At the last JAINA convention in 2019, I had the great honor of meeting and interviewing Shree Charukeerthi Bhattarka Panditacharyavarya Swami about ahimsa as the guidine principle for Jains to should consider veganism. He explains the lineage of other monks and teachers such as Chitrabhanuji that have inspired him. His gentle style “No force”, is a beautiful example of how we can encourage each other.
Vegan Jains went to India in November 2019 for a trip that combined medical care volunteering near Hyderabad, visiting a palliative care organization in Trivandram, visiting tourist sites up the Kerala coast, including the Mata Amritamaya Ashram, and then visiting family in Mumbai. From the traditional vegetarian food which had plenty of vegan options to unique vegan restaurants, to hotel breakfasts and specialties made by family, we found that those who catered to travelers had all heard of the word vegan, family was accustomed to preparing food vegan, and the level of spice and oil, as well as food safety when eating out were bigger concerns than veganism.
We flew Air India on the way and were pretty disappointed by the bland food on the long transpacific flight. However, I was delighted when upgraded to first class on the Delhi-Hyd leg AND, they had extra vegan meals so i could eat a nice Indian dinner. Arriving at the Novotel airport hotel, the breakfast buffet offered temptations that flew right in the face of eating with restraint! Made to order split mung crepes, called pesarattu, as well as the more usual south Indian specialities of idli and dosa, as well as North indian breads such as cauliflower parathas along with fruit and nut loaded oatmeal, toast with vegan bread, soymilk and juice and all manner of international dishes left me full for the day.
Eating with our fellow volunteers in rural districts around Hyderabad, we were able to avoid the yogurt (curd in India) ladled up by our colleague in the photo at the top, and still enjoy the dal, squash,mixed veg curry, chappati, rice and peeled cucumbers. There was a whole article on how Hyderabad was voted the most vegan friendly city in India and at the end of the trip we got to go to Smar Alec’s, an all vegan restaurant.
More Food Photos Below… keep reading……
Jain ascetics are increasingly recognizing the violence inherent in dairy products and speaking out.
In this video, Sadhvi Vaibhavshree discusses the question “Being a Jain and a follower of nonviolence, should I consume milk or not? I am confused as my family and I do want to drink milk and I am not sure what to do.” Her talk is in Hindi. Thanks to Prof. Pankaj Jain for rendering the translation (to which i have made minimal changes, including re-ordering her ideas to emphasize her “big reveal”).
You will be surprised today. I am going to reveal a big truth for the Jain society. In the Jain sutras, dairy products are called vigai and are prohibited in our shastras. Even root vegetables are actually not prohibited in our texts. In the 16th and 17th chapters of Uttaradhyayan, Sthananga Sutra, dairy products are prohibited. It is mentioned that such products cause sexual desires so a spiritual seeker should avoid them. An ascetic consuming milk or yogurt cannot remain an ascetic and will become sinful. However, today, our Jain society does not renounce milk that is a product of five-sensed beings but some of us do renounce root vegetables that are products of one-sensed beings. We should prioritize avoiding the violence to five-sensed beings before worrying about violence to one-sensed beings. We make excuses about nonviolence but refuse to change our habits of consuming dairy products. I am sorry to say this. If one wants to practice nonviolence, start from self, be free from attachments and aversions, and avoid the stress. When we commit violence to ourselves, we also commit violence to the entire universe, according to Lord Mahavira in Acharang Sutra. Violence to one is violence to all.
This short film made in India about milk reminds me a lot of our year in India. We saw cows eating plastic garbage daily, and saw various organizations that considered giving kids a daily glass of milk as a great service. It is great to see Kuntal Joisher, the first vegan to climb Everest who we met at in Milipitas in the movie. Also Nandita Shah from Sharan who we saw speak in Ahmedabad.
On a Facebook group called Vegans in India, one of the participants stated that this video was among the information that compelled him and his wife to go vegan.
We have been in Ahmedabad, India since end of February and happy to find soymilk and tofu at our local Reliance supermarket. But recently we received our first delivery from Go Vegan , a company in the neighboring city of Vadodara (incidentally my mom’s hometown) that makes soy milk from organic soybeans and also produces a variety of other vegan products such as patties and ice cream. While we can get soymilk many places in the world, nowhere have I seen the truth so clearly printed on a product label. It’s hard to read on the photo below so I’ve retyped it (and corrected a couple of typos).
Do you know?
Just as other mammals on this planet cows give milk only after giving birth to a baby calf. To produce milk most cows are raped every year through artificial insemination and their male babies are kidnapped and slaughtered for meat and leather. Would you drink rape milk again?
more at http://www.govegan.in
Dr. Tushar has produced some excellent presentations on dairy production and cow slaughter in India. Note that some viewers have disagreed with the domestication of cows on principle, however, there is no question about the harm of consuming dairy products.
Now that we, DrJina and Christian, of Vegan Jains have spent several months in India and Nepal, we’ll be adding some of our thoughts and experiences about dairy in South Asia on this site in the coming weeks.
Dairy Production and Cow Slaughter In India
All videos on one webpage:
Dairy Production and Cow Slaughter In India – SHORT Versions
Dr. Tushar says: I think that the Full English version is better than the Full Gujarati, The short versions are about equally good. I did the very best i could with limited time and resources while working in India.
Dairy Production and Cow Slaughter In India – FULL Versions
(please excuse some language errors in Gujarati)
NOTE: full versions contain detailed explanation on every question including health, and what happens to all the cows if we proceed on a Pure veg diet. Please enjoy!
PPT Slides – Presentation on Dairy and Cow slaughter in India