VEGAN DIET Sacred cows - Part Two

6 months ago by arina in Special Category B

Vegan Diet? (Part Two)

Hare Krishna dear Hanumatpresaka swami! Please accempt my humble obeisances, All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

I read your text on vegan Diet.

HpS - AGTSP!! I wish that I could put the link here to the previous letter but the filter won't bring up the list of Category B.

Is there really no other alternative to provide sugar to the brain and to grow brain tissue?

HpS - I don't know. A lot of my decisions in this area are based upon what Srila Prabhupada says and did. I graduated first place in science from the University of California and have never rejected science as a way of knowing, but I have come to see Srila Prabhupada and Vedic epistemology as clearly including scientific methodology and then much more.

So, there may be an alternative, but Srila Prabhupada's emphasis on cow's milk, even over goat and sheep milk, which not surprisingly is echoed all the way back to the previous Yugas and other universes gives us immediate concern that cow's milk is very important for good brain power.

Industrial milk ... is it really healthy? Due to the exploitation of their udders, many cows become ill with mastisis, the udders are infected and the milk is contaminated.

This milk contains animal blood and contains Pus. The rules of the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stipulate that milk is abnormal and should not be swallowed if it contains more than 200,000 dead white cells per milliliter. In 2001, milk produced in 48 states was examined to determine if they met FDA standards. Each state turned out to exceed the allowed limits. In Florida, it was the worst. He had a cell count of 548,000.

HpS - Here we are faced with the source of the information again. If we are using scientific sources then we would need the citations of the studies and then be able to look at how the data was collected. For example this was done in 2001? That is a 18-year old study. Have things changed?

We have seen articles that the number of withdrawls of articles from science journals of previous articles has increased a lot.

In the first canto Srila Prabhupada states that the cows are being artificially stimulated by cruel milkmen and that the calves being taken away while the mothers cry and things are done to them that cannot even be included in the pages of Srimad Bhagavatam. So he does not seem to be uninformed about the situation in his time, nor do we think he was too lusty not to reduce his milk intake as we might be.

The situation of industrial cows is hell, they are suffering a lot. Even if those cows are well treated, their children are separated from them at birth and taken to the slaughterhouse. Cows suffer psycho-logical trauma and give them atidepressants.

HpS - Yes!!!! It may be our future for using their milk if we are not honest in what we do. This of course brings us to the point that we FIGHT to help the cows but we also realize that what is happening to them is certainly a result of their past misdeeds.

So, is it really worth feeding my brain in exchange for torturing thousands of cows and killing their calves?

HpS - This of course was discussed in the last letter, no?? That if by feeding your brain, or loading your gun, you can save hundreds of thousands of cows and prevent the torture of more in the future then is best to take the milk they are giving and use it for their benefit. In a battle scence the doctor has to let some men die and help others to live depending on immediate results. It is unfortunate but that is the world we are in.

Of course, the ahimsa farms are great, there I have no problem in offering that milk to Krishna, it is milk produced with love. If Krishna allows me to drink that milk to cultivate my brain tissues to be able to understand better, great. But I can not offer with love and devotion a product that destroys and causes suffering to the sisters cows.

HpS - We saw an article by a man promoting meat eating. He was pointing out that even if we are vegetarian we are killing. This was a good argument but I had faith that eventually I would hear Prabhupada's exact rebuttal and I did. The meat promotor gave very graphic examples that I remember being in a mail body as you might think of certain examples being in a female body. He was commenting that eating peas was eating testicles obtained by tearing open the scrotum of the bean plants. Ouch!!

So there is the key. As you say, violence is going on and even by the air we breath and then it becomes a matter of how to make the best use of a bad bargain. All the cows whose milk is offered to Krsna get immediate and eternal benefit. I would suggest that with the efforts of groups like PETA the situation of the cows is probably better now than it was when Prabhupada was making his decisions. We are very, very, very thankful to you for your intelligent and passionate perspectives on these conclusions. We offer contaminated grains to the Deities. The rape of the Earth is just as bad as the rape of Her children, cows? Artificual pesticides, fertilyzers, seeds, water... so right now we continue to offer milk to Krsna and take the results in healthy quantity with determination that using our mother's blood that we shall be able to help her the most.

