Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Caste System of India: Spreading Racism and Madness in the name of Religion

Lord Caitanya carries the body of Haridas Thakur, a Vaisnava saint born in a Muslim family

          Not to speak of humans, even animals divide themselves into different groups, mostly to fight one another. From the primeval stages of society, man has been forming groups according to things as basic as ethnicity or as silly as a football team. Again, the purpose is to impose one’s group on another’s. A very ancient tactic for assuring that one’s acquired status will not be hampered is to promote an imaginary hereditary prerogative, which then enforces not only the present generation’s stability but also that of the future ones. The most common example of hereditary claim experienced in the Western world was the monarchy, a system quite obsolete nowadays. It was the natural course of action that one day people would realize that their king was not any divine envoy as advertised; after all, he often could be clearly perceived as a regular drunker and imbecile. Apparently, the idea of putting words in the mouth of God to legitimate one’s claims is as old as humanity, for this worked for many centuries in Europe and has been working in India for much longer, as to the present day, there are still so many people glad to accept any cock-and-bull tale as religion.


          One of the most far-fetched, baseless, and, indeed, insane tales widely accepted in India is that one’s social or religious status is determined by birth. Thus, one’s “jati” or caste is an irrevocable fact for life. Why is it so? Where did this idea come from? How to back it up? Easy: concoct a lot of rubbish, write it down, and present it as “sacred scripture,” “culture,” “tradition,” etc. This was the beginning of a long and sad history of interpolated texts that constitute a great part of the smrtis.



          Instead of wasting time quoting spurious texts, I will here quote the legitimate ones, by which any contrary statement will become automatically evinced as bogus. All orthodox religious and philosophical lines in India agree that sruti is the primary evidence in all regards. I have carefully searched the Rg, Atharva, Sama, and Yajur Vedas, the main Upanisads, and the main Brahmanas and Aranyakas, and there is not even a single instance where the word “jati” is used. Rather, the ancient scriptures simply refer to the social divisions, or varnas, and their respective characteristics. There is nothing about birthrights whatsoever. Although the Bhagavad-gita is part of the Mahabharata– a very much interpolated text– it is called “Gitopanisad,” it has the status of an Upanisad, for it is directly spoke by Lord Krishna and it was passed down through the disciplic succession as it is. Therein, the Lord declares:

catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah

tasya kartaram api mam viddhy akartaram avyayam

“According to the three modes of material nature and the work associated with them, the four divisions of human society are created by Me. And although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the nondoer, being unchangeable.” Bg 4.13

samo damas tapah saucam ksantir arjavam eva ca

jnanam vijnanam astikyam brahma-karma svabhava-jam

“Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom and religiousness— these are the natural qualities by which the brahmanas work.” Bg 18.42


sauryam tejo dhrtir daksyam yuddhe capy apalayanam

danam isvara-bhavas ca ksatram karma svabhava-jam

“Heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity and leadership are the natural qualities of work for the ksatriyas.” Bg 18.43


krsi-go-raksya-vanijyam vaisya-karma svabhava-jam

paricaryatmakam karma sudrasyapi svabhava-jam

“Farming, cow protection and business are the natural work for the vaisyas, and for the sudras there is labor and service to others.” Bg 18.44


Here it is crystal clear that one’s social status is based on work (karma) and quality (guna). It is very unfortunate that even so-called Vaisnavas think themselves greater authority than Lord Krishna to say anything that is not based on His words.

          The Vedanta-sutras are also highly considered as scriptural evidence, and there we see in the “Apasudra-adhikarana”(1.3.34-38) the example of Satyakama quoted from the Chandogya Upanisad. He was admitted by Gautama in the gurukula on the mere basis of his truthfulness in unhesitatingly declaring to be the fatherless son of a maidservant. This is an evident instance of a low-born person accepted as a brahmana on account of his qualities.  The scriptures abound in examples of persons who were born in a particular varna but adopted another varna and were legitimately recognized. Just to give another example, it is described in the fourth chapter of the fifth canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam that Rsabhadeva was a ksatriya king, and among his sons, some became ksatriyas and some became brahmanas.


Since at this point in history the staunchest jativadis (advocates of casteism) are those who claim to be brahmanas by birth, I put five basic questions for them:



Here we touch the bottom line of the issue: given the high rate of illiteracy in India, it is not a surprise that a large number of the literate class lacks a minimum knowledge of biology. In taxonomy, living entities are classified according to kingdom, division, class, order, family, genus, and species. Species is the exact meaning of the word “jati” in Sanskrit, and here it refers to the broad category of beings that can breed. A cow is a specie, and a horse is another specie. One may spend years trying to breed both of them, but they will never produce offspring. Jativadis claim that brahmana is a jati and sudra is another jati, but they fail to explain how they can have children without any difficulty. In this way, they also fail to pass even the primary school exam in science. It is also remarkable that the same scriptures that state that the brahmanas are descendents of the seven great rsis also state that these same rsis are also the fathers of the ksatriyas, vaisyas, and sudras. There is not a single genetic trait that could possibly distinguish any caste from another. We also see people from different ethnic groups in the same caste, sub-caste, and gotras.



Let us recap their slogan: “Brahmana is a jati, and sudra is another jati. One is born brahmana, and one is born sudra.”  But when we analyze the concept of specie again, we see that a cow is born a cow; she does not need to do anything to become a cow, or even a better cow. A horse is born a horse; he does not need to do anything to become a horse, or even a better horse. However, the scriptures state again and again that one should receive the proper samskaras within the proper time in order to be a brahmana, otherwise one is not different from an outcast. Manu, for example, declares that the age limit for receiving the upanayana samskara is sixteen for brahmanas, twenty-two for ksatriyas, and twenty-four for vaisyas. What happens to those who did not receive it within this period?

ata urdhvam trayo ’pyete yatha-kalam asamskrtah |

savitri-patita vratya bhavanty arya-vigarhitah ||

“After these periods, those in the three castes who have not received the samskara at the proper time become outcasts. They are fallen from the Vedic system and are despised by the Aryans.” Manu, 2.39

       Nowadays, however, it became such a joke that in some communities a man receives the brahminical thread at the moment of marriage, sometimes even after he is thirty years old!



