By various devotees (see below for details)

(Vaiñëava Society Vol. 16)


Sometime vegans say that no other species drinks the milk of another species which means that humans should not do so either. Well, humans have hands and brains that allow them to milk cows whereas other species lack such facilities. However, it is noticed that many four-legged animal species, bird species, aquatic species and some insect and reptilian species are quite eager to consume dairy products when available to them in a form that is convenient for eating.

Malati devi dasi:

Srila  Prabhupada was informed that store bought vitamin”D” enriched milk  for Deity milk sweets and even devotee late night consumption may be contaminated, hearing that the vitamin”D” was taken from cod liver fish oil, but Srila Prabhupada still allowed its use. Regarding this incident, SP rather sadly commented, “What can be done? Krishna wants His milk.”

So, it seems we need to keep this perspective in place when trying to come to an understanding on dealing with the milk issue. We all know the “best” would  be from our own farms, but, it isn’t likely going to occur any time too soon,  and in the meantime, “Krishna wants His milk,” organic, protected, or otherwise. (I read that someone offered becoming a  vegan as a “solution” but, I  don’t see that as a solution to satisfying Krishna’s desire for  milk.)

On the other hand when LA temple was getting sour cream for free from a local diary Srila Prabhupada, seeing it on the prasadam plate, asked where it was  from. When His Divine Grace was informed it was being donated from a local milk diary, he prohibited its being offered to the Deity, saying something to the affect they cannot possibly make such milk items in such bulk  quantities without using adulterating chemicals. In tracking down this particular situation, there are two points we may want to consider:

I was told that this particular sour cream had “rennet” in it. That was the problem. Unfortunately, no one had bothered the read the label until some time had passed and it was being used.

In early days, when Lord Jagannath had already arrived, of San Francisco ’67, a new friend of the temple, a baker, donated a whole lot of his bread. Now, the newly zealous devotees wanted to toss it out (karmi grains, etc) BUT, Srila Prabhupada said, if there is nothing objectionable in it (there wasn’t) we could serve it out (we were  feeding up to 100 hungry souls in hippy bodies every day), but it  could not be offered to the Deities. He mentioned how this person’s intention of offering something to the Lord and his devotees should not be  discouraged.

Hare Krishna……(Malati)

Comment on Malati’s anecdote (from Danavir Goswami):

The devotee who brought the matter to Srila Prabhupada’s attention was Puru dasa who was residing in the Los Angeles temple at the time (April 6, 1976). As soon as His Divine Grace learned that the product had animal derivatives in it, he immediately forbade its use.

I am so glad to hear that, because the sales manager of Darigold dairy is sympathetic to our Krishna Consciousness movement, you are being supplied 20 gallons of fresh milk weekly and free of charge. He is a good friend so keep him posted of our activities and encourage him sufficiently. Perhaps he will become our life member also. (Letter to: Makhanlal — Los Angeles 14 July, 1971)

Nonviolent Dairy Options

Dhaneçvara Däsa:

Thank you for the articles on cow protection. If we are to establish Kåñëa consciousness, it is imperative that we live our philosophy and support cow protection by supporting employment of the cows and oxen.

But it doesn’t seem we are doing so well in that regard. Looking over the information about the farms, I noticed with interest that only a small number of the cows are actually being milked. For example, at Gétä Nagari 2 of 69 were fresh [newly calved and therefore milking], and I suspect that more are dry than retired.

A devotee friend of mine explained to me that it’s a matter of economics: the farms simply cannot afford to keep the cows fresh. I heard this with great astonishment. If we as a society are committed to cow protection, then we must arrange for it to make sense economically. Otherwise, as the article pointed out, cow protection will be abandoned.

Every temple, I am sure, uses large amounts of milk products. Why aren’t these products of our own farms? My friend pointed out that the temples can buy dairy products from the store for less than what it costs to make them ourselves, because the store products are government subsidized.

But is that an excuse? That means we value dollars above cow protection. As a society we spend millions of dollars a year to distribute books and prasädam because we understand the great need for these programs, even though they may not pay for themselves. Why should cow protection be considered less important?

