Sobriety The Jewel Of A Brahmana

Srimad Bhagavatam 08.18.29-08.19.02 - Sobriety The Jewel Of A Brahmana (download mp3)
by Vrishabhanu Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 8.18.29
sri-balir uvaca
svagatam te namas tubhyam
brahman kim karavama te
brahmarsinam tapah saksan
manye tvarya vapur-dharam

Bali Maharaja then said to Lord Vamanadeva: O brahmana, I offer You my hearty welcome and my respectful obeisances. Please let us know what we may do for You. We think of You as the personified austerity of the great brahmana-sages.

SB 8.19.2
sri-bhagavan uvaca
vacas tavaitaj jana-deva sunrtam
kulocitam dharma-yuta yasas-karam
yasya pramanam bhrgavah samparaye
pitamahah kula-vrddhah prasantah

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O King, you are indeed exalted because your present advisors are the brahmanas who are descendants of Bhrgu and because your instructor for your future life is your grandfather, the peaceful and venerable Prahlada Maharaja. Your statements are very true, and they completely agree with religious etiquette. They are in keeping with the behavior of your family, and they enhance your reputation.

Prahlada Maharaja is a vivid example of a pure devotee. Someone might argue that since Prahlada Maharaja, even though very old, was attached to his family, and specifically to his grandson Bali Maharaja, how could he be an ideal example? Therefore this verse uses the word prasantah. A devotee is always sober. He is never disturbed by any conditions. Even if a devotee remains in grhastha life and does not renounce material possessions, he should still be understood to be prasanta, sober, because of his pure devotion to the Lord. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu therefore said:

kiba vipra, kiba nyasi, sudra kene naya
yei krsna-tattva-vetta, sei 'guru' haya

"Whether one is a brahmana, a sannyasi or a sudra-regardless of what he is-he can become a spiritual master if he knows the science of Krsna." (Cc. Madhya 8.128) Anyone completely aware of the science of Krsna, regardless of his status in life, is a guru. Thus Prahlada Maharaja is a guru in all circumstances.

Here His Lordship Vamanadeva also teaches sannyasis and brahmacaris that one should not ask more than necessary. He wanted only three paces of land, although Bali Maharaja wanted to give Him anything He wanted.