Srimad-Bhagavatam: Canto 7 - Chapter 1 - Verse 31-32


ब्रह्मण्य: शीलसम्पन्न: सत्यसन्धो जितेन्द्रिय: ।आत्मवत्सर्वभूतानामेकप्रियसुहृत्तम: ।दासवत्सन्नतार्याङ्‌घ्रि: पितृवद्दीनवत्सल: ॥ ३१ ॥भ्रातृवत्सद‍ृशे स्निग्धो गुरुष्वीश्वरभावन: ।विद्यार्थरूपजन्माढ्यो मानस्तम्भविवर्जित: ॥ ३२ ॥


brahmaṇyaḥ śīla-sampannaḥsatya-sandho jitendriyaḥātmavat sarva-bhūtānāmeka-priya-suhṛttamaḥ


[The qualities of Mahārāja Prahlāda, the son of Hiraṇyakaśipu, are described herewith.] He was completely cultured as a qualified brāhmaṇa, having very good character and being determined to understand the Absolute Truth. He had full control of his senses and mind. Like the Supersoul, he was kind to every living entity and was the best friend of everyone. To respectable persons he acted exactly like a menial servant, to the poor he was like a father, to his equals he was attached like a sympathetic brother, and he considered his teachers, spiritual masters and older Godbrothers to be as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He was completely free from unnatural pride that might have arisen from his good education, riches, beauty, aristocracy and so on.


These are some of the qualifications of a Vaiṣṇava. A Vaiṣṇava is automatically a brāhmaṇa because a Vaiṣṇava has all the good qualities of a brāhmaṇa. “Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, wisdom, knowledge, and religiousness — these are the qualities by which the brāhmaṇas work.” (Bg. 18.42) These qualities are manifest in the body of a Vaiṣṇava. Therefore a perfect Vaiṣṇava is also a perfect brāhmaṇa, as indicated here by the words brahmaṇyaḥ śīla-sampannaḥ. A Vaiṣṇava is always determined to understand the Absolute Truth, and to understand the Absolute Truth one needs to have full control over his senses and mind. Prahlāda Mahārāja possessed all these qualities. A Vaiṣṇava is always a well-wisher to everyone. The Six Gosvāmīs, for example, are described in this way: dhīrādhīra-jana-priyau. They were popular with both the gentle and the ruffians. A Vaiṣṇava must be equal to everyone, regardless of one’s position. ātmavat: a Vaiṣṇava should be like Paramātmā. īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe ’rjuna tiṣṭhati. Paramātmā does not hate anyone; indeed, He is in the heart of a brāhmaṇa, but he is also even in the heart of a pig. As the moon never refuses to distribute its pleasing rays even to the home of a caṇḍāla, a Vaiṣṇava never refuses to act for everyone’s welfare. Therefore a Vaiṣṇava is always obedient to the spiritual master (ārya). The word ārya refers to one who is advanced in knowledge. One who is deficient in knowledge cannot be called ārya. At the present, however, the word ārya is used to refer to those who are godless. This is the unfortunate situation of Kali-yuga. The word guru refers to the spiritual master who initiates his disciple into advancement in the science of Kṛṣṇa, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, as stated by Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura (śrī-bhagavan-mantropadeśake gurāv ity arthaḥ).