Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.16.4
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Los Angeles, January 1, 1974

Pradyumna: Translation: “Once when Maharaja Pariksit was on his way to conquer the world, he saw the master of Kali-yuga, who was lower than a sudra, disguised as a king and hurting a cow and a bull by his leg. The King at once caught hold of him to deal sufficient punishment.”

Prabhupada: So it was the duty of the king to go on tour and see persons who are actually not abiding by the laws of Vedic principles. This is the duty of the king. Just like in the Bhagavad-gita it is said that catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah: [Bg. 4.13] “In the human society I have divided four classes of men.” Catur-varnyam maya srstam [Bg. 4.13]. Krsna says, “I have done it.”

So by nature, there are four classes of men. First-class, intelligent men. In whichever you take, you’ll find not all of them of the same category. First class, second class, third class and fourth class. First class means the most intelligent class, scientists, philosophers, like that; mathematicians, great religionists. They’re first-class men. The second class, administrator, to see that the government is going nicely, people are not unhappy, people are not suffering from thieves and rogues. This is the first business. Good government means that people will think that they’re secure, their property and person is secure. There will be no harm. Not very many years ago, say about hundred years ago, in India the native states, the rule was that if something is lying on the streets, valuable or invaluable, so nobody should touch it. The person who has lost or who has left that thing there, he would come and pick it up. You cannot touch. That was the law. And if one was caught, a thief, his hands will be cut off. In Kashmir state this was the rule. As soon as a thief is arrested and if he’s proved that he has stolen, the only punishment is cut his throat, ah, cut his hands. Bas. Exemplary punishment so that nobody will dare to steal. So this is second class, administrators. And the third class are to produce money— businessmen, mercantile. Money is also required. So without money nothing can be done, so that is not… But that is the occupation of…, the third class take. And the fourth class, sudra. They cannot take any post as intelligent class or administrator class or money- producing class. They are simply servant, help others, sudra. The sudra was not meant for taking the political part.

Therefore it is said here nrpa-linga-dharam sudram. Nrpa-linga-dharam. Linga means, real meaning is gender. Just the masculine gender, feminine gender. And the other meaning is sign. Just like there are signs, certain signs, we can understand here is a male, here is a female. By the signs. So lingam means “signs,” “symptom.” So nrpa-linga-dharam. Sudra, actually he was a sudra, but he dressed like a king. Just like if a woman dresses like a man, that is artificial. Or a man dresses like woman, that is also artificial. So everyone has his original dress and position. There, because a sudra took the dress of a king, therefore it is called nrpa-linga-dharam. Artificially, he was dressed like a king. That is the position of Kali- yuga. Now the government men, they are elected by votes. People do not consider whether he’s a brahmana or ksatriya or vaisya or sudra. As he likes… People are sudras. Kalau sudra-sambhavah. In the Kali-yuga everyone is a sudra. Therefore naturally he will elect one sudra. The sudra is not fit for government management. As such we find so many difficulties in the government because the head or the head man, they are all sudras. They have dressed like administrator, but they are sudras. This is the symptom of Kali- yuga. There is no brahmana, there is no ksatriya, there is no vaisyas. Maybe a few vaisyas, and all sudras. A brahmana means the good quality, first-class quality. That is very, very rare to be found.

So it was the business of the king to see that things are going on. First of all, there is classification: intelligent class or brahmana; and the administrator class or ksatriya; and the mercantile class, money-producing class. So everyone is engaged, and he’s doing his own business. But this division must be there. Without division the society will be in chaos. The example is given… I have several times mentioned that, that just like in this body, there is division: the head division, the arms division, the belly division, and the leg division. They are all required. You cannot say that simply legs will do. What about the head and arms? “I don’t require.” That is not… That is dead body. That is dead body. Any part of the body, you cannot miss. They must be all in order; then your body is fit. Similarly, in the human society, the social body, there must be these classes: the head class, the arm class, the belly class and the leg class. Very scientific. You cannot simply… If you have got intelligent class of men, but nobody is helping him, then what, what will be the use of intelligence? The intelligent class must be there, but to help him the less intelligent class men also required. Just like if there are only intelligent class, that will be chaos. Nobody will care for anyone. Sometimes we’ll find in our society, all intelligent class, and they fight each other. That’s all. Everyone is thinking, “I am intelligent. I am boss. I must order you.” And the other is thinking, “Why you shall be boss? I am also boss.” So (laughs) fighting will go on. So this is going on. At the present moment there is no intelligent class of men. But kalau sudra-sambhavah. Therefore things are all in chaos. Everywhere you go, any part of the world, nobody is happy, either in family or community and society, nationwide, you take. Everyone is distrust, unhappiness, godlessness. Because the intelligent class of men is finished.

