This exchange between His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and some of his disciples took place in Geneva, Switzerland, on June 2, 1974.
Disciple: Srila Prabhupada, in a recent study by U.S. agricultural officials, they found that it's uneconomical to eat meat. It takes so much energy and man hours to raise and transport and slaughter the cows that it's very wasteful.
Srila Prabhupada: Wasteful, yes. Therefore I say they have no brain. They are all rascals. Rascal leaders. A little labor in agriculture will be sufficient to produce the family's food stock for the whole year. You work only three months, and you get sufficient food for your whole family. And in the remaining nine months, you chant Hare Krsna.
But these rascals will not do that. They will work hard like asses simply for eating. Nunam pramattah kurute vikarma yad indriya-pritaya aprnoti. They will not accept an easy life.
Disciple: In that agricultural report it said that if people were to eat all the grains they give to the cows and animals, they could get twenty times more calories than by eating meat.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Wrong civilization, rascal civilization. And this is due to this rascaldom called nationalism "This is my land." At any moment a person will be kicked out by death, but still he claims, "It is my land." Janasya moho 'yam aham mameti. This is the illusion. Nothing belongs to him; still he is fighting, "This is mine. This is mine." "I" and "mine" identifying oneself with the body and wrongly conceiving that "This is mine." This is the basic principle of a wrong civilization. Nothing belongs to us. I have come here to Switzerland. Suppose I remain here for one month and I claim, "Oh, this is mine." What is this?
So, similarly, we come to this world as guests. We come to the womb of a mother and live here for seventy years or so. And we claim, "This is my land." But when did it become yours? The land was there long, long before your birth. How has it become yours? But people have no sense. "It is mine my land, my nation, my family, my society." In this way, they are wasting time.
These things have been introduced by Western civilization. In the Vedic civilization there is no such thing as nationalism. You won't find it there. Have you seen the word "nationalism" in the Bhagavad-gita? No such thing.
Nationalism is the idea of tribes. In Africa there are still groups of tribes. Nationalism is the most crude idea of civilization. It is nothing but developed tribalism. Modern man is not advanced in civilization. This nationalism is another form of tribalism, that's all.
Disciple: Today, so-called civilized people are actually just cannibals because they maintain themselves on eating the cow.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. And they are suffering. Therefore you'll find that in recent history, every twenty-five years there is a big war with mass slaughter of people. Nature does not tolerate animal slaughter.
Now India has learned to slaughter animals, imitating the Western countries. And now there is war between India and Pakistan. During two wars between Pakistan and Hindustan, millions of people were killed unnecessarily, without any gain.
Disciple: Just recently India exploded an atomic bomb, and now Pakistan is hurrying to get an atomic bomb also.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
This is going on.
Disciple: The Indian government promised that nuclear energy would be only for peaceful purposes.
Srila Prabhupada: No, what do they know about peaceful conditions? They are all rascals. They do not know what a peaceful condition is. The actual peaceful condition is described in the Bhagavad-gita:
jnatva mam santim rcchati
"A person in full consciousness of Me [Krsna], knowing Me to be the ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods, and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attains peace from the pangs of material miseries."
This is peace. Unless there is Krsna consciousness, where is peace? There cannot be peace. All rascaldom. Na mam duskrtino mudhah prapadyante naradhamah. These rascals and fools mayayapahrta-jnana have lost all knowledge. How can there be peace? Their endeavors for peace are all useless.