"So our business is, so far we are concerned, Krsna conscious people, we are not advocates of vegetarian and nonvegetarian. Of course, vegetarianism is very good, even for health's sake. But we do not take vegetables even if it is not offered to Krsna. That is our principle. If Krsna said that "You give Me nonvegetarian diet," then we can eat also. But Krsna does not say. Krsna says, patram puspam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati. So we are preparing so many nice foodstuffs with this patram puspam phalam toyam. We can prepare many, many hundreds of preparation of this patram puspam phalam toyam, and we can offer Krsna and then take prasadam. That is all right. The human life is not meant for sense gratification. Sense gratification--my food is Krsna prasadam. Why shall I go to restaurant? And this is tapasya. Eating is not stopped, but don't eat anything which is not krsna-prasadam. That is Krsna consciousness. If you, for satisfaction of your tongue, you get money and satisfy your tongue, that is forbidden. It is said that kamasya na indriya-pritih. You have demand. You have to, demand of the body. You have to eat something. You have to sleep somewhere. You must have some sense gratification. You must protect yourself from attack of others. That is all right. But don't do all these things for sense gratification. This is the injunction of the sastra."
Srila Prabhupada Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam, 11-14-73, Delhi
"There are many other instances showing that a devotee needn't practice anything but Krsna consciousness; all the good qualities of the demigods automatically develop within him. Those who are intentionally practicing to be vegetarians or to become nonviolent may have good qualifications by a material estimation, but these qualifications are not sufficient to make them devotees. A vegetarian is not necessarily a devotee, nor is a nonviolent person. But a devotee is automatically both vegetarian and nonviolent. We must conclude, therefore, that vegetarianism or nonviolence is not the cause of devotion.
In this connection, there is a story in the Skanda Purana about a hunter who was converted into a great devotee under the instruction of Narada Muni. When the hunter became a perfect devotee, he was not prepared to kill even an ant. Parvata Muni, a friend of Narada's, saw the wonderful transformation of the hunter by devotional service and remarked, "My dear hunter, your unwillingness to kill even an ant is not very astonishing. Any person who develops the devotional attitude has all the good qualities automatically manifested in his person. A devotee is never a cause of distress to anyone."
Sri Rupa Gosvami affirms herein that purification of consciousness, purification of bodily activities, austerities, peace of mind, etc., all become automatically manifest in the person who is engaged in devotional service."
Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 14
"We should use this great opportunity, human life, to understand all these points which are mentioned in the authoritative books of Vedic knowledge like Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita. In the Bhagavatam Sukadeva Gosvami declares that real atonement necessitates thoughtfulness, sobriety and meditation. One must consider whether he is the body or whether he is transcendental to the body, and one must try to know what God is. These ideas are to be studied in Krsna consciousness. We should not be frivolous or waste time. If one wants this knowledge, he has to practice austerity, tapasya, and the beginning of tapasya, as already explained, is brahmacarya--celibacy or restricted sex life. The pivot of material attraction is sex, not only for human society but for animal society also. Sparrows and pigeons have sex three hundred times daily, although they are strict vegetarians, and the lion, which is not a vegetarian, has sex once a year. Spiritual life is not a question of vegetarianism but of understanding higher knowledge. When one comes to the platform of elevated knowledge, he naturally becomes a vegetarian. Panditah sama-darsinah: one who is very highly learned does not distinguish between a learned scholar, a brahmana, an elephant, a dog and a cow. He is sama-darsi; his vision enables him to see them all equally. How is this? He does not see the body but the soul, the spiritual spark (Brahman). He thinks: "Here is a dog, but it is also a living entity, although by his past karma he has become a dog. And this learned scholar is also a living spark, but he has taken good birth because of his past karma." When one comes to that position, he does not see the body, but the spiritual spark, and he does not distinguish between one living entity and another.
