So Kṛṣṇa doesn't want anything else. Kṛṣṇa does not say, "Give Me meat. Give Me eggs. Give Me fish." No. He says, patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ yo me bhaktyā prayacchati. So if you are devotee, you cannot take anything which is not offered to Kṛṣṇa. So Kṛṣṇa... I should offer to Kṛṣṇa what He wants. Just like if you want to offer me something, so you inquire that "What shall I offer you? What do you like?" So similarly, if you invite Kṛṣṇa to live in your house or temple, then you should ask Kṛṣṇa, "Sir, what can I offer You?" Kṛṣṇa said, patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ yo me bhaktyā prayacchati (BG 9.26). Kṛṣṇa said that "You give Me patram, means vegetables, flowers, fruits, and phalam, fruits, and some liquid, water or milk." Kṛṣṇa does not say, "You give Me meat or egg or fish." No. Kṛṣṇa can eat everything, He's all powerful, but He does not eat, although He is all powerful. He can eat everything. He can eat fire. That is another thing. But because we have to take prasādam, remnants of foodstuff, Kṛṣṇa, therefore He says, "Give Me this: food grains, milk, or fruits and flowers." Prepared or unprepared, it doesn't matter. Kṛṣṇa wants that. We... So far the Vaiṣṇava is concerned, sometimes they come forward to fight with us: "Why we should be vegetarian?" No, no, we have no quarrel with the nonvegetarian. Let them eat at their risk. But because we recommend, "You take Kṛṣṇa's prasādam," therefore we must be satisfied with this patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyam (BG 9.26), nothing more than that.
We have no quarrel with the meat-eaters
Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures
God is giving us to eat so many things. What your education system will improve? We are eating fruits, grains, or whatever we eat. That is given by God. Food is supplied to the animals. The four-legged animals... Ahastāni sahastānām. Sahastānām ahastāni. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavata, everything is... The food is there. Jīvo jīvasya jīvanam: "One living entity is the food for another living entity." Ahastāni sahastānām. Just like animals, they have got no hands. So they are food for the animals which has..., who has got hands. We are animals with hands, and there are animals without hands. So ahastāni sahastānām. Sahasta means hand, with—hands animals, they're eating others which has no hand. Apadāni catuṣ-padām. "And those who have no legs, they are food for the animals, four-legged." Just like grass. This is also living entity, but it has no leg to move. It has leg, but it is fixed up. It cannot move. They're condemned, that "You cannot move." A tree is standing for seven thousand years. It cannot move. So they are food for moving animals. Just like cow eats grass. The goat eats grass. So apadāni catuṣ-padām. Phalgūni mahatāṁ tatra. In this way the world is being exploited. The weaker section is being exploited by the stronger section. Phalgūni mahatāṁ tatra jīvo jīvasya jīvanam: "One life is meant for being exploited by other life." This is nature's law. So we have no quarrel with persons who are meat-eating. But our propaganda is to make people God conscious. That's all.
Fish is abominable according to Manu-saṁhitā. matsaga-sarva-māṁsaga, tasmāt matsa vivarjet(?). Therefore, even you can eat the flesh of cow, but don't eat fish. That is the stricture in the Manu-saṁhitā. Because if you are eating dog's flesh, then you are sinful in the matter of dog's flesh only. But if you eat fish, then you become sinful of eating all kinds of flesh. Matsaga-sarva-māṁsaga(?). These are the strictures. Of course, we have nothing to do with these dog-eaters or fish-eaters or cow-eaters. We are concerned with Kṛṣṇa prasādam. We are interested in eating Kṛṣṇa's prasāda. If Kṛṣṇa says that "Give Me dog or give Me cow flesh," we shall give and eat. But not before that. So we have no quarrel with these fish-eaters or cow-eaters. We are concerned that Kṛṣṇa says patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ yo me bhaktyā prayacchati (BG 9.26). Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If He likes, He can eat everything. Because when Yaśodā-mayī suspected that Kṛṣṇa has eaten earth and the boys, His playmates, were accusing Him, "Mother Yaśodā, your son has eaten earth." And Kṛṣṇa denied, "No, mother, I have not eaten." She did not believe. "All right, open Your mouth, I want to see." So when Kṛṣṇa opened, she saw all the universes within. So, therefore, what is the question of this flesh or that flesh? Everything is there. Kṛṣṇa, because He is all powerful, if He likes He can... But He does not, He does not. So He says, patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ yo me bhaktyā prayacchati (BG 9.26). Kṛṣṇa is giving. Kṛṣṇa is all powerful, He can do everything. He has no restriction. If He is restricted, then He is not God. He can do anything, but He does not do so because He is teaching us. You cannot say that Kṛṣṇa can eat this, therefore we can give everything. No. Kṛṣṇa says, patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ. You can give vegetable, flowers, grains, milk, and we take that. So we have no quarrel with that.
