Only by Narada Muni’s mercy do we have brahmanas in kali yuga
Below is a lecture by Srila Prabhupada where he explains that were it not for the mercy of Narada Muni and his Pancaratriki system of purification, nobody in this age could be accepted as a brahmana.
Why not? Because according to the strict Vedic system, anyone born without the parents performing the garbhadhana ceremony is automatically classified as sudra. Which turns out to be basically, practically, everybody. But if someone comes in contact with a pure devotee spiritual master who observes ones behavior after some time as being brahminical in quality, then that person,who can follow the 4 reg’s and chant 16 rounds a day without fail can be given the brahmana initiation. Without this touch from the spiritual master and Narada Muni’s system, everyone would be sudra in kali yuga.
Srila Prabhupada also gives a nice example from the Jabala Upanisad of a boy born without his mother knowing who his father was.When asked by Gautama muni who his father was, the boy couldn’t say-this at that time was a huge embarasment because it showed how low class was one’s mother. But when the boy answered truthfully, Gautama Muni accepted him as brahminical in quality because he told the truth. Today many people are wearing brahmana threads who lie to others, and without any shame, which makes them lower than a sudra.
New Vrndavana May 25 1969-Brahmana Initiation ceremony
Because, as I told you, formerly only a person who is born by a brāhmaṇa… That means garbhādhāna ceremony. A child should be accepted that he is born of a brāhmaṇa. Everyone should know. That is called garbhādhāna ceremony, that when a man goes to his wife to beget child, there is a ceremony. It is not a secret, hide and seek behavior. Everyone should know that “Now this man is going to beget child.” So how that child should be very nice, that is called garbhādhāna ceremony. So if garbhādhāna ceremony is not performed according to scriptural direction, immediately he becomes a śūdra.
So in this age nobody is observing garbhādhāna ceremony; therefore it is to be understood that everyone is born a śūdra.Therefore pāñcarātriki-vidhi. Vedic system cannot be applied because nobody is born of a brāhmaṇa. Who knows? Who knows how he is born? There is no ceremony. That is witness, that “Oh, he will go.” Just like marriage is a ceremony, there are so many witnesses, similarly, garbhādhāna ceremony, there is ceremony. It is no hide and seek. So because the garbhādhāna ceremony is not current at the present age, therefore everyone should be accepted as born śūdra, either in any place, either here or India or anywhere. But the Pāñcarātrika system, it gives chance to a person, if he has got symptoms. Just like this boy has got the symptom to become a brāhmaṇa, to be Vaiṣṇava. Just like in the Jabala Upaniṣad. This, by symptoms, he was accepted brāhmaṇa, a small boy like this. Satyakaṁ Jabala. Satyakam. He went to Gautama Muni: “My dear sir, will you initiate me?” Just like this boy can ask us. Oh, he was very kind: “Oh, yes. Very nice boy. What is your father’s name?” “Oh, I do not know.” “Oh, just ask your mother. Go.” Mother says, “I do not know whose son you are.” He came back. “What your mother says?” “Oh, Mother says she does not know who is my father.” “Oh, you are brāhmaṇa. Oh, you are brāhmaṇa. Come on. I shall initiate you.” He was so truthful. That is real symptom of brāhmaṇa, satya, śama. He does not disclose that “I do not know.” Everyone will try to hide if he does not know his father’s name. But here is a boy, “Oh,” he said, “Oh, you are brāhmaṇa. Come on. I shall initiate you.” This is lakṣaṇa, symptom. “Such a truthful boy. Never mind what he is born, how he is born.” This system is not new. Therefore we shall have to accept by the symptom. If one is inclined to go to Kṛṣṇa—he is chanting, he is doing, following the principles—then, according to Nārada’s version, yasya hi yal lakṣaṇaṁ syāt, here is the lakṣaṇa, symptom, varṇābhivyañjakam, to understand to what class he belongs. Now, he is truthful—he belongs to the brāhmaṇa class. He is truthful; therefore he belongs to the brāhmaṇa class.Yasya hi yal lakṣaṇaṁ syāt varṇābhivyañjakam. Abhivyañjakam means just to find out what class of man he is. If he is truthful, he is brāhmaṇa. Lakṣaṇa. The lakṣaṇa is there; the symptom is there. Yasya hi yal lakṣaṇaṁ varṇābhivyañjakaṁ tat tenaiva vinirdiśet [SB 7.11.35]. One should take him into that classification. He is truthful? Oh, he is immediately to the brahminical place. If he is a liar, immediately he is pañcama, less than śūdra. You see? So these things were done. People have misused the whole thing: “Now I am born of a brāhmaṇa. By force I am brāhmaṇa.” You see? Just like Paṇḍitajī, our late Prime Minister Paṇḍitajī. He was less than the caṇḍāla, but he was addressed as “Paṇḍitajī.” “Paṇḍitajī” is the address of the brāhmaṇa. You see? By lakṣaṇam… Nobody cared for lakṣaṇa because his forefather, somebody, was a brāhmaṇa, although there was no garbhādhāna ceremony, no system, still. This is not accepted. People misunderstand Hindu culture, Vedic culture, that there are forced caste system. No. It is varṇābhivyañjakam, by the symptom, quality, qualification. It is not by birth.
So we, our… One of the item of this mission, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, is to establish real varṇāśrama by qualification. We have to pick up brāhmaṇas from everywhere, throughout the whole world, not that we have to pick up brāhmaṇas in India in some class. No.There are brāhmaṇas every part of the world. We have to pick up. Just see. None of these boys are born in India or a brāhmaṇa family, but they have got the symptom. They have got the brahminical... They have either acquired willingly or by some way. So we have to pick up. Anyone who is truthful, who is controlling the senses, no illicit sex life… That is controlling senses. There are many other things. This is the most important thing. Śamo dama titikṣa. They are tolerant. To these American boys, to take up another culture, which they are not accustomed from the birth, that is tolerance. This is tolerance. But it is not painful, but it is tolerance. I am asking the American boys, “Don’t smoke. Don’t take intoxication.” They are accustomed to this habit from the very childhood, but they are doing this. This is tolerance. So these are brahminical qualification, tolerance, truthful. And śauca, śauca, this śauca. Anyone who is chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, he is pure, bahyābhyantaram, inside and outside. So in this way, in this age, the chance should be given... So this is a chance given by the Pāñcarātrika system. It doesn’t matter how he is born. Nobody is responsible for his birth, but everyone is responsible for his work. So you work like a brāhmaṇa, like a Vaiṣṇava, and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, and chant this Gāyatrī mantra, and your life will be sublime. So don’t neglect it. You are being initiated according to the order of our predecessors, Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Pṛthivīte āche yata nagarādi grāma. We should have to preach this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement in every village, in every town of this planet. Therefore we have come to your country.