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SB 12.2.5

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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


sādhutve dambha eva tu
svīkāra eva codvāhe
snānam eva prasādhanam


anāḍhyatā—poverty; eva—simply; asādhutve—in one's being unholy; sādhutve—in virtue, or success; dambhaḥ—hypocrisy; eva—alone; tu—and; svī-kāraḥ—verbal acceptance; eva—alone; ca—and; udvāhe—in marriage; snānam—bathing with water; eva—alone; prasādhanam—cleaning and decorating of the body.

Translation and purport composed by disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda


A person will be judged unholy if he does not have money, and hypocrisy will be accepted as virtue. Marriage will be arranged simply by verbal agreement, and a person will think he is fit to appear in public if he has merely taken a bath.


The word dambha indicates a self-righteous hypocrite—someone not so much concerned with being saintly as with appearing saintly. In the age of Kali there is a rather large number of self-righteous, hypocritical religious fanatics claiming to have the only way, the only truth and the only light. In many Muslim countries this mentality has resulted in brutal repression of religious freedom and thus destroyed the opportunity for enlightened spiritual dialectic. Fortunately, in much of the Western world there is a system of free religious expression. Even in the West, however, self-righteous hypocrites consider sincere and saintly followers of other disciplines to be heathens and devils.

Western religious fanatics are usually addicted to many bad habits, such as smoking, drinking, sex, gambling and animal slaughter. Although the followers of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement strictly avoid illicit sex, intoxication, gambling and animal-killing, and although they dedicate their lives to the constant glorification of God, self-righteous hypocrites claim that such strict austerity and devotion to God are "tricks of the devil." Thus the sinful are promoted as religious, and the saintly are decried as demonic. This pathetic incapacity to grasp the most rudimentary criteria of spirituality is a prominent symptom of Kali-yuga.

In this age, the institution of marriage will degenerate. Indeed, already a marriage certificate is sometimes cynically rejected as "a mere piece of paper." Forgetting the spiritual purpose of marriage and misunderstanding sex to be the goal of family life, lusty men and women directly engage in sexual affairs without the troublesome formalities and responsibilities of a legal relationship. Such foolish people argue that "sex is natural." But if sex is natural, pregnancy and childbirth are equally natural. And for the child it is certainly natural to be raised by a loving father and mother and in fact to have the same father and mother throughout his life. Psychological studies confirm that a child needs to be cared for by both his father and his mother, and thus it is obviously natural for sex to be accompanied by a permanent marriage arrangement. Hypocritical people justify unrestricted sex by saying "it is natural" but to avoid the natural consequence of sex-pregnancy—they use contraceptives, which certainly do not grow on trees. Indeed, contraceptives are not at all natural. Thus hypocrisy and foolishness abound in the age of Kali.

The verse concludes by saying that people will neglect to ornament their bodies properly in the present age. A human being should decorate his body with various religious ornaments. Vaiṣṇavas mark their bodies with tilaka blessed with the holy name of God. But in the age of Kali, religious and even material formalities are thoughtlessly discarded.

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