His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
the Hare Krsna movement)
His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
the Hare Krsna movement)
By Purujit Dasa
(lecture on brahminical initiation given on Sri Balaram purnima and at the occasion of brahmana initiation for Makhancora Prabhu in Hare Krsna Center Montreal)
SECOND INITIATION MEANS HE CAN BECOME A RTVIK
So welcome and thank you for coming again. I am going to now explain a little bit about the importance of this initiation, why we actually do this, what it means and how it changes things.
In summary, the brahminical initiation means that those who receive it are officially recognized as bona fide disciples of Srila Prabhupada. In Vedic culture this thread represents a sort of badge, or a transcendental diploma. Not exactly a diploma, because initiation is the beginning, whereas a diploma is the end of studies, but if someone wears this thread, it means that he's serving Krsna under the guidance of a bona fide acarya. But not just that, he also becomes eligible, as Srila Prabhupada mentions in one portion of an old edition of the Back to godhead magazine, to perform sacrifices. For example, this initiation ceremony is one of the sacrifices he can perform. He is also eligible to worship the Deity. It is not that anyone and everyone can touch the Deity, dress the Deity and so on and on. There must be second initiation. By giving this initiation, we are acknowledging that this person is a bona fide disciple of Srila Prabhupada and not just that, he is also eligible to perform the initiation ceremony, chant on the beads of the first initiates and become a rtvik, a priest who acts on Srila Prabhupada's behalf. In our society, of course we have elections and the rtvik has to be approved by the general body of devotees. Just like we met together and the devotees elected me to act as a priest, but despite that, being braminically initiated means that one can do this.
FOLLOWING THE PRINCIPLES MEANS YOU ARE ALREADY INITIATED
If you want to be a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, you have to fulfill some conditions. Srila Prabhupada has some conditions. You have to follow the four regulative principles: no illicit sex life, no meat eating, no gambling and no intoxication and chant 16 rounds of japa mala daily. Now, what is important to mention is that according to the statements of the sastra someone who is following the instructions of the acarya, someone who is already doing like this and preaching Krsna consciousness and taking shelter of Srila Prabhupada's instructions, he is already brahminically initiated. This ceremony is simply a formality to acknowledge this. In India there's a very rigid caste system, which is a perversion of the original system. People wear threads and claim to be brahmanas simply because they took birth from a brahmana father, but they themselves do not follow any regulations. Some of these so-called brahmanas even eat meat. So by their qualification they prove to be less than sudras. Sudra is the lowest class in the Vedic society, so they are lower than that. Therefore, in order to distinguish, who is bona fide and who is not bona fide, the sãstras say that one has to follow the instructions –that is the real qualification and here I can quote a few references. This is from the Srimad Bhagavatam
yat-prahvaṇād yat-smaraṇād api kvacit
śvādo 'pi sadyaḥ savanāya kalpate
kutaḥ punas te bhagavan nu darśanāt
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.
The holy name is so powerful that if someone chants it with sincerity, he at once attains the brahminical qualification. Actually, he becomes higher. Brahmana is supposed to have the impersonal realization of the Absolute Truth, Brahman, liberation. But a Vaisnava, a devotee, he understands the Bhagavan feature. If he understands the Bhagavan feature, the Personality of God, then the impersonal Brahman is included automatically.
The following is another quote I would like to mention here. It is from the first initiation lecture Srila Prabhupada gave in the West. It is a very revolutionary event, in 1968, because he gave the brahminical initiation to non-Indian devotees. On this occasion Srila Prabhupada gave a class and I'm going to read you an excerpt from it:
After chanting process for the six months or one year, it is supposed that he has already become purified. Now he should be recognized that he is purified. So this sacred thread means recognition. Sacred thread means one should understand... Just like one understands a man (is) learned by the degrees M.A., B.A., or Ph.D., similarly, when there is sacred thread, it is understood that he has undergone the purificatory process under superior management, or guidance of spiritual master. This is called upanayana, upanayana, in Sanskrit. Upanayana: bringing him more near. The initiation is the beginning of purification, and offering the sacred thread means bringing him more nearer. Therefore the principle is those who are ordinarily initiated, they should not touch the Deity. Only those who are in sacred thread, they should touch. This is the system.
