This is the continuation of a conversation between His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and some disciples at ISKCON's farming village in New Vrindaban, West Virginia, on June 24, 1976.

Srila Prabhupada

Srila Prabhupada: So who cares what a rascal believes or disbelieves? For instance, a child may receive some factual information and say, "I don't believe." His mother will say, "You are a rascal. Go to your room."

So rascals may believe or not believe that they will have a next life and they must not slaughter animals. They believe or disbelieve. What is the difference? The next life is part of nature's law. Those who do not believe are mudhas, asses. And in their next life they will go to their room Mother Nature will confine them in hog, dog, ass bodies.

Tatha dehantara-praptih. In Bhagavad-gita, Lord Krsna gives this simple example: Just as the soul gets new bodies in this life first a baby body, then a child body, next a teenage body, later an adult body, and finally an aged body so after this life, he'll get still another new body.

What is the difficulty in understanding this simple fact? We know that whatever body we have at present, it will not remain. In the womb, the soul had a very tiny body. When he emerged, he had a considerably larger body a new body. And as time goes on, he will get another new body, and another new body, and another new body. And if at the end of this life he remains ignorant of his real, spiritual identity, then nature will force him into another womb and yet another new material body.

So it is very difficult to deal with rascals who disbelieve in the spiritual self the soul. It is difficult to deal with these ignorant rascals. That's a fact. But you should also know that in their ignorance, whatever else they are doing in their lives is defeat. Defeat. They are missing the priceless opportunity of going back to the spiritual world. Instead, they will have to stay in this material world and accept more and more material bodies-more rounds of birth, old age, disease, and death. Ignorant rascals are automatically defeated, by their very own ignorance.

[To a disciple:] Your little baby here does he believe he's going to get the body of a young man?

[To the baby:] Do you believe? [Laughs.]

Huh? What is your opinion? [Laughter.]

Now, those who are flesh-eaters are going to get obnoxious bodies in their next lives. For their wanton cruelty, nature will force them into the bodies of hogs and dogs.

So why don't you inform these unfortunate souls? Tell them, "Friend, you have no need to kill animals. When one of our cows dies, you can come here to our farm and take away the carcass. You'll have an ample supply of flesh, at no expense."

Disciple: That would be illegal. The government would not allow it. It would be illegal.

Srila Prabhupada: Killing is illegal, according to the law of God. But the government does not want to follow God's law. They would rather follow their own cruel whims.

On the one side, the government prohibits the flesh-eaters from eating animals who have died a natural death. On the other side, they allow the flesh-eaters to put millions of animals to most unnatural, painful death in slaughterhouses.

These rascals are in power. But legally according to God's law they should permit flesh-eaters to eat only animals who have died a natural death.

In India, for example, after some animal has died, people come and take the carcass away free. They get it without any cost to themselves. They get the skin for making shoes and so forth. They get the flesh for eating. Let them cook and eat it if they want. The farmer does not charge anything.

And we would not charge anything. "Here. You can take it. Why slaughterhouses? Take this."

Disciple: Nowadays the government objects even if you let wild animals eat the carcass.

Srila Prabhupada: Oh, if jackals and foxes come and eat the carcass, the government doesn't like it? They would rather have the jackals and foxes come and eat townspeople?

You see, once these wild animals have gotten their fill on some carcass, they will not attack humans. If a wild animal is not hungry, he will not attack you. Even a ferocious tiger if his hunger is satisfied, he doesn't attack.

So some day, when the government is made up of godly men, there will be no more slaughterhouses. And you'll be able to advertise, "Here is a cow carcass available free." Those who are butchers and tanners can take the flesh and skins free. If they had to obtain these things from some slaughterhouse, they would have to pay. But this way, they'll make more profit.

Disciple: Srila Prabhupada, many people may object, "We don't want to eat an aged, partially decomposed carcass. The animal has to be slaughtered fresh."

Srila Prabhupada: That argument is not valid. For instance, on airplanes I have seen other passengers eating lobster. It is so decomposed, it has become exactly like pus. And this is how they eat it.

Disciple: They cannot eat an animal when it is fresh. They never eat cows fresh. They age the flesh at least three weeks; otherwise, they say, it is not tasty. [Laughter.]

Srila Prabhupada: Yes. So the flesh must be partly decomposed in any case. Therefore, just as with humans, the animals should be allowed to die a natural death.

Disciple: Srila Prabhupada, we can point out all the benefits of this ideal spiritual civilization, but many people will say, "That's all right for you, but it's just not practical for us."

Srila Prabhupada: So what is not practical for you about our system of civilization? Our system: spiritual realization and compassion kindness toward all the Lord's creatures. And your system: civilized cruelty. Your system is also not practical for us.

(To be continued)