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Dandavats! All Glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga!

Vegans in ISKCON

Friday, 28 December 2012 / Published in Articles / 7,560 views

By Bhakta Matty

Dear Prabhus and Maharajas. PAMHO. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Why all this talk of becoming vegan in ISKCON? Didn’t Srila Prabhupada say not to add anything to his formula?

I feel very strongly that ISKCON needs to put more money into go-raksya. Buy more land where there are rural temples or land near temples and set up ethical dairies and goshalas in accordance with varnsasrama. In the UK we now have the Ahimsa milk production which is a good is a good start and eventually we could have these dairies and goshalas set up all over the country. After the Deities have been nicely served with the milk products and the ashram devotrees have had their not milk of an evening then in accordance with Srila Prabhupada`s wishes, if there is any produce left over then people can come and buy the milk, ghee, butter, cream, yoghurt etc and then we can teach them also about varnasrama and of course naturally common people will come to volunteer and help.

We seem to be lacking in devotees who want to get trained up and dedicate themselves to go-raksya. Bhaktivedanta manor for example is so succesful because we have cows there as was Srila Prabhupada`s desire and that is the main reason for its success! Instead of concentrateing so much on making life members we should also be aware of the impoirtance that Srila Prabhupada stressed about protecting the cows. We need more goshalas in the UK, and in ISKCON around the world and that is the bottom line, and they dont have to cost alot of money either.

We now have Ahimsa milk in the UK which is a fledgling operation and I agree that although it is not perfect but at least it is a step in the right direction. Its going to take time to get it 100% spot on.

Does this mean that you should`nt offer your peas and carrotts because they are grown by karmis?

In the near future I am sure that one day soon some dedicated devotees will take up the service of hand milking and taking care of the Ahimsa cows in a nicer way.

Actually when the cows are retired there is talk of them going to a near by Jains temple in Potters bar which is not far from the manor so there is hope that our devotee cow nurses at the manor will drive there to check on them. As for the price of the milk that is another thing.

Devotees SHOULD buy Ahimsa milk regardless of the price.

1. They are helping to sustain the Ahimsa milk production which with their support will then help to buy more herds.

2. Yes milk is the greatest gift from the cow and we should learn to see it as such. So we should learn to take and use less if thats the case. I know some devotee families who are on benefit and they get their milk sponsered by other devotee families etc.

Theoretically many devotees are interested in go-raksya but…..I have not actually met that many devotees who are really that intersted in cow protection and agriculture when it comes down to the hard graft and work that farming work involves but they still want to eat their subji and drink their hot milk. I am not fault finding here but merely saying it as I see it in reality.

Get more bramhacaris and bramhacarinis trained up in goshala seva then at least when there are more goshalas in they will know what to do.

Hari-Nam Sankirtana is the yuga dharma as prescribed by Mahaprabhu. But I feel strongly about cow protection and would like to see more devotees getting involved in it otherwise ISKCON is going to become a vegan society, which with all due respect IS BOGUS!!!

Yours in the service of go-mata,

bhakta matty

WSN November 2012 - World Sankirtan Newsletter
Locan Prabhu's daughter Rasa Priya passed away

26 Responses to “Vegans in ISKCON”

  1. Gopaladeva Dasa says :

    Taking on a cow means maintaining her for her full lifetime. This is the very first item of the Minimum Cow Protection Standards, as approved by the GBC and posted on the website.

    Shipping a cow off to non-devotees once her perceived usefulness is over, however decent a place it may appear, is not an option. This is simply a demoniac Western mentality. Rather, take care of the retired mothers at the Manor where they can receive full-time care from loving ISKCON devotees.

    Let’s hope that this talk of them going anywhere goes no further.

  2. Bhakta Matty says :

    Dear Gopaladeva dasa. PAMHO. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
    So there is no room at the Manor for the cows that will be retiring from the Ahimsa herd. Sitarama das is running the Ahimsa dairy which is his project and actually has nothing to do as such with Bhaktivedanta manor or the goshala at Bhaktivedanta manor.
    So with this in mind it was his suggestion/idea that maybe to look for another place to retire them when there milk is dried up. No body wants to sell any land around the Bhaktivedanta manor area so what to do?
    This is why we need more land elsewhere where the retired cows can be looked after nicely by trained up devotees. The devotees can even live on the land and then their could be a rota system in place so devotees can still do Sankirtan and associate with other devotees. Basically we need more than one goshala in UK and trained up devotees to manage the goshala`s.
    Hari bol, yours in the service of Guru and Gauranga,
    bhakta matty

  3. Gopaladeva Dasa says :

    Seems there was not much consideration for the cows when beginning this so-called ahimsa herd. The future of the cows should have been guaranteed before anything else. As I wrote above, taking on a cow means maintaining her for her full life-time. This means adequate facilities for her life-long care, not just for her milking years! So enough grazing land and shelter and care for her to be comfortable after her “productive” years. Otherwise the word ahimsa has no meaning. It is like saying we will treat our mother very nicely while she is giving something of use; nice big house, lots of publicity about how much we are caring for her, but as soon as she is no longer useful, we are no longer interested. We will just send her down the road and hope that someone will visit her at some time, but really we are not concerned about her after that.