A cow is born a cow and remains a cow for life. Except for death, there is nothing that a cow could do to lose its ‘cowness.’ However, the scriptures are emphatic when they mention that if a brahmana indulges in sinful or degrading activities, his “brahminhood” is gone. The list can be quite large, including drinking liquor, cohabiting with a low-class woman, accepting a job as an employ, eating food cooked by a sudra, etc. To give an example, the Mahabharata (12,181.13) states:

himsanrta-priya lubdhah        sarva-karmopajivinah

krsnah sauca-paribhrastas        te dvijah sudratam gatah

“When the twice-born commit violence, speak lies, become greedy, earn their livelihood by any and all activities, lose their purity by sinful activities, then they become degraded into sudras.”

Nowadays, however, they have such a system that one can be a meat eater, drunker, and criminal, and yet claim to be a brahmana!



This is a very common term used in the scriptures. For example:

stri-sudra-dvijabandhunam trayi na sruti-gocara

karma-sreyasi mudhanam sreya evam bhaved iha

iti bharatam akhyanam krpaya munina krtam


“Out of compassion, the great sage thought it wise that this would enable men to achieve the ultimate goal of life. Thus he compiled the great historical narration called the Mahabharata for women, laborers and degraded relatives of the twice-born.” Srimad-Bhagavatam, 1.4.25


This term specifically refers to those who were born in a family of qualified brahmanas, ksatriyas, or vaisyas, but failed to achieve the same qualifications, and therefore cannot be called dvija, twice-born. Thus, according to the scriptures, the unqualified son of a qualified brahmana is a dvija-bandhu, and the unqualified son of a dvija-bandhu is a sudra. Nowadays, however, they find no meaning in this term, for they think that the only qualification they need is to be born into a family that somehow still holds a brahmana title!




The main characteristic of a brahmana is knowledge, particularly Vedic knowledge. However, we see that every child is born totally ignorant, no matter what the family is. Unless one is taught everything from the scratch, he will remain an ignoramus his whole life. If the son of a brahmana is abandoned in the jungle, he will not even learn to speak. Factually, the scriptures state:


yo ‘nadhitya dvijo vedam anyatra kurute sramam |

sa jivann eva sudratvam asu gacchati sanvayah ||

“One who in his lifetime does not endeavor to study the Vedas but labors hard in other pursuits quickly becomes a sudra along with his family in this very lifetime.” Manu, 2.168


nabhivyaharayed brahma svadha-ninayanad rte

sudrena hi samas tavad        yavad vede na jayate


“Without initiation, one should not recite the Vedas, except while offering oblations to the forefathers. Until one is not qualified in the Vedas, he is on the same level as a sudra.” Manu, 2.172

Nowadays, however, jativadis insist that they are brahmanas even if they have not even read a single mantra in life!


In this way, by following a concocted demoniac system, the results can simply be demoniac too, with daily news of parents who proudly slaughter their son or daughter because they wanted to marry outside of their caste, and other innumerable atrocities. In the words of Vivekananda Swami: “Caste conscious lunatics live in this lunatic asylum, of course against our will, and ‘blessed’ with an eternal curse of associating with the insane. The Indian caste system is pointedly diabolical. It is a real curse.” How ironic that renowned Advaitavadis such as Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Dayananda Sarasvati, and others vehemently opposed casteism, while many of those who claim to be Vaisnavas keep on supporting a system created by Kali to destroy the Sanatana-dharma.


Thus, as we have seen above, the caste system based on birth is against the scriptures, against reasoning, against common sense, and against humanity, and so being, it cannot be professed by others than demons and madmen. What follows is a compilation of verses quoted in the book “Brahmana and Vaisnava” by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati.

asuddhah sudra-kalpa hi brahmanah kali-sambhavah
tesam agama-margena suddhir na srota-vartmana

“The brahmanas born in the age of Kali are impure, mere sudras. Their so-called Vedic path of karma is polluted and cannot purify them. They can only be purified by following the path of the agamas or pancaratrika-viddhi.” (Hari-bhakti-vilasa 5.5, from Visnu Yamala Samhita)

raksasah kalim asritya jayante brahma-yonisu
utpanna brahmana-kule badhante srotriyan krsan

“In Kali-yuga, demons will take birth in the families of brahmanas to harass those rare persons who are conversant with the Vedic way of life.”

[This verse was spoken by Lord Siva in the Varaha Purana.]

If the descendants of either seminal or professional brahmanas do not possess the necessary qualifications, then they are also fallen. It is stated in Mahabharata, Vana-parva, Chapter 215 as follows:

brahmanah pataniyesu vartamano vikarmasu
dambhiko duskrtah prajnah sudrena sadrso bhavet

“If a brahmana is engaged in sinful activities, if he is proud, or if he is a miscreant, then he falls to the level of a sudra.”

yasya yal laksanam proktam pumso varnabhivyanjakam
yad anyatrapi drsyeta tat tenaiva vinirdiset

“If one shows the symptoms of being a brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya or sudra, as described above, even if he has appeared in a different class, he should be accepted according to those symptoms of classification.” Srimad Bhagavatam 7.11.35

In his commentary on (7.11.35), Srila Sridhara Svamipada has clarified the above statement as follows:

samadibhir eva brahmanadi-vyavaharo mukhyo na jati-matrad ity aha yasyeti—yad yadi anyatra varnantare 'pi drsyeta tad varnantaram tenaiva laksana-nimitenaiva varnena vinirdiset na tu jati-nimitenety arthah

“The brahmanas' main characteristics are qualities such as peacefulness, not birth. If these main characteristics are seen in persons other than those born as brahmanas, then such persons should be considered brahmanas. They should not be considered according to their caste by birth.”

In the Mahabharata (Santi-parva, Moksa-dharma, Chapter 188) our first evidence is
given as follows:

bharadvaja uvaca
jangamanam asankhyeyah sthavaranam ca jatayah
tesam vividha-varnanam kuto varna-viniscayah
bhrgur uvaca
na viseso 'sti varnanam sarva-brahmam idam jagat
brahmana purva-srstam hi karmabhir varnatam gatam
himsanrta-priya lubdhah sarva-karmopajivinah
krsnah sauca-paribhrastas te dvijah sudratam gatah

“Bharadvaja said: There are innumerable categories of animate and inanimate living entities. How can one determine their various varnas?”
“Bhrgu replied: There are no real differences among varnas. When Brahma first created the universe, it was inhabited only by brahmanas. Later on, as a result of their activities, people attained the designations of different varnas.
“When the brahmanas commit violence, speak lies, become greedy, earn their livelihood by any and all activities, lose their purity by sinful activities, then they become degraded into sudras.”

