Krishna’s Cows

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By Sundarananda Dasa (Scott M.Mesorana)

“What is this?? Ten thousand cows are being killed every day…And you are preaching nonviolence. (chants japa)” - SRILA PRABHUPADA

“….So in this movement, our one program is to respect the cows. We chant this mantra, namo brahmanya-devaya go-brahmana-hitaya ca. The brahminical culture and the cows… Why they have selected the cows? There are so many animals. Why cow protection is so important in Krsna consciousness? Why Krsna personally Himself became a cowherd boy and was taking the care of the cows and the calves? Oh, that is very essential.”SRILA PRABHUPADA, Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.16.19 — Hawaii, January 15, 1974

“It is not that national leaders should be concerned only with human beings. The definition of native is “one who takes birth in a particular nation.” So, the cow is also a native. Then why should the cow be slaughtered? The cow is giving milk and the bull is working for you, and then you slaughter them? What is this philosophy? In the Christian religion it is clearly stated, “Thou shalt not kill.” Yet most of the slaughterhouses are in the Christian countries. This is all a misunderstanding of spiritual life. Every animal should be given protection. That is the Vedic idea.” - SRILA PRABHUPADA, From The Quest for Enlightenment, “The Mercy of Lord Caitanya”

“….So in this movement, our one program is to respect the cows. We chant this mantra, namo brahmanya-devaya go-brahmana-hitaya ca. The brahminical culture and the cows… Why they have selected the cows? There are so many animals. Why cow protection is so important in Krsna consciousness? Why Krsna personally Himself became a cowherd boy and was taking the care of the cows and the calves? Oh, that is very essential.”SRILA PRABHUPADA, Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.16.19 — Hawaii, January 15, 1974

“I can be worshiped within the Cows by offerings of grass and other suitable grains and paraphernalia for the pleasure and health of the Cows…” Lord Sri Krishna in Srimad Bhagavatam 11.11.43

All glories to Sri Sri Radha Govinda!

All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga!

Dearest Vaishnavas,

Please accept my sincere and humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

As a young boy I became a vegetarian due to reading the books of Srila Prabhupada and my association with the devotees. Srila Prabhupada made it so easy to understand why we should not offer or eat meat. His translations made it clear exactly what was to be offered or not and what Lord Sri Krishna’s preference is.

Aside from this consideration we also engaged in cow protection…again, prescribed by our beloved Srila Prabhupada.

My question is, why is do we buy milk from the local supermarket in order to prepare offerings to God? In doing so, we DIRECTLY support an industry which tortures, rapes and kills cows regularly. WE pay for this. This is not the loving exchange exhibited by Lord Sri Krishna. Lord Sri Krishna actually knew the names of all of his cows. They were his pets, friends and playmates. They were loved and cared for daily. They were NOT attached to machines, branded, tortured and killed. They lovingly provided milk and all the nutrients needed merely because of how nicely they were treated.(SEE: “Krishna’s Cows”, below) Why have we not adopted a lifestyle that shuns this torture of Krishna’s most beloved animals?

The temple I support and attend with my family does not keep cows. Neither did the 3 previous temples in the cities I’ve lived in over the last 20+ years. We live in the city, and the temple is not equipped with the proper facility to keep cows. Does this alone make it acceptable to pay the salaries of those torturing killing cows daily? Does this alone make it favorable to give money to the very thing that goes against what Srila Prabhupada called “our one program”?? Again I ask, why have we not adopted a lifestyle that shuns this torture of Krishna’s most beloved animals?

The average life span of a normal cow can be 25 years. A female cow in a dry lot dairy farm reaches collapse in about 6 years. For this reason they are slaughtered at 5 years. After 5 years of overwhelming physical stress it is common for the cows to collapse on their way to the slaughter. These cows are called, “downers”. If downers cannot walk the rest of the way to their own slaughter…they’re dragged to their deaths. WE PAY FOR THIS TO HAPPEN BY BUYING MILK FROM THE LOCAL GROCERY STORES. WE…who sincerely revere names like “GOvinda” and “GOpala” are paying for this. Is this cow protection?

Consider this: half of the calves born on dairy farms are males. These males are considered to be by-products of the dairy industry. These calves are dramatically separated from their mothers after a day or so. (See: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.17.3 purport, below) The mothers (who we, as Vaishnavas consider sacred) are then left to roam the feces-encrusted mud lot, audibly wailing and searching for their lost children. And where are these children so loved by the divine blue cowherd boy of Vrindavan? They are locked inside a 22×54 inch veal crate in order to prevent their muscles from developing so that their meat will be tender. They will never see their mothers again, and will never even turn around or lie down. EVER. When they DO get their chance to walk out of the crate…it’s by the use of painful electric prods (because their muscles have not been allowed to develop)and they are led to the slaughterhouse trucks. WE PAY FOR THIS TO HAPPEN BY BUYING MILK FROM THE LOCAL GROCERY STORES. WE…who sincerely revere names like “GOvinda” and “GOpala” are paying for this. Is this cow protection?

The female cows in dairy production suffer through a process called “freshening”. This means the cows are taken to a device known as the “rape rack” where they are artificially inseminated. In other words, they literally have bull semen forced into them by machine two months after giving birth in order to keep them in a constant, painful state of lactation. Over half of all cows suffer from mastitis, a painful infection of the mammary glands which causes their swollen utters to excrete blood and pus as well as milk. It is an absolute fact that this blood and pus ends up in the dairy products packaged for the stores to sell. We then buy this and offer it to the deities?? WE…who sincerely revere names like “GOvinda” and “GOpala” are paying for this. Is this cow protection? Why have we not adopted a vegan lifestyle that shuns this torture of Krishna’s most beloved animals?

