The Milk Controversy – should we give it up?

Should spiritualists consume milk or should they be vegan? The Vedic texts enjoin us to develop solid intelligence through milk consumption, but yet modern milk production is fraught with violence. So what is the spiritualist to do?

Partha Das, 26 April 2020

Hare Krsna,

I was surprised to see many articles and interviews by modern day doctors saying milk is white poison.

As a Hare Krsna devotee, I have given up tea, coffee, alcohol smoking etc . My only source of pleasure is daily cups of hot milk . I also enjoy all the milk byproducts such as yogurt, paneer, cheese, milk, sweets etc.

I tried to be a vegan for 3 months , on advice of a doctor who is against milk. But the result was that my bones and tooth became weak and brittle. I was forced to restart milk immediately.

Could you enlighten me a little on this matter. It is not possible to get milk from an ISKCON farm , which doesn’t use injections on cows, or is not cruel to animals.

What is the ISKCON stand on this matter, as our source of milk is the Govt dairy farm and it’s not possible to keep a cow in a city.

Dandavats,

Partha Das

Paramahamsa Das, 28 April 2020

Hare Krishna, 

Please accept my obeisances 

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada 

All Glories to Srila Gurudev, 

I would like to thank you for your wonderful question and also appreciate that you have worked your way to avoid Tea, coffee, and nasty habits like smoking. It indeed shows your dedication to imbibe a proper lifestyle that will bring you closer to Krishna by at least reaching to the mode of goodness. 

As far as Milk and milk products are concerned or in that case, any foodstuff you enjoy if you do so without making an offering to Krishna then you are verily eating sin as mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita 3.13 

yajña-śiṣṭāśinaḥ santo

mucyante sarva-kilbiṣaiḥ

bhuñjate te tv aghaṁ pāpā

ye pacanty ātma-kāraṇāt

And if you enjoy the foodstuff after they are offered to Krishna then you can rest assured that you are not eating white poison as you point out modern doctors referring to milk. Of course given the fact that your body is able to digest milk and you don’t have some intolerance which might be the case for some individuals and they need to be consulting proper medical care. 

But, from the perspective of Sastra, Srila Prabhupada has very clearly mentioned in many different places that one can maintain ones’ body with any kind of foodstuffs but special emphasis is on Cow milk. It is very essential for the development of finer tissues of the human brain so that they can understand the intricacies of Transcendental knowledge.

Now as far as the milk you are referring to (from ISKCON Farm ) is called Ahimsa milk. This is very rare for people like us living in a city to get but in this matter, Srila Gurudev gives an analogy of a thorn to remove another thorn.

If you are not able to protect or participate in any way to directly protect Mother Cow then at least the milk you get from commercial dairy farms could be used to offer it to Krishna so that at least that particular Cow’s life is successful and you are getting the needed nourishment to developed your brain’s fine tissue to understand the Transcendental knowledge and who knows in the near future with that intelligence you might be able to come up with some scheme for Cow protection! 

your servant, 

Paramahamsa Das

Rahul Prasad, 28 April 2020

Hare Krishna …

Dandavat Pranam…

Please accept my obeisances 

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada 

All Glories to Srila Gurudev, 

How can milk (commercial) be considered in goodness? In the current scenario, cows have to suffer a lot to produce milk (commercial). For the production of commercial milk, the cow needs to undergo various known sufferings.

Then how can the milk produced commercially be considered in goodness?

I request you to please advise.

your servant

Rahul

Paramahamsa Das, 28 April 2020

Hare Krishna Rahul, 

Please accept my humble obeisances 

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada 

All Glories to Srila Gurudev

The milk that has been offered to Krishna and then accepted as prasadam is transcendental i.e above 3 modes of material nature. 

The milk of the cow even though derived by commercial means when offered to Krishna could be seen as service rendered by the Go (cow/cows) to Govinda  ( the Supreme Personality of Godhead) so it is similar to us working in the commercial world going under so much trouble and collecting little Laksmi and then we utilize it i in the service of Guru and Krishna( Narayan ).

Does this help?

your servant, 

Paramahamsa das.  

Partha Das, 28 April 2020

Hare Krsna Rahul Prabhu,

If we see the way plants are treated nowadays with pesticides, DDT, chemical fertilizers etc , I am sure such vegetables are not suitable for offering to Krsna. They will fall in the same category as milk produced in modern farms by torturing cows.