In the Santi-parva, Chapter 189, our second evidence is given as follows:

bharadvaja uvaca
brahmanah kena bhavati ksatriyo va dvijottama
vaisyah sudras ca viprarse tad bruhi vadatam vara
bhrgur uvaca
jata-karmadibhir yas tu samskaraih samskrtah suci
vedadhyayana-sampannah satsu karmasv avasthitah
saucacara-sthitah samyag vighasasi guru-priyah
nitya-vrati satya-parah sa vai brahmana ucyate
satya-danam athadroha anrsamsyam trapa ghrna
tapas ca drsyate yatra sa brahmana iti smrtah
sarva-bhaksa-ratir nityam sarva-dharma-karo 'sucih
tyakta-vedas tv anacarah sa vai sudra iti smrtah
sudre caitad bhavel laksyam dvije tac ca na vidyate
na vai sudro bhavec chudro brahmano brahmano na ca

“Bharadvaja said: O best of the brahmanas, O sage among the twice-born, O best of eloquent speakers, please explain how one becomes a brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, or sudra.”
“Bhrgu replied: A person who has been purified by the reformatory processes like jata-karma, or name-giving ceremony, who is clean, devoted to studying the Vedas, expert in the six occupations like worship and teaching worship, situated in pure conduct, eating the remnants of his spiritual master, dear to the spiritual master, regularly engaged in performing vows, and fixed in truthfulness is considered a brahmana. A human being who is truthful, charitable, shy, not hateful, austere, not vengeful, and not cruel is a brahmana. One who is attached to eating all kinds of foods and performing all kinds of activities, who is impure, deviant from the principles of Vedic culture, and ill-behaved is known as a sudra. If the symptoms of a brahmana are found in a sudra and if the symptoms of a sudra are found in a brahmana, then the sudra should not be called a sudra and the brahmana should not be called a brahmana.”

Our third evidence is given in the Vana-parva, Chapter 211, as follows:

sudra-yonau hi jatasya sad-gunanupatisthatah
vaisyatvam labhate brahman ksatriyatvam tathaiva ca
arjave vartamanasya brahmanyam abhijayate

“O brahmana, if a person is born in the family of a sudra and posesses good qualities, he becomes a vaisya or a ksatriya. And if he possesses the quality of simplicity, he is a brahmana.”

Our fourth evidence is stated in the Vana-parva, Chapter 215:

brahmano vyadhaya
sampratam ca mato me 'si brahmano natra samsayah
brahmanah pataniyesu vartamano vikarmasu
dambhiko duskrtah prajnah sudrena sadrso bhavet
yas tu sudro dame satye darme ca satatotthitah
tam brahmanam aham manye vrttena hi bhaved dvijah

“The brahmana told the pious hunter: In my opinion you are still a brahmana. There is no doubt about it. After all, a brahmana who is proud and engaged in various sinful activities that result in his falling down into the degradation of being contaminated by impure karma is equal to a sudra. And I consider a sudra who is self-controlled, truthful, and always enthusiastic about executing his religious duties to be a brahmana. Indeed, the only criteria for being a brahmana is to possess pure characteristics.”

Our fifth evidence is given in the Santi-parva, Chapter 318, as follows:

sarve varna brahmana brahmajas ca
brahmasyato brahmanah samprasutah
bahubhyam vai ksatriyah samprasutah
nabhyam vaisyah padatas capi sudrah
sarve varna nanyatha veditavyah
tat-stho brahma tasthivams caparo yas
tasmai nityam moksam ahur narendra

“Persons of all varnas are brahmanas, because they are all born from Lord Brahma. The brahmanas were born from the mouth of Brahma, the ksatriyas were born from his arms, the vaisyas were born from his navel, and the sudras were born from his legs. Do not consider the varnas in another way. One who is fixed in knowledge is a brahmana. Therefore, O king, this moksa-sastra was spoken for the benefit of those brahmanas and ksatriyas who have attained knowledge. This is the opinion of ancient scholars.”

In his commentary on these verses Sri Nilakantha has stated: tat-stho jnana-nistho yah sa eva brahma brahmanah. aparo ksatriyadir api tasthau tasthivan.—“Persons who are born from Brahma and fixed in knowledge are called brahmanas. The other castes like ksatriyas were also born from Brahma.”

Our sixth evidence is stated in the Vana-parva, Chapter 180, as follows:

sarpa uvaca
brahmanah ko bhaved rajan vedyam kim ca yudhisthira
bravihy ati-matim tvam hi vakyair anumimimahe
yudhisthira uvaca
satyam danam ksama-silam anrsamsyam tapo ghrna
drsyante yatra nagendra sa brahmana iti smrtah
sarpa uvaca
sudresv api ca satyam ca danam akrodha eva ca
anrsamsyam ahimsa ca ghrna caiva yudhisthira
yudhisthira uvaca
sudre tu yad bhavel laksma dvije tac ca na vidyate
na vai sudro bhavec chudro brahmano na ca brahmanah
yatraital laksyate sarpa vrttam sa brahmanah smrtah
yatraitan na bhavet sarpa tam sudram iti nirdiset

“The snake asked: O Maharaja Yudhisthira, who is a brahmana, and what is the object of knowledge? You are very intelligent, therefore I will be enlightened by your statement.
“Maharaja Yudhisthira replied: A person who possesses truthfulness, charity, forgiveness, sobriety, gentleness, austerity, and lack of hatred is called a brahmana.
“The snake said: Sudras also possess truthfulness, charity, freedom from anger, nonviolence, noneviousness, and lack of hatred.
“Maharaja Yudhisthira replied to this: If such symptoms are found in a sudra he should never be called a sudra, just as a brahmana is not a brahmana if he does not possess these qualities.
“O snake, only a person who is endowed with the characteristics of a brahmana can be called a brahmana, otherwise he is a sudra.”

We will quote the conversation between Uma and Mahesvara from the Mahabharata (Anusasana-parva 163.5, 8, 26, 46, 48, 51, and 59) in order to further strengthen this evidence.

sri-uma uvaca
etan me samsayam deva vada bhuta-pate 'nagha
trayo varnah prakrtyeha katham brahmanyam apnuyuh
mahesvara uvaca
sthito brahmana-dharmena brahmanyam upajivati
ksatriyo vatha vaisyo va brahma-bhuyah sa gacchati
ebhis tu karmabhir devi subhair acaritais tatha
sudro brahmanatam yati vaisyah ksatriyatam vrajet
etaih karma-phalair devi nyuna-jati-kulodbhavah
sudro 'py agama-sampanno dvijo bhavati samskrtah
karmabhih sucibhir devi suddhatma vijitendriyah
sudro 'pi dvija-vat sevya iti brahmabravit svayam
svabhavah karma ca subham yatra sudro 'pi tisthati
visistah sa dvijater vai vijneya iti me matih
na yonir napi samskaro na srutam na ca santatih
karanani dvijatvasya vrttam eva tu karanam
sarvo 'yam brahmano loke vrttena tu vidhiyate
vrtte sthitas tu sudro 'pi brahmanatvam niyacchati
etat te guhyam akhyatam yatha sudro bhaved dvijah
brahmano va cyuto dharmad yatha sudratvam apnuyat

“Uma said: O Lord, O sinless master of the living entities, I have some doubt about how members of the three castes—ksatriya, vaisya, and sudra—will attain through their own nature the platform of brahmanas.
“Mahesvara replied: If ksatriyas or vaisyas become situated in the behavior of brahmanas and spend their lives in the occupations of brahmanas, then such persons can attain the position of brahmanas.
“O goddess, by the same procedure a sudra can become a brahmana and a vaisya can become a ksatriya.
“By the results of these activities and by becoming an adherent of the agama scriptures, or in other words, by taking initiation through the pancaratrika system, then a low-born sudra also becomes a brahmana.
“O goddess, Lord Brahma has personally declared that by performing pure activities, a self-controlled sudra is fit to be served just like a brahmana.
“In my opinion, if pious activities and good character are found in a sudra, it should be understood that he is better than a brahmana.
“Birth, purificatory processes, study of the Vedas, and good birth are not the criterion for being a brahmana. The only criterion is one's behavior.
“A person is born as a brahmana in this world simply as a result of his nature. A sudra situated in the profession of a brahmana also becomes a brahmana.
“I have thus explained to you the secret of how a person who is born as a sudra becomes a brahmana and how by deviating from his occupational duties a person born in the family of a brahmana becomes a sudra.”
In the Brahma-sutras (1.3.37) it is stated: tad-abhava-nirdharane ca pravrtteh—“Whether a person belongs to a varna other than that of his birth may be ascertained by considering his qualities.”

The compilers of Dharma-sastras Visnu (93.7-13) and Manu (4.192, 195-200) have stated as follows:

na vary api prayacchet tu vaidala-vratike dvije
na baka-vratike vipre naveda-vidi dharma-vit
dharma-dhvaji sada lubdhas chadmiko loka-dambhakah
vaidala-vratiko jneyo himsra-sarvabhisandhikah
adho-drstir naikrtikah svartha-sadhana-tatparah
satho mithya-vinitas ca baka-vrata-paro dvijah
ye baka-vratino vipra ye ca marjara-linginah
te patanty andha-tamisre tena papena karmana
na dharmasyapadesena papam krtva vratam caret
vratena papam pracchadya kurvan stri-sudra-dambhanam
pretyeha cedrso vipro grhyate brahma-vadibhih
chadmanacaritam yac ca tad vai raksamsi gacchati
alingi lingi-vesena yo vrttim upajivati
sa linginam haraty enas tiryag-yonau prajayate

“Religious-minded persons should not give even a drop of water to the hypocritical son of a brahmana, the follower of the “vow of a cat.” One should not give even a drop of water to the son of a brahmana who is either a sinful imposter or ignorant of the Vedas.
“One should know that a dharmadhvaji (who makes a false show of being religious), a person who always desires other's wealth, a duplicitous person, a cheater, an envious person, and a blasphemer is a hypocritical brahmana who follows the `vow of a cat.'
“An imposter brahmana, the follower of the `vow of the duck,' is he who always looks down in order to make a show of humility, who is cruel, and who pretends to be submissive.
“As a result of their sinful activities, those who are hypocrites and imposters go to the hell known as Andha-tamisra.
“Such people make a show of being religious in order to impress women and sudras by pretending that their acts of atonement, which are meant for counteracting their sins, are simply pious vows.
“Such people are condemned in this world and the next by those who are conversant with the Absolute Truth. Vows that are executed with duplicity are simply demoniac.
“If someone accepts the symptoms and occupation of a status for which he is not qualified, he is guilty of breaking the principles of varnasrama, and as a result of those sins he will take birth as an animal.”

The Dharma-sastra compiler Visnu (82.3-29) also states:

hinadhikangan vivarjayet, vikarma-sthams ca, vaidala-vratikan, vrtha-linginah, naksatra-jivinah, devalakams ca, cikitsikan, anudha-putran, tat-putran, bahu-yajinah, grama-yajinah, sudra-yajinah, ayajya-yajinah, tad-yajinah, parva-karan, sucakan, bhrtakadhyapakan, bhrtakadhyapitan, sudranna-pustan, patita-samsargan, anadhiyanan, sandhyopasana-bhrastan, raja-sevakan, nagnan, pitra vivadamanan, pitr-matr-gurv-agni-svadhyaya-tyaginas ceti, brahmanapasada hy ete kathitah pankti-dusakah. etan vivarjayet yatnat sraddha-karmani panditah.

“One should reject the following brahmanas: those with missing limbs, those with extra limbs, those who behave unjustly, hypocrites, those who falsely accept the signs of some status, professional astrologers, professional priests, physicians, the sons of unmarried women, their sons, worshipers of many gods, priests of the village, priests of the sudras, priests of the untouchables, those who have failed to take their second birth, their priests, performers of religious rites, betrayers, salaried teachers, the students who pay the salaries, those who are nourished by the food of sudras, those who associate with fallen persons, those who are ignorant of the Vedas, those who fail to observe the sandhya rites (chanting the Gayatri mantra), government servants, those who do not wear clothes, those who quarrel with their fathers, and those who reject their father, mother, spiritual master, the sacred fire, or the study of the scriptures. Such persons are considered the worst kinds of brahmanas and are disgraces to their line. Learned persons should carefully reject these persons while performing the sraddha ceremony for their fathers.”

