- tīrtheṣu pratidṛṣṭeṣu
- rājā medhyān paśūn vane
- yāvad-artham alaṁ lubdho
- hanyād iti niyamyate
tīrtheṣu—in holy places; pratidṛṣṭeṣu—according to the direction of the Vedas; rājā—a king; medhyān—fit for sacrifice; paśūn—animals; vane—in the forest; yāvat—so much as; artham—required; alam—not more than that; lubdhaḥ—being greedy; hanyāt—one may kill; iti—thus; niyamyate—it is regulated.
If a king is too attracted to eating flesh, he may, according to the directions of the revealed scriptures on sacrificial performances, go to the forest and kill some animals that are recommended for killing. One is not allowed to kill animals unnecessarily or without restrictions. The Vedas regulate animal-killing to stop the extravagance of foolish men influenced by the modes of passion and ignorance.
The question may be raised why a living being should be restricted in sense gratification. If a king, to learn how to kill, may go to the forest and kill animals, why should a living entity, who has been given senses, not be allowed unrestricted sense gratification? At the present moment this argument is put forward even by so-called svāmīs and yogīs who publicly say that because we have senses we must satisfy them by sense gratification. These foolish svāmīs and yogīs, however, do not know the injunctions of the śāstras. Indeed, sometimes these rascals come out to defy the śāstras. They even publicly announce that there should be no more śāstras, no more books. "Just come to me," they say, "and I shall touch you, and you will become immediately spiritually advanced."
Because demoniac people want to be cheated, so many cheaters are present to cheat them. At the present moment in this age of Kali-yuga, the entire human society has become an assembly of cheaters and cheated. For this reason the Vedic scriptures have given us the proper directions for sense gratification. Everyone is inclined in this age to eat meat and fish, drink liquor and indulge in sex life, but according to the Vedic injunctions, sex is allowed only in marriage, meat-eating is allowed only when the animal is killed and offered before the goddess Kālī, and intoxication is allowed only in a restricted way. In this verse the word niyamyate indicates that all these things—namely animal-killing, intoxication and sex—should be regulated.
Regulations are meant for human beings, not for animals. The traffic regulations on the street, telling people to keep to the right or the left, are meant for human beings, not for animals. If an animal violates such a law, he is never punished, but a human being is punished. The Vedas are not meant for the animals, but for the understanding of human society. A person who indiscriminately violates the rules and regulations given by the Vedas is liable to be punished. One should therefore not enjoy his senses according to his lusty desires, but should restrict himself according to the regulative principles given in the Vedas. If a king is allowed to hunt in a forest, it is not for his sense gratification. We cannot simply experiment in the art of killing. If a king, being afraid to meet rogues and thieves, kills poor animals and eats their flesh comfortably at home, he must lose his position. Because in this age kings have such demoniac propensities, monarchy is abolished by the laws of nature in every country.
People have become so degraded in this age that on the one hand they restrict polygamy and on the other hand they hunt for women in so many ways. Many business concerns publicly advertise that topless girls are available in this club or in that shop. Thus women have become instruments of sense enjoyment in modern society. The Vedas enjoin, however, that if a man has the propensity to enjoy more than one wife—as is sometimes the propensity for men in the higher social order, such as the brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas and vaiśyas, and even sometimes the śūdras—he is allowed to marry more than one wife. Marriage means taking complete charge of a woman and living peacefully without debauchery. At the present moment, however, debauchery is unrestricted. Nonetheless, society makes a law that one should not marry more than one wife. This is typical of a demoniac society.