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ŚB 4.22.11


व्यालालयद्रुमा वै तेष्वरिक्ताखिलसम्पद: ।
यद्गृहास्तीर्थपादीयपादतीर्थविवर्जिता: ॥ ११ ॥


vyālālaya-drumā vai teṣv
yad-gṛhās tīrtha-pādīya-


vyāla — venomous serpents; ālaya — home; drumāḥ — tree; vai — certainly; teṣu — in those houses; arikta — abundantly; akhila — all; sampadaḥ — opulences; yat — that; gṛhāḥ — houses; tīrtha-pādīya — in relation with the feet of great saintly persons; pāda-tīrtha — the water which washed their feet; vivarjitāḥ — without.


On the contrary, even though full of all opulence and material prosperity, any householder’s house where the devotees of the Lord are never allowed to come in, and where there is no water for washing their feet, is to be considered a tree in which all venomous serpents live.


In this verse the word tīrtha-pādīya indicates devotees of Lord Viṣṇu, or Vaiṣṇavas. As far as brāhmaṇas are concerned, in the previous verse the mode of reception has been already described. Now, in this verse, special stress is being given to the Vaiṣṇavas. Generally the sannyāsīs, or those in the renounced order of life, take trouble to enlighten the householders. There are ekadaṇḍī sannyāsīs and tridaṇḍī sannyāsīs. The ekadaṇḍī sannyāsīs are generally followers of Śaṅkarācārya and are known as Māyāvādī sannyāsīs, whereas the tridaṇḍī sannyāsīs are followers of Vaiṣṇava ācāryas — Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya and so on — and they take trouble to enlighten the householders. Ekadaṇḍī sannyāsīs can be situated on the platform of pure Brahman because they are aware that the spirit soul is different from the body, but they are mainly impersonalists. The Vaiṣṇavas know that the Absolute Truth is the Supreme Person and that the Brahman effulgence is based on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā (14.27): brahmaṇo hi pratiṣṭhāham. The conclusion is that tīrtha-pādīya refers to Vaiṣṇavas. In the Bhāgavatam (1.13.10) there is also another reference: tīrthī-kurvanti tīrthāni. Wherever he goes, a Vaiṣṇava immediately makes that place a tīrtha, a place of pilgrimage. The Vaiṣṇava sannyāsīs travel all over the world to make every place a place of pilgrimage by the touch of their lotus feet. It is mentioned here that any house which does not receive a Vaiṣṇava in the manner already explained in the previous verse is to be considered the residential quarters of venomous serpents. It is said that around the sandalwood tree, which is a very valuable tree, there is a venomous serpent. Sandalwood is very cold, and venomous serpents, because of their poisonous teeth, are always very warm, and they take shelter of the sandalwood trees to become cooler. Similarly, there are many rich men who keep watchdogs or doormen and put up signs that say “Do not enter,” “Trespassers not allowed,” “Beware of the dog,” etc. Sometimes in Western countries a trespasser is shot, and there is no crime in such shooting. This is the position of demoniac householders, and such houses are considered to be the residential quarters of venomous snakes. The members of such families are no better than snakes because snakes are very much envious, and when that envy is directed to the saintly persons, their position becomes more dangerous. It is said by Cāṇakya Paṇḍita that there are two envious living entities — the snake and the envious man. The envious man is more dangerous than a snake because a snake can be subdued by charming mantras or by some herbs, but an envious person cannot be pacified by any means.