Since brahmanas are also capable of committing any of the nine types of sinful activities—atipataka, mahapataka, anupataka, upapataka, jati-bhramsa-kara, sankari-karana (killing animals), patri-karana, malavaha, and prakirnaka—it is difficult to know how far a brahmana is qualified if he conceals these sins without undergoing atonement. It is true that a brahmana can escape reproach from society if he successfully conceals those sinful activities by which he becomes fallen, but if he does so his truthfulness is ruined and as a result he is degraded. The descendants of such a person will then surely and proudly accept that same sinful way of life.

According to their occupations, there are many types of brahmanas. Atri (364-374) has stated:

devo munir dvijo raja vaisyah sudro nisadakah
pasur mleccho 'pi candalo vipra dasa-vidhah smrtah
sandhyam snanam japam homam devata-nitya-pujanam
atithim vaisvadevam ca deva-brahmana ucyate
sake patre phale mule vana-vase sada ratah
nirato 'rahah sraddhe sa vipro munir ucyate
vedantam pathate nityam sarva-sangam parityajet
sankhya-yoga-vicara-sthah sa vipro dvija ucyate
astrahatas ca dhanvanah samgrame sarva-sammukhe
arambhe nirjita yena sa viprah ksatra ucyate
krsi-karma-rato yas ca gavam ca pratipalakah
vanijya-vyavasayas ca sa vipro vaisya ucyate
laksa-lavana-sammisra- kusumbha-ksira-sarpisam
vikreta madhu-mamsanam sa viprah sudra ucyate
cauras ca taskaras caiva sucako damsakas tatha
matsya-mamse sada lubdho vipro nisada ucyate
brahma-tattvam na janati brahma-sutrena garvitah
tenaiva sa ca papena viprah pasur udahrtah
vapi-kupa-tadaganam aramasya sarahsu ca
nihsankam rodhakas caiva sa vipro mleccha ucyate
kriya-hinas ca murkhas ca sarva-dharma-vivarjitah
nirdayah sarva-bhutesu vipras candala ucyate

“There are ten kinds of brahmanas mentioned in the scriptures—devas, munis, dvijas, rajas, vaisyas, sudras, nisadas, pasus, mlecchas, and candalas.
“One who regularly bathes, chants japa, performs fire sacrifices, daily worships the demigods, observes the sandhya rites, honors his guests, and worships the fire-god is a deva-brahmana.
“One who always lives in the forest, eats only spinach, leaves, fruits, and roots, and regularly performs the sraddha rites is called a muni-brahmana.
“One who gives up all association and spends all his time reading Vedanta and studying Sankhya-yoga is called a dvija-vipra.
“One who publicly attacks opponents who confront him with weapons and defeats them with his own weapons is called a ksatra-vipra.
“One who likes to cultivate the land, protect cows and other animals, or accept the profession of trade and commerce is called a vaisya-vipra.
“One who sells varnish, salt, safflower oil, milk, honey, or meat is called a sudra-vipra.
“One who is a thief or a rogue, who gives bad counsel, who is a betrayer, who bites with his harsh words, and who is always greedy to eat fish and meat is called a nisada-brahmana.
“One who proudly advertises himself as a sanctified brahmana but is ignorant of the Absolute Truth is because of this sin called a pasu-vipra.
“One who prevents others from using ponds, wells, lakes, or gardens is called a mleccha-vipra.
“One who is devoid of pious activities, who is a fool, completely irreligious, and merciless to all living entities is called a candala-brahmana.”

In addition to this, Atri (287) also says:
satham ca brahmanam hatva sudra-hatya-vratam caret
“If one kills a deceitful brahmana he should perform the same atonement as prescribed for killing a sudra.”

In this way, including this pseudo-devotee brahmana, there are twenty-four varieties of brahmanas described by the Dharma-sastra compiler Atri Mahasaya. Manu (2.157-158, 168, 172, and 4.245, 255) has stated:

yatha kastha-mayo hasti yatha carma-mayo mrgah
yas ca vipro 'nadhiyanas trayas te nama bibhrati
yatha sandho 'phalah strisu yatha gaur gavi caphala
yatha cajne 'phalam danam tatha vipro 'nrdho 'phalah
yo 'nadhitya dvijo vedam anyatra kurute sramam
sa jivan eva sudratvam asu gacchati sanvayah
sudrena hi samas tavad yavad vede na jayate
uttamanuttaman gacchan hinan hinams ca varjayan
brahmanah sresthatam eti pratyavayena sudratam
yo 'nyatha santam atmanam anyatha satsu bhasate
sa papa-krt-tamo loke stena atmapaharakah

“A vipra who does not study the Vedas is similar to a wooden elephant or a deer made of skin, which are an elephant or deer only in name but do not effectively function as such.
“As a eunuch is of no use to women and a cow cannot be impregated by another cow, giving charity to a foolish brahmana who does not study the Vedas yields no result.
“One who in his lifetime does not endeavor to study the Vedas but labors hard in other pursuits quickly becomes a sudra along with his family.
“One should know that until a brahmana is qualified in the Vedas, he is on the same level as a sudra.
“If a brahmana disassociates himself from lower caste people and associates only with higher caste people, he attains greatness. If he does the opposite, he becomes a sudra.
“A person with a particular nature who claims to be different when coming before a sadhu is the topmost sinner, a cheater of himself, and a thief.”

In the Anusasana-parva, Chapter 143, of the Mahabharata it is stated:
sruti-smrti ubhe netre vipranam parikirtite
ekena vikalah kano dvabhyam andhah prakirtitah
“The sruti and smrti scriptures are the two eyes of the brahmanas. Lacking one of them, a brahmana is half blind, and deprived of both he is considered completely blind.”

