That understanding which cannot distinguish between the religious way of life and the irreligious, between action that should be done and action that should not be done - that imperfect understanding is in the mode of passion

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Expressions researched:
"That understanding which cannot distinguish between the religious way of life and the irreligious, between action that should be done and action that should not be done" |"that imperfect understanding, O son of Prtha, is in the mode of passion"

Srimad-Bhagavatam

SB Canto 4

That understanding which cannot distinguish between the religious way of life and the irreligious, between action that should be done and action that should not be done—that imperfect understanding, O son of Pṛthā, is in the mode of passion. That understanding which considers irreligion to be religion and religion to be irreligion, under the spell of illusion and darkness, and strives always in the wrong direction, O Pārtha, is in the mode of ignorance.
SB 4.27.11, Translation and Purport:

The great sage Nārada continued: My dear King Prācīnabarhiṣat, like you King Purañjana also became implicated in so many desires. Thus he worshiped demigods, forefathers and social leaders with various sacrifices which were all very ghastly because they were inspired by the desire to kill animals.

In this verse the great sage Nārada discloses that the character of Purañjana was being described to give lessons to King Prācīnabarhiṣat. Actually the entire description was figuratively describing the activities of King Prācīnabarhiṣat. In this verse Nārada frankly says "like you" (yathā bhavān), which indicates that King Purañjana is none other than King Prācīnabarhiṣat himself. Being a great Vaiṣṇava, Nārada Muni wanted to stop animal-killing in sacrifices. He knew that if he tried to stop the King from performing sacrifices, the King would not hear him. Therefore he is describing the life of Purañjana. But in this verse he first discloses the intention, although not fully, by saying "like you." Generally the karmīs, who are attached to increasing descendants, have to perform so many sacrifices and worship so many demigods for future generations, as well as to satisfy so many leaders, politicians, philosophers and scientists to make things go on properly for future generations. The so-called scientists are very eager to see that future generations will live very comfortably, and as such they are trying to find different means of generating energy to drive locomotives, cars, airplanes and so on. Now they are exhausting the petroleum supply. These activities are described in the Bhagavad-gītā (2.41):

vyavasāyātmikā buddhir
ekeha kuru-nandana
bahu-śākhā hy anantāś ca
buddhayo 'vyavasāyinām

"Those who are on the spiritual path are resolute in purpose, and their aim is one. O beloved child of the Kurus, the intelligence of those who are irresolute is many-branched."

Actually, those who are in knowledge of everything are determined to execute Kṛṣṇa consciousness, but those who are rascals (mūḍhāḥ), sinners (duṣkṛtinaḥ) and the lowest of mankind (narādhamāḥ), who are bereft of all intelligence (māyayāpahṛta jñānāḥ) and who take shelter of the demoniac way of life (āsuraṁ bhāvam āśritāḥ), are disinterested in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. As such they become implicated and take on so many activities. Most of these activities center around the killing of animals. Modern civilization is centered around animal-killing. Karmīs are advertising that without eating meat, their vitamin value or vitality will be reduced; so to keep oneself fit to work hard, one must eat meat, and to digest meat, one must drink liquor, and to keep the balance of drinking wine and eating meat, one must have sufficient sexual intercourse to keep fit to work very hard like an ass.

There are two ways of animal-killing. One way is in the name of religious sacrifices. All the religions of the world—except the Buddhists—have a program for killing animals in places of worship. According to Vedic civilization, the animal-eaters are recommended to sacrifice a goat in the temple of Kālī under certain restrictive rules and regulations and eat the flesh. Similarly, they are recommended to drink wine by worshiping the goddess Caṇḍikā. The purpose is restriction. People have given up all this restriction. Now they are regularly opening wine distilleries and slaughterhouses and indulging in drinking alcohol and eating flesh. A Vaiṣṇava ācārya like Nārada Muni knows very well that persons engaged in such animal-killing in the name of religion are certainly becoming involved in the cycle of birth and death, forgetting the real aim of life: to go home, back to Godhead.

Thus the great sage Nārada, while instructing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam to Vyāsa Muni, condemned the karma-kāṇḍa (fruitive) activities mentioned in the Vedas. Nārada told Vyāsa:

jugupsitaṁ dharma-kṛte 'nuśāsataḥ
svabhāva-raktasya mahān vyatikramaḥ
yad vākyato dharma itītaraḥ sthito
na manyate tasya nivāraṇaṁ janaḥ

"The people in general are naturally inclined to enjoy, and you have encouraged them in that way in the name of religion. This is verily condemned and is quite unreasonable. Because they are guided under your instructions, they will accept such activities in the name of religion and will hardly care for prohibitions." (SB 1.5.15)

Śrīla Nārada Muni chastised Vyāsadeva for compiling so many Vedic supplementary scriptures, which are all intended for guiding the people in general. Nārada Muni condemned these scriptures because they do not mention direct devotional service. Under Nārada's instructions, direct worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as described in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, was set forth by Vyāsadeva. The conclusion is that neither the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, nor His devotee ever sanctions animal-killing in the name of religion. Indeed, Kṛṣṇa incarnated Himself as Lord Buddha to put an end to animal-killing in the name of religion. Animal sacrifice under the name of religion is conducted by the influence of tamo-guṇa (the mode of ignorance), as indicated in the Eighteenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā (18.31-32):

yayā dharmam adharmaṁ ca
kāryaṁ cākāryam eva ca
ayathāvat prajānāti
buddhiḥ sā pārtha rājasī
adharmaṁ dharmam iti yā
manyate tamasāvṛtā
sarvārthān viparītāṁś ca
buddhiḥ sā pārtha tāmasī

"That understanding which cannot distinguish between the religious way of life and the irreligious, between action that should be done and action that should not be done—that imperfect understanding, O son of Pṛthā, is in the mode of passion. That understanding which considers irreligion to be religion and religion to be irreligion, under the spell of illusion and darkness, and strives always in the wrong direction, O Pārtha, is in the mode of ignorance."

Those who are involved in the mode of ignorance manufacture religious systems for killing animals. Actually dharma is transcendental. As Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa teaches, we must give up all other systems of religion and simply surrender unto Him (sarva-dharmān parityajya (BG 18.66)). Thus the Lord and His devotees and representatives teach the transcendental dharma, which does not allow animal-killing at all. At the present moment it is the greatest misfortune that in India many so-called missionary workers are spreading irreligion in the name of religion. They claim an ordinary human being to be God and recommend meat-eating for everyone, including so-called sannyāsīs.