saina-patyam ca rajyam ca
danda-netrtvam eva ca
sarva lokadhipatyam ca
Translation by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
Since only a person who is completely educated according to the principles of Vedic knowledge deserves to be commander-in-chief, ruler of the state, the first to chastise or the proprietor of the whole planet, Prthu Maharaja offered everything to the Kumaras.
Purport by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
In this verse it is very clearly stated that a kingdom, state or empire must be governed under the instructions of saintly persons and brahmanas like the Kumaras. When monarchy ruled throughout the world, the monarch was actually directed by a board of brahmanas and saintly persons. The king, as the administrator of the state, executed his duties as a servant of the brahmanas. It was not that the kings or brahmanas were dictators, nor did they consider themselves proprietors of the state. The kings were also well versed in Vedic literatures and thus were familiar with the injunction of Sri Isopanisad: isavasyam idam sarvam — everything that exists belongs to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In Bhagavad-gita Lord Krsna also claims that He is the proprietor of all planetary systems (sarva-loka-mahesvaram). Since this is the case, no one can claim to be proprietor of the state. The king, president or head of the state should always remember that he is not the proprietor but the servant.
In the present age, the king or president forgets that he is the servant of God and thinks of himself as servant of the people. The present democratic government is proclaimed to be a people’s government, a government by the people and for the people, but this type of government is not sanctioned by the Vedas. The Vedas maintain that a kingdom should be governed for the purpose of satisfying the Supreme Personality of Godhead and should therefore be ruled by a representative of the Lord. The head of a state should not be appointed if he is bereft of all Vedic knowledge. In this verse it is clearly stated (veda-sastra-vid arhati) that all high government posts are especially meant for persons who are well conversant with the teachings of the Vedas. In the Vedas there are definite instructions defining how a king, commander-in-chief, soldier and citizen should behave. Unfortunately there are many so-called philosophers in the present age who give instruction without citing authority, and many leaders follow their unauthorized instruction. Consequently people are not happy.
The modern theory of dialectical communism, set forth by Karl Marx and followed by communist governments, is not perfect. According to Vedic communism, no one in the state should ever starve. Presently there are many bogus institutions which are collecting funds from the public for the purpose of giving food to starving people, but these funds are invariably misused. According to the Vedic instructions, the government should arrange things in such a way that there will be no question of starvation. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is stated that a householder must see to it that even a lizard or a snake does not starve. They also must be given food. In actuality, however, there is no question of starvation because everything is the property of the Supreme Lord, and He sees to it that there is ample arrangement for feeding everyone. In the Vedas (Katha Upanisad 2.2.13) it is said, eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman: the Supreme Lord supplies the necessities of life to everyone, and there is no question of starvation. If anyone starves, it is due to the mismanagement of the so-called ruler, governor or president.
It is clear therefore that a person who is not well versed in the Vedic injunctions (veda-sastra-vit) should not run for election as president, governor, etc. Formerly kings were rajarsis, which meant that although they were serving as kings, they were as good as saintly persons because they would not transgress any of the injunctions of the Vedic scriptures and would rule under the direction of great saintly persons and brahmanas. According to this arrangement, modern presidents, governors and chief executive officers are all unworthy of their posts because they are not conversant with Vedic administrative knowledge and they do not take direction from great saintly persons and brahmanas. Because of his disobedience to the orders of the Vedas and the brahmanas, King Vena, Prthu Maharaja’s father, was killed by the brahmanas. Prthu Maharaja therefore knew very well that it behooved him to rule the planet as the servant of saintly persons and brahmanas.