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Krishna versus pacifism   4-1-15

letter to a believer in Krishna Consciousness

Thank you for finally admitting that you are not a pacifist and that Krishna and the Bhagavad Gita mandate war.  But what right do you have to limit that to wars of self-defense ?  The BG makes no such distinction and Prince Arjuna was obviously engaged in a war for political power, not a war of self-defense.  Then you add a prohibition against a military draft on your own authority.  Like most people who pretend to follow scripture, you feel free to make your own additions.

The next thing you have to admit is that you are not serious about opposing abortion and that there is no foundation for it in Hinduism.  Krishna himself sets a high profile example of the gross sexual immorality which inevitably leads to abortion.  Krishna is one of the randiest gods in all mythology.  The immoral gods of Greek and Roman and Egyptian mythology would be embarrassed to be seen with him.  In addition to his innumerable wives and girl friends he is presented as forcing himself on his mother and his sisters.  How in the world can followers of Krishna claim to have a high standard of sexual morality ?  Trying to derive a standard of sexual morality from one word in the Bhagavad Gita 17.14 is like Gandhi trying to hang his pacifist doctrine on ahimsa.  Since the supposed speaker of the BG was a relentless sari chaser as well as a warrior, the attempt is doomed to failure.  The Mahabharata says the bereaved wives of Krishna immolated themselves in Indraprastha after his death.  Obviously, if the custom was associated with Krishna, that gave it great prestige and explains why sati--the widow expected to throw herelf on the funeral pyre of her dead husband-- persisted to modern times.  Krishna may be only a myth, but he is a pernicious myth in the way he exemplifies wicked customs.   

Buddha's abandonment of his wife and child is obviously the wrong alternative.  Mohammed helped himself to the widows he created by executing their husbands in cold blood.  Then he scandalized his own hard to scandalize followers by claiming a personal exemption from sexual morality.  Neither does the Hebrew Old Testament contain any reliable standard of sexual morality. 

The place to find a  forthright statement of sexual morality and respect for marriage is the teaching of Jesus Christ and his first followers in the gospels and epistles of the New Testament.  And the early Church lived up to that standard.  Which the modern church has mostly abandoned. 

Because of sex selection abortions, India now has a great shortage of young women.  Which leads to men patronizing prostitutes from whom they get AIDS.  It leads to gangs of rapists in major Indian cities.  A sensible person would have to conclude that Hinduism is the curse of India.  You seem to be willfully ignorant of the realities of Hinduism.  Read Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies by Abbe J.A. Dubois. 

In all honesty, you should abandon any pretence of opposing war and abortion.  Krishna Consciousness provides no foundation for it.  To the end of his life Gandhi was trying to read pacifism into the BG by way of ahimsa.  His sentimental foolishness led him upon a forlorn quest to re-interpret other Hindu scriptures like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata to mandate nonviolence.  His attempt to graft Christian pacifism into Hinduism and to teach nonviolence to Moslems led no where except to the terrible bloodbath in which a million were killed in the Hindu-Moslem riots which engulfed India when it became independent of Britain in 1946. 

Gandhi's personal faith in the spirit of love and truth was degraded by linking it to  1. nationalism  2. a mass movement  3. trying to graft it into Hinduism and Mohammedanism.  Primitive and non-state Christianity--underground and heretical Christianity--is the only reliable spiritual and moral foundation for pacifism. 

You claim that people eating meat is somehow the cause of war and abortion.  But the vegetarians of India have less resistance to abortion than the meat eating Moslems.  Hitler was a vegetarian.  Was he a pacifist ?  Not hardly.  

India is a show case of the moral and spiritual failure of Hinduism and the failure of Gandhi to graft his Philosophy of Nonviolence on to Indian society.  They obviously have no resistance to militarism, as witness all the money they are putting into the military.  Nor do they have any effective resistance to abortion.  Unlike the Moslems who at least still ban abortion.  What basis is there in the Hindu religion for a pacifist or a pro life movement ?  I see none.  It is just silly to believe that a Krishna cult could provide the spiritual foundation for such movements. 

