The Dangers of Non-Krishna “Preaching”


Back To Prabhupada, Issue 59, Vol 3, 2018

An example of the unauthorised non-Krishna preaching mentioned in the previous article is GBC member and GBC-elected diksa guru HH Sivarama Swami ("SRS") preaching against the consumption of all milk, unless it is specifically sourced from cows that are protected for life (henceforward "commercial" and "protected" milk, respectively). Such non-Krishna preaching has also led to effectively attacking Srila Prabhupada.

Offenses and karma

In a recent podcast dated 15/7/18, which SRS states is directed specifically at ISKCON devotees, he explains why even devotees should not consume commercial milk:

1) Devotees cannot claim any philosophical justification for consuming commercial milk (which SRS calls "blood milk"):

"So whereas we can philosophise away, or try to, the consumption of that type of blood milk doesn't really quite wash".

2) Instead, any consumer of commercial milk commits offenses and incurs karma:

"very detrimental effects on the consumer [...] aside from an offense that one is committing to one's mother, and there's no doubt that that's an offense, but here we see that karma comes. A certain karma comes on the consumer."

3) Consequently, due to the offenses and karma involved, devotees who consume, or encourage others to consume, commercial milk are putting themselves and others at risk:

"So devotees should recognise that they're at risk and they're also putting others at risk by this type of activity."

Srila Prabhupada implicated

Devotees only consume commercial milk, or anything else, after offering it to Krishna and taking it as prasadam. But SRS specifically makes a point of stating that this does not make a difference, because even devotees are still "at risk" if they consume commercial milk, as they cannot "philosophise away" this consumption. SRS is therefore claiming that commercial milk should never be consumed by devotees under any circumstance, period. Hence, even if protected milk is not available, SRS has stopped consuming commercial milk altogether, and also directed one of his centres in Hungary to stop such consumption and instead use alternatives to commercial milk such as soya (from SRS Podcast 21/4/11). SRS offers a chain of reasoning consisting of offenses, karma and risk for why commercial milk should never be consumed. SRS is therefore claiming that any devotee who ever consumes, or allows others to consume, commercial milk, under any circumstance, is guilty of putting themself and others "at risk" due to the offenses and karma involved. Which, as we shall see, means that SRS is claiming that Srila Prabhupada also "deviated" in this way.

Srila Prabhupada's teachings

1) Though Srila Prabhupada wrote of the mistreatment of cows used for producing commercial milk as early as 1965 (SB, 1.17.3, purport, 1965 printing), Srila Prabhupada still repeatedly stated that cow's milk is "essential" (eg., SB, 3.5.7).

2) However, Srila Prabhupada opened many more ISKCON temples than ISKCON farms, and thus many temples were not able to receive all their milk requirements from protected cows.

The combination of these facts – the absolute necessity to consume cow's milk and the lack of protected milk for the whole of ISKCON – means that it is just a matter of historical record that Srila Prabhupada consumed, and authorised ISKCON to consume, commercial milk. As far as we know, no one has challenged this fact, and claimed for example that some devotees never once drank milk between 1966-77, because many temples were not able to be supplied with milk from an associated ISKCON farm! However, just for completeness, here is some brief evidence:

a) Srila Prabhupada's 1966 New York Journal and Letter to Kirtanananda, 24/6/69, for example, record Srila Prabhupada consuming commercial milk. Indeed, in the latter, Srila Prabhupada actually comments that he prefers the taste of protected milk to commercial, meaning that although protected milk is preferred, commercial milk is not prohibited.

b) Letter to Rayarama, 21/12/67; Letter to Tosana Krishna, 17/2/69; Lecture, LA, 20/1/69; Lecture, Hawaii, 15/1/74; Lecture, Dallas, 3/3/75 – here Srila Prabhupada makes reference to individual devotees, individual temples and the whole Society consuming milk, even though at the time, neither the temples concerned nor all ISKCON temples were receiving milk from ISKCON farms. (There are many more examples in the Bhaktivedanta Vedabase). He even states he was "so glad" to hear that milk was being supplied to ISKCON from a commercial dairy free of charge (Letter, 14/7/71), and that he wanted "every center" to import commercial ghee and milk powder from Australia (Conversation, 25 & 27/2/77). Thus, it is indisputable that Srila Prabhupada authorised the consumption of commercial milk and milk products throughout ISKCON.


SRS is not only arguing that protected milk is always to be preferred and is the ideal standard that should be implemented. And that Srila Prabhupada wanted ISKCON to establish self-sufficient farming communities and cow protection. This point is not (and definitely should not) be disputed. Rather, he has gone much further and argued that by drinking, and allowing devotees to drink, commercial milk, Srila Prabhupada would be guilty of having put himself and them "at risk" of engaging in committing offenses and incurring karma.

In the letter to Rayarama on 19/11/68 quoted in the previous article, where Srila Prabhupada states that we should only preach about Krishna and not make propaganda against animal slaughter, the reason he gives for this is:

"People must be intelligent enough to catch up this KC movement without being carried away by any sentimental wave."

Thus, due to his passion for non-Krishna preaching, SRS has himself gotten carried away by a "sentimental wave", and implicated Srila Prabhupada as having behaved incorrectly. SRS claims that the consumption of commercial milk involves "offenses", but it is his effective attack on Srila Prabhupada's behaviour that is the actual offensive activity occurring here. Which alone demonstrates, as explained in the previous article, why it is essential to stick to Srila Prabhupada's order to only preach about Krishna.

Return to Sivarama Swami Index

Return to "Preaching" Index

Return to IRM Homepage


Please chant: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare,
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare, Hare.
And be Happy!