    I remember in South Africa we had a number of cows at Cato Ridge farm. When the new temple was built in Durban, the land was sold the cows disappeared. Then again at the Muldersdrift farm outside of Johannesburg, we had some cows – at least two cows that I remember; they were pretty wild but loved maha-prasadam. When that farm was sold to buy the high-rise building in the city, the cows disappeared. Now every year at the Durban Ratha-yatra the devotees borrow a cow for a few days as props for the ISKCON cow protection booth!

    We want the publicity of caring for our mother, but once she is of no further use, when the camera is off and the crowds have left, we would sooner just send her off to be another person’s responsibility.

  4. Nataraja dasa says :

    Hare Krishna!

    If ISKCON will become de facto vegan society – thats fantastic!

    Untill we have no established varnasrama dharma – we will never establish a cow protection as it is.

    Therefore practicaly, vegan alternative as a honest attempt of a devotees who lives in cities, should be supported and not rejected.
    Of course – vegan ideology – there are no need for that.

    Prabhupada said very clearly – our identification is varnasrama.

    I live on the farm – and i can see how much work in reality is needed for cow protection – for service to the cows. And how much work is needed for farming a land.

    Therefore dear prabhu – I did not agree with your position against vegan influence in our society.

    I feel very strongly that no one should ask ISKCON to put any money anywhere.
    Those devotees and congregation members who feel – they just should go out and work, build a families, buy a land where there are rural temples or land near temples and go on with varnsasrama by theyr own example.

    Yes of course, theyr “Spiritual Standart” at the beginning will not be so high, some periods of year they will not be able to chant japa – but theyr cows will be happy, and ahimsa milk will go on, and theyr exemplary service to the society and theyr own example will be fabulous, glorious and inspiring for the future generations and all others around.

    Its easy to be a vegan, and its very uneasy to take care about cows, wife and kids in LIFELONG MISSION.

    Because its not for brahmacaries. Brahmacaries should study vedas, preach and help society with theyr exemplary following rules and regulations and keeping mission high.

    Nataraja dasa

  5. Bhakta Matty says :

    As manageress of the goshala craft shop at Bhaktivedanta Manor our ethos at the shop is to help talented devotees wilst also proceeds go to our herd. I would like to add that KC has never been a vegan faith nor will it ever be. If devotees want to deviate from that path that is entirely their own choice, at the end of the day Krishna sees all, He knows what is in our hearts, and if we think differently we are only kidding ourselves…… so be pro active…..come to the manor and support the herd…..we never turn help away……but in my experience people like to take glory but not put in the hard work.
    Our team at the manor that work very hard on the farm and goshala are all humble sweet souls that are ploughing with the oxen in rain, snow, hot sun etc…..Its hard work and bhakta matty is making a point that is valid. He is a very gentle soul that loves Krishna’s cows. In-fact our own cow Mukti is due to give birth in just a few months….we could all do more, everyone of us to help with cow protection in ISKCON. He isn’t attacking anyone he is simply being honest, when did that become a crime? We are all spirit souls trying to get back to where we belong…..and by following Srila Prabhupada’s instruction isn’t that what we are doing? Or are some of us saying that we know better than our founder guru? Hari bol,
    your servant bhaktin Lainey (bhakta Matty`s wife.)

  6. Nataraja dasa says :

    Please forgive me bhaktin Lainey.
    I just made a point – as you have maded honest attepts, the many vegan devotees also make honest attempts – and all the honest attempts should be supported. If you will see, that the vegan movement in reality minimize cow sloughtering – i believe you will support this with all your heart, even if theyr ideology didnot.
    Muslim, jew, christian and buddhist vegans – they deserves supporting. And when someone from jew or christian vegan groups will join our movement – they have all rights to continue to be vegans and to not be critisized, by theyr way of life as a bhogus or so on – because its a honest attempts.
    Kosher and halal sloughtering and food – thats a horrible, really horrible. And mostly its only about cows…

    Natarja dasa

  7. Bhakta Matty says :

    Nataraja dasa prabhu.
    First of all you state..”If ISKCON will become de facto vegan society – that’s fantastic! “ … and then you go on to say. “Of course – vegan ideology – there are no need for that.”

