who embodies all the demigods and Vishnu-tattva expansions of Narayana.

Sri Krishna: “Ignorant of this truth, foolish people neglect and enviously offend a learned brahmana, who, being nondifferent from Me, is their spiritual master and very self. They consider worshipable only such obvious manifestations of divinity as My Deity form.

Tika: Krishna said, “Foolish people who are ignorant of this truth find fault (asuyavah) with brahmanas, and think that deities are worshipable but not brahmanas.”

Sri Krishna: “Because he has realized Me, a brahmana is firmly fixed in the knowledge that everything moving and nonmoving in the universe, and also the primary elements of its creation, are all manifest forms expanded from Me.”

Tika: This verse describes the qualities of the brahmana. Krishna said, “Special brahmanas like Narada Muni, who are endowed with direct realization of Me (mad-ikshaya), know that this universe and its causes (hetavah), the primary elements (bhavah) such as mahat-tattva, are all manifest forms expanded from Me.”

Concluding His glorification of brahmanas, Bhagavan Sri Krishna said, “Therefore you should worship these brahmana sages with the same faith you have in Me. If you do so, you will worship Me directly, which you cannot do otherwise, even with offerings of vast riches. (SB 10.86.51-59 v& tikas Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti) See more in part two.

Respecting and serving brahmanas ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

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