The Vedic tradition is centered on worship of Krishna, the “cowherd boy,” and the cow as “Mother.” India’s ancient Vedic culture has existed on cow’s milk for
tens of thousands of years.
In this section of the site you will find arguments for an against the use of milk. It is important to understand the distinct difference between traditional milk flowing from protected and loved cows, and commercial milk that is forcibly extracted from unloved cows. But first, let’s comment on how this relates to FFL projects…
Because of the controversy surrounding the dairy industry Food for Life Global does not financially support food distribution containing commercial dairy. While Food for Life Global takes this stance, an explanation of the Vedic tradition that has influenced many of our affiliates, may help our supporters better understand why some of our affiliates sometimes use dairy in their food preparation.
Ancient TraditionThe Vedic tradition is centered on worship of Krishna, the “cowherd boy,” and the cow as “Mother.” India’s ancient Vedic culture has existed on cow’s milk for tens of thousands of years. Milk is and always will be an integral part of that culture. History has proven that cultures can survive for thousands of years and their people live long, healthy lives when there is a symbiotic relationship between humans and animals. Hundreds of millions of Hindus have used dairy products for many thousands of years, lending credibility to the notion that dairy products can be safe to consume. To ignore this fact is to allow ourselves to be blinded by our reluctance to even consider evidence that challenges our own personal convictions and the current medical belief.
All Milk is Not the SameIt is important to keep in mind that milk from each different source is unique; that is, cow’s milk and human milk are not one and the same. Taken further, the milk that a brown cow produces is different from that of a spotted cow, and within each herd, every individual cow has the ability to produce a unique blend of milk for its calf. Similarly, even among breast-feeding women, the milk that each woman produces is not exactly the same. By nature’s wondrous design, the milk that a mother produces for her child is perfectly suited to that child. Amazingly, even while breast-feeding, a mother’s milk can change according to the needs of the child! Obviously, a more subtle influence is present here—the influence of love. In the same way, if a cow is loved and protected, the milk it offers to humans will most certainly be uniquely beneficial. On the other hand, the commercial milk that comes from mistreated and diseased cows is certainly very harmful as is clearly evident from the numerous medical studies on commercial milk consumption. On this point, it is important to note that ALL dairy research is conducted on commercial milk only.
Vegan and the VEDAS
The founder of ISKCON and the inspiration behind the Food for Life program, Swami Prabhupada was not vegan and was probably not even aware that such a diet existed. However, although there is substantial support both from Prabhupada’s teachings and the Vedic literature about the benefits of consuming dairy, the fact remains that a large percentage of the world population are lactose intolerant. Lactose intolerance is the inability to metabolize lactose, because of a lack of the required enzyme lactase in the digestive system. It is estimated that 75% of adults worldwide show some decrease in lactase activity during adulthood. The frequency of decreased lactase activity ranges from as little as 5% in northern Europe, up to 71% for Sicily, to more than 90% in some African and Asian countries. When the Vedas were originally spoken this was most probably not the case, and of course there was no such thing as milk contaminated with growth hormones and antibiotics, etc.
Even during Swami Prabhupada’s lifetime the state of commercial milk was much more pure. From the beginning of the movement he started in 1966, Swami Prabhupada encouraged his students to develop self-sufficient farms that could supply all their needs, completely independent of modern society, including commercial dairy. He wanted ISKCON to be a positive alternative to modern life. Devotees of Krishna were to be self-sufficient and this included acquiring milk from their own protected cows.
In the broadest use of the word, ahimsa refers to a lifestyle of peace, and is most popularly connected with Gandhi’s civil disobedience movement of the 1930s. However, in the modern context, ahimsa is typically tied exclusively to diet and has been popularized by Eastern spiritual movements like the Hare Krishnas (ISKCON). However, somewhat ironically, these same peace-loving Eastern spiritual groups have received criticism from the vegan community for their inconsistency to practice the path of ahimsa. Their use of commercial dairy and its ties to the exploitation of cows is a case in point.
