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A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
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© 2004 - Hansadutta das
| [Posted April 18, 2007]
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Killing Doesn't Stop
Cows and Karma A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Mam sa khadatiti mamsah. The Sanskrit word is mamsa. Mam means "me," and sa means "he." I am killing this animal; I am eating him. And in my next lifetime he'll kill me and eat me. When the animal is sacrificed, this mantra is recited into the ear of the animal— "You are giving your life, so in your next life you will get the opportunity of becoming a human being. And I who am now killing you will become an animal, and you will kill me." So after understanding this mantra, who will be ready to kill an animal? more
The great saint Narada said: O ruler of the citizens, my dear King, please see in the sky those animals which you have sacrificed without compassion and without mercy in the sacrificial arena.
Because animal sacrifice is recommended in the Vedas, there are animal sacrifices in almost all religious rituals. However, one should not be satisfied simply by killing animals according to the directions of the scriptures. One should transcend the ritualistic ceremonies and try to understand the actual truth, the purpose of life. Narada Muni wanted to instruct the King about the real purpose of life and invoke a spirit of renunciation in his heart. Knowledge and the spirit of renunciation (jñana-vairagya) are the ultimate goal of life. Without knowledge, one cannot become detached from material enjoyment, and without being detached from material enjoyment, one cannot make spiritual advancement. Karmis are generally engaged in sense gratification, and for this end they are prepared to commit so many sinful activities. Animal sacrifice is but one such sinful activity. Consequently, by his mystic power Narada Muni showed King Prachinabarhishat the dead animals which he had sacrificed.
All these animals are awaiting your death so that they can avenge the injuries you have inflicted upon them. After you die, they will angrily pierce your body with iron horns.
Narada Muni wanted to draw King Prachinabarhishat's attention to the excesses of killing animals in sacrifices. It is said in the shastras that by killing animals in a sacrifice, one immediately promotes them to human birth. Similarly, by killing their enemies on a battlefield, the kshatriyas who fight for a right cause are elevated to the heavenly planets after death. In Manu-samhita it is stated that it is necessary for a king to execute a murderer so that the murderer will not suffer for his criminal actions in his next life. On the basis of such understanding, Narada Muni warns the King that the animals killed in sacrifices by the King await him at his death in order to avenge themselves. Narada Muni is not contradicting himself here. Narada Muni wanted to convince the King that overindulgence in animal sacrifice is risky because as soon as there is a small discrepancy in the execution of such a sacrifice, the slaughtered animal may not be promoted to a human form of life. Consequently, the person performing sacrifice will be responsible for the death of the animal, just as much as a murderer is responsible for killing another man. When animals are killed in a slaughterhouse, six people connected with the killing are responsible for the murder. The person who gives permission for the killing, the person who kills, the person who helps, the person who purchases the meat, the person who cooks the flesh and the person who eats it, all become entangled in the killing. Narada Muni wanted to draw the King's attention to this fact. Thus animal-killing is not encouraged even in a sacrifice.