Actually all killing is wrong. It is the nature’s law that a living entity sustains himself by eating another living entity. Humans can lessen his sinful reaction by taking only what he needs from nature. Utilizing plants in this manner is less violent than taking the life of an animal. In any case foods prepared from vegetarian sources can be further purified by offering to Lord Krsna & later honored as prasadam. You have to eat something, and Krsna has ordained suitable food stuffs to be eaten by us to maintain our bodies in good shape, and also help us in spiritual advancement by partaking of the remnants of the Lord’s prasadam.
Thank you for the comment. This argument is raised by those who who don’t accept the concept of Deity and prasad, so I didn’t mention it in the answer, but answered at a level they can find intelligible.
Even from a material standpoint: it takes 17 pounds of grains to produce a single pound of meat. So eating meat not only kills the animal itself, but the terrific number of plants used to feed and fatten the animal. It is somewhat ironic that even a person who sincerely wants to minimize killing plants should be a vegetarian! But it is true.
Good point. I have elaborated using similar stats in this article:
This argument, of handicapped child or person in coma, is put forth many times by meat eaters. So here is what I think. I would try to respond to this question in two ways,
1. Based only on logical and scientific reasoning without bringing God or religion into argument and
2. Based on logical, scientific reasoning and bringing God or religion into argument
1. Based only on logical and scientific reasoning without bringing God or religion into argument:
Even if we keep aside the technicalities about the amount of pain caused in eating vegetarian food and in principle accept that there is killing or pain caused to vegetables while eating vegetarian food, we can see that people eating vegetarian food are also killers. So people who are unaware about the laws of God like non-devotees, atheists, secularists who are vegetarian they cannot defend vegetarianism based on logic or scientific facts. Hence many of the vegetarian people give up their position and start meat eating. And even if some atheists continue to be vegetarian they aggressively defend by saying it is my way of life. Hence ultimately it boils down to your opinion and my opinion. So whether it’s vegetarian or non-vegetarian, illicit sex, drinking alcohol etc. many important questions are left unanswered in this modern secular world because everyone has his/her definition of morality and no one can dictate other hence there are so much degraded and immoral activities going on in society.
2. Based on logical, scientific reasoning and bringing God or religion into argument:
As far as devotees are concerned, the above problem is very easily solved, because devotees are neither Vegans or vegetarians nor Non-Vegetarians, they are Krishnaites. Lord Krishna is supreme authority as he is God himself and can guide us in deciding what is moral and immoral unlike secular governments.
Non violence is not the highest principle that Lord Krishna teaches. The highest principle that Krishna teaches us is surrender to him. So devotees commit violence only as much as is approved by the Lord. For e.g.
a) Though Pandavas being devotees had to kill people in war but that was being done as per the Lord’s wish so it was not sin.
b) Similary meat eating was allowed for Kshatriyas under certain conditions. So Vedas are not completely against meat eating.
c) Animals are sacrificed in Vedic rituals.
d) Death penalty or Capital punishment is allowed in vedic way of ruling for maintaining law and order in the society.
So above example tells us that under the guidance of scriptures, coming from the Lord himself, some violence is permitted.
Coming to vegetarian and non-vegetarian argument, scriptures say Jivo Jivasya Jivanam… (One life is food for another life). So we cannot live by eating stones and mud. So we have to eat vegetables or fruits by killing them. But Krishna says clearly in Bhagvad Gita, that one who eats food without offering him is committing sin. But as devotees offer food to Krishna first they don’t get any sin. But that also means we don’t commit unnecessary violence and offer it to Krishna. This is not acceptable and will be counted as sin. This is just like when common man kills some one on his own he gets punishment from the Government but if some policeman under the guidance of Government kills someone, he gets award and recognition. I still remember we were taught in childhood that we should not pluck flowers in evening as it would cause them pain. Nowadays we find all this missing in modern education system and lifestyle.
To conclude, atheists often raise question that how Krishna can be God as he supported violence in Kurukshetra war. So we can tell atheists to stop eating vegetables and start eating stone and mud to maintain principle of non-violence as there is violence involved in eating vegetarian food also.
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