puruṣeṣv api rājendra
supātraṁ brāhmaṇaṁ viduḥ
tapasā vidyayā tuṣṭyā
dhatte vedaṁ hares tanum
puruṣeṣu—among persons; api—indeed; rāja-indra—O best of kings; su-pātram—the best person; brāhmaṇam—the qualified brāhmaṇa; viduḥ—one should know; tapasā—due to austerity; vidyayā—education; tuṣṭyā—and satisfaction; dhatte—he assumes; vedam—the transcendental knowledge known as Veda; hareḥ—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; tanum—body, or representation.
My dear King, of all persons a qualified brāhmaṇa must be accepted as the best within this material world because such a brāhmaṇa, by practicing austerity, Vedic studies and satisfaction, becomes the counterpart body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
From the Vedas we learn that the Personality of Godhead is the Supreme Person. Every living entity is an individual person, and the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, is the Supreme Person. A brāhmaṇa who is well versed in Vedic knowledge and fully conversant with transcendental matters becomes a representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore one should worship such a brāhmaṇa or Vaiṣṇava. A Vaiṣṇava is superior to a brāhmaṇa because whereas a brāhmaṇa knows that he is Brahman, not matter, a Vaiṣṇava knows that he is not only Brahman but also an eternal servant of the Supreme Brahman. Therefore, worship of a Vaiṣṇava is superior to worship of the Deity in the temple. Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura says, sākṣād dharitvena samasta-śāstraiḥ: in all the scriptures the spiritual master, who is the best of the brāhmaṇas, the best of the Vaiṣṇavas, is considered to be as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This does not mean, however, that the Vaiṣṇava thinks himself God, for this is blasphemous. Although a brāhmaṇa or Vaiṣṇava is worshiped as being as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, such a devotee always remains a faithful servant of the Lord and never tries to enjoy the prestige that might accrue to him from being the Supreme Lord’s representative.
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