Prabhupāda: Parīkṣit Mahārāja. He said that God consciousness, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, cannot be understood by the animal killer. Vinā paśughnāt (SB 10.1.4). Nivṛtta-tarṣair upagīyamānāt. You'll find those who are animal killers, the so-called Christians and Mohammedans, they cannot understand. They (are) simply fanatics. Cannot understand what is soul, what is God. They have got some theories and they are thinking we are religionists. What is sin, what is pious activities, these things are not understood by them because they are animal killers. It is not possible. Therefore Lord Buddha propagated ahiṁsā. Ahiṁsā. Because he saw the whole human race is going to hell by this animal killing. "Let me stop them so that they may, in future, they may become sober." Sadaya-hṛdaya darśita: Two sides. First of all he was very much compassionate, that poor animals, they are being killed. And another side, he saw "The whole human race is going to hell. So let me do something." Therefore he had to deny the existence of the soul because their brain will not tolerate such things. Therefore he did not say anything about the soul or God. He said that "You stop animal killing." If I pinch you, you feel pain. So why should you give pain to others? Never mind he has no soul; that's all right. He did not talk anything about soul. So these people say the animals have no soul. But that's all right, but he's feeling pain when you are killing the animal. So you also feel pain. So why should you give pain to others? That is Lord Buddha's theory. Sadaya-hṛdaya darśita-paśu-ghātam. Nindasi yajña-vidher ahaha śruti-jātam. He denied that: "I don't accept Vedas." Because in the Vedas there is sometimes recommendation, not for killing, but for giving rejuvenation to an animal. But killing, in that sense, is there for sacrifice. But Lord Buddha did not accept even animal killing in sacrifice. Therefore, nindasi. Nindasi means he was criticizing. Nindasi yajña-vidher ahaha śruti-jātaṁ sadaya-hṛdaya darśita. Why? He was so kind and compassionate. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. God is very kind, very compassionate. He does not like. But when there is necessity, He can kill. But His killing and our killing is different. He's all good. Anyone killed by Kṛṣṇa, he immediately gets salvation. So these thing are there.
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Buddha and animal sacrifice
- 1 Bhagavad-gita As It Is
- 2 Srimad-Bhagavatam
- 3 Lectures
- 4 Conversations and Morning Walks
Bhagavad-gita As It Is
BG Chapters 1 - 6
The Vedic principles push one towards complete surrender unto Him; and whenever such principles are disturbed by the demoniac, the Lord appears. From the Bhāgavatam we understand that Lord Buddha is the incarnation of Kṛṣṇa who appeared when materialism was rampant and materialists were using the pretext of the authority of the Vedas. Although there are certain restrictive rules and regulations regarding animal sacrifice for particular purposes in the Vedas, people of demonic tendency still took to animal sacrifice without reference to the Vedic principles. Lord Buddha appeared to stop this nonsense and to establish the Vedic principles of nonviolence. Therefore each and every avatāra, or incarnation of the Lord, has a particular mission, and they are all described in the revealed scriptures. No one should be accepted as an avatāra unless he is referred to by scriptures. It is not a fact that the Lord appears only on Indian soil. He can manifest Himself anywhere and everywhere, and whenever He desires to appear. In each and every incarnation, He speaks as much about religion as can be understood by the particular people under their particular circumstances. But the mission is the same—to lead people to God consciousness and obedience to the principles of religion.
SB Canto 1
Lord Buddha, a powerful incarnation of the Personality of Godhead, appeared in the province of Gayā (Bihar) as the son of Añjanā, and he preached his own conception of nonviolence and deprecated even the animal sacrifices sanctioned in the Vedas. At the time when Lord Buddha appeared, the people in general were atheistic and preferred animal flesh to anything else. On the plea of Vedic sacrifice, every place was practically turned into a slaughterhouse, and animal-killing was indulged in unrestrictedly. Lord Buddha preached nonviolence, taking pity on the poor animals. He preached that he did not believe in the tenets of the Vedas and stressed the adverse psychological effects incurred by animal-killing. Less intelligent men of the age of Kali, who had no faith in God, followed his principle, and for the time being they were trained in moral discipline and nonviolence, the preliminary steps for proceeding further on the path of God realization. He deluded the atheists because such atheists who followed his principles did not believe in God, but they kept their absolute faith in Lord Buddha, who himself was the incarnation of God. Thus the faithless people were made to believe in God in the form of Lord Buddha. That was the mercy of Lord Buddha: he made the faithless faithful to him.
Mahārāja Parīkṣit said that only the animal-killer cannot relish the transcendental message of the Supreme Lord. Therefore if people are to be educated to the path of Godhead, they must be taught first and foremost to stop the process of animal-killing as above mentioned. It is nonsensical to say that animal-killing has nothing to do with spiritual realization. By this dangerous theory many so-called sannyāsīs have sprung up by the grace of Kali-yuga who preach animal-killing under the garb of the Vedas. The subject matter has already been discussed in the conversation between Lord Caitanya and Maulana Chand Kazi Shaheb. The animal sacrifice as stated in the Vedas is different from the unrestricted animal-killing in the slaughterhouse. Because the asuras or the so-called scholars of Vedic literatures put forward the evidence of animal-killing in the Vedas, Lord Buddha superficially denied the authority of the Vedas. This rejection of the Vedas by Lord Buddha was adopted in order to save people from the vice of animal-killing as well as to save the poor animals from the slaughtering process of their big brothers who clamor for universal brotherhood, peace, justice and equity. There is no justice when there is animal-killing. Lord Buddha wanted to stop it completely, and therefore his cult of ahiṁsā was propagated not only in India but also outside the country.
