ma jatu tejah prabhaven maharddhibhis
titiksaya tapasa vidyaya ca
kule svayam raja-kulad dvijanam
ma—never do it; jatu—at any time; tejah—supreme power; prabhavet—exhibit; maha—great; rddhibhih—by opulence; titiksaya—by tolerance; tapasa—penance; vidyaya—by education; ca—also; dedipyamane—upon those who are already glorified; ajita-devatanam—Vaisnavas, or the devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; kule—in the society; svayam—personally; raja-kulat—greater than the royal family; dvijanam—of the brahmanas.
The brahmanas and Vaisnavas are personally glorified by their characteristic powers of tolerance, penance, knowledge and education. By dint of all these spiritual assets, Vaisnavas are more powerful than royalty. It is therefore advised that the princely order not exhibit its material prowess before these two communities and should avoid offending them.
Prthu Maharaja has explained in the previous verse the importance of devotional service for both the rulers and the citizens of the state. Now he explains how one can be steadily fixed in devotional service. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, while instructing Srila Rupa Gosvami, has compared the devotional service of the Lord with a creeper. A creeper has a feeble stem and requires the support of another tree to grow, and while growing, it requires sufficient protection so that it may not be lost. While describing the system of protection for the creeper of devotional service, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has especially stressed protection from offenses unto the lotus feet of Vaisnavas. Such offenses are called vaisnava-aparadha. Aparadha means “offense.” If one commits vaisnava-aparadhas, all of his progress in devotional service will be checked. Even though one is very much advanced in devotional service, if he commits offenses at the feet of a Vaisnava, his advancement is all spoiled. In the sastras it is found that a very great yogi, Durvasa Muni, committed a vaisnava-aparadha and thus for one full year had to travel all over the universe, even to Vaikunthaloka, to defend himself from the offense. At last, even when he approached the Supreme Personality of Godhead in Vaikuntha, he was refused protection. Therefore one should be very careful about committing offenses at the feet of a Vaisnava. The most grievous type of vaisnava-aparadha is called gurv-aparadha, which refers to offenses at the lotus feet of the spiritual master. In the chanting of the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, this gurv-aparadha is considered the most grievous offense. Guror avajna sruti-sastra-nindanam (Padma Purana). Among the ten offenses committed against the chanting of the holy name, the first offenses are disobedience of the spiritual master and blasphemy of the Vedic literature.
The simple definition of Vaisnava is given by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu: a person who immediately reminds one of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, is a Vaisnava. In this verse, both Vaisnavas and brahmanas are mentioned. A Vaisnava is a learned brahmana and is therefore designated as brahmana-vaisnava, brahmana-pandita or as a Vaisnava and brahmana. In other words, a Vaisnava is supposed to be a brahmana already, but a brahmana may not be a pure Vaisnava. When a person understands his pure identity, brahma janati, he immediately becomes a brahmana. In the brahmana stage, one’s understanding of the Absolute Truth is mainly based on the impersonal view. When a brahmana, however, rises to the platform of personal understanding of the Supreme Godhead, he becomes a Vaisnava. A Vaisnava is transcendental even to a brahmana. In the material conception, the position of a brahmana is the highest in human society, but a Vaisnava is transcendental even to a brahmana. Both the brahmana and Vaisnava are spiritually advanced. A brahmana’s qualifications are mentioned in Bhagavad-gita as truthfulness, mental equanimity, control of the senses, the power of tolerance, simplicity, knowledge of the Absolute Truth, firm faith in the scriptures, and practical application of the brahminical qualities in life. In addition to all these qualifications, when one fully engages in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, he becomes a Vaisnava. Prthu Maharaja warns his citizens who are actually engaged in the devotional service of the Lord to take care against offenses to the brahmanas and Vaisnavas. Offenses at their lotus feet are so destructive that even the descendants of Yadu who were born in the family of Lord Krsna were destroyed due to offenses at their feet. The Supreme Personality of Godhead cannot tolerate any offense at the lotus feet of brahmanas and Vaisnavas. Sometimes, due to their powerful positions, princes or government servants neglect the position of brahmanas and Vaisnavas, not knowing that because of their offense they will be ruined.
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