Syamasundara: How does modern society differ from the Vedic ideal?
Srila Prabhupada: Now there is large-scale industrialization, which means exploitation of one man by another. Such industry was unknown in Vedic civilization it was unnecessary. In addition, modern civilization has taken to slaughtering and eating animals, which is barbarous. It is not even human.
In Vedic civilization, when a person was unfit to rule he was deposed. For instance, King Vena proved to be an unfit king. He was simply interested in hunting. Of course, ksatriyas are allowed to hunt, but not whimsically. They are not allowed to kill many birds and beasts unnecessarily, as King Vena was doing and as people do today. At that time the intelligent brahmanas objected and immediately killed him with a curse. Formerly, the brahmanas had so much power that they could kill simply by cursing; weapons were unnecessary.
At present, however because the head of the social body is missing it is a dead body. The head is very important, and our Krsna consciousness movement is attempting to create some brahmanas who will form the head of society. Then the administrators will be able to rule very nicely under the instructions of the philosophers and theologians that is, under the instructions of God-conscious people. A God-conscious brahmana would never advise opening slaughterhouses. But now, the many rascals heading the government allow animal slaughter. When Maharaja Pariksit saw a degraded man trying to kill a cow, he immediately drew his sword and said, “Who are you?! Why are you trying to kill this cow?” He was a real king. Nowadays, unqualified men have taken the presidential post. And although they may pose themselves as very religious, they are simply rascals. Why? because under their noses thousands of cows are being killed while they collect a good salary. Any leader who is at all religious should resign his post in protest if cow slaughter goes on under his rule. Since people do not know that these administrators are rascals, they are suffering. And the people are also rascals because they are voting for these bigger rascals. It is Plato’s view that the government should be ideal, and this is the ideal: The saintly philosophers should be at the head of state; according to their advice the politicians should rule; under the protection of the politicians, the productive class should provide the necessities of life; and the laborer class should help. This is the scientific division of society that Krsna advocates in the Bhagavad-gita (4.13), catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah: “According to the three modes of material nature and the work ascribed to them, the four divisions of human society were created by Me.”