Srimad Bhagavatam 01.18.33 - The pitfalls of harsh speech (download mp3)
by Shyamananda Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
aho adharmaḥ pālānāṁ
pīvnāṁ bali-bhujām iva
svāminy aghaṁ yad dāsānāṁ
dvāra-pānāṁ śunām iva
[The brāhmaṇa’s son, Śṛṅgi, said:] O just look at the sins of the rulers who, like crows and watchdogs at the door, perpetrate sins against their masters, contrary to the principles governing servants.
The brāhmaṇas are considered to be the head and brains of the social body, and the kṣatriyas are considered to be the arms of the social body. The arms are required to protect the body from all harm, but the arms must act according to the directions of the head and brain. That is a natural arrangement made by the supreme order, for it is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā that four social orders or castes, namely the brāhmaṇas, the kṣatriyas, the vaiśyas and the śūdras, are set up according to quality and work done by them. Naturally the son of a brāhmaṇa has a good chance to become a brāhmaṇa by the direction of his qualified father, as a son of a medical practitioner has a very good chance to become a qualified medical practitioner. So the caste system is quite scientific. The son must take advantage of the father’s qualification and thus become a brāhmaṇa or medical practitioner, and not otherwise. Without being qualified, one cannot become a brāhmaṇa or medical practitioner, and that is the verdict of all scriptures and social orders. Herein Śṛṅgi, a qualified son of a great brāhmaṇa, attained the required brahminical power both by birth and by training, but he was lacking in culture because he was an inexperienced boy. By the influence of Kali, the son of a brāhmaṇa became puffed up with brahminical power and thus wrongly compared Mahārāja Parīkṣit to crows and watchdogs. The King is certainly the watchdog of the state in the sense that he keeps vigilant eyes over the border of the state for its protection and defense, but to address him as a watchdog is the sign of a less-cultured boy. Thus the downfall of the brahminical powers began as they gave importance to birthright without culture. The downfall of the brāhmaṇa caste began in the Age of Kali. And since brāhmaṇas are the heads of the social order, all other orders of society also began to deteriorate. This beginning of brahminical deterioration was highly deplored by the father of Śṛṅgi, as we will find.