This morning's beach walk gave rise to a long, interesting conversation between Prabhupada and the barefoot Dr. Patel. Srila Prabhupada explained everything to him — from the uselessness of vegetarianism, to the perfection of Communism.
As far as being vegetarian goes, Prabhupada told us about a Jain monk who came to meet him in Berkeley, America. When Prabhupada had asked him what the results of his preaching were, the man replied that he had converted one million people to vegetarianism. But Prabhupada didn't give him much credit for that. Although the Jains advocate nonviolence, Prabhupada pointed out that being vegetarian is violence, since one has to kill the vegetables. Nor does being vegetarian or nonviolent mean one is on the spiritual platform. Garuda is the personal carrier of Lord Visnu, yet he eats snakes; and Krsna ordered Arjuna to kill his enemies. He said that the real point is to follow the order of Krsna.
Dr. Patel interpreted the meaning of this as "feeling that one is doing every thing for Krsna."
Prabhupada responded that the orders are factual, not feelings. He also showed the vital role the spiritual master plays. "Not feel, but actually it's an order. Arjuna did not feel; he took order to kill. Not that you manufacture your idea. No. You take order directly and then do it — otherwise you'll be responsible. Therefore the guru is required to act as representative of Krsna. If he says, 'Yes, it is all right,' then it is all right. Otherwise not. Yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadah. Otherwise why guru is required? We must take every moment order from him." Prabhupada told the doctor that simply by becoming Krsna conscious one develops all good qualities, so there is no need for a separate endeavor to be vegetarian.
From Hari Sauri Prabhu's "Transcendental Diary"