गोप्ता वृष: स्वर्हणेन ससूनृतेन ।
तर्ह्येव नङ्क्ष्यति शिवस्तव देव पन्था
लोकोऽग्रहीष्यदृषभस्य हितत्प्रमाणम् ॥ २३ ॥
goptā vṛṣaḥ svarhaṇena sa-sūnṛtena
tarhy eva naṅkṣyati śivas tava deva panthā
loko ’grahīṣyad ṛṣabhasya hi tat pramāṇam
na — not; tvam — You; dvija — of the twice-born; uttama-kulam — the highest class; yadi — if; ha — indeed; ātma-gopam — worthy to be protected by You; goptā — the protector; vṛṣaḥ — the best; su-arhaṇena — by worship; sa-sūnṛtena — along with mild words; tarhi — then; eva — certainly; naṅkṣyati — will be lost; śivaḥ — auspicious; tava — Your; deva — O Lord; panthāḥ — the path; lokaḥ — the people in general; agrahīṣyat — would accept; ṛṣabhasya — of the best; hi — because; tat — that; pramāṇam — authority.
O Lord, You are the protector of the highest of the twice-born. If You do not protect them by offering worship and mild words, then certainly the auspicious path of worship will be rejected by people in general, who act on the strength and authority of Your Lordship.
In Bhagavad-gītā it is stated by the Lord Himself that the acts and character of great authorities are followed by people in general. Leaders of ideal character are therefore needed in society. Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appeared in this material world just to show the example of perfect authority, and people have to follow His path. The Vedic injunction is that one cannot understand the Absolute Truth simply by mental speculation or logical argument. One has to follow the authorities. Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ. Great authorities should be followed; otherwise, if we simply depend on the scriptures, we are sometimes misled by rascals, or else we cannot understand or follow the different spiritual injunctions. The best path is to follow the authorities. The four brāhmaṇa sages stated that Kṛṣṇa is naturally the protector of the cows and brāhmaṇas: go-brāhmaṇa-hitāya ca. When Kṛṣṇa was on this planet, He set a practical example. He was a cowherd boy, and He was very respectful to the brāhmaṇas and devotees.
It is also affirmed herein that the brāhmaṇas are the best of the twice-born. Brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas and vaiśyas are all twice-born, but the brāhmaṇas are the best. When there is a fight between two persons, each of them protects the upper part of his body — the head, the arms and the belly. Similarly, for the actual advancement of human civilization, the best part of the social body, namely the brāhmaṇas, the kṣatriyas and vaiśyas (the intelligent class of men, the military class and the mercantile men) should be given special protection. Protection of the laborers should not be neglected, but special protection should be given to the upper orders. Of all classes of men, the brāhmaṇas and the Vaiṣṇavas should be given special protection. They should be worshiped. When their protection is performed, it is just like worshiping God. That is not exactly protection; it is a duty. One should worship the brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas by offering them all kinds of endowments and sweet words, and if one has no means to offer anything, he must at least use sweet words to pacify them. The Lord personally exhibited this behavior towards the Kumāras.
If this system is not introduced by the leaders, then human civilization will be lost. When there is no protection and special treatment for persons who are devotees of the Lord, who are highly intelligent in spiritual life, then the whole society is lost. The word naṅkṣyati indicates that such a civilization becomes spoiled and is annihilated. The kind of civilization recommended is called deva-patha, which means the “royal road of the demigods.” Demigods are supposed to be fully fixed in devotional service, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness; that is the auspicious path that should be protected. If the authorities or the leaders of society do not give special respect to the brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas and do not offer them not only sweet words but all facilities, then the path of progress will be lost to human civilization. The Lord personally wanted to teach this, and therefore He offered so much praise to the Kumāras.