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yat-prahvanad yat-smaranad api kvacit
svado ’pi sadyah savanaya kalpate
kutah punas te bhagavan nu darsanat
Translation by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
To say nothing of the spiritual advancement of persons who see the Supreme Person face to face, even a person born in a family of dog-eaters immediately becomes eligible to perform Vedic sacrifices if he once utters the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead or chants about Him, hears about His pastimes, offers Him obeisances or even remembers Him.
Purport by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
Herein the spiritual potency of chanting, hearing or remembering the holy name of the Supreme Lord is greatly stressed. Rupa Gosvami has discussed the sequence of sinful activities of the conditioned soul, and he has established, in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, that those who engage in devotional service become freed from the reactions of all sinful activities. This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gita. The Lord says that He takes charge of one who surrenders unto Him, and He makes him immune to all reactions to sinful activities. If by chanting the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead one becomes so swiftly cleared of all reactions to sinful activities, then what is to be said of those persons who see Him face to face?
Another consideration here is that persons who are purified by the process of chanting and hearing become immediately eligible to perform Vedic sacrifices. Generally, only a person who is born in a family of brahmanas, who has been reformed by the ten kinds of purificatory processes and who is learned in Vedic literature is allowed to perform the Vedic sacrifices. But here the word sadyah, “immediately,” is used, and Sridhara Svami also remarks that one can immediately become eligible to perform Vedic sacrifices. A person born in a family of the low caste which is accustomed to eat dogs is so positioned due to his past sinful activities, but by chanting or hearing once in pureness, or in an offenseless manner, he is immediately relieved of the sinful reaction. Not only is he relieved of the sinful reaction, but he immediately achieves the result of all purificatory processes. Taking birth in the family of a brahmana is certainly due to pious activities in one’s past life. But still a child who is born in a family of a brahmana depends for his further reformation upon initiation into acceptance of a sacred thread and many other reformatory processes. But a person who chants the holy name of the Lord, even if born in a family of candalas, dog-eaters, does not need reformation. Simply by chanting Hare Krsna, he immediately becomes purified and becomes as good as the most learned brahmana.
Sridhara Svami especially remarks in this connection, anena pujyatvam laksyate. Some caste brahmanas remark that by chanting Hare Krsna, purification begins. Of course, that depends on the individual process of chanting, but this remark of Sridhara Svami’s is completely applicable if one chants the holy name of the Lord without offense, for he immediately becomes more than a brahmana. As Sridhara Svami says, pujyatvam: he immediately becomes as respectable as a most learned brahmana and can be allowed to perform Vedic sacrifices. If simply by chanting the holy name of the Lord one becomes sanctified instantly, then what can be said of those persons who see the Supreme Lord face to face and who understand the descent of the Lord, as Devahuti understands Kapiladeva.
Usually, initiation depends on the bona fide spiritual master, who directs the disciple. If he sees that a disciple has become competent and purified by the process of chanting, he offers the sacred thread to the disciple just so that he will be recognized as one-hundred-percent equal with a brahmana. This is also confirmed in the Hari-bhakti-vilasa by Sri Sanatana Gosvami: “As a base metal like bell metal can be changed into gold by a chemical process, any person can similarly be changed into a brahmana by diksa-vidhana, the initiation process.”
It is sometimes remarked that by the chanting process one begins to purify himself and can take birth in his next life in a brahmana family and then be reformed. But at this present moment, even those who are born in the best brahmana families are not reformed, nor is there any certainty that they are actually born of brahmana fathers. Formerly the garbhadhana reformatory system was prevalent, but at the present moment there is no such garbhadhana, or seed-giving ceremony. Under these circumstances, no one knows if a man is factually born of a brahmana father. Whether one has acquired the qualification of a brahmana depends on the judgment of the bona fide spiritual master. He bestows upon the disciple the position of a brahmana by his own judgment. When one is accepted as a brahmana in the sacred thread ceremony under the pañcaratrika system, then he is dvija, twice-born. That is confirmed by Sanatana Gosvami: dvijatvam jayate. By the process of initiation by the spiritual master, a person is accepted as a brahmana in his purified state of chanting the holy name of the Lord. He then makes further progress to become a qualified Vaisnava, which means that the brahminical qualification is already acquired.