Veganism Is Austere?

by Michael

I’m chuckling at the idea of veganism being austere (expressed here). I’ve been vegan for many years, interrupted in the middle by some years at NV and find little or no austerity. In fact, I’ve explored a tremendous range of foods and spices that would have likely have otherwise been ignored. Most people who claim veganism is austere simply haven’t tried it, or are ignorant of vegan cuisine. Of course, I give Madhava Gosh more credit than that, in his thoughtful manner I’m sure he has given it a thorough consideration and likely tried it out on occassion.

Veganism for most isn’t an austerity, it’s a food adventure and the easiest way to protect cows in an urban or suburban environment. Many times over cow protection programs either by ISKCON or other yoga societies have failed, resulting in more suffering for the cows, and in some cases even ending at the slaughter house. (not for iskcon that i know of) We even see India slaughtering over upwards of 10 million cows per year…


“Right now, there are 36,000 slaughterhouses, of which 10 are highly automated, where daily 250,000 animals are hacked. One estimate is that annually 300,000 tonnes of meat are eaten by the flesh-eaters, for which 10 million cows-buffalos and 40 million sheep-goats are killed.”

What is the greater austerity? Giving up ghee for olive oil? Milk for soymilk? Or having millions of cows killed annually to support the milk addiction?

I will not argue against the possibility of dairy being relatively cruelty free, I see that glimmer of hope alive at N.V. For now I’ll skip the Sunday feast and stick with veganism. I am most willing to admit that both sides have “reasonable cause”, I hope others will do the same and together we can explore saner ways of living.

Personally, I would like to create a vegan safe space at NV, a place where vegan bhaktas can be welcomed and accepted. There are so many who are turned away or simply made to feel unwelcome. It’s unfortunate, many of the most thoughtful and open minded people in this century turn to a vegan diet as the only conscientous option they can find. Devotees argue that a cow based agricultural system is the answer, but offer esentially no working models. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the people who are being rejected, aka vegans, are the very people who could help make cow protection a reality?

Maybe it’s time for a change? Can devotees and vegans and devotee vegans co-exist at places like NV? Can they make simple agricultural lifestyles and cow protection a reality for the new century? I think so and there is little excuse other than apathy for not trying.

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FYI: We (the NV Bramhacari TSKP) does a vegan cooking class every week in athens OH at Ohio University. it has been happeing for 4 years now regularly and is giving shelter to hundreds of vegan students. we would also like to see a vegan friendly space at NV.

[…] As Michael said in his Brijabasi Spirit article,”Devotees argue that a cow based agricultural system is the answer, but offer esentially no working models.”   […]

As a vegan who has visited NV several times (and on my way up again this week) I strongly agree with your article. I have been welcomed and shown love and respect when told I am vegan. Most did not understand and tried to get me to understand that Krsna allows milk/dairy consumption. I respect and do understand that philosphy yet like you, I find it’s possible to love Krsna and follow as a good devotee without allowing and supporting the mass slaughting and suffering of these innocent animals (even if not innocent). Isn’t this what we are supposed to follow and have deep within our hearts? Are we not supposed to find love and Krnsa in all beings? If so why allow these very animals to ultimately be sent to slaughter while suffering in the interim? Once I was cornered (not at NV, but another temple) by a quite hostile man who tried to tell me we’re suppsed to eat dairy. I stated I do not and will not support the veal industry, etc. He looked me in the eye and said “this is the age of Kali”. I was horrified. I agreed yet asked does this mean I should go on a killing spree or start to consume flesh with the excuse ‘this is the Age of Kali”?. He rolled his eyes and walked away. So sad……… We just have to follow our hearts and remember loving Krsna also means caring for the cows. Peace and Love…………..