By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
For a kṣatriya, killing is not sinful. For a brāhmaṇa, sacrificing an animal in the arena, that is not sinful. It is all explained in the Bhagavad-gītā: sa doṣam api na tyajet [Bg. 18.48]. Killing is bad, but a kṣatriya’s business is to kill. Without killing, one cannot become perfect kṣatriya. Because he has to give protection, and there are so many demons, rascals. So if the king becomes nonviolent, how other citizens will be given protection? No.
So the king’s business is that as soon as he sees an undesirable element, immediately he would kill him. That is real protection. Just like when Parīkṣit Mahārāja was going on tour, he saw one black man was trying to kill a cow. Immediately saw, “Who are you? You are trying to kill cow in my kingdom? I shall kill you.” He immediately took out his sword. This is king. Not that animals should not be given protection, only man should be given protection. No. Prajā.
Prajā means one who taken birth in the kingdom. That is called prajā. So animal is also American, man is also American, but there is no protection for the animal by the government. So that kind of government, rascal government, was not there. Equal right. Your country talks of equality. Why not equality to the animals? That is defect. It is due to the absence of Krishna consciousness. A Krishna conscious person will not distinguish like that.
For eating animal, they will philosophize that animal has no soul; therefore it can be killed. No. This is nonsense. Everyone has got soul. Even a small ant has got soul. But they have to kill. They have to eat. They are philosophizing in a different way. Lord Jesus Christ said, “Thou shalt not kill,” and now they are interpreting, “Killing means murdering human being.” But that is not in the Bible. So they are manufacturing their own ways of understanding Bible and ethical principles. Therefore it is becoming valueless.
One cannot change the words of the authority. If you believe in Lord Jesus Christ, you cannot make any change to your convenience. This is rascaldom. You cannot be a Christian if you violate the orders of Lord Jesus Christ. But they are doing so…
If kṣatriya becomes nonviolent… Just like our Mahatma Gandhi started nonviolence in politics. So that was a political policy, but in politics there is no question of nonviolence. That is foolishness. Actually, India gained independence not by nonviolence. That is a great history. India gained independence… Gandhi was fighting with nonviolence for thirty, thirty-five years; there was no result. But one of the leaders, when he ensued fighting, then within, I think, within one year the Britishers left. So in politics there is no question of nonviolence. So a king, a protector, kṣatriya… Kṣatriya means kṣat… Kṣat means injury, injury. And tra means deliver. So a kṣatriya’s business is to deliver a person who is going to be injured. That is kṣatriya. Just like this cow was going to be injured, and as soon as Mahārāja Parīkṣit saw it, he immediately took his sword to kill him. So this is kṣatriya.
Therefore kṣatriyas are allowed to go in the forest and kill some animal. Because he has to practice. So what kind of animal? Not the cows or some simple animal. He must kill one tiger, one lion, one jungle boar. Ferocious, very ferocious animals. That was kṣatriya‘s business. Not that a rabbit (laughter) or an innocent bird, sports. This kind of sporting was not allowed. If you want to kill, you must kill one rhinoceros. Then one can understand that you have power of killing.
Even, say, twenty-five years ago, Mahārāja of Jaipur, he used to go into the forest every year and he would fight with a tiger, simply with a sword, simply with a sword. He would fight with a tiger in the jungle, and he was so expert, he would kill. And then the tiger would be brought in procession, in royal procession. Because the king used to say, “This tiger is the king of forest, or the lion is the king of the forest. I am also king. So after his death, there must be a royal reception.” So kṣatriya means they used to practice killing. Unless they practice, how they can kill?
And now our president, they practice only smoking, (laughter) that’s all. And when there is fight, he is in the chamber, safety chamber, and others are, the poor boys, they are called by the draft board, and they are forced to go and fight. This is not kṣatriya, These are śūdras. Kṣatriya, when there is fight, the king must come forward first. The other party’s king also. The king will fight with king, and the soldiers will fight soldiers according to position. And when the king is killed, then victory is owned. It doesn’t require that all the soldiers were killed. No.
This is actually Vedic culture. You will find all this from Mahābhārata. Bhāgavata also. We are trying to explain as far as possible. The brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, this is natural division.
In India, because still there are some kṣatriyas, there is no such draft board. The kṣatriya class, they would come forward to be recruited by the military department. They will not go away. They will be very glad to accept military service, because in their blood the kṣatriya spirit is there. In India there is no scarcity to find out a fighter. But when people are trained as śūdra, how he can fight? Therefore it is very scientific.
Cātur-varṇyam mayā srṣtam guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśah [Bg. 4.13]. The society must be divided. There is division already, natural. We have to simply pick out, that “This boy is brāhmaṇa, this boy is kṣatriya, this boy is vaiśya, and this boy is śūdra.” So they should be given separate employment. Then there will be peace. If a person is employed according to his natural tendency, he becomes successful. But if you give some employment, just like to put a cart before a horse, like that, no, that will not be successful.
You can say that “There is no need of kṣatriya; let there be all śūdras.” No, then there will be social scandal. Everything must be there. The brāhmaṇa must be there, the kṣatriya must be there, the vaiśyas must be there and the śūdras must be there, and the state should look that these things are observed scientifically and they are being educated in that way. That is king’s business. He must see that the kṣatriyas, those who are kṣatriya spirited, they are being trained up as kṣatriya. The brāhmaṇas are being trained up as brāhmaṇa. Everything is required. Just like in your body, all the four divisions… Just like head, that is brāhmaṇa; the arms, that is kṣatriya; the belly, that is vaiśya; and the legs, they are śūdra. So as much as the head is required, so much the legs are also required. You cannot say, “One class will do.” No. But the modern tendency is – “one class of men.” And therefore, there is confusion. There must be four classes. That is scientific.
So our Krishna consciousness movement is trying to educate some brāhmaṇas. If the society take our help and conducts the business of the society—kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra—then there will be peace and prosperity. Otherwise there will be chaos and confusion.
[An excerpt from a Lecture on the Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.46 delivered in Los Angeles on 8th May, 1973]