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Is Killing Vegetables Wrong?

It is a common metaphysical question to ask,  “If all living
entities are spiritually equal, then why is it acceptable to
eat  grains,   vegetables,   etc.,   and  not  meat?  Aren’t
vegetarians  guilty of killing vegetables?” In response,  it
may  be  pointed out that vegetarian foods such  as  fruits,
nuts,  milk, and grains do not require any killing. But even
in  those  cases where a plant’s life  is  taken,  the  pain
involved  is  much less than when an animal is  slaughtered,
because  the  plant’s  nervious system  is  less  developed.
Clearly there is a vast difference between pulling a  carrot
out  of the ground and killing a lamb.  But still,  one must
undoubtedly suffer karmic reactions even for killing plants.

For this reason, Lord Krishna explains in Bhagavad-gita that
not only should man eat only vegetarian foods, but he should
also offer these eatables to Him.  If we follow this process
of sacrifice, of offering our foodstuffs to God, the Supreme
Lord,   Krishna,  protects  us  from  any  karmic  reactions
resulting from the killing of plants.  Otherwise,  according
to the law of karma, we are personally responsible. The Gita
states, “The devotees of the Lord are released from all sins
because  they eat food that is offered first for  sacrifice.
Others,  who  prepare  food for  personal  sense  enjoyment,
verily eat only sin.”

Srila  Prabhupada,  the guru and Founder-Acharya of the Hare
Krishna movement,  elaborates on this principle of spiritual
vegetarianism.  “Human beings are provided with food grains,
vegetables,  fruits,  and milk by the grace of the Lord, but
it  is the duty of human beings to acknowledge the mercy  of
the Lord. As a matter of gratitude, they should feel obliged
to  the Lord for their supply of foodstuff,  and  they  must
first  offer  Him food in sacrifice and then partake of  the
remnants.”  By eating such sanctified food – prasadam  – one
is protected from karmic reactions and advances spiritually.