hiranyam rajatam sayyam
yanam rathan ibhan kanya
dharam vrtti-karim api
hiranyam—gold; rajatam—gold coins; sayyam—bedding; vasamsi—clothing; ajina—animal skin for seats; kambalan—blankets; yanam—horses; rathan—chariots; ibhan—elephants; kanyah—girls; dharam—land; vrtti-karim—to provide livelihood; api—also.
The brahmanas were not only given well-fed cows in charity, but also gold, gold coins, bedding, clothing, animal-skin seats, blankets, horses, elephants, girls and sufficient land for maintenance.
All these charities were meant for the brahmanas, whose lives were devoted entirely to the welfare of society, both spiritually and materially. The brahmanas were not giving their services as paid servants, but the society provided them with all necessities. It was arranged for some of the brahmanas, who were in difficulty for marriage, to be given girls. The brahmanas, therefore, had no economic problems. The ksatriya kings and rich mercantile men would provide them with all that they needed, and in exchange the brahmanas were completely devoted to the elevation of society. That was the way of social cooperation between the different castes. When the brahmana class or caste gradually became easygoing, being fed by the society although they had no brahminical qualifications, they degraded themselves into brahma-bandhus, or disqualified brahmanas, and thus other members of society also gradually fell down from the social standard of progressive life. As described in Bhagavad-gita, the caste system is the creation of the Lord and is arranged according to the quality of work rendered to society and not in terms of birthright, as falsely claimed in the present degraded society.
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