There are two principles of Hare Krishna philosophy, which are expressed practically by the practice of vegetarianism. These two principles are:
- Service to God (Krishna)
Non-violence means not to stop the progressive life (materially or spiritually) of any living being. According to the laws of karma and reincarnation if an animal is killed before its allotted time in that particular body has ended then it has to take birth again in the same type of body in order to complete its remaining days and be promoted upwards to the next species. Thus its evolution upwards through the different species of life is checked. Therefore, the killing of animals simply to satisfy the demands of the palate is an act of both material and spiritual violence.
As far as service to God is concerned in Bhagavad-gita it is said: “If one offers Me (Krishna) with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water, I will accept it.” (Bhagavad-gita 9.26)
Before eating anything devotees of Krishna perform a ceremony whereby they offer their food to God. This religious performance sanctifies the food and frees the person eating it from the karma involved in the collection and preparation of the ingredients.
Environmentally speaking, the escalating loss of species, destruction of ancient rain forests to create pasturelands for livestock, loss of top soils and the consequent increase of water impurities, water depletion and air pollution have all been traced to meat in the human diet. No single decision that we can make as individuals or as a race can have such a dramatic effect on the improvement of our planetary ecology as the decision to not eat meat.
Health wise, it’s a scientific fact that vegetarians are healthier than meat eaters with studies showing that vegetarians have a much lower risk of suffering from diseases like cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and other health disorders compared to meat eaters.
Finally, because in the Bhagavad-gita Krishna says that He will only accept food if it is vegetarian then Hare Krishnas only eat vegetarian food. This they do as an act of service to please God (Krishna).