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 as I was heating up some hot milk to offer, I was reminded of something Srila Prabhupada said about drinking milk; ‘that we should drink milk “sipping hot” this will help develop the finer brain cells needed to understand spiritual subject matter’
I don’t have anything against vegans, rather I respect their endeavor to not promote violence against animals by refraining, but we are getting our milk from protected cows, and I view milk as one of the many gifts from God. Milk, yogurt, butter, ghee, and paneer (cheese curd), have all been used for thousands of years in Vedic cooking. And Krishna is also known as Makhan Chor (the butter thief) and is very fond of eating butter and yogurt, and is something that is offered daily in all the ISKCON temples
…Milk is compared to nectar, which one can drink to become immortal. Of course, simply drinking milk will not make one immortal, but it can increase the duration of one’s life. In modern civilization, men do not think milk to be important, and therefore they do not live very long. Although in this age men can live up to one hundred years, their duration of life is reduced because they do not drink large quantities of milk. This is a sign of Kali-yuga. In Kali-yuga, instead of drinking milk, people prefer to slaughter an animal and eat its flesh.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, in His instructions of Bhagavad-gītā, advises go-rakṣya, which means cow protection. The cow should be protected, milk should be drawn from the cows, and this milk should be prepared in various ways. One should take ample milk, and thus one can prolong one’s life, develop his brain, execute devotional service, and ultimately attain the favor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As it is essential to get food grains and water by digging the earth, it is also essential to give protection to the cows and take nectarean milk from their milk bags. (purport to SB 8.6.12)