Many members have addressed this issue to the ISKCON Governing Body Commission over years and they are now starting to listen. Last year, resolutions were passed by the European leadership to minimise the use of commercial dairy and for ISKCON temples to seek ahimsa dairy, per the order of the founder, Srila Prabhupada. The European leaders overwhelmingly voted to source better quality milk for their temples and not one vote was cast in favour of continuing the current status quo. Since the yoga path is all about connection with our higher self and God, it follows that a food yogi (which should naturally include all ISKCON members) should walk a path of ahimsa, by respecting all living beings and gearing all of their thoughts, words and deeds towards a peaceful outcome. The ahimsa path is much more than peaceful intention; it necessitates an awareness of the spiritual equality of all beings. This awareness naturally manifests in one’s choice of food and that obviously includes evaluating the quality of the dairy one may wish to consume. Quite simply, one is taken by force from an abused cow while the other is given with love by a protected cow.
About 15 years ago I coined the phrase Krishna-Dairyan to clearly establish my dietary preference. However, over the years, hard-liners inside ISKCON criticised my stance and labeled me a “vegan” to minimise my message. Fortunately, most members of ISKCON now are beginning to see the logic behind this proactive dietary choice and are adopting it. In fact, even the International Society for Cow Protection (ISCOWP) is using this PRO-PURE DAIRY nomenclature, Krishna-Dairyan.
So what exactly is a Krishna-Dairyan?
A Krishna-Dairyan is a person who abstains from all dairy products that have been obtained through violent means and from any cow destined for slaughter. A Krishna-Dairyan only consumes dairy products from protected and loved cows that will never be slaughtered.
I really hope that ISKCON devotees all over the world adopt this diet, as I sincerely feel that is a step in the right direction for developing the cow protection and farm projects the ISKCON founder, Srila Prabhupada envisioned. On top of that, as many reports and articles have noted, commercial dairy is a toxic cocktail of nasty ingredients and emotions that has been linked to all kinds of diseases including cancer.
I believe the commercial dairy sold today is not sattvic (pure) and therefore, at least in the Hindu tradition, should not be offered to Krishna. It is a sad reality of the times, but it is also serves to remind ISKCON members of their responsibility to firmly establish cow protection and sustainable farm projects as their founder had asked. As long as ISKCON members continue to buy milk in the market place, the motivation to fulfil Srila Prabhupada’s vision will never evolve.
To promote this proactive PURE DAIRY diet, I have created a Tshirt that advocates can now proudly wear. TO ORDER yours and support FFLG go to: http://www.zazzle.com/krishna_dairyan_advocate-235740710126036815
Karma-free VeganBecause there is violence even in the gathering and preparation of vegan meals, no food is ever totally karma-free, or ahimsa (non-violent) unless it is first offered in sacrifice to God, at which time it becomes pure, antiseptic, and spiritually nourishing! Hindus call this food prasada—or mercy. By adopting this spiritual practice, a vegan can further their quest for real peace, harmony and spiritual purity. Despite our good intentions, if we fail to recognize God as the source of all creation, our efforts will remain dry, mundane and inadequate.
Facts About Commercial Milk
- Calcium: Green vegetables, such as kale and broccoli, are better than milk as calcium sources.
- Fat Content*: Dairy products—other than skim varieties—are high in fat, as a percentage of total calories.
- Iron-Deficiency: Milk is very low in iron. To get the U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance of 11 milligrams of iron, an infant would have to drink more than 22 quarts of milk each day. Milk also causes blood loss from the intestinal tract, depleting the body’s iron.
- Diabetes: In a study of 142 children with diabetes, 100 percent had high levels of an antibody to a cow’s milk protein. It is believed that these antibodies may destroy the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas.
- Contaminants: Milk is frequently contaminated with antibiotics and excess vitamin D. In one study of 42 milk samples tested, only 12 percent were within the expected range of vitamin D content. Of ten samples of infant formula, seven had more than twice the vitamin D content reported on the label, and one had more than four times the label amount.
- Lactose: Three out of four people from around the world, including an estimated 25 percent of individuals in the United States, are unable to digest the milk sugar lactose, which then causes diarrhea and gas. The lactose sugar, when it is digested, releases galactose, a simple sugar that is linked to ovarian cancer and cataracts.
- Allergies: Milk is one of the most common causes of food allergy. Often the symptoms are subtle and may not be attributed to milk for some time.
- Colic: Milk proteins can cause colic, a digestive upset that bothers one in five infants. Milk-drinking mothers can also pass cow’s milk proteins to their breast-feeding infants.
For more truth about the enslaved-COW DAIRY industry (including organic) and why the VEAL industry is its by-product: www.humanemyth.org/happycows.htm