It is 2010. We know full well that cream cheese, ice cream, macaroni and cheese, paneer, kheer, pizza, etc. can all be made deliciously using a variety of plant sources like rice and soy. So why have we not adopted a vegan lifestyle that shuns this torture of Krishna’s most beloved animals? WE…who sincerely revere names like “GOvinda” and “GOpala” are paying for rape, torture and murder. Is this cow protection?

Srila Prabhupada Sarasvati Thakur ki jaya! Srila Prabhupada ki jaya! Gaura premanande!

Vaishnava dasanudas …

your servant

Sundarananda Dasa

“Of all kinds of gifts, the gift of cows is applauded as the highest. Cows are the foremost of all things. Themselves sacred, they are the best of cleansers and sanctifiers. People should cherish cows for obtaining prosperity and even peace. Cows are said to represent the highest energy both in this world and the world that is above. There is nothing that is more sacred or sanctifying than cows.” From the Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva, Sections LXXXIII - LXXVII - LXXVI

“We have to keep some cows. Never mind we are to take payment from others. That is not cow protection. Cow protection means just like Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He is tending the cows. He is going, taking the cows personally from His royal palace going to the forest whole day, working there. Is it not, cowherd boy? And taken some little fruit, mother, whatever mother has given. They are playing that. So this is cow protection, not that “Somebody will give money and we shall keep some third class cows and feed there and become cow protector.” We must tend the cows very nicely so that they give us sufficient milk. And with that milk we shall live. SRILA PRABHUPADA, Srimad-Bhagavatam Class 2.9.3 — Melbourne, April 5, 1972

KRISHNA’S COWS:

Nanda Maharaja had 900,000 cows. Visvanatha Cakravarti gives this description of the cows of Vrindavana. Krishna knew every cow by name. If any cow was missing Krishna would immediately chase after the missing cow and call her by name. The cows were divided into herds by color, either black, white, red, or yellow. In each color there were 25 further divisions making a total of 100 herds. There were also eight herds of cows that were spotted or speckled or had heads shaped like a mridanga or that had tilak marks on their foreheads. There was a total of 108 different herds of cows. Each of the 108 herds had a herd leader.

“Thus when Krishna calls out, ‘Hey Dhavali’ (the name of a white cow) a whole group of white cows comes forward, and when Krishna calls ‘Hamsi, Candani, Ganga, Mukta’ and so on, the twenty-four other groups of white cows come. The reddish cows are called ‘Aruni, Kunkuma, Sarasvati, etc., the blackish ones ‘Shyamala, Dhumala, Yamuna, etc., and the yellowish ones are Pita, Pingala, Haritaki, etc. (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.35.19 purport)

“As described in the Brahma Samhita (surabhi apbipalayantam), Lord Krishna on His planet, Goloka Vrindavana, engages in tending the surabhi cows. These cows are the Lord’s pet animals.” Srimad Bhagavatam 8.8.2 purport

“But in the Kali-yuga, the calves are separated from the cows as early as possible for purposes which may not be mentioned in these pages of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. The cow stands with tears in her eyes, the śūdra milkman draws milk from the cow artificially, and when there is no milk the cow is sent to be slaughtered. These greatly sinful acts are responsible for all the troubles in present society. People do not know what they are doing in the name of economic development. The influence of Kali will keep them in the darkness of ignorance. Despite all endeavors for peace and prosperity, they must try to see the cows and the bulls happy in all respects. Foolish people do not know how one earns happiness by making the cows and bulls happy, but it is a fact by the law of nature.” Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.17.3 purport

“Offering respect to the Cows will help the devotee to diminish the reactions to his past sinful activities” Skanda Purana

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1 Unregistered

Hare Krsna.
Unfortunately this practice is not only exclusive to Cows,if you think that just by stopping buying this cows milk then it will stop or it is not supported then you are mistaken.
Animal products of all kinds are used as fertiliser to grow the agricultural commercial food aside from dairy products.It is impossible to not support animal exploitation in this world.
This is the reason why it is imperative to be either self-sufficient or self-independendant.The Vegan example of say soya beans still uses animal products to commercially grow it.There is no other fertiliser of the required amount that can support Veganism except animal products.What other fertiliser of the required amount exists,it certainly isnt a plant based fertiliser.It is just impossible to compost enough plant material to support a global market of Veganism,it cant work,thats why we have Cow-Protection.Then we can use Go-Bar mixed with plant material such as Straw,a carbon based life form,to fertilise the soil and provide nutrients for plant life to feed the Humans.
In the UK we can go to a Garden Centre and buy grow bags for Tomates,Peppers etc,but these are full of animal products which support animal exploitation.All commercial Agriculture and Horticulture use these methods of growing including Flowers bought for the Deities.This is a standard practice .
Srila Prabhupada gave us the answer to all of these problems many,many years ago but we have not implemented them in Iskcon.We are years behind where we should be at by now.We should of had an iskcon branded company selling Ahimsa food products globally and locally we could of had our own Garden Centres selling our branded products as well as being self-independant.Its not hard and it does not take long.
Its not just a Milk problem but goes right through the whole Food Industry,we just cant get away from the problem until and unless we do it all ourselves.

Comment posted by ananda dd on June 30th, 2010
2 Unregistered

Hare Krishna,

I don’t understand how simply giving up store-bought milk gives protection and respect to the cows. You provided many nice quotes from Srila Prabhupada that talk about the importance of cows and cow protection, but I did not see a single quote that talked about giving up store-bought milk as a way to protect cows.