But Kṛṣṇa-kīrtana is so nice that even without sacred thread, because he is regularly chanting, he is to be supposed to be purified. That is the recommendation given by Jīva Gosvāmī. Anyone who is chanting regularly Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra... Śvādo 'pi sadyaḥ savanāya kalpate. Śvādaḥ. Śvā means dog, and adaḥ, adaḥ means eating. Dog-eaters. The dog-eaters are considered to be the lowest of the mankind. But in the Bhāgavata says that śvādo 'pi sadyaḥ savanāya kalpate. Even if he is dog-eater, but by this process he immediately becomes qualified to offer sacrifice. Savanāya. This fire sacrifice is called savanāya. And Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī gives notes on this line that a person born in the family of a brāhmaṇa awaits the sacred thread ceremony. But one who has become surely (?) purified by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, he immediately becomes a highly qualified brāhmaṇa.
Initiation Lecture -- Boston, December 26, 1969
ARE YOU SAYING THAT SRILA PRABHUPADA’S BOOKS ARE INCOMPLETE?
So Prabhupada was very much criticized for this by the rigid so-called brahmanas, caste brãhmanas from India. They actually took a great offense: “Oh Swamiji is initiating whoever and whichever. This is a great disturbance. They are not born in a brahmana family, why they are being recognized as brahmanas?” So they became very envious and similarly nowadays people are very envious. We have also experienced that many devotees have objected that we perform this initiation ceremony. One group says that you need a living guru, You cannot take initiation from Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada has to be physically present. Another group says that you need a so-called senior devotee to perform the initiation, but both are wrong. Spiritual life does not depend on anything physical, material. Spiritual life is ahaituky-apratihata. If the person is qualified, that is the essence, not the initiation. Whether the rtvik is qualified, that is of course also to be considered, but suppose there is no rtvik, suppose there is no senior devotee. If one simply hears from prabhupada, follows his instructions very strictly, is he not qualified to act as a brahmana? This is our challenge, because if we say otherwise, then Srila Prabhupada's books become incomplete. If we say: “No, no, he cannot take shelter of Srila Prabhupada directly, then Srila Prabhupada's books are incomplete, in other words, he is not the current acarya and we need another living link to connect us to Srila Prabhupada. So this is not so! Srila Prabhupada is fully present in his books- that is the actual initiation: through the knowledge, through hearing. If there is the possibility or an opportunity of getting guidance from a senior, more experienced devotee, we should take it, we should not be foolish: “I only accept Prabhupada and you are all nonsense.” no. If someone has more experience and if I can take advantage, I would be foolish not to take advantage of such guidance, but at the same time, we should remember, that Srila Prabhupada does not depend on his disciples to give initiations. This is very important. If we do not understand this independent feature of the acarya, bona fide acarya Srila Prabhupada, then sooner or later we will make offense to the acarya. We will think he is an ordinary man, because he depends on some material circumstance to continue his mission.
YOU HAVE TO BECOME A SENIOR BY QUALIFICATION
There is so much opposition because of this and why there is opposition? Because people claim to be senior, brahminical or even gurus not on the basis of qualification, but on the basis of some hierarchical or ecclesiastical considerations, or on the basis of age: I am older than you, therefore I have the right to instruct you. Just consider, Sukadeva Goswami was 16 years old, he is the speaker of the Bhagavatam, yet great sages like Narada Muni and Srila Vyasadeva were hearing from him. This is a Vaisnava. Vaisnava does not make such discrimination on the bodily plane: “Oh you are from this family, you are from this country, or you are too young to instruct.” No. A Vaisnava is accepted by hearing not by seeing. Lord Caitanya says that anyone can be a guru. What is the qualification for a guru? That he knows the Krsna tattva, that he knows the science of Krsna -that is the qualification, that is what we should be looking at while searching for some guidance, some devotee association, we should be looking at what this person is saying and not whether he's young or old, from a brahminical family, Westerner, Indian, etc, or whether he is brahminically initiated or not. That has no value spiritually. Srila Prabhupada explains that this brahminical initiation was started by His Divine Grace Bhaktisidhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaja and Prabhupada explains how his guru maharaja introduced this system, that he started giving the brahmana initiation to the non-brahmanas, but also to those who were born in a brahmana family, which was a great revolution in India that he dared to give another initiation. In other words he showed that the initiation that person received from his family is not bona fide, that is why he re-initiated those who were coming from brãhmana family and who wanted to become his disciples. So Prabhupada speaks about this in the following letter:
In the other, other feature of this sacred ceremony, is that one may not commit offense at the feet of a Vaiṣṇava by thinking him, "Oh, he's a mleccha, he's a yavana, or he's lower class, he's higher class," like that. Therefore this is offered. No, he's brāhmaṇa. He's brāhmaṇa. Otherwise, still in India, a person born in a brāhmaṇa family, the most wretched condition and most abominable habits, and he claims to be a brāhmaṇa. And a person who is highly elevated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he's not accepted. So in order to save one from the injustice, this ceremony is required that it is bona fide. He's a bona fide brāhmaṇa. As it is prescribed and ordered in the Nārada-paṣcarātra or Vaiṣṇava smṛti. So my Guru Mahārāja, His Holiness Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, he introduced this, and we are following
Gāyatrī Mantra Initiation -- Boston, May 9, 1968
Next quote is a sloka from the Caitanya Caritamrta:
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu then finally advised, "One who is chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is understood to be a Vaiṣṇava; therefore you should offer all respects to him."
