Q & A’s – Black Market and the Meat Industry

Caution Watch Dog by Baldwin, Mike


In the Bhagavad Gita Srila Prabhupada purport for 16.16 states.

The demoniac man knows no limit to his desire to acquire money. That is unlimited. He thinks only of how much assessment he has just now and schemes to engage that stock of wealth further and further. For that reason, he does not hesitate to act in any sinful way and so deals in the black market for illegal gratification.

and in the purport it is stated 16.1-3

Saucam means cleanliness, not only in mind and body but in one’s dealings also. It is especially meant for the mercantile people, who should not deal in the black market.

however it is stated in 18.48

Similarly, a merchant, however pious he may be, must sometimes hide his profit to stay in business, or he may sometimes have to do business on the black market. These things are necessary; one cannot avoid them. Similarly, even though a man is a sudra serving a bad master, he has to carry out the order of the master, even though it should not be done. Despite these flaws, one should continue to carry out his prescribed duties, for they are born out of his own nature.

Could you help me to understand the apparent difference between the purport for 18.48 and the purports from Chapter 16 describing a demon and a devotee?  Also can you help me to understand this section of the Bhagavad Gita  (18.41-48)?  In the class that I was giving on these verses I was trying to express why a devotee should not work serving meat.  Yet I have heard that one devotee has told other devotees that the cows in America were all animal slaughters in their previous lives and therefore it is somehow not so bad to be involved serving meat.  My attempt to express that point was to say that everyone has a right to perform their duties per their varna but they must be trained as to what are the do’s and don’t for that varna.  Not that “I have a job and therefore it is my varna and whatever it is, it is fine, just see BG 18.48”


One may be forced out of necessity and circumstances to do something
forbidden.  This does not mean that there will be no reaction for such
activities.  Still, as Srila Prabhupada says one should continue to carry
out his prescribed duties.

Killing any living entity or being involved in such slaughter by working
in a restaurant which is serving meat involves sinful activities and sinful
reactions.  It does not matter why the animal has been slaughter, anyone
involve in such activities will still get reactions.

I hope you are well.
Your well-wisher,
Prahladananda Swami

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