And other thing, to take precaution so that māyā may not attack you. You should be cautious also. And therefore we have to follow the four regulative principles: no illicit sex life and no meat-eating or nonvegetarian diet... We have no quarrel with vegetarian and nonvegetarian. We are after Kṛṣṇa-prasādam. If Kṛṣṇa accepts something beyond these vegetarian dishes, then we can accept also. But Kṛṣṇa says, "No. Give Me patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyam (BG 9.26)." Kṛṣṇa can eat everything. He is God. But He says that "Give Me this." Patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyam. "Offer Me this flower, fruit, water. Like that." So we are after Kṛṣṇa-prasādam. That is our motto. We don't fight with vegetarian and non... We are not making propaganda... Just like there is vegetarian society. No. We have no business. Even if a man becomes vegetarian, what does he gain? In this material world, either vegetarian or nonvegetarian, they are on the same platform, birds of the same feather. You see? So that is not our propaganda. We are introducing Kṛṣṇa-prasāda; therefore we invite people to take nice prasāda. So these four principles we should follow. We shall not accept anything which is not offered to Kṛṣṇa. That is our position. And no illicit sex life, no gambling, no intoxication. We are already intoxicated, being haunted by the ghost of māyā. And further intoxication...? Do you think intoxication can be cured by intoxication? No. That is not possible. So these four rules you have to follow. And you keep to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Then your life is sublime. Very simple thing. Very simple thing. But it is simple for the simple, but it is very hard for the crooked. Yes. So those who are going to be initiated, they should always remember these restrictive four rules and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa at least sixteen rounds, and eat Bhagavat-prasādam, Kṛṣṇa-prasādam, and be happy, dance. That's all. Is there any difficulty?
There are four classes of men created by God: cātur-varṇyaṁ. How they are divided? How the classification is made? Guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ: by classification of quality and work. Not by birth. In India, of course, this classification of guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ was originally planned from the Vedic age. But later on, a class of men, without any qualification, without any practical work, they claimed that "I belong to such and such class." Therefore India's falldown was inevitable. So Bhagavad-gītā says, "Not like that." Bhagavad-gītā says that these classes of men, cātur-varṇyaṁ—the brahminical class, the kṣatriya class, the vaiśya class, and the śūdra class—is everywhere. Not only in India, but also throughout the whole universe, in every country, in every nation, in every society, there must be some people who have brahminical tendency. Just like from your country, we have picked up some boys and girls who are inclined to adopt this way of life. So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is simply picking up where there are brahminical class of boys, girls, men. Not that we are taking account, "Oh, who is your father? Is your father a brāhmaṇa?" No. We don't take account. His father may be anything; it doesn't matter. But if he has got tendency to accept this Kṛṣṇa consciousness, we immediately welcome: "Come on." And we teach him this brahminical qualification—to become brahmacārī, not to indulge in illicit sex life, don't take nonvegetarian diet. We recommend not exactly nonvegetarian diet. We are vegetarian diet, we restrict from nonvegetarian diet, but we recommend Kṛṣṇa prasādam. We have no quarrel with the nonvegetarians, because vegetable also has got life. The plants, the grass, the trees, the fruits, the flowers, they have also life. They are not dead. So simply becoming vegetarian is no great qualification. Somebody is taking meat and somebody is taking vegetable, it does not make any difference. But we are taking vegetables not as vegetarian. We are taking as Kṛṣṇa prasādam, remnants of foodstuff offered to Kṛṣṇa.
Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā that,
- patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ
- yo me bhaktyā prayacchati
- tad ahaṁ bhakty-upahṛtam
- aśnāmi prayatātmanaḥ
- (BG 9.26)
Kṛṣṇa said that "If somebody offers Me some foodstuff prepared from vegetables and fruits and grains"—grains are also fruits—"so with love and devotion, then I eat." Therefore we offer these things to Kṛṣṇa. Just like here, we have offered fruits. Not that because we are vegetarian, but Kṛṣṇa wants this. Just like if you invite some of your friend, you ask him, "My dear friend, what do you like to eat?" So if he says, "I like this," so you immediately supply. This is the sign of love. Similarly, because Kṛṣṇa says, "If somebody offers Me fruits, flowers, grains, milk, with devotion and love, I will eat," so we are pledged to Kṛṣṇa, I offer these things to Kṛṣṇa, and we eat. That is our process. We have no quarrel with nonvegetarian or vegetarian. No. Because vegetable has also got life. And in the Bhagavad-gītā it is also stated that yajña-śiṣṭāśinaḥ santo mucyante sarva-kilbiṣaiḥ. You have to eat after offering sacrifice. Sacrifice means to worship the Supreme Lord. That is called sacrifice. So if anyone eats the remnants of sacrificial foodstuff, then he is freed from all kinds of sins.
Conversations and Morning Walks
1968 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: So first of all you have to understand what is your diet. So your diet is different from animals' diet. You take anything. Even stool is food for a certain animal, but that does not mean I have to eat stool also. Stool may be eatable for a certain type of animal. "Oh, that is not my diet or food." Similarly, we have to discriminate. Now so far we are concerned, Kṛṣṇa conscious person, we are studying Kṛṣṇa conscious. What is our diet? Our diet is Kṛṣṇa-prasādam, what is offered, as I told you, that something is offered to Kṛṣṇa. Then we take. We don't take anything direct. Just like these fruits. We have first of all offered to Kṛṣṇa. Here is a plate. Then we take. That is our system. Even we take vegetables, fruits, we don't take directly. We first of all prepare or cut into pieces, offer to the Deity. Then we take. Now, the idea is that we take the remnants of food offered to Kṛṣṇa. Now, when you offer something to some respectable person, you ask him, "What can I offer you?" If I go to your house and if you want to offer me something to eat, you will ask me what I wish to eat. That is the etiquette. So similarly, we have to offer Kṛṣṇa what Kṛṣṇa likes to eat. So how we can know? In this book we have the things, what Kṛṣṇa wants. He says, "You give Me foodstuff, patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ (BG 9.26) fruits, flowers, grains, milk, like that." So our diet is Kṛṣṇa prasādam. Therefore... Kṛṣṇa wants these things. We prepare these things, and we eat the remnants of food. If Kṛṣṇa says that "You give me meat," then we can offer Kṛṣṇa meat also. But Kṛṣṇa does not say that. Kṛṣṇa says, "Give Me fruits, flowers, grains." So we have no quarrel with the meat-eaters. Let them do whatever he likes. But our concern is that unless Kṛṣṇa takes, we don't take. So in order to become Kṛṣṇa conscious, this is necessary, just like an important segment of the work. We cannot accept anything which is not offered to Kṛṣṇa. Therefore this diet, this sort of diet, as you have tasted in our love feast, that is important. We cannot take outside the scope. So in that sense, diet is important. Besides that, from health point of view also, you require a balanced food—carbohydrate, starch, protein, and fat. That is scientific.
Although we are not interested in the vegetarian movement, but because we eat Krishna Prasadam we are already vegetarian. So any good thing all over the world may be brought before us and we can say that we have already accepted it. That is the position of Krishna Consciousness. Krishna Consciousness is all including. Just like if a man has got one million dollars, so 10 dollars, $20, $50, or $500, or $5000, everything is included, in that one million dollars. So we have accepted something which is all including so don't worry about this vegetarian movement—if they are not inclined to understand what is Krishna consciousness. We have no quarrel either with the vegetarian or non-vegetarian, because according to Bhagavad-gita both of them are sinful. Anyone who is not eating Krishna Prasadam, either vegetarian or non-vegetarian, he is a sinful person. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita, Bhunjante Te Agham Papam Ye Pachyante Atmakaramak. Anyone who is cooking for himself, he is eating simply volumes of sin. So in the material world, either a man is vegetarian or non-vegetarian, they're eating simply sin, and they will have to suffer the consequence.