Neither was Krishna a vegetarian, although they try to read that into the BG 17.7-10.  There was his chance to state clearly: don't eat meat ! and he missed it.  And the various Krishna stories represent him as eating meat.  You quote everybody and his brother as an authority contra eating meat--pagan philosophers, ex Catholics, very unorthodox Jews.  You lack the one authority you need:   God says: don't eat meat.  Because you are stuck with believing in Krishna as God

Moderns, who have replaced God with Evolution as their moral authority, argue that human teeth were designed for fruits and vegetables, not meat.  But, later on, the Son of Evolution led humans to the invention of knives and forks, meat cleavers and grinders,  cook stoves,  and stew kettles with lids.  It is the fact that, especially after you have lost your teeth, you find it much easier to eat beef stew--with carrots of course--than raw carrots.  Evolution can kiss my a__ if he doesn't like it.  

The caste system so central to the Hindu religion, which is sanctioned by the Bhagavad Gita, despite Prabhupada's attempt to explain it away, is even more pernicious than the slavery practiced by Judaism, which was preserved by Imperial Christianity.  At least there was a possibility of escaping from slavery or buying your way out.  It was only primitive Christianity and underground Christianity which provided the moral alternative for this ancient evil.  [ see  Essenes and Christians  ]

I do not understand how any sensible person can have a faith in Krishna.  I suspect your faith in Krishna was eroded long ago and was replaced by this fool's quest to make vegetarianism into a universal religion.  Your obsession with vegetarianism and reincarnation produces a spiritual blindness which insulates you from understanding the spiritual and moral challenge of confronting the real evils in the world.  You are going no where until you have sense enough to quit Krishna.  I am sorry to be so blunt, but I don't have the time to wade through the nonsense you send me.  I suppose you are sincere.  Adolph Hitler was a sincere vegetarian.  It is a very doubtful virtue. 

My hero Ammon Hennacy was a vegetarian and his little daughter once asked him why . . . Just sentimental, I guess.  I don't like to kill animals and, if I don't want to do it myself, I don't want anyone to do it for me.   Then she said:  But maybe it just died.   Hindu vegetarianism has some such distinction, although you seem to have lost track of it. 

That is the only good argument for vegetarianism I have ever heard.  But Ammon is right that it is based upon sentimentality.  Gandhi 's clinging to Hinduism and trying to make it nonviolent is an example of sentimentality.   Adolph Hitler was a sentimental vegetarian.  Why don't you ever quote him along with all these other fellows ?  When he was living in the homeless shelter he used to scatter crumbs for the mice.  But he was not sentimental about Jews or invading Poland etc. 

Your basic argument for vegetarianism is that animals have the same rights as people.  The corollary is that people have the same rights as animals--have the same right to a fish dinner as a heron or a crane.  Have the same right as a fox or an eagle to catch a rabbit. 

Your ecological arguments are specious.  As to the shortage of grain, the U.S. government has paid farmers to not grow grain over the last 100 years to avoid surpluses which drive down the price.  There is an argument to be made for grass fed beef over corn fed beef as being healthier.  Large areas of the world, like the Great Plains of America, are no good for agriculture but naturally designed for grazing.  There were 70 million buffalo on the Great Plains before the encroachment of the farmers led to the near extinction of the buffalo and to the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.  The Plains Indians lived on the buffalo, made tepees and clothing from their hides and used nearly every part of the buffalo in one way or another.  Was this somehow un natural or bad karma ?  Silliness.  Now grazing cattle have replaced the buffalo.  No doubt there is a lot of waste in modern society but that is a different argument.  The loss of natural predators means that the herds of deer and elk and antelope have to be thinned by hunting or they will over graze their range and starve themselves as well as bankrupting the ranchers.  

