tatheti sa vanam gatva
mrgan hatva kriyarhanan
sranto bubhuksito virah
sasam cadad apasmrtih
tatha—according to the direction; iti—thus; sah—Vikuksi; vanam—to the forest; gatva—going; mrgan—animals; hatva—killing; kriya-arhanan—suitable for offering to the yajna in the sraddha ceremony; srantah—when he was fatigued; bubhuksitah—and hungry; virah—the hero; sasam—a rabbit; ca—also; adat—he ate; apasmrtih—forgetting (that the flesh was meant for offering in the sraddha).
Thereafter, Iksvaku’s son Vikuksi went to the forest and killed many animals suitable for being offered as oblations. But when fatigued and hungry he became forgetful and ate a rabbit he had killed.
It is evident that ksatriyas killed animals in the forest because the flesh of the animals was suitable to be offered at a particular type of yajna. Offering oblations to the forefathers in the ceremony known as sraddha is also a kind of yajna. In this yajna, flesh obtained from the forest by hunting could be offered. However, in the present age, Kali-yuga, this kind of offering is forbidden. Quoting from the Brahma-vaivarta Purana, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said:
“In this age of Kali, five acts are forbidden: the offering of a horse in sacrifice, the offering of a cow in sacrifice, the acceptance of the order of sannyasa, the offering of oblations of flesh to the forefathers, and a man’s begetting children in his brother’s wife.” The word pala-paitrkam refers to an offering of flesh in oblations to forefathers. Formerly, such an offering was allowed, but in this age it is forbidden. In this age, Kali-yuga, everyone is expert in hunting animals, but most of the people are sudras, not ksatriyas. According to Vedic injunctions, however, only ksatriyas are allowed to hunt, whereas sudras are allowed to eat flesh after offering goats or other insignificant animals before the deity of goddess Kali or similar demigods. On the whole, meat-eating is not completely forbidden; a particular class of men is allowed to eat meat according to various circumstances and injunctions. As far as eating beef is concerned, however, it is strictly prohibited to everyone. Thus in Bhagavad-gita Krsna personally speaks of go-raksyam, cow protection. Meat-eaters, according to their different positions and the directions of the sastra, are allowed to eat flesh, but never the flesh of cows. Cows must be given all protection.
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