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Many Times Milk Is Tamasika

Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2012 21:47:03 +0530
Subject: Many Times Milk Is Tamasika
From: Satyshrayii



(Note: This is the third letter in this series. The first two letters were titled, "Do You Eat Sentient Food". Links to those letters have been appended below.)

I have been following this thread about sentient food and wish to raise the issue of milk. As we all know, in Ananda Marga, milk is sentient. It is a sattvika food item.

Yet we must bear in mind that there are some distinct considerations.


When the capitalist-minded agro-dairy industry and related corporations use steroids, injections, and other unnatural techniques to get the cows to produce more milk, then that milk cannot be considered sentient. It is full of pollutants, poisonous chemicals, and other harmful agents.


The situation of some Indian cows is also quite compromised. Some of the cows in the Indian cities eat all kinds of things: paper, plastic, garbage, cardboard etc. They eat so much of it that when a cow gets sick and surgery is needed, then invariably doctors find 30 - 65kg of junk / garbage inside the cow. (

Such problems are not limited to cows in the city. Some of those cows that roam the countryside often eat night soil.

For those not aware, cow's milk from the villages is widely-distributed. Those villagers often form a cooperative and keep their milk in a central location. Then an area "milk-man" comes around for pick-ups once or twice a day. That milk is brought to processing plants in larger cities. At those plants, milk from various areas gets mixed, packaged, and shipped for wider delivery. So it is not that the village milk stays in a village. The milk of those cows that eat night soil reaches a wide spectrum of buyers. Many are then exposed to milk produced by (some) cows that eat night soil.

In both conditions, city and country, the sentient quality of the cow in India - and cow's milk - is greatly disturbed.

Then there is this problem. As you may know, cows that do not have calves do not allow all their milk to taken. So dairy farmers in India farmers  inject such cows with chemicals and drugs so those cows will release all their milk. In turn, those chemicals get mixed in with the milk. Anyone can taste and smell the toxins in the milk. This is a large-scale problem.

It all comes to this: Unless you know the history of the cow and how it has lived, purchasing or drinking cow's milk is risky. The answer lies in enclosed in natural areas or sanctuaries so cows can live in a natural setting and have some freedom without endangering or exposing them to harmful agents, like pollution, garbage, and night soil.

Till that time, drinking cow's milk in India is tamasika on many occasions.


Here is another key parameter that we must take into consideration.

Baba also guides us that it is not sentient to drink the milk of a cow that recently gave birth. Essentially, that milk contains colostrum which is harmful to the mind of a sadhaka. Such milk is tamasika.

Baba says, "The milk of a newly-calved cow [is] ta'masika." (Caryacarya - 3)

Here are further guidelines about this:

(1) In the original Bengali and Hindi editions of Caryacarya, Baba says do not drink the milk of a sandhinii cow. The term sandhinii is consistently used and defined as a cow which has recently given birth. .

(2) Then in the English edition of Caryacarya, the phrase - newly-calved cow - has been used. Here again we are not to drink that milk.

(3) Then in Shabda Cayanika Baba also defines sandhinii as a newly-calved cow.

Baba says, "Given birth to a calf. A cow in that stage is called sandhinii. (Shabda Cayanika - 4, Kálii to Kikhi (Discourse 25))

Furthermore, in Samskrta language literature, the term sandhinii is qualified as being a ten-day period.

"The milk of a female animal [sandhinii] whose offspring is not ten days old." (Reference)

So this link clarifies that sandhinii refers to a ten-day period for the cow after giving birth.


Now that we have confirmed that our Ananda Marga guideline is that milk from a cow that has given birth less than 10 days ago is tamasika, we should compare this with today's markets around the world.

In the US, government regulations stipulate that dairy farms / manufacturers cannot sell milk from a newly-calved cow for 4 days. After that 4 day period, it is approved by the FDA for human consumption. That is the standard in the USA.

"By regulation, everything the dairy farmer collects from a cow for the first four days (8 "milkings") cannot be sold as milk, and is classified as colostrum."

In Ananda Marga our standard is different. Baba guides us that we should not drink milk from a sandhinii cow (a newly-calved cow) i.e. within a 10-day period of delivering her calf. Thus, any milk made in the US during that 6-day window, i.e. day 4 to day 10 after a cow has given birth, is tamasika. Whether it is organic or not, that milk is classified as tamasika according to our Ananda Marga standard.

So the problem is that there is no way of knowing which milk on the shelf in the US was produced during that period. By this standard, it is literally impossible to know if the milk you are buying in the US is tamasika or not.

In the area where you live, you should find out what the laws and regulations are. Because if the standard is less than the specified 10-day period as given in Ananda Marga, then there will be tamasika milk on the shelves in stores.

For instance, let's say in Italy the rule is not to produce milk from a newly-calved cow for 5 days after giving birth, then there is a remaining 5-day window wherein tamasika milk is being produced, and hence sold in stores. Let's take another hypothetical example. Let's say in Argentina the rule is not to produce milk for 12 days after a cow has given birth. In that case, the milk produced in Argentina is sentient (at least on this factor) according to our Ananda Marga guideline. Because our guideline is a 10-day period, at minimum, and Argentina is going beyond that mark. These are all hypothetical examples, but the point is understood.

Any milk produced by a newly-calved cow / sandhinii cow that is less than the mandatory 10-day waiting period is tamasika.