I especially liked this quote that you provided:

“We have to keep some cows. Never mind we are to take payment from others. That is not cow protection. Cow protection means just like Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He is tending the cows. He is going, taking the cows personally from His royal palace going to the forest whole day, working there. Is it not, cowherd boy? And taken some little fruit, mother, whatever mother has given. They are playing that. So this is cow protection, not that “Somebody will give money and we shall keep some third class cows and feed there and become cow protector.” We must tend the cows very nicely so that they give us sufficient milk. And with that milk we shall live. SRILA PRABHUPADA, Srimad-Bhagavatam Class 2.9.3 — Melbourne, April 5, 1972

Are there any instructions from Srila Prabhupada asking us to give up store-bought milk? Organic rice and soy products are also tied to cow slaughter because they use bone and blood to fertilize organic crops. And conventional farming methods use artificial fertilizers that Srila Prabhupada says are forbidden in the sastras. Not to mention, soy products have many health problems associated with them.

Why not just keep a cow or help someone nearby keep a cow or two. It is not really that hard to do and it would be a positive step towards protecting and respecting cows. We have two milk cows and they provide almost all of the milk products to our local temple, to our family and to many families around here. It seems like sometimes millions of dollars will be spent to build a temple, but it is said to be too hard to get some people to get together and buy a little land and get a cow, which would cost a lot less, while also producing something of value that supports what this article above says is “our one program”.

Anyway, I mean no disrespect, and I hope no one takes offense to what I have written. I just don’t think that simply avoiding store-bought milk products does much to respect or protect cows.

Hare Krishna

kc_das108@yahoo.com

Comment posted by Krsna Caitanya dasa on June 30th, 2010
3 Praghosa

While of course all devotees are horrified and would like nothing more than the cruelty, torture and slaughter of Mother Cow to stop and while devotees can of course appreciate and respect those who choose a vegan diet in order to avoid being implicated in that cruelty, there is something else that is worth mentioning.

As long as there is cruelty in the dairy industry the one thing that devotees can do to help the suffering cows is by taking their milk and offering it to Lord Krishna. On the one hand you can argue that by taking their milk we are simply helping to support the industry, still even if every devotee and congregation member etc., were to become vegan it would have practically zero impact on the dairy industry so the cows will continue to suffer. On the other hand by offering their milk to Krishna the cows are receiving unlimited spiritual benefit and a strong argument could be made that this is a far better way to help the cows than becoming a vegan. From the cows point of view, to deny them the opportunity of having their milk offered to their beloved Lord, seems to be adding more distress to their already concentration camp existence.

Ys Praghosa dasa

Comment posted by Praghosa on June 30th, 2010
4 Unregistered

This is a regular topic in the cow protection field. It is important to note that the methodology of modern milk production was not unknown by Srila Prabhupada and as asked by Krishnacaitanya Prabhu where is the quote where he asks us to stop drinking the milk. Praghosa Prabhu has indicated the benefits to the cow of offering the milk to Krishna.

Srila Prabhupada wanted us to have an alternative to society not only in the realm of cow protection but in so many other ways. To do something for cow protection then why not do something for cow protection and do something to protect a cow. |There are so many cow protection projects that need support. So help them, at least do something to help even one cow.

Comment posted by syamasundara on July 8th, 2010
5 Madhavagosh

This is something that was sent to me at one time, unfortunately I neglected to keep the author’s name. While it is English as second language and the tone is a bit offputting, perhaps, I agree with the underlying principle.

“What is the point of making the same excuse every time? “I know but you see…” This factory slaughtered cow milk for Krsna is valid only if we make an equal effort in the direction of getting milk from protected cows or else it is a farce and cheating.

“Every time every day you say “For Krsna, milk cow is killed, what can I do?” What can I do? — simple — Save a cow.

“No, I want to enjoy all milk fat (for Krsna).” Simple solution - spend half on milk that you do daily and an equal amount on cow protection. It is very logical that if we go on giving this excuse “for Krsna” we are going to be bound by karma and we see even vegetarians have heart etc problems.

“I am sure if every individual doesn’t take effort for cow protection then this milk “for Krsna” excuse is farce. Sri Krsna is not going to like it.”

Comment posted by Madhavagosh on July 14th, 2010
6 Babhru

Praghosa wrote, “On the other hand by offering their milk to Krishna the cows are receiving unlimited spiritual benefit. . . .”

I hear this so often from devotees, but I can’t think of anyone who has offered any pramana to support it. Do we really have any evidence that this is true? If so, what is it, specifically? Without such support, the argument fails to convince many of us, and it sounds like an excuse. C’mon–if the truth is that we just can’t find, or afford, or be bothered to seek out, milk from protected cows, let’s be honest and say so.

As Madhava Ghosh and his correspondent suggest, the real solution is to use the money we spend on milk from exploited cows to save them from such exploitation, or to support those who do. If possible, we can do this by buying milk from protected cows. If that’s not possible, we can subsidize those who protect them. If we can’t do that, then we need to do what we can to buy the best milk we can find, from the cow’s perspective, not our pocketbook’s. But just buying the cheapest milk we can from the supermarket, so we can have lots of milk goodies to offer (and “honor”), on the plea that we’re benefitting so many cows by doing so, and using the money we save on our iPhones, SUVs, and flat-screen TVs, we will have a hard time ever establishing cow protection.

Comment posted by Babhru on July 14th, 2010
7 Praghosa

Dear Babhru prabhu,

Thanks for your comment. Obviously my previous comment was not meant as an excuse but I do fail to see how in the near to medium term we can have any significant impact on the slaughter of cows and bulls related to the dairy industry. Of course I support, as do I’m sure all devotees, the establishment of ahimsa dairies. In the UK Bhaktivendanta Manor has a cruelty free dairy and also supports other such ventures around the UK that are not necessarily devotee related, so that is going on.

Still there are millions of cows being slaughtered every year so my point simply was that devotees who consume such milk after they offer it to Krsna, will result in the cow who provided that milk deriving some benefit. Just as everyone involved in the process of preparing prasadam receives spiritual benefit.

It also should be borne in mind that while Srila Prabhupada was probably the greatest advocate of ahimsa farming, he did not out law the use of milk coming from non ahimsa farms, indeed he consumed it himself.

Ys Praghosa dasa

Comment posted by Praghosa on July 15th, 2010
8 Babhru

Dear Praghosa prabhu,

First, I think we should bear in mind that, although Srila Prabhupada took commercial milk products, he wanted something more for the movement. He exhorted us on several occasions to consider how we could have farm projects that provided milk and other produce for the city temples. And here it is almost 33 years after his leaving our vision, and the Krishna consciousness movement is hardly any closer to realizing that vision than in the mid ’70s, with a coupld of exceptions.

It’s wonderful, of course, the Bhaktivedanta Manor has a dairy, and that you and other devotees support cruelty-free dairies, whether they’re run by Krishna’s devotees or not. But I wonder where the milk for the Sunday feasts comes from. Where do devotees in London, or Manchester buy milk for their families? I see the milk jugs in the dumpster at my local temple, and in my neighbors’ recylclables bins. Too often is the milk not only not ahimsa, or even organic, or even hormone free, but it’s the cheapest milk from the supermarket or big-box store.

There will be no long-term impact until we can imagine–and effect–the short and mid-term impact. We need to make this a priority. As the demand for ahimsa milk increases, the demand for slaughterhouse milk will decrease. If I only buy milk from someone who cares for cows nicely, and a couple of my friends decide that’s cool, and a couple of each of their friends do likewise, the demand will increase dramatically. But if we’re complacent about buying supermarket milk, as long as we continue to keep the demand strong for factory-”farm” milk, as long as we support the industrial mistreatment of our mother with our hard-gained money, nothing will really change, despite all our lofty talk of cow protection. And in the meantime we should at least be honest about it.

Yours in service,
Babhru

Comment posted by Babhru on July 15th, 2010
9 Praghosa

Dear Babhru prabhu,

Of course if devotees purchasing cruelty milk numbs them to the reality and seriously restricts our energy put into establishing ahimsa farms, then that should be looked at. However on the other hand if you are saying that any devotee who is currently using non ahimsa milk shouldn’t do so in any circumstance and is essentially condemnable, then I beg to differ.

Ys

Comment posted by Praghosa on July 16th, 2010
10 Babhru

Praghosa wrote, “if you are saying that any devotee who is currently using non ahimsa milk shouldn’t do so in any circumstance and is essentially condemnable, then I beg to differ.”

In any circumstance? Condemnable? Goodness, where did I say that? I suggested a spectrum of milk goodness, I said nothing about any devotee’s character. I addressed the ease with which we dismiss the necessity to try like anything to live up to the ideals we profess. And please notice the pronoun in that clause. At the moment, my wife and I also buy milk at the store, but I’m not happy about it. I feel compromised, frankly. And we do try to buy as far up the spectrum I suggested as we can. But when we lived on the Big Island and in San Diego, we bought milk from devotees who protected cows. It was more expensive, to be sure, but I felt it was important to put my money where my mouth was.

I’m so grateful that Srila Prabhupada didn’t think, “I fail to see how, in the short or mid term, one devotee taking all the trouble to go to New York City can have any impact on the world. It’s so much trouble, and maybe Mahaprabhu’s ‘every town and village’ is hyperbole after all.”

Comment posted by Babhru on July 16th, 2010
11 Pandu das

Praghosa wrote, “On the other hand by offering their milk to Krishna the cows are receiving unlimited spiritual benefit. . . .”

Babhru wrote, “I hear this so often from devotees, but I can’t think of anyone who has offered any pramana to support it. Do we really have any evidence that this is true? If so, what is it, specifically?”

Srila Prabhupada wrote in Krishna Book:
“The system of worshiping Krsna by offering flowers from a tree is also beneficial for the living entity who is confined to the bodily existence of that tree. When flowers and fruits are offered to Krsna, the tree that bore them also receives much benefit, indirectly. The arcana process, or worshiping procedure, is therefore beneficial for everyone.”

If a tree benefits when its flowers are offered to Krishna, why wouldn’t a cow benefit when her milk is offered to Him?

Comment posted by Pandu das on July 16th, 2010
12 Unregistered

Its expensive.

Some are happy because they can offer their store milk because store milk is cheaper than the milk from their local devotee.

Some are happy because srila prabhupada drank offered milk because they can do the same and not have to try and help an alternative.

Some are happy that they are not drinking milk and feeling they are free from the implications of how modern milk is produced. Most are not only not paying for local milk they are also not helping protect any cows.

To commit ourselves to using cow protection milk will require a re-evaluation of what our money should be used for. Store milk £0.60 per litre versus cow protection milk at £3+ per litre.

If we want to work towards establishing cow protection alternatives we should be willing to support cow protection projects by paying what is required to support them. If we dont support the cow protection projects, dont use cow protection products, dont use any cow products then we are not doing anything for cow protection.

Because store/farmgate milk is available and we can offer it then this makes us complacent about driving forward cow protection projects. How many of our deities drink milk exclusively from protected cows? How many of our devotees drink milk from protected cows? If we dont do something different than what we are already doing, we still will not have our deities or devotees drinking milk from protected cows in another 30 years.

Support your cow protection projects, purchase their products at the price they need to support the protecting of cows, talk it up, help develop cow protection products from the cows milk, dung and urine, buy your food from a farmer using oxen, but certainly offer your milk to Lord Krishna with love and devotion.

Comment posted by syamasundara on July 18th, 2010
13 Babhru

Pandu, I think the quotation you cite is helpful. But, since an unknown number of cows’ milk is mixed together and adulterated in a number of ways to produce each jug of milk we buy in the stores, wouldn’t your use of the quotation actually argue in favor of supporting factory-”farm” dairy operations, rather than working so hard to set an example of cow protection as a model for the greater society? As Syamasundara says, “If we dont do something different than what we are already doing, we still will not have our deities or devotees drinking milk from protected cows in another 30 years.”

Comment posted by Babhru on July 19th, 2010
14 Venkatesh RD

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances. All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!

For me the reality hit when I watched the documentary Earthlings about 4 years back. I tried Soy Milk for a couple of weeks but didn’t feel good health-wise. So we initially switched to Meijer Organic milk ($5.69/gal) followed by Organic Valley ($9/gal, once we found out from a review site
that Meijer’s humane treatment is suspect) but have been terribly unhappy about not being able (not sincere enough) to offer protected-cow milk.

Let’s analyze this oft-mentioned quote with a view to understanding what Srila Prabhupada is saying:

“The system of worshiping Krsna by offering flowers from a tree is also beneficial for the living entity who is confined to the bodily existence of that tree. When flowers and fruits are offered to Krsna, the tree that bore them also receives much benefit, indirectly. The arcana process, or worshiping procedure, is therefore beneficial for everyone.”

This can be analyzed on multiple levels and I list those that come to mind at the moment:

1. Ascribing to a statement more than what is said:

Nowhere in this statement does Srila Prabhupada say it’s okay to mistreat the source of the offering or to obtain it thru violent means on the plea of benefiting the source. Also, plants and trees give their output indiscriminately to whoever and whatever. Whereas cows have manifest feelings and moods and have needs of basic protection like we humans do.

2. Understanding/Interpreting a statement to the detriment of other statements:

Just like we are taking milk from the cow. We are indebted. “No, we are killing them.” They are committing simply sinful life and they want to be happy and peaceful. Just see. We are indebted. I am obliged to you for your service. So instead of feeling obligation, if I cut your throat, how gentleman I am, just see, imagine. So we are indebted.
Lecture on BG 1.37-39

In the below, Srila Prabhupada gives the process of obtaining Milk for
offering:

…continued

Comment posted by Venkatesh RD on July 20th, 2010
15 Venkatesh RD

The cow should be protected, milk should be drawn from the cows, and this milk should be prepared in various ways. One should take ample milk, and thus one can prolong one’s life, develop his brain, execute devotional service, and ultimately attain the favor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As it is essential to get food grains and water by digging the earth, it is also essential to give protection to the cows and take nectarean milk from their milk bags.
Sb 8.16.12

More at http://snowcreekfamilyorganics.....llo-world/

3. Quality of offering:

As alluded to by Babhru prabhu, would we want to buy flowers and fruits that are of inferior quality with lots of blemishes and that have come from diseased/abused plants and trees and offer them to Krishna? Or do we go out and plant some flower plants and fruit trees so we can offer the BEST we can to our dear Krishna? Seems to me a sincere devotee would always strive to offer the BEST WITHOUT ANY OTHER CONSIDERATIONS. The quote is simply describing what happens when a sincere offering is made, thus encouraging (as His Divine Grace did at every opportunity) performance of devotional service, as opposed to encouraging will-full support of demonic activity against cows on the plea of delivering some ajnata-sukriti. How about we stand near the gates of dairy farms and slaughter houses and chant the holy names as trucks pass if indeed the real purpose is delivering ajnata-sukriti?

4. Factory-milk could be construed as meat:

Considering there’s blood, pus, anguish-related-enzymes etc., in more than innocent levels, factory milk borders on meat. Srila Prabhupada did mention that meat eating is allowed when there’s no other choice. Does that mean that’s what he recommended as a regular practice for Vaishnavas?

…continued

Comment posted by Venkatesh RD on July 20th, 2010
16 Venkatesh RD

5. But Srila Prabhupada used factory milk:

While Srila Prabhupada offered what was available (yukta-vairagya) for preaching and demonstration and minimal sustenance purposes, he simultaneously not only spoke against the practice of taking milk and killing the cow, he in fact strove hard for the alternative by establishing farm communities conducive to developing pure devotional service. He showed by practical example, yukta-vairagya doesn’t mean we accept the status quo on some plea nor that we need NOT strive to offer the BEST to Krishna.

Where there is a lack of sincere devotional service in terms of not striving to offer the BEST to Krishna there’s neither a pure offering nor any resultant pure ajnata sukriti for anyone involved in the chain. We understand from Srila Prabhupada’s manifest lila and as mentioned by Krishna Himself that those that preach about Him are dearest to Him that whatever might be lacking in such force-of-circumstance situation would not be an issue in the Lord’s eyes.

In other words, any variance from Krishna’s instruction for go-raksya can only be applicable to full-time-preachers or other force-of-circumstance situations which was the case in the 60s and 70s and even now for devotees living in city temples and/or otherwise continually out on the streets preaching. Not for devotees by choice in regular city jobs with 401(k)s, big homes (my category) and disposable incomes for SUVs and flat-panel TVs.

