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Vegetarianism

Shouldn't devotees avoid drinking cow milk from cruel factory farms?

Question: 
Shouldn't devotees avoid drinking cow milk from cruel factory farms?


Our Answer:

It's true that the dairy industry is extremely degraded. It's best to take milk—or any dairy products—from protected cows. However, when asked this same question, Srila Prabhupada said, "What to do? Krishna must have milk!"

We can understand that these poor animals have a life of great suffering as a result of karma, past sinful activities. Their greatest—and perhaps only—solace is to make an offering to Krishna. If they're not able to do that, how will they become released from the pangs of birth and death before going through many more hellish lifetimes? The cows whose milk is offered to the Lord are blessed. They will benefit from that offering. We certainly don't sanction the way these cows are treated, but we don't consider refusing to accept their milk a more humane or spiritually enlightened proposal.

Imagine if inmates of a concentration camp were making some craft for selling in order to advance themselves. Would you refuse to buy those products because they were in a concentration camp? Wouldn't it be better to help those people by making their lives worthwhile and allowing them to offer some small, valuable gift?

That gift, for the cows, is their milk—offered to Krishna.

One Comment

Overcoming meat addiction

Question: 
I want to become a devotee of Krishna, but I still like the taste of chicken. How is it possible to completely give up eating meat?


Our Answer:
Basically, you have to find some kinds of prasadam, food offered to Krishna, that you like so much that you forget about the chicken. If you are really addicted, there are so many imitation chicken preparations now that are made with vegetable products like gluten. They may be offerable to Krishna, as long as they're free of eggs, garlic, and onion.

Also, chanting the Hare Krishna mantra will give you a higher taste. Krishna explains this to Arjuna in the Bhagavad-gita, when He says, "The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, though the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness." (Bhagavad-gita, 2.59)

In what scripture does Krishna say to offer Him milk, sugar, and grains?

Question: 
Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita that He will accept a flower, water or a leaf. Which scripture tells us that milk, sugar, and grains are also ok?


Our Answer:
When Krishna says offer me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit, and water (Bhagavad-gita, 9.26); this includes all offerings coming from plants. Basically, grains are considered the flower and/or the fruit of that plant. Sugar is distilled from the stalk of the sugar cane plant.

There are many places in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, especially in the chapters describing Krishna's childhood pastimes, the chapter on Govardhana-puja, and the Wives of the Brahmins satisfying Krishna and his friends, which offer vivid descriptions of milk and milk products being prepared by devotees, and offered to the Lord. He loves cows, He regularly drinks milk, and eats butter and yogurt.
Srimad-Bhagavatam, 10.13.14

Also in the Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya-lila, Chapter 3, there are list of many preparations prepared by devotees, with various ingredients that were offered to the Lord.

What's nonviolent about a vegetarian diet?

Question: 
Why do devotees prefer vegetarianism since both animals and plants feel pain and have Krishna in them?

Full question:

If Srila Prabhupada said that anything is conscious if it feels pain, and even trees feel pain, why do devotees prefer vegetarianism since both animals and plants feel pain and have Krishna in them—apart from the fact that prasadam offered to Krishna is sattvic (in the mode of goodness)?

Our answer:

Every living entity is food for another.

"Those who are devoid of hands are prey for those who have hands; those devoid of legs are prey for the four-legged. The weak are the subsistence of the strong, and the general rule holds that one living being is food for another. ( Srimad-Bhagavatam 1:13:47)

Every living entity has to live and so we take what is our quota causing the least amount of harm to any living being. Also Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita that He will accept a leaf, a fruit, a flower, and water when offered to Him with love. He gives no indication that He wants dead animals.

Also in the tenth canto of the Srimad-Bhagavatam there are many references to His drinking milk and eating milk products such as ghee and panir.

Another point is that we are not actually vegetarians. We are "prasad-ivores"—we only eat what can be offered to Krishna—so we eat what He likes. If things are done for Krishna's pleasure there is no karma.

Another consideration: many—even most—fruits are picked from the tree but the tree remains alive. Grains and vegetables produce their edible portion—the seed or flower—and then die of natural causes later on. So it's not necessary to kill them to take the vegetable. The plant will keep producing until it runs its life cycle. Grains come from the plant after it has died a natural death; so with a vegetarian diet there is much less cruelty even considering the welfare of the fruits and veggies.