Hence I feel offering milk and vegetables to Krsna , before consumption is the only option left for us.

Nothing in this modern world is pure.

Dandavats,

Partha Das

Partha Das, 28 April 2020

Hare Krsna Paramhamsa Prabhu,

Thanks for your guidance. I am already offering the milk to Krsna before consumption. 

Hope to be part of the Ahimsa farm community in the near future.

Dandavats,

Partha Das

Priya Sundari devi dasi, 28 April 2020

Hare Krishna Prabhus. 

Please accept my humble obeisances. 

All glories to Srila Prabhupada. 

In my recent years of doing some research and talking to farm devotees as well as non-devotees, this is what I have concluded with the help of some senior Vaishnava inputs: 

1. If you have access to ahimsa milk then that is best. Drinking even 1 cup of ahimsa milk is better than loads of non ahimsa milk. Some devotees get raw milk delivered in bulk and freeze this and use this as needed. 

There are different degrees to the meaning of Ahimsa in this context. 

a. Where a cow is left free to graze and the calf is allowed to freely feed and then what remains is consumed….to…. 

b. Where cows are tied in a farm and allowed to graze for a bit and calves are allowed to feed limited. 

c. Of course the idea is that at the end of Mother Cow’s life, she is not slaughtered and the male calves are not sent away to be killed. 

2. If you don’t have access to ahimsa milk, then the next best option is Raw + Organic whole Milk. You can check with your local farm suppliers. 

a. This ensures that we are not ingested the various antibiotics and other medications that mother cow is subject to 

b. Also organic milk = mother cow is fed a better diet 

c. Raw because is it best to not have milk that has been treated (pasteurized and homogenized) 

*** Please note raw milk will need to be gently boiled before consuming to ensure that any other harmful bacteria have been eliminated***

3. If you don’t have access to raw milk, then the next option is Pasteurized + Organic + Unhomogenized Whole Milk. 

This can be bought locally in many supermarket chains. 

This follows the order of best, better and good. If you are able to afford / have access to ahimsa milk then that’s best. If that’s not an option then the next so on and so forth. 

In the least, the milk that we consume should be Organic and unhomogenized and always whole milk. 

Dr. Marianne Teitlebaum who is a renowned Ayurvedic practitioner talks more about that in her book: 

The demonization of milk

— Dr Marianne Teitelbaum

“Almost every blog or nutritional book I read calls milk a poison. Ayurveda considers milk a nectar and perhaps the most important food we can give to our body. Why the disconnect? There are several factors to consider here, all of which I discuss in my new book “Healing the Thyroid With Ayurveda.”

When you milk a cow and let the milk sit, the cream will rise to the top. This is called unhomogenized milk. Nowadays most of the milk is homogenized so you don’t see that layer of cream at the top anymore. But homogenized milk isn’t as nourishing and can contribute to heart disease and clogged arteries due to this processing of the fat molecules. So strive to get unhomogenized milk.

Get the full fat milk as it is the fat in the milk which delivers the calcium into your bones. If the milk is low-fat your bones will suffer as the calcium is now excreted out of your body contributing to the epidemic levels of osteoporosis we are currently experiencing. 

Many people cannot digest milk due to faulty digestion so it is imperative that you fix your digestion in order to receive milk’s health benefits. 

Some people cannot digest the protein in A1 milk, however numerous small dairies are springing up around the country which supply A2 milk which is lacking that hard to digest protein (see my book or previous posts about A2 milk). 

You must boil the milk to melt down the fat globules for best absorption into your cells, otherwise it will clog your throat and sinuses. 

If cow’s milk bothers you, try goat’s milk which is much lighter and easier to digest, and is similar to Mother’s milk. It is good for losing weight, congestion in the lungs and infections in the gut. 

Simmering the milk for a few minutes with 2-3 cardamom pods helps you digest the protein in the milk. And add a cinnamon stick to help you digest the sugar in the milk. Always add a few pinches of turmeric when simmering milk as the fat will deliver the turmeric into your cells. 

Milk is the only food that instantly absorbs into your cells to nourish all 7 tissues (blood plasma, blood, muscle, fat, bone, bone marrow and reproductive fluids). within one day of ingesting whereas any other food can take up to a month to assimilate into the body. 

And boiling the milk forms tryptophan which helps you make more serotonin which makes you both happy and calm. 