Wars and corrupt governments lead to famines.  India has one of the most corrupt governments on the planet and they are spending large sums building up their army and navy, thumbing their nose at Gandhi, as they did during his life time. 

animal sacrifice and human sacrifice

I am baffled as to why you persist in referring to Judaism as a vegetarian religion.  Not only was historical Judaism not a vegetarian religion, but,  animal sacrifice was the primary way they maintained their relationship with The Lord.  Don't take my word for it, read the 5 books of Moses.  What else do you think went on in The Temple ?  Which was the center of their faith.  The dearest wish of at least some Orthodox Jews is the restoration of The Temple and the priesthood and the animal sacrifices.  Of course, you can find all sorts of self-styled Jews who define Judaism as anything they wish to believe.  They don't believe in God and they do believe in Israel and they go along with abortion.  They light the right number of candles and call it Judaism

That seems to be how you define Hinduism--you presume you have the Authority to edit It.  Animal sacrifice was central to the original Hindu tradition.  It was an essential part of their relationship with the Hindu pantheon.  It persists to this day in the annual rites of the Durgapuja in honor of the goddess Kali.  They were still sacrificing kids--human children, not just goats--well into the 19th century before the British government finally more or less stopped it. 

Judaism was an ethical advance upon Hinduism and upon the religious cults of the neighboring Semitic tribes which still practiced human sacrifice.  [ cf. 2 Kings 3.27 ]  One of the seminal stories of Judaism features Abraham sacrificing a ram at the last minute instead of his first born son Isaac.  The Moslems have their own version of the same story  in which Ishmael, instead of Isaac, is the son who was about to be sacrificed.  Meanwhile, in India and most of the rest of the world, human sacrifice as a religious ceremony persisted.  Archaeological research shows that child sacrifice was a common practice of the Incas and the Aztecs and the other so-called civilizations of Central America. 


People still devoutly believe in sacrificing their first born sons to GodBlessAmerica.  And you with your defensive wars believe the same thing.  And can't believe anything else so long as you are stuck with Krishna Consciousness and the Bhagavad Gita.  Quit the Cult !  Appreciate the fact that Jesus substituted himself for all animal sacrifices:  this is my blood of the new covenant,  which is shed for many for the remission of sins.  Matthew 26.28.  While also teaching love your enemies  Matthew 5.44.  Hebrews 10.4 adds:   it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats could take away sins

Buddhism versus Pacifism

The article about Buddhist Vegetarianism is horse feathers.  The claim that Asoka was some sort of pacifist emperor is based upon one inscription dug up many centuries later which advised his heirs to avoid further wars of conquest.  He never dismantled the empire or the gigantic army of his grandfather which built that empire and which was necessary to maintain it.  He didn't ban the eating of meat and fish, he only restricted it to reduce the grocery bill of the imperial court.  You are hard up for examples of vegetarianism if this satisfies you.  Buddha's last meal was pork and rice.  Arguably he died from failure to keep kosher

The claim is made that Buddhism is a pacifist religion.  But Buddha was a passivist, not a pacifist.  It isn't that he refused to go to war, he refused to do anything except sit under a tree and meditate.  Before that, he walked out on his wife and new born son without even giving her a pat on the head by way of saying good job.  That was his first step on the road to enlightenment

Like other clergy, the Buddhist monks claim an exemption from military conscription.  But Buddhism had royal patronage from the beginning and was a state religion from the start.  Which is what mandates a military character.  cf. War is the Health of the State

The Mahavamsa, the major history of Buddhism in Ceylon, features the Sinhalese King Dutthagamani slaughtering the Tamils.  When he expresses remorse for the slaughter of a great host numbering millions, the monks assure him:  From this deed arises no hindrance in thy way to heaven.  Only one and a half human beings have been slain by thee, O lord of men.  The one had come unto the (three) refuges, the other had taken on himself the five precepts.  Unbelievers and men of evil life were the rest, not more to be esteemed than beasts.  But as for thee, thou wilt bring glory to the doctrine of the Buddha in manifold ways; therefore cast away care from thy heart, O ruler of men.   ( Chapter XXV )  These monks are billed as Arhats--those who have achieved Enlightenment. 