The human form of life is a chance to get out of this imprisoned life, and as such the only occupation of the human being is to reestablish his lost relationship with God. Under the circumstances, one should never be encouraged in making a plan for sense enjoyment in the name of religious functions. Such diversion of the human energy results in a misguided civilization. Śrīla Vyāsadeva is the authority in Vedic explanations in the Mahābhārata, etc., and his encouragement in sense enjoyment in some form or other is a great barrier for spiritual advancement because the people in general will not agree to renounce material activities which hold them in material bondage. At a certain stage of human civilization when such material activities in the name of religion (as sacrificing animals in the name of yajña) were too much rampant, the Lord incarnated Himself as Buddha and decried the authority of the Vedas in order to stop animal sacrifice in the name of religion. This was foreseen by Nārada, and therefore he condemned such literatures. The flesh-eaters still continue to perform animal sacrifice before some demigod or goddess in the name of religion because in some of the Vedic literatures such regulated sacrifices are recommended. They are so recommended to discourage flesh-eating, but gradually the purpose of such religious activities is forgotten, and the slaughterhouse becomes prominent. This is because foolish materialistic men do not care to listen to others who are actually in a position to explain the Vedic rites.
SB Canto 4
For his own sense gratification, King Indra thought to defeat Mahārāja Pṛthu in the performance of one hundred horse sacrifices. Consequently he stole the horse and hid himself amid so many irreligious personalities, taking on the false guise of a sannyāsī. Such activities are attractive to the people in general; therefore they are dangerous. Lord Brahmā thought that instead of allowing Indra to further introduce such irreligious systems, it would be better to stop the sacrifice. A similar stance was taken by Lord Buddha when people were overly engrossed in the animal sacrifices recommended by Vedic instructions. Lord Buddha had to introduce the religion of nonviolence by contradicting the Vedic sacrificial instructions. Actually, in the sacrifices the slaughtered animals were given a new life, but people without such powers were taking advantage of such Vedic rituals and unnecessarily killing poor animals. Therefore Lord Buddha had to deny the authority of the Vedas for the time being. One should not perform sacrifices that will induce reversed orders. It is better to stop such sacrifices.
The great sage Nārada Muni turned toward another topic—the history of King Purañjana. This is nothing but the history of King Prācīnabarhiṣat told in a different way. In other words, this is an allegorical presentation. The word purañjana means "one who enjoys in a body." This is clearly explained in the next few chapters. Because a person entangled in material activities wants to hear stories of material activities, Nārada Muni turned to the topics of King Purañjana, who is none other than King Prācīnabarhiṣat. Nārada Muni did not directly deprecate the value of performing sacrifices in which animals are sacrificed. Lord Buddha, however, directly rejected all animal sacrifice. Śrīla Jayadeva Gosvāmī has stated: nindasi yajña-vidher ahaha śruti-jātam. The word śruti jātam indicates that in the Vedas animal sacrifice is recommended, but Lord Buddha directly denied Vedic authority in order to stop animal sacrifice. Consequently Lord Buddha is not accepted by the followers of the Vedas. Because he does not accept the authority of the Vedas, Lord Buddha is depicted as an agnostic or atheist. The great sage Nārada cannot decry the authority of the Vedas, but he wanted to indicate to King Prācīnabarhiṣat that the path of karma-kāṇḍa is very difficult and risky.
The devotees are pained to see the hunting and killing of animals in the forest, the wholesale slaughter of animals in the slaughterhouses, and the exploitation of young girls in brothels that function under different names as clubs and societies. Being very much compassionate upon the killing of animals in sacrifice, the great sage Nārada began his instructions to King Prācīnabarhiṣat. In these instructions, Nārada Muni explained that devotees like him are very much afflicted by all the killing that goes on in human society. Not only are saintly persons afflicted by this killing, but even God Himself is afflicted and therefore comes down in the incarnation of Lord Buddha. Jayadeva Gosvāmī therefore sings: sadaya-hṛdaya-darśita-paśu-ghātam. Simply to stop the killing of animals, Lord Buddha compassionately appeared. Some rascals put forward the theory that an animal has no soul or is something like dead stone. In this way they rationalize that there is no sin in animal-killing. Actually animals are not dead stone, but the killers of animals are stonehearted. Consequently no reason or philosophy appeals to them. They continue keeping slaughterhouses and killing animals in the forest. The conclusion is that one who does not care for the instructions of saintly persons like Nārada and his disciplic succession surely falls into the category of naṣṭa-prajña and thus goes to hell.
Śrīla Nārada Muni chastised Vyāsadeva for compiling so many Vedic supplementary scriptures, which are all intended for guiding the people in general. Nārada Muni condemned these scriptures because they do not mention direct devotional service. Under Nārada's instructions, direct worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as described in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, was set forth by Vyāsadeva. The conclusion is that neither the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, nor His devotee ever sanctions animal-killing in the name of religion. Indeed, Kṛṣṇa incarnated Himself as Lord Buddha to put an end to animal-killing in the name of religion. Animal sacrifice under the name of religion is conducted by the influence of tamo-guṇa (the mode of ignorance), as indicated in the Eighteenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā (18.31-32):
- yayā dharmam adharmaṁ ca
- kāryaṁ cākāryam eva ca
- ayathāvat prajānāti
- buddhiḥ sā pārtha rājasī
- adharmaṁ dharmam iti yā
- manyate tamasāvṛtā
- sarvārthān viparītāṁś ca
- buddhiḥ sā pārtha tāmasī
"That understanding which cannot distinguish between the religious way of life and the irreligious, between action that should be done and action that should not be done—that imperfect understanding, O son of Pṛthā, is in the mode of passion. That understanding which considers irreligion to be religion and religion to be irreligion, under the spell of illusion and darkness, and strives always in the wrong direction, O Pārtha, is in the mode of ignorance."
SB Canto 10.1 to 10.13
The word paśu-ghnāt is important in this connection. paśu-ghna means "butcher." Persons fond of performing ritualistic ceremonies for elevation to the higher planetary systems must offer sacrifices (yajñas) by killing animals. Lord Buddhadeva therefore rejected the authority of the Vedas because his mission was to stop animal sacrifices, which are recommended in Vedic ritualistic ceremonies.
- nindasi yajña-vidher ahaha śruti-jātaṁ
- sa-daya-hṛdaya darśita-paśu-ghātaṁ
- keśava dhṛta-buddha-śarīra jaya jagadīśa hare
Even though animal sacrifices are sanctioned in Vedic ceremonies, men who kill animals for such ceremonies are considered butchers. Butchers cannot be interested in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, for they are already materially allured. Their only interest lies in developing comforts for the temporary body.
- vyavasāyātmikā buddhiḥ
- samādhau na vidhīyate
"In the minds of those who are too attached to sense enjoyment and material opulence, and who are bewildered by such things, the resolute determination of devotional service to the Supreme Lord does not take place." (BG 2.44) Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura says:
manuṣya-janama pāiyā, rādhā-kṛṣṇa nā bhajiyā,
- jāniyā śuniyā viṣa khāinu
Anyone who is not Kṛṣṇa conscious and who therefore does not engage in the service of the Lord is also paśu-ghna, for he is willingly drinking poison. Such a person cannot be interested in kṛṣṇa-kathā because he still has a desire for material sense gratification; he is not nivṛtta-tṛṣṇa. As it is said, traivargikās te puruṣā vimukhā hari-medhasaḥ. Those interested in trivarga—that is, in dharma, artha and kāma—are religious for the sake of achieving a material position with which to gain better facilities for sense gratification. Such persons are killing themselves by willingly keeping themselves in the cycle of birth and death. They cannot be interested in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures
In India there is a province called Bihar. In that province there is a district Gayā. In that district Lord Buddha appeared. Lord appeared in Bihar province. He was kṣatriya, He was Hindu, and He propagated this religion of nonviolence, Buddhism.
His specific propaganda was to stop animal killing. So animal killing is recommended in the Vedic literature. Therefore people wanted to give him Vedic evidences that "In the Vedic literature animal sacrifice is recommended under certain condition. So how do you preach? You are Hindu and you are followers of Vedas. Why you are preaching nonviolence?" Therefore he had to give up Hindu religion. He said that "I do not care for your Vedas. It is my propaganda to stop animal killing. So if you follow me, then you must stop animal killing." Ahiṁsā paramo dharmaḥ. So later on, of course, Lord Buddha was patronized by a great emperor, Aśoka, and therefore practically all Indian population turned to be Buddhist, with few exceptions.
There are two classes of philosopher in India. One is impersonalist and the other is personalist. So we, so far we are concerned, we are personalist, and Śaṅkarācārya is impersonalist. Now, although we are two classes, impersonalist and personalist, we take Veda as the medium of knowledge. We may give different interpretations. That is another thing. But either party of Śaṅkarācārya or the party of Vaiṣṇava and ācāryas, they take the Vedānta-sūtra, the Vedānta philosophy, as the medium.
But Lord Buddha, although we accept him as the incarnation of God and he was born in India and he propagated his philosophy from India, but because he denied to accept the Vedic principle, therefore he is known as atheist, because he, Buddha, did not accept the Vedic principles. He denied. And there was reason why he did not. That is a secret thing. That secret—because his whole philosophy was to stop animal killing, animal killing. Now, in the Vedic scripture, you will find, animal sacrifice is recommended. So he wanted to preach, "Stop animal killing." Now, if there is evidence from the Vedas that animal can be killed under certain circumstances, then his whole preaching becomes topsy-turvied. So he was obliged to deny the authority of the Vedas. And because he did not accept the authority of the Vedas, the Vedantists and the followers of Vedas, they called the Buddhist philosophy as atheism. This is the explanation.
So one is accepted as atheist who does not believe in the tenets of the Vedas. That is the sum and substance of atheism. It may be a sound philosophy or whatever it may be, but atheism, one who does not believe in the authority of the Vedas, they are called atheist.
It is very difficult to secure butter for eating purposes, and who is going to sacrifice? That is not possible. Although that is mentioned in the different scriptures, that sacrifice should be performed in that way, but it is impractical. It is not possible. So such sacrifices as recommended in the scriptures by offering clarified butter and grains, or sacrificing some animal... There are so many.
Now, this sacrifice of animals was protested by Lord Buddha. He deviated from the Hindu religion. Lord Buddha was born in Hindu family. He was kṣatriya. He was a king's son. But he wanted to preach nonviolence. He wanted to preach completely, to stop completely animal killing. But because in the Vedic... Of course, I have already explained that sacrifice of animals, as stated in the Vedas, they are not for killing. They are meant for giving a new life to the animal. By Vedic mantra... The Vedic mantra are so powerful that that was a test how a dead animal can get, regain new body. An old animal is sacrificed and it gets a new youthful life. That was the test. It was not meant for killing. Don't misunderstand that sacrifice. But that is mentioned in the Vedas. So people misused that sacrifice means... That sacrifice... They wanted to give evidence from Vedas, "So here is... Animal sacrifice is mentioned in the Vedas. Why we shall stop?" So Lord Buddha started his movement, completely stopping this animal sacrifice. But he knew that "These foolish men will come and give me evidence that 'Here in the Vedas animal sacrifice is recommended. Why you are preaching? Why you are preaching stoppage of animal killing?' " Therefore he completely rejected Vedas. He said that "I don't accept Vedas."
That is stated in a very nice verse about Lord Buddha by a Vaiṣṇava poet.
- nindasi yajña-vidher ahaha śruti-jātaṁ
- sadaya-hṛdaya darśita-paśu-ghātam
- keśava dhṛta-buddha-śarīra jaya jagadīśa hare
It is very nicely composed. The idea is that the poet is praying Lord Buddha. And Lord Buddha is also mentioned in Bhāgavatam as incarnation of Kṛṣṇa. So he is praying Lord Buddha, "My dear Lord, you have assumed now the buddha-śarīra, body, just to, by taking compassion on the poor animals, and therefore you are also deprecating the animal sacrifices recommended in the Vedas."
So because Lord Buddha did not accept... He had to do that because his mission was to stop animal sacrifice and animal killing. "Now if these foolish persons, without knowing the Vedic purpose, if they present, 'Oh, here it is recommended in the Vedas,' then there will be disturbance." So he had to discard, he had to go out of the Vedic rules and regulation, and he preached his own philosophy.
