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. But these rascals, they would show the evidence... Just like Christians says that "Lord Jesus Christ ate fish" or something like that. Because Lord Jesus Christ ate fish, therefore they should maintain slaughterhouse. This is their reasoning. The other day somebody questioned me that... I said that killing of animals is sinful activity. So somebody questioned that "Lord Jesus Christ ate fish," somewhere. So I said that He is powerful. He can eat the whole world. But you cannot imitate. You have to follow his instructions, what he says. He said, 'Thou shall not kill.' So you should follow his instruction, not the action." He is powerful. He can act some way or other, according to circumstances. That is his business. Actually, that is the Vedic statement, that just like the sun, the sun can absorb the urine. People pass urine on the street, and the sunshine absorbs the urine, evaporates, but sun is still pure. Rather, the place where the urine was passed, it becomes disinfected. Similarly, those who are powerful, īśvara, godly, you cannot imitate their actions. They are apparently doing something wrong; still, they are pure. The same example. The sun is absorbing or evaporating the urine, but sun is still pure. But if I imitate and lick up the urine, that is not very good business. Similarly, we cannot imitate the powerful, we have to simply follow the instruction of the powerful. That is... But people, on slight imitation... Is that very good reason? Suppose Christ sometimes ate fish, but that is sufficient reason to maintain big, big slaughterhouse? Because Christ said... And he teached in the desert. Suppose there was no food and he had to eat some fish. So that is his business. He could do it. He is powerful. But does it mean on that strength throughout the whole world the Christians will maintain big, big, up-to-date machinery for slaughterhouse? So it is sinful. So Buddha wanted to stop this nonsense, who were eating and killing animals on the strength of Vedas. They did not know what is the meaning, but they would say in the Vedas it is stated, paśavo vadhyaḥ sṛṣṭaḥ: "The animals are created for being killed." And what purpose it is killed? They, without knowing... Actually, they wanted to satisfy their tongue by eating the flesh, but they would give Vedic evidences. So to stop this nonsense business Buddha said that "I don't care for your Vedas." Nindasi yajña-vidher ahaha śruti-jātam. Śruti-jātam means Vedic injunction.
Prof. Regamay: Yes.
Prabhupāda: So he condemned, "No, no. I don't care for your Vedas." So he defied Vedic injunction. Because otherwise, he could not establish his theory of nonviolence. The violence, in a certain way, is recommended in the Vedas. So if he says, "No violence," then it is against Vedas. Therefore he had to declare, "No, no, I don't follow the Vedic injunction." And because he did not, he publicly declared that "I don't follow Vedic injunction," therefore he is taken as atheist. Atheist means who does not take the authority of the Vedas. Nindasi yajña-vidher ahaha śruti-jātam. But he did it. He is all-powerful. He can do it. Why? Sadaya-hṛdaya darśita-paśu-ghātam keśava dhṛta-buddha-śarīra jaya jagadīśa hare. We worship him like that. Keśava dhṛta-buddha-śarīra jaya jagadīśa. From philosophical point of view, he is taken as atheist. But we Vaiṣṇava we know that He is God. He is God, incarnation of God.