This is why drinking warm milk before bed can contribute to a deep restful sleep. 

Many of our thousands of patients have reincorporated milk back into their diets and have experienced the strength, stamina and radiant health that warm whole milk can bring back to our depleted bodies. 

Don’t buy into the argument that we should avoid milk. It’s one of THE most nourishing foods if taken in the correct way.”

follow Dr Teitelbaum’s posts on Facebook. 

If there’s a large group of devotees in your area OR you have consumers who are favorable to not slaughtering cows / calves then you can talk to local farmers and request milk to be delivered for a higher price so that the cow is not harmed and to help the farmer not sell the cow at the end of her life to a slaughter house.  This has worked in some communities in the past. This also means that if people are interested then there is scope for preaching. 

I hope this has helped shed some light on the milk topic. 

your servant 

Priya Sundari devi dasi.

*Kṛṣṇe matir astu*

Partha Das, 29 April 2020

Hare Krsna Mataji,

Thanks for your elaborate explanation.

Partha Das

Rahul Prasad, 30 April 2020

Hare Krishna

Dandvat Pranam

Please accept my obeisances 

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada 

All Glories to Srila Gurudev, 

I do agree that if we offer the Milk (commercial or other type) it will be freed from all 3 modes.

But if we/vegetarian people will avoid consumption of Milk and Milk products then the demand of Milk will fall and the Milk industry will not (will reduce) production of new cows.

As most of the cows are first subjected to the Milk industry and later on moved to Meat industry.

So for the benefit of cows we can move to a (no milk product) vegetarian diet.

I request you to please advise me.

your servant

Rahul

Dr.Reena bhardwaj, 30 April 2020

Hare Krishna    

Milk products like curd are good for health , increase immunity, and provide relief for gastrointestinal infections. So, milk in moderate amounts is good for health. 

Dr.Reena Bhardwaj 

Sailesh, 30 April 2020

Hare Krishna:

With my limited knowledge, I share the following facts that I am aware of:

 Milk bearing cows are slaughtered once their calf bearing days and milk giving days are done.  It is better in my humble opinion that we be intellectually honest with ourselves, that by supporting milk industry we support the beef industry as well. PETA has a campaign about it as well ( Are you drinking beef?)

 Yes, we can say offer the milk to Krishna , by saying “Krishna Arpana” and then all consequences including the slaughter of the Cows go to Lords feet. But let us be very clear that there is a direct connect between us drinking milk and the end result of what happens to the Cow.

This happens in India as well. The moment a Cow stops giving milk and cannot produce calves, they are released on to the streets. The Cows eat from garbage bins for a while, eventually they are captured and slaughtered . No doubt many are taken to Gau Rakshak sheds, but that is not always the case.

If I have offended anyone, I beg forgiveness. If any feel these are not the facts, I would be grateful if I could be corrected.

Sincerely,

Sailesh

Kumar shivam, 30 April 2020

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and matajis.

Is there any evidence that if we stop consuming milk then that cow will not yet be slaughtered? Maybe,it might then be used solely for meat purposes and get cultivated as a meat machine as the economic value of milk will go down..

Can’t we promote cow dung for biogas plants, manure and it’s urine for medicinal purposes(as many brands are marketing now itself) so that slaughtering becomes a less viable option.

your servant,

Shivam

Harold Meier, 1 May 2020

Hare Krishna

The only real solution to this matter is to have your own farm and your own cow.  Not very practical.  However you decide to act, act for the sake of Krishna.  If you decide to give up drinking milk, do that for Krishna.  If you decide to continue drinking milk, do that for Krishna.  Either way, don’t be attached to the result and be grateful for each step you take towards Him.

Hare Krishna

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Be careful what you think around saintly persons!

When we visit the great saints, and when we pray to them, are our prayers heard? Is there any reciprocation? How do we know it was not our imagination?

In various pilgrimages to visit saintly persons, I have had the good fortune to get much reciprocation.

With a saintly person who is yet in flesh, reciprocation is easy to get, they will convey that to you in word and deed, sometimes they will put that in writing too.

But what about the saintly persons in “samadhi” or trance, who are physically entombed (sometimes while still alive, at their instruction), but who are clearly not dead and gone.

What to speak of death for a saintly spiritually perfected being, there is no death even for all of us – we don’t die, we just carry on in some other guise. For someone like me, there may be positive and negative consequences of our actions in a future lifetime… but for a genuinely saintly person, they are eternal residents of the Kingdom of God, while still being available by prayer to the likes of me.

But in prayer and meditation, how to know if what we have received is actually from that saintly person and not a concoction of the mind? After all there are so many who claim to “speak to God” and yet do despicable things. I am personally not comfortable sharing my inner feelings here in this article, but I do have one recent experience with a great saintly soul which was a very sweet interaction, if somewhat painful for me! 🙂

Recently, I visited Mantralayam, in South Central India, the place where Sri Raghavendra Swami, a great 17th century saint, resides in samadhi. Thousands of pilgrims throng his shrine, and ask for all sorts of things. In my previous visit in 2019, I had asked “How may I serve you” and the inspiration came “Help people understand what to ask of me”… so I dedicated my time there to distributing spiritual literature from the 20th century saint Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. I was summoned to the administrator’s office, interrogated, and then the administrator, satisfied with my responses, took some books for himself and gave me permission to distribute books there anytime… More about those experiences at another time.

Raghavendra Swami is a great saint who taught about Krishna and in order to attract attention and seriousness to his teachings, he performed some miracles… a lot of people have forgotten his actual instructions and are fully enamored of the miracles, and go asking for mundane temporary blessings that are surely taken away by all-devouring death. But such a great saint can give complete relief from all material misery by granting the ultimate spiritual perfection!

I have had many other interactions with him, but I will keep that private for now… here is one, where I got a gentle fatherly slap from him!

The day we arrived, I was very hungry, having fasted all day during the long bumpy journey, but the Prasada (sanctified food) served in the temple was somewhat scanty and I went to bed hungry… in my childish impudence on my way back from the temple, I happened to “complain” silently in my mind to Raghavendra Swami that his assistants didn’t ask me if I wanted more, rushed me out, and so I went hungry. I was like, how is it that someone, one of your servitors, comes to your place and goes hungry.

The next day, I rose early well before sunrise, took my bath, meditated at the temple doors before they opened, then performed my mantra meditation right at the shrine, and later that morning, went again to obtain more Prasada (literally food received as Krishna’s mercy)… and was secretly worried that I might go hungry once again! So, in the second course, I rushed to asked for more. The serving priest took one look at me, and gave me a MASSIVE glob of rice, and I was satisfied that this time I would be just fine, my quota was met, and I had enough.

But poor little me, I had not factored in the remaining courses coming, all different varieties of very delicious rice preparations with sides! One course, two courses, three, four… a total of 8 courses were served, and each one was a fresh surprise to me, and before I could react, the item was served on my banana leaf plate with great speed, the next course arriving while I was heads down, before I could finish what was on my plate.

I have a vow of never wasting any Krishna Prasada I have been served on my plate, so I put it all away somehow, with great difficulty, laughing to myself at the same time at the transcendental trick that was played on me.

I was barely able to stand up and walk on my way to washing my hands and mouth! Needless to say, I didn’t need anything to eat for a long time to come!

It was almost as if “Oh, you say you went hungry yesterday, so let’s see how much you can eat!” a light-hearted challenge from Raghavendra Swami! And I must happily say that he won, and I lost. He could, that powerful personality, from his Samadhi, arrange to supply me with more than I could possibly eat, not a word said to anyone!

After all, what does it matter a little less to eat once in a while, I did get food enough to survive, did I not? So clearly even though my original complaint was quite childish, Sri Raghavendra Swami did hear it, and acted on it, if only to give me a gentle slap in my face. And miraculously enough, even though I had eaten probably 5-6 times of my usual quota, I did not suffer from a stomach upset that day!

This was just one of many experiences I have had with the great saints, and thanks to their causeless mercy, I carry on in spiritual life. I am grateful for all the mercy I have received undeservedly, whether it was encouragement, or chastisement, and often, slaps in my face to set me straight.

So, when you’re around a saintly person, be careful of what you think, you might just get way more than you bargained for!

How to practically cook and offer food to Krishna?

For a working family, how to arrange for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as Krishna Prasadam? How to do this practically?

Wrapoorva, 15 December 2019

Hello everyone,

I very recently have started to recite the maha mantra and read Bhagavad Gita

Slowly stepping towards krishna conscious

As I was reading on quora and other forums I came across Krishna prasadam .

How Bhoga offering can be done at home.

