Does killing plants and bacteria while cooking incur sin?

Does killing plants and bacteria while cooking incur sin?

Postby Premkishor.gkg » Wed Sep 30, 2009 1:04 am

It is written in purport of Bhagavad Gita (14.16) that one should not kill any living entity. But, microorganisms (bacteria, virus) are always killed by us and plants are also living entities. While one accepts that one should not kill animals for eating, but what about plants and bacteria and vermins? Does that incur sin?

Yes, killing any living entity knowingly, or even unknowingly, incurs sinful reactions. The Supreme Lord is the supreme Father of all beings and every living entity has the right to live in this world, just as we humans do. We do not have the right, because of being in a superior life form, to needlessly take the life of or even cause pain to any other living entity; rather as human beings we are expected to show compassion to these innocent creatures.

In fact, Srimad Bhagavatam describes that it is the duty of a grihastha (householder) to protect and maintain even the insects, lizards and other lower life forms as if they were one's own children, what to speak of killing them! (Please refer SB 7.14.9)

We also hear of great saintly persons taking the trouble to not kill even some insignificant ants crossing their path. It is the nature of a sadhu to be compassionate and not harm anyone even if it meant bearing personal inconvenience; and if there is an option to get rid of a troublesome living entity without killing that should be preferred.

It is impossible for an embodied living entity in the material world to exist without unavoidably inflicting some difficulty upon other embodied living entities. Just by one's very existence one kills many micro-organisms even while harmlessly walking or just by breathing.

The solution is to purify our existence. These unavoidable sinful reactions can be counteracted only by dedicating our lives unto God's service and performing yajna (such as sankirtana yajna, chanting the Lord's Holy Names). If one's very existence is completely dedicated to the Lord, and one is not envious towards any living entity but a well-wisher of all, then whatever one does becomes beneficial even to the unseen microorganisms.

Actitivities such as killing plants for food also incurs sin, albeit relatively less sinful compared to killing of animals. But when a devotee prepares food items and cooks for Krishna, offers the food to the Lord and then partakes the prasadam, there is no sin incurred for the devotees. Conversely, the plants derive great spiritual benefit because of being offered to the Lord's in devotion, and are thus promoted to higher forms of life than would have been the case had natural death taken place instead.-------As explained by HH Romapada swami.
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