Every one of us would have to examine our own lives to see what that force-of-circumstance is and whether/how we might plan to get around it.

6. Missing the purport of the statement:

This is like looking at the charama sloka

sarva-dharmān parityajya
mām ekaḿ śaraṇaḿ vraja
ahaḿ tvāḿ sarva-pāpebhyo
mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ

and saying one can commit sins even after “surrendering” to Krishna since Krishna says he will forgive them.

7. Prabhu, you demonstrate first and then talk:

I am as much laden, if not more, with inertia and lack of sincerity as some others. I too live in a big home that’s leveraged just once an year for Govardhan puja. Just like Babhru prabhu, I am willing to put my money where my mouth is. The task at hand is neither simple nor easy. I pray that in the spirit of Sankirtan we can collectively attempt to execute Srila Prabhupada’s vision of simple living/high thinking centered around Radha Krishna.

… continued

Comment posted by Venkatesh RD on July 20th, 2010
17 Venkatesh RD

Of course you should not be thinking to sell any of the crops for profit. That is not our purpose. The village organization is that the local people produce their necessities like grain, vegetables, milk, and cloth; and for recreation they have the chanting of Hare Krishna. They should live there comfortably and have spiritual recreation. They should not come to the cities. I wish to introduce this ideal now. Then if we are successful this cheating civilization will stop. They have made these cities as hell. If people do not cooperate with them, then how will the factories run on? And, if the people are satisfied by this arrangement, then what will the communists do? (Letter to: Mahamsa: — Detroit 3 August, 197
5)

(emphasis added by me)

For starters, we can appeal to the city devotees that can afford to do so, to do the following:

a. Commit themselves to paying the cow its rightful due, IOW, what it costs a cow to generate a gallon of milk, including its feed, feed for its male off-spring, and their care-taking. Also, commit to paying for vegetables not grown with blood-meal, bone-meal, fish emulsion, etc., but rather with dung and ox-power.

b. Basically this would be a non-profit CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) project that would supply milk as well as vegetables grown in the vedic fashion. Non-profit doesn’t mean the cow-herders and growers work for free or almost free. They should be remunerated properly while the project will remain non-profit. We can’t be enjoying city comforts while expecting people in the fields to live “poor”. They can choose to live simple but that has got to be their choice until the day we will all be forced to live simple.

c. Purchase shares of land within an hour’s drive from the City and lease it back to the non-profit CSA-project at prevailing market rates. Thus when the modern economy collapses they have something to fall back on including the cows.

Human civilization means to advance the cause of brahminical culture, and to mai
ntain it, cow protection is essential. There is a miracle in milk, for it contains all the necessary vitamins to sustain human physiological conditions for higher achievements. Brahminical culture can advance only when man is educated to develop the quality of goodness, and for this there is a prime necessity of food prepared with milk, fruit. (S.B. 1.16.4)

Comment posted by Venkatesh RD on July 20th, 2010
18 Venkatesh RD

Lord Krsna as Govinda is more inclined to the brähmanas and the cows,indicating thereby that human prosperity depends more on these two items,namelybrahminical culture and cow protection. Lord Krsna is never satisfied wherethese are lacking. S.B. 1.8.21

“For the cowherd men and the cows, Krishna is the supreme friend. Therefore He is worshiped by the prayer namo brahmanya-devaaya go-braahmana-hitaaya ca (Vishnu Purana 1.19.65). His pastimes in Gokula, His dhaama, are always favorable to the braahmanas and the cows. His first business is to give all comfort to the cows and the braahmanas. In fact, comfort for the braahmanas is secondary, and comfort for the cows is His first concern. Because of His presence, all people would overcome all difficulties and always be situated in transcendental bliss.” - Srila Prabhupada

Comment posted by Venkatesh RD on July 20th, 2010
19 Madhavagosh

Please Google the concept of :”carbon offsets” where if one is generating carbon from one’s lifestyle, then by contributing to projects that mitigate carbon, one offsets. I.e. if one is using electricity generated from coal, which is very destructive in its extraction, burns dirty, and leaves massive piles of “gob” waste, and 60% of the electricity in the American electrical grid is from coal, then one way to offset it available in some areas of the country is to pay a little extra on your electrical bill and that money is used to capitalize wind mills to generate clean energy. That clean energy offsets your carbon footprint.

Now let us apply the principle to cow protection. The harsh reality is that cow protected milk is not readily available and may not be for the foreseeable future for the large majority of devotees. So buy the best possible milk available in the market, but offset the fact that the cow will be slaughtered by contributing to cow protection programs.

Then a cow is protected, and milk can be drawn, even if the cow that is protected isn’t the literal cow that gave the milk.

This program is immediately accessible to anyone, it requires no program to be established, it requires no approval from any authority, and it puts the responsibility for protecting cows on the individual. No using “the leadership” as an excuse for inaction.

The problem with ajnata-sukrti, the concept that the cow benefits unknowingly, isn’t that it isn’t good for the producing cow, but that it can breed complacency in the devotees. So yes, let the poor cow benefit, but don’t stop there, also contribute to protecting cows.

Hopefully we will see in the future the establishment of endowment funds for cows so more and more protected milk can be produced, but lacking that in the present, all devotees can still protect cows immediately.

“Without protection of cows, brahminical culture cannot be maintained; and without brahminical culture, the aim of life cannot be fulfilled.”

