tribhiḥ kramair imāl lokān
sarvasvaṁ viṣṇave dattvā
mūḍha vartiṣyase katham
tribhiḥ—three; kramaiḥ—by steps; imān—all these; lokān—three planetary systems; viśva-kāyaḥ—becoming the universal form; kramiṣyati—gradually He will expand; sarvasvam—everything; viṣṇave—unto Lord Viṣṇu; dattvā—after giving charity; mūḍha—O you rascal; vartiṣyase—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 Viṣṇu, you will have no means of livelihood. How then shall you live?
Bali Mahārāja might argue that he had promised only three steps of land. But Śukrācārya, being a very learned brāhmaṇa, immediately understood that this was a plan of Hari, who had falsely appeared there as a brahmacārī. The words mūḍha vartiṣyase katham reveal that Śukrācārya was a brāhmaṇa of the priestly class. Such priestly brāhmaṇas are mostly interested in receiving remuneration from their disciples. Therefore when Śukrācārya saw that Bali Mahārāja had risked all of his possessions, he understood that this would cause havoc not only to the King but also to the family of Śukrācārya, who was dependent on Mahārāja Bali’s mercy. This is the difference between a Vaiṣṇava and a smārta-brāhmaṇa. A smārta-brāhmaṇa is always interested in material profit, whereas a Vaiṣṇava is interested only in satisfying the Supreme Personality of Godhead. From the statement of Śukrācārya, it appears that he was in all respects a smārta-brāhmaṇa interested only in personal gain.
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