|A Higher Taste|
(Excerpts from the writings of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada)
With the good will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead there can be enough fruits, grains, and other food stuffs produced so that all the people in the world could not finish them, even if they ate ten times their capacity. In this material world there is actually no scarcity of anything but Krishna consciousness. If people become Krishna conscious, by the transcendental will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead there will be enough foodstuffs produced so that people will have no economic problems at all. One can very easily understand this fact. The production of fruits and flowers depends not upon our will but the supreme will of the Personality of Godhead. If He is pleased, He can supply enough fruits, flowers, etc., but if people are atheistic and godless, nature, by His will, restricts the supply of food.
Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi 9.38)
Mr. Faill: Is it necessary to follow certain eating habits to practice spiritual life?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, the whole process is meant to purify us, and eating is part of that purification. I think you have a saying, "You are what you eat," and that's a fact. Our bodily constitution and mental atmosphere are determined according to how and what we eat. Therefore the sastras [scriptures] recommend that to become Krishna conscious, you should eat remnants of food left by Krishna [Krishna-prasadam]. If a tuberculosis patient eats something and you eat the remnants, you will be infected with tuberculosis. Similarly, if you eat Krishna-prasadam, then you will be infected with Krishna consciousness. Thus our process is that we don't eat anything immediately. First we offer the food to Krishna, then we eat it. This helps us advance in Krishna consciousness.
Mr. Faill: You are all vegetarians?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, because Krishna is a vegetarian. Krishna can eat anything because He is God, but in the Bhagavad-gita [9.26] He says, "If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water, I will accept it." He never says, "Give Me meat and wine."
Science of Self-Realization (p. 185)
If we throw a bag of grain into the street, pigeons may come and eat four or five small grains and then go away. They will not take more than they can eat, and having eaten they go freely on their way. But if we were to put many bags of flour on the sidewalk and invite people to come and get them, one man would take ten or twenty bags and another would take fifteen or thirty bags and so on. But those who do not have the means to carry so much away will not be able to take more than a bag or two. Thus the distribution will be uneven. This is called advancement of civilization; we are even lacking in the knowledge which the pigeons, dogs, and cats have. Everything belongs to the Supreme Lord, and we can accept whatever we need, but not more. That is knowledge. By the Lord's arrangement the world is so made that there is no scarcity of anything. Everything is sufficient, provided that we know how to distribute it. However, the deplorable condition today is that one is taking more than he needs while another is starving.
Raja-vidya (p. 91)
Srila Prabhupada: We have to accept all the injunctions of the scripture as they are given, not only those that suit us. If you
do not follow the first order, "Thou shalt not kill," then where is the question of love of God?
Visitor: Christians take this commandment to be applicable to human beings, not to animals.
Srila Prabhupada: That would mean that Christ was not intelligent enough to use the right word: murder. There is killing, and there is murder. Murder refers to human beings. So you think Jesus was not intelligent enough to use the right word - murder - instead of the word killing? Killing means any kind of killing and especially animal killing. If Jesus had meant simply the killing of humans, he would have used the word murder... If you want to interpret these words, that is something else. We understand the direct meaning. "Thou shalt not kill" means "The Christians should not kill."
Father Emmanuel: Isn't the eating of plants also killing?
Srila Prabhupada: The Vaisnava philosophy teaches that we should not even kill plants unnecessarily. In the Bhagavad-gita [9.26] Krishna says: "If someone offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or a little water, I will accept it." We offer Krishna only the kind of food He demands, and then we eat the remnants. If offering vegetarian food to Krishna were sinful, then it would be Krishna's sin, not ours. But God is apapa-viddha - sinful reactions are not applicable to Him... Eating food first offered to the Lord is also something like a soldier's killing during wartime. In a war, when the commander orders a man to attack, the obedient soldier who kills the enemy will get a medal. But if the same soldier kills someone on his own, he will be punished. Similarly, when we eat only prasadam [the remnants of food offered to Krishna], we do not commit any sin. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita [3.13]: "The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat food that is first offered for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin."
Father Emmanuel: Krishna cannot give permission to eat animals?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes - in the animal kingdom. But the civilized human being, the religious human being, is not meant to kill and eat animals. If you stop killing animals and chant the holy name of Christ, everything will be perfect... I think the Christian priests should cooperate with the Krishna consciousness movement. They should chant the name Christ or Christos and should stop condoning the slaughter of animals. This program follows the teachings of the Bible; it is not my philosophy. Please act accordingly and you will see how the world situation will change.
