yam pravrajantam anupetam apeta-krtyam
dvaipayano viraha-katara ajuhava
putreti tan-mayataya taravo ’bhinedus
tam sarva-bhuta-hrdayam munim anato ’smi
Translation by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
Srila Suta Gosvami said: Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto that great sage [Sukadeva Gosvami] who can enter the hearts of all. When he went away to take up the renounced order of life [sannyasa], leaving home without undergoing reformation by the sacred thread or the ceremonies observed by the higher castes, his father, Vyasadeva, fearing separation from him, cried out, “O my son!” Indeed, only the trees, which were absorbed in the same feelings of separation, echoed in response to the begrieved father.
Purport by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
The institution of varna and asrama prescribes many regulative duties to be observed by its followers. Such duties enjoin that a candidate willing to study the Vedas must approach a bona fide spiritual master and request acceptance as his disciple. The sacred thread is the sign of those who are competent to study the Vedas from the acarya, or the bona fide spiritual master. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami did not undergo such purificatory ceremonies because he was a liberated soul from his very birth.
Generally, a man is born as an ordinary being, and by the purificatory processes he is born for the second time. When he sees a new light and seeks direction for spiritual progress, he approaches a spiritual master for instruction in the Vedas. The spiritual master accepts only the sincere inquirer as his disciple and gives him the sacred thread. In this way a man becomes twice-born, or a dvija. After qualifying as a dvija one may study the Vedas, and after becoming well versed in the Vedas one becomes a vipra. A vipra, or a qualified brahmana, thus realizes the Absolute and makes further progress in spiritual life until he reaches the Vaisnava stage. The Vaisnava stage is the postgraduate status of a brahmana. A progressive brahmana must necessarily become a Vaisnava, for a Vaisnava is a self-realized, learned brahmana.
Srila Sukadeva Gosvami was a Vaisnava from the beginning; therefore, there was no need for him to undergo all the processes of the varnasrama institution. Ultimately the aim of varnasrama-dharma is to turn a crude man into a pure devotee of the Lord, or a Vaisnava. Anyone, therefore, who becomes a Vaisnava accepted by the first-class Vaisnava, or uttama-adhikari Vaisnava, is already considered a brahmana, regardless of his birth or past deeds. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted this principle and recognized Srila Haridasa Thakura as the acarya of the holy name, although Thakura Haridasa appeared in a Mohammedan family. In conclusion, Srila Sukadeva Gosvami was born a Vaisnava, and, therefore, brahminism was included in him. He did not have to undergo any ceremonies. Any lowborn person — be he a Kirata, Huna, Andhra, Pulinda, Pulkasa, Abhira, Sumbha, Yavana, Khasa or even lower — can be delivered to the highest transcendental position by the mercy of Vaisnavas. Srila Sukadeva Gosvami was the spiritual master of Sri Suta Gosvami, who therefore offers his respectful obeisances unto Srila Sukadeva Gosvami before he begins his answers to the questions of the sages at Naimisaranya.