Monday, November 02, 2009

Kill An Animal Kill A Plant: Same Sin

Girl: Why is it all right to kill any plants? How are they different from animals?

Tamala Krsna: She is asking, "What is the difference between killing a plant and eating it and killing an animal and eating it?"
Prabhupada: The same fault. Either you kill animal or plant, the same sin is there just like if you kill an uncivilized and if you kill a big man, the punishment is the same, hanging. You cannot say that "I have killed one uncivilized man." No. That you cannot do. Similarly, you cannot kill even plant. But we have to live. Therefore we can kill plant under the order of the Supreme. Just like I have already explained. Krsna said, patram puspam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati [Bg. 9.26]. Patram means plant. So Krsna wants it. So for Krsna's sake we can do that. Just like Arjuna did. Arjuna did not like to kill his brothers, but Krsna said that "This is My desire." "All right, I shall kill." This is Krsna-bhakti. When Krsna says, we can do everything, not for our personal self. Therefore in the Bhagavad-gita it is said, yajna-sistasinah santo mucyante sarva-kilbisaih. That another crude example: just like a soldier. When he is fighting by the order of the state, he is getting gold medal and killing. His business is killing. But the same man, when he comes home, if he kills one person, then he is hanged. Why? He could say that "My business is killing. I am soldier. I have killed this man." "No. This is for your account. On the battlefield you killed for the state's account; therefore you were eulogized. You were given reward." Similarly, we can kill only on the order of the Supreme. Otherwise we cannot kill even a plant. Therefore Bhagavad-gita says, yajna-sistasinah santo mucyante sarva-kilbisaih. Yajna means for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord, whatever you do, you are not implicated with sinful activities. And bhunjate te tv agham papa ye pacanty atma-karanat [Bg. 3.13]. And a person who is doing on his own capacity, he is simply acquiring sinful resultant action. So the conclusion is: even a plant you cannot kill, what to speak of bigger animals. If one thinks that "I am killing only plants; therefore I am very pious, vegetarian," no. There is no question of vegetarian, nonvegetarian. They are equally sinful. Only those who are taking prasadam [food offered to Krishna], they are free from sinful activities. Yajna-sistasinah santo mucyante sarva-kilbisaih. All right, thank you...

[Conversation with Srila Prabhupada, Sunday Feast Lecture—Atlanta, March 2, 1975]

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