By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda
Krishna-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 regularly chanting Hare Krishna mantra… śvādo ‘pi sadyo savanāya kalpate [SB 3.33.6]. Śvādah. śvā means dog, and adah means eating. Dog-eaters. The dog-eaters are considered to be the lowest of the mankind. But in the Bhāgavata says that śvādo ‘pi sadyo 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 brāhmana awaits the sacred thread ceremony. But one who has become purified by chanting Hare Krishna mantra, he immediately becomes a highly qualified brāhmana. So don’t misuse the opportunity obtained by you. Use it properly, and life will be successful. So apavitrah pavitro vā, in any condition of life, anyone who remembers Krishna, Pundarīkāksam, so both wise – externally and internally – he becomes purified, Śuci means pure.
And there is a verse written by one Vaishnava in Bengali. Not ordinary. He’s Vrindāvana dāsa Thākura. Vrindāvana dāsa Thākura is one of the ācāryas. He has written Caitanya-Bhāgavata. As there is Śrīmad-Bhāgavata, he has written Caitanya-Bhāgavata. Perhaps you have heard the name. So his opinion is, muci haya śuci haya yadi krishna bhaje.
Muci and Śuci, just opposite. Muci means the most nasty, cobbler. He eats everything and does all nonsense. He is called muci. Muci means cobbler. In India, when a cow or bull dies, this muci class is called to take away the carcass. So they take it away and they take out the skin and tan it for… This is the original system of shoe-making. And make some shoes and sell in the market. But not by killing cows – when it dies. So this business is done by the muci class. And they take the flesh also. After taking out the skin, the flesh they take. Therefore they are considered very low class, muci.
And śuci means brāhmana. So Vrindāvana dāsa Thākura says, muci haya śuci haya. A cobbler, muci, can become a śuci, yadi krishna bhaje, if he’s Krishna conscious. That’s all. If he’s Krishna conscious, never mind he is a cobbler, he becomes immediately brāhmana. Muci haya śuci haya yadi krishna bhaje.
Śuci haya muci haya yadi krishna tyaje. And even if he’s born in a brāhmana family, if he gives up Krishna consciousness, he’s immediately cobbler. So don’t lose this opportunity. Always remember Krishna, Krishna, Krishna. Don’t become cobbler.
[An excerpt from a lecture delivered during Initiations on December 26, 1969 in Boston]