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Brahmana is the quality. That quality is gone. With the departure of the soul, that quality is gone. Now this body is simply a lump of matter, so there is no shame when the body is burnt into ashes

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"Brahmana is the quality. That quality is gone. With the departure of the soul, that quality is gone. Now this body is simply a lump of matter, so there is no shame when the body is burnt into ashes"

Lectures

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

Brāhmaṇa is the quality. If the brāhmaṇa is body, then when a brāhmaṇa is dead the sons take the dead body to the crematorium place and burn the body. Then if the body is brāhmaṇa, then the sons are committing sins by brahma-hatyā. No. That is not brahma-hatyā. Brāhmaṇa is the quality. That quality is gone. With the departure of the soul, that quality is gone. Now this body is simply a lump of matter, so there is no shame when the body is burnt into ashes.
Lecture on SB 1.7.34-35 -- Vrndavana, September 28, 1976:

So bhagavān ambujekṣaṇaḥ. Ambuja means lotus flower. Bhagavān is described in many places as ambujekṣa-lotus-eyed, lotus feet, lotus navel, in so many ways, lotus palms. So ambujekṣaṇa, very beautiful eyes like the petals of a padma, lotus flower. But at the same time, prakupita, He's angry. He's angry. Still, ambujekṣaṇa. Not that as the Māyāvādīs think, that "God is kind. Why He should be angry?" But here it is said, prakupita. Pra means "specifically." Prakṛṣṭa-rūpeṇa kupitaḥ, "very angry." Prakupita. And He was, rather, glad that this Aśvatthāmā, who happens to be the son of a brāhmaṇa... Still, He was angry. He asked him not to excuse this rascal. Not to excuse. It is next verse, it is said, mainaṁ pārthārhasi trātuṁ brahma-bandhum imaṁ jahi. He's brahma-bandhu. He's not a brāhmaṇa. He's brahma-bandhu. Everyone can say, "I am the son of a brāhmaṇa." That is brahma-bandhu. Or a friend of a brāhmaṇa. That does not mean he is a brāhmaṇa. This is the idea. Brāhmaṇa is not the body. Brāhmaṇa is the quality. If the brāhmaṇa is body, then when a brāhmaṇa is dead the sons take the dead body to the crematorium place and burn the body. Then if the body is brāhmaṇa, then the sons are committing sins by brahma-hatyā. No. That is not brahma-hatyā. Brāhmaṇa is the quality. That quality is gone. With the departure of the soul, that quality is gone. Now this body is simply a lump of matter, so there is no shame when the body is burnt into ashes.

The idea is that, as described in the śāstra, who is a brāhmaṇa, who is a śūdra, who is a kṣatriya, who is a vaiśya... It is all described in the Bhagavad-gītā. So satyaṁ śamo damas titikṣā ārjavam, jñānaṁ vijñānam āstikyaṁ brahma-karma svabhāva-jam (BG 18.42). Karma, guṇa and karma. Here Aśvatthāmā, although he's born of a brāhmaṇa father, he did not possess the quality of a brāhmaṇa, neither the work of a brāhmaṇa. He degraded himself. First of all, he was engaged as a soldier to assist, to flatter Duryodhana. He wanted to please Duryodhana by killing the Pāṇḍavas. But he was such a fool, instead of killing the Pāṇḍavas, he killed the five sleeping sons of the Pāṇḍavas. How much abominable he is, just imagine. Here it is said, suptān avadhīn niśi bālakān. First of all, they were minor aged, and they were sleeping, and they were killed at night. Just see. What kind of brāhmaṇa he is! A brāhmaṇa's business is not to kill. Even brāhmaṇa can kill, he doesn't require even sword or any other weapon. Simply by cursing he can kill—brāhmaṇa was so powerful. But still, it is not the business of a brāhmaṇa. When killing is required, it is done by the kṣatriyas, not by the brāhmaṇas. Just like Viśvāmitra Muni, he was disturbed by the Tāḍakā rākṣasī. He was quite powerful. Even by cursing he could kill this Tāḍakā rākṣasī in the forest, but he did not do so. For killing the rākṣasī he approached Mahārāja Daśaratha. Because he is kṣatriya, he is the king. His business is to give protection to the disturbed citizens. Just like we apply to the magistrate, similarly the king is responsible. So he did not kill. Viśvāmitra formerly was kṣatriya, but since he became brāhmaṇa... By his endeavor in lifetime, he became a brāhmaṇa, a great sage, ṛṣi. So since he became brāhmaṇa, he was not interested in killing anyone. That is not brāhmaṇa's business. Brāhmaṇa's business is śamo damas titikṣā. Even if he is disturbed by somebody, titikṣā, he tolerates.