śrī-śuka uvāca
dharma-vyatikramo dṛṣṭa
īśvarāṇāṁ ca sāhasam
tejīyasāṁ na doṣāya
vahneḥ sarva-bhujo yathā

24 times this text was mentioned in purports to other texts: CC(1) , LBG(5) , LISO(1) , LSB(9) , SB(1) , TLKS(7)

 śrī-śukaḥ uvāca - Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; dharma-vyatikramaḥ - the transgression of religious or moral principles; dṛṣṭaḥ - seen; īśvarāṇām - of powerful controllers; ca - even; sāhasam - due to audacity; tejīyasām - who are spiritually potent; na - does not; doṣāya - (lead) to any fault; vahneḥ - of fire; sarva - everything; bhujaḥ - devouring; yathā - as.


Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: The status of powerful controllers is not harmed by any apparently audacious transgression of morality we may see in them, for they are just like fire, which devours everything fed into it and remains unpolluted.


Great, potent personalities are not ruined by an apparent transgression of moral principles. Śrīdhara Svāmī mentions the examples of Brahmā, Indra, Soma, Viśvāmitra and others. A fire devours all that is fed into it but the fire does not change its nature. Similarly, a great personality does not fall from his position by an irregularity in behavior. In the following verse, however, Śukadeva Gosvāmī makes it clear that if we try to imitate the great personalities ruling the universe, the result will be catastrophic.