Letters of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda
16 July, 1974
Teton Village, Wyoming
Dear Sriman Alfred Ford:
So far as your questions are concerned, in India a sannyasi or a person in the renounced order of life is always honored. Even in this fallen down condition of India, a sannyasi is honored everywhere, and he has no problem for his living condition. So you are correct that a person in the renounced order of life is honored. Unfortunately some unscrupulous men take advantage of this renounced order dress and being filled up with all material desires they commit so many wrongful things, and the people in general take note of it and gradually the honor for the sannyasi is dwindling. Exactly like a person having received some counterfeit money is always afraid of being cheated, but this does not mean there is no good money. So unscrupulous men on account of this age of Kali yuga are taking advantage of sannyasi dress and are exploiting the people. So there is very awkward, and even a genuine sannyasi is sometimes in trouble. In the sastras therefore it is stated that unless one is perfectly detached from material things he should not be allowed to accept sannyasa order.
I am very glad that you are so much inquisitive about the sense of the sastras. Yes, Krishna always gives shelter to the surrendered soul. Krishna never allows a brahmana to be killed. In the Bhagavad-gita it is stated as follows:
kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati [Bg. 9.31]
“My dear son of Kunti, be assured and declare it to the whole world that My devotee is never vanquished.”
Krishna is also worshiped as namo brahmanyaya devaya. His first business is to give protection to the cows and the brahmanas.
Now this question may be raised why are so many cows being killed in the slaughterhouse. The answer is that those who are killing cows, according to the decision of karma kanda, these killers of cows will in the next life be cows, and the cows who are killed will become men and kill the killers. The word flesh is called mansa which means the animal in future will kill me and eat. This is called karma bandhanam, bound up by the laws of karma.
If you kill some living being, he will kill you in the next life. According to Manu samhita, the Vedic lawbook, a murderer is hanged and thereby released from sinful activities so that in the next life he may not be killed. Life for life sentence is given to end the result of sinful activities in this life instead of waiting for the next life.
Unfortunately people at the present moment do not know what is the next life, what is this life, what is karma, how one becomes entangled, how one becomes free. The modern education is void of all this enlightenment. They are kept in darkness without any knowledge of the values of life. Our Krishna consciousness movement is a great boon to the human society. We are trying to save the human society from all kinds of suffering, past, present, and future.
If you read all our books, Bhagavad- gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, and others, you will get all the answers to your questions. Still I shall be very glad to answer besides that.
By the way I beg to invite you to our opening ceremony of our newly constructed temple of Krishna Balarama at Vrindaban beginning from August 8-15. I think we have exchanged some correspondence but I have never seen you. It will be a great pleasure to see you at your convenience.
I hope this meets you in good health.
Your ever well wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami