(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 26 October 2022, Vrndavana, India, Govardhana-puja Lecture)

These days, more and more people are becoming vegan, not only outside of our movement but also inside of our movement. Of course, Srila Prabhupada in the first Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam very much emphasises the importance about drinking milk. He also emphasises that milk sweets should be offered to the deities. Here, in Vrndavana, Srila Prabhupada reserved the milk sweets for the Gurukula. Yes, they got all the milk sweets. Sometimes we would steal, and such things were going on. So milk is essential for the finer brain tissue. When the milk of the cows is offered to Krsna, then we all get the benefit, including the cows. So, this is the solution. Some devotees will say, ”Yes, I am vegan, but I will only take ahimsa milk.” But that was also not Srila Prabhupada’s program. Srila Prabhupada wanted milk to be there, offered to the deities and devotees and so on. So, I do not think we should change that. At the same time, I do think that we should be sensitive to the fact that the cows are being mistreated and if we simply just take the milk from cows that are mistreated, then that is not so nice. So, where we can, we should take the milk from the protected cows and we should take up this responsibility of protecting cows. At the same time, it is not realistic to just say, “ahimsa milk only.” Milk is essential, and only when milk is offered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we are having it then. This is because cows are the centre of Krsna‘s life and therefore the cows should be in the centre of our lives. The way Krsna lives in Vrindavan is the perfect lifestyle. There is no better lifestyle. If we were all to live that, we would have a happy world.


  1. Jayanta das on

    Desde el punto de vista filosófico, son torturados por sus actividades previas, aunque la causa inmediata parezca ser “nuestra leche “. Estamos en contra de cualquier maltrato, pero la forma de beneficiar a vaca es ofreciendo la leche a Krishna. Además tenemos la orden del Guru (Srila PRABHUPĀDA): “Tenemos que tomar leche”

  2. Vraja Mohini devi dasi on

    Nowadays, a lot of calves are tortured and killed for “our” milk, not for their meat, so we contribute to the suffering and death of those calves by offering to Krishna and consuming the milk of those calves’ mothers.

    • When we support Krishna’s mission, we support the development of the kind of society that protects cows. Vegans don’t really have an answer when you ask them what is their practical plan for all the millions of cows that are currently exploited in dairy industry. Inevitably, these cows would all get slaughtered if their owners failed to make a profit. These cows might also prefer that we don’t try to “help them” by hastening their death. Perhaps vegans simply want to see cows roam around freely like feral animals, without anyone tending to their needs, akin to deer, wild horses and antelopes? Those bred and raised in captivity do not have the skills for survival in wilderness (exposed to freezing temperatures, blazing sun or predators), and wild species are mostly extinct. Their current owners are not likely to just let them roam around, and neither would the state agencies allow it. Untended cows would mostly end up dead, even though some of them might survive in national forests. Mode of goodness is a springboard to higher consciousness, and is admirable, but is not spiritual in itself. Nonviolence is a natural side-effect of Krishna consciousness, and that mission of raising the global consciousness to where we all remember our eternal service to Krishna should remain our priority. As long we stay in the material world, there is a chance of getting entangled (again), even if we reach higher dimensions and realms through mundane piety. Out of kindness for cows, offer their milk to Krishna any chance you get. After all, these commercially bred cows were most likely butchers in their previous lives, and will suffer endlessly unless they offer some service to Krishna. Offering their milk to Krishna might be their only chance to offer some ajnata-sukrti to Krishna, burn their ugra-karma and then get out of the circle of birth and death. This is our philosophy and belief. Thank you very much.