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Thou Shalt Not Kill













 

 

At a monastic retreat near Paris, in July of 1973, Srila Prabhupada talked with Cardinal Jean Danielou: “… the Bible does not simply say, ‘Do not kill the human being.’ It says broadly, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’… why do you interpret this to suit your own convenience?”

Srila Prabhupada: Jesus Christ said, “Thou shalt not kill.” So why is it that the Christian people are engaged in animal killing?

Cardinal Danielou: Certainly in Christianity it is forbidden to kill, but we believe that there is a difference between the life of a human being and the life of the beasts. The life of a human being is sacred because man is made in the image of God; therefore, to kill a human being is forbidden.

Srila Prabhupada: But the Bible does not simply say, “Do not kill the human being.” It says broadly, “Thou shalt not kill.”

Cardinal Danielou: We believe that only human life is sacred.

Srila Prabhupada: That is your interpretation. The commandment is “Thou shalt not kill.”

Cardinal Danielou: It is necessary for man to kill animals in order to have food to eat.

Srila Prabhupada: No. Man can eat grains, vegetables, fruits, and milk.

Cardinal Danielou: No flesh?

Srila Prabhupada: No. Human beings are meant to eat vegetarian food. The tiger does not come to eat your fruits. His prescribed food is animal flesh. But man’s food is vegetables, fruits, grains, and milk products. So how can you say that animal killing is not a sin?

Cardinal Danielou: We believe it is a question of motivation. If the killing of an animal is for giving food to the hungry, then it is justified.

Srila Prabhupada: But consider the cow: we drink her milk; therefore, she is our mother. Do you agree?

Cardinal Danielou: Yes, surely.

Srila Prabhupada: So if the cow is your mother, how can you support killing her? You take the milk from her, and when she’s old and cannot give you milk, you cut her throat. Is that a very humane proposal? In India those who are meat-eaters are advised to kill some lower animals like goats, pigs, or even buffalo. But cow killing is the greatest sin. In preaching Krishna consciousness we ask people not to eat any kind of meat, and my disciples strictly follow this principle. But if, under certain circumstances, others are obliged to eat meat, then they should eat the flesh of some lower animal. Don’t kill cows. It is the greatest sin. And as long as a man is sinful, he cannot understand God. The human being’s main business is to understand God and to love Him. But if you remain sinful, you will never be able to understand God—what to speak of loving Him.

Cardinal Danielou: I think that perhaps this is not an essential point. The important thing is to love God. The practical commandments can vary from one religion to the next.

Srila Prabhupada: So, in the Bible God’s practical commandment is that you cannot kill; therefore killing cows is a sin for you.

Cardinal Danielou: God says to the Indians that killing is not good, and he says to the Jews that…

Srila Prabhupada: No, no. Jesus Christ taught, “Thou shalt not kill.” Why do you interpret this to suit your own convenience?

Cardinal Danielou: But Jesus allowed the sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb.

Srila Prabhupada: But he never maintained a slaughterhouse.

Cardinal Danielou: [Laughs.] No, but he did eat meat.

Srila Prabhupada: When there is no other food, someone may eat meat in order to keep from starving. That is another thing. But it is most sinful to regularly maintain slaughterhouses just to satisfy your tongue. Actually, you will not even have a human society until this cruel practice of maintaining slaughterhouses is stopped. And although animal killing may sometimes be necessary for survival, at least the mother animal, the cow, should not be killed. That is simply human decency. In the Krishna consciousness movement our practice is that we don’t allow the killing of any animals. Krishna says, patram puspam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati: “Vegetables, fruits, milk, and grains should be offered to Me in devotion.” (Bhagavad-gita 9.26) We take only the remnants of Krishna’s food (prasadam). The trees offer us many varieties of fruits, but the trees are not killed. Of course, one living entity is food for another living entity, but that does not mean you can kill your mother for food. Cows are innocent; they give us milk. You take their milk—and then kill them in the slaughterhouse. This is sinful.

Student: Srila Prabhupada, Christianity’s sanction of meat-eating is based on the view that lower species of life do not have a soul like the human being’s.

Srila Prabhupada: That is foolishness. First of all, we have to understand the evidence of the soul’s presence within the body. Then we can see whether the human being has a soul and the cow does not. What are the different characteristics of the cow and the man? If we find a difference in characteristics, then we can say that in the animal there is no soul. But if we see that the animal and the human being have the same characteristics, then how can you say that the animal has no soul? The general symptoms are that the animal eats, you eat; the animal sleeps, you sleep; the animal mates, you mate; the animal defends, and you defend. Where is the difference?

Cardinal Danielou: We admit that in the animal there may be the same type of biological existence as in men, but there is no soul. We believe that the soul is a human soul.

Srila Prabhupada: Our Bhagavad-gita says sarva-yonisu, “In all species of life the soul exists.” The body is like a suit of clothes. You have black clothes; I am dressed in saffron clothes. But within the dress you are a human being, and I am also a human being. Similarly, the bodies of the different species are just like different types of dress. There are soul, a part and parcel of God. Suppose a man has two sons, not equally meritorious. One may be a Supreme Court judge and the other may be a common laborer, but the father claims both as his sons. He does not make the distinction that the son who is a judge is very important and the worker-son is not important. And if the judge-son says, “My dear father, your other son is useless; let me cut him up and eat him,” will the father allow this?