    This is a contradiction in terms. You also point out to us is that…”Prabhupada said very clearly – our identification is varnasrama.” So again, you stated that…
    …”If ISKCON will become de facto vegan society – that’s fantastic!” Well this also is a contradiction to varnasramna.
    Srila Prabhupada also states.”The vaiśyas, the members of the mercantile communities, are especially advised to protect the cows. Cow protection means increasing the milk productions, namely curd and butter. Agriculture and distribution of the foodstuff are the primary duties of the mercantile community backed by education in Vedic knowledge and trained to give in charity. As the kṣatriyas were given charge of the protection of the citizens, vaiśyas were given the charge of the protection of animals.” Extract from Bhaktivedanta purport. SB.1.9.26

    If you live on a farm then how many acres do you have and what is your position on the farm? You also state that.” Its easy to be a vegan, and its very uneasy to take care about cows, wife and kids in LIFELONG MISSION.”
    Prabhupada also states. Just like in your country it is very chilly in the morning to take bath, a little difficult task. But does it mean that those who are devotees, they will stop taking bath? No. Even it is chilly, cold, one must take bath. The duty must be done. The duty must be done. Even it is little suffering. That is called tapasya. Tapasya means we must prolong or proceed with, with our Krsna consciousness business in spite of all dangerous and calamitous condition of this world. This is called tapasya. Tapasya means voluntarily accepting the difficulties of life. (From a lecture by Srila Prabhupada given in Los Angeles, April 17, 1973)
    But in fairness to you I understand your position of maintaining your family if you have one and how difficult it is. Me and two other devotees had a discussion yesterday and after much soul searching there are more than enough ways that we can engage our ISKCON oxen in meaningful work and at the same time generate enough of an income to maintain a grihasta family. Once we have tried and tested our ideas we will then present our working strategy to the GBC…(to be continued)

  8. Bhakta Matty says :

    Continued…. Our ideas WILL generate money so I am sure that ISKCON will invest money if they are going to see a return and that more importantly it pushes forward varnasrama and go-raksya. My idea for the bhakta programe is to incorporate, where available, at rural temples that the bhaktas who will hopefully go on to become brahmacaries or grihastas etc. is that they do more active seva with the cows and oxen so then hey have knowledge of this aspect of varnasrama too.

    Prabhupada also said. I can suggest as you have asked me to give a thought to this problem, that Goseva, according to our Vedic injunction, is specially entrusted to the mercantile community. Of course, during the Hindu government in India, the kings were mostly Vaisnavas like Maharaja Pariksit, and he at once caught the Black man Kali who was attempting to kill a cow. But those days are no more. Neither there is a king like Maharaja Pariksit, nor the present government of India is inclined to give protection to the cows. But the mercantile community, specially the Gujaratis and the Marwaris are undoubtedly rich in India, and I do not know why such mercantile communities do not open large-scale dairy farms. That will certainly give actual protection to the cows. From Bhagavad-gita we understand that the Vaisya community is specially responsible for giving protection to the cows as much as the ksatriya kings are responsible for giving protection to the citizens of the state. As such, if you can organize—and I believe you can do so, because by Grace of Krishna, you are in good position amongst the mercantile community—big dairy farms with large pasturing grounds, then the problem of milk supply and cow protection will automatically be done. I do not know how much you will appreciate my this suggestion, but if you can do such organization, it will be a great service to the country and to the animals, and to this cause of Krishna Consciousness. If you be serious on this point then I can help you with all of my possible energies. (From a letter written by Srila Prabhupada to Sumati Morarjee —1969)

  9. Kulapavana says :

    Bhakta Matty, dandavat pranams…
    Please do not be discouraged by those who find fault with the cow protection program you are engaged in. Sometimes they have a valid point, sometimes they do not, but the important thing is to continue this valuable service. Even one cow cared for by the devotees is one cow who is happy, alive and well. That is something valuable. And the people visiting your goshala will be inspired to see cows as living entities, just like us. They will see how beautiful and gentle they are, and they will see the point of caring for them, the point of protecting them from demonic exploitation and unspeakable cruelty. This is a powerful and practical way to change their consciousness – something that verbal preaching, reason and logic, simply can not do. A child seeing a gentle cow giving milk or licking her calf is a child impacted forever by this image. We must work hard to give people actual higher taste of living the way Lord Krsna wants us to live – they will experience this higher taste and want more… and they will change their life to make it possible. That’s what it is all about.
    Your servant.

  10. Nataraja dasa says :

    Dear Bhakta Matty.
    There are no contradictions. We are vegetarians not because we are vegetarians by some ideology of vegetarians, but because we are devotees.

    patram pushpam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati
    tad aham bhakty-upahritam asnami prayatatmanah
    If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it.

    So – one actually can not say, that vegans has no place in here.
    Especailly, if we speak about varnasrama. Your cited verse starts with: ”The vaiśyas, the members of the mercantile communities, are especially advised to protect the cows….”
    There are many devotees who are not vaisyas, who will never be vaisyas, and who will never have around vaisyas and cow farm and so on. Is there a big problem to be vegan or to have around steady vegan devotees for some time? Not really.

    In our a farm they are 200 hectars. And I have no position in farm. I have a building companies, and its takes all my time and much more. Now – i have 2-3 weeks nothing to do – and therefore I am really happy to be part in discussions. But when market will start to move – so, there will not be any time left.

