Maharṣibhi. Great learned scholars, realized soul, liberated soul, they have given us Vedic literature. There are different types of explanation, just like main is the Manu-saṁhitā. In the Manu-saṁhitā it is said that if a man kills, then he should be also killed. No excuse. From Manu-saṁhitā the hanging or killing of a murderer, that is enjoined. That is there. Maharṣibhiḥ. A killer of other animals or other living entities, he must be killed. This is Manu-saṁhitā. This is showing the mercy. When a king orders a murderer to be hanged, that is king's mercy. It is said in the Manu-saṁhitā. He is not to be excused. Life for life. Now imagine how many lives we are killing every day. We have now become very civilized. We are maintaining slaughterhouses, thousands and thousands, up-to-date machine, how to kill the animals. This is our advancement of civilization, and they are all sinful activities, pāpāni. And not only killing. There are so many institution how to cheat, how to take your money by tricks, how to kidnap others' wife, how..., so many things, simply sinful activities. Simply. Of course, there are different grades of sinful activities. Therefore it is said, gurūṇāṁ ca laghūnāṁ ca. Just like disease. You are suffering from some headache, and that is also disease. And you are suffering from cancer, and that is also disease. But when you are suffering from headache the doctors may give you a tablet, Anacin, and the headache is cured. And this is laghū, very insignificant disease. But if you are suffering from cancer, that tablet will not help you. Therefore gurūṇāṁ ca laghūnāṁ ca. As there are different types of diseases—some of them are very, very acute and severe, and some of them are very insignificant—similarly, the grades of sinful activities are there. Some of them are not very serious and some of them are very, very serious. So as the physician prescribes costly medicine for serious disease, similarly, maharṣibhiḥ, big, big saintly persons, liberated persons, they have prescribed prāyaścitta, atonement, for severe types of sinful activities and insignificant types of sinful activities.
But sinful activities must be there. We are put into certain condition; therefore it is called conditional life. Suppose you are very pious man. You are not killing any man or any cow—we are very careful—but still you have to kill. What is that? Because we are walking on the street. You have seen. You are killing so many ants. The position is like that. Even if you do not wish to kill, even if you are very pious man, still you have to kill, unconsciously or consciously. The world situation is like that. Anyone who has come here, he must commit sinful activities. As soon as you get this material body, then you must have to commit sinful activities, even if you are very careful. It is not possible. Therefore śāstra says, padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadām: (SB 10.14.58) "Every step there is vipadā." You cannot be excused. Because you are killing one ant unconsciously while walking, your name is noted. Your ticket is immediately there: "Oh, you have killed so many ants." The law is so nice. Prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni guṇaiḥ karmāṇi (BG 3.27). Automatically it is recorded, automatically, and you have to suffer.