More information greatly welcome.

I apologize if I am committing offenses against Prabhupada or against you. It is not my intention, I just want to understand where the limit of violence is for spiritual purposes.

HpS - You can see we have read this several times because we are addressing later points earlier. We apologize maybe even more since we feel that you are probably a much more sincere devotee than ourselves and of course want to work on this more as necessary!!! Do not let us deviate you from your honest determination.

Is this like Arjuna who was to kill on the battlefield for Krishna?

HpS - Probably many similarities but some differences also. He was leading his soldiers, cows, to their guaranteed death in some cases, knowing that the general result was good and these deaths were inevitable. but they died happy to give their lives and they all got svarupa mukti!

Because maybe that it is not essential, I can offer a flower, a leaf and a little water, and infinite things, poems, candles, incense, sweets, art, conversations, thoughts, music, fruit, succulent preparations, books, research, dance, theater, there are so many services ...

On the other hand, I understand that it is impossible not to cause suffering in this material world. When I breathe, I'm killing bacteria. Is there a limit to cause suffering to others, from my circumstance as a European university student?

Hare Krishna, thank you very much.

HpS - This was just in our reading today: SB 8.24.5. Now we have to pack to go to Murfreesboro.

Sastic Diploma Evaluation

6 months, 1 week ago by hps in Special Category B


(rev. 2019 January 13)

With years of dialog and practical experience, among many members of ISKCON in various positions, we are making the following suggestions for standards and techniques of evaluation of candidates for the Bhakti-vaibhava and other ISKCON diplomas. We feel that this may be a step in the right direction but it is a continuous program of adjustment and improvement.

1.    Our eternal relationship with God can be revived in the human form of life, and that should be the goal of education. Indeed, that is the perfection of life and the perfection of education.

2.    The BOEX, Ministry of Education, should be able to certify the character development by at least 20% and maybe 100% if its members have the chance to associate deeply with the candidates. Otherwise the Board will have to develop practical techniques for acquiring information from others such as Temple Presidents and senior devotees.

To this end we should obtain the standards and techniques used by the Ministry of Sannyasa Services in evaluating candidates since Srila Prabhupada indicated the Bhakti-vaibhava (BhV) diploma as being for Sannyasis.

3.    Students might graduate Cum Laude, Summa Cum Laude or Magnum Cum Laude, and optional lines should be developed by Varna Ashrama situation eg. Ladies, Gents, Brahmanas, Ksatriyas. Some may be good at Slokas others at essays and others at songs.

4.    In the matter of direct Sastric knowledge we would suggest that:

a.    Evaluation should be done by globally standard semester divisions eg. BhV might be grouped into four years or eight semesters. The students would have to be registered with the BOEX at the start of each Semester with their name, e-mail contact, and local contact person. Passing the Semester evaluation would then be centrally recorded and if they complete all eight Semesters within (?) 8-years then they receive the glorious diploma!!

b.    All related ISKCON BhV centers et al should develop and continually improve a common Question Bank of several hundred good, interesting, short-answer, questions on Cantos One – Six. Of course, these would be grouped by Semester and could be weighted from 1-5 points in terms of their importance. Semester tests could be selected from this Bank and anyone who can answer the questions without taking a BhV registered course would be quite a Venerable Dude.

c.    Three Open Book Short Essay Questions from maybe seven alternatives could be presented and the candidate could use all personal notes, indices etc. with full access to all of Srila Prabhupada’s literature. Of course this would be a timed evaluation of maybe 30-minute.

d.    Essays written at the candidates leisure but then presented in a discussion forum where they would have to defend or enhance their presentation.

e.    Sloka Memorization should include texts used by the Acharyas from the first six cantos of the Bhagavatam, but should also include relevant texts cited in the purports even if not in the text of the Bhagavatam itself eg. Candidates for Bhakti-sastri should know nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām even though it is not mentioned in the texts of the BhS syllabus.

