Śyāmasundara: First we'll be discussing the ethical, social and political philosophy of Hegel. He believed that one's basic right was to be a person and respect others as persons.
Prabhupāda: Yes. So what is the philosophy of killing animals?
Śyāmasundara: Well, animals are considered as things and persons have the dominion over things.
Prabhupāda: Therefore they are rascals. Rascal philosophy. So the basic principle is this, one has right to be.
Śyāmasundara: One has the right to be a person.
Śyāmasundara: And respect others as persons.
Prabhupāda: Yes. So why do they not respect others' person. The animal is also person. What is this philosophy? That is the defect, that one is a rascal and he is taking the position of a philosopher. That is the defect. He's a rascal number one. He does not respect others' individuality, and he philosophizes that ones individuality should be observed.
Śyāmasundara: He says that there are three basic rights. The first is property rights; the second is the right of contract; the third right is the right of redress of wrongs; in the sense that crimes should be punished.
Prabhupāda: Yes. But it is not crime to kill an animal? The animal has no right to live independently?
Śyāmasundara: They say that the standard of what is right is the universal or the rational will...
Prabhupāda: Is that rational, that another living entity like me should be killed for my benefit, for satisfying my tongue?
Śyāmasundara: Their idea is that the animal is not in the same category as myself because it has no...
Prabhupāda: So that's alright; then might is right? Hitler is right? When Hitler, Hitler kills the Jews, he's right? He thinks that they are not in my category.
Śyāmasundara: The animal cannot understand philosophy.
Prabhupāda: What does he understand of philosophy? He is mad; he is less than an animal. He does not understand philosophy. He does not know that the animal has also a soul, the animal has also life. Then he should be killed first.
Śyāmasundara: He said that one standard whether something is right or wrong is that if it is self-contradictory, if somebody's action is self-contradictory.
Prabhupāda: He is actually self-contradictory. He is going to give right to others that he does not want to give the same right to the animals. That is self-contradictory.
Śyāmasundara: He uses the example of someone who doesn't want anyone to steal something from him but he steals something from others.
Śyāmasundara: And that is self-contradictory.
Prabhupāda: Yes, self-contradictory action is here, that I don't want to be killed but I kill another animal. This is self-contradictory. Supporting by some nonsense philosophy. I don't want to be killed but I kill other, this is self-contradictory.
Śyāmasundara: He would say a self-contradictory act is irrational.
Śyāmasundara: Is not acting according to the rational will.
Prabhupāda: He is irrational and he is taking the position of a philosopher.
Śyāmasundara: Another one of his ideas is that conflict creates progress. So that a man kills the animal and progresses.
Prabhupāda: Then I kill him and make progress?
Śyāmasundara: Yes, that is the law of nature.
Prabhupāda: Then kill him and make progress?
Śyāmasundara: He says that acting in accordance with a conscience is the right type of activity.
Prabhupāda: The conscience, the so-called conscience is created. You go on killing, your conscience will be killing conscience, "It is all right." The thief becomes accustomed to steal, the conscience will say, "Yes, I must steal. It is my right." So you can create your conscience in that way. By association, by misguiding, they also create their conscience. Just like the Christian religion says, "Thou shalt not kill," but they are killing, creating a conscience, "Yes, killing is all right." In the religion it is forbidden, "Thou shalt not kill," but they are creating another conscience, "It is right." The conscience is created by association. By good association, conscience is the good conscience and by bad association, a bad conscience is created. So there is no such standard as conscience. Conscience means discriminating power.
Śyāmasundara: He says that there is an absolute conscience, which means pure rationality. Whatever is purely rational is conscience.
Prabhupāda: Pure rationality is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is purest. Unless one comes to that standard, the so-called conscience, so-called philosophy is of no value.
Śyāmasundara: He says that punishment for crime is justified because it vindicates justice and restores rights.