Science of Self-Realization (pp. 129-33
Ample food grains can be produced through agricultural enterprises, and profuse milk, yogurt, and ghee can be arranged through cow protection. Abundant honey can be obtained if the forests are protected. Unfortunately, in modern civilization, men are busy killing the cows that are the source of yogurt, milk, and ghee; they are cutting down all the trees that supply honey, and they are opening factories to manufacture nuts, bolts, automobiles, and wine instead of engaging in agriculture. How can the people be happy? They must suffer from all the misery of materialism. Their bodies become wrinkled and gradually deteriorate until they become almost like dwarves, and a bad odor emanates from their bodies because of unclean perspiration resulting from eating all kinds of nasty things. This is not human civilization.
Sometime the question is put before us: "You ask us not to eat meat, but you are eating vegetables. Do you think that is not violence?" The answer is that eating vegetables is violence, and vegetarians are also committing violence against other living entities because vegetables also have life. Nondevotees are killing cows, goats, and so many other animals for eating purposes, and one who is vegetarian is also killing... that is the law of nature. Jivo jivasya jivanam: one living entity is the life for another living entity. But for a human being that violence should be committed only as much as necessary.
Milk is compared to nectar, which one can drink to become immortal. Of course, simply drinking milk will not make one immortal, but it can increase the duration of one's life. In modern civilization, men do not think milk to be important, and therefore they do not live very long. Although in this age men can live up to one hundred years, their duration of life is reduced because they do not drink large quantities of milk... Instead of drinking milk, people prefer to slaughter an animal and eat its flesh. [Editors' note: Beef has six times the cholesterol of milk. High cholesterol causes heart disease, America's major cause of death.] The Supreme Personality of Godhead, in His instructions of Bhagavad-gita, advises goraksya, which means cow protection. The cow should be protected , milk should be drawn from the cows, and this milk should be prepared in various ways. One should take ample milk, and thus one can prolong one's life, develop his brain, execute devotional service, and ultimately attain the favor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
When there is an epidemic disease, an antiseptic vaccine protects a person from the attack of such an epidemic. Similarly, food offered to Lord Vishnu [Krishna] and then taken by us makes us sufficiently resistant to material affection, and one who is accustomed to this practice is called a devotee of the Lord. Therefore, a person in Krishna consciousness, who eats only food offered to Krishna, can counteract all reactions of past material infections, which are impediments to the progress of self-realization. On the other hand, one who does not do so continues to increase the volume of sinful action, and this prepares the next body to resemble hogs and dogs, to suffer the resultant reactions of all sins. The material word is full of contaminations, and one who is immunized by accepting prasadam of the Lord (food offered to Vishnu) is saved from the attack, whereas one who does not do so become subjected to contamination.
If one kills many thousands of animals in a professional way so that other people can purchase the meat to eat, one must be ready to be killed in a similar way in his next life and in life after life. There are many rascals who violate their own religious principles. According to Judeo-Christian scriptures, it is clearly said, "Thou shalt not kill." Nonetheless, giving all kinds of excuses, even the heads of religions indulge in killing animals while trying to pass as saintly persons. This mockery and hypocrisy in human society bring about unlimited calamities; therefore occasionally there are great wars. Masses of such people go out onto battlefields and kill themselves. Presently they have discovered the atomic bomb, which is simply awaiting wholesale destruction.
Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya 24.251)
It is prescribed in Bhagavad-gita: "If a devotee offers Me a small flower, a leaf, some water, or a little fruit, I will accept it." The real purpose is to exhibit one's loving devotion to the Lord; the offerings themselves are secondary. If one has not developed loving devotion to the Lord and simply offers many kinds of foodstuffs, fruits, and flowers without real devotion, the offering will not be accepted by the Lord. We cannot bribe the Personality of Godhead. He is full in Himself, what can we offer Him? Everything is produced by Him. We simply offer to show our love and gratitude to the Lord.
