सरीसृपास्तेषु सबोधनिष्ठा: ।
ततो मनुष्या: प्रमथास्ततोऽपि
गन्धर्वसिद्धा विबुधानुगा ये ॥ २१ ॥
दक्षादयो ब्रह्मसुतास्तु तेषाम् ।
भव: पर: सोऽथ विरिञ्चवीर्य:
स मत्परोऽहं द्विजदेवदेव: ॥ २२ ॥
sarīsṛpās teṣu sabodha-niṣṭhāḥ
tato manuṣyāḥ pramathās tato ’pi
gandharva-siddhā vibudhānugā ye
dakṣādayo brahma-sutās tu teṣām
bhavaḥ paraḥ so ’tha viriñca-vīryaḥ
sa mat-paro ’haṁ dvija-deva-devaḥ
bhūteṣu — among things generated (with and without symptoms of life); vīrudbhyaḥ — than the plants; uduttamāḥ — far superior; ye — those who; sarīsṛpāḥ — moving entities like worms and snakes; teṣu — of them; sa-bodha-niṣṭhāḥ — those who have developed intelligence; tataḥ — than them; manuṣyāḥ — the human beings; pramathāḥ — the ghostly spirits; tataḥ api — better than them; gandharva — the inhabitants of Gandharvaloka (appointed singers in the planets of the demigods); siddhāḥ — the inhabitants of Siddhaloka, who have all mystic powers; vibudha-anugāḥ — the Kinnaras; ye — those who; deva — the demigods; asurebhyaḥ — than the asuras; maghavat-pradhānāḥ — headed by Indra; dakṣa-ādayaḥ — beginning with Dakṣa; brahma-sutāḥ — the direct sons of Brahmā; tu — then; teṣām — of them; bhavaḥ — Lord Śiva; paraḥ — the best; saḥ — he (Lord Śiva); atha — moreover; viriñca-vīryaḥ — producing from Lord Brahmā; saḥ — he (Brahmā); mat-paraḥ — My devotee; aham — I; dvija-deva-devaḥ — a worshiper of the brāhmaṇas, or the Lord of the brāhmaṇas.
Of the two energies manifest [spirit and dull matter], beings possessing living force [vegetables, grass, trees and plants] are superior to dull matter [stone, earth, etc.]. Superior to nonmoving plants and vegetables are worms and snakes, which can move. Superior to worms and snakes are animals that have developed intelligence. Superior to animals are human beings, and superior to human beings are ghosts because they have no material bodies. Superior to ghosts are the Gandharvas, and superior to them are the Siddhas. Superior to the Siddhas are the Kinnaras, and superior to them are the asuras. Superior to the asuras are the demigods, and of the demigods, Indra, the King of heaven, is supreme. Superior to Indra are the direct sons of Lord Brahmā, sons like King Dakṣa, and supreme among Brahmā’s sons is Lord Śiva. Since Lord Śiva is the son of Lord Brahmā, Brahmā is considered superior, but Brahmā is also subordinate to Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Because I am inclined to the brāhmaṇas, the brāhmaṇas are best of all.
In this verse the brāhmaṇas are given a position superior to that of the Supreme Lord. The idea is that the government should be conducted under the guidance of the brāhmaṇas. Although Ṛṣabhadeva recommended His eldest son, Bharata, as emperor of the earth, he still had to follow the instructions of the brāhmaṇas in order to govern the world perfectly. The Lord is worshiped as brahmaṇya-deva. The Lord is very fond of devotees, or brāhmaṇas. This does not refer to so-called caste brāhmaṇas, but to qualified brāhmaṇas. A brāhmaṇa should be qualified with the eight qualities mentioned in text 24, such as śama, dama, satya and titikṣā. The brāhmaṇas should always be worshiped, and under their guidance the ruler should discharge his duty and rule the citizens. Unfortunately, in this Age of Kali, the executive is not selected by very intelligent people, nor is he guided by qualified brāhmaṇas. Consequently, chaos results. The mass of people should be educated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness so that according to the democratic process they can select a first-class devotee like Bharata Mahārāja to head the government. If the head of the state is headed by qualified brāhmaṇas, everything is completely perfect.
In this verse, the evolutionary process is indirectly mentioned. The modern theory that life evolves from matter is to some extent supported in this verse because it is stated, bhūteṣu vīrudbhyaḥ. That is, the living entities evolve from vegetables, grass, plants and trees, which are superior to dull matter. In other words, matter also has the potency to manifest living entities in the form of vegetables. In this sense, life comes out of matter, but matter also comes out of life. As Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (10.8), ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate: “I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me.”
There are two energies — material and spiritual — and both originally come from Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is the supreme living being. Although it may be said that in the material world a living force is generated from matter, it must be admitted that originally matter is generated from the supreme living being. Nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13). The conclusion is that everything, both material and spiritual, is generated from the Supreme Being. From the evolutionary point of view, perfection is reached when the living entity attains the platform of a brāhmaṇa. A brāhmaṇa is a worshiper of the Supreme Brahman, and the Supreme Brahman worships the brāhmaṇa. In other words, the devotee is subordinate to the Supreme Lord, and the Lord is inclined to see to the satisfaction of His devotee. A brāhmaṇa is called dvija-deva, and the Lord is called dvija-deva-deva. He is the Lord of brāhmaṇas.
The evolutionary process is also explained in Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya, Chapter Nineteen), wherein it is said that there are two types of living entities — moving and nonmoving. Among moving entities, there are birds, beasts, aquatics, human beings and so on. Of these, the human beings are supposed to be the best, but they are few. Of these small numbers of human beings, there are many low-class human beings like mlecchas, Pulindas, bauddhas and śabaras. The human being elevated enough to accept the Vedic principles is superior. Among those who accept the Vedic principles generally known as varṇāśrama (presently known as the Hindu system), few actually follow these principles. Of those who actually follow the Vedic principles, most perform fruitive activity or pious activity for elevation to a high position. Manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu kaścid yatati siddhaye: out of many attached to fruitive activity, one may be a jñānī — that is, one philosophically inclined and superior to the karmīs. Yatatām api siddhānāṁ kaścin māṁ vetti tattvataḥ: out of many jñānīs, one may be liberated from material bondage, and out of many millions of liberated jñānīs, one may become a devotee of Kṛṣṇa.