So the king, his duty was that if you are professing yourself as a brahmana, then it is the king’s duty to see that you are acting as a brahmana. Brahmana is not by birth but guna-karma-vibhagasah. Guna means quality. And karma, and work also. Simply “I have got now sacred thread, I have become brahmana, doubly initiated; now my business is finished. I can work, I can do whatever we like, like less than sudra, candala.” No, sir. If you are initiated as a brahmana, you must act as a brahmana. Truthfulness—satyam samo damas titiksa arjavam jnanam vijnanam astikyam brahma-karma— everything is there. A brahmana must be truthful. That is the first business of a brahmana—truthful. He’ll speak truth even before an enemy. Nobody speaks truth before an enemy because he wants to hide something. But brahmana’s business is to become truthful even before an enemy. That is stated.

There are many instances. Just like Satyakama-jabala, a boy, Satyakama, he went to Gautama Muni: “Sir, I want to become your disciple.” “Oh, very good. Are you brahmana or brahmana’s son?” Formerly, in Vedic ways, nobody could be accepted as a disciple unless he’s born in high class family, brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya— especially brahmana. So this question was asked, “Which family you belong to?” So he said, “I do not know what is my classification.” “Now, who is your father?” “That I do not know.” “Ask your mother.” Then he went to his mother, “Who is my father?” “My dear boy, I do not know.” So actually his mother was maidservant. So maidservants have so many men, and by whom she was pregnant she cannot remember. She also told the truth. And this Satyakama, he also came to Gautama Muni, he said, “Sir, my father, my mother also do not know who is my father.” “Oh, that’s all right. You are a brahmana, because you are truthful. You do not hide yourself, that ‘I am a prostitute’s son.’ You say this is the position. ‘I am plainly speaking that my mother does not know who is my father. I do not know!’ ” So because he was truthful… That is the symptom of brahmana. He accepted, “Yes, I’ll accept you as my disciple.”

Indian: Prabhupada, how did Kama…?

Prabhupada: You do… Don’t disturb. So this is the process, that the four castes—brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya… They were caste system when they actually things were going on. Just like a carpenter. His son naturally becomes a carpenter by seeing the father’s work. So he can be very easily classified as a carpenter. Similarly, formerly, the brahmana family, ksatriya family, vaisya family, they were following the rules and regulations in such a way that naturally a brahmana’s son became a brahmana. Because he has learned already the brahmana principle from the parent. So naturally little touch will make him… That is initiation. Even though one is born in a brahmana family, why does he required initiation and sacred thread ceremony? Because simply by taking birth in a brahmana family one does not become a brahmana. He has to be raised to the brahmana standard. Otherwise, there was no initiation, there was no necessity of initiation or offering the sacred thread. That is called samskara. Otherwise, by birth everyone is sudra. Janmana jayate sudrah samskarad bhaved dvijah. So it is very good that one has taken his birth in a brahmana family, but provided he has learned the brahmana’s activities nicely from the parent, he is brahmana. Kim punar brahmanah punyah(?).

But if he deviates from the family principle… Just like in the sastra it is said that in a higher class family, brahmana, ksatriya, especially brahmana, if the garbhadhana-samskara is not accepted, the whole family becomes sudra. Garbhadhana-samskara. That means begetting the child, there is a ceremony which is called garbhadhana-samskara. So in the Kali-yuga practically no samskara is performed. Therefore in the sastra it is said kalau sudra-sambhavah. So Vedic process, Vedic principles of accepting. It is not possible in this Kali-yuga. Because the garbhadhana-samskara is not there. In nobody’s family there garbhadhana-samskara is taken. Sex life is also regulated by garbhadhana-samskara. Therefore in the Bhagavad-gita it is said, dharmaviruddhah kamo ’smi. Aviruddha, “Sex life which is not against the religious principles, that I am. That sex life I am,” Krsna says. “I am that sex life.” That is godly. But sex life for sense gratification or for prostitution, that is not Krsna. That is Kali. So this is the process.

