The plants and flowers also have sensation. They have sensation when you pluck them. So Kṛṣṇa says that "You give Me these foodstuffs." Patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ yo me bhaktyā prayacchati. So we are not eating on the material platform. We are eating on the spiritual platform. Because we are eating, if there is anything sinful, that is Kṛṣṇa's. We are taking His remnants of foodstuff.
Professor Durckheim: May I put one question to this? How do we know that the plant, the flowers and so on do not suffer when we take them away?
Prabhupāda: No, they have also sensation. They have sensation when you pluck it. That is proved by scientists, Dr. Jagadisha Candra Bose. The trees have got sensation.
Professor Durckheim: So that's what I mean. So if we kill plant or tree...
Prabhupāda: No, we don't kill. You take the fruits.
Professor Durckheim: We cut it.
Prabhupāda: Yes, cutting is not allowed unless it is absolutely necessary.
Professor Durckheim: For eating vegetables, for instance, you need it.
Prabhupāda: Yes. No, that is the law of nature, that every living being is eating another living being. That is stated in the Vedic śāstra.
- ahastāni sahastānām
- apadāni catuṣ-padām
- phalgūni tatra mahatāṁ
- jīvo jīvasya jīvanam
That "Those who have no hands—that means animals—they are food for the animal who has got hands. And those who have no legs, they are food for the four-legged." Just like grass has no legs, but it is a food fo the cows and the goats. Apadāni catuṣ-padām, phalgūni tatra mahatām: "Then one who is powerful, very powerful..." Just like tiger, he jumps over another animal. So because the other animal is weak and this animal is strong, so in this way, the feeding is going on, one living being for the other. But when you come to the... That is nature. The tiger will never eat grass. But we human being, we eat grass, goat, cows and everything. Because advanced, so-called advanced. But our foodstuff is to accept the remnants of foodstuff which is eaten by Kṛṣṇa. That is our philosophy. Kṛṣṇa-prasāda. Just like in this temple, we don't eat anything. Neither we eat grass, neither we eat animals. We eat kṛṣṇa-prasāda. So Kṛṣṇa says that "You give Me these foodstuffs." Patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ yo me bhaktyā prayacchati (BG 9.26). So we are not eating on the material platform. We are eating on the spiritual platform. Because we are eating, if there is anything sinful, that is Kṛṣṇa's. We are taking His remnants of foodstuff. So this is our philosophy. We don't advocate vegetarianism or nonvegetarianism. We advocate, "Eat Kṛṣṇa's prasādam, the remnants of foodstuff which is offered to Kṛṣṇa." This is our philosophy. And apart from this philosophy, because one living entity is food for another living entity, it does not mean that I shall eat my children also. There is discretion, that human being, they should offer these fruits, vegetables, milk as it is prescribed in the śāstra to God, Kṛṣṇa, and take. That is human civilization, not for the satisfaction of the tongue we have to maintain big, big slaughterhouse and eat them.