Sri Krishna explains in the Bhagavad-Gita:
yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata
abhyutthanam adharmasya tadatmanam srjamy aham
"O descendant of Bharata, whenever and wherever there is a decline in
religious practice and a predominant rise of irreligion - at that time I
descend Myself. (Gita 4.7)
Either Krishna comes Himself or He sends His empowered
shaktyavesa avatara, a perfect being empowered (shakti) by Sri Krishna to
preach sanatana dharma, the pure eternal religion, the universal religion of
We understand Jesus to be such a shaktyavesa avatara,
a perfect soul, a
messenger of the Supreme Being.
He descended from the spiritual sky (see: Krishna, the Reservoir of
Pleasure, P.7) and he returned to Vaikuntha thereafter (lecture, Boston Dec
Such great souls are completely selfless and only interested
to save the
fallen souls in the material world.
Hence they descend to this level of consciousness.
Prahlada Maharaja said:
naivodvije para duratyaya-vaitaranyas
soce tato vimukha-cetasa indriyartha-maya-sukhaya bharam udvahato vimudhan
"I am not at all afraid of material existence, for wherever I stay I am
fully absorbed in thoughts of Your glories and activities. My concern is
only for the fools and rascals who are making elaborate plans for material
happiness, only concerned to maintain their families, societies and
I am simply concerned with love for them.
(Srila Bhagavatam 7.9.43)
tiksavah karunikah suhrdah sarva-dehinam
ajata-satravah santah sadhavah sadhu-bhusanah
"The symptoms of a sadhu are that he is tolerant, merciful and friendly to
all living entities. He has no enemies, he is peaceful, he abides by the
scriptures, and all his characteristics are sublime...."(Srimad Bhagavatam
Srila Prabhupada explains in the purport to this verse:
"...The Srimad-Bhagavatam states that any bona fide preacher of God
consciousness must have the qualities of titiksa (tolerance) and karuna
In the character of Lord Jesus Christ we find both these qualities.
He was so tolerant that even while he was being crucified, he didn't condemn
anyone. And he was so compassionate that he prayed to God to forgive the
very persons who were trying to kill him.
As Christ was being crucified he prayed, "Father, forgive them. They know
not what they are doing."
Jesus Christ was such a great personality - the son of God, the
representative of God.
He had no fault. Still, he was crucified.
He wanted to deliver God consciousness, but in return they crucified him.
They were so ungrateful.
They could not appreciate his preaching.
But we appreciate him and give him all honor as the representative of
Such mahatmas, great souls, are never disturbed under any conditions:
narayana-parah sarve na kutascana bibhyati"...Devotees solely engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord,
svargapavarga-narakesv api tulyartha-darsinah
Even when facing tribulations like crucifixion, a pure
soul on the highest
level of intimacy with God, absorbed in God consciousness, Krishna
Consciousness, is not afraid under any circumstances:
Hence Jesus, when walking up to Golgotha, said:
"Daughters of Jerusalem, don't cry for me, but cry for yourselves and for
your children. (Luke 23:28),
brahma-bhutah prasannatma na socati na kanksati"One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme
samah sarvesu bhutesu mad-bhaktim labhate param
Being simply absorbed to carry out the will of the Lord
such great souls
return to the spiritual world after having accomplished their mission.
"It is finished." (John 19:13)
The original Greek word for meat is kreas ("flesh"), and
it is never used in
connection with Jesus.
In Luke 24:41-43 the disciples offered him fish and a honeycomb and he took it (singular, we can guess which one).
Nowhere in the New Testament is there any direct reference to Jesus eating
This is in line with Isaiahs famous prophecy: "Behold,
a virgin shall
conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. He shall eat
butter and honey, so that he may know the evil from the good." (Isaiah
7:14-15) (this itself says that meat eating destroys all good discretion in
man. It is quite typical, that the second part of the sentence is omitted in
Jesus rebuked strongly the Pharisees with
the words: ... "and if you had
known what it means: "I desire mercy and not sacrifice, ... you would not
condemn the innocent,"(Matthew 12:6) which clearly disapproves of the
killing of animals, as this is a verse taken from Hosea 6:6 : " I desire mercy instead of sacrifice, the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings..." (note: again the 2nd part of the sentence is omitted in Matthew 12:6).
He strongly opposed the custom of temple animal sacrifices,
driving those who were selling oxen, sheep and pigeons and the money-changers out of the temple (John 2:13-15).
His words: "...you shall not make my father's house a
house of trade (which
in earlier translations always was translated as "murder's den").
We all know that according to Matthew 3:4 John the
Baptist was refusing to
eat meat. ("...and his food was wild locust(bean) and wild honey." (orig.
greek: enkris, oil cake and akris: locust/honey)
But we never hear of the sheer overwhelming evidence which
rather points to
Jesus being a vegetarian: No less than seven of Jesus' twelve disciples
refused meat food (the rest we do not know). This naturally reflects the
teachings of Jesus, as: "...a servant is not greater than his master..."