    Yes – we buy our farm milk, and I am very happy about it – but for making more milkproducts, there should be more cows and more milk. But if everything will go, like its going now – it will come, gradually and naturally.

    And I really think, that without rural farms there will not be future for ISKCON. But to make rural farms on conditions which prevail nowadays – its not realistic. You know – should be strong families in generations. Yes – there is place for lot of discussions.

    Good luck to You dear prabhu, and happy New year – And may Srilas Prabhupadas and Srilas Bhaktisiddhantas blessings are upon you!

    Nataraja dasa

  11. Bhakta Matty says :

    On my recent postings on a well known networking site I have been accused of putting people off from becoming devotees because I speak boldly on this current vegan `fad` in our ISKCON society. Also that I have been “spitting venom” when in reality it was me who was actually getting the venom spat at me.Topics of such a sensitive nature may become and it seems certainly always heated, but believe me I was not spitting venom. If I was you then the accusers of such nonsense would of certainly of known about it.For all those devotees who know me will tell you that I may flail my hoods like a python when necessary but that I would never actually strike.
    Also that the topic of discussing this vegan `fad `within Srila Prabhpada`s ISKCON was actually inauspicious!?!?!
    Whilst becoming a vegan seems to be the current `fad` in ISKON at the moment.I am hopeful that future solutions to this anti-varnasrama vegan mentality can be curbed.
    To all those vegan devotees who may of felt offended then I offer my sincere apologies and humbly beg for your forgiveness.
    Our founder Acarya for ISKCON. His Divine Grace A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada has told us…“You say we must have a gosala trust, that is our real purpose: krsi-go-raksya vanijyam, vaisya-karma svabhava-jam (Bhagavad-gita 18.44). Where there is agriculture there must be cows. That is our mission: Cow protection and agriculture and if there is excess, trade. This is a no-profit scheme. For the agriculture we want to produce our own food and we want to keep cows for our own milk. The whole idea is that we are ISKCON, a community to be independent from outside help. This farm project is especially for the devotees to grow their own food. Cotton also, to make their own clothes. And keeping cows for milk and fatty products.Our mission is to protect our devotees from unnecessary heavy work to save time for advancing in Krsna consciousness. This is our mission. So there is no question of profit, but if easily there are surplus products, then we can think of trading. Otherwise we have no such intention. We want a temple, a gosala and agriculture. A community project as in Europe and America. We are making similar attempts in India in several places. Immediately I’m going to Hyderabad to organize the farm project there. We have six hundred acres. We have the permission from the government. There is no question of selling.” Srila Prabhupada Letter to Yasomatinandana dasa, 28th November, 1977….To be continued……

  12. Bhakta Matty says :

    ….Continued……Correction of date from above letter should read” Srila Prabhupada Letter to Yasomatinandana dasa, 28th November, 1976….Not 1977 as incorrectly stated. My apologies.

    It is most significant that to counteract cow slaughter Srila Prabhupada never refrained from using commercial dairy products for offering to the Lord, for his personal consumption nor for the eating of his movements’ followers. He decided to “make the best use of a bad bargain” by using commercial dairy products on the basis. Viñäd apy amåtaà grähyam amedhyäd api käïcanam (take the nectar from the pot of poison or take gold from a filthy place). He appealed to the intelligence of his audience but in order for them to understand his subtle spiritual message, they would require fine brain tissues—rejecting commercial dairy products was not possible. Srila Prabhupada wanted to create intelligent persons who could understand the philosophy of Krishna consciousness and convince others by logic and reason. In the vegetarian diet, milk plays an essential role by providing vitamin B12 (cobalamin). Most animals have micro-organisms in their stomachs that produce B12, but human beings do not. Their only natural sources of B12 are meat and milk. The body needs vitamin B12 to properly develop red blood cells. A deficiency can cause pernicious and megaloblastic anemia. For anyone trying to understand the subtleties of spiritual science, possibly the most important role of vitamin B12 is that it helps maintain proper functioning of the nervous system, including brain cells. Ninety percent of the B12 remains after pasteurization, and seventy percent remains after boiling from two to five minutes.

    If you are a vegan then rather than just stopping purchasing dairy products then for those of you who are not doing go-seva then why don’t you actually do some pro-active go-seva or donate some Laxmi to ISKCON cow protection centres near you. Maybe make this one of your new year resolutions?
    I know that some vegan devotees in the UK yatra, but not that many are already doing this. If you really want to help in go-raksya and are a vegan then please consider doing more for go-mata than just ceasing the purchase of dairy products.
    Actually make some time to be more pro-active and do more go-seva and go-raksya because becoming a vegan is merely not enough to stop cow slaughter as the cow should be protected by pro-active devotees….to be continued…

  13. Bhakta Matty says :

    Continued…..Actually make some time to be more pro-active and do more go-seva and go-raksya because becoming a vegan is merely not enough to stop cow slaughter as the cow should be protected by pro-active devotees.

