Canto 6: Prescribed Duties for MankindChapter 11: The Transcendental Qualities of Vṛtrāsura

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 6.11.4

kiḿ va uccaritair mātur

dhāvadbhiḥ pṛṣṭhato hataiḥ

na hi bhīta-vadhaḥ ślāghyo

na svargyaḥ śūra-māninām


kim — what is the benefit; vaḥ — for you; uccaritaiḥ — with those like the stool; mātuḥ — of the mother; dhāvadbhiḥ — running away; pṛṣṭhataḥ — from the back; hataiḥ — killed; na — not; hi — certainly; bhīta-vadhaḥ — the killing of a person who is afraid; ślāghyaḥ — glorious; na — nor; svargyaḥ — leading to the heavenly planets; śūra-māninām — of persons who consider themselves heroes.


O demigods, these demoniac soldiers have taken birth uselessly. Indeed, they have come from the bodies of their mothers exactly like stool. What is the benefit of killing such enemies from behind while they are running in fear? One who considers himself a hero should not kill an enemy who is afraid of losing his life. Such killing is never glorious, nor can it promote one to the heavenly planets.


Vṛtrāsura rebuked both the demigods and the demoniac soldiers because the demons were running in fear of their lives and the demigods were killing them from behind. The actions of both were abominable. When a fight takes place, the opposing parties must be prepared to fight like heroes. A hero never runs from the field of battle. He always fights face to face, determined to gain victory or lay down his life in the fight. That is heroic. Killing an enemy from behind is also inglorious. When an enemy turns his back and runs in fear of his life, he should not be killed. This is the etiquette of military science.

Vṛtrāsura insulted the demoniac soldiers by comparing them to the stool of their mothers. Both stool and a cowardly son come from the abdomen of the mother, and Vṛtrāsura said that there is no difference between them. A similar comparison was given by Tulasī dāsa, who commented that a son and urine both come from the same channel. In other words, semen and urine both come from the genitals, but semen produces a child whereas urine produces nothing. Therefore if a child is neither a hero nor a devotee, he is not a son but urine. Similarly, Cāṇakya Paṇḍita also says:

ko 'rthaḥ putreṇa jātena

yo na vidvān na dhārmikaḥ

kāṇena cakṣuṣā kiḿ vā

cakṣuḥ pīḍaiva kevalam

"What is the use of a son who is neither glorious nor devoted to the Lord? Such a son is like a blind eye, which simply gives pain but cannot help one see."

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness