Comments Posted By Nitai dasa

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Why I am not vegan

Bhakta Piyush: Maintaining a dairy herd for milk will never be profitable

Profitable or not, it would be better for grhastha devotees to concentrate on independent, small scale, natural, sustainable farming methods in crop production – such as your video link on biodynamics. Cow protection is included. And so are cow products. The goal of all activity in this should be to create favourable conditions for spiritual advancement, such as a varnasrama setting and association which comes with living in a devotee community - this goal should not be forgotten.

We worry to much about eco this or eco that as new-agers do, we should just get down to the business of ‘boiling that milk.’ Ecological considerations are naturally included in a vedic alternative.

A devotee once told me that certain aspects of biodynamics are mentioned in the Vedas, such as stuffing cow dug in horns and burying it in the ground for six months which is then sprayed on the land.

Anyone knows references to biodynamics in the Vedas?

Since I am on this page, I will make a couple of points to Priyvrata Prabhus article.

I believe it is time to redefine what it means to be a “vegan” and retire the old fanatical, ideologically inconsistent and unhealthy definition of veganism.

Perhaps we could just avoid using the word vegan in relation to devotees. Just say something like “only takes ahimsa” or “prefer protected cows milk” or something like that.

About vegetarians lacking B12, none of the devotees I know take B12 supplements. Like me, they never even think about it and are healthy. Many people in India are vegetarians from birth and don’t even know what B12 is. They simply eat fruits and vegetables. Milk products such as curd, lassi, ghee milk etc are regular items for them. So this is not a problem.

Comment Posted By Nitai dasa On 15.05.2014 @ 13:33

Ocean of Mercy: Bhakti Benefits for Doomed Cows?

Dear Priyavrata Prabhu,

On my second point quoting you that commercial milk is toxic, I mistook it for another statement of yours I think I read somewhere, where you said that cow’s milk is full of pus and not fit for human consummation, normally a vegan line. If you did not say that, I apologise.

I know the “Patram Pushpam” verse does not “literally” mention milk but my point is that if we take selected verses from sastra in isolation from other scriptures (includes our acarya’s statements), then our conclusion will be faulty. A higher understanding will be that the “Patram Pushpam” statement could include milk as an offering if so desired by the devotee. And why not? Krsna showed by example his love for cows and milk products and He spoke that verse.

My point throughout is that if devotees want to offer store bought milk to Krsna with faith that the cows which supplied that milk is benefited, they should not be derided.

And finally, you again reiterate: The idea that commercial dairy cows are killed because of karma is simply ruthless, insensitive and a cop out.

It may sound unkind but unfortunately, it is true. The basic philosophical foundation of our preaching strategy is the concept of Reincarnation and Karma. Karma includes reactions for past actions. Why not say it as it is, just like Srila Prabhupada would? Of course, we need to show sensitivity according to the situation but to completely distance ourselves from this basic truth is wrong – or a “cop out” – to use your phrase.

Karma, commonly pronounced as Kama is a household word in the West. Ask anyone and they will define it as “what goes around comes around.” Why not build on this in our preaching.

Famous England football manager, Glen Hoddle, once made this statement:
“You and I have been physically given two hands and two legs and half-decent brains. Some people have not been born like that for a reason. The karma is working from another lifetime. I have nothing to hide about that. It is not only people with disabilities. What you sow, you have to reap.”
He was said to have a controversial belief that the disabled and others are being punished for sins from a previous live.

He was severely criticised for this from The Prime Minister of that time, other politicians, disabled organisations and the newspapers. Many called for his resignation.

If even devotees are in denial of this basic truth, how are we going to make this world understand?

Comment Posted By Nitai dasa On 09.04.2014 @ 09:50

Millions of people, even some very prominent, are subscribing to this fallacy. One prominent ISKCON devotee, Priyavata dasa, global FFL minister, was given a platform at the Euro RGB 2013 meeting through Syamasundara dasa, the Euro minister for cow protection and agriculture. Some of Priyavata’s points for no milk where:

• Srila Prabhupada was not an expert nutritionist and therefore we cannot accept his authority on diet.
• Milk is full of toxic chemicals, growth harmones and antibiotics and full of pain.
• Some people are lactose intolerant.
• He says Srila Prabhupada’s comments about leather are applicable to milk.
• We don’t have to use milk and can use what we like.
• The “Patram Pushpam” verse does not include milk.
• It is a “wrong throw out” comment that cows are killed because of their karma.

