|Madhya-līlā||Chapter 19: Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu Instructs Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrī Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 19.74
śva-pāko 'pi budhaiḥ ślāghyo
na veda-jño 'pi nāstikaḥ
śuciḥ — a brāhmaṇa purified internally and externally; sat-bhakti — of devotional service without motives; dīpta-agni — by the blazing fire; dagdha — burnt to ashes; durjāti — such as birth in a low family; kalmaṣaḥ — whose sinful reactions; śva-pākaḥ api — even though born in a family of dog-eaters; budhaiḥ — by learned scholars; ślāghyaḥ — recognized; na — not; veda-jñaḥ api — even though completely conversant in Vedic knowledge; nāstikaḥ — an atheist.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, "'A person who has the pure characteristics of a brāhmaṇa due to devotional service, which is like a blazing fire burning to ashes all the sinful reactions of past lives, is certainly saved from the consequences of sinful acts, such as taking birth in a lower family. Even though he may be born in a family of dog-eaters, he is recognized by learned scholars. But although a person may be a learned scholar in Vedic knowledge, he is not recognized if he is an atheist.
This verse and the next are quoted from the Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya (3.11, 12), a transcendental literature extracted from the Purāṇas.
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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness