Comments Posted By Matsya

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Why Veganism in Iskcon does not work, part 2

“Perhaps the best outcome of this discussion is a tacit admittance that veganism is an anartha in the same class as watching TV or shopping.
Accidentally, that would also explain long and passionate posts in the defense of this attachment. Try to take teenager’s phone away and see how irrationality ensues.”
Very funny Sitalatma. Nice to see some humor.

But like many other remarks or arguments, I’ve seen in this discussion, it simply brushes off many of the relevant facts and does not answer the questions asked. It’s akin to asking an evolutionist, to explain the gaps in that theory, and then have him answer with a funny comment like. “Well obviously none of us monkeys are capable of explaining evolution to you intelligent humans.” It’s a funny comment. However it also tries to throw the other side on the defensive, with a paternalistic tone, that suggests all their thoughtful, genuine, sincere, arguments are based on childish irrationality.

Anyway good luck on trying to take away your teenager’s phone, if and when that may happen in your household. You may find that teenagers are adept at spotting the hypocrisy of their parents. While we can get away with a wonderful external projection to the world at large, it falls flat when we try to do so with our teens. They’ve lived with us, and have seen all the ugly anarthas, and lies, we may try to hide. They know when we’re (appropriate term for this discussion :) They’ve seen us, when the masks down, and know when we’re saying something, we ‘want to project to the world’, that we believe, but in reality we don’t believe. I do appreciate your humor though.

Comment Posted By Matsya On 10.04.2013 @ 15:06

I asked you a number of questions. Some of which, I don’t believe you really answered directly. So here goes again.

1. How do you know what is in the heart of every vegan? I thought only paramatama knows this?

2. As what you claim to be the motivation for every vegan, does not apply to me, or numerous friends I have, Do you then believe me to be a liar?

3. “The only damage vegans would sustain is to their precious philosophy. They CAN take milk prasadam but they refuse it to pamper their egos.”
How do you know, for certain, that 2 or 3 million vegans don’t take milk for the same reason? And again am I and my friends all liars, if we honestly say, that is not our reason for taking it?

4. Do you think you might have ulterior motives, that don’t necsssarily involve the good of all living entities, in your motivation for some of your statements?

For me, the main reason I write, is to try and explain the position of vegans, and to point out the inaccuracies and untruths that have been attributed to me, and them.
I don’t really want to change your belief about milk etc. I feel you’re entitled to it, and if it works for you, that’s great. I don’t want to change the vedic model of cow farming, or water down the essence of what Prabhupada said. In fact, I would say, that preaching compassionately, and getting souls to eat prasadam is much more the essence of his teachings.

I do believe that this type of ‘preaching’ is very counterproductive to the stated goals of Prabhupada, and I would like to influence those who argue this way, by giving them food for thought.( offered ‘food for thought’, that is.)
I hope that you will reconsider writing and speaking in the manner presented above. I believe that it is quite possible, that the desire to win the argument, and the egotistical desire to protect, (often) badly researched beliefs, is getting in the way of true compassion. My main desire, is to see these vegans attracted to KC. And I think the above article, and many of the above comments would have the opposite effect. So please consider, if your desire to win, and beat that ‘anartha’ out of those demoniac vegans, is based on compassion, or ignorance and pride.

You can judge this, by the results of your ‘preaching’. And the results of Gunagrahi Maharaj’s preaching to straight edge kids in the 90’s. Many of the kids were hard core vegans and many joined or took up K.C. I don’t believe, his initial preaching involved smashing that “anartha”.

Comment Posted By Matsya On 09.04.2013 @ 04:38

“but perfection means that one must give up his anarthas. Veganism is an anartha, a thing without value that we are being attached to.”

So you don’t play football? You don’t bring your kids to the movies? You don’t watch any TV or any movies, or read any newspapers? You never eat out in restaurants? You follow all 4 principles very strictly?
We might want to pull the plank out of our own eye, before we spend useless time chasing those demoniac vegans for the anartha off “compassion.”

“By demanding/expecting/insisting/appreciating clearly marked vegan prasadam they are trying to convert us, to convince us that their view deserves consideration and support and that we should accommodate their ideology.”
Again, are you for real? If you really feel your faith is that threatened, you may want to consider living in the woods. I’ve been in many devotee restaurants, that had clearly marked vegan foods. This was done, out of compassion, to give those souls, with that “anartha” the chance to eat prasadam. Something you apparently wouldn’t do. If your faith is strengthened, you will no longer feel this fear. You may come to the conclusion, that when Bhaktisidanta said “he would serve meat, to make devotees.” He probably wouldn’t have, but he was placing the principle of attracting souls to Krishna, way above any smarta Brahman considerations. Now, I’ve a feeling, that if he was willing to say that, he would have no problem serving vegan prasadam, if that’s the only simple step it took to bring these souls to Krishna.

So many times you make statements about Mayavadis etc, and your perception of Prabhupada’s attitude towards them, and then use it to justify your attitude to vegans. Again you’re no Prabhupada. These are not bewildered Indian Mayavadis. You interpret these actions, as justifications, for your belief about vegans. They appear to reflect your anger, which is raja. And it appears to be disguised or misunderstood as KC ( your words do come across to me as angry) It’s possible that you may be putting your ego and your interpretations above the essence of his mission.

Comment Posted By Matsya On 09.04.2013 @ 04:07

Let’s tie up the loose ends. Maybe we should tie up, anyone who disagrees with us, in any way, as well.

“In our tradition we must learn to discern between vaishnava and avaishnava behavior as well as differentiate between various classes of devotees, therefore judgments are necessary.”
For me, it’s not so black and white, but then I would appear to be in the lower class of devotees.

“Generalizations are also unavoidable in any discussion.”
This is another generalization, that seems to blindly imposes someone’s limited vision of the truth on everyone. I’ve been in many discussions where generalizations were avoided, by some very thoughtful participants. You may want to say, after many of your points. “I’m speaking for myself, but I’m again assuming I’m the paramatma, and will state my relative understanding and vision, of the truth, as absolute.”

“Our acharyas never invoked “not surrendered enough” reason to avoid smashing all kins of misconceptions. They never said “I don’t have an axe to grind” with apa sampradayas, mayavadis, sahajiyas and all other deviants.” “I’m just trying to follow their footsteps.”
Oh, I’ve heard that one so many times before. In almost every case, the ‘follower’, was using the philosophy, and the attempt to follow, or preach, partially as a shield, which they hid their false ego behind. Yes, we can use philosophy as a battering ram, to batter our fellow devotees and humans, into our (absolutely correct) way of seeing things.

We can hide behind Prabhupada and use him as justification, for our anger, pride and arrogance. We can use him as an excuse to avoid compassion or be impersonal. “I’m following in his footsteps.”
Well, as Prabhupada said, about the Saivites. “If you can drink an ocean of poison, then you can smoke ganja.”
So too, if you can invoke the great compassion that Prabhupada had. If you can sincerely see everyone, as pure spirit, without your ego and the modes getting involved, you can preach, in that heavy way.

I’m not arguing with the principal of preaching clearly, without watering things down. Just with the non compassionate and angry way it comes across to me, and my vegan friends. You may well be the current or next Bhaktivedanta in waiting, but you don’t come across like that. And the heavy preaching of Prabhupada, minus, the extreme compassion he showed (as he looked at people, seeing them only as pure spirit soul.) usually falls flat, when imitated by people swimming in the modes.

Comment Posted By Matsya On 09.04.2013 @ 03:03

On a lighter note. I had a laugh at the choice of words for the first line of the original article.
“After having received a healthy feedback from my original article I thought it necessary to write another article.”
Was the feedback healthy, or were the people giving the feedback healthy? Perhaps due to their dietary choices :)

Anyway, try not to get too upset, if my opinions don’t match yours. Or if my questions are a little uncomfortable or pointed. The debate, if respectful, is healthy. I am aware that some vegans can be so arrogant and self righteous. I’m aware that a proud attitude like that, could, and probably would slow down that particular vegan’s spiritual advancement.
But it is not necessarily brought on by their dietary choice, as the same attitude exists in millions of people, vegan or not. it’s not an attitude exclusive to vegans. I just strongly dispute the conclusion, that being vegan bars one from spiritual advancement. Automatically makes one arrogant, or indeed, that one can attach the same motivations and beliefs to an entire group, based on any one thing, particularly their ahimsa diet.

Comment Posted By Matsya On 01.04.2013 @ 18:40

So why push your higher realizations on the rest of us lower vegans. Why not just appreciate the service I do, and the simple choice I make to eat the healthier parts of prasadam ? Once in India as a young devotee, I went on parikrama. Hearing the transcendental glories of a holy well, that Krishna dug, I drank a lot from it. I was sure, that the water being transcendental, the problems of drinking Indian water, would not effect me. I got an almost immediate reaction and nearly dehydrated over the next 3 days, as I continually threw up. My realization, was obviously not up to par, with my action. Would you drink a cup of water from every holy well in Vrindavana ? If not, could you be accused of “Putting mundane considerations first, keeps you out of that wonderful transcendental zone that even someone like me has been given glimpses into.”

I’m sure I read somewhere in the SB that Krishna was absolute. He was non different from his picture, his food or his name. Is it possible that the real lack of spiritual vision, is from those who possibly see, non milk prasadam, a vegan eats, as being different and less effective from milk prasadam? Is it possible, the attack on vegans is partly due to seeing the arrogance, that a smug vegan can have, reflected back at us? As he argues the absolute correctness of his position. Thinking himself superior to devotees. There are some vegans, who can be righteous and who are condescending. It comes with the territory. just look at our own early devotional life, ( or even current one) and remember how arrogant we could be.

