(HH Kadamba Kanana Swami, Soho St Temple, London, England, 14th February 2012) Lecture: SB 10.23.8
No matter how much pleasure we experience from so many activities in this world, there cannot be fulfilment. Tried everything, and still not satisfied…still hungry! Heard it all, seen it all, done it all and still not satisfied – this kind of city life. So we can see that the top most practise is to satisfy Krishna!
But what about these brahmanas sacrificing animals? Well, let’s make it very clear that brahmanas who were doing that, were meant to revive the animal, by the dint of their power of chanting the mantra. In these kinds of sacrifices (which were sacrifices aimed in attaining the heavenly planets) then the animal could be sacrificed, and the brahmanas by chanting the mantra would bring that animal back to life, and it would either: get rejuvenated, or sometimes get the human form of life!
There is a purāṇic history referring to a lady who was a wife of a brahmana, who was expecting, and at that time it is said that, when the ladies are expecting and they get a particular craving for something, then they have to eat that particular thing. The Vedic literature says:
‘If one doesn’t give into that craving then one will have a child that will always drool.’
So, okay, they must give into these cravings. So during this sacrifice, there was a sacrifice of a cow (even cows were being sacrificed!) and when she smelt the flesh, she got that craving, and stole a small piece, and walked away with it. She was about to eat it, when the brahmana who was chanting the mantra had suddenly revived that cow. To his surprise, there was a piece missing, and meanwhile she noticed that, that piece in her hand was coming to life. So she threw it on the earth, and that became, onions, garlic, mushrooms and carrots! Ever since I heard that story I didn’t like carrots anymore. Anyway Prabhupada ate them, so I still eat them, but they don’t taste the same.
So these purāṇic histories are interesting. It is said:
kalau pañca vivarjayet’ (SB.5.7.5)
So in this age of kali, five activities are forbidden, and they are: The ‘aśvamedhaṁ’ – the horse sacrifice; ‘gavālambhaṁ’ – the cow sacrifice. Also there was a practise in the Vedic culture that if a man was not fertile (somehow or other by not producing a child in his marriage) then his brother could impregnate the wife, on his behalf – that in the kali-yuga is also forbidden. ‘Pala-paitṛkam’ – the offering of oblations of flesh to the forefathers, and finally sannyāsa is also forbidden in the age of kali.
Of course, we have Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu who took, sannyāsa and He also had sannyāsi followers. And we have Srila Prahbupada who was a sannyāsi and wrote in the 3rd canto of the Srimad Bhagvatam – ‘The narration of Kardama Muni.’ As Kardama Muni, and who was about to renounce and take sannyāsa, Srila Prabhupada was explaining that:
‘Yes sannyāsa can be taken but only by those who are serving Krishna, since only by those who are getting fulfilment. Not by those who take impersonalist sannyas, because the impersonalists basically say, ‘ This world is an illusion,’ but at the same time his mind says, ’But it looks really good.’
It’s a very beautiful illusion. An illusion with blue eyes and with little golden stars. So that is the difficulty – the illusion that looks very good, and therefore the impersonalist sannyāsa or a renunciants are always in danger…. very much in danger!