In his Upadeśāmṛta, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī states: kṛṣṇeti yasya giri taṁ manasādriyeta dīkṣāsti cet. An advanced devotee should respect a person who has been initiated by a bona fide spiritual master and who is situated on the transcendental platform, chanting the holy name with faith and obeisances and following the instructions of the spiritual master. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura comments that serving Vaiṣṇavas is most important for householders. Whether a Vaiṣṇava is properly initiated or not is not a subject for consideration. One may be initiated and yet contaminated by the Māyāvāda philosophy, but a person who chants the holy name of the Lord offenselessly will not be so contaminated. A properly initiated Vaiṣṇava may be imperfect, but one who chants the holy name of the Lord offenselessly is all-perfect. Although he may apparently be a neophyte, he still has to be considered a pure unalloyed Vaiṣṇava. It is the duty of the householder to offer respects to such an unalloyed Vaiṣṇava. This is Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's instruction.
Next quote is a letter to Acyutananda from 1970:
Actually one who takes to chanting Hare Krsna Mantra offenselessly immediately becomes situated transcendentally and therefore he has no need of being initiated with sacred thread, but Guru Maharaja introduced this sacred thread because a Vaisnava was being mistaken as belonging to the material caste. To accept a Vaisnava in material caste system is hellish consideration (naraki buddhi). Therefore, to save the general populace from being offender to a Vaisnava, He persistently introduced this sacred thread ceremony and we must follow His footsteps.
Letter to: Acyutananda — Bombay 14 November, 1970
So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is so nice that we can accept anyone—it doesn't matter wherefrom he's coming—and make him a pure Vaiṣṇava. And following the footsteps of Advaita Prabhu, Caitanya Mahāprabhu, these Vaiṣṇavas from foreign countries, those who are actually purified by the process of initiation, they should be accepted. They should not be neglected. Unfortunately, there is some silent protest that I am ruining the Hindu religion because I am initiating the Europeans and Americans. Therefore I am ruining Hindu religion. There is a grudge against me. But you can just consider these points that I am going strictly according to the regulation given by the Gosvāmīs and the śāstras. Śāstra allows. Kṛṣṇa says, māṁ hi pārtha vyapāśritya ye 'pi syuḥ pāpa-yonayaḥ [Bg. 9.32]. Pāpa-yoni, it doesn't matter, if he takes regularly the shelter of Kṛṣṇa, lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa... And Caitanya Mahāprabhu ordered that
pṛthivīte āche yata nagarādi grāma
sarvatra pracāra haibe mora nāma
He predicted. Practically we are trying to carry out the order of Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Caitanya Mahāprabhu ordered that anyone who has taken birth as human being in Bhārata-varṣa, he should engage his life for paropakāra. And he said also, pṛthivīte āche yata nagarādi grāma: "All over the town, all over the world, as many towns and villages are there, My name will be established there." So we are trying to do that. So His name should be established does not mean that they should remain as yavanas or mlecchas, and simply they should simply know Lord Caitanya. No. Actually the fact is that everyone should be elevated to the position of Vaiṣṇava, purified Vaiṣṇava, as it is recommended in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavata, Bhagavad-gītā. Cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ [Bg. 4.13]. They, they should be made into brāhmaṇas by qualifying them as brāhmaṇa.
