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© 2004 - Hansadutta das
Not Vegetarian, But "Krishna-tarian"By Hansadutta das
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Laws Ordaining Food
Nature's law is that one living being exists by eating another. Nevertheless, the scriptures give regulations for human life and set aside certain foods for human beings. That quota is divided into six categories, namely vegetables, fruits, milk products, grains, sugar and nuts. With these six ingredients we can maintain our health very well, far better than meat eaters maintain their health. Vegetarians are more healthy than meat eaters, and their endurance is greater, although they may not have brute strength. Just consider that the elephant is a powerful animal, yet he never eats even a scrap of meat.
Principle of Non-violence
Whatever you do unto the least of my brothers, you do it unto me. (Matthew 25:40)
Exceptions to the Rule
HANSADUTTA: Jesus did not eat ordinary fish. With two fish and seven loaves of bread he fed five thousand people, and afterwards there were seven basketfuls left over. These were not ordinary activities. We should follow Jesus's instructions--not imitate his activities. Jesus walked on the water, but we cannot do that. On the coast of the Sea of Galilee in the desert of Palestine, there was not anything else to eat. They ate fish out of necessity. However, we are not in that situation. We have so many fruits, vegetables, grains, milk, sugar and nuts. If it is a matter of survival, we can eat anything. But if the situation is plentiful, we have to follow the order of the scriptures. Even in civil law, if it is a matter of saving someone from danger, we may do something illegal. We may break the speed limit or go down a one-way street. We may even break into another man's house to wake him up or to get something to put out a fire. That is an emergency. Under normal conditions, we have to accept the scriptural injunctions.
Man's Superiority and Responsibility
Animals are also God's creatures. They may be less
intelligent, but they are also enjoying life by the grace of God in
their own way. They eat, sleep, defend themselves, have sex and produce
offspring. The animals have a right to life. No one has a right to kill
them. In the Old Testament Job points out that the animals are more
intelligent than materialistic men, because they understand the laws of
nature. In the beginning of Genesis, the Lord Himself says:
Let man have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air and the cattle, over all the wild animals and all he creatures that crawl on the ground. (Genesis 1:26)
Sometimes Christians interpret this verse to mean that God has given us everything, but the word dominion means to dominate. The king has dominion over his subjects, for example, but that does not entitle him to kill them and eat them. Nor does it entitle him to exploit them. The king, being stronger, is supposed to protect the citizens who are weaker. Human beings, who are certainly more intelligent and developed in consciousness, are supposed to protect the animals--not kill and eat them. The animals have a right to live. Every living creature is born by the grace of God. Therefore we should not interrupt their lives. Let them live and be happy.
GUEST: Animals are not of the same spiritual basis as the spirits that inhabit human beings. Animals have no souls.
HANSADUTTA: The souls are the same, but they have a
relationship with God. However, that does not mean you can kill them.
your wife's children are born deaf, dumb and blind. Will you throw them
a well? No! You will love those children regardless. Everything has
out of God, and as such, you have no business infringing or encroaching
another's life. Sometimes when a dog's master dies, the dog is so
heartbroken that he will stand by the grave and die on the spot. Is
that not sentiment? Have you ever seen an animal being slaughtered?
Have you heard its screams? The animal is in tears. It screams in
terror, just as a human being screams in terror when he is about to be
killed. We have become so callous. The Bible says:
A righteous man takes care of his beast, but the heart of the wicked is merciless. (Proverbs 12:10)
Of what use are all your sacrifices to Me? I have had enough of the roasted carcasses of rams and of the fat of fattened beasts. I take no pleasure in the blood of calves, lambs and goats . . . When you spread out your hands, I close My eyes to you; despite however much you pray, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood! Wash yourselves clean! Put away your misdeeds from before My eyes and stop doing evil. (Isaiah 1:11, 1:15-16)How can anyone say animals have no soul? It is such people who have no soul.
First Offer to God
GUEST: If a person can eat without actually killing the roots, isn't that better? Isn't it better to eat the fruit of a tree or the leaves of a plant without killing it?
HANSADUTTA: Even within that fruit and leaf there are living cells. First of all, the fruit belongs to Krishna. It does not belong to you. You cannot create an orange, a mango or a potato. You can only water the root of the tree; you cannot create the water. You cannot create anything; you can only combine what is already created, and by the mercy of the Lord, you may get wonderful results. Krishna consciousness means being positively convinced that everything is the Lord's property. As tenants, we have to pay the Landlord Krishna His dues. If you follow this principle, your life will be successful, both materially and spiritually.
People often say, "He is very pious, because he is
vegetarian." Vegetarianism is not a sign of piety. The sign of piety is
preparing food for the satisfaction of Krishna and then, after offering
it, partaking of the remnants. Bhagavad-gita says:
The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins, because they eat food that is offered first for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin.-- Bhagavad-gita 3.13
Food for Life/ WORLD SANKIRTAN PARTY ©2004 - Hansadutta das
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