Srimad-Bhagavatam: Canto 6 - Chapter 1 - Verse 12


तोकानां पितरौ बन्धू द‍ृश: पक्ष्म स्त्रिया: पति: ।पति: प्रजानां भिक्षूणां गृह्यज्ञानां बुध: सुहृत् ॥ १२ ॥


tokānāṁ pitarau bandhūdṛśaḥ pakṣma striyāḥ patiḥpatiḥ prajānāṁ bhikṣūṇāṁgṛhy ajñānāṁ budhaḥ suhṛt


As the father and mother are the friends and maintainers of their children, as the eyelid is the protector of the eye, as the husband is the maintainer and protector of a woman, as the householder is the maintainer and protector of beggars, and as the learned is the friend of the ignorant, so the king is the protector and giver of life to all his subjects. The trees are also subjects of the king. Therefore they should be given protection.


By the supreme will of the Personality of Godhead, there are various protectors and maintainers for helpless living entities. The trees are also considered prajās, subjects of the king, and therefore the duty of the monarch is to protect even the trees, not to speak of others. The king is duty-bound to protect the living entities in his kingdom. Thus although the parents are directly responsible for the protection and maintenance of their children, the duty of the king is to see that all parents do their duty properly. Similarly, the king is also responsible for overseeing the other protectors mentioned in this verse. It may also be noted that the beggars who should be maintained by the householders are not professional beggars, but sannyāsīs and brāhmaṇas, to whom the householders should supply food and clothing.