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CC Madhya 10.54


rāya kahe, — āmi śūdra, viṣayī, adhama
tabu tumi sparśa, — ei īśvara-lakṣaṇa


rāya kahe — Bhavānanda Rāya replied; āmi śūdra — I belong to the fourth class of the social divisions; viṣayī — engaged in mundane affairs; adhama — very fallen; tabu — still; tumi — You; sparśa — touch; ei — this; īśvara-lakṣaṇa — sign of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.


After hearing Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s praise, Bhavānanda Rāya submitted, “I am in the fourth class of the social order, and I engage in mundane affairs. Although I am very fallen, You have still touched me. This is proof that You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”


As stated in the Bhagavad-gītā (5.18):

vidyā-vinaya-sampannebrāhmaṇe gavi hastini
śuni caiva śva-pāke ca
paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ

“The humble sages, by virtue of true knowledge, see with equal vision a learned and gentle brāhmaṇa, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [outcaste].”

Those who are highly advanced in spiritual understanding do not care about a person’s material condition. A spiritually advanced person sees the spiritual identity of every living being, and consequently he makes no distinction between a learned brāhmaṇa, a dog, a caṇḍāla or anyone else. He is not influenced by the material body but sees a person’s spiritual identity. Consequently Bhavānanda Rāya appreciated Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s statement, which showed that the Lord did not consider the social position of Bhavānanda Rāya, who belonged to the śūdra caste engaged in mundane activities. Rather, the Lord considered the spiritual position of Bhavānanda Rāya, along with that of Rāmānanda Rāya and his brothers. The servant of the Lord is also similarly inclined. He gives shelter to any person — any living entity — regardless of whether he belongs to a brāhmaṇa family or a caṇḍāla family. The spiritual master reclaims all people and encourages everyone in spiritual life. By taking shelter of such a devotee, one can make his life successful. As confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.4.18):

ābhīra-śumbhā yavanāḥ khasādayaḥ
ye ’nye ca pāpā yad-apāśrayāśrayāḥ
śudhyanti tasmai prabhaviṣṇave namaḥ

“Kirātas, Hūṇas, Āndhras, Pulindas, Pulkaśas, Ābhīras, Śumbhas, Yavanas and members of the Khaśa races, and even others who are addicted to sinful acts, can be purified by taking shelter of the devotees of the Lord, due to His being the supreme power. I beg to offer my respectful obeisances unto Him.”

Whoever takes shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead or His pure devotee is elevated to the spiritual order and purified from material contamination. This is also confirmed by Kṛṣṇa in the Bhagavad-gītā (9.32):

māṁ hi pārtha vyapāśrityaye ’pi syuḥ pāpa-yonayaḥ
striyo vaiśyās tathā śūdrās
te ’pi yānti parāṁ gatim

“O son of Pṛthā, those who take shelter in Me, though they be of lower birth — women, vaiśyas [merchants] and śūdras [workers] — can attain the supreme destination.”