So it was the duty of the king to see that if a man is professing himself as a brahmana, he must act as a brahmana. That was the duty. Otherwise, he should be punished. Just like here. This sudra, he was presenting himself as a ksatriya, nrpa-linga-dharam. Therefore he was punished. Not that the king is callous: “Let him do whatever he likes.” Just like now our, everywhere, the government, it doesn’t care whether you are acting as a brahmana, sudra, or whatever nonsense you are doing. Doesn’t care. “You pay me tax, that’s all.” Bring your tax, income tax, and everything, then you are free, whatever you are doing. That was not the duty of the king. The king’s duty is to see that actually one who is presenting himself as brahmana, he’s acting as a brahmana, he has acquired the qualities of a brahmana. Guna-karma-vibhagasah. He has got the quality and acting. Similarly, a ksatriya also, he must act as a ksatriya. Similarly, vaisyas. These are all, statements are there in the Bhagavad-gita, you know. Krsi-goraksya-vanijyam vaisya-karma svabhava-jam [Bg 18.44]. Sauryam tejo yuddhe capy apalayanam isvara-bhavas ca ksatram karma svabhava-jam. Everything is given. Paricaryatmakam karma sudrasyapi svabhava-jam. Everything is given there. So it is the duty of the government, that this man is professing as a brahmana, as a ksatriya or a vaisya, whether he is acting, or whether he’s cheating others. No cheating will be allowed. That is government’s duty.

So here, this man was cheating. Because here it is said: nrpa-linga-dharam. He was dressed like a king. Just like king is very gorgeously dressed. But his bodily feature, he was a black man. The black man means sudra. The brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, they were not black. But the sudras were black. From external point of view, these things are there. Sudras, another name is krsna. Krsna means black. So this black man was dressed like a king, and what was he, was he going to do? Ghnantam go-mithunam pada. He was trying to kill a pair of cow and bull. So naturally he could understand. Pariksit Maharaja was going on tour, and on his way he saw that this rascal is dressed like a king and he’s trying to kill cows and bulls. Oh, he immediately chastised him. Nrpa—he has dressed like a king, but his business is like sudra or less than sudra. Butchers, butchers cannot be intelligent class of men, brahmana. A brahmana is not butcher. Neither a ksatriya. Ksatriya fights, kills, but in regular religious fight. Not that by whimsically he’ll fight and kill men. No. So, here it is said, nijagrahaujasa virah. A ksatriya must be vira, hero. Whenever there is injustice, he must immediately come forward. “Why injustice? These poor animals, they are also my subject. How you can kill them? He’s also born in this land.” “National” means one is born in that particular land. So they are also born in this land. Why he should be treated differently? Just like in your country, even one Indian gets his child here, the child is counted as USA-born, US citizen, eh? Immediately. So if that is the law, that anyone born in this land should be treated as national, what is this law that the cows and the bulls born in that land, they are to be slaughtered? What is this law?

So it is the duty of the king, emperor… Immediately detected that “Why these poor animals are being killed? They are also subject to the laws of the state. As the human being requires protection, similarly, the cows… Not only cows, everyone requires protection by the government. Why they should be not protected? Therefore because the protection was not given to the cows and the bulls, he immediately took him, that “This rascal is not a ksatriya; he’s a sudra. In the dress of a king, he’s doing mischievous activities.” Immediately punished him. This is government’s duty. If anyone… Just like, anyone is breaking law, it is the duty of the government to chastise him, similarly, the law should be… Exact good government law means that anyone who kills an animal without sanction… Of course, they now give sanction, that “Yes, you can kill as many animals in the slaughterhouse as you like.” Because the government is sudra. Government is not ksatriya. So therefore is no protection. Why animal? Even a human being, if he’s being killed on the street, on the Broadway, nobody cares for him. So this is the position. But Pariksit Maharaja was not such a king or such a head of the executive… He immediately punished. Therefore it is mentioned specially: ojasa virah kalim. Kali is to be punished.

The Kali begins with this animal killing. That is Kali-yuga. Meat- eating. Therefore, to avoid the influence of Kali we have to give up this habit. The four things are Kali’s disciple, friends. We have already discussed this. So one friend is this meat-eating problem, the butchers, Kali’s friends. And the liquor distiller, he’s also Kali’s friend. And the gamblers or the gambling house maintainer. And prostitute house maintainer. These are friends of Kali. Now you will find all over the world these things are very prominent—clubs and butcherhouse and liquor house and gambling house. Therefore the whole atmosphere is Kali.

