"Thou Shalt Not Kill" - Go vegetarian
I was reading some materials on 'proper food' and I came across the following conversation between Srila Prabhupada and his visitors, among them was Father Emmanual. The conversation took place probably some time back in September, 2000. The conversation was long. I only quote the sections on my perceived idea of 'proper food'.
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:
"patram puspam phalam toyam
yo me bhaktya prayacchati
tad aham bhakty-upahrtam
"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.
"Thou shalt not kill" means "The Christians should not kill any living beings."
1. Source of the conversation: Science of Self-Realization (pp. 129-33) [http://www.harekrishna.com/col/books/VEG/ht/ahightaste.html]