Prabhupāda: Yes, therefore when one is killing an animal, he should be prepared for being killed. That will be justice. That is Manu's... Manu-saṁhitā says that when a man, murderer is hanged, that is complete justice, complete justice. That is to save him, because without being hanged in this life, he if he escapes justice, then he will have to suffer next life very severely. So to save him from so many troubles in the next life, if he is killed, I mean to say, hanged, in this life, then he is saved. Therefore the king who is hanging him is doing him justice. Life for life. If this is the justice, then why one should not be prepared of being killed because he is killing an animal? That is justice. That is Vedic philosophy. In Vedic philosophy, when an animal is killed, it is said that "You are animal, you are being sacrificed before goddess Kālī, so you get next chance to become a human being." That means he is given a lift from the evolutionary process to come to the human being because he is giving his life innocent, and one man wants to kill him, he will be killed. So because you are being killed before the deity, you get next chance human being and you have got the right to kill him. This is kālī-da, mantra. So any sane man will understand that "I am going to be killed by him so why shall I take the risk."
Śyāmasundara: I observe in nature that everything is killing something else for eating so it seems only rational that I should be able to eat animals.
Prabhupāda: Well, that also accepted in the Vedic philosophy, jīvo jīvasya jīvanam. One life is, one living being is food for another living being. But that does not mean that you shall kill your son and eat, and it will be supported by the society. That is discrimination, that is conscience. You can say that "I must eat some, another living entity. That is by nature's law. So I produce my children and I kill them and I eat them so that the population problem will be solved." You can say that. Will you be accepted? So therefore there must be discrimination. That you have to eat another living being, that is nature's law, but if you eat fruit, you don't kill the tree. You take the fruit. If you eat vegetables, you take, still it is growing, and that is a factually not killing. But if you eat animals, you are killing. Actually he is being dead. So things should be done intelligently so that... The word is to make the best use of a bad bargain. So our philosophy is that although you can take that, although it is not killing, it is taking fruits, flowers and vegetables, it is taking from him, it is not killing, and we are offering to Kṛṣṇa and so if there is any responsibility, it is Kṛṣṇa's responsibility. We take the prasāda. Therefore we have no such responsibility and that is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, bhuñjate te tv agham pāpā ye pacanty ātma-kāraṇāt (BG 3.13). Anyone who is cooking for himself, he is taking all responsibility for sinful activity even if he is a vegetarian, it doesn't matter. Yajña-śiṣṭāśinaḥ santo mucyante sarva-kilbiṣaiḥ. But if he takes the remnants of yajña—we are offering Kṛṣṇa daily—this is performing yajña. So we are taking the remnants of yajña. This is our philosophy. We are not taking directly. If I take directly, either a vegetarian or non-vegetarian, then I become responsible. Sinful. This is our philosophy. The law is there, but we have to tackle things very intelligently.
Śyāmasundara: So far the social ethics are concerned, he says that these begin with the family, then they go to the society or community, and then finally the state. He says that the family is the single entity and is the thesis. The individual finds his real nature only in the presence of others.
Prabhupāda: What about the family of the animals? They have got family. What does he say? The tiger has got family—he has got his wife, cats.
Śyāmasundara: When man finds himself in the presence of his family members he is able to understand himself by relating with others. So...
Prabhupāda: Relations with others, just like you are a family man, you don't encroach upon other families, this is society law. So the animals, they have got their family. Family, what do you mean by family, husband, wife, also two children, that is family. So the animals, they have got. So why you encroach upon the animal family? What is his answer?
Śyāmasundara: Families, when they relate together in communities, are related by certain laws or rights, that one voluntarily abstains from killing and stealing from other families so that no one will do the same to him.
Śyāmasundara: So but...
Prabhupāda: This is not applicable to the animal family?
Prabhupāda: This is philosophy. (chuckles) What kind of philosopher he is? Our, Lord Buddha preached that if you feel pain when somebody pinches you, you should not pinch (them). He does not say that you should not pinch a human being. Therefore his dharma is ahiṁsā paramo dharmaḥ. This is philosophy, something. What is this philosophy? Nonsense philosophy. That you protect your family but you eat the animal family. This Lord Buddha's philosophy has got meaning, but where is the meaning of this philosophy?
Śyāmasundara: Well, he doesn't consider the animal kingdom at all.
Prabhupāda: And he is a rascal. He is a rascal. A philosopher must be all-pervading(?). This is (indistinct).
Śyāmasundara: Yes, he purports to cover everything. He says that his philosophy is complete, that it covers everything.
Prabhupāda: Then complete. (indistinct) complete.