The seven are:
1. Peter, ..."whose food was bread, olives and herbs..." (Clem.Hom.XII,6)
2. James : Church Father Eusebius, quoting Hegesippus
(about 160 AD) that
"...James, the brother of the Lord was holy from birth. He drank no wine or
ate the flesh of animals..." (Eusebius, Church History II,Ch XXIII,5-7 )
(Note: James being a Vegetarian "from his mother's womb
on" says a lot about
Mary's diet. Which again would lead to a conclusion as to Jesus' life-style.)
3. Thomas: The apocryphal Acts of Thomas (Ch. 20), which
widely in use among early Christian sects, depict this disciples of Jesus as
"He continually fasts and prays, and abstaining from eating of flesh and
drinking wine, he eats only bread, with salt and drink and water, and wears
the same garment in fine weather and winter, and accepts nothing from anyone, and gives whatever he has to others."
4. Matthew: "It is far better to be happy than to have
a demon dwelling with
us. And happiness is found in the practice of virtue. Accordingly, the
apostle Matthew partook of seeds and nuts, fruits and vegetables without of
flesh. And John, who carried temperance to the extreme, ate locusts and wild
honey...." (Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor,II.I,16: On Eating)
(Note here the strong hint of Clemens towards the Vegetarianism of John the
5.Matthias (who filled the place of Judas (Acts 1:21-26).
His food as told
by Church Father Clement of Alexandria was the same as Matthews.
(Clement/ Stromata III,4,26)
6.Andrew and 7.Jude: Andrew (Peters brother in both flesh
and faith) and
Jude of Bethsaida, originally two of John the Baptists' followers, must have
followed the Baptist's austere diet. (See above under Matthew)
Paul also says: "...It is good neither to drink
wine or eat flesh..."
(Roman 14:20,21) though his commitment altogether are altogether less
Beyond that there are strong arguments of a similar nature
by many of the
Fathers of the early Church:
"...How unworthy do you press the example of Christ as
having come eating
and drinking into the service of your lusts: I think that He who pronounced
not the full, but the hungry and thirsty 'Blessed,' who professed His work
to be the completion of His Father's Will, I think that he was wont to abstain, instructing them to labour for that 'Meat' which lasts to eternal life, and enjoying in their common prayers petition, not for flesh food but for bread only..." - Quintus Septimius Tertullianus (AD 155).
This knowledge of Tertullianis was supported by fragments
of the writings by
the Apostolic Father Papias (AD 60 - 125).
The apocryphal Acts of Thomas, which were widely in use
Christian sects, depict the disciples of Jesus as ascetics: "...He continually fasts and prays, wears the same garment in all weather, accepts nothing from anyone, gives whatever he has to others and abstains from meat and wine..."
"...The unnatural eating of flesh is as polluting as the heathens worship of
devils with its sacrifices and impure feasts, through participation in which
a man becomes a fellow eater with devils..." ( 2nd century scripture Clemente Homilies (Hom. XII)
Clemens Prudentius, the first Christian hymn writer exhorts
in one of his
hymns his fellow Christians ..."not to pollute their hands and hearts by the
slaughter of innocent cows and sheep..."
"...It is by far better to be happy than to have the devil dwelling in us,
for happiness is found only in the practice of virtue. Accordingly the
Apostle Matthew, partook of seeds, and nuts, and vegetables, without the use
of flesh... is there not within a temperate simplicity, a wholesome variety
of eatables, vegetables, roots, olives, herbs, milk, cheese, fruits?" -
Churchfather Clement of Alexandria (Titus Flavius Clemens / AD 150 - 220)
"...We the Christian leaders practice abstinence from
the flesh of animals
to subdue our bodies. The unnatural eating of flesh is of demonic origin."
And about the early Christians: "...No streams of blood are among them. No
dainty cookery, no heaviness of head. Nor are horrible smells of flesh meats
among them or disagreeable fumes from the kitchen.." - St. Chrysostomos (AD
St. Basil (AD 320 - 79) says:
"The steam of meat darkens the light of the spirit... One hardly can have
virtue when one enjoys meat meals and feasts..." -
A most important purport to a controversy, much cherished
and much cited by
meat- eating Christians we find in the writings of the Churchfather Jerome
(AD 340 - 420), who gave us the Vulgate, the authorized Latin version of the
Bible still in use today.
The controversy is based on the fact that in Genesis 1:29
clearly forbidden, "...I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of
the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be
yours for food..."
However after the flood it appears that Meat eating is
all of a sudden
"...The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and
all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground,
and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything
that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green
plants, I now give you everything. But you must not eat meat that has its
lifeblood still in it..."(Genesis 9:2-4)
Writing in confutation of Jovinian, a monk of Milan, who
asceticism, St. Jerome holds up Vegetarianism as the Christian ideal and the
restoration of the primal rule of life.