    Srila Prabhupada deemed that the best approach was powerful preaching of Krishna consciousness through literature and other media as well as demonstrating cow protection in rural farm communities. He said:
    Just like we say “Don’t eat meat.” So actually, if all people become Krsna conscious and give up meat-eating, then the slaughterhouse will be closed. Automatically. (From a lecture by Srila Prabhupada given in Los Angeles, June 20, 1972)
    Less intelligent people underestimate the value of cow’s milk. Cow’s milk is also called gorasa, or the juice from the body of the cow. Milk is the most valuable form of gorasa, and from milk we can prepare many important and valuable foodstuffs for the upkeep of the human body. (From a lecture by Srila Prabhupada given in Hawaii, January 15, 1974)
    OK so we all know that vegans are basically vegetarians that don`t partake of any dairy products.
    So what about our father? The oxen who works hard all day in the fields ploughing and doing so much heavy and hard farm work so that we may have nice sufficient grains and vegetables to eat.

    So here is the message to all vegans within Srila Prabhupada`s ISKCON.
    While you are eating your rice, vegetables. bread. chapatis etc on your vegan diet,
    Srila Prabhupda also stated. “That the tractor was the killer of the bull/oxen.” So since all our modern day agriculture relies so heavy on use of the tractor to produce vegetables and grans then I can only assume that you will negate these eatables from your diet too? As you are indirectly killing the oxen.

    If you love go-mata so much then please hold this point about are dear farther the oxen in your mind and heart the next time you put that chapati, filled with dal, rice and subji into your mouth. And then ask yourselves. “Can I do more practical hands-on service for go-raksya?”
    Because, it is obvious that you feel so strongly about cow protection by you action of becoming a vegan in first place.

    Myself and two other dedicated goshala devotees had a discussion on Sunday of last week 2012 and after much soul searching we worked out that there are more than enough ways that we can engage our ISKCON oxen in meaningful work and at the same time generate enough of an income to maintain a grihasta family…to be continued…

  14. Bhakta Matty says :

    Continued….If you love go-mata so much then please hold this point about are dear farther the oxen in your mind and heart the next time you put that chapati, filled with dal, rice and subji into your mouth. And then ask yourselves. “Can I do more practical hands-on service for go-raksya?”
    Because, it is obvious that you feel so strongly about cow protection by you action of becoming a vegan in first place.

    Srila Prabhupada said: So I shall speak in the evening. [break] Krsna has give so many nice preparations. From milk… Therefore cow protection is very essential. [break] Go-raksya vanijyam [Bg. 18.44]. Go-raksya. Because from cow’s milk we can get all vitamins, protein. That… These people, they are eating the flesh of cow, these Western people. But they do not know how to utilize milk. Now they are learning. We have opened many farms. So when they eat so many varieties of preparations from milk, especially from curd, casein, channa, they are surprised.

    Room Conversation. January 20, 1977, Bhuvanesvara.

    Myself and two other dedicated goshala devotees had a discussion on Sunday of the last week of 2012 and after much soul searching we worked out that there are more than enough ways that we can engage our ISKCON oxen in meaningful work and at the same time generate enough of an income to maintain a grihasta family. Once we have tried and tested our ideas we will then present our working strategies to ISKCON GBC.

    Please note that these are MY views and in no way rep-present Bhaktivedanta manor or Bhaktivedanta manor goshala.To those devotees who I offended. May I please ask for your forgiveness and mercy
    Yours in the service of Guru, Gauranga and Go-mata, bhakta matty

  15. PriyavrataFFL says :

    Dairy farmers sell their cows to slaughter because to them a cow is just a “unit” in their business. When that “unit” does not produce milk anymore, it becomes a “liability” and so they get rid of the liability to stay in business. If however consumers were willing to pay more to the farmers to respect the cows by allowing them to feed on grass, etc, and never killing them once they stop producing milk, then the farmer would change their business model accordingly. When people buy commercial milk from farmers that do not respect cows, they pay to keep the status quo. It is the same logic that would make McDonalds change to selling soy burgers. If the consumers demanded it, they would comply. Their agenda is profit, not selling meat burgers.

    What is needed is a change in the model of milk production. ISKCON devotees should not support an industry that is hell bent on exploitation of cows for profit. It should only support ahimsa dairy farms and work towards the ideal that Srila Prabhupada wanted. As long as devotees continue supporting an exploitive system, the motivation to develop ahimsa dairy projects (inside and outside of ISKCON) will not be there, and neither will the current business model change.