So therefore sacrifice, any kind of sacrifice, that sacrifice is now consolidated in this sacrifice of, I mean to, sacrificing your time and sitting down here and chanting
- Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare
- Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare
(My dear Lord, and the spiritual energy of the Lord, kindly engage me in Your service. I am now embarrassed with this material service. Please engage me in Your service.)
This is the best kind of sacrifice recommended by Lord Caitanya for this age.
So Lord Buddha appeared at a time where people were too much addicted to animal killing. Still it is going on. Keśava dhṛta-buddha-śarīra, jaya jagadīśa hare. Sadaya-hṛdaya darśita-paśu-ghātam. Paśu-ghātam. Any religion where paśu-ghātam is there, that is not religion. That is not religion. That is simply barbarianism, under the name of religion. So God Himself becomes so much disturbed that these rascals are simply killing. At that time, of course, the Buddha religion was not there. The so-called followers of the Vedic religion. In the Vedas there are sanction for killing animal in a special sacrifice, but people took it as general, and they began to kill animals like anything, under the protection of Veda. Therefore when Lord Buddha began to preach his philosophy, ahiṁsā, nonviolence, he did not accept the authority of Vedas. Because people will misuse it. Therefore he said that "I don't care for your Vedas." Just like Lord Jesus Christ rebelled against the whole Testament. He formulated his own testament, New Testament. Similarly, Lord Buddha also, he rejected Vedas and He presented his own philosophy: ahiṁsā, nonviolence. Ahiṁsā paramo dharmaḥ. Because he was very kind upon on the poor animals. Sadaya-hṛdaya darśita-paśu-ghātam. Paśu-ghātam means animal killing. Nindasi yajña-vidher ahaha śruti-jātam. Śruti-jātam. Śruti means Veda. So in the Vedas, although there are, in particular cases, there are animal sacrifice... That is also very restricted. But we cannot say that there is no animal sacrifice. There is in some cases. So Lord Buddha, nindasi, He decried, "No, I don't accept your Vedas." Therefore Buddha religion is different from Vedic religion, because he rejected Vedas. And the Vedic followers, because he rejected Vedic principles, Vedic followers said that he, "You are nāstika." Nāstika means unbeliever.
So the point is that although in the Vedic scripture there is recommendation that animal sacrifice allowed, but that is not meant for killing. That is giving a new life. So when this animal sacrifice was going on simply for eating, simply for eating... Just like in a particular mission they say that "We are devotees of goddess Kālī." Their real mission is to eat meat. Therefore they have become devotees of goddess Kālī. But actually, these sacrifices were not meant, as explained by Caitanya Mahāprabhu, for killing the animals. That was to test the power, the strength, of the Vedic mantras. So Lord Buddha's movement was therefore started... When people began to eat meat like anything on the plea of Vedic sacrifice, so Lord Buddha, at that time—Lord Buddha means he's also incarnation of Kṛṣṇa—he appeared to stop this animal killing. That is the prayer of Lord Buddha we sing:
- nindasi yajña-vidher ahaha śruti-jātaṁ
- sadaya-hṛdaya darśita-paśu-ghātam
- keśava dhṛta-buddha-śarīra jaya jagadīśa hare
Similarly, there is prayer for Lord Buddha also. The, that prayer is: nindasi yajña-vidher ahaha śruti-jātam, "Although in the Vedic literature there is recommendation for animal sacrifice, you are forbidding, 'No, this should not be done.' " Therefore Buddhism is not Vedic religion, because he was against this Vedic sacrifice. Sadaya-hṛdaya darśi... His main business was to stop this animal killing, but people wanted to give evidence from the Vedas. Therefore he said, "I don't care for your Vedas." Veda nā māniyā bauddha haila nāstika. Therefore Śaṅkarācārya came, and he drove away the Buddhists from the land of India. That's a long history.
An avatāra comes to do some particular work. Just like Lord Rāmacandra came to punish Rāvaṇa. That is avatāra. And there are many avatāras, they are mentioned in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: Matsya-avatāra, Vāmana-avatāra, Kūrma-avatāra, and Varāha-avatāra, Vāmana-avatāra, Nṛsiṁha-avatāra, and Paraśurāma-avatāra, Balarāma-avatāra, Buddha-avatāra. Buddha is also avatāra. Keśava dhṛta-buddha-śarīra jaya jagadīśa hare. We do not agree with Buddha philosophy. Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, veda nā māniyā bauddha haya ta' nāstika. Buddha philosophy is atheism: "There is no God." He says "There is no God." So that is atheism. And especially... That there is no God, there is God—that is not the point. His point was to stop the animal-killing. Sadaya-hṛdaya darśita-paśu-ghātam. Kṛṣṇa became very, very, sympathetic with the poor animals. "Oh, in the name of yajña, these rascals, rogues, are killing so many animals." Therefore He came as Buddha-avatāra. Sadaya-hṛdaya darśita-paśu-ghātam. Keśava dhṛta-buddha-śarīra jaya jagadīśa hare. So Vaiṣṇava knows that "Here is Lord Buddha. He's Kṛṣṇa's avatāra," although we don't take his philosophy, because Buddha refused to accept Vedic authority. Nindasi yajña-vidher ahaha śruti-jātam. Śruti means Veda. Śruti-jātam. In the śruti, in the Vedas, there is mention of paśu sacrifice, animal sacrifice, there is. So they began to argue with Lord Buddha that "You are stopping yajña-vidhi, stopping animal-killing in the yajña. This is mentioned in the Vedas." But Lord Buddha knew, "These rascals simply talking of Vedas, he does not know what is Vedas. But what is the use of arguing?" Therefore he has to say, "I don't care for your Vedas. Stop animal killing." So nindasi yajña-vidheḥ. Yajña-vidhi, he wanted to stop. No more animal sacrifice in the yajña. Therefore he is denying the authority of Vedas. Nindasi yajña-vidher ahaha śruti-jātam. We cannot violate which is mentioned in the... Therefore he was taken... But he's avatāra. It was needed at that time.