This king went to war with a relic of the Buddha on his spear.  It resembles the story of Otho the Great who defeats the pagan Hungarians in a battle of the 10th century using the holy lance with a point made from the nails of the Cross.  But Military Christianity only appeared in the 4th century and it persecuted the original pacifist Christianity which has persisted in underground and heretical churches to the present time.  [ See The Church of the Empire on the Radical Christian web site. ]  Like Mohammedanism, Buddhism was a state religion and a military religion  from the start and, pretences aside, had that same character in the various countries to which it spread. 

The Sermon on the Mount is the moral and spiritual foundation for pacifism.  The example of the early Christians who were martyrs--witnesses--for a faith that caused them to refuse military service, even when they were killed for doing that, is the historical tradition upon which an anti war movement must be built.  

Terry  Sullivan 

Terry Sullivan  1526 East 35th Ave. Denver  Colo.  80205

web site:

May 31st 2016

Dear Friend: 

Take out your Concordance and look up the fish verses in the 4 gospels:   Matthew 14.17-19 describes Jesus distributing loaves and fishes to 5000 people.    In Matthew 17.27 he instructs Peter to catch a fish and pay the temple tax with a coin he will find in its mouth.    In Luke 5.6-9 Jesus helps them get a huge catch of fish in their nets.   See also John 21.6-11.     In Luke 24.42-43 Jesus eats a piece of broiled fish to show them that it really is him, not just a spirit.    In John 21.9-10  Jesus helps them catch fish and also cooks fish for them. 

Lamb was traditional for the Passover meal, but the gospels mention only bread and wine in connection with the Last Supper.  But there is no way that a sensible person can ignore the several gospel passages where Jesus ate fish himself or encouraged others to do it.  You cannot replace Jesus Christ as the authority on what the Christian religion teaches about vegetarianism.  You cannot  replace the authority of the 4 canonical gospels with other miscellaneous writings.  It should be obvious to you that you are wasting your own time and everyone else's with this futile quest to graft vegetarianism into the Christian religion. 

Jesus did talk about what we should eat.  Contra the strict food prohibitions of Judaism he says in Mark 7 it is what comes out of your mouth, not what goes into it, that makes you unclean.  He was teaching contra the Pharisee who believed in the righteousness he achieved by what he didn't eat.  The Jains and the Hindus should note this passage. 

Of course we don't remember Jesus because he encouraged us to Eat More Fish.  We remember him because he taught us to Love God with your whole heart;  Love your neighbor as yourself;  Love one another as I have loved you--addressed to his closest followers;    Love your enemies.  We remember him because he taught the sanctity of marriage and he and his followers set the example of strict sexual morality.  Unlike Krishna.  We remember him because he faced death bravely bearing witness against the evil of this world.  One of his few modern true followers, Franz Jaggerstatter, did the same by refusing to join Hitler's army and he was beheaded in 1943.  He sets the example of bearing witness to the truth that the rest of us must follow.  He shows the persistence of that Spirit of Truth and Love and Courage which Jesus gave his first followers.  cf. John 20.21-22. 

I notice that, while you preach vegetarianism as a universal religion, citing everybody and his brother as an authority, you never preach Krishna.  Which is sensible.  I suspect your faith in Krishna was eroded long ago even if you can't quite bring yourself to admit it.  The best thing to be said for Krishna is that he is only a myth, albeit a pernicious one, an old bawdy folk tale turned into a religious tract, like the Samson stories in the book of Judges

Don't miss out on Jesus Christ.  What he ate is not important.  Who he was and what he was is important.  Even if he ate fish, he is worthy of your respect as Krishna is not.  His Holy Spirit is entirely relevant to confronting what is wrong with the world as Krishna is not. 


Terry  Sullivan