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SB 8.19.42

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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada


athaitat pūrṇam abhyātmaṁ
yac ca nety anṛtaṁ vacaḥ
sarvaṁ nety anṛtaṁ brūyāt
sa duṣkīrtiḥ śvasan mṛtaḥ


atha—therefore; etat—that; pūrṇam—completely; abhyātmam—drawing the compassion of others by presenting oneself as always poverty-stricken; yat—that; ca—also; na—not; iti—thus; anṛtam—false; vacaḥ—words; sarvam—completely; na—not; iti—thus; anṛtam—falsity; brūyāt—who should say; saḥ—such a person; duṣkīrtiḥ—infamous; śvasan—while breathing or while alive; mṛtaḥ—is dead or should be killed.


Therefore, the safe course is to say no. Although it is a falsehood, it protects one completely, it draws the compassion of others toward oneself, and it gives one full facility to collect money from others for oneself. Nonetheless, if one always pleads that he has nothing, he is condemned, for he is a dead body while living, or while still breathing he should be killed.


Beggars always present themselves as possessing nothing, and this may be very good for them because in this way they are assured of not losing their money and of always drawing the attention and compassion of others for the sake of collection. But this is also condemned. If one purposely continues this professional begging, he is supposed to be dead while breathing, or, according to another interpretation, such a man of falsity should be killed while still breathing. The Vedic injunction in this regard is as follows: athaitat pūrṇam abhyātmaṁ yan neti sa yat sarvaṁ neti brūyāt pāpikāsya kīrtir jāyate. sainaṁ tatraiva hanyāt. If one continuously poses himself as possessing nothing and collects money by begging, he should be killed (sainaṁ tatraiva hanyāt).

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