hinasti visam attaram
vahnir adbhih prasamyati
kulam sa-mulam dahati
Poison kills only the person who ingests it, and an ordinary fire may be extinguished with water. But the fire generated from the kindling wood of a brahmana’s property burns the thief’s entire family down to the root.
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti compares the fire ignited by stealing a brahmana’s property to the fire that blazes within the cavity of an old tree. Such a fire cannot be put out even with the water of numerous rainfalls. Rather, it burns the whole tree from within, all the way down to the roots in the ground. Similarly, the fire ignited by stealing a brahmana’s property is the most deadly and should be avoided at all costs.