SrI: SrImathE SatakOpAya nama: SrImathE rAmAnujAya nama: SrImath varavaramunayE nama:
yad yad ācarati śreṣṭhas
tat tad evetaro janaḥ
sa yat pramāṇaṁ kurute
lokas tad anuvartate
‘What the wise man doth, another doth likewise;
what law he may make, the world follows it.’
Considering from the stand-point that by one’s acts the world is profitted, then oughtest he to act (i.e., act altruistically.)
Śreshṭhaḥ: is a wise man, a worthy man, a man of note and respectability; and is one well versed in Śāstras[1. Śāstra means laws, learning, and therefore spiritual laws or science embodied in the Vedas or Sṛutis, etc.]. Whatever such a man does, is imitated by all other men. It may be that it is generally known that a certain act is one which ought to be performed, yet all men wait to see how a good man, a leader of society, takes the initiative, and then they will do it, following suit.
Hence a man of special distinction or character ought always to show the example to the world, by first playing himself the part in all duties assigned to his caste (varṇa[2. The four varṇas are Brāhmaṇa, Kshatriya, Vaiśya and Śūdra.]) and order in life (āśrama[3. The four āśramas are Brahmacharya (bachelor and student), Gārhastya (married life), Vānaprastha (retired forest life) and Sanyāsa (monastic or ascetic life).]). If he should fail to do so, he commits sin, —the sin of not having benefitted the world by example.
The consequence to himself will further be that he will slip from the Path of his own jñāna-yoga.
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