Without government, the state was devoid of law and order, and consequently there was a great uprising of murderous thieves and rogues, who were plundering the riches of the people in general

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"Without government, the state was devoid of law and order, and consequently there was a great uprising of murderous thieves and rogues, who were plundering the riches of the people in general"

Srimad-Bhagavatam

SB Canto 4

Without government, the state was devoid of law and order, and consequently there was a great uprising of murderous thieves and rogues, who were plundering the riches of the people in general.

Upon seeing the dust storm, the saintly persons could understand that there were a great deal of irregularities due to the death of King Vena. Without government, the state was devoid of law and order, and consequently there was a great uprising of murderous thieves and rogues, who were plundering the riches of the people in general. Although the great sages could subdue the disturbance by their powers—just as they could kill the King—they considered it improper on their part to do so. Thus they did not attempt to stop the disturbance.

The saintly persons and great sages killed King Vena out of emergency, but they did not choose to take part in the government in order to subdue the uprising of thieves and rogues, which took place after the death of King Vena. It is not the duty of brāhmaṇas and saintly persons to kill, although they may sometimes do so in the case of an emergency. They could kill all the thieves and rogues by the prowess of their mantras, but they thought it the duty of kṣatriya kings to do so. Thus they reluctantly did not take part in the killing business.