A Brahmana's Livelihood
(Srila Prabhupada chanting gayatri)

"Formerly, even fifty year or sixty years ago in India, a brāhmaṇa would not accept anyone's service. Because whatever he has knowledge, he would sit down anywhere, underneath a tree or in the corridor of somebody, and he will invite the village small children, and they will go, and he will teach little grammar, little mathematics, gradually. And the children will bring from their father and mother. Somebody will bring rice. Somebody will bring ḍāl. Somebody will bring something. So he had no necessity of making any contract that 'You give me so many dollars, then I shall teach you.' No. Free. Free education. In this way India was free education.

So paṭhana-pāṭhana yajana-yājana. Then next business is brāhmaṇa should be a devotee, worshiping Deity, either Viṣṇu or sometimes other demigod. So yajana-yājana. He will personally do it, and he will teach others how to worship. Paṭhana-pāṭhana yajana. And his livelihood—by voluntary contribution. Whatever people will give, that's all right. People used to give brāhmaṇa. So paṭhana-pāṭhana yajana-yājana dāna-pratigraha. A brāhmaṇa would receive... People were very honest, that 'This man is teaching our children. He does not charge. This man is teaching me how to worship, how to become well behaved.' So they have no scarcity; enough. So he would simply use as much as he required; balance he will give in charity. Not that keep in stock for tomorrow. No. That is not brāhmaṇa's business. Whatever is come today, I use it for my necessities of life, and balance I give to the poor or somebody else, somebody else, somebody..., or make some festival. So paṭhana-pāṭhana yajana-yājana dāna-pratigraha. So we require some income for our maintenance. So this was the brāhmaṇa's business. There is no question of doing some business or making some profession or going to the office or going to the factory. This is not brāhmaṇa's business."

(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, Chicago, July 6, 1975)

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