In India the cow is worshiped as a great mother Goddess.
In India, over 65% of the people are vegetarian. This is the highest national per capita rate of vegetarianism found anywhere on our planet. However, they do not boast a high vegan rate yet.
Vegans can work with their culture and adapt the spiritual practices that draws such a large population to vegetarianism by adapting vegan interpretations to their culture.
I did not accept a Hindu incarnation in this life and I practice a non-traditional form of Hindu Jain Buddhism. As a vegan, I must amend my practice to edify the vegan aspects of Dharma.
If Krishna, Rama, Shiva, or any Deva were incarnate now, they would undoubtedly support a vegan lifestyle. These Devas were alive in other Yugas. A Yuga is a division of time in the Hindu cosmology much greater than a century, like an age. Consciousness evolves or devolves as each Yuga occurs in accordance with the proscriptions of that Yuga.
When Krishna was alive, there were no dietary supplements for vitamins D3 and B complex. India also has a problem with vitamin A content in foods. Milk was consumed for D3 and eggs were consumed for B and medical herbs for A. Milk, eggs and herbs made a vegetarian lifestyle possible in Krishna's Yuga of Dvapara. In that Yuga, cows were the friends of Krishna, the herdsmen and the Gopis or cow girls.
Now we are in Kali Yuga. We have vitamin supplements and I use vegan sources for vitamin B, D3 and A.
Kali Yuga is considered the most desecrate and fallen of the Yugas where creation is the furthest from the source of creation and the teachings or the Dharma is neglected. In Kali Yuga, the sacred cows of India eat cardboard from trash bins and in the West, they are treated worse than one can imagine. In this Yuga, now, we must eat vegan if we are to honor the sacred cow, the sacred Earth, and the sacred principal of Devi.
Many Hindu ceremonies celebrate other Yuga practices. We must change this. I was talking with a senior Vaishnava last week who agreed that we can use water, Mantra, or turmeric water for Abhishek instead of milk. He knew why. Abhishek is the ceremonial rite of pouring a liquid on Hindu statues.
A Telugu friend reminds me that “In India, there is a vitamin deficiency in most villages where milk and egg are the only source of protein for many kids. Sure, upper class it's easy to adapt a vegan lifestyle. For the people who are not financially wealth, there is no other option for them. I hope things will change with time.” But the upper class frequently does not go vegan and yet, in the urban centers there are vegan resource centers, vegan restaurants and web sites that educate people on a vegan lifestyle.
Sometimes people practice ancient ways that were wrong in ancient times and are still wrong now. We need to create a new form of vegan Hinduism to address the age we are living in of Kali Yuga. I do this, anyone can. I simply look past all references to consuming dairy products understanding that we live in a different age and have different practices now. It has brought me closer to Vegan Krishna, Vegan Rama, Vegan Vishnu, Vegan Shiva and Vegan Brahma and it can work for all Hindus.
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