There is a Muslim speaker from Indian origin, who is quite well known and attracts very large crowds. His name is Zakir Naik. Some of you may have heard of Zakir Naik and some of you may have not. He also has a PHD and he sometimes speaks on Hinduism. So he is a Muslim and in front of hundred thousands of Muslims he speaks about Hinduism! He begins to recite from Hindu scriptures. He says:
‘In the Manu Samhita…’
And he gives verse numbers, and a whole bunch of numbers.
‘It is said that eating of meat is totally authorised.’
Is this totally authorised? And he gives all the verse numbers! Well if I give a seminar on the Manu Samhita, then you can indeed see that Zakir Naik is not wrong, he is right! There are many rituals in there for taking flesh and even the Brahmanas can take it.
What’s going on? Are we being cheated in this place? All of this time you thought you had to be a vegetarian, and so much trouble that was given to the family, with so much difficulty. You can’t go anywhere and you cannot eat anything. Even at work, what will you have for lunch? Just give me some salad. And now it comes out by the mercy of Zakir Naik, since he is reciting the Vedic literature and now we hear that it’s actually all right to eat meat!
So here we are now in a predicament. Oh, no what do? So what are we going to do? So this is a complication. So what about this? Yes, it is possible to eat meat (the flesh of animals) in a Vedic ritualistic way but this is a lower path in the Vedas. Therefore, you cannot just go and look for some verse. We can explain to Zakir Naik:
‘Yes, yes these verses were there but the Manu Samhita is only the dharma sashtras, which is basically giving you directions with proper material life and mostly you deal with karma-kanda (improving the material conditions of life) which are temporary, and therefore in itself of a lower nature. The higher part of Vedas is speaking about the eternal, and so we are speaking about that, and we have plenty of verses where the eating of flesh is forbidden.’
‘dyūtaṁ pānaṁ striyaḥ sūnā
yatrādharmaś catur-vidhaḥ,’ (SB1.17.38).
‘Yes these four are the cause of adharma, ‘pānaṁ dyūtaṁ striyaḥ sūnā’ – intoxication, gambling meat eating and illicit sex. So these things are definitely there. So we see that the vaisnavas function on higher standards!’