11821"Krishnarian" or "Vegetarian?"
- Jul 8, 2013Satyaraja (Steven Rosen) wrote to me on the subject of whether we are vegetarian for ethical reasons, or merely because meat, fish and eggs cannot be offered to the Lord:I am searching and searching but I CANNOT find any place in Srila Prabhupada's books or letters where he uses the now famous "Krsnatarian" or "Krishnarian" (which one was it?) for our Vaishnava diet. I'm beginning to wonder if it's a myth. We've all heard it: "We are not vegetarians, we are Krsnatarians!" But where does this statement originate? Please help. --S
I responded:The Padma Purana says, "Ahimsa (nonviolence) is the highest duty." Srila Prabhupada's overriding concern was that the food offered to Lord Krishna be obtained humanely. This is especially clear from his Bhagavad-gita purports, where he says "slaughter is the way of the subhumans"; from his saying that if the karmis (nondevotees) want to eat meat, they can wait until the animal dies of natural causes (and the eating of carrion, or animals that died of natural causes is clearly forbidden in Jewish and Islamic dietary laws; and telling his disciples in India during the '70s that if they are in a position where they are unable to offer their food to the Lord to just go to a vegetarian restaurant (and presumably eat vegetarian bhoga, or unoffered vegetarian food).In 1985, when the kitchen at ISKCON San Diego was being renovated, temple president Badri Narayan dasa (Robert Morrill) told devotees that Srila Ramesvara said that Lord Krishna does not accept food from an unclean kitchen. Wouldn't it logically follow then, that Krishna does not accept dairy products from cows which have been subject to torture and abuse via factory farming?I resent Satyaraja my previous email, asking "Should Hindus Be Vegan?" Afterward, I answered Satyaraja's question about Srila Prabhupada's saying we are "Krishnarian" or vegetarian for Krishna's sake (see below).-----Original Message-----From: Steven Rosen <satchmo868@...>
To: VasuMurti <VasuMurti@...>
Sent: Sat, Jun 29, 2013 6:21 pm
Subject: A question...
There are some in iskcon who feel that vegetarianism is not important. They cite Prabhupada saying that we are "Krishnarians" as opposed to vegetarians, and that "even a monkey is a vegetarian, so it is no big thing," and so on. Which is all true. He did say those things, and the tradition exalts offering food as the most important of all dietary considerations. But I want to show that while prasadam is, yes, the most important consideration in a devotee's diet, vegetarianism, too, is important -- I will cite Bhishma's words to Yudhisthira in the Mahabharata as well as stray slokas and the overarching tradition to make my point.
To begin, though, I need to become reacquainted with Prabhupada's comments. Where does he say we are Krishnarians? Do you know where I can find that reference? In addition, where does Prabhupada praise vegetarianism without mentioning prasadam? Any ideas? I know he does so in the conversation with Cardinal Danielou. Where else? Maybe in purports of the Chand Kazi episode in the Cc? Any assistance you can give will be deeply appreciated. --SIn his 1985 book, The Hare Krishna Explosion, Hayagriva dasa (Professor Howard Wheeler, one of Srila Prabhupada's first disciples), writes about Srila Prabhupada saying to his disciples in 1966:
"George Bernard Shaw wrote one book," Swamiji says, "called You Are What You Eat."
He smiles, then laughs. "You are what you eat." He likes the title, repeats it. "That is a fact."
We imagine people eating pigs, frogs, shrimp.
"And Mr. Shaw was a vegetarian," he says. "A very famous playwright, no?"
"Yes," I assure him. "Very famous.""But we are not vegetarians just for the sake of being vegetarian," he says. "We are vegetarians because Krishna says, 'Offer Me some fruit, some grains.' He does not say to offer Him meat. If He says, 'Offer Me some meat,' we will do so. But He doesn't."(Satsvarupa dasa Goswami similarly writes in Prabhupada Nectar that by making a particular vegetable preparation at ISKCON restaurants, people will give up eating lobster soup and other such nonsense. But he adds our aim is not to make people vegetarian, but to give them prasadam and get them to offer their food to the Lord.)These two incidents from The Hare Krishna Explosion and Prabhupada Nectar respectively suggest devotees of Krishna are "Krishnarian" or vegetarian merely because meat, fish and eggs are unofferable to the Lord.Hayagriva dasa goes on to quote Srila Prabhupada in The Hare Krishna Explosion:
Civil rights marches. Negro riots: "What is this nonsense? People are thinking, 'I am black, white, red, yellow.' All this is skin disease. False designations. I am not this body. What am I? Aham brahmasmi: I am spirit soul. Since this knowledge is lacking, they are fighting like cats and dogs, and they will continue until they transcend their skin disease and understand that they are spiritual sons of Krishna, eternally His parts and parcels..."
NASA's space programs: "They are trying to reach the moon and other higher planets by material means. Impossible. They will not be permitted entry. Just as you require a visa to enter another country. According to the Vedas, the moon is a higher planet where demigods live in an advanced civilization...This (earth) is a middle planet. The demigods are enjoying themselves in the heavenly planets. Why should they come to an inferior place?"