It is stated in the Kurma Purana:
yo 'nyatra kurute yatnam anadhitya srutim dvijah
sa sammudho na sambhasyo veda-bahyo dvijatibhih
na veda-patha-matrena santusyed esa vai dvijah
yathoktacara-hinas tu panke gaur iva sidati
yo 'dhitya vidhi-vad vedam vedartham na vicarayet
sa candhah sudra-kalpas tu padartham na prapadyate
seva sva-vrttir yair ukta na samyak tair udahrtam
svacchanda-caritah kva sva vikritasuh kva sevakah
pani-krtyatmanah pranan ye vartante dvijadhamah
tesam duratmanam annam bhuktva candrayanam caret
nadyac chudrasya vipro 'nnam mohad va yadi kamatah
sa sudra-yonim vrajati yas tu bhunkte hy anapadi
go-raksakan vanijakan tatha karuka-silinah
presyan vardhusikams caiva vipran sudra-vad acaret
trnam kastham phalam puspam prakasam vai hared budhah
dharmartham kevalam vipra hy anyatha patito bhavet

“O brahmanas, one who does not study the Vedas but carefully endeavors for other pursuits is certainly foolish and ostracized from Vedic life. Brahmanas should not speak with such a person.
“A brahmana should not be satisfied merely with studying the Vedas, for if he does not act accordingly he will be as helpless as a cow that has fallen in the mud.
“One should know that a person who has studied the Vedas but does not properly consider their purport is like a blind person or a sudra and will never attain the supreme goal of life.
“Those who describe the occupation of a servant to be like that of a dog are unable to give a proper comparison. How can a freely wandering dog be compared to a sold out servant?
“If one eats food cooked by fallen, sinful brahmanas who have sold themselves to others, then one must atone by observing candrayana.
“A brahmana should never eat food cooked by a sudra. If other than in an emergency one either willingly or mistakenly does eat food cooked by a sudra, then as a result of eating such food he is born as a sudra.
“Those brahmanas who protect cows, engage in trade, become artists, take the occupation of servants, and loan money on interest are no better than sudras.
“If a brahmana does not accumulate grass, wood, fruits, and flowers for religious purposes, he becomes eligible for falling down as result of such actions.”

Chandogya Upanisad:
asmat kulino 'nanucya brahma-bandhur iva bhavati
“A brahma-bandhu, or a mere relative of a brahmana, is one who who belongs to our brahmana community but has not studied the Vedas.”

Sripada Sankaracarya has commented on this verse as follows: he saumya ananucya anadhitya brahma-bandhur iva bhavatiti brahmanan bandhun vyapadisati, na svayam brahmana-vrtah.—“O beautiful woman, one who has not studied the Vedas is like a mere relative of brahmanas. He calls the brahmanas his relatives, but he does not have the behavior of a brahmana.”

In the Vajra-sucikopanisad it is stated:

yaj jnanad yanti munayo brahmanyam paramadbhutam
tat trai-pada-brahma-tattvam aham asmiti cintaye
om apyayantv iti santih
cit-sad-ananda-rupaya sarva-dhi-vrtti-saksine
namo vedanta-vedyaya brahmane 'nanta-rupine
om vajra-sucim pravaksyami sastram ajnana-bhedanam
dusanam jnana-hinanam bhusanam jnana-caksusam
brahma-ksatriya-vaisya-sudra iti catvaro varnas tesam varnanam brahmana eva pradhana iti veda-vacananurupam smrtibhir apy uktam. tatra codyam asti ko va brahmano nama. kim jivah kim dehah kim jatih kim jnanam kim karma kim dharmika iti. tatra prathamo jivo brahmana iti cet tan na. atitanagataneka-dehanam jivasyaika-rupatvad ekasyapi karma-vasad aneka-deha-sambhavat sarva-sariranam jiva-svaikarupatvac ca. tasman na jivo brahmana iti. tarhi deho brahmana iti cet tan na a-candaladi-paryantanam manusyanam panca-bhautikatvena dehasyaika-rupatvaj jara-marana-dharmadharmadi-samya-darsanad brahmanah sveta-varnah ksatriyo rakta-varno vaisyah pita-varnah sudrah krsna-varna iti niyamabhavat. pitradi-sarira-dahane putradinam brahma-hatyadi-dosa-sambhavac ca tasman na deho brahmana iti. tarhi jatir brahmana iti cet tan na. tatra jaty-antara-jantusu aneka-jati-sambhava maharsayo bahavah santi. rsyasrngo mrgah. kausikah kusat. jambuko jambukat. valmiko valmikat. vyasah kaivarta-kanyayam. sasa-prsthat gautamah. vasisthah urvasyam. agastyah kalase jata iti srutatvat. etesam jatya vinapy agre jnana-pratipadita rsayo bahavah santi. tasman na jatih brahmana iti. tarhi jnano brahmana iti cet tan na. ksatriyadayo 'pi paramartha-darsino 'bhiksa bahavah santi. tasman na jnanam brahmana iti. tarhi karma brahmana iti cet tan na. sarvesam praninam prarabdha-sancitagami-karma-sadharmya-darsanat karmabhipreritah santah janah kriyah kurvantiti. tasman na karma brahmana iti. tarhi dharmiko brahmana iti cet tan na. ksatriyadayo hiranya-dataro bahavah santi. tasman na dharmiko brahmana iti. tarhi ko va brahmano nama. yah kascid atmanam advitiyam jati-guna-kriya-hinam sad-urmi-sad-bhavety-adi-sarva-dosa-rahitam satya-jnananandananta-svarupam svayam nirvikalpam asesa-kalpadharam asesa-bhutantar-yamitvena vartamanam antar bahis cakasa-vad anusyutam akhandananda-svabhavam apremeyam anubhavaika-vedyam aparoksataya bhasamanam kara-talamalaka-vat saksad aparoksi-krtya krtarthataya kama-ragadi-dosa-rahitah sama-damadi-sampanno bhava-matsarya-trsnasa-mohadi-rahito dambhahankaradibhir asamsprsta-ceta vartate. evam ukta-laksano yah sa eva brahmana iti sruti-smrti-puranetihasanam abhiprayah. anyatha hi brahmanatva-siddhir nasty eva. sac-cid-anandam atmanam advitiyam brahma bhavayed atmanam sac-cid-anandam brahma bhavayed ity upanisat.
om apyayantv iti santih.

