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SB 11.17.47

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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Please note: The synonyms, translation and purport of this verse were composed by disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda


sīdan vipro vaṇig-vṛttyā
paṇyair evāpadaṁ taret
khaḍgena vāpadākrānto
na śva-vṛttyā kathañcana


sīdan—suffering; vipraḥ—a brāhmaṇa; vaṇik—of a merchant; vṛttyā—by the occupation; paṇyaiḥ—by doing business; eva—indeed; āpadam—suffering; taret—should overcome; khaḍgena—with sword; vā—or; āpadā—by suffering; ākrāntaḥ—afflicted; na—not; śva—of the dog; vṛttyā—by the occupation; kathañcana—by any means.

Translation and purport composed by disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda


If a brāhmaṇa cannot support himself through his regular duties and is thus suffering, he may adopt the occupation of a merchant and overcome his destitute condition by buying and selling material things. If he continues to suffer extreme poverty even as a merchant, then he may adopt the occupation of a kṣatriya, taking sword in hand. But he cannot in any circumstances become like a dog, accepting an ordinary master.


Śva-vṛttyā, or "a dog's profession," refers to the śūdras, who cannot live without accepting a master. A destitute brāhmaṇa who is suffering intolerably may become a merchant and then a kṣatriya but may never take the position of a śūdra by working in a company or accepting a master. Although a kṣatriya is ordinarily considered more elevated than a vaiśya, the Lord here recommends that distressed brāhmaṇas first accept the vaiśya occupation, since it is not violent.

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