Actually we do not make distinctions between carnivores and vegetarians, for the grass has life just as the cow or the lamb. A guideline, however, should be the Vedic instruction given in Isopanisad:
isavasyam idam sarvam
yat kinca jagatyam jagat
tena tyaktena bhunjitha
ma grdhah kasya svid dhanam
"Everything animate or inanimate that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord. One should therefore accept only those things necessary for himself, which are set aside as his quota, and one must not accept other things, knowing well to whom they belong." (Isopanisad, Mantra 1)
Since everything is the property of the Supreme Lord, one can only enjoy what is allotted to him by the Lord, and one cannot touch another's property. According to Vedic life and according to all Vedic scriptures, a man should live on fruits and vegetables, for his teeth are made in such a way that these can be very easily eaten and digested. Although it is nature's law that one has to live by eating other living entities jivo jivasya jivanam), one must use discretion. Fruits, flowers, vegetables, rice, grain and milk are made for human beings. Milk, for example, is an animal product, the blood of an animal transformed, but the cow delivers more milk than is needed by her calf because milk is intended for man. Man should simply take the milk and let the cows live, and thus following nature's law, man will be happy. Tena tyaktena bhunjitha: one should take whatever God allots to him and thus live comfortably.
We have to elevate our consciousness through this science of Krsna. Charity is within everyone's heart, but we do not know how to make the best use of it. Whatever we spend in terms of energy should be for Krsna, for it all belongs to Him. By spending for Krsna, one will not be a loser. Krsna is so kind that when we offer Him food, He accepts and yet leaves everything for us to eat. Simply by offering food to Krsna we can become devotees. We need not spend an extra farthing. In the higher sense, everything belongs to Krsna, but if we offer everything to Krsna, we will be elevated. This is a sublime and proven way for advancement in pure life."
Matchless Gift, Chapter 4
"So we are not preaching this vegetarianism. Just like there are Jains or many other religious system, Buddhism. They are after making people vegetarian. But the law of nature is that one living entity is the food for another living entity. That is the law of nature. You will find even in the lower animals, they are eating one another. That is the law of nature. Ahastani
sahastanam apadani catus-padam. This is the law of nature. Ahastani, one who has no hands, he is the food... They are all animals. The animal which has no hands... Just like goats and others: they have only legs. So they are food for the animals with hands. Ahastani sahastanam. That is the law of nature. Apadani catus-padam. The animals which has no leg--that means which cannot move... The plants, the grass, the trees, they cannot move. They have got leg, but they cannot move. Their legs are made for eating. As your mouth is made for eating, the trees... Therefore they are called pada-pa. They drink water by the leg. This is God's creation. You cannot think that how it is possible to drink water by the leg, but it is God's creation. You see. You pour water on the leg of the tree; it becomes very luxuriant, healthy. So different. And so far God is concerned, He can eat with legs; He can see with hands; He can eat with eyes. That is God. That is God. Angani yasya sakalendriya-vrttimanti pasyanti panti kalayanti ciram jaganti. Angani, that is transcendental. He is not under any rule. He is not under any rule. If you say, "Why Krsna is eating by the eyes?" yes, that is Krsna. That is Krsna. If you offer something, Krsna, simply by seeing, He is eating. That is Krsna. And again if you say, "If He is eating, why the plate is full?" that is Krsna. Purnasya purnam adaya purnam evavasisyate. Krsna is not a hungry man like me, that "If you give Me something, I will eat everything, finished." No. Krsna can take the whole plate; still it will remain the whole plate, for giving prasadam.
So try to understand Krsna in this way. And if you actually understand Krsna, you are liberated immediately. Janma karma ca divyam me yo janati tattvatah. How Krsna eats, how Krsna thinks, how Krsna works, if you understand all these things, then immediately you become liberated. Tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti. You immediately become. The only thing is we are rotting in this material world because we do not know Krsna. That is the... You'll not be admitted in the spiritual kingdom unless you know Krsna, what He is. And as soon as you understand Krsna, you are fit--"Come on." Tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti kaunteya. And as soon as you go, yad gatva na nivartante tad dhama paramam mama. Everything is explained. And therefore Krsna comes. We have got pravrtti to enjoy this material world. Krsna comes personally, that "This will not help you." He comes personally: "You give up this habit. You simply surrender to Me. I will take you back to home, back to Godhead." This is... Pravrttir esam bhutanam nivrttes tu maha-phalam. We are inclined to enjoy this material world, but if we stop this material enjoyment, we are fit for spiritual life. That is the philosophy."
Srila Prabhupada Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam, 05-06-76, Honolulu
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.