The following is an excerpt from a lecture given by HH Hrdayananda das Goswami in Gainesville, Florida on August 30, 2008. To listen to the entire lecture, please click here.
Bhaktin Kelly:Does Krsna willing accept milk from cows that were raised inhumanely and will eventually be slaughted?
HH Hridayananda das Goswami: A sincere devotee could have two positions. You could just say, I am going to set a proper example and not patronize that cruel industry and not buy milk products- which is one position, which is obviously valid. And then another position, someone could say, is that by offering the milk, the cows benefit by the offering to the deity and you are actually saving cows. You could say that in practical terms, not ideological, the amount of milk that is being purchased and offered to the deities has absolutely zero impact on the dairy industry and, therefore, it does not change the economic dynamics of it. So it doesn’t save cows but it saves souls by engaging them in Krishna’s service.
What I see in the Bhagavatam is that within Vedic culture there was a diversity of views. People have different opinions on these things and a certain frame of consciousness. Some are inspired to save cows by offering their milk to the deity.
Now let’s say the devotee is not making a serious offering, not really connecting with the deity, just “I like milk.” Then I think to participate in this horrifically cruel industry just because you like milk is something which is much harder to justify. It is just one of those- “I’m hungry, I really want to eat, I have to offer it.” But if someone is seriously deity-conscious, their nature is really to worship Krsna, and their consciousness is to save the soul in the cow’s body, then I think, whether or not I would do that, is a position that should be respected.
Although, I do not think that devotees are required to do that. If I was managing a temple with deities, I would not say you have to offer milk. I think it is a matter of consciousness of the individual.
Filed under: Veganism
by Vasu Murti devi dasi
Srila Prabhupada has written, “Real philosophy is nothing more than this: friendliness to all living entities.” Elsewhere, he writes, “If people are to be educated in the path back to Godhead, they must be taught first and foremost to stop the process of animal-killing.”
I became vegan for a few years beginning in 1995. I was pointing out to friends at a Feminists For Life meeting that for 1800 years, Christians had upheld and defended (human) slavery on biblical grounds, and that history was now repeating itself with regards to animals.
The response I got from the women present was that my words would carry greater weight if I were vegan rather than vegetarian, and I had to admit they were right. There is a great deal of cruelty in the way dairy products are obtained through modern factory farming.
To ignore this kind of suffering merely because we believe dairy products are somehow “necessary” for our spiritual advancement (they are not) is to trivialize the former and it will allow people of other faiths to counter that we are vegetarian merely because we follow “dietary laws” rather than out of genuine concern for animals.
Lord Caitanya made vegetarianism central to the sankirtana movement when He brought up the subject of meat-eating with the Chand Kazi of Navadvipa. And Srila Prabhupada followed our Lord’s example by repeatedly bringing up the subject with people of other faiths (“thou shalt not kill”).
In a purport from the First Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam, Srila Prabhupada writes: “It is nonsensical to say that the killing of animals has nothing to do with spiritual realization.”
Similarly, in his purport to the Srimad Bhagavatam 6.10.9, Srila Prabhupada writes:
“One cannot continue killing animals and at the same time be a religious man. That is the greatest hypocrisy. Jesus Christ said, ‘Do not kill,’ but hypocrites nevertheless maintain thousands of slaughterhouses while posing as Christians. Such hypocrisy is condemned…”
Srila Prabhupada even candidly told a Catholic priest in London in 1973, that, “Animal-killers cannot understand God. I have seen this. It is a fact.”
Srila Prabhupada said, “…as far as meat-eating is concerned, every cow will die—so you just wait awhile, and there will be so many dead cows. Then you can take all the dead cows and eat…Don’t kill. When the cow is dead, you can eat it.”
Entry continued here.