Srimad Bhagavatam 8.24.5

Comment posted by Madhavagosh on July 21st, 2010
20 Madhavagosh

Here is a good article on this subject by Sivarama Swami.

http://www.goshala.com/article.....on-srs.php

Some excerpts:

Krsi goraksya vanijya. Krsi means ploughing or agriculture and goraksya, cow protection. These are the staples of society, this is what people live on. All living entities subsist on grains. So the ksatriyas may direct and instruct people, the brahmanas may perform their yajnas, but if they don’t eat then giving shelter or instruction is not going to work.

That eating is therefore the most essential aspect of life …

Srila Prabhupada said that this very common type of exchange was there but the responsibility of this goraksya, is it the duty of just some people? Some very very exclusive people? Is it the responsibility of all vaisyas, or is it for all grhastas or all devotees?

My proposition is that it is everyone’s responsibility. Just like everyone’s responsibility is chanting Hare Krishna, watering Tulasi devi, reading Bhagavatam. Similarly part of our common dharma is to protect cows…

Srila Prabhupada established cow protection for instance in New Vrindavan, Gita Nagari, or as we have done here in Hungary at New Vraja-dhama. These herds are not the sole responsibility or duty of the local devotees in those places, they are the responsibility of the devotees and congregation of the local country. It is their responsibility to contribute to the cow protection, to donate towards the maintenance of the cow, to come and do some cow seva…

Cow protection is everyone’s business, it is everyone’s responsibility. This is being written down as varnasrama dharma. If one does not contribute or participate directly in cow protection then he should know that he is neglecting his dharma, he is neglecting his dharma. In other words he is adharmic…

And that is what is going on the spiritual world. That is what is going on where we are going–at least where I want to go is where there is only gopas and gopis. The whole social identity is based on go, on cows. There are milkmaids and there are cowherd men. And if we are not willing to be milkmaids and cowherd men here in the material world, if this service is beyond us and we cannot forsee how we are going to dedicate our lives to working with the cows, then were are we going? Then you had better look for somewhere other than Braja. Then you had better go to Dwaraka or Vaikuntha, where that is not a compulsory, integral part of life…

Comment posted by Madhavagosh on July 21st, 2010
21 Venkatesh RD

Dear Madhavagosh Prabhu,

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisance! All glories to Srila Prabhupada!!!

In #19 you mention:

Please Google the concept of :”carbon offsets” …
Now let us apply the principle to cow protection.

It’s impossible to apply offsets to cows since it’s impossible to measure the anxiety, pain, etc., that a cow suffers in a factory or even in a farm environment when it’s calf is taken away for example. That said, contributing to cow protection generally is always a dharmic thing. It just isn’t possible to do as an “offset”.

The harsh reality is that cow protected milk is not readily available and may not be for the foreseeable future for the large majority of devotees.

It will NEVER be available unless there’s a demand for it. If Vaishnavas are unwilling to demand protected cow milk, who will? At least those devotees that can afford to pay can make up the demand side. Then supply will automatically begin in due course of time. I have just been back from a trip to Prabhupada Village and Hillsborough where protected cow milk is available, because there’s a demand for it.

The problem with ajnata-sukrti, the concept that the cow benefits unknowingly, isn’t that it isn’t good for the producing cow, but that it can breed complacency in the devotees. So yes, let the poor cow benefit, but don’t stop there, also contribute to protecting cows.

The problem here is that, there’s really a fine line between yukta-vairagya and the seventh offense to the holy name:

7) To commit sinful activities on the strength of chanting the holy name of the Lord.

This fine line is easily crossed when one can afford to pay for protected-cow milk but chooses not to even look for it, on the plea of ajnata-sukriti. Please review the earlier comments #14 thru #18.

The key is generating/realizing demand by way of education and then documenting that demand. We seem to have many young devotees that in some cases haven’t graduated from college and such that are left wondering what they should do for a living. Some will perhaps be inclined to start CSAs and such (see #17), when they see a clear and present demand.

continued…

Comment posted by Venkatesh RD on August 22nd, 2010
22 Venkatesh RD

In #20, H.H. Sivarama Swami Maharaja’s article is quoted as:

And if we are not willing to be milkmaids and cowherd men here in the material world, if this service is beyond us and we cannot forsee how we are going to dedicate our lives to working with the cows, then were are we going? Then you had better look for somewhere other than Braja. Then you had better go to Dwaraka or Vaikuntha, where that is not a compulsory, integral part of life…

Lest some of us should understand this differently, Maharaja is NOT suggesting that there’s anxiety for the cows or any other being for that matter in Dwaraka or Vaikuntha. Maharaja is simply differentiating between hands-on cow protection and hands-off cow protection, but cows protected in both instances. Maharaja is particularly emphasizing the need for hands-on cow protection for those aiming to go to Goloka Vrindavana.

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.
-Sri Caitanya-caritämåta, February 15, 1967
Ädi-lila 7.107-109 San Francisco

Cow protection means feeding the brahminical culture, which leads towards God consciousness, and thus perfection of human civilization is achieved. -Srimad-Bhägavatam 1.19.3 Purport

Without protection of cows, brahminical culture cannot be maintained; and without brahminical culture, the aim of life cannot be fulfilled.
- Srimad-Bhägavatam 8.24.5 Purport

More at: http://www.iscowp.org/uploads/.....OK%201.pdf

Haribol!

