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Someone challenged me about vegetarianism. If animals have souls and consciousness, why did God give them to other animals as food? For example, the rabbit to the wolf. If it is wrong for us to eat animals because they are conscious living entities, why is it OK for the wolf?
There is the rule in the universe, that the body of one living being is a food for another.
Anyway, one who desire to cultivate mood of goodness, should never eat food which is in a mood of ignorance or passion, because of the influence on ones mind and behaviour.
SB 7.15.5 — When one gets the opportunity of a suitable auspicious time and place, one should, with love, offer food prepared with ghee to the Deity of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and then offer the prasāda to a suitable person — a Vaiṣṇava or brāhmaṇa. This will be the cause of everlasting prosperity.
Thank you for the great quotes.
I'm a vegetarian already, but I was wondering why Krishna would make animals food for other animals if eating animals is wrong for us.
To clarify -
- Carnivores don't drink with their tongues. Due to the force required to bite their prey and incapacitate them, they possess a very large mouth cavity with very strong buccal muscles, and so it is quite inconvenient for them to drink water directly - the entire volume of water that would fill their oral cavity would be impossible to drink at a go. They use their tongues to create a bowl like structure and lap up water, which is more convenient.
- Herbivores do have very long intestines. This is because they can digest cellulose, which is an indigestible component of food for any other animal, including humans. But to digest cellulose, it needs to be present in the gut for a pretty long time and then brought back into the mouth for a dose of salivary enzymes and swallowed again. This is why cows ruminate. To put it into perspective, cellulose is the component of plant tissue that goes into the making of paper pulp. Paper is mostly made of cellulose. Cows can digest paper and extract nutrients out of it. Humans and any other carnivore/omnivore are incapable of doing so.
Hare Krishna Prabhuji pamho,
We get information from the Padma Purana that the 8.4 million species of life are divided into six groups, namely acquatics, trees, insects, birds, animals and humans. There are nine hundred thousand (0.9 million) types of acquatics, two million (20 lakh) types of trees, 1.1 million types of insects, a million types of birds, three million types of animal bodies and four hundred thousand types of human bodies. These aggregate to 8.4 million.
This whole material universe was manifested by The Lord just to satisfy our desire - to enjoy independently of Him. Now why these various types of species were created - it's only to satisfy the desires of the living entities. Say for example if someone is too much attached to eat meat - this human body is not the best machine to fulfil that wish, therefore in order to fulfill that living entities desire he will be given may be a tiger's body in his next birth - that body is totally dedicated for meat eating - this is just a gross example - that is the law of nature. The scripture SB says -
If it is wrong for us to eat animals because they are conscious living entities, why is it OK for the wolf? - because animals don't have an advance level of consciousness to enquire about self realisation - they can act according to their basic instincts without incurring any sinful reaction. But since human being's consciousness are much more advanced than that of animal's - they should make the human birth succesfull by endeavouring for self realisation. Athato brhamo jignasa - because you have got this human form of body -now enquire about the Brhman. We can not engage in self realisation practices and at the same time involve in sinful activities (meat eating, gambling,illicit sex & intoxication)- they are opposed to each other. Spiritual self realization practices are meant to free us from the cycle of birth and death and get engaged in the eternal service of The Lord - whereas the sinful activities will bound us to the reactions of our own karma - forcing us to repeated birth and death.
So would you say then that it's the rabbit's karma to be eaten by the wolf? And does the wolf do wrong by eating the rabbit? If it is wrong for us to eat animals, why is it wrong for the wolf? If it is wrong for us because the animal is a conscious living entity, why did Krishna give conscious living entities to other living entities as food?
So would you say then that it's the rabbit's karma to be eaten by the wolf? - yes
And does the wolf do wrong by eating the rabbit? - no
If it is wrong for us to eat animals, why is it wrong for the wolf? - wolf don't have any other alternative, it can't survive without eating other animal. But we as human's are given the power to discriminate and have the option to survive by hurting other as minimal as possible - plant's are living entities as well , but they feel pain very little because of having a very primitive level of consciousness
If it is wrong for us because the animal is a conscious living entity, why did Krishna give conscious living entities to other living entities as food?
- just to fulfil the desire of a living entity to enjoy other living entities meat as food. Because if we have any desire , Lord will fulfil it provided we deserve that. If we just introspect within the deep of our mind - we sometime realize how dirty and violent desires are stored there, the animal propensity comes out in suitable circumstances. He created this material world so that we can try to fulfil our dirtiest and most violent selfish desires and try dominate other living entities. Krishna wants us to realise voluntarily that how dangerous our desires could be and to understand that this material world is a very very dangerous place. Once we realise that , we will try to find out a permanent solution of this problem - to look out for a place place which is devoid of violence and selfishness - devoid of any kind of anxiety - a place where no one dominates others - that's Vaikuntha - our real home. Krishna wants us to return back there as early as possible by practising the same mood here in this earth in this very life- by not acting selfishly , by not being a cause of violence, by not giving any anxiety to any other living entity. If we practice properly , we will be given entry there , else if we fail because of our other types of desire - we will come back here or any other earthly planet to fulfil that desire.
also from Krishna's view point, the eating of one living being of another is not of any significance, because Krishna sees us as spirit soul - without birth and death - eternal , full of knowledge and full of bliss - as His own part and parcel. All these affairs of bodily destruction (like change of garments) and misery is an illusion which does not at all effect the soul. Though under the spell of Lord's illusory energy the soul think of him as a body and gets effected by pleasure and sorrow - and other ghastly incidents - but in reality the soul is beyond these things - we treat ourselves as body that's why we get worried - for Krishna - we remain His dearest childrens just currently passing a dream like situation and He makes arrangement for us to wake up from the spell of illusion and return back to the reality.
So some creatures are allowed to be meat eaters and others to be eaten out of a desire on the part of both?
Vegetarianism, here in discussion with respect to humans. Not other beings.
Human birth is Karma yoni (perform action to reap other yonis, for enjoyment),
All other births are Bhog yoni (in the mood of enjoyment)
All other forms of birth do not incur sin for eating what ever they were meant to eat. Whether meat or veges.
Ah! That's, I think, the answer I was looking for. Those creatures who take on the bhog yoni are not able to freely choose what is right or wrong. It is an evil to be eaten alive by another creature (surely) but the wolf does not choose to do this to the rabbit.
In this material universe there is the rule that one body is a food for another. That rule exist from beginning of creation and will continue to exist till the end of this material world.
There is food in ignorance, passion and modesty, therefore those humans who desire to progress to higher level of consciousness need to use a food in a mood of modesty.