kim vamho vena uddisya
kim—why; va—also; amhah—sinful activities; vene—unto Vena; uddisya—seeing; brahma-dandam—the curse of a brahmana; ayuyujan—they desired to award; danda-vrata-dhare—who carries the rod of punishment; rajni—unto the king; munayah—the great sages; dharma-kovidah—completely conversant with religious principles.
Vidura also inquired: How is it that the great sages, who were completely conversant with religious principles, desired to curse King Vena, who himself carried the rod of punishment, and thus awarded him the greatest punishment [brahma-sapa]?
It is understood that the king is able to give punishment to everyone, but in this case it appears that the great sages punished him. The king must have done something very serious, otherwise how could the great sages, who were supposed to be the greatest and most tolerant, still punish him in spite of their elevated religious consciousness? It appears also that the king was not independent of the brahminical culture. Above the king was the control of the brahmanas, and if needed the brahmanas would dethrone the king or kill him, not with any weapon, but with the mantra of a brahma-sapa. The brahmanas were so powerful that simply by their cursing one would immediately die.
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