Comment posted by Venkatesh RD on August 22nd, 2010
23 Unregistered

Hare Krsna.The ideal that Iskcon Cow Protection has to be able to demonstrate is not just having cows and bulls in a non-violent regime.That does not exemplify the essence of Cow Protection.Once we understand that Cow protection is an integrated component of a bigger picture.Community,then the principle of Cow protection ,symbiotic economic development,can be praticed.We are not protcting Cows just to stop them being slaughtered,thats just having a pet mentality,we are protecting Cows so we can put into place all the components of a Cow protected Community.
If we have cows and dont develop the natural symbiotic relationship then our lifestyle will remain westernised and therefore unsustainable and dependant on oil,mobile fones and supermarkets ,and we would have missed the whole point of Cow protection.Once we understand that by definition cow protection is integrated and not exclusive our synbiotic relationship begins and so the lifestyle has to adapt and adopt that mode of goodness.Which embraces a wholistic life including,the land,its produces,economy based on cows and land,self-independance,low impact housing,sustainability,interactivities in Community,skills,techniques and many other mode of goodness level peripheries.
There maybe different stepping stones in establishing the required definition of Cow protection but unless we have the vision of the goal of Cow protection then we still have not arrived at the necassary platform or standard of Cow protection.
In Cow protction Community therefore the required demands on human life become naturally less.We need less input in terms of energy,food,facility,petrol,factories and our attention is focused on a more introspective ,spiritually oriented lifestyle that we can demonstrate as a preaching tool.We dont have Cows as pets,they are as much part of Community as humans are and they want to contribute in their way.Its the Humans responsibility to engage the Cows and the land in the service of the Lord throughCow protection,Community,Symbiosis, and eventually economic development within the perameters of Iskcon.
We need to start taking the right steps to ensure that proper Cow protection is established in Iskcon or else we are just going to end up with expensive pets that we love.

Comment posted by ananda dd on August 26th, 2010
24 Venkatesh RD

Mother Ananda,

Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble obeisances! All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

You mention:

The ideal that Iskcon Cow Protection has to be able to demonstrate is not just having cows and bulls in a non-violent regime.That does not exemplify the essence of Cow Protection.Once we understand that Cow protection is an integrated component of a bigger picture.Community,then the principle of Cow protection ,symbiotic economic development,can be practiced.

This is a definition of “cow protection” that I haven’t seen where Srila Prabhupada himself gave. As quoted in comment #17 above, Srila Prabhupada definitely sought to introduce the ideal of self-sufficient village/farm communities. But I haven’t seen where he made cow protection conditioned on the establishment of a self-sufficient farm community. In other words, a village/farm community without cow protection is hollow, whereas the converse is not true. No need to burden the phrase “cow protection” to mean anything more than the protection of cows, especially those that we take milk from. Yes, Srila Prabhupada did want the oxen to be put to work as he was concerned otherwise that they will be looked upon as a burden and will eventually head to the slaughterhouse. But cow protection as in protection of cows, he did emphasize. So, the essence of cow protection is protection of cows in Krishna consciousness.

The fact is that most of the devotees now live in cities. If we have farms within an hour or so where they can get milk and vegetables from, we will have definitely fulfilled our duty of cow protection. Which, if we have faith in Srila Prabhupada’s following words, should lead to the feeding/rejuvenation of brahminical culture, which in turn will lead to sattvic living as devotees would have had a chance to drink protected cow milk and would have developed a habit of at least spending their weekends on the farms they support and/or own and thus would have developed a taste for it.

Cow protection means feeding the brahminical culture, which leads towards God consciousness, and thus perfection of human civilization is achieved. -Srimad-Bhägavatam 1.19.3 Purport

Without protection of cows, brahminical culture cannot be maintained; and without brahminical culture, the aim of life cannot be fulfilled.
- Srimad-Bhägavatam 8.24.5 Purport

continued…

Comment posted by Venkatesh RD on September 18th, 2010
25 Venkatesh RD

You mention:

“We are not protcting Cows just to stop them being slaughtered,thats just having a pet mentality,we are protecting Cows so we can put into place all the components of a Cow protected Community.”

“As described in the Brahma Samhita (surabhi apbipalayantam), Lord Krishna on His planet, Goloka Vrindavana, engages in tending the surabhi cows. These cows are the Lord’s pet animals.” Srimad Bhagavatam 8.8.2 purport

Surabhi is the name of the cows which exist in the spiritual planets and are especially reared by Lord Krishna Himself. As men are made after the form and features of the Supreme Lord, so also the cows are made after the form and features of the surabhi cows in the spiritual kingdom. In the material world the human society gives all protection to the human being, but there is no law to protect the descendants of Surabhi, who can give all protection to men by supplying the miracle food, milk.
-Bhagavad-gétä 10.25 Purport

You mention:
“If we have cows and dont develop the natural symbiotic relationship then our lifestyle will remain westernised and therefore unsustainable and dependant on oil,mobile fones and supermarkets ,and we would have missed the whole point of Cow protection.”

According to Srila Prabhupada, cow protection will feed brahminical culture. This in turn will lead to a sattvic lifestyle. So, the first step is cow protection.

You mention:
“We need to start taking the right steps to ensure that proper Cow protection is established in Iskcon or else we are just going to end up with expensive pets that we love.”

What I have seen in Prabhupada Village and Hillsborough is that when cows are privately owned, they are bred responsibly. Another important thing to bear in mind is that each gallon of milk already figures in that gallon’s worth of that cow’s/male offspring’s retirement, etc., so when they reach retirement, there will be money/land to take care of them.

So far the concepts of unqualified-ajnata-sukriti, veganism as a substitute for action, and burdening of the phrase “cow protection”, none of which Srila Prabhupada himself subscribed to, have meant zero cow protection. So, what we need are:

1. Education
2. Documenting demand

As I had mentioned, we seem to have many young devotees that in some cases haven’t graduated from college and such that are left wondering what they should do for a living. Some will perhaps be inclined to start CSAs. Haribol!

Comment posted by Venkatesh RD on September 18th, 2010

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