    “So unless one becomes responsible householder, how he’ll execute his responsibility? If he thinks, “Oh, what is the use of keeping a cow when the milk is available in the market? Oh, sex life is so cheap. Why shall I take the responsibility of marrying?” This is going on.” – CC Adi 7 – 107-109 15/2/67 San Francisco

    I think the solution is to form a cooperative of ahimsa milk buyers and approach the organic dairies with a proposal to adopt cows so they they are never sent to slaughter. Remember, this is all about business. We have to think in terms of what makes sense for business. The farmers, especially the organic dairy farms must have some respect for the cows, so it is a matter of forming a powerful alliance of consumers and proposing to them a new model for business. This initiative should be headed by organizations like ISKCON. It is a step in the right direction. ISKCON needs to see the solution from a broader perspective. SP didn’t expect that ISKCON would have all the solutions, and therefore he was always very keen to cooperate with others, as long as principles were not compromised. For me at least, for ISKCON to continue purchasing poor quality commercial dairy is a huge compromise of their principles.

  16. PriyavrataFFL says :

    The issue is not about being a “vegan” it is about acting with integrity. I am a Krishna-dairian and proud of it.

  17. Nataraja dasa says :

    Hare Krishna!
    Priyavrata prabhu posted:
    “…I think the solution is to form a cooperative of ahimsa milk buyers and approach the organic dairies with a proposal to adopt cows so they they are never sent to slaughter. Remember, this is all about business. We have to think in terms of what makes sense for business.”
    “…For me at least, for ISKCON to continue purchasing poor quality commercial dairy is a huge compromise of their principles.”

    Actually I was thinking the same, some time ago. But my thoughts was, that it will work in the beginning if such organisation will be not local, little bit more regional. Because amount of milk, from succesfull small milk farm is quite a big. Off course one should find a farm, who produce not only milk, but milk products also. Yes.
    Yes, thats the point – i know good vegans, who fight for this principle – and because of complete unanderstanding of theyr position and complexity of this question – they have a not pleasant days in ISKCON.
    For example: its the same, with mrdangas. A Call for boycotting clay mrdangas – it can be ridiculated like a some false ideology, but reality under this call is mass animal/cow slaughtering for skin, for mrdangas. Off course – there are Ahimsa mrdanga production or plastic mrdanga production – but to change habits its not so easy, and therefore indian clay mrdanga business is going on, and animal slaughtering for that also…

    Nataraja dasa

  18. ananda dd says :

    Hare Krsna.
    I dont agree that Srila Prabhupada teaches that Iskcon functions an ahimsa policy with milk and food production.Its minimum-violence for milk and food producton not “non-violence”.S. Bhagavatam 3.29.15. Find it in Lord Kapiladeva’s explanations of Devotional Service.
    I also dont agree with the way to solve milk production for devotees. If you properly read Srila Prabhupada’s Shiksamrta all the answers are found there. Iskcon devotees only need produce milk for Iskcon devotees-its called self determination, self sufficienty and this should be practiced within the community dynamic of Iskcon- which does not exist yet. We still follow the Temple model of Iskcon not the community model of Iskcon. So we have to shift alot of dynamics yet before we are in a position to produce milk for devotees in the way that Srila Prabhupada mandates.
    Bhaktivedanta Goshalla still operates in the Temple model of Iskcon thats why it does not work there, what they should do is integrate with community, construct community integrated infrastructure so that the symbiotic relationship with cows actually takes place . Its not just a case of what you call cows whether its a “unit” or a “cow” but its the symbiosis relationship integrated with the mode of goodness lifestyle that creates the right background for cow protection to work as designed by nature.
    Other wise we are just trying to put a western lifestyle into a mode of goodness cow protection life style and that dynamic will never work .Its like trying to put a square plug into a round hole.
    We have to change our whole approach to Cow protection to work in the way that illustrates the symbiotic relationship with the integrated community. Other wise you will just be banging your heads against a brick wall for ever.Figure out what is mode of goodness lifestyle, mode of goodness relationship with mode of goodness cows, then you might actually start the path to the real conclusive practise of cow protection and community in symbiosis.

  19. Bhakta Matty says :

    Hare Krsna Dear Priyavrata prabhu. PAMHO. All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!
    Thank you for your reply and may i say that you have added a lot of positive points to this discussion.

    I absolutely agree with everything you say above except for maybe one point. My point is that to act with integrity then ultimately ISKCON devotees should stop being vegans unless it is for health reasons. All the reasons for this are in my above posts.

    Your servant bhakta matty.

  20. Bhakta Matty says :

    Dear Natarja dasa prabhu. PAMHO. All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!

    It’s very interesting that none of the vegans to whom you mentioned above or anymore of them for that matter have actually posted any reply at all on this topic. Also it’s a wonder to me whether or not these devotees were vegan before they joined ISKCON? Which IS NOT and never has been a society of vegans or endorsed vegan principles. As we all know Srila Prabhupada never endorsed even a macrobiotic diet unless of course it was for health reasons and this is also true for those devotees who were/are lactose-intolerant. I also agree that ahimsa mrdanga production should also be observed and promoted within ISKCON otherwise we are compromising our beliefs on go-raksya.

    What is needed is for more like minded devotees to come together and promote go-raksya and help to implement the changes that we want to see as regards ahimsa and cruelty free milk. Saying that, I know of some initiated vegan devotees in ISKCON who won’t even drink ahimsa milk. In my opinion such devotees can be without a doubt labeled as fanatical. We as vaisnavas have to please Krsna who loves milk and especially that creamy makhan butter and give him what He wants and not abide by our own false ego whimsey.

    In India of course it is easier to keep a cow and have fresh milk to offer to Lord Krsna. The trouble is that here in western countries unfortunately people have no concept of what a real civilized society involves in terms of the vedic injunction of varnasrama. You have to realize that the word culture to 80% if not more of the western population, is football, MC-Donald’s burgers, alcohol and boy chasing girl and visa-verse. Ahimsa dairies and goshallas where people can have contact with gentle go-mata can only be a good thing on many different levels.

    At least let us push forward ahimsa dairy production in ISKCON as we are a high thinking and simple living society we are the ones who should be pioneering such activities primarily for our beloved go-mata and of course for those vegan and non-vegan devotee’s who want to buy cruelty free milk as there is such a big demand for it within the devotee community. Lets face it that most farming community temples who keep cows have no surplus milk to sell to devotees so ahimsa makes complete ethical and common sense.

    Ys bhakta matty

  21. Bhakta Matty says :

    Dear Mother Ananda Devi Dasi prabhu. PAMHO. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

    May I please start off by saying that at Bhaktivedanta manor we are easily 70% self sufficient and operate the Temple model of ISKCON, the community and agricultural model too. Because we are practicing devotional service then this actually transcends the three gunas so our service to the Lord and go-mata is actually transcendental. Also for the Manor Srila Prabhupada wanted a bus to collect western people from London to come to the temple, and see the cows and how we take care of them so we could then teach them about varnasrama and cow protection.

    Unfortunately there is no such thing as minimum-violence for milk outside of ISKCON temples unless you live in India and even that now is becoming harder and harder unless you have your own cow. So I disagree with you not to promote ahimsa milk as more and more devotees in ISKCON want cruelty free milk which most rural temples cannot supply to them on a larger scale. ISKCON is a massive society now and has far more devotees then in Srila Prabhupada`s time and the demand for cruelty free milk is there and quite rightly so as of the horrors that go on within the dairy industry, which I don’t know if you are or aware of or not?

    The whole point of this topic is to try and start to set in place the dynamics to produce milk for devotees in the way that Srila Prabhupada mandates.

    If I am being totally honest with you prabhu I find your closing remarks about the mode of goodness lifestyle and the real conclusive practice of cow protection condescending as we are the biggest cow protection goshalla in Europe as well as the goshalla in Hungary. If you haven’t grown up in India with a family cow then can I please also ask you prabhu if you have actually ever done any go-seva?
    Yours in the service of go-mata,
    bhakta matty

  22. Paramananda das says :

    yesterday I saw a posting that stated an ISKCON temple was doing abhiseka with Soymilk …..this is a deviation ….

  23. ananda dd says :

    Hare Krsna.
    Yes Bhakta Matty i suggest you read S.Bhagavatam 3.29.15.purport by Srila Prabhupada. I was not saying my opinion but what Srila Prabhupada says in His Books .3.29.15. There is no such concept as “ahimsa” connected to milk and food production.The concept is minimum-violence its called natihimsrena.
    The community model of Iskcon means a lifestyle that is symbiotically integrated with cows in the mode of goodness, whether you think you are transcendental or not.If you were transcendental then the three modes of nature are automatically included so that symbiotic integrated community lifestyle in the mode of goodness would be manifest at Bhaktivedanta Goshalla and there is no evidence of that. There is no community infrastucture that manifests the symbiosis in evidence there. How can you demonstrate Cow protection as defined by Srila Prabhupada if there is no integrated symbiosis of community?
    The actual dynamics of Cow protection as determined by Srila Prabhupada’s mandates means that it solves all the economic problems of life.It affords so many facilities to mankind on so many levels. Agriculturally, Economically, Socialogically, Environmentally, Energetically, Communially and all the spin offs go deep into the heart of Society. But as yet in iskcon we have not reached that place as yet. In Iskcon we still only operate the Temple model and i dont accept that Bhaktivedanta Goshalla operates the community model or the agricultural model of Iskcon or that you are 70% S-Sufficient.
    Saying you are the biggest Cow protection project does not mean you are practicing it in the community or agricultural model.
    I know both projects that you have mentioned,well, and i know of ones that you have not mentioned run by iskcon devotees independently. And i have more years of Go-seva under my belt than you have. In fact i have been a Farmer for over 40years.And 37years of that in Iskcon. Why?
    I understand Cow protection and the dynamics of the situation that it has to be in to actually work in the way Srila Prabhupada mandates. That situation is in an integrated symbiotic relationship with community in the mode of goodness.If you have no community related infrastructure, which clearly you dont at Bhaktivedanta Goshalla,how can cow protection solve any economic problems for society and community.What does your model demonstrate economically for Community?

  24. Bhakta Matty says :

    Hare Krsna Ananda prabhu
    I have read SB 3.29.15.purport by Srila Prabhupada as you suggested. And of course no devotee can disagree, this is a fact. The ahimsa diaries will of course be without material profit as all proceeds of goods sold will go to maintaning the up keep of the herd and the gosala.
    As you have been in farming for 40 years then I am sure you are more than aware of such expenditure and up-keep? So do you also agree then that a brahmana in ISKCON may conduct a wedding or some other function, be that right or wrong in itself is another topic, and not gain any material profit? As we know this is going on also.
    I find it interesting that nowhere do you address the intended subject matter here of..“ is vegan-ism within ISKCON bonafide or not?” Which poses my question to you that `are you also a vegan?`
    At the same time there may be some justification to think vegan but only if it is coupled with a full out effort for a solution which it generally is not.
    Also please can you reference anywhere in Srila Prabhupada`s books where he talks about veganism? So rather than critizise active devotees engaged in go-raksya why don`t you try to help us find a working solution to this vegan fad in ISKSON.With all due respect do you not understand that the fundamental issue here is that there is a need in the devotee community for cruelty free milk/products?
    Also there is not a single inference where Srila Prabhupada is encouraging us to take this approach of veganism to solving the cruelty of cows etc. At the same time there may be some justification to think vegan but only if it is coupled with a full out effort for a solution which it generally is not. Certainly devotees are not into Vegan at all if it is just to avoid animal products per say, as milk is meant for human consumption according to Srila Prabhupada and the Vedic literature. and to speculate otherwise is against the will of the Lord.
    Devamrita Swami in New Zealand encourages his devotees to avoid milk products unless they are produced from protected cows – which his disciples do on the farm there. Good for the devotees but a small drop in the big ocean. Again with all due respect the issue here is that there is a need in the devotee community for cruelty free milk/products. More energy and laxmi needs to be put into this aspect of our preaching without doubt but as we all know building big temples and projects seems to be taking preference in ISKCON at present…to be continued

  25. Bhakta Matty says :

    …Continued…The problem is we are not willing to make the sacrifice of going for land and protecting cows and working with the bulls. It is difficult in the western world no doubt for many reasons so what to do? We should preach and preach as best we can to evoke a change of consciousness which is what I am trying to instigate here. Srila Prabhupada did many times stress that the varnasrama is already there – we just need to convince those who are in positions to adopt the principles. i.e. farmers to turn to KC and convert their businesses into devotional ones. It’s tough for them also due to artificial financial control and legal restraints. People are also not used to the necessary austerity that would go along with it. Then what to do?
    Srila Prabhupada also states. “So similarly, vaisya. Vaisya, they should be trained in three things, productive — krsi-go-raksya-vanijyam vaisya-karma svabhava-jam [Bg. 18.44] — krsi, agriculture; go-raksya, cow protection. Go-raksya. That is essential, agricultural and cow protection. And vanijyam. Vanijyam means trade. If there is excess milk product, if there is excess grain product, then you can sell to others.”
    Extract from >>> Ref. VedaBase => Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.16.1 — Los Angeles, December 29, 1973

  26. David Garvin says :

    Hare Krishna Prabhus. Dandavats Pranams!

    I felt led to offer a comment. As an aspiring devotee, I came to Krishna consciousness as a vegan. I became vegetarian over 30 yrs ago when I realized as a young man the cruelty inherent in the raising and slaughter of animals. A few years later, I felt a need to find a spiritual understanding and discovered meditation, finally living in Buddhist monasteries in Asia for a few years. One lingering contradiction was that meat dishes were “on the menu” there and while I chose only vegetarian offerings, others found no problem with eating meat.

    Upon returning to the USA, I became aware of the abuse in the treatment and slaughtering of dairy cows and stopped buying commercial dairy milk, since there was no ahimsa alternative. Ten years later I find Srila Prabhupada’s books and over a two yr period, I have been chanting and aspire to become an initiated devotee.

    The devotees here have been so incredibly kind to me, sometimes even setting aside dishes without milk or butter, or at least informing me of non-vegan items.

    My wife and son do consume dairy and I always bring them all the prasadam. I also purchase pasture-raised milk since they desire it, instead of the cheaper commercial milk.
    I have done MUCH soul-searching in the last 2 yrs over this subject. I don’t plan on boycotting cow abuse much longer… My sincere desire is to have a small farm in a devotee community, maintaining some cows properly and living off the land as much as possible. We are saving and planning for this, hopefully by 2015. I am 51 yrs old, so it would be a semi-retired life for us. Then I will be a Krishna-terian in the true sense of the word, neither vegetarian nor vegan.

    Vegan is only the latest step towards surrendering more fully to Lord Krishna. It is the best I can do at this moment, in this place. I don’t encourage devotees to give up dairy but ask them to pray that I may one day soon serve them in this manner, with ahimsa milk where there is none available to devotees in the city now.

    Please pray for me, prabhus.

    Haribol! – Bhakta David