Cardinal Danielou: Certainly not, but the idea that all life is part of the life of God is difficult for us to admit. There is a great difference between human life and animal life.

Srila Prabhupada: That difference is due to the development of consciousness. In the human body there is developed consciousness. Even a tree has a soul, but a tree’s consciousness is not very developed. If you cut a tree it does not resist. Actually, it does resist, but only to a very small degree. There is a scientist named Jagadish Chandra Bose who has made a machine which shows that trees and plants are able to feel pain when they are cut. And we can see directly that when someone comes to kill an animal, it resists, it cries, it makes a horrible sound. So it is a matter of the development of consciousness. But the soul is there within all living beings.

Cardinal Danielou: But metaphysically, the life of man is sacred. Human beings think on a higher platform than the animals do.

Srila Prabhupada: What is that higher platform? The animal eats to maintain his body, and you also eat in order to maintain your body. The cow eats grass in the field, and the human being eats meat from a huge slaughterhouse full of modern machines. But just because you have big machines and a ghastly scene, while the animal simply eats grass, this does not mean that you are so advanced that only within your body is there a soul and that there is not a soul within the body of the animal. That is illogical. We can see that the basic characteristics are the same in the animal and the human being.

Cardinal Danielou: But only in human beings do we find a metaphysical search for the meaning of life.

Srila Prabhupada: Yes. So metaphysically search out why you believe that there is no soul within the animal—that is metaphysics. If you are thinking metaphysically, that’s all right. But if you are thinking like an animal, then what is the use of your metaphysical study? Metaphysical means “above the physical” or, in other words, “spiritual.” In the Bhagavad-gita Krishna says, sarva-yonisu kaunteya: [Bg. 14.4] “In every living being there is a spirit soul.” That is metaphysical understanding. Now either you accept Krishna’s teachings as metaphysical, or you’ll have to take a third-class fool’s opinion as metaphysical. Which do you accept?

Cardinal Danielou: But why does God create some animals who eat other animals? There is a fault in the creation, it seems.

Srila Prabhupada: It is not a fault. God is very kind. If you want to eat animals, then He’ll give you full facility. God will give you the body of a tiger in your next life so that you can eat flesh very freely. “Why are you maintaining slaughterhouses? I’ll give you fangs and claws. Now eat.” So the meat-eaters are awaiting such punishment. The animal-eaters become tigers, wolves, cats, and dogs in their next life—to get more facility.













Organized Religion













Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur

BHAKTISIDDHANTA SARASVATI THAKUR, written in 1932 – Sri Krishna manifests His eternal birth, the pure cognitive essence of the serving soul, who is located above all mundane limitations. King Kamsa is the typical aggressive empiricist, ever on the lookout for the appearance of the Truth for the purpose of suppressing Him before He has time to develop. This is no exaggeration of the real connotation of the consistent empiric position. The materialist has a natural repugnance for the transcendent. He is disposed to link that faith in the incomprehensible in the parent of dogmatism and hypocrisy in the guise of religion. He is also equally under the delusion that there is no real dividing line between the material and the spiritual. He is strengthened in his delusion by the interpretation of scriptures by persons who are like-minded with himself. This includes all the lexicographic interpreters.

The lexicographical interpretation is upheld by Kamsa as the real scientific explanation of the scriptures, and is perfectly in keeping with his dread of–and aversion for–the transcendental. These lexicographical interpreters are employed by Kamsa in putting down the first suspected

appearance of any genuine faith in the transcendental. King Kamsa knows very well that if the faith in the transcendental is once allowed to grow it is sure to upset all his empiric prospects.

There is historical ground for such misgivings. Accordingly, if the empiric domination is to be preserved in tact, it would be necessary not to lose a moment to put down the transcendental heresy the instant it threatens to make its appearance in earnest. King Kamsa, acting on this traditional fear, is never slow to take the scientific precaution of deputing empiric teachers of the scriptures–backed by the resources of dictionary and grammar and all empiric subtleties–to put down, by the show of specious arguments based on hypothetical principles, the true interpretation of the eternal religion revealed by the scriptures.

Kamsa is strongly persuaded that faith in the transcendental can be effectively put down by empiricism if prompt and decisive measures are adopted at the very outset. He attributes the failure of atheism in the past to the neglect of the adoption of such measures before the theistic fallacy has had time to spread among the fanatical masses.

But Kamsa is found to count without his host. When Krishna is born He is found to be able to upset all sinister designs against those who are apprised by Himself of His advent. The apparently causeless faith displayed by persons–irrespective of age, sex, and condition–may confound all rabid empiricists who are, on principle, adverse to the Absolute Truth, Whose appearance is utterly incompatible with the domination of empiricism.

But no adverse efforts of the empiricists–whose rule seems, till then, to be perfectly well-established over the minds of the deluded souls of this world–can dissuade any person from exclusively in following the Truth when He actually manifests His birth in the pure cognitive essence of the soul.

Putana is the slayer of all infants. The baby, when he or she comes out of the mother’s womb, falls at once into the hands of the pseudo-teachers of religion. These teachers are successful in forestalling the attempts of the Good Preceptor, whose help is never sought by the atheists of this world at the baptisms of their babies. This is ensured by the arrangements of all established churches of the world. They have been successful only in supplying watchful Putanas for effecting the spiritual destruction of persons, from the moment of their birth, with the cooperation of their worldly parents. No human contrivance can prevent these Putanas from obtaining possession of the pulpits. This is due to the general prevalence of atheistic disposition in the people of this world.

The church that has the best chance of survival in this damned world is that of atheism under the convenient guise of theism. The churches have always proved the staunchest upholders of the grossest form of worldliness, from which even the worst of non-ecclesiastical criminals are found to recoil.

It is not from any deliberate opposition to the ordained clergy that these observations are made. The original purpose of the established churches of the world may not always be objectionable, but no stable religious arrangement for instructing the masses has yet been successful. The Supreme Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, in pursuance of the teachings of the scriptures, enjoins all absence of conventionalism for the teachers of the eternal religion. It does not follow that the mechanical adoption of the unconventional life by any person will make him a fit teacher of religion. Regulation is necessary for controlling the inherent worldliness of conditional souls.

But no mechanical regulation has any value, even for such a purpose. The bona fide teacher of religion is neither any product of, nor the favorer of, any mechanical system. In his hands, no system has likewise, the chance of degenerating into a lifeless arrangement. The mere pursuit of fixed doctrines and fixed liturgies cannot hold a person to the true spirit of doctrine or liturgy.

The idea of an organized church, in an intelligible form, indeed marks the close of the living spiritual movement. The great ecclesiastical establishments are the dikes and the dams to retain the current that cannot be held by any such contrivances. They, indeed, indicate a desire on the part of the masses to exploit a spiritual movement for their own purpose. They also unmistakably indicate the end of the absolute and unconventional guidance of the bona fide spiritual teacher. The people of this world understand preventive systems; they have no idea at all of the unprevented positive eternal life. Neither can there be any earthy contrivance for the permanent preservation of the life eternal on this mundane plane on the popular scale.

Those are, therefore, greatly mistaken who are disposed to look forward to the amelioration of the worldly state–in any worldly sense–from the worldly success of any really spiritual movement. It is these worldly expectants who become the patrons of the mischievous race of the pseudo-teachers of religion, the Putanas, whose congenial function is to stifle the theistic disposition at the very moment of its suspected appearance. But the real theistic disposition can never be stifled by the efforts of those Putanas. The Putanas have power only over the atheist. It is a thankless, but salutary, task which they perform for the benefit of their unwilling victims.

But as soon as theistic disposition proper makes its appearance in the pure cognitive essence of the awakened soul, the Putanas are decisively silenced at the very earliest stage of their encounter with new-born Krishna. The would-be slayer is herself slain. This is the reward of the negative services that the Putanas unwittingly render to the cause of theism by strangling all hypocritical demonstrations against their own hypocrisy.

But Putana does not at all like to receive her reward in only form which involves the total destruction of her wrong personality. King Kamsa also does not like to lose the services of the most trusted of his agents. The effective silencing of the whole race of pseudo-teachers of religion is the first clear indication of the appearance of the Absolute on the mundane plane. The bona fide teacher of the Absolute heralds the Advent of Krishna by his uncompromising campaign against the pseudo-teachers of religion.

 













From Moses to Mahaprabhu













SRILA BHAKTIVINODA THAKUR (1838-1914) – If the reader carefully considers, it will be found that the spiritual science gradually evolved from ancient times and became more simple, more clear and more condensed. The more impurities arising from time and place are removed, the more the beauties of the spiritual science brightly shine before us. This spiritual science took birth in the land of kusha grass on the banks of the Sarasvati river in Brahmavarta. As it gradually gained strength, this spiritual science spent its childhood in the abode of Badarikashram, which is covered with snow. It spent its boyhood in Naimisharanya on the banks of the Gomati river and its youth on the beautiful banks of the Kaveri river in the province of Dravida. The spiritual science gained maturity in Navadvip, on the banks of the Ganges, which purifies the universe.

By studying the history of the world, it is found that the spiritual science reached its peak in Navadvip. The Supreme Absolute Truth is the only object of love for the living entities. Unless one worships Him with attachment, however, the living entity can never attain Him. Even if a person gives up all affection for this world and thinks of the Supreme Lord, He is still not easily achieved. He is controlled and attained by transcendental mellows alone. These mellows are of five types – shanta, dasya, sakya, vatsalya and madhurya.

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Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare  ॐ हरे कृष्णा हरे कृष्णा कृष्णा कृष्णा हरे हरे। हरे रामा हरे रामा रामा रामा हरे हरे॥ ॐ