Finally,I thought I read in the SB, that there were 9 processes of devotional service. The performance of even a “single one” can bring the practitioner to perfection. So what to speak of a vegan, who comes to the temple and performs all 9, but just avoids milk products ? Will he not advance? Do we really believe that simply smelling the flowers alone, (without prasadam) can bring perfection? Does it not display a huge lack of faith in the holy name, to assume that the one ‘flaw’ of eating vegan, will stop him advancing? Is it not the 5th offense? Why risk being so petty and vindictive? The holy name will save us all, vegan and non vegan. Let’s not risk chasing compassionate souls away, for reasons that may have a lot more to do with our false ego, than genuine compassion and spirituality. I hope I haven’t hurt anyone’s feeling too much with these posts, and you can see my point of view.

Comment Posted By Matsya On 01.04.2013 @ 18:23

I still am surprised at the answers here, and why some people are going to such lengths to prove that Vegans “don’t believe in Krishna’s ability to purify food. Don’t/won’t appreciate prasadam” etc.
Sitalatma wrote. “My question still remains - we know that ordinary people can easily embrace Krishna prasadam without any ideological or philosophical objections. What is the success rate with vegans finally deciding to accept milk because it’s Krishna prasadam?”
Don’t know the success rate. It would probably be higher if people didn’t seem to have such an anti vegan agenda. For God’s sake., They are avoiding killing animals and eating animal products, out of compassion. Can’t we be like Prabhupada, and see the positive in that. Perhaps if we were to encourage that, and be appreciative, we might have a better job of explaining the concept of prasadam.

Sitalatma wrote “Vegans do not believe in Krishna’s ability to purify offered food of all karma and they do not believe that prasadam has any transcendental qualities, they view offering food as a quaint and harmless religious custom, nothing else, ie they don’t believe in Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead at all, they put their own understanding of morality above philosophy of Krishna consciousness.” Again, unless you are the Ishvara in the heart of every vegan, how can you make such a judgemental statement, that seems to be impersonalism. It again put a few million people together, ascribes the same beliefs, motivations, etc to them. And it doesn’t take into account their individuality. That’s what the Nazis did with the Jews. No wonder Vegans would be turned off, when a similar judgemental attitude is displayed, by the Spiritual people who are supposed to be compassionate. By the very people who are claiming “you’re not the body, you’re not protestant, Catholic, vegan?” etc.
So what of the many older devotees ( often Sanyassi’s) I have seen, who, now in poor health, eat mostly vegetables and fruit. Are they guilty of this maha apparadha of not seening prasadam as transcendental ?
According to Hari Sauri, an argument arose between devotees, who said everyone should eat the prasadam, regardless of if it was stale or had fallen on the floor, and those who refused to do so. Prabhupada answered. “let those whose have that realization take it, and let those who have the different realization not. He didn’t try to force anyone, and as always was accepting, compassionate and tolerant.

Comment Posted By Matsya On 01.04.2013 @ 17:25

(Last) PART 3. I say all this, not to criticize you, Dusyanta. But to point out:
1.That most intelligent, (Yes, the intelligent class, that Prabhupapda wanted to join) rational people, would probably reject your arguments as sentimental, fanatical, speculative and not well researched. Therefore, the many wonderful aspects of Vedic farming, and lifestyle would be lost to them, as they would possibly reject all you say.
2. If I were an open minded, non devotee, vegan, who read this article, the tone, content, and arguments would probably turn me off, so much, that I would reject the devotees. Considering them, extremist and fanatics, I would miss out on all the wonderful beauty, that the society offers. I would guess many Vegans would react this way.
3. Why waste so much time and energy fighting and competing with something that, as you say “there is no Vegan competition to cow protection whatsoever.” Isn’t there enough meat eaters, that have few of the compassionate satvic principles of Vegans. Wouldn’t your time be better spent, trying to show them the error of killing animals.
4. Why not create the sustainable farm. Why not show the beautiful alternative of KC, rather than criticize. Is the KC philosophy and lifestyle, not beautiful enough to attract people on it’s own merits?