“I meditate on that sac-cid-ananda supreme knowledge, endowed with three features, by which sages attain the wonderful platform of brahminical culture.
“I invoke peace by reciting the mantra beginning, “May You be pleased.”
“I offer my respectful obeisances to the Supreme Brahman, who possesses unlimited forms, who is known by the Vedanta, whose form is sac-cid-ananda, and who is the witness of all activities of living intelligence.
“I am now speaking the Vajra-suci-sastra. This knowledge dissipates ignorance, reproaches the ignorant persons, and is the ornament of intelligent persons with vision.
“There are four varnas—brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, and sudra. According to the statements of the Vedas, the brahmanas are the highest class. This is confirmed by the smrtis as well. Therefore the question now comes: Who is a brahmana? The living entity, the body, the caste, the knowledge, the activities, or the religionist—of these, which is the brahmana? If it is proposed that the living entity is the brahmana, that is not correct. The living entity remains the same in the past, present, or future. Though he receives various types of bodies according to his karma, he remains unchanged. Therefore the living entity is not the brahmana. Then is the body the brahmana? No, it is not. The bodies of human beings down to the candala are all made of the same five gross elements. Therefore birth and death and religion and irreligion equally effect all bodies, and since there is no law that the brahmanas are white, the ksatriyas are red, the vaisyas are yellow, and the sudras are black, the body is therefore not the brahmana. Moreover, when the son of a brahmana burns the body of his dead father, he does not commit the sin of killing a brahmana. Therefore the body is not the brahmana. So, then, is caste the brahmana? No, this is also not the case. Many great sages have been born of other living entities. Rsyasrnga was born from a deer, Kausika was born from kusa grass, Jambuka Rsi was born from a jackal, Valmiki was born from an ant hill, Vyasadeva was born from a fisherman's daughter, Gautama was born from the back of a rabbit, Vasistha was born from Urvasi, and Agastya was born from a pitcher. Apart from these personalities, there are many other wise persons born from other castes who became sages. Therefore caste is not the brahmana. So, then, is knowledge the brahmana? No, it is not that either. Because many persons, such as some ksatriyas, were very learned and knew the Absolute Truth. Therefore knowledge is also not the brahmana. Then are activities the brahmana? No, they are not. Because every living entity shares the common nature of having to suffer the matured reactions of his karma that come to him in the future. By karma, human beings are engaged in further karma. Therefore activities are not the brahmana. Then is the religionist the brahmana? No, he is not. Because many ksatriyas give gold in charity. Therefore the religionist is not the brahmana. Then who is the brahmana? Anyone who knows the Self as one; devoid of mundane caste, qualities, and activities; devoid of contamination by the six enemies1 and six waves2; the personification of transcendental knowledge and bliss; beyond duality, yet the basis of all material dualities; the Supersoul of all living entities; all-pervading inside and outside like the vast sky; endowed with uninterrupted bliss; immeasurable; known only through spiritual realization; and directly self-manifesting—one who directly realizes the Self (as one sees an amlaki fruit in the palm of his hand), who lives always satisfied, devoid of faults like lust and anger, who posesses qualities like peacefulness and self-control, who is devoid of envy, the thirst for material enjoyment, illusion, and other faults, and who is untouched by pride, false ego, and so on—such a person is a brahmana.”

In his commentary on the Mahabharata (Vana-parva 180.25, 26), Sri Nilakantha clearly says:

sudra-laksma kamadikam na brahmane 'sti. napi brahmana-laksma samadikam sudre 'sti. sudro 'pi samady-upeto brahmana eva. brahmano 'pi kamady-upetah sudra eva.

“The symptoms of a sudra, such as lust, are not present in a brahmana. Similarly the symptoms of a brahmana, such as peacefulness, are not present in a sudra. A sudra who possesses the quality of peacefulness is certainly a brahmana, and a brahmana who posesses the quality of lust is certainly a sudra.”

It is stated in the Chandogya Upanisad of the Sama Veda (4th prapathaka, 4th khanda) as follows:

satyakamo ha jabalo jabalam mataram amantrayam cakre brahmacaryam bhavati vivatsyami. kim gotro 'ham asmiti. 2. sa hainam uvaca. naham etad veda. tata yad gotras tvam asi. bahv-aham caranti paricarini yauvane tvam alabhe. sa aham etan na veda. yad gotras tvam asi. jabala tu namaham asmi. satyakamo nama tvam asi. sa satyakamo eva jabalo bruvitha iti. 3. sa ha haridrumatam gautamam etya uvaca. brahmacaryam bhagavati vatsyamamy upeyam bhagavantam iti. 4. tam hovaca kim gotro nu saumyasiti. sa hovaca. naham etad veda bho yad gotro 'ham asmi. aprccham mataram. sama pratyabravid bahv-aham caranti paricarini yauvane tvam alabhe. saham etan na veda yad gotras tvam asi. jabala tu nama aham asmi. satyakamo nama tvam asiti. so 'ham satyakamah jabalo 'smi bho iti. 5. tam hovaca na etad abrahmano vivaktum arhati. samidham saumya ahara upayitva nesye. na satyad aga iti.

“Once Satyakama, the son of Jabala, asked his mother, `I want to live as a brahmacari. Which dynasty do I belong to?' In answer, Jabala told Satyakama, `My son, I do not know which dynasty you belong to; in my youth I served as a maidservant in various places and at that time begot you as my son. Therefore I don't know which gotra you belong to. My name is Jabala and your name is Satyakama. Therefore you should say that you are Satyakama Jabala.' Thereafter Satyakama Jabala approached Haridrumata Gautama and said, `I wish to live with you as a brahmacari.' Gautama inquired, `O gentle one, which dynasty do you belong to?' Satyakama replied, `I do not know which dynasty I belong to. I asked my mother and she said, “I begot you as my son when I was wandering in my youth as a maidservant. Therefore I do not know which dynasty you belong to. My name is Jabala, and your name is Satyakama.” So I am Satyakama Jabala.' Gautama then said to him, `My dear son, no one other than a brahmana can speak such truth that you have spoken. Therefore you are a brahmana, and I accept you. O gentle one, go bring wood for sacrifice.' Jabala replied, `I am going right now to bring wood.' Gautama said, `Never divert from the truth.'”


In the Mahabharata (Adi-parva, Chapter 174) it is stated:

tatapa sarvan diptaujah brahmanatvam avaptavan

“The greatly effulgent Visvamitra thus performed all kinds of austerities and attained the position of a brahmana.”

In the Mahabharata (Anusasana-parva, Chapter 30) there is the following description of how the ksatriya-born Maharaja Vitahavya became a brahmana:

evam vipratvam agamad vitahavyo naradhipah
bhrgoh prasadad rajendra ksatriyah ksatriyarsabha

“This is how Maharaja Vitahavya attained the position of a brahmana: O best of the ksatriya kings, although Vitahavya was a ksatriya by birth, by the mercy of Bhrgu he became a brahmana.”

The Karusa ksatriyas descended from Karusa, the son of Manu, and the Dharsta ksatriyas, who descended from Dhrsta, the brother of Karusa, attained the position of brahmanas. This is confirmed in the Srimad Bhagavatam (9.2.16-17) as follows:

karusan manavad asan karusah ksatra-jatayah
dhrstad dharstam abhut ksatram brahma-bhuyam gatam ksitau

“From Karusa, another son of Manu, came the Karusa dynasty, a family of ksatriyas. From the son of Manu named Dhrsta came a ksatriya caste called Dharsta, whose members achieved the position of brahmanas in this world.” In his commentary on this verse, Sridhara Svami has written that the word brahma-bhuyam means “the position of brahmanas.”