So because it is now Kali age, just like winter season, everywhere is cold, chillest, so similarly because this is the age of Kali therefore even in India… This king, Maharaja Pariksit, was in India. He wanted to chastise this rascal in the dress of a king and attempting (to) kill cows. So this was in India. Maybe in other place also, because the king was touring. So not only in India, all over the world the Vedic civilization was there. Five thousand years ago, everywhere the… All people used to follow the Vedic principles. That is the proof. Because the king was following the Vedic principles. So this cow- killing by the Kali, it is said it was done on the border of India, somewhere near Sindhu Pradesh, Afghanistan, like that. So anyway, it was on this planet and he wanted to prohibit. But India is the center. This king, Maharaja Pariksit, his headquarters also Hastinapura, near New Delhi at the present moment. Hastinapura. There is a place still, Hastinapura. There is one broken fort also. They say this fort belonged to the Pandavas. People go there to see. Anyway, now the king was so strict that even outside India some cow was being attempted to be killed, he immediately took his sword to punish him. Now in India they are killing ten thousand cows daily. This is Kali-yuga. That… Still, they have got some sentiment about cow-killing. There was about say five or six years ago, there was good agitation. But who cares for that? Because the government is sudra: nrpa-linga. They have taken the position of government, but they are all full of sudras. Now in India not only killing cows… We had never seen… In Bombay this time I saw in our Juhu—big, big signboards: Beef shop. Beef shop. So Hindus are there also now taking. I asked one lady, she was meat-eater. So I asked her, “Do you eat cow’s meat, cow’s flesh?” “Yes, sometimes.” So this is Kali-yuga. Now government is encouraging drinking and meat-eating. And illicit sex, that is, that has become now a common affair, anywhere you go. Why should you should have to go to brothel? Even big, big, other places. I don’t wish to mention. You see.

So this is the age of Kali. So simply full of sinful activities, that’s all. That is Kali-yuga. But sinful activities will not help us. That they have no brain to understand. You have to purify yourself. Sinful activities will involve you more and more in the cycle of birth and death. You will take sometimes birth as a king or as a demigod, and sometimes as the worm of the stool. Because according to your karma, you will get next body. Karmana daiva-netrena. Therefore the process is at least don’t act sinfully. Then you will get higher- class birth. Urdhvam gacchanti sattva-sthah. You will get chance of taking your birth in higher planetary system where the standard of living is many, many thousands better than this planet. Just like Svargaloka, Janaloka. From our sastra we understand that the inhabitants of Candraloka, moon planet, they live for ten thousands of years, but these rascals are going there. They do not find any living entity. So that is the contradiction. But we believe that in the moon planet… And why we shall not believe? If the living entities are found everywhere, so why, what moon planet has done that there should be no living entity? From our experience we can see living entity is there on the land, in the air, in the water, even in the fire. So every planet is made of these five elements: earth, water, fire, air, sky. So we find by practical experience that in the water there is living entity, on the land there is living entity, within the land there is living entity. So why in the moon planet or other planet there should be no living entities? That’s a wrong theory.

Long, long ago, sometimes in 1930, I had a talk in Allahabad with a great scientist Dr. Shah. He said that there is no reason to disbelieve that in other planets there is no living entity. And recently one Russian scientist also said that there are many planets where very, very intelligent class of men are there. So that is our theory, that the… if you go to the higher planet system, you will find more comfortable standard of life, the duration of life is very long, and the people are very, very intelligent. They are called demigods. So whatever it may be, we have to follow our own principles, and there is no reason to disbelieve that in other planets there are no living entities. We cannot accept it.

So anyway, in every planet there is kingdom or there is government. Because in the Bhagavad-gita we understand, Krsna says,

imam vivasvate yogam proktavan aham avyayam vivasvan manave praha manur iksvakave ’bravit [Bg. 4.1]

Krsna said that “This philosophy, this Bhagavad-gita yoga system, I first of all explained to the sun-god, whose name is Vivasvan.” He spoke the same principle to his son Manu, and Manu also spoke the same principle to his son, Iksvaku. So Iksvaku came from the sun planet. He happens to be the grandson of Vivasvan. So how you can say that in the sun planet there is no possibility of life? We get the history. And if you say that “In fire how one can live?” No. As we see that in water some other living entities can live, similarly, I may not be able to live in the fire, but there are other living entities who can live there. That should be the right conclusion. Because fire is as good another material element as the water is. As water is also one of the material elements, fire is also one of the eight material elements. So if we can see by our practical experience, there are living entities in the water, so why not living entities in the fire? And in the Bhagavad-gita it is said that living entity, this spiritual spark, is not affected by material influence. In the Vedas also it is…, asango ’yam purusah. It has nothing to do with this material condition. Adahya. This special word is used that it cannot burned by the fire. Asosya, it cannot be dried up by air. Acchedya, it cannot be cut into pieces. These things are there. So we are firmly convinced that in the sun planet there is also living entity, and the king or the president there is called Vivasvan, his name is Vivasvan. And our gayatri-mantra is worshiping the sun planet. Om bhur bhuvah svah tat savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi. So this is the Vedic conception. Every planet there is king, and the king’s duty is to see that everyone is executing his professional occupational duty.

So Maharaja Pariksit also, he used to go for examining. Therefore it is said, digvijaye kvacit. Not that at a particular time he went out to, for touring. But he was going, say, yearly, or six-monthly. And one of his tour he found that a person dressed like a king was attempting to kill cows, and he punished him. So this is the statement.

Thank you very much. (end)