TEXTS 18–20
rtamrtabhyam jiveta
mrtena pramrtena va
satyanrtabhyam api va
na sva-vrttya kadacana
rtam unchasilam proktam
amrtam yad ayacitam
mrtam tu nitya-yacna syat
pramrtam karsanam smrtam
satyanrtam ca vanijyam
sva-vrttir nica-sevanam
varjayet tam sada vipro
rajanyas ca jugupsitam
sarva-vedamayo viprah
sarva-devamayo nrpah
SYNONYMS
rta-amrtabhyam—of the means of livelihood known as rta and amrta; jiveta—one may live; mrtena—by the profession of mrta; pramrtena va—or by the profession of pramrta; satyanrtabhyam api—even by the profession of satyanrta; va—or; na—never; sva-vrttya—by the profession of the dogs; kadacana—at any time; rtamrta; unchasilam—the livelihood of collecting grains left in the field or marketplace; proktam—it is said; amrtam—the profession of amrta; yat—which; ayacitam—obtained without begging from anyone else; mrtam—the profession of mrta; tu—but; nitya-yacna—begging grains every day from the farmers; syat—should be; pramrtam—the pramrta means of livelihood; karsanam—tilling the field; smrtam—it is so remembered; satyanrtam—the occupation of satyanrta; ca—and; vanijyam—trade; sva-vrttih—the occupation of the dogs; nica-sevanam—the service of low persons (the vaisyas and sudras); varjayet—should give up; tam—that (the profession of the dogs); sada—always; viprah—the brahmana; rajanyah ca—and the ksatriya; jugupsitam—very abominable; sarva-veda-mayah—learned in all the Vedic understandings; viprah—the brahmana; sarva-deva-mayah—the embodiment of all the demigods; nrpah—the ksatriya or king.
TRANSLATION
In time of emergency, one may accept any of the various types of professions known as rta, amrta, mrta, pramrta and satyanrta, but one should not at any time accept the profession of a dog. The profession of unchasila, collecting grains from the field, is called rta. Collecting without begging is called amrta, begging grains is called mrta, tilling the ground is called pramrta, and trade is called satyanrta. Engaging in the service of low-grade persons, however, is called sva-vrtti, the profession of the dogs. Specifically, brahmanas and ksatriyas should not engage in the low and abominable service of sudras. Brahmanas should be well acquainted with all the Vedic knowledge, and ksatriyas should be well acquainted with the worship of demigods.
PURPORT
As stated in Bhagavad-gita (4.13), catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah: the four divisions of human society were created by the Supreme Lord according to the three modes of material nature and the work ascribed to them. Formerly, the principle of dividing human society into four sections—brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra—was strictly followed, but because of gradual neglect of the varnasrama principles, varna-sankara population developed, and the entire institution has now been lost. In this age of Kali, practically everyone is a sudra (kalau sudra-sambhavah), and finding anyone who is a brahmana, ksatriya or vaisya is very difficult. Although the Krsna consciousness movement is a movement of brahmanas and Vaisnavas, it is trying to reestablish the divine varnasrama institution, for without this division of society there cannot be peace and prosperity anywhere.

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