There seems to be an ongoing debate over Veganism vs. Vegetarianism amongst devotees. Even in communities like New Vrindaban, where the cow is being protected, and there is an ample supply of fresh whole milk.
I happened to run across this comment by Mahananda dasa on Facebook and decided to share part of it with you today.
Milk… Krsna’s Miracle Gift To Mankind
EDITORIAL, Jul 27, 2000 — by Mahananda dasa
“The protection of cows maintains the most miraculous form of food, i. e., milk for maintaining the finer tissues of the brain for understanding higher aims of life. ” Srila Prabhupada
In response to the article written a few days ago about the harmful affects of drinking milk, I would like to present our view of milk drinking that we have accepted from our spiritual master.
Despite the evils of modern dairies and the cruel methods of obtaining milk from the mother cows, or despite the unwanted chemicals that store bought milk might introduce into your body and cause ill effects, still, we do not condemn drinking milk nor support veganism as part of our philosophy.
Quite the contrary. The glories of drinking cow’s milk are everywhere in Srila Prabhupada’s books. And though this may cause some doubts in the minds of those who have embraced vegan-ism, we as devotees faithfully follow the advise of our teacher, though it is sometimes contrary to fads or scientific theory.
This morning I was out in the snow, feeding a little extra birdseed to my many feathered friends. But in addition to birds and ducks, the birdseed, sunflower seeds, ground corn and kitchen scraps also attract the deer, squirrels, rabbits, and chipmunks. I enjoy watching all of this activity from my kitchen window.
I remembered this verse from the Srimad Bhagavatam;
One should treat animals such as deer, camels, asses, monkeys, mice, snakes, birds and flies exactly like one’s own son. How little difference there actually is between children and these innocent animals. (Srimad Bhagavatam 7.14.9)
In the purport to this verse Srila Prabhupada begins to explain how we should treat the animals.
One who is in Kṛṣṇa consciousness understands that there is no difference between the animals and the innocent children in one’s home. Even in ordinary life, it is our practical experience that a household dog or cat is regarded on the same level as one’s children, without any envy…
I ran across the following article on the Sampradaya Sun the sometime ago, on Vegetarian Ethics. It is a very nice collection of quotes on the importance of a vegetarian diet, and a case against animal slaughter.
“Many people consider the ethical reasons the most important of all for becoming vegetarian. The beginning of ethical vegetarianism is the knowledge that other creatures have feelings, and that their feelings are similar to ours. This knowledge encourages one to extend personal awareness to encompass the suffering of others.” (The Hare Krishna Book of Vegetarian Cooking)
“If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.” (St. Francis of Assisi)
This morning I was reading from Srila Prabhupada’s Srimad Bhagavatam:
…Any living being, if he terrifies other living beings, is a most wretched subject, and the king should at once kill such a disturbing element. As the wild animal is killed when it creates disturbances, similarly any man who unnecessarily kills or terrifies the jungle animals or other animals must be punished at once. By the law of the Supreme Lord, all living beings, in whatever shape they may be, are the sons of the Lord, and no one has any right to kill another animal, unless it is so ordered by the codes of natural law. The tiger can kill a lower animal for his subsistence, but a man cannot kill an animal for his subsistence. That is the law of God, who has created the law that a living being subsists by eating another living being. Thus the vegetarians are also living by eating other living beings. Therefore, the law is that one should live only by eating specific living beings, as ordained by the law of God. The Īśopaniṣad directs that one should live by the direction of the Lord and not at one’s sweet will. A man can subsist on varieties of grains, fruits and milk ordained by God, and there is no need of animal food, save and except in particular cases. (from purport SB 1.17.10-11)