bahubhyo ’vartata ksatram
ksatriyas tad anuvratah
yo jatas trayate varnan
Translation by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
Thereafter the power of protection was generated from the arms of the gigantic virat form, and in relation to such power the ksatriyas also came into existence by following the ksatriya principle of protecting society from the disturbance of thieves and miscreants.
Purport by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
As the brahmanas are recognized by their particular qualification of inclination towards the transcendental knowledge of Vedic wisdom, so also the ksatriyas are recognized by the power to protect society from the disturbing elements of thieves and miscreants. The word anuvratah is significant. A person who follows the ksatriya principles by protecting society from thieves and miscreants is called a ksatriya, not the one who is simply born a ksatriya. The conception of the caste system is always based on quality and not on the qualification of birth. Birth is an extraneous consideration; it is not the main feature of the orders and divisions. In Bhagavad-gita (18.41-44) the qualifications of the brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras are specifically mentioned, and it is understood that all such qualifications are needed before one can be designated as belonging to a particular group.
Lord Visnu is always mentioned as the purusa in all Vedic scriptures. Sometimes the living entities are also mentioned as purusas, although they are essentially purusa-sakti (para sakti or para prakrti), the superior energy of the purusa. Illusioned by the external potency of the purusa (the Lord), the living entities falsely think of themselves as the purusa although they actually have no qualifications. The Lord has the power to protect. Of the three deities Brahma, Visnu and Mahesvara, the first has the power to create, the second has the power to protect, and the third has the power to destroy. The word purusa is significant in this verse because the ksatriyas are expected to represent the purusa Lord in giving protection to the prajas, or all those who are born in the land and water. Protection is therefore meant for both man and the animals. In modern society the prajas are not protected from the hands of thieves and miscreants. The modern democratic state, which has no ksatriyas, is a government of the vaisyas and sudras, and not of brahmanas and ksatriyas as formerly. Maharaja Yudhisthira and his grandson, Maharaja Pariksit, were typical ksatriya kings, for they gave protection to all men and animals. When the personification of Kali attempted to kill a cow, Maharaja Pariksit at once prepared himself to kill the miscreant, and the personification of Kali was banished from his kingdom. That is the sign of purusa, or the representative of Lord Visnu. According to Vedic civilization, a qualified ksatriya monarch is given the respect of the Lord because he represents the Lord by giving protection to the prajas. Modern elected presidents cannot even give protection from theft cases, and therefore one has to take protection from an insurance company. The problems of modern human society are due to the lack of qualified brahmanas and ksatriyas and the overinfluence of the vaisyas and sudras by so-called general franchise.