tribhih kramair imal lokan
sarvasvam visnave dattva
mudha vartisyase katham
tribhih—three; kramaih—by steps; iman—all these; lokan—three planetary systems; visva-kayah—becoming the universal form; kramisyati—gradually He will expand; sarvasvam—everything; visnave—unto Lord Visnu; dattva—after giving charity; mudha—O you rascal; vartisyase—you will execute your means of livelihood; katham—how.
You have promised to give Him three steps of land in charity, but when you give it He will occupy the three worlds. You are a rascal! You do not know what a great mistake you have made. After giving everything to Lord Visnu, you will have no means of livelihood. How then shall you live?
Bali Maharaja might argue that he had promised only three steps of land. But Sukracarya, being a very learned brahmana, immediately understood that this was a plan of Hari, who had falsely appeared there as a brahmacari. The words mudha vartisyase katham reveal that Sukracarya was a brahmana of the priestly class. Such priestly brahmanas are mostly interested in receiving remuneration from their disciples. Therefore when Sukracarya saw that Bali Maharaja had risked all of his possessions, he understood that this would cause havoc not only to the King but also to the family of Sukracarya, who was dependent on Maharaja Baliís mercy. This is the difference between a Vaisnava and a smarta-brahmana. A smarta-brahmana is always interested in material profit, whereas a Vaisnava is interested only in satisfying the Supreme Personality of Godhead. From the statement of Sukracarya, it appears that he was in all respects a smarta-brahmana interested only in personal gain.
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