These comments above show a lack of understanding of our philosophy and these comments are more in line with radical vegan though – customised for ISKCON. And many devotees follow this path.

Instead of trying to look good in the eyes of these radical animal activists who say that milk is never intended for human consumption, devotees should preach to them.

I do not condone the millions of cows slaughtered each year. My heart goes out to them and I wish for a time when people all over the world will look through our eyes.

But in the meantime, instead of lashing out at devotees who use store milk through circumstance they cannot control, our leaders should encourage them to settle into farm communities which is a stepping stone towards varnasrama. How can devotees living in cities drink only milk from protected cows when they do not have the facility.

Maharaja says that four GBC members at the recent GBC meetings in Mayapur, while making an official presentation on the need for ahimsa milk also dealt with the “graced-though-dead” notion. He again speaks in derision here. Perhaps these four devotees were more advanced and fortunate to have this simple understanding.

Comment Posted By Nitai dasa On 05.04.2014 @ 09:46

He likens this argument to devotees using public swimming pools for their exercise, the water touching these devotees’ feet which then touches the heads of other swimmers.

Firstly, from my experience with devotees who go for their daily swimming in public pools, it is more sense gratification. Some of them discuss and wait eagerly for this daily moment from the morning. More advanced devotees will seek conventional ways to get their exercise or seek something away from dedicated sense gratification.

Anyway, Maharaja’s argument will not make sense to devotees with simplistic, more advanced faith. Krsna can show mercy to other swimmers in that pool, even if devotees enjoying the swimming are not very advanced. The unseen living entities in the walls or open spaces that are fortunate to hear devotees chant or do harinam are benefited in some inconceivable way. All these almost dormant souls that seem like dead matter will someday, by the mercy of Lord Caitanya, evolve into fully conscious devotees to populate the future of this golden age for the next ten thousand years. We have to understand the inconceivable nature of this.

Maharaja then says that often when this issue comes up, someone might cite a vegan agenda. But the vegan agenda is really strong and unfortunately, has influenced ISKCON devotees. This group have infiltrated and taken over regular animal right organisations such as the S.P.C.A and PETA. One only has to read on the internet and look on youtube to see how extremist they have become against any consumption of cows milk, even if produced non-violently. Their mantra is simply that humans are not meant to take bovine milk, not now, not ever.


Comment Posted By Nitai dasa On 05.04.2014 @ 09:43

Maharaja concludes his article with this statement below:

Without fear of condemnation, bhakti practitioners should make an informed personal choice about how and whether to cope with the milk problem. Regardless of our chosen option, please, let’s retire the tragic tale about the slaughtered cow receiving spiritual benefit when her milk is offered.

In this conclusion, he makes two points:

1. Whatever side you take on this issue, it should be without fear of condemnation.
2. Don’t use the tragic tale of the slaughtered cow receiving spiritual benefit because this is simply not true.

He did not follow his own rule in his first point. In a condescending way, he derides devotees who take the side of offering store bought milk to Krsna with their understanding that the cows that contributed to a particular batch of milk benefits. He almost condemns them with derision.

He sets out in the article to show how the slaughtered cow which has given milk, used by devotees to offer to Krsna is not benefited. He uses mostly empirical examples, without deep spiritual insight or realisation, unfortunately.

He challenges: Out of millions of cows offering billions of litres of milk; find the one cow that will benefit, if a devotee offers some of that milk to Krsna. He asks devotees to please find that cow that contributed that specific milk for their offering.

This is not a very advanced understanding of our siddhanta. Certainly, we cannot know which cows contributed to a particular offering but Krsna knows. Krsna is in every particle of material energy and even in the particles and atoms of milk and he is in every cow’s heart. Certainly, He knows where each and every droplet of milk came from which was offered to him.

Maharaja compares devotee’s realisation and simplicity of faith as Daydreams, “Myths and Fantasies” and a Folk Tale. Having realisation that slaughtered cows which performed unknowing devotional service are benefited should not be derided. Perhaps less advanced devotees always have to justify empirically. More advanced devotees actually live the philosophy in their hearts and not just theoretically.


Comment Posted By Nitai dasa On 05.04.2014 @ 09:36

Have the same problem as Bhakta John?

To be fair, the team, at:,1/ is not representative of all Iskcon devotees worldwide. All in the team are Western devotees, five live in America, two in Australia and one in the UK.

There are articles about health; humanitarian issues etc, things that could easily be found elsewhere on the web. On their team profile page, they say

“our mission is to be a reliable, balanced, and timely source of news about, and of interest to the devotees, friends and people interested in the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

Judging by some of their articles, these friends could be people from humanist, vegan or other such organisations. Who makes the decisions who these friends are and what news should be displayed for their benefit?

They further state that:

“It is our conviction that such a resource will help to create a more well-informed and connected citizenry within ISKCON, and thus positively impact ISKCON’s ability to carry out its mission.”

Devotees have different opinions. There are so many issues in ISKCON, some supporting one side or the other. How can it be the conviction of the team that their approach will create a well informed and connected citizenry within ISKCON when the majority of ISKCON devotees, such as in Africa, Russia, India and more traditional conservative countries are not represented on this team.

Comment Posted By Nitai dasa On 22.01.2014 @ 10:01

Who Is This Ramo?

A comment on this forum could unintentionally, ever so slightly, question Srila Prabhupada’s chanting. Some devotees could have doubts whether in his fast chanting, all syllables were properly pronounced or even that he completed every word in the mahamantra.

This fast chanting of a pure devotee can be understood against Srila Rupa Goswami’s statement where he says that when the holy name is chanted, Krsna dances on the tongue and one aspires to have millions of tongues to have Krsna dance on it constantly and also millions of ears to hear sufficiently.

A pure devotee fully realized in the holy name would chant so fast so not to miss out on relishing Krsna personally on the tongue even for one moment. Srila Prabhupada was a pure devotee and relished the holy name and it is inconceivable to us how he may seemingly not complete a syllable sometimes but at the same time he completes it in the race to get Krsna dancing on his tongue every second. For him, the mind races forward with the name of Krsna before the tongue can complete the pronunciation.

Haridas Thakura chanted very fast to complete 175 rounds a day and still have time to associate with Lord Caitanya and other devotees and rest. So it is inconceivable for conditioned souls like us to understand how pure devotees could have Krsna dancing on the tongue even for what is seemingly an incomplete syllable or mantra.

We cannot imitate. Therefore Srila Prabhupada’s instructions to Pusta Krishna Prabhu that he even pronounces the “Rama” complete. Although “Ram” could be acceptable, in the beginning stages, chanting Ram would encourage missing syllables or even words in the mahamantra. Just try it – when someone chants “Rama” in the mahamantra, a slight pause is forced upon the chanter and after that it is very difficult not to complete the mahamantra properly. So Srila Prabhupada instructed Pusta Krishna Prabhu accordingly.

As for chanting “Ramo”, Praghosa Prabhu quotes Srila Prabhupada saying “don’t worry Krsna knows who they’re calling.” Certainly this is true. Even Eastern Europeans pronounce the holy names with a different accent but they say it naturally from their heart, it is not imitating the latest trend. So devotees calling Krsna in their natural way, even the partially deaf or even animals with their barks, meeoows and grunts – certainly Krsna knows they are calling him. But for devotees wanting to imitate the latest fashion trend - this is unacceptable by Srila Prabhupada.

Comment Posted By Nitai dasa On 26.10.2013 @ 04:00

Diary of a Traveling Monk, Volume 13, Chapter 8

For example, for the past twenty-four years our movement has distributed tens of millions of plates of hot, nutritious food in low income areas such as the outlying towns and villages of Kwazulu Natal.

I was fortunate to go with Laxminath Das on food distribution once, in rural Kwazulu Natal. It cannot be emphasised enough how Laxminath Prabhu always distributes the holy names with prasadam and he has single-handedly made Hare Krsna a household word amongst the indigenous Africans of that region. If you ever travelled in and around Durban (capital of KZN) or greater KZN, and if you had tilak on your forehead or a sikha or looked like a devotee, Africans, mostly children from informal settlements or villages would come up to you at traffic lights or stop signs and greet you with the Hare Krishna Mahamantra and show pleasure in seeing you.

