Beans, Bullets, and Bhagavad-gitas
Please read text 13 of chapter three along with the purport, and then read the following commentary. Afterwards, each participant should offer a thought or comment on this passage. As you do so, please consider these study questions:
bhunjate te tv agham papa
ye pacanty atma-karanat
This passage uses the term santo (santas) to describe those in a state of Krsna Consciousness who are in love with and completely devoted to the service of the Lord. Such a person has destroyed the false ego which seeks its own sense gratification and instead only acts for the gratification of the Lord.
While inhabiting a physical body in this material world, it is necessary for it to do certain things for the purposes of survival. One of the most crucial is to eat. However, we know that all food is sinful since it means the destruction of life. Certainly we do not want to kill the cow or any other animals for food. It is easy to see why such activity would be considered sinful, but even plants have life. The spark of the divine which animates humans and animals also is found within plants, so to take the life of plants is also sinful.
However, Sri Krsna, in His mercy, grants us the means to eliminate this sin, by offering food to Krsna as yajna. Later in the Bhagavad-Gita, at 9: 26 it states:
patram puspam phalam toyam
yo me bhaktya prayacchati
tad aham bhakty-upahrtam
In that passage we find that Lord Krsna will accept from us a leaf, flower, fruit, or water. So, if we prepare food that Krsna likes and will accept, and offer that food to Krsna as yajna, then we may partake of the remainder without incurring sin.
Most people in the material world are only concerned with their own sense gratification, and so they prepare all sorts of savory foods only for their own enjoyment. When a person does this, they are incurring sin through the consumption of life, but also, they are stealing. As we have previously seen, everything is part and parcel of the Lord, and all things belong only to the Lord, so if we simply take and use plants and animals for our own sense gratification then we are stealing what does not belong to us. Through this we may feel guilt or anxiety, and at the very least we become unfeeling towards other forms of life and become unhealthy through our gluttony. By attempting to find happiness through such sense gratification, we are preparing ourselves for failure. If, on the other hand, one were to offer up the food to Krsna, food that has been specifically prepared for Krsna, then we can find true enjoyment through this service. The food will become sin-free prasadam which we may enjoy.
As devotees, we prepare our food to Krishna's taste, not ours. Those who eat food not offered to Krishna eat sin because food=death. If offered to Krishna, it becomes pure. It is a yajna because it is made according to Krishna's tastes, not our own. It is made in the spirit of service, not sense-gratification.