akiñcanānāṁ hi dhanaṁ śiloñchanaṁ
kathaṁ vigarhyaṁ nu karomy adhīśvarāḥ
paurodhasaṁ hṛṣyati yena durmatiḥ
akiñcanānām—of persons who have taken to austerities and penances to become detached from worldly possessions; hi—certainly; dhanam—the wealth; śila—the collecting of grains left in the field; uñchanam—and the collecting of grains left in the wholesale marketplace; tena—by that means; iha—here; nirvartita—accomplishing; sādhu—of the exalted devotees; sat-kriyaḥ—all the pious activities; katham—how; vigarhyam—reproachable; nu—indeed; karomi—I shall execute; adhīśvarāḥ—O great governors of the planetary systems; paurodhasam—the duty of priesthood; hṛṣyati—is pleased; yena—by which; durmatiḥ—one who is less intelligent.
O exalted governors of various planets, the true brāhmaṇa, who has no material possessions, maintains himself by the profession of accepting śiloñchana. In other words, he picks up grains left in the field and on the ground in the wholesale marketplace. By this means, householder brāhmaṇas who actually abide by the principles of austerity and penance maintain themselves and their families and perform all necessary pious activities. A brāhmaṇa who desires to achieve happiness by gaining wealth through professional priesthood must certainly have a very low mind. How shall I accept such priesthood?
A first-class brāhmaṇa does not accept any rewards from his disciples or yajamānas. Practicing austerities and penances, he instead goes to the agricultural field and collects food grains left by the agriculturalists to be collected by brāhmaṇas. Similarly, such brāhmaṇas go to marketplaces where grains are purchased and sold wholesale, and there they collect grains left by the merchants. In this way, such exalted brāhmaṇas maintain their bodies and families. Such priests never demand anything from their disciples to live in opulence, imitating kṣatriyas or vaiśyas. In other words, a pure brāhmaṇa voluntarily accepts a life of poverty and lives in complete dependence on the mercy of the Lord. Not very many years ago, a brāhmaṇa in Kṛṣṇanagara, near Navadvīpa, was offered some help from the local Zamindar, Vraja Kṛṣṇacandra. The brāhmaṇa refused to accept the help. He said that since he was very happy in his householder life, taking rice given by his disciples and cooking vegetables of tamarind leaves, there was no question of taking help from the Zamindar. The conclusion is that although a brāhmaṇa may receive much opulence from his disciples, he should not utilize the rewards of his priesthood for his personal benefit; he must use them for the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
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