Caitanya Mahāprabhu has explained what is nāstikyam and what is āstikyam. According to Vedic understanding, anyone who does not believe in the Vedas, he's called nāstika. Just like Buddha philosophy. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, veda nā māniyā bauddha haila nāstika. Veda... Lord Buddha, he defied Vedic authority. His mission was different. He wanted to stop animal killing. Sadaya-hṛdaya darśita-paśu-ghātam. The Supreme Lord became so much afflicted by terribly people being attached to killing animals... As they are now doing also. So He was compassionate to stop animal killing in the so-called sacrifice. But in the Vedic sacrifices, in some cases, there is recommendation of animal killing. That animal killing does not mean killing the animal and eat. No. It was a test. An old animal was put into the sacrificial fire and the animal would come in new body, young. That is animal... But to give, to test the Vedic mantra, whether it is properly chanted. Then the result will be that if you put one old body it will come new body. So such kind of brāhmaṇa is not available in this age, Kali-yuga, yājñika-brāhmaṇa. They, by mantras, they could, they would ignite fire. Fire was not required matches. By mantra. Simply by mantra, the old body of an animal will turn to be young.
But because the yājñika-brāhmaṇas cannot do that... There is no yajña. Not possible. Therefore this kind of yajñas are prohibited in this Kali-yuga. In the Kali-yuga the only one yajña is this saṅkīrtanam. Yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyair yajanti hi su-medhasaḥ (SB 11.5.32).
But the Bhāgavata says that although in the Buddha religion there is no, I mean to say, mention of worshiping God, but Lord Buddha is himself incarnation of God, and he induced his followers to worship him. Therefore in the Bhāgavata it is said that he cheated the atheists. The atheists were against God. He appeared before them. He said, "Yes, you are right. You don't worship God. You worship me." And he is incarnation of God. Keśava dhṛta-buddha-śarīra jaya jagadīśa hare. He is accepted in the Vedic literature as incarnation of God, but he says that "There is no God. You worship me. You follow me," because his principle was to stop animal-killing. Sadaya-hṛdaya darśita-paśu-ghātam. God became very much compassionate. When people were too much addicted in killing animals unnecessarily, He appeared as Lord Buddha. Sadaya-hṛdaya darśita-paśu-ghātam. Paśu-ghātam. The paśu-ghātam means they were being implicated in innumerable sinful activities by this process. Therefore God wanted to... Yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir bhavati (BG 4.7). In the name of religion, they were killing so many animals. Therefore to stop this nonsense, he appeared. And he declined to accept the Vedic principles because there was no other way to stop. If he would have accepted Vedic principles, then these animal-killers would have shown him evidences that in the Vedas there is mention of animal-killing in the sacrifice. But he wanted to stop completely animal-killing; so therefore he adopted a new type of religion. But those who were followers of Vedic religion, they did not accept because that is not religion because it is against the Vedas. These are the principles.
Vedāśraya nāstika-vāda bauddha ke adhika. Caitanya Mahāprabhu has said that veda nā māniyā bauddha haila nāstika: "Persons who do not agree with the Vedic authority..." He called them nāstika. As the Mussulman, they say one who does not believe in the Koran, he is kafir, and Christian, one who do not believe in the Bible, they are called heathens, similarly, according to our Vedic civilization, anyone who does not accept the authority of Vedas, he is called atheist. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu says that veda nā māniyā bauddha haila nāstika. Buddha philosophy, they do not accept the authority of Vedas, although Lord Buddha is accepted as incarnation of Kṛṣṇa. Keśava dhṛta-buddha-śarīra jaya jagadīśa hare. But for the time being, he did not accept the authority of Veda. Nindasi yajña-vidher ahaha śruti-jātam. Lord Buddha was preaching ahiṁsā, so according to Vedic rituals there is prescription sometimes—not always—killing of animals. So when Lord Buddha was preaching ahiṁsā, "No more animal killing," the so-called Vedantists and Vedic followers, they said, "Why you are preaching in that way? We have got in the Vedas many animal sacrifice is prescribed there, paśu-bali." So Lord Buddha, what he will reply to these foolish persons what was his mission? He said, "I don't care for your Vedas." Therefore nindasi. Nindasi yajña-vidher ahaha śruti-jātam: "Although it is Vedic injunction, my Lord, you have decried." Means there is no way. Why? Sadaya-hṛdaya-darśita-paśu-ghātam: "You are so kind, you wanted to stop this poor animal killing: 'Never mind. For the time being stop Vedic authority.' "
So these things can be understood by the devotees. Although he decried Vedic authority, still, he is worshiped. Keśava dhṛta-buddha-śarīra jaya jagadīśa. This is the understanding of the devotees. They know everything perfectly well, what is what.
Sri Isopanisad Lectures
So Lord Buddha, he cheated the demons. Why he cheated? Sadaya-hṛdaya darśita-paśu-ghātam. He was very compassionate. God is always sympathetic to all living entities because everyone is His son. So these rascals were killing unrestrictedly, simply animal-killing... And if you say, "Oh, why you are animal-killing?" they will immediately say, "Oh, it is in the Vedas: paśavo vadhāya sṛṣṭa." The animal killing is there in the Vedas, but what the purpose? That is to test the Vedic mantra. An animal will be put into the fire, and by Vedic mantra he'll be rejuvenated. That is sacrifice, animal sacrifice. Not that for eating purpose. Therefore in this age of Kali, Caitanya Mahāprabhu has forbidden any kind of yajña because there is no, I mean to say, expert brāhmaṇa who can chant the mantras and make experiment of the Vedic mantras that "Here is coming out." That is... Before performing yajña, how the mantra is potent, that was tested by sacrificing animal and again giving new life. Then it is to be understood that the priests who were chanting that mantra, that is right. That was a test. Not for animal-killing. But these rascals, for eating animals they cited, "Here, there is animal-killing."