So the first condition is that anyone who comes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness as a bona fide initiated member, he gives up all these abominable habits: no illicit sex, no meat-eating, no gambling, no intoxication. They have given up even smoking cigarette, even drinking tea, coffee. So they are all, after being qualified, they are accepted as Vaiṣṇava and properly initiated. So they cannot be neglected as other than brāhmaṇas. That is not very good proposition. They are, according to śāstra, they are qualified. It may be due to some past habits, they may commit some mistake, unconsciously. Consciously, no Vaiṣṇava commits any mistake, but maybe due to habit. That is also protected by Kṛṣṇa. Api cet su-durācāro bhajate mām ananya-bhāk, sādhur eva sa mantavyaḥ [Bg. 9.30]. Even there are some discrepancies, but if the only one qualification is there, that he's sticking to Kṛṣṇa consciousness rigidly, he's sādhu. Sādhur eva sa mantavyaḥ [Bg. 9.30]. He's not to be neglected. So these Europeans, Americans devotees, according to the enunciation given by Rūpa Gosvāmī, as it is supported by Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself, as it is supported by Śukadeva Gosvāmī, as it is supported by Sanātana Gosvāmī, as it is ordered by Caitanya Mahāprabhu, they are regularly initiated Vaiṣṇavas. They should not be neglected. That will be vaiṣṇava-aparādha, offenses unto the Vaiṣṇava. Out of all kinds of aparādhas, offenses, vaiṣṇava-aparādha is the most dangerous. Most dangerous. So vaiṣṇava-aparādha is not excused by Viṣṇu.
The Nectar of Devotion -- Vṛndāvana, November 6, 1972
DON’T NEGLECT WHEN A SINCERE DISCIPLE OF SRILA PRABHUPADA IS OFFENDED.
There are many people who are envious of Srila Prabhupada. They say: “Why should you accept the shelter of Srila Prabhupada? Why he should be the spiritual master?” That means he’s envious. But even Srila Prabhupada’s disciples they are also being envied and we should not neglect this. If I respect the spiritual master, then why am I disrespectful to his disciples? The spiritual master is not alone. If I disrespect, if I offend his disciples, or if I deny that they are actually disciples of Srila Prabhupada, although they are qualified, that means I am a Vaisnava apharadi, an offender to Krsna, an offender to the holy name, so in order to safeguard the general populace, who are very much external (Although we explain that one should hear from a Vaisnava, they want to see, what he is doing. They want to faultfind. He is not doing this properly or that properly etc.), we give this brahmana initiation. You please kindly relax, he is authorized. Don’t judge him, be respectful. These formalities are helpful in this regard, otherwise if one is qualified he is already initiated, but this formality is here for this purpose also and we are not going to stop it just because some envious persons are barking. Srila Prabhupada says:
The sacred thread inaugurated by my Guru Maharaja according to pancaratrika system and Hari-bhakti-vilasa by Srila Sanatana Goswami must continue. It does not matter whether the priestly class accepts it or not. When my Guru Maharaja Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Prabhupada introduced this system, it was protested even by His inner circle of Godbrothers or friends. Of course He had actually no Godbrothers, but there were many disciples of Bhaktivinode Thakura who were considered as Godbrothers who protested against this action of my Guru Maharaja, but He didn't care for it.
