Mataji: What about vegans…?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Vegans? You really want to go there? [Laughter] The problem is is with the vegan is that’s it’s nice in that they don’t want to give problem to the cow. But what they’ve missed is the spiritual element of it, is that you take the cow’s milk, whatever condition the cow is in, you offer it to Krishna, the cow gets benefit. Just like, let’s say you buy rice and you cook rice, offer that to Krishna. Those souls that were in the rice plant, they get benefit. You cook cauliflower, the cauliflower, the soul that grew the cauliflower gets the benefit when you offer it to Krishna. Devotional service is a lot more than you think.
So now, here it is is that that cow produces milk anyway, or is going to be eaten anyway. You know what I am saying? So therefore if you offer the milk to Krishna, they get spiritual benefit. It may not change how they are going to be dealt with, but by being vegan it doesn’t necessarily change it either. Just means, ok, people don’t buy milk, but they do buy burger, so therefore they will just kill them straight, they won’t bother milking them in between. It’s not by the vegan that it will stop. Because what will happen is, if they don’t make money off of it, they stop that area.
If they really wanted to do something, then they would buy organic milk or something like this. Because then that would mean, then the business people would see, ‘Oh, there is more happening in the free-ranged, organic, that kind-of thing,’ and then they would do it. It’s money. Means, when I was a kid, a store that sold organic food was generally some room of somebody’s house or somebody’s garage, a bunch of hippies got together, brought some stuff there and – Haribol, that was it. Now you can walk in, there is supermarkets full of all organic this and that, all packed, it looks as good if not better. In fact, I remember, just visited my mom, and I think there were two or three of those supermarkets. One was like high end more like specialty organic stuff, very expensive, then there was a middle-range, and then there was a cheap, wholesale, you just go in and buy a truck of it or something. Does that make sense?
The problem is is, they are leaving out the element of offering it to Krishna, so Krishna consciousness is leaving it out. Because they are not dealing any worse with the cows now than they were in the 1960s and 1970s. So it’s just a matter of then the cows get benefited. Does this make sense? So that’s all, like that.
Now, they may say, well, orientals don’t, but orientals don’t have the enzyme in their system to digest milk. That’s why they take soy and all that. If they could digest milk, they’d be eating it. Do you understand? Like Italians, when they are young, they can digest milk, when they get older they can’t, that’s why they make so much cheese. So people do things because also just of the physical situation. But this isn’t considered, they get this as philosophy and all this and that.
The main point what’s being missed is the same as Arjuna, it sounds nice, it sounds great, but it’s not connected to Krishna. That’s what’s missing. Vegan is not connected to Krishna. Because otherwise, because they will say, “Oh, no, but if we got milk from this kind of cow…” But you can get that kind of milk, they won’t drink it anyway.
(From Questions and Answers in Lecture on Bhagavad-gita 2.59-2.60, 19 October 2010, Bhaktivedanta Academy, Sri Mayapur Dhama )
Mataji: What about vegans…?