And the next incarnation is Lord Buddha. Lord Buddha, He decried the Vedic principles. Therefore He is calculated as atheist. Anyone who does not agree with the Vedic principles, he is considered as atheist. Just like one who does not believe in the Bible, they are called heathens, similarly, those who do not accept the Vedic principles, they are called atheists. So Lord Buddha although incarnation of Kṛṣṇa, He said that "I do not believe in Vedas." What was the reason? The reason was to save the poor animals. At that time people were sacrificing the poor animals under the plea of Vedic sacrifice. So demonic persons, they want to do something under the protection of authority. Just like a big lawyer takes the protection of the lawbook and he makes the law unlawful. Similarly, the demons are so intelligent that they take advantage of scriptural injunction and do all nonsense. So these things were going on. In the name of Vedic sacrifice, they were killing animals like anything. So Lord became very much compassionate these poor animals, and He appeared as Lord Buddha, and His philosophy was nonviolence. His philosophy was atheist because He said that "There is no God. This combination of matter is a manifestation, and you dismantle the material elements, there will be void and there will be no sense of pleasure and pain. That is the nirvāṇa, ultimate goal of life." That was His philosophy. But actually His mission was to stop animal killing, to stop the men from so much sinful activities. So Lord Buddha is also prayed herewith. So people will be surprised that Lord Buddha is designated as atheist and still the Vaiṣṇavas, they are offering their respectful prayers to Lord Viṣṇu (Buddha). Why? Because the Vaiṣṇava knows how the God is acting for His different purposes. Others, they do not know.
So Lord Buddha, he, of course, did not preach directly God consciousness, but we accept him as the incarnation of God. Keśava dhṛta-buddha-śarīra jaya jagadīśa hare. He had to preach amongst the atheist class of men who were too much addicted with animal slaughter and he wanted to stop animal slaughter. That was his main business. So I've several times explained. Therefore he rejected Vedic authority. Because in the Vedic authority there is recommendation, under certain condition, of animal sacrifice. But he wanted to stop completely animal sacrifice. Therefore superficially he said, he denied the authority of Vedic ritual. Because if he accepted Vedic rituals then he could not preach this ahiṁsā paramo dharma. So that is a great story. Anyway we accept, we Vaiṣṇavas, we accept Lord Buddha as incarnation. That is mentioned in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. He is incarnation of Kṛṣṇa. Keśava dhṛta-buddha-śarīra. So indirectly the Buddhists are worshiping God. They are denying, there is no existence of God but they are accepting the incarnation of God.
Āstikyam means to believe firmly in the scriptures. Just like Bhagavad-gītā we are studying, or Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. We should firmly believe what Kṛṣṇa says, not interpretation. This is called āstikyam. And nāstikyam means not firm belief, atheism. Just like Lord Buddha. Lord Buddha simply said that "I don't believe in the Vedas." Therefore he is immediately calculated as atheist, nāstikyam. Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, veda nā māniyā bauddha haila nāstika: "The followers of Buddha, they did not accept Vedic, I mean to say, direction; therefore they are nāstika." What is that Vedic direction? In the Dāsavatāra-stotra by Jayadeva Gosvāmī, he says, nindasi yajña-vidher ahaha śruti-jātam. In the śruti, in the Vedas, there is prescription of sacrifice, and in some of the sacrifice there is recommendation for sacrifice of some animals, goats. So that is... But Lord Buddha says, "No. I want to introduce nonviolence, no animal killing. So even there is Veda, prescription, I don't accept Vedas." Therefore he became nāstika. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu says that veda nā māniyā bauddha haila nāstika: "Because Lord Buddha did not accept the authority of the Veda, therefore he was considered nāstika, atheist." He was Indian. He was Hindu. His forefathers were kṣatriyas, Vedic. He revolted. So therefore he was called nāstika. But a brāhmaṇa should not be nāstika; he should be āstik. Āstikyam: "He must believe in the scriptural injunction." These are brahminical qualifications.
So about Lord Buddha we have got a nice prayer:
- nindasi yajña-vidher ahaha śruti-jātaṁ
- sadaya-hṛdaya darśita-paśu-ghātam
- keśava-dhṛta-buddha-śarīra jaya jagadīśa hare
This song was sung by a great Vaiṣṇava poet, Jayadeva Gosvāmī. So the purport of this verse, Sanskrit verse, is keśava-dhṛta-buddha-śarīra. "My dear Kṛṣṇa"—Keśava means Kṛṣṇa—"You have assumed the form of Lord Buddha. And what is Your function? Nindasi yajña-vidher ahaha śruti-jātam." In the Vedic literature there are numerous prescription of sacrifice. And in some of the sacrifices animal sacrifice is also recommended. So that animal sacrifice does not mean to kill the animal. Animal sacrifice means to prove the strength of Vedic hymns so that one old animal is put into the fire and he's given again a new life, renewed life, just to show the potency of the hymns, Vedic hymns. But in this age, Kali-yuga, those sacrifices are forbidden. So Lord Buddha, when he saw that people are sacrificing animals in the name of religious rituals without any pity for them, at that time Lord Buddha appeared. Therefore it is stated, sadaya-hṛdaya-darśita-paśu-ghātam: "My dear Lord, You have appeared as Lord Buddha, just being compassionate to the poor animals." Lord Buddha preached ahiṁsā paramo dharmaḥ: "The best religious principle is to become nonviolent." He preached this philosophy, that "If somebody hurts you, you feel pain, then why should you kill other animal and put it into painful condition? So don't do these sinful activities." That was his main principle of philosophy that he preached.