Many non-devotee vegetarians shun commercial dairy products because these products are linked to the slaughter of calves. Yet we, who profess to champion cow protection, buy these products instead of our own dairy produce because they’re cheaper.

This doesn’t make sense, nor is it morally sound. Not only should we not buy commercial dairy products, but we should offer our own nonviolent dairy products. Charge what we must, there are people out there willing to pay for it to support the principles they (and we) believe in.

I would like to ask the leaders of our farm communities to make these options available to us. Let us stop voting for cow slaughter with each dollar spent, and let us instead vote for cow protection when we make our purchases.

Dhaneçvara Däsa
Laguna Beach, California

Hare Kåñëa Devé Däsé replies:

I appreciate your support for cow protection. Your letter raises several important topics.

In general, we in ISKCON have made the mistake of putting the cart full of milk cans in front of the ox. In other words, over the long term we can’t have milk from protected cows without working oxen. (In my column this issue I talk about the economics of why.) Most of us have not yet grasped the need to work the oxen as a basic feature of a sustainable Kåñëa conscious society. And that’s  the reason we’re not getting milk from protected cows.

Another crucial point: The Kåñëa conscious economy Çréla Prabhupäda describes is a localized subsistence economy based on ox power and cow protection. It’s not a centralized market economy that depends on petroleum and a highly technological infrastructure. Ultimately that means that if we don’t serve Kåñëa within ten miles of a Hare Kåñëa farm, it’s unfair for us to demand that milk products from protected cows be shipped to us by petroleum-fueled trucks.

Spiritually advanced people naturally want to avoid foods that support the sinful cow-slaughter industry. And in fact the most practical way to do this is to help work the oxen and protect the cows on a Kåñëa conscious farm. As Çréla Prabhupäda tells us, “Agriculture and cow protection are the way to become sinless and be attracted to devotional service.”

Finally, those of us who can’t directly work on a farm should stick behind those who have dedicated their lives to this part of Çréla Prabhupäda’s mission. We should understand the courage and incredibly hard work of the devotees at a place like Gétä Nägaré. And we should support their decision to switch from pumping milk into the commercial market to breeding cows only to yield oxen and milk for their community. (Nonviolent Dairy Options: Back to Godhead Magazine 25/6)

Adiraja dasa:

Some vegetarians, called vegans, abstain not only from meat, fish, and eggs but also from milk and milk products, because of moral concern about abuse of cows in the dairy industry. The devotees of Kåñëa also condemn animal abuse, but rather than abstain from milk, which the Vedas consider essential for human beings, they show their compassion in a positive way by teaching the Vedic principle of cow protection, and, as far as possible, drinking milk only from Hare Kåñëa dairy farms, where the cows are loved and protected.

There are a few basic recipes which are used over and over again in preparing food for Kåñëa’s pleasure. Yoghurt, curd, bean sprouts and such rare and costly ingredients as ghee may be simply and inexpensively prepared from the recipes given here. Generally we do not use commercially prepared cheeses, buttermilk or sour cream because many commercial products contain a nonvegetarian stabilizer called rennet which is an extremely impure ingredient. Generally, sour cream and yoghurt marked “kosher” or “pareve” do not contain this, but it is always best to check carefully. Even if rennet is not listed on the label, it is a good idea to call the dairy company that makes the particular product and ask if rennet has been used. In any case, it is not difficult to make cottage cheese, cream cheese, yoghurt and other such preparations, and this is a good opportunity to render service to Kåñëa by cooking for Him with devotion. LessengerArticlesDairyAdiraja dasa,Danavir Goswami,Dhanesvara dasa,Hare Krsna devi dasi,Malati devi dasiBy various devotees (see below for details) (Vaiñëava Society Vol. 16)   Sometime vegans say that no other species drinks the milk of another species which means that humans should not do so either. Well, humans have hands and brains that allow them to milk cows whereas other species lack such facilities. However,...