Has Srila Prabhupada really said that kshatriyas can kill and eat animals?
“A Girl devotee” asked like this:
“Can I pls get reference for where Srila prabhupada has mentioned about kshatriyas being allowed to take meat? I wud like to know this so that i can ground my understanding.”
All our replies are based on the scriptures and the acharyas like Srila Prabhupada. Some tips are given based on our practical and day to day experiences and observing the surroundings without deviating from the path specified by the acharyas.
VEGETARIAN AND NON-VEGETARIAN PANDAVAS
An interesting thing is: Among Pandavas, Bheema was a non-vegetarian and other four are vegetarians. Krishna gave good status for Bheema too as it was the normal thing in kshatriyas. The kshatriya dharma is unique for kshatriyas only.
See these references:
(1) SRIMAD BHAGAVATHAM – 6.4.9 – PURPORT By SRILA PRABHUPADA:
“By nature’s law, or the arrangement of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one kind of living entity is eatable by other living entities. As mentioned herein, dvi-padam ca catush-padah: the four-legged animals (catush-padah), as well as food grains, are eatables for human beings (dvi-padam). These four-legged animals are those such as deer and goats, not cows, which are meant to be protected. Generally the men of the higher classes of society—the brahmanas, kshatriyas and vaisyas—do not eat meat. Sometimes kshatriyas go to the forest to kill animals like deer because they have to learn the art of killing, and sometimes they eat the animals also. Sudra’s, too, eat animals such as goats. Cows, however, are never meant to be killed or eaten by human beings. In every sastra, cow killing is vehemently condemned. Indeed, one who kills a cow must suffer for as many years as there are hairs on the body of a cow. Manu-samhita says, pravrittir esha bhutanam nivrittis tu maha-phala: we have many tendencies in this material world, but in human life, one is meant to learn how to curb those tendencies. Those who desire to eat meat may satisfy the demands of their tongues by eating lower animals, but they should never kill cows, who are actually accepted as the mothers of human society because they supply milk. The sastra especially recommends, krishi-go-rakshya: the vaisya section of humanity should arrange for the food of the entire society through agricultural activities and should give full protection to the cows, which are the most useful animals because they supply milk to human society.”
(2) Also see SRILA PRABHUPADA’s CONVERSATION WITH HRIDAYANANDA:
“Hridayananda: So in our varnasrama college the students that come to our college, they follow the four principles… They follow…
Prabhupada: Four principles essential. Essential. But only the sudras or the kshatriyas… Just like kshatriyas, they have to learn how to kill. So practically, they should go to the forest and kill some animal. And if he likes, he can eat also. If he likes, he can eat also.
Hridayananda: What he kills.
Prabhupada: Yes. But not from the slaughterhouse. Those who are kshatriyas, they can, they’re allowed sometimes to eat meat. It is understood Bhima, Bhima also eating sometimes meat. Bhima. Amongst the Pandavas, only Bhima. Not others. So if the kshatriyas, they want to eat meat, they can be allowed on particular occasions. But they must go to the forest and kill the animal. Not that for meat-eating regular slaughterhouses should be maintained. This is all nonsense, degradation. If you want to eat meat, you go to the forest. And the sudras, they also sometimes eat meat. Or the candalas.
Hridayananda: But never the cow.
Prabhupada: No. Cow… The sudras, they can take a goat and sacrifice before the deity, goddess Kali, and then eat. Nobody should be given unrestricted freedom to eat meat. Or wine. If one is adamant to drink wine, then there is Candi-puja, Durga-puja. That means restriction. That means restriction. Under certain condition. Similarly, sex life—marriage. That is also sex life, but under condition.”
Hope you are convinced now.