Buddha śarīra is also, keśava dhṛta buddha śarīra, to give protection to the poor animals. Lord Buddha appeared to stop animal-killing. Sadaya-hṛdaya-darśita-paśu-ghātam, nindasi yajña-vidher ahaha śruti-jātaṁ. Lord Buddha, he declined to accept Vedic authority. Why? Because in the Vedas also there is sanction sometimes in yajña, animal sacrifice. But he wanted to stop animal sacrifice, animal-killing. Therefore he denied the authority of Vedas. Because people will give evidence that "You are preaching no animal-killing, but in the Vedas sometimes in sacrifice the animals are sacrificed. How you can stop this?" Therefore Lord Buddha had to deny the authority of Vedas. That is described, nindasi yajña-vidher. The animal-killing is described in the Vedas, in the yajña-vidher, not in the slaughterhouse. In the Yajña-vidher. That also was decried. Nindasi yajña-vidher ahaha śruti-jātam. Because according to Vedic civilization, śruti, Veda, is the evidence. Therefore if Lord Buddha accepts the authority of Vedas, he cannot say, "Stop animal-killing." Then he said, "No. I do not follow Vedic principles." Therefore he is called nāstika. Anyone who defies the authority of Vedas, he is called nāstika. Sri Caitanya Mahāprabhu therefore says, veda nā māniyā bauddha haya ta' nāstika. On account of denying the authority of Vedas, the Buddhas became nāstika. Vedāśraya nāstikya-vāda bauddhake adhika. And those who are lip-sympathy vedī—"I am following Vedic principles" and doing all nonsense—they are lower than these nāstika. Lower than the nāstika. Veda nā māniyā bauddha haya ta' nāstika. So Lord Buddha appeared to stop animal-killing, ahiṁsā. He did not say anything more. His only mission was, "Let these rascals first of all stop this animal-killing, they'll understand further about spiritual advancement." Those who are animal killer, they cannot understand anything about spiritual advancement. That is not possible. Therefore this thing must be stopped first. That is Buddha philosophy.
Prabhupāda: Lord Buddha appeared at a time when people became atheistic, and especially they began to kill animals in the sacrifice in large quantity. So God, Lord Buddha, appeared, being sympathetic to the poor animals. Sadaya-hṛdaya darśita-paśu-ghātam. He was very, very much aggrieved to see the poor animals are being killed unnecessarily. So he preached the religion of nonviolence, and because the people became atheist, so Lord Buddha, just to take them under his control, he also collaborated and said, "Yes, there is no God, but you hear me." But he is incarnation of God, so it is a kind of transcendental cheating that in the beginning he said there is no God, but he is God himself, and people accepted his words or instruction. That is Buddhism. So this very word is used, sammohāya sura-dviṣām (SB 1.3.24). Sura-dviṣām, atheist class of men, are always against theist class of men. Therefore their name is that atheist means who are envious of devotees. So in order to cheat these persons who are envious of God or devotee, Lord Buddha appeared and established a system of religion on the platform of nonviolence—no more animal killing. Because those who are animal killers, they cannot understand God (indistinct). That is not possible. They may have some vague idea. So Lord Buddha wanted to stop these sinful activities, and he established the system of nonviolence.
Prabhupāda: But in India all the authorities, all personalities, unless you accept Vedas, you are called nāstika. Therefore Buddha philosophy was driven away, Caitanya Mahāprabhu veda nā māniyā bauddha haila nāstika. Simply Lord Buddha says, "I don't care for your Vedas." Lord Buddha wanted to preach nonviolence, but in the Vedic literature there is violence. There is violence. Just like Gandhi wanted to prove from Bhagavad-gītā nonviolence. Where is nonviolence there? Where is that nonviolence? Kṛṣṇa is inducing Arjuna to fight, to become violent. So how can you prove there is nonviolence? These are all nonsense. So similarly, in the Vedas there is recommendation that animals can be sacrificed in the Vedas with mantra. That... Therefore the process, to test the power of the mantra, that animal is put into the fire and the animal again comes out with a new life. That is the test. Just like you test how the microphone is working. So how the Vedic mantras are being chanted rightly, that is tested by putting... Just like in laboratory a small animal is killed. But that is killed. They cannot give life. But here, in sacrifice, aśvamedha-yajña, gomedha-yajña, there is... Gavalambham, aśvamedhaṁ gavālambham (CC Adi 17.164). The animal sacrificed, but it comes again with ill life. That is the test, how the Vedic mantra is chanted. So because there is no such qualified brāhmaṇa, therefore in this age all kinds of sacrifices stopped.
Conversations and Morning Walks
1972 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: So Lord Buddha appeared to stop animal killing. Keśava dhṛta-buddha-śarīra jaya jagadīśa hare. This is Sanskrit. Lord Kṛṣṇa, Keśava, He was very much compassionate on the poor animals. "And now you have appeared as Lord Buddha," buddha-śarīra, "taking the body of Lord Buddha." Sadaya-hṛdaya darśita-paśu-ghātam. He was so much compassionate by seeing unnecessarily animal sacrifice. When there was too much animal sacrifice in India, Lord Buddha appeared. And in the Vedas there is recommendation for animal sacrifice in some sacrificial ceremony, not ordinarily. And that sacrifice is meant for testing the power of chanting mantra. An animal would be put into the fire, and it would come again with renewed life. In this way, there is recommendation in the Vedas that some animals... But people misunderstood it. People began to sacrifice, rather, slaughter. At that time Lord Buddha appeared. So we worship Lord Buddha as Kṛṣṇa.
Prabhupāda: You are all Buddhists?
Dai Nippon representative: I am Buddhist.
Prabhupāda: So Buddhist religion I think animal sacrifice is prohibited, or what? Animal killing? What your religion says about animal killing. Stop or not?
Dai Nippon representative: In Buddhism, in my religion, originally it was, prohibited, but now, (laughs) somewhat changed.
Prabhupāda: So you come to again to the original. Yes. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness, we are teaching no animal killing, no illicit sex, no gambling, no intoxication. All my students, they are strictly following these principles all over the world.