Letter to: Acyutananda — Bombay 14 November, 1970
IF THERE’S NO ORGANIZATION THERE WILL BE CHAOS
Another reason for the initiation is that when we start preaching, just like we have taken upon ourselves to conduct the preaching work on behalf of Srila Prabhupada, some organization is necessary. So this initiation means authorization. It is a hint to a newcomer: he is bona fide and because you are not initiated you are not yet bona fide. You can become authorized, there is no problem, that is why the center is here, so anyone and everyone can become qualified, following these principles, chant 16 rounds, become an initiated disciple of Srila Prabhupada, but some distinction there must be, otherwise there is going to be a chaos. Whether someone is following the regulative principles, who can see this? You can tell me, I follow, but who can see what you are doing in the privacy of your apartment and who can check? But if he takes the initiation, he is taking responsibility for lying, he is claiming to the whole world, yes I follow these principles. If he is cheating, that will be very soon visible, Krsna will point it out and everyone will know. One cannot do this, rise early in the morning, read the Bhagavadgita, preach to the people on book distribution and so on. If he is not following the regulative principles, he cannot stay. It is impossible, he will be kicked out, he will be agitated and he will go away. So because we are running some organization, some hierarchy is necessary. Any organization, any church, any religion, any institution if you go, you will see, there is a hierarchy, there is a president, there is a bishop, there’s the pope, there are so many authorities. It is not that everyone is equal and everyone can do whatever he wants. So Srila Prabhupada is the spiritual master, yes, yes absolutely and if someone is reading Srila Prabhupada’s books and following the regulative principles, is he required to come here and take shelter of the Bhaktivedanta Lives In Sound Soceity, otherwise he’s not bona fide? No. Not at all. He can make his own institution. Srila Prabhupada has such power that your own institution you can make if you’re sincere. It is not so easy, but it is possible. But when you make that institution, you will yourself see, there must be gradation of authority. These are the formalities, temple presidents, or even the rtvik what I do, this has nothing to do with my spiritual realization. You can say, yes, everyone has to be spiritually realized, not that everyone and anyone can speak all kinds of nonsense, apasiddhantas, but for the most part this is a managerial, formal authority. The spiritual authority, the top most spiritual authority is Srila Prabhupada. I might make a mistake and it’s ok, because I don’t claim to be the absolute authority, that is Srila Prabhupada so we have to cooperate. Sometimes we have arguments together with Godbrothers, but this is fine and it is conducive to spiritual realization. Everyone has a different understanding, but so long we are sincerely trying to please Srila Prabhupada we can always find some compromise and go on with the preaching work, but in order to make this preaching more swift, more practical, there are these positions in a spiritual society, so things can go faster. Not that we are going to argue about every single detail, whether we should go on sankirtana at 9 o’clock or 10 o’clock. If we argue like this, then the mission cannot go on. So the authority is there for this reason that he has the final word: Ok, everyone is arguing, I’m going to make the final decision. We are going on sankirtana at 10 ‘o clock and that’s it. Everyone follows. Whether the instruction is bona fide or not, that we can argue this and that but for the time being for the running of a society this is absolutely necessary.
THE CEREMONY IS A FORMALITY, ACTING AS A DISCIPLE IS NOT.
Now coming to the last point and perhaps the most important is that this is not a formality only. The initiation ceremony might be a formality, but to act as a brahmana is not a formality. Prabhupada gave some guidance. The top most responsibility of a brahmana is to preach this Krsna consciousness. Brahmana according to the Vedic system has six duties: he is worshipping the Deity and he is teaching others how to worship the Deity. When you come to the temple, the devotees will tell you: pay your obeisances, do like this. This is the beginning. He is actually teaching you how to be a brahmana. Do not think it is insignificant. If Ramachandra Prabhu is asking you to sweep the temple floor, he is giving you the opportunity to come to the highest platform –brahmana, because sweeping the temple floor is part of Deity worship, not just doing the aratika, sprinkling water at the guests. Sweeping the temple floor which seemingly appears as the occupation of a low-class sudra is actually Deity worship. If someone asks you, please bring a flower for Krsna, this is also Deity worship, everyone can be engaged. This is the duty of a brahmana, engage as many people as possible in worshipping the Deity. They might not be qualified, not be able to follow the regulative principles, but still somehow or other let me tax my brain how to engage them. Next duty is that a brãhmana is reading the sastras, the books, the Vedas and he’s also teaching the sastra. Not simply reading and if someone asks a question, he cannot answer. Or reading blindly: “Oh it says right here, I don’t know what it means, but it’s like that that’s it.” No, he has to explain the sastras. If he understands the sastras then he has to explain the sastra. Krsna says in the Bhagavadgita that one of the qualifications of a brahmana is vijnana- realized knowledge, not simply as our modern education, jnana, theoretical. I learn something theoretically, but in my private life, I do all kinds of nonsense. Or I learn something, some data, and then just repeat as a parrot. If someone asks you, what does it means I don’t know what it means I cannot explain. So vijnana, he must be realized, that is the qualification. He must read and also understand. And when he’s preaching, then he cannot preach without this, without some realization, because people will ask questions, just like we ask after every class: Any questions? Right? We are very open and anyone can come and ask a question and we answer. So that is the 4th duty. Another duty is that he accepts charity, because he is so busy studying the sastra, worshipping the Deity, he has no time to get a job. Sometimes people are foolish they say: “why don’t you get a job?” Where is the time, worshipping the Deity, chanting 16 rounds, preaching, simply busy. Don’t think we are lazy here, that we are simply sleeping here and eating. We are very busy. You ask this devotee Bhakta Filip Prabhu, it’s his first time living in a temple for the last two months. You can ask him how busy he is. No time to sleep, no time to even go to the toilet. So many duties are required, so the brahmana has no time to make his living. The general populace should have this decency, this appreciation that these boys are maintaining some sort of spiritual culture here, they don’t indulge in illicit sex, meat eating, intoxication, gambling and they study the sastras, so they can give me advice when I need. They maintain a Krsna conscious temple, Krsna conscious atmosphere, yes, let me contribute, let me nourish this culture. This is very much needed in our society. Rogues and rascals are taking advantage of people‘s money and people have no problem, but if they are to support a Krsna conscious temple, they become hesitant. Sometimes they challenge, when we give out books: “Where is the money going to?” Are you asking your milkman where is the money going to? When you buy your newspaper are you going to ask him where is the money going to? So we’re giving you the highest benefit, the highest knowledge, transcendental knowledge from Srila Prabhupada, why are you envious? Why this question: “Where is the money going to?” Yes, there are many cheaters, it’s true, in the name of religion they preach all nonsense, but that doesn’t mean that now all of us are nonsense. If you see any discrepancy you point out, but there’s no discrepancy, we follow very strictly, still people are envious of this.
The general populace should maintain the brahmanas, they should give contribution, yes he doesn’t have time to earn his living, he is surrendered. Actually it is so. We don’t know where the money is coming from, how we are going to make prasadam tomorrow. We fully depend on people’s support. Ultimately we depend on Krsna. Krsna will always save us, but it should be the natural inclination of the people that yes, let me support this, it is so nice. If these boys are not here, so much damage is done. One Krsna conscious temple brings so much benefit. If they cannot maintain, if they have to go on a job, there’s no temple anymore. You can’t maintain a temple if you work hard on a job, so it’s everyone’s duty in a society to maintain the brahmanas and similarly the brahmana also has a responsibility, not that he simply takes, he has to give the knowledge, he has to teach how to worship the Deity and he should also distribute the charity, so we make prasadam, we invite you, come and take nice prasadam, we made a nice feast. Take some for home, we are not misers, quite the opposite, we push the prasadam. You can take as much as you can. This is the duty of brahmana, it is not simply a formality. He should also make other devotees. There’s a quote in this regards:
Professional preachers cannot create pure devotees. There are many professional preachers of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam who read this work to earn their livelihood. However, they cannot convert materialistic people to devotional service. Only a pure devotee can convert others to pure devotional service. It is therefore important for all the preachers in our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement to first become pure devotees and follow the regulative principles, refraining from illicit sex, meat-eating, gambling and intoxication. They should regularly chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra on their beads, follow the devotional process, rise early in the morning, attend maṅgala-ārati and recite Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Bhagavad-gītā regularly. In this way, one can become purified and free from all material contamination.
sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate
To make a show of devotional service will not help one. One must be a pure devotee following the devotional process; then one can convert others to devotional service. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu practiced devotional service and preached (āpani ācari' bhakti karila pracāra). If a preacher behaves properly in devotional service, he will be able to convert others. Otherwise, his preaching will have no effect.
Cc. Madhya 24.98
And here’s another one:
Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has commented on this line, śvādo 'pi sadyaḥ, that a dog-eater, after becoming a devotee, immediately he becomes a qualified brāhmaṇa, so much so that he becomes competent to become a priest in the matter of offering sacrifices. But Jīva Gosvāmī says that even a person is born in brāhmaṇa family, he awaits the qualification of performing sacrifices. He has to be initiated. He has to be advanced in education, so many things. But one dog-eater, if he takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, immediately, without waiting for reformatory method, he becomes immediately competent to act as priest in performing sacrifices. But we should not take advantage of this. Actually, we should become on the platform of brāhmaṇa, qualified brāhmaṇa, qualification Vaiṣṇava so that others may not criticize. That is our special request. That chance is there, everyone. This path of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is open to everyone. It does not matter. My position is very precarious.
The Nectar of Devotion -- Vṛndāvana, October 24, 1972
So after taking the thread we should stick to the process, not that I take the thread and I’m initiated so I can do all kinds of nonsense. That means that the person is not sincere. We should become qualified, stick with the principles and to whatever extent we can, we should preach and make others also purified.
So I’ll stop here and we’ll proceed with the initiations.