I did understand most of it, but I also have some doubts, I hope people here can

help me and guide me on this subject. Please be patient till I explain my doubt.

So I am Married woman and a family of three, we are normal working class family

We have 3 meals (breakfast ,lunch,dinner) like most of us .

When I cook , I also pack our lunch before we set off to work

So breakfast and lunch is the same

And dinner I cook something different

Sometimes breakfast would be simple oats

So I prepare something for lunch and the same is carried over for dinner .

Either breakfast and lunch is the same or lunch and dinner is the same .

So my question is ,are all 3 meals supposed to be offered to krishna ? Dinner time how do we offer Bhoga (when I cook something different)

And also small snacks in the evening( like potatoes fry or something similar homemade) how to offer that as Bhoga ?

One more question is we place water to krishna during Bhoga , can’t we use this very water while preparing our dish so the prasadam is mixed with the food I cook??

Thank you for your patience

Kindly answer my question and help me

Wrapoorva

Lilamanjari Devi Dasi, 17 December 2019

Hare Krishna Mataji

Please accept my humble obeisance

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

All glories to His devotees. 

First of all glories to you for your enquiry which shows how serious you are to practice Krishna consciousness as perfectly as possible. 

Recently I had asked some queries to my dear Spiritual Master HG Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari, Srila Gurudev, regarding something related to worshipping at home. He had asked me to go through the below links. 

——

Here’s something official from ISKCON:

https://deityworship.com/home-worship.html

Here are some tips from ISKCON Birmingham:

http://iskconbirmingham.org/how-to-practise-krishna-consciousness-at-home#Setting%20Up%20Your%20Altar

——-

As per your queries—–

When I cook , I also pack our lunch before we set off to work 

So breakfast and lunch is the same 

And dinner I cook something different

Sometimes breakfast would be simple oats 

So I prepare something for lunch and the same is carried over for dinner . 

Either breakfast and lunch is the same or lunch and dinner is the same .

So my question is ,are all 3 meals supposed to be offered to Krishna ? 

—— If breakfast and lunch is same, then only once it has to be offered and then pack. So that way you are having prasadam for breakfast as well as lunch. 

Dinner time how do we offer Bhoga (when I cook something different)

And also small snacks in the evening( like potatoes fry or something similar homemade) how to offer that as Bhoga ?

—– I didn’t understand this query properly. Maybe other devotees in the group can understand and help. Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita-

BG 3.13: The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat food which is offered first for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin.

 I can only say that even I cook for evening and Sometimes snacks etc and offer it to Krishna. So you can offer snacks etc in Krishna’s plate and then it becomes prasadam and you can mix it with rest of snacks and save it for future use.. Now all of it becomes prasadam so next time you honor the snacks you do not offer it. It’s already prasadam.

One more question is we place water to krishna during Bhoga , can’t we use this very water while preparing our dish so the prasadam is mixed with the food I cook??

—- We do not mix the offered water in the food we cook. The offered water you can transfer to a pot or bottle and use as drinking water. 

Hope it helps to some extent. 

Thank you. 

Hare Krishna

your insignificant servant, 

Lila Manjari devi dasi

Guru Vandana devi dasi , 17 December 2019

Hare Krishna mataji

Please accept my humble obeisance

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

To your query:

Dinner time how do we offer Bhoga (when I cook something different)

And also small snacks in the evening( like potatoes fry or something similar homemade) how to offer that as Bhoga  .

You have to offer Bhoga when you cook something different in the night,the same way you do in the morning. Krishna says, “Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer or give away, and whatever austerities you perform – do that, O son of Kuntī, as an offering to Me.”( Bhagavad gita 9.27).

You have to offer in the evening also when you cook snacks.

If you cook three times , do the offering all the three times. 

Lila Manjari mataji has explained everything in detail.

Thank you

your servant

Guru Vandana devi dasi

Wrapoorva, 18 December 2019

Thank you very much Lila Manjari Mataji for resolving my query

Hare Krishna !!

Wrapoorva

Wrapoorva, 18 December 2019

Thank you Guru Vandana Devi Mataji for resolving my query.

Hare Krishna !!

Wrapoorva

Editor’s note – also see https://krishnaconsciousness.com/at-home

Please subscribe to daily inspirational emails from His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari (Writings and lectures archived at sda-archives.com), written fresh every day from his travels around the world sharing the highest spiritual knowledge with everyone. Sign up now at www.joincourse.com

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