St. Jerome says:
"...He (Jovinian) raises the objection that when God gave
blessing, permission was granted to eat flesh, which had not in the first
benediction been allowed. He should know that just as divorce according to
the Savior's word was not permitted from the beginning, but on account of
the hardness of our heart was a concession of Moses to the human race,
(Matthew 9:8 : "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your
hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.") ...so too
the eating of flesh was unknown until the deluge.
But after the deluge, like the quails given in the desert to the murmuring
people, the poison of flesh-meat was offered to our teeth. The Apostle
writing to the Ephesians (Eph. I. 10.) teaches that God had purposed in the
fullness of time to sum up and renew in Jesus all things which are in heaven
and in earth. Whence also the Savior himself in the Revelation of John
says,(Rev. i, 8; xxii. 13), "I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the
ending." At the beginning of the human race we neither ate flesh, nor gave
bills of divorce, nor suffered circumcision for a sign. Thus we reached the
deluge. But after the deluge, together with the giving of the law which no
one could fulfil, flesh was given for food, and divorce was allowed to
hard-hearted men, and the knife of circumcision was applied, as though the
hand of God had fashioned us with something superfluous.
But once Christ has come in the end of time, and Omega
passed into Alpha and
turned the end into the beginning, we are no longer allowed divorce (see
Matthew 19:3-9), nor are we circumcised, nor so we eat flesh, for the Apostle says, (Rom. xiv. 21.) "It is good not to eat flesh, nor to drink wine."
For wine as well as flesh was consecrated after the deluge" (Agains Jovinianus, Book I,18)
With this contribution St. Jerome provides us with one
of the strongest
arguments in our case for the vegetarian intents of Jesus himself and the
loss of such intend in Christianity.
Besides that it is intriguing that contemporary heathen
the early Christians as abstaining from meat:
Pliny, Governor of Bithynia (where Peter preached) referred
to the early
Christians in a letter to Trajan, the Roman Emperor, as a ..."contagious
superstition abstaining from flesh food..."
Seneca, (5 BC - 65 AD), stoic Philosopher and tutor
of Nero, describes the
Christians as "...a foreign cult or superstition (under imperial suspicion)
who abstain from flesh food..."
And Josephus Flavius says about the early Christians:
before sunrise and speak not a word of profane matters but put up certain
prayers...and sit down together each one to a single plate of one sort of
innocent food ..."
Finally let us hear some of the more contemporary Christians:
Albert Schweitzer: "...Ethics has not only to do
with mankind but with the
animal creation as well. This is witnessed in the purpose of St. Francis of
Assisi. Thus we shall arrive that ethics is reverence for all life. This is
the ethic of love widened universally. It is the ethic of Jesus now recognized as a necessity of thought...Only a universal ethic which embraces every living creature can put us in touch with the universe and the will which is there manifest..."
Cardinal John. Henry Newman (1801 - 90):..."Cruelty to
animals is as if man
did not love God...They have done us no harm, they have no power of
resistance.... there is something dreadful, so satanic in tormenting those
who have never harmed us and who cannot defend themselves, who are utterly
in our power..."
Tolstoy and Dukhobor (Orthodox Russian Christian) were
of the opinion that
meat-eating is against the tenets of Christianity.
As far as our views in this matter, His Divine Grace A.C.
Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya of ISKCON, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness says:
"...There are many rascals who violate their own religious
While it clearly says according to Judeo-Christian scriptures, "Thou shalt
not kill," they are giving all kinds of excuses. Even the heads of religions
indulge in killing animals while trying to pass as saintly persons. This
mockery and hypocrisy in human society has brought about unlimited
"Don't talk of Love of God, and mercy with meat in your
beard....."(unknown devotee 1983. Vrindavan SB class.)
Our eating of flesh - a habit to break
a change most aren't willing to make
For all the dead, few have wept
Our morbid greed - would God accept?
We leave the slaying to anyone but us
so the killing continues without a fuss
This slaughter most will never see
does this justify - would God agree?
Lives capable of agony and fear
still we torture billions every year
We say they're here to serve as food
but from compassion - would God exclude?
We pray to make our meal whole
Thank you God for this life we stole
"Thou shalt not kill", we must confess
this merciless death - would God bless?
Peace and harmony is what we should seek
but we abuse those who are weak
This unrelenting selfishness we have shown
ask yourself - would God condone?
Respected Bible scholar Rev. V.A. Holmes-Gore has researched
the frequent use of the word "meat" in the New Testament Gospels. He traced
its meaning to the original Greek. His findings were first published in
World Forum of Autumn, 1947. He reveals that the nineteen Gospel references
to "meat" should have been more accurately translated thus:
Greek Numbers of References Meaning
Broma 4 "food";
Brosis 4 "the act of eating food";
Phago 3 "to eat";
Brosimos 1 "that which may be eaten'
Trophe 6 "nourishment";
Prosphagon 1 "anything to eat";
Thus, the Authorised Version of John 21:5, "Have ye any
meat? " is incorrect. It should have been translated: "Have ye anything