TEXT 17
mātṛ-bhaktiḥ para-strīṣu
patnyām ardha ivātmanaḥ
prajāsu pitṛvat snigdhaḥ
kiṅkaro brahma-vādinām
SYNONYMS
mātṛ-bhaktiḥ—as respectful as one is to his mother; para-strīṣu—to other women; patnyām—to his own wife; ardhaḥ—half; iva—like; ātmanaḥ—of his body; prajāsu—unto the citizens; pitṛ-vat—like a father; snigdhaḥ—affectionate; kiṅkaraḥ—servant; brahma-vādinām—of the devotees who preach the glories of the Lord.
TRANSLATION
The King will respect all women as if they were his own mother, and he will treat his own wife as the other half of his body. He will be just like an affectionate father to his citizens, and he will treat himself as the most obedient servant of the devotees, who always preach the glories of the Lord.
PURPORT
A learned man treats all women except his wife as his mother, looks on others’ property as garbage in the street, and treats others as he would treat his own self. These are the symptoms of a learned person as described by Cāṇakya Paṇḍita. This should be the standard for education. Education does not mean having academic degrees only. One should execute what he has learned in his personal life. These learned characteristics were verily manifest in the life of King Pṛthu. Although he was the king, he treated himself as a servant of the Lord’s devotees. According to Vedic etiquette, if a devotee came to a king’s palace, the king would immediately offer his own seat to him. The word brahma-vādinām is very significant. Brahma-vādī refers to the devotees of the Lord. Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān are different terms for the Supreme Brahman, and the Supreme Brahman is Lord Kṛṣṇa. This is accepted in Bhagavad-gītā (10.12) by Arjuna (paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma). Thus the word brahma-vādinām refers to the devotees of the Lord. The state should always serve the devotees of the Lord, and the ideal state should conduct itself according to the instructions of the devotee. Because King Pṛthu followed this principle, he is highly praised.

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