Devadatta was the tenth descendant from Narisyanta, the son of Manu. The son of the ksatriya Devadatta was Agnivesyayana, who became a maharsi-brahmana, thus inaugerating a dynasty of brahmanas.

As stated in the Srimad Bhagavatam (9.2.19-22):

citraseno narisyantad rksas tasya suto 'bhavat
tasya midhvams tatah purna indrasenas tu tat-sutah
vitihotras tv indrasenat tasya satyasrava abhut
urusravah sutas tasya devadattas tato 'bhavat
tato 'gnivesyo bhagavan agnih svayam abhut sutah
kanina iti vikhyato jatukarnyo mahan rsih
tato brahma-kulam jatam agnivesyayanam nrpa

(1) Narisyanta, (2) Citrasena, (3) Rksa, (4) Midhvan, (5) Purna, (6) Indrasena, (7) Vitihotra, (8) Satyasrava, (9) Urusrava, (10) Devadatta, and (11) Agnivesya. The fire-god Agni himself appeared as Agnivesya, the son of Devadatta. This son, who was a celebrated saint, was well known as Kanina and Jatukarnya. O King, from Agnivesya came a brahminical dynasty known as Agnivesyayana.”

The son of Garga was Sini, who had a son named Gargya. Here is another example of a ksatriya giving birth to brahmanas. This is described in the Srimad Bhagavatam (9.21.19-21, 30, 31, 33) as follows:

gargac chinis tato gargyah ksatrad brahma hy avartata
duritaksayo mahaviryat tasya trayyarunih kavih
puskararunir ity atra ye brahmana-gatim gatah
brhatksatrasya putro 'bhud dhasti yad-dhastinapuram
ajamidho dvimidhas ca purumidhas ca hastinah
ajamidhasya vamsyah syuh priyamedhadayo dvijah
nalinyam ajamidhasya nilah santis tu tat-sutah
santeh susantis tat-putrah purujo 'rkas tato 'bhavat
bharmyasvas tanayas tasya pancasan mudgaladayah
mudgalad brahma-nirvrttam gotram maudgalya-samjnitam

“From Garga came a son named Sini, and his son was Gargya. Although Gargya was a ksatriya, there came from him a generation of brahmanas. From Mahavirya came a son named Duritaksaya, whose sons were Trayyaruni, Kavi and Puskararuni. Although these sons of Duritaksaya took birth in a dynasty of ksatriyas, they too attained the position of brahmanas. Brhatksatra had a son named Hasti, who established the city of Hastinapura [now New Delhi]. From King Hasti came three sons, named Ajamidha, Dvimidha and Purumidha. The descendants of Ajamidha, headed by Priyamedha, all achieved the position of brahmanas.
“Ajamidha had a son named Nila by his wife known as Nalini, and the son of Nila was Santi. The son of Santi was Susanti, the son of Susanti was Puruja, and the son of Puruja was Arka. From Arka came Bharmyasva, and from Bharmyasva came five sons, headed by Mudgala. From Mudgala came a dynasty of brahmanas known as Maudgalya.”

Maharaja Nabhi, the son of Priyavrata, had a son named Rsabha. Rsabhadeva begot one hundred sons in the womb of His wife, who was given to Him by the King of heaven, Indra. Bharata and his next nine younger brothers became the kings of the nine varsas. Nine sons headed by Kavi and Havi, known as the Nava-yogendras, became Vaisnavas. The other eighty-one sons became brahmanas.
This is confirmed in the Srimad Bhagavatam (5.4.13) as follows:

yaviyamsa ekasitir jayanteyah pitur adesa-kara maha-salina maha-srotriya yajna-silah karma-visuddha brahmana babhuvuh.

“In addition to these nineteen sons mentioned above, there were eighty-one younger ones, all born of Rsabhadeva and Jayanti. According to the order of their father, they became well cultured, well behaved, very pure in their activities and expert in Vedic knowledge and the performance of Vedic rituals. Thus they all became perfectly qualified brahmanas.”

It is explained in the Hari-vamsa (Hari-vamsa-parva 11.9):

nabhagadista-putrau dvau vaisyau brahmanatam gatau.

“Nabhaga and the son of Dista, although vaisyas, both became brahmanas.”

According to their individual natures, among the sons of Grtsamada there were
brahmanas headed by Saunaka as well as ksatriyas, vaisyas, and sudras. This is stated in the following words from the Hari-vamsa (Hari-vamsa-parva 29.7-8):

putro grtsamadasyapi sunako yasya saunakah
brahmanah ksatriyas caiva vaisyah sudras tathaiva ca

In his commentary on this verse, Nilakantha says: grtsamada-santatau sunakadayo brahmana anye ksatriyadayas ca sudrantah putra jatah—“Among the offspring of Grtsamada, some, headed by Sunaka, were brahmanas, some were ksatriyas, some were vaisyas, and some were sudras.”

Apart from his five ksatriya sons, Bali Maharaja also had sons who founded brahmana dynasties. This is explained in the Hari-vamsa (Hari-vamsa-parva 31.33-35) as follows:

maha-yogi sa tu balir abhuta nrpatih pura
putran utpadayam asa panca vamsa-karan bhuvi
angah prathamato jajne vangah suhmas tathaiva ca
pundrah kalingas ca tatha baleyam ksatram ucyate
baleya brahmanas caiva tasya vamsa-kara bhuvi

“Bali Maharaja was a great yogi who became a king long ago. He begot five sons in order to increase the population of the earth.
“The first of his five sons was named Anga, the second was Vanga, the third Suhma, the fourth Pundra, and the fifth was Kalinga. These sons were known as Baleya ksatriyas.
“In the dynasty of Bali there were also Baleya brahmanas, who increased their descendants on the earth.”

na sudra bhagavad-bhaktas te tu bhagavata matah
sarva-varnesu te sudra ye na bhakta janardane

“A devotee should never be considered a sudra. All the devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead should be recognized as bhagavatas. If one is not a devotee of Lord Krsna, however, even if born of a brahmana, ksatriya or vaisya family, he should be considered a sudra.” Padma Purana