Martin: Can a true devotee come face-to-face with God through the teachings of Buddha, the teachings of Christ?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Teachings of Christ, teaching of Buddha, they are meant for a particular type of men. Generally it is meant for everyone, but specifically for a particular type of men. Just like Lord Buddha, he preached ahiṁsā. They were a particular type of men. Lord Jesus Christ also preached to a particular type of men. "Thou shall not kill." That means they were killing. Is it not? If I say, "Thou shall not steal," that means you are thief, you are stealing. So a kind of preaching among the thieves and a kind of teaching among the philosophers must be different. That is the difference. Lord Buddha is Kṛṣṇa, Lord Jesus Christ was Kṛṣṇa incarnation, but they were preaching to a different type of people. Therefore you'll find difference of Lord Jesus Christ teaching, Buddha's teaching, Kṛṣṇa's teaching. Kṛṣṇa's teaching also is there, which is also Buddha's teaching. But more than that, because the persons amongst whom He was teaching, they were far, far elevated than the thieves and the rogues. That is the difference. Just like I am pushing on this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, I am doing so many things which sometimes my Godbrothers out of envy criticize. But I know what is the circumstances how to do it. They do not know it. I know my business. So that is their fault. Their own buddhi business, then simply criticize "How he is acting." Find out some fault. Just like Lord Buddha was criticized by the Vedic brāhmaṇas, "Oh, you are stopping animal sacrifice? It is already in the Vedas. Because it is sacrifice, the animal is also sacrificed, so how you can stop animal sacrifice?" But Lord Buddha, nindasi yajña-vidher ahaha śruti-jātam. Śruti-jātam. In the Vedas there is recommendation for animal sacrifice, but he began to deride. So his business was to deride the Vedic principles, that "I do not care for these Vedas." Therefore Buddha's religion was not accepted in India. He criticized. He criticized the Vedic principles. In the Vedic principles there is recommendation for animal sacrifice, and he criticized, "This is not good. Don't do this." Therefore it is criticism. Vedic injunction should be accepted as it is. You cannot criticize. Then there is no Vedic authority. So therefore he defied Vedic authorities. As such, he was not accepted, strictly followers of the Vedas. But he has got a different purpose. The ordinary man cannot understand. But one who is devotee, he knows that why he has done this. Therefore they offer their obeisances, keśava dhṛta-buddha-śarīra jaya jagadīśa hare. A devotee does not accept the philosophy of Buddha but accepts him as incarnation of Lord Kṛṣṇa and offers obeisances. This is our position. We offer obeisances to Lord Buddha as incarnation of Kṛṣṇa, keśava dhṛta-buddha-śarīra jaya jagadīśa hare. This is our study of knowledge.
1973 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: Just like at the present moment Christians are protesting why there should not be abortion. So they wanted to degraded. So the Indian culture did not allow, so the separate type of religion came out. This is the (indistinct). They wanted, "Why there should not be meat-eating?" But Indian culture would not allow, so they become Mohammedans, they become Christians, like this. Even in India all the..., what are these Mohammedans? The Mohammedans, they are lower class men, less than śūdra. But Hindus, higher class, they would not touch it. But when the Mohammedans, that we will be on equal right, they, there is a (indistinct).
Devotee (1): So there's no spiritual motive.
Prabhupāda: Later on it became political, because as soon as the spiritual power, culture become diminished, the whole thing became material. So people wanted material advantage, so separated from Vedic culture. Just like Buddhists. Buddhism was a Hindu culture. But Lord Buddha wanted to stop animal sacrifice. In the Vedas, animal sacrifice is recommended under certain conditions. He even denied that, "No that also cannot be done." So therefore they are separate from Vedic culture.
1974 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prof. Regamay: Now there are some schools of Buddhists who are worshiping Buddha like a God.
Prabhupāda: Yes, He is God. He is God. They don't accept Buddha as incarnation of God. But from Vedas we understand that He is incarnation of God.
Prof. Regamay: But he brought to the world the ahiṁsā, but I think ahiṁsā appears already in the Bhagavad-gītā. But there was ahiṁsā also by the Jains.
Prabhupāda: Ahiṁsā, because at that time people were killing animals in the name of yajña. Just like in the Christian world the order is not to kill, but still, they are killing. So this misuse of scriptural injunction is always going on. A class of men there are who abuse the scriptural injunctions and go on with their own motive. So there was a period when people, under the protection of Vedas... Because Vedas, animal sacrifice is recommended for certain purpose, to test the proper chanting of Vedic mantras. The animal was not killed. The animal was put into the fire. Then again it would come out with new life. That is the proper chanting of the Vedic mantras. So for that purpose, animal sacrifice... Just like in biological laboratories, they experiment on the body of animals, frogs, guinea pigs. Similarly, a similar experiment was made, how the Vedic mantra is being properly chanted. The test was that animal should be put into the fire, and if the Vedic mantras were properly being chanted, then that animal would come with a new body. So an old cow or bull was put and he would come with fresh body. That was the purpose. Now later on, they began to eat meat by so-called animal sacrifice. In that period Lord Buddha appeared. About him it is, description is there, sadaya-hṛdaya darśita-paśu-ghātam. The Lord became compassionate on the animals, as they were being killed unnecessarily. So Buddha, Lord Buddha, his only mission was to stop the sinful activities of animal... Ahiṁsā paramo dharmaḥ. He was teaching that.
Prabhupāda: We pray Lord Buddha: Nindasi yajña-vidher ahaha śruti-jātam. "My Lord, You, for the time being, You are decrying the Vedic authority."
Pṛthu Putra: (French)
Prabhupāda: Nindasi yajña-vidher ahaha śruti-jātam. Śruti-jātam means Vedic rituals. Śruti means Vedas. It is learned by hearing. Why He decried the Vedic rituals? Sadaya-hṛdaya darśita-paśu-ghātam. You are so much compassionate by seeing animals sacrificed. Animal Killing. Sadaya-hṛdaya darśita-paśu-ghātam. Ghātam means killing, so He wanted to stop this animal killing, sinful life. Keśava dhṛta-buddha-śarīra jaya jagadīśa hare. My Lord, You have appeared now as Lord Buddha, I offer my respectful obeisances unto you.
1976 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: So if I am still under the modes of material nature, that means I'm not in avyabhicāriṇī-bhakti. This is the warning. Therefore Lord Buddha rejected Vedas.
Dr. Patel: Because, sir, in the name of Veda people were misbehaving.
Prabhupāda: Vedas, when Lord Buddha wanted stop animal killing, these rascals came with Vedas. "Vedas there is sacrifice, there is animal killing." So he thought that these rascals will create botheration. By bringing Vedas, there is... He said, "I don't care for it."
- veda nā māniyā bauddha haya ta nāstika
- vedāśraya nāstikya-vāda bauddhake adhika
Similarly, these rascals are giving evidence of Rūpa Gosvāmī's advice, that "Here is Rādhā-kuṇḍa..." But whether you have followed other things.