yair iyaṁ bubhuje brahman
teṣāṁ kālo ’grasīl lokān
na yaśo ’dhigataṁ bhuvi
yaiḥ—by whom; iyam—this world; bubhuje—was enjoyed; brahman—O best of the brāhmaṇas; daitya-indraiḥ—by great heroes and kings born in demoniac families; anivartibhiḥ—by those who were determined to fight, either to lay down their lives or to win victory; teṣām—of such persons; kālaḥ—the time factor; agrasīt—took away; lokān—all possessions, all objects of enjoyment; na—not; yaśaḥ—the reputation; adhigatam—achieved; bhuvi—in this world.
O best of the brāhmaṇas, certainly the great demoniac kings who were never reluctant to fight enjoyed this world, but in due course of time everything they had was taken away, except their reputation, by which they continue to exist. In other words, one should try to achieve a good reputation instead of anything else.
In this regard, Cāṇakya Paṇḍita (Cāṇakya-śloka 34) also says, āyuṣaḥ kṣaṇa eko ’pi na labhya svarṇa-koṭibhiḥ. The duration of one’s life is extremely short, but if in that short lifetime one can do something that enhances his good reputation, that may continue to exist for many millions of years. Bali Mahārāja therefore decided not to follow his spiritual master’s instruction that he deny his promise to Vāmanadeva; instead, he decided to give the land according to the promise and be everlastingly celebrated as one of the twelve mahājanas (balir vaiyāsakir vayam).
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