Chakra Living

Writer Admires Vegans' Austerity

by Gaurav Mittal

Posted February 24, 2008

In regard to Mayesvara das's article Questions on Milk and Mothers: in the Vedic age, cows were properly taken care of, and calves were also properly fed milk; the rest of the milk was used by humans. Cows were like pets, and there was a relationship between the owner and the cows.

These days cows are seen as a source of both meat and milk, and the purpose is to exploit them for monetary gains. They are mentally traumatized, or at least they are not happy. Milk is homogenized, but rarely boiled before consumption, so the milk referred to in Vedic texts may be different from the milk we get in stores. Basically, what I am highlighting is that Vedic statements and cultural practices don't apply to current milk consumption. Therefore, it is inappropriate to quote Vedic texts or culture for current milk consumption.

Giving up milk reduces cruelty towards cows, but it may increase cruelty to our own body if we don't take a proper substitute for milk. Milk is an important source of protein and calcium, so vegans, who give up milk, need to make sure that they have sufficient protein and calcium. Also, soy milk has higher levels of plant estrogens, which might not be good for men.

We should respect the views of both vegans and lacto-vegetarians, who take milk products, and see the commonality between the two groups instead of trying to change others' views. I take milk, but I respect vegans. I also respect their austerity in being vegan. (I love paneer.)

My family has friends who are vegans and who raise their children as vegans. It seems to me very difficult to raise kids as vegans and to make sure that they get appropriate nutrients. So rather than trying to change them, I see them as being better than me in terms of leading austere lives. If I saw that they were not giving proper nutrients to their children, then I would surely intervene.

My question to Mayesvara prabhu: why would he want to change Vegans and PETA? Why not work with them and respect their views?