Abortion, birth control: "They are killing the baby in the womb. How cruel! In this age of unwanted population, man is losing his compassion. When you kill a living entity, even an ant, you are interfering with its spiritual evolution. That living entity must again take on that same life form to complete its designated life term in that body And the killer will have to return to pay for damages..."
Proliferating nuclear tests: "Let these scientists solve the problems of birth, old age, disease, and death. But this they can't do. Instead they create big bombs to destroy everything out of frustration, This is their solution: Accelerate death.
"Such people are called demoniac in Bhagavad-gita. Anyway, these atomic bombs are not new. In previous ages, men were so advanced that they could delver the brahmastra nuclear weapon by chanting mantra only The shabda vibration itself would destroy. Now they labor very hard with these mechanical rockets. And they think they think they are advancing..."
The war rages on in Vietnam.
"As long as people are eating meat, there will be wars," Swamiji says. "By eating meat, they are developing the mentality of tigers. And so they go on killing and being killed"
"But to find peace, don't you have to believe that any kind of war is wrong?" Stephen Goldsmith asks...He's a young, up-and-coming Jewish lawyer, and he helped Swamiji incorporate the Society.
"I'm not ready to have children," Mr. Goldsmith persists, "But that doesn't mean that I'm prepared to give up sex...It's just that...well, it's been proved dangerous to repress the sex drive. There's a theory that we have wars because --"
"People are eating meat," Swamiji interjects. "We will have wars as long as people eat meat..."
Srila Prabhupada speaking to reporters in San Francisco, CA in 1967:"We welcome everyone, in any condition of life, to come to our temple and hear the message of Krishna consciousness," he says."Does that include Haight-Ashbury hippies and bohemians?" a reporter asks."everyone, including you or anyone else," Swamiji says. "Whatever you are--what you call an acid-head, or hippie, or whatever--what you are doesn't matter. Once you are accepted for training, you will change.""What is your stand on drugs and sexual freedom?" another reporter asks."There are four basic prerequisites for those entering this movement," Swamiji says. "I do not allow my students to keep girlfriends. I prohibit all kinds of intoxicants, including coffee, tea, and cigarettes. And I prohibit meat eating and gambling.""And LSD?""I consider that an intoxicant. I do not allow my students to use that or any other intoxicant."This announcement provokes the reporters to question Allen Ginsberg...poet laureate of the beatniks and now acknowledged patriarch of the hippies..."Well, you might say the Swami is very conservative," Allen answers."Conservative? How is that?" Swamiji asks, concerned."In respect to sex and drugs," Mukunda suggests."Of course, we are conservative in that sense," he says. "We cannot depart from Bhagavad-gita. But conservative we are not...we are accepting everyone into this movement, regardless of sex, race, faith, cast, position, or whatever. Everyone is invited to come chant Hare Krishna. No, we are not conservative."****The more radical hippies and Vietnam war resisters want more than peace in Vietnam. They want a recognition of the "solidarity of man," the institution of a new world-state conceived in planetary instead of 'tribal' terms.Swamiji accuses the hippies of placing man before other planetary inhabitants, other citizens."You talk of peace while eating meat," he says. "you speak of peace while slaughtering your mother cow. And you are surprised when are wars.
"Solidarity means more than talking of universal brotherhood while eating an animal. There will never be universal brotherhood until we recognize a universal Father and all living entities as His sons. That is the real basis for solidarity."****The March 1986 issue of Hinduism Today reported that across the board, Hindu religious leaders condemn abortion at any stage of fetal development as killing (some say murder) and as an act which carries very serious karmic repercussions (like the killing of cows). I commented on the Democrats For Life email list in 2007 that abortion falls somewhere between cow-killing and murder in the Hindu religious tradition, prompting Bill Samuel (raised a Quaker and a lifelong vegetarian) to exclaim, "Do something!"Since all of Srila Prabhupada's words are recorded on CD ROM, we can determine if Srila Prabhupada ever used the word "murder" with regard to abortion. My understanding is that Srila Prabhupada referred to abortion as killing, not murder.And Srila Prabhupada was very specific in his choice of words! For example, Srila Prabhupada said in conversation with Father Emmanuel Jungclaussen, a Benedictine monk, in 1974, "If you do not follow the first order, 'Thou shalt not kill,' then where is the question of love of God?"A visitor responded, "Christians take this commandment to be applicable to human beings, not to animals."Srila Prabhupada said, "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. Do 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."(In an issue of PETA's Animal Times magazine from several years ago, Prince explained his reasons for being strictly vegan by saying, "'Thou shalt not kill' means just that."The only Hindu spiritual figure in the West I can think of who referred to abortion as murder is the great Vaishnava poet Michael Cassidy (Mangalananda dasa), a Prabhupada disciple, who decried the modern secular public education system (which Srila Prabhupada called "spiritual slaughterhouses"), when he wrote in the late 1970s:"They said that Mother Nature couldn't give us what we need"That explained the factories, the smog and dirty streams
"They pointed to the charts to show the population boom"To justify the murder of their children in the womb
"They gave us all the facts explaining economic war"Like a fool I listened, I won't listen any more!"
Hope this helps!Your servant,--Vasu
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