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Indian caste system

In the Padma Purāṇa it is said:
na śūdrāḥ bhagavad-bhaktās
te ‘pi bhāgavatottamāḥ
sarva-varṇeṣu te śūdrā
ye na bhaktā janārdane

One who is actually advanced in spiritual knowledge of Kṛṣṇa is never a śūdra, even though he may have been born in a śūdra family. However, even if a vipra, or brāhmaṇa, is very expert in the six brahminical activities (paṭhana, pāṭhana, yajana, yājana, dāna, pratigraha) and is also well versed in the Vedic hymns, he cannot become a spiritual master unless he is a Vaiṣṇava. But if one is born in the family of caṇḍālas yet is well versed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he can become a guru. These are the śāstric injunctions, and strictly following these injunctions, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, as a gṛhastha named Śrī Viśvambhara, was initiated by a sannyāsī-guru named Īśvara Purī. Similarly, Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu was initiated by Mādhavendra Purī, a sannyāsī. According to others, however, He was initiated by Lakṣmīpati Tīrtha. Advaita Ācārya, although a gṛhastha, was initiated by Mādhavendra Purī, and Śrī Rasikānanda, although born in a brāhmaṇa family, was initiated by Śrī Śyāmānanda Prabhu, who was not born in a caste brāhmaṇa family. There are many instances in which a born brāhmaṇa took initiation from a person who was not born in a brāhmaṇa family. The brahminical symptoms are explained in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (7.11.35), wherein it is stated:
yasya yal-lakṣaṇaṁ proktaṁ
puṁso varṇābhivyañjakam
yad anyatrāpi dṛśyeta
tat tenaiva vinirdiśet

If a person is born in a śūdra family but has all the qualities of a spiritual master, he should be accepted not only as a brāhmaṇa but as a qualified spiritual master also. This is also the instruction of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura therefore introduced the sacred thread ceremony for all Vaiṣṇavas according to the rules and regulations.

Ref>>Srila Prabhupada Vani.

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