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Many people think that vegetarianism means eating bland salad and vegetables. They surely haven’t visited the Hare Krishnas! The Hare Krishna movement has been nicknamed "The Kitchen Religion". Hare Krishna devotees are strict lacto-vegetarians and their culinary art has its roots in ancient Vedic culture. The subtle blend of ingredients and spices in the Hare Krishna cuisine has won over thousands of people who have subsequently adopted a vegetarian diet.
Milk plays a very important role in the Vedic culture. Hot milk is said to nourish the subtle and spiritual faculties of the brain. It is natural therefore that it is considered most cruel and inauspicious to kill the docile, vegetarian cow that provides mankind with milk from which so many delicious foods are made.
Some reasons why one could consider becoming vegetarian:
1. Not only is the killing of animals extremely and unnecessarily violent but these animals are commercially bred in appalling conditions. Many people would no doubt take up vegetarianism if they visited commercial slaughterhouses. God has given us such a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, roots, grains and seeds that it is not necessary to exploit and cause pain to animals. With a vegetarian diet violence and exploitation are minimized
2. The benefits of a vegetarian diet for health are becoming increasingly documented as research reveals that meat and eggs are at the root of high cholesterol, heart disease and cancer
3. For every sixteen pounds of grain used to feed cattle, only one pound of meat is produced. Over 90% of all grains in the United States goes to feed livestock and more than a third of all fossil fuels produced in the United States goes towards animal agriculture so vegetarianism is also a sound ecological alternative
4. For every action there is a reaction. This is the law of karma. Subsequently, if we cause pain and suffering to other living beings, we must endure pain and suffering in return.
Devotees of Krishna have another reason to be vegetarian and this supersedes all other reasons:
In the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna says, “patram, pushpam, phalam, toyam”: “If one offers me a leaf, flower, fruit or water – I will be satisfied”. Krishna’s devotees therefore please Krishna with offerings that He Himself enjoys.
The ISKCON community around the world engages in vegetarian Sunday Feasts and extensive prasadam distribution. Please visit us at Hare Krishna Land, Pont Fer, Phoenix and Krishna Balarama Mandir, Bon Acceuil, to gain firsthand experience of how wonderful and blissful it is to simply eat sumptuous vegetarian foodstuffs offered to Lord Krishna!