svam eva brahmano bhunkte
svam vaste svam dadati ca
svam—own; eva—certainly; brahmanah—the brahmana; bhunkte—enjoy; svam—own; vaste—clothing; svam—own; dadati—gives in charity; ca—and; tasya—his; eva—certainly; anugrahena—by the mercy of; annam—food grains; bhunjate—eats; ksatriya-adayah—other divisions of society, headed by the ksatriyas.
The ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras eat their food by virtue of the brahmanas’ mercy. It is the brahmanas who enjoy their own property, clothe themselves with their own property and give charity with their own property.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is worshiped with the words namo brahmanya-devaya, which indicate that the Supreme Lord accepts the brahmanas as worshipable gods. The Supreme Lord is worshiped by everyone, yet to teach others He worships the brahmanas. Everyone should follow the instructions of the brahmanas, for their only business is to spread sabda-brahma, or Vedic knowledge, all over the world. Whenever there is a scarcity of brahmanas to spread Vedic knowledge, chaos throughout human society results. Since brahmanas and Vaisnavas are direct servants of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they do not depend on others. In actuality, everything in the world belongs to the brahmanas, and out of their humility the brahmanas accept charity from the ksatriyas, or kings, and the vaisyas, or merchants. Everything belongs to the brahmanas, but the ksatriya government and the mercantile people keep everything in custody, like bankers, and whenever the brahmanas need money, the ksatriyas and vaisyas should supply it. It is like a savings account with money which the depositor can draw out at his will. The brahmanas, being engaged in the service of the Lord, have very little time to handle the finances of the world, and therefore the riches are kept by the ksatriyas, or the kings, who are to produce money upon the brahmanas’ demand. Actually the brahmanas or Vaisnavas do not live at others’ cost; they live by spending their own money, although it appears that they are collecting this money from others. Ksatriyas and vaisyas have no right to give charity, for whatever they possess belongs to the brahmanas. Therefore charity should be given by the ksatriyas and vaisyas under the instructions of the brahmanas. Unfortunately at the present moment there is a scarcity of brahmanas, and since the so-called ksatriyas and vaisyas do not carry out the orders of the brahmanas, the world is in a chaotic condition.
The second line of this verse indicates that the ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras eat only by virtue of the brahmana’s mercy; in other words, they should not eat anything which is forbidden by the brahmanas. The brahmanas and Vaisnavas know what to eat, and by their personal example they do not eat anything which is not offered first to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They eat only prasada, or remnants of the food offered to the Lord. The ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras should eat only krsna-prasada, which is afforded them by the mercy of the brahmanas. They cannot open slaughterhouses and eat meat, fish or eggs or drink liquor, or earn money for this purpose without authorization. In the present age, because society is not guided by brahminical instruction, the whole population is only absorbed in sinful activities. Consequently, everyone is deservedly being punished by the laws of nature. This is the situation in this age of Kali.
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