This is indeed using prasadam distribution the proper way. These people are innocent and therefore they take to the holy names with simplicity and sing and dance with enthusiasm. Their devotional service has started.

Laxminath Prabhu, a disciple of HH Indradyumna Swami, has been doing this for over 24 years all by himself. He cooks every morning, loads his van and goes to the rural areas – the villages and informal settlements to distribute prasadam but he makes the people chant the Mahamantra as well. Harinam Sankirtan is regularly held in these areas together with prasadam distribution and the results are clearly to be seen – the Mahamantra is a household name amongst the locals and Krsna consciousness is very favourably accepted due to prasadam distribution done properly. It has even infected Nelson Mandala who looks favourably towards the Hare Krsnas and now we see the present President of that country and other leaders from that region become infected as well.

Other devotees distributing prasadam in other parts of the world should take a leaf out of this example. Give Krsna Consciousness WITH prasadam – do not feel embarrassed! We do not hear the glories or Laxminath Prabhu as we do other Prasadam distributors – because Laxminath Prabhu does not desire recognition. He is successful because he has the adikari, he is a simple brahmacari and his faith is simplistic and wholesome. I always wanted to glorify this Prabhu for single-handedly and selflessly spreading the holy names all through Kwa-Zulu Natal and here is my chance.

Comment Posted By Nitai dasa On 04.02.2013 @ 14:22

BB Govinda Swami οn the death of the young Indian girl who was gang raped in Delhi

In response to bbd

In actual Vedic society women freely mixed with men

This is just your assumption based on modern view or speculation. It is not in line with shastra and has already been proven conclusively in comments to other articles regarding this issue. On the bodily platform, there are different prescribed duties for different people which is favourable for spiritual life. This subject is “chewing the chewed” and I will not go into it.

Nothing in this world is going on independently of Krishna’s divine plan.

I agree but Krsna gave us freewill and we should feel anxiety for the future of Krsna consciousness all over the world and not sit idle. Srila Prabhupada said that his guru maharaja used to say that to preach, you need to have “life”. Without “life”, you cannot preach. Srila Prabhupada translated this “life” to mean enthusiasm. Srila Prabhupada knew Krsna was doing everything, still he showed us how much “life” he had. So we should not sit idle thinking Krsna will do everything. Krsna will be pleased if we act. Presently, due to a comfort zone we have settled into, many devotees have lost this “life” and I have to admit that I am one of them. I pray that Srila Prabhupada gives me some “life”. There is still much enthusiasm in India amongst second genreation devotees to take Krsna consciousness to every rural village and this should be encouraged.

Comment Posted By Nitai dasa On 01.01.2013 @ 03:35

Did you ever visit a country of 1,241,491,960 people where over half of the people perform their toilet activities on the train tracks or the sides of the roads daily?

We have to understand this in relation to a 1.2 billion Indian population compared to small populations of Western countries. India is trying to fit into the Western miniskirt overnight. Rural people come to the cities for material progress and want this overnight. With Western countries, they had a smaller population and material progress was gradual. Here, we have an old lady squeezing into the tight fitting skirt of a young lady without knowing the rules.
Yes, a revolution is needed. But, it should be a revolution of consciousness. Krishna consciousness, God consciousness.
There seems to be a contradiction of an earlier implication – that the youth should not care so much about what their parents or society would say and should progress towards bringing in a new constitution where all citizens are equal. This would gradually take the protection of women out of the hands of father, brother or husband and be more a responsibility of the State.
A revolution of Krsna consciousness in India would bear fruit if devotees preached not just to the elite such as the rich and college or university students but concentrated more on the rural populations of India. Many of the rural are converting to Christanity and joining rebel movements because they feel abused by the caste system and also want “material” equal rights quickly. The Hare Krsna’s can show how they can also become brahmins or truly be the upperclass of India if they take to Krsna consciousness – no matter whatever varna they feel inclined towards. We have the philopsophy. There is devotee manpower in India. It would not take much planning to spread out to even the remotest of villages and set up little preching centres. No need for big temples, send men and put up temporary inexpensive wood or iron structures. There is ample devotee manpower in India. People should be encouraged not to give up their farms for false happiness. Since the majority of Indians still live off the land, it will be easier to preach with varnasrama in mind.

Comment Posted By Nitai dasa On 31.12.2012 @ 07:16


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