Finally. Sitalatma wrote. “but are they embracing Krishna prasadam”. They would willingly embrace Krishna prasadam, that is not made of animal products. The better question might be. ‘Am I compassionate enough, to make it for them?’.
Sitalatma also wrote, “like ordinary people do”..My God. When I joined I was considered anything but ordinary. Should I not have joined because the devotees were not ordinary? What is “ordinary” Sitalatma? Should we apply your personal, definition of ordinary to all who visit our temples, and reject those who don’t fit your criteria?
The irony of some of the arguments,is that they are often the exact same childish ones, meat eaters, use against Vegetarians. Like this one.”if we all stop eating meat, wouldn’t the animals over run us?” To which my standard answer is. 1.’ Don’t worry, unfortunately, the entire population will never stop eating meat,’ and 2.’ Yea, the cows will break out of their factory farms, grab their machine guns and kill us all.’ Let’s grow up, and realize that Vedic, cow-sustained farms can (and probably will) co-exist with Vegans. They are not mutually exclusive. There is no need to attack or disenfranchise Vegans from KC.

Comment Posted By Matsya On 27.03.2013 @ 06:14

PART 2. ‘The deep meditation that Veganism offers in the secular world does not exist.” What meditation do some? most? or all? vegans offer? This article is filled with “straw men arguments”, where an argument that nobody offered, is put forward, and then shot down.
“In fact there is no Vegan competition to Cow protection whatsoever.”
Exactly! Correct! The devotees who seem to view Veganism as a bad thing appear to be the only people “in a competition”. It really might be more useful, to ask, ‘why do I feel threatened enough by Vegans, and see their satvic, ahimsa diet, and principles as competition to mine? Am I envious of it? Do I feel guilty? Do I feel bad, that their diet can lead to greater clarity of mind and excellent health? Believe me ( If you’re still willing to base your evidence on an opinion) I’ve tried the ‘extreme total raw vegan diet, and I’ve never felt more clear minded, and conscious, than then.
” Out side of Iskcon there is debate, as the independence of every living entity is never called into question”
Do you seriously mean that ?…. I joined because I was questioning everything, and I have many ‘non devotee’ friends who question, these things.
“Because we have a Founder-Acharya of Iskcon, the antithesis of Veganism,”
You might want to consider, that you are projecting your beliefs onto Prabhupada. I always thought Prabhupada was the antithesis of a lack of KC. I always thought ‘utility was the principle’. I always thought the overriding principle was, ‘always remember Krishna and never forget him’. And in order to do so, we ‘accept whatever is favorable to KC’. You may want to consider, beyond your (possibly narrow) vision, that a Vegan diet may be very favorable to a particular individuals spiritual progress. This is a personal philosophy, is it not ? And we are all individuals, with individual desires and needs ?
“authorised practises, Instruction, association, and Scriptural evidences.”
“Are there not many sages and yogis who lived on the grains and fruits of the forests, in the SB? Where in, “a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water, (note, does not specifically mention milk) does it exclude Vegans?….. Ok, I’ll stop here. This article, appears to be very badly researched, and written, with most of the evidence based on a few conversation with Vegans. I say this, not to criticize you, but to show you, that. (Cont)

Comment Posted By Matsya On 27.03.2013 @ 05:15

Let’s go back to the original stated argument. “Why Veganism in Iskcon does not work”. The very fact that there are many vegans, who practice “Veganism”, in Iskcon, would suggest, this is somewhat incorrect.
“it appears that in the secular world there is basically just one reason for being Vegan……just a dietary consideration ……based on the aversion to violence in the Dairy industry and….eating meat and fish.”
What is the secular world ? Do you believe that all the millions of vegans are ’secular’, and therefore not religious, or do you only see religiosity, as belonging only to a/your very small tight knit group, and all others as being secular ?
If you speak to vegans, (like vegetarians), there are many many reasons for becoming one. It kind of amazes me, that a vegetarian would not know this. Some do it for health, some because of ethics, some because of morals, some because of a belief in the soul. Again, could you explain how you are privy to the thoughts of millions of vegans ? Is it based on a few conversation, with ‘non secular’ devotee Vegans ?
“Many Vegans take intoxications, engage in illicit sexlife and perhaps gamble, considering this lifestyle to be totally acceptable.” I know many vegans who, except for sexlife, follow the other principles, and are in monogamous relationships. I know plenty of devotees, (or ex devotees, if you wish to use that label) who break all of the above principles. Based on your logic, a non devotee, who keeps the principles, could reject the ‘Vedic Cow theory,’ despite it’s many wonderful merits, if a devotee who is not strictly following the principles, puts forward the cow protection argument. Surely, you can see, how illogical that is?
“I have not actually been able to find a Vegan producing farmstyle that is sustainable and eco friendly that actually follows its credentials.” Please do some research before writing these articles. Not sure if it is ok to put this link to a sustainable eco friendly farm :) If the moderator takes it out, then just do a simple google search. Also, I believe it would be possible to be Vegan and let bulls and cows live in peace, taking their manure, but now their milk.
“So where do Vegans draw the line? The answer is the line is arbitrary…Vegans are consistently inconsistent” Again so are the various groups of devotees, and individual devotees. Some use leather, some not, etc etc. (Cont)

Comment Posted By Matsya On 27.03.2013 @ 04:36


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