Animal Rights, Vegetarianism and Karma-free Living, Part Two


Claudette Vaughan recently interviewed me for the excellent website Abolitionist-Online – a Voice for Animal Rights

Here’s the rest of the interview.

Claudette: “What’s happening in your world? Are we going to see another TV program from you?”

I continue to teach cookery classes as my main interest in life. I conduct classes all over the world, around Australia, and here in Perth, in cooking schools, colleges, peoples’ homes and my home. Perhaps there will be another TV series also. And there will be more cookbooks. I’m planning to commence work on one very soon.


Claudette: “What is spiritual food to a Hare Krishna devotee?”

Way back in 1966, Prabhupada, the founder of the Hare Krishna Movement, himself a wonderful cook, showed us how to hold regular ‘Love Feasts’ every week. He said that such feasts for the public should become an important part of the Hare Krishna movement. “Vegetarian food offered to Krishna becomes spiritual”, he said, “and whoever eats the food – called prasadam – receives great spiritual benefit.”


So cooking can actually be yoga – bhakti-yoga – “the yoga of love”.

One of the main elements of bhakti-yoga, is the preparation of sacred foods, foods fit for God. For thousands of years, priests in temples throughout India had prepared divine vegetarian offerings for the Supreme Being, known by names such as Krishna and Rama. These offerings were saturated with love and devotion.

The Sanskrit word ‘yoga’ carried the meaning of “connection,” {the English word “yoke”, referring to the brace that oxen wear to plough the fields, comes from Yoga}.

Specifically the connection refers to that which exists between the individual soul and the Supreme Soul. That connection has now been broken, and yoga is a means for re-establishing it.

The idea of spiritual food is based on ones consciousness, on love. It is not a mechanical thing. If we love someone, we want to do things for them, and a very common thing that people do for those they love is to cook for them.

Practitioners of bhakti-yoga prepare offerings for God, Krishna, in this same spirit of love. This love is manifested at every stage of the cooking process – from the purchasing of the ingredients to the final offering of the sacred meal to the object of one’s devotion.


Claudette: “Tell us your understanding of why a cow must be protected?”

All animals must be protected, and especially the cow. Just like our mother provides us her breast milk when we are babies, and nourishes us, the cow also provides her milk freely for humans to partake of. By nature’s arrangement, under normal conditions (not in today’s ghastly factory farm hell), the cow will provide much more milk than her calf can drink. This residual milk is for the human beings to use.

Killing cows is like cutting the throat of our mother – a horrible crime.

hare krishna girl with calf:

Claudette: “What did Srila Prabhupada say when asked if it is necessary to follow certain eating habits to practice spiritual life?”

Srila Prabhupada told us that real spiritual life means purifying our existence, physically, mentally and intellectually, and ultimately pleasing God.

It is hypocrisy to think one can practice spiritual life and at the same time pollute or bodies and minds by the heinous murder of our brothers and sisters. How will the father be pleased if we kill our brothers and sisters, God’s intellectually less-developed children? Without pleasing God, we can make no spiritual advancement.


Claudette: “What did Srila Prabhupada say when asked to interpret the Christian “Thou Shalt Not Kill” commandment?”

Prabhupada spoke to numerous clergymen, Bishops and priests and never compromised on this point. He explained that “Thou Shalt Not Kill” not only refers to humans, but to all creatures, especially the more sentient animals.

Furthermore, in Melbourne he explained to the Reverend Gordon Powell, head of the Scots’ Presbyterian Church, that even being a vegetarian was not enough, since there is still some karma even in killing vegetables. Best, he said with a grin, that we should become ‘prasad-arians’, and only eat sanctified vegetarian food.

Claudette: ““Do Unto Others.” How do you interpret that Kurma das?”

Would we like to live in horribly cramped conditions, and finally transported in trucks, slipping on our own excrement, then executed, our throats cut, and our blood drained out?

Would we do it to our children, our loved ones? To our pets?

We talk endlessly of those that lost their lives in The Holocaust yet every day millions of animals similarly lose their lives in hellish slaughterhouses. And we lament war, which is a direct karmic result of animal slaughter, yet we gorge ourselves on the dead.

If we don’t want pain to befall us, stop killing other creatures.

Claudette: “What about people who slaughter for a living. What is a Krishna devotees views on that?”

There is absolutely no worse occupation to have than being a slaughterman. The destiny of a butcher is beyond description.


Claudette:”Is it possible to liberate an animal from their lot in life?”

Animals who are allowed to live out the terms of their natural life will naturally progress upwards, gradually, over many lifetimes. If we give them spiritually sanctified food and expose them to sacred sound, they will be liberated from their animal cycle.

Claudette: “How does factory farming fit with Krishna consciousness? Isn’t that a contradiction in terms?”

‘Factory farming’ is an oxymoron. Krishna Consciousness means a God-centred life in harmony with natural laws. Factory farming breaks all the natural laws and brings ruination upon all.

Claudette: “Have we all lost our religious reverence, respect and love for all life forms in the “ordinary” world Kurma das?”

Unfortunately this is the tendency, yes. According to the ancient Vedic Sanskrit texts, this age is called Kali Yuga. It is the final 432,000 year season, the Winter Age if you like, in the ever-rotating cycle of the four seasons of the universe.

Symptomatic of this time is a decline in Godliness, and a decline in following (God’s) natural laws. As a direct result, we suffer in many ways due to breaking these laws. We defile and pollute our living place, this planet, and wonder why things become so unpleasant.

Lack of water, environmental catastrophes, disease and poverty, unrest and war are all a direct result of disobeying the laws of nature.

If we want to revive our respect and love for each other and for our fellow creatures, we must revive our connection with God, and naturally we will again become soft-hearted, non-violent, compassionate and loving, our natural position.
Posted by Kurma on 7/6/07; 10:09:42 AM

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