Civilized men know the art of preparing nutritious foods from milk. For instance, on our New Vrindaban farm in West Virginia [and on the other ISKCON farms throughout the world], we make hundreds of first-class preparations from milk. Whenever visitors come, they are astonished that from milk such nice foods can be prepared. The blood of the cow is very nutritious, but civilized men utilize it in the form of milk. Milk is nothing but cow's blood transformed. You can make milk into so many things - yogurt, curd, ghee (clarified butter), and so on - and by combining these milk products with grains, fruits, and vegetables, you can make hundreds of preparations. This is civilized life - not directly killing an animal and eating its flesh.
Science of Self-Realization (p. 14)
Krishna is so kind that if anyone offers Him a leaf, a flower, fruit, or some water, He will immediately accept it. The only condition is that these things should be offered with bhakti [devotion]. Otherwise, if one is puffed up with false prestige, thinking, "I have so much opulence, and I am giving something to Krishna," one's offering will not be accepted by Krishna... for anything offered to Krishna with love and affection, Krishna can reciprocate many millions of times over, both materially and spiritually. The basic principle involved is an exchange of love. Therefore Krishna teaches in Bhagavad-gita (9.27): "O son of Kunti, all that you do, all that you eat, all that you may perform, should be done as an offering unto Me."
Interviewer: Another point in the Declaration of Independence is that all men are endowed by God with certain natural rights
that cannot be taken away from them. These are the rights of life, liberty, and ...
Srila Prabhupada: But animals also have the right to life. Why don't animals also have the right to live? The rabbits, for instance, are living in their own way in the forest. Why does the government allow hunters to go and shoot them?
Interviewer: They were simply talking about human beings.
Srila Prabhupada: Then they have no real philosophy. The narrow idea that my family or my brother is good, and that I can kill all others, is criminal. Suppose that for my family's sake I kill your father, Is that philosophy? Real philosophy is suhrdam sarva-bhutanam: friendliness to all living entities.
Science of Self-Realization (p. 209)
To be nonviolent to human beings and to be a killer or enemy of the poor animal is Satan's philosophy. In this age there is always enmity against poor animals, and therefore the poor creatures are always anxious. The reaction of the poor animals is being forced on human society, and therefore there is always the strain of cold or hot war between men, individually, collectively or nationally.
Srila Prabhupada: Some people say, "We believe that animals have no soul." That is not correct. They believe animals have
no soul because they want to eat the animals, but actually animals do have a soul.
Reporter: How do you know that the animal has a soul?
Srila Prabhupada: You can know, also. Here is the scientific proof... the animal is eating, you are eating; the animal is sleeping, you are sleeping; the animal is defending, you are defending; the animal is having sex, you are having sex; the animals have children, you have children; they have a living place, you have a living place. If the animal's body is cut, there is blood; if your body is cut, there is blood. So, all these similarities are there. Now, why do you deny this one similarity, the presence of the soul? That is not logical. You have studied logic? In logic there is something called analogy. Analogy means drawing a conclusion by finding many points of similarity. If there are so many points of similarity between human beings and animals, why deny one similarity? That is not logic. That is not science.
Science of Self-Realization (pp. 35-36)
In Bhagavad-gita it is confirmed that one who takes foodstuff after performance of sacrifice eats real food for proper maintenance of the body and soul, but one who cooks for himself and does not perform any sacrifice eats only lumps of sin in the shape of foodstuffs. Such sinful eating can never make one happy or free from scarcity. Famine is not due to an increase in population, as less intelligent economists think. When human society is grateful to the Lord for all His gifts for the maintenance of the living entities, then there is certainly no scarcity or want in society. But when men are unaware of the intrinsic value of such gifts from the Lord, surely they are in want. A person who has no God consciousness may live in opulence for the time being due to his past virtuous acts, but if one forgets his relationship with the Lord, certainly he must await the stage of starvation by the law of the powerful material nature.
Some rascals put forward the theory that an animal has no soul or is something like dead stone. In this way they rationalize that there is no sin in animal killing. Actually animals are not dead stone, but the killers of animals are stone-hearted. Consequently no reason or philosophy appeals to them. They continue keeping slaughterhouses and killing animals in the forest.
By killing animals, not only will we be bereft of the human form but we will have to take an animal form and somehow or other be killed by the same type of animal we have killed. This is the law of nature. The Sanskrit word mamsa means "meat." It is said: mam sah khadantiti mamsah. That is, "I am now eating the flesh of an animal who will some day in the future be eating my flesh."
Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya 24.252)
Animal sacrifice in the name of religion is current practically all over the world in every established religion. It is said that Lord Jesus Christ, when twelve years old, was shocked to see the Jews sacrificing birds and animals in the synagogues and that he therefore rejected the Jewish system of religion and started the religious system of Christianity, adhering to the Old Testament commandment "Thou shalt not kill." At the present day, however, not only are animals killed in the name of sacrifice, but the killing of animals has increased enormously because of the increasing number of slaughterhouses. Slaughtering animals, either for religion or for food, is most abominable and is condemned.
As human society is presently structured, there is sufficient production of grains all over the world. Therefore the opening of slaughterhouses cannot be supported. In some nations there is so much surplus grain that sometimes extra grain is thrown into the sea, and sometimes the government forbids further production of grain. The conclusion is that the earth produces sufficient grain to feed the entire population, but the distribution of this grain is restricted due to trade regulations and a desire for profit. Consequently in some places there is scarcity of grain an in others profuse production. If there were one government on the surface of the earth to handle the distribution of grain, there would be no question of scarcity, no necessity to open slaughterhouses, and no need to present false theories about overpopulation.
Everyone should know that there are two kinds of diseases in human society. One disease, which is called adhyatmika, or material disease, pertains to the body, but the main disease is spiritual. The Living entity is eternal, but somehow or other, when in contact with the material energy, he is subjected to the repetition of birth, death, old age, and disease... The Krishna consciousness movement has taken up the mission of curing this disease, but people are not very appreciative because they do not know what this disease is. A diseased person needs both proper medicine and a proper diet, and therefore the Krishna consciousness movement supplies materially stricken people with the medicine of the chanting of the holy name, or the Hare Krishna, maha-mantra, and the diet of prasadam [vegetarian foods offered to Lord Krishna].
Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi 10.51)
Our Krishna consciousness movement acts on this principle. We simple give people the chance to hear about the Supreme Personality of Godhead and give them prasadam to eat, and the actual result is that all over the world people are responding to this process and becoming pure devotees of Lord Krishna. We open hundreds of centers all over the world just to give people in general a chance to hear about Krishna and accept Krishna prasadam. These two processes can be accepted by anyone, even a child. It doesn't matter whether one is poor or rich, learned or foolish, black or white, old or still a child - anyone who simply hears about the Supreme Personality of Godhead and takes prasadam is certainly elevated to the transcendental position of devotional service.
Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi 70.141)
A flower accepted for one's sense gratification is material, but when the same flower is offered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead by a devotee, it is spiritual. Food taken and cooked for oneself is material, but food cooked for the Supreme is spiritual prasadam. This is a question of realization.
The purpose of food is to increase the duration of life, purify the mind, and aid bodily strength. This is its only purpose. In the
past, great authorities selected these foods that best aid health and increase life's duration, such as milk products, sugar, rice
wheat, fruit, and vegetables.
Animal fat is available in the form of milk, which is the most wonderful of all foods. Milk, butter, cheese, and similar products give animal fat in a form which rules out any need for the killing of innocent creatures... Protein is amply available through split peas, dal, whole wheat, etc.
The best food is the remnant of what is offered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In Bhagavad-gita the Supreme Lord says that He accepts preparations of vegetables, flour, and milk when offered with devotion. Of course, devotion and love are the chief things which the Supreme Personality of Godhead accepts.
Therefore to make food antiseptic, eatable, and palatable for all persons, one should offer food to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
In Bhagavad-gita (9.26) Krishna says, "If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit, or water, I will accept it." The Lord is purna, complete, and therefore He eats everything offered by His devotees. However, by the touch of His transcendental hand, all the food remains exactly as before. It is the quality that is changed. Before the food was offered, it was something else, but after it is offered the food acquires a transcendental quality. Because the Lord is purna, He remains the same even after eating. The food offered to Krishna is qualitatively as good as Krishna, being identical with Him, remains as before. Apart form this, Krishna can eat the food with any one of His transcendental senses. He can eat by seeing the food, or by touching it. Nor should one think that it is necessary for Krishna to eat. He does not become hungry, and as such, He can eat everything and anything, regardless of quantity.
Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi 4.78)