The total number of Slokas may not be so high.

The candidates for BhV should be re-evaluated on verses from the BhSastri syllabus. This of course would be related to training the students how to develop techniques to refresh and deepen their memorization of relevant texts.

Daily and Annual songs and prayers can be included in the evaluation eg. For first initiation one should be able to follow the full morning program. For second initiation and BhS one should be able to lead it from memory and for BhVai one should know the word for word meanings to good extent. Testing could be offered for festival material such as Dasa-avatara-stotra, Radha-stava and Mangala-arcana.

Candidates should select some texts for their own memorization and then be tested eg. One may like to memorize the prayers by Queen Kunti in Canto One and another by Hanuman in the Fifth Canto.

f.     Relevant texts can be included eg. Nectar of Devotion Southern Division, Waves of Devotion, Surrender Unto Me.

Thank you for your attention and consideration and please contact us with comments, complaints, questions and donations.

Hanumatpresaka Swami

Anjana Suta Academy


Smoke for Philemon

6 months, 1 week ago by hps in Special Category B

Esteemed Patricia, Please forgive our little slowness in writing this letter. Part of it is that we are very busy with some deadlines before this trip to India. The other is our own laziness which we are fighting with great heroism to conquer. 🦍🐘🐘🐘🐷

First, thank you for the conversation. Then let us reiterate that NIOS, our North American Institute for Oriental and Classical Studies, has developed over the term of its existence a good record of practical accomplishments in integrating historical and geographical cultural assets from around the world. I hope you can agree with this after being one of the most principal participants in our last effort: Art and the Sacred, in Lima.

For all of us, and especially for me, the integration of the work and perspective of Carl Jung and the traditional intelligence of classical Indian philosophy is central to this work. Our very serious enquiry would be if Prof. Shonu Shyamdasani and the Philemon Foundation are familiar with the heritage of Sri Krishna Caitanya, Srila Rupa Goswami et al who have been most prominently advanced in modern times by Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami and his Bhaktivedanta Book Trust eg. Of course, other regular academic scholars and investigators such as Prof. David Haberman from Indian University and many others are making these resources available.

We love Jung, we love A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, we love Journey to the West and we are sure they love each other. We are hankering with some deep resolution and passion, for our own sake and many, many others to participation in this integration of these vital and relevant cultures.

Then ...… ...... can you present these enquiries to Dr. Shyamdasani and other members of the Philemon Foundation and inform us of the link to the symposium in Santa Barbara in April that you mentioned. It sounds wonderful and we will be returning from this two months in India on the 27th of March so we would have to fix it into our calendar as soon as possible. 🙂🙂🙏🦓 🐻     🦍

How to Lead Mangala Arati

6 months, 3 weeks ago by hps in Special Category B, Hot Topics


Once I, T. Brown, approached Uncle Gismo, who was seated in Samadhi next to his thing-a-majig, and asked him how to lead Mangala-arati.

Sri Gismo Uvaca (The Blessed Uncle Gismo Said): In ISKCON there are three ways to lead Mangala-arati: The right way, the wrong way and the ASA way. Even the ASA way has varieties but now, I shall describe one. (Sound of heavenly 'Uuus and Aaaas')

First, with love!

If you haven't got pure love then at least do it clean. I mean the Kartals and drum should never be louder than the Bhajana, Gurv-astakam. The frame should not detract from the picture. The frame should stand unnoticed but magnify aspects of the picture.

Learn the translation, word-by-word, the grammar. If with meaning you sing, your heart will certainly ring.

It's not two parallel mono-logs.It is a dialog. Got it?  Both sides should listen to the other, not just chant.

2/3 of the time should be Maha-mantra: HK HK --- KK HH ... Skc, Pn... HK HK... and Haraye namah ... Just the first and third line of that song. Look for the explanation at the end of 'CC, Adi-lila, Chapter on "Lord Caitanya in His Youth"'.

Your hands should not separate from your body by more than four inches and foam can come from your mouth only as long as it is of good quality and digestible like cotton candy.

Any other questions?

T.B. - Seems like enough for now.

U.G. - Haaa Rummfff. (One of the Professor's 'bija-mantras'.

Pune Conference Preparation

6 months, 3 weeks ago by hps in Special Category B

Letter to the educators coming to the ISKCON Pune conference.

AGTSP paoho I talked with Radha-Krsna Das for 34-minutes today. He is one of our greatest inspirations for work in Sastric Education in North America. We have a team of about five people now and are identifying our situation and how to go ahead.


1) I think a simple, short answer, test from a good Question Bank of many, many, practical questions from the books is an essential for evaluation eg. what are the three mode, three levels of devotees, three types of suffering.

2) Short closed and open book essay questions oriented to practical application and preaching challenges that test for citations from the books.

3) Association with authorized teachers and fellow Students. This can be on-line in various degrees. With visiting scholars and required attendance in residential programs eg. RKD and I et al are planning a Retreat in Houston at the end of March that would require applicants for Bh. Sastri etc to all attend. Teachers and Students can associate. Students can be properly evaluated.

4) Certain number of hours.

5) Parallel lines of authority. Temples have to keep a standard of Deity worship in terms of the Ministry of Deity Worship, so there should be a standard of hearing and chanting to be certified as a Temple. Other side diplomas should not be granted without Temple perspective.

6) The BOEX at the current moment should be doing 70% academic evaluation and 30% character evaluation unless it is a case where the Teacher is also a part of the relevant Temple.

Offer variety of curriculum for different types of students.

7)All this will take time, my commitment, group work, to implement but we were the first to read one letter from Srila Prabhupada where he responded to Sriman Jayatirtha Das comments that we have discovered that preaching is good in Berkeley by saying "you have discovered that preaching is good in Berkeley because you have made the endeavor there. Anywhere you that you make the endeavor you will discover that preaching is good".

Is this in general line with everyone else's thinking?

Thank you.


Vegan Diet / Sacred Cows

7 months, 3 weeks ago by arina in Special Category B

Hare Krishna

Hanumatpresaka Swami,

please accept my humble obeisances, all glories to Prabhupada!

I have a big dilemma. One of the 4 regulative principles is ahimsa, not eating meat, not hurting others (or the least possible), that's how I understand it. If to obtain industrial milk, the cows are exploited, raped and separated from their babies, who are subsequently deprived of their milk and sent to the slaughterhouse in the case of males, all this process is very painful.

I understand that killing cows is not ahimsa.

In addition there is no dairy industry as such, since beef comes from the same industry from which the milk comes. If we buy industrial dairy, we are paying to kill and injure cows. Their udders are wounded and infected, which is very very painful, their minds are disturbed, they are given antidepressants to overcome the traumas of being separated from their babies again and again year after year, in addition to physical exploitation. These cows live about 6 - 7 years, when they could live 20. It is also violence against the calves, since they separate them from their mothers as soon as they are born and do not allow them to suckle from their udders, and then kill them.

They suffer a lot of terror and pain. This should not be justified with what is for Krishna or what is Kali yuga. Rather, I think these are excuses for satisfying the tongue, which is no different from eating meat (because you are mistreating cows as in a concentration camp to get that milk).

That is to say, for me to offer sweets, guewes, dairy products to Krishna, I have to collaborate with the physical and psychological mistreatment of hundreds of cows and also collaborate with the killing of calves and cows. It seems to me a barbarity to justify violence by saying that it is in the name of God.

I am very confused and I do not understand why this is normal and the devotees accept it, could you please advise me on this. What do you think? Thank you very much, your servant Arina.

HpS - AGTSP. Paoho. We answered this in a previous Blog post. Do you read the posts? We don't do too many while we are traveling. Now with the current arrangement for the Blog (PND is improving it!) we can't search for the post very easy.

Trying to accomplish several things at the same time we updated our "asa-encyclopedia.docx" file in the Archives in our webpage, with an entry on our understanding of Vegan diet.

There a lot more things that could be said, but we would like to hear your ideas on this first.

Thank you,

Hare Krsna!