Unless we have perfect proof about how the milk is produced, then we have to assume that the milk sold in stores is tamasika. It might contain steroids or other harmful agents; it might be from a newly-calved cow and thus contain colostrum; or it might be a product of commercial factory farming etc. In all such cases that milk is tamasika and must be avoided.

We must reflect again: Unless we have perfect proof about how the milk is produced, then we have to assume that the milk sold in stores is tamasika. That is the only way to approach it; drinking any milk from any store is to walk along a slippery slope - anything is possible. One may fall at any moment. That milk may be tamasika, possibly or even probably so.

Verily there are may do's and don'ts regarding the sanctity of milk. Best is to just assume that all milk from a regular supermarket etc is tamasika. Remember, when store-bought milk itself is tamasika, then it is also means that those products produced from and using that milk are also tamasika: butter, cream, cheese, sour cream, yogurt etc.

Finally, the key point of waiting 10 days after the birth before milking a cow for human consumption applies to buffaloes and goats as well.



There is also a neo-humanistic reason why as Ananda Margiis we refrain from taking milk from a newly-calved cow:

We are to watch for the well-being of all creatures, including baby calves. We are to ensure those calves get all the food and nutrition they need. One way of ensuring this is to not deprive them of any of their mother's milk.

Baba Himself has expressed this point in His teachings.

Note 2:  IT SPLITS

Milk from newly calved cow - produced within that 10-day period - will split when it is boiled. It will separate into water and solids. That is why those who have cows do not use that milk. Nor will small farmers give that milk to customers. It will give them a bad reputation.

But when that sandhinii milk is added to thousands of gallons of other milk then it may not split. So big companies may be hiding that sadhinii milk in their big vats of milk.

A sadhinii cow produces very thick milk; after that ten-day window the milk produced by the cow becomes thinner and of a more normal consistency.


Baba says, "Those who consume a lot of static food also emit this sort of foul smell...Similarly, an intensely foul smell is emitted from the bodies of tigers because they are carnivorous...A hilsa fish (an Indian herring) is extremely fond of flesh – rotten flesh is its favourite food – hence it produces a kind of repulsive secretion. If a fish bowl or container which held hilsa fish is cleaned with a cloth, and the cloth is used to clean another container, a repulsive smell will be emitted from the second container unless it is properly ventilated. A vegetarian will feel uncomfortable if this container is used for eating, drinking or anything else. Strict vegetarians avoid using any container which has been used to hold non-vegetarian food." (Microvita in a Nutshell, 'Some Examples of Microvita in Daily Life – Section C')

Baba says, "Strict vegetarians avoid using any container which has been used to hold non-vegetarian food." (Microvita in a Nutshell)

Baba says, "Static food: Food which is harmful for the mind and may or may not be good for the body is static. Onion, garlic, wine, stale and rotten food, meat of large animals such as cows and buffaloes, fish, eggs, etc., are static. Very often people eat food without knowing its intrinsic qualities. For example, the milk of a cow which has just given birth. Or white eggplant, khesárii pulse [horse gram], red puni [Basella rubra Linn.], or mustard leaves, all of which often grew out of rotten matter. In order to have a balanced mind and to progress spiritually, human beings will have to pay attention to the qualities of the food they eat. The idea that “I will just do my sádhaná and eat any food, proper or improper” will not do." (Ananda Marga Philosophy In A Nutshells, Food, Cells, Physical and Mental Development)

Baba says, "Támasika áhára: All kinds of foods which are harmful to either the body or mind and may or may not be harmful to the other are called támasika. Stale and rotten food, the flesh of large animals such as cows and buffaloes, and all types of intoxicants, are categorized as támasika. Small amounts of tea, cocoa and similar drinks which do not excite a person to the point of losing his/her senses are in the rájasika category. The milk of a newly-calved cow, white brinjals, khesárii dál, green vegetables of the type of red puni or mustard are támasika. Masúr dál cooked for one meal will become támasika by the next meal." (Caryacarya - 3, Procedure for Eating)



"Ta'i bhavi mane toma'ri smaran'e, path cale ja'i toma'ri sharan'e,
A'ma'ra boliya ya' bha'vito hiya', ta' nahe a'ma'r bujhi ja'garan'e..." (PS 715)


Baba, due to my extreme vanity and ignorance, in my heart I was thinking that everything - all my material possessions like money, wealth, post, position, might, and strength - is really mine and that they will remain with me up to eternity. In this way I was deluded. By Your grace You have blessed me with samvit [1] and an awakening has come. Today I have realised that all those worldly things are transitory: They are not mine. They do not belong to me permanently. Rather I have come alone onto this dusty earth, and one day I will depart this earth and will have to leave everything behind. Baba in this universe nothing is mine except You. O' Lord, You have given me the gift of bhakti and with the devotional mind I can understand that You - and only You - are mine. Because of this I am always singing Your divine glory and I am always engaged in the depths of Your ideation. in my heart I feel that You are everything. Every moment I follow Your path and ultimately by Your grace I surrender at Your alter - O' my Lord.   

Baba, Your liila of Yours is unfathomable: It is full of diversity. On the one side, all the organs of my existence are engaged in negative interactions and crude dealings. The voice is drowned in its own arrogance and makes utterances filled with its own ego and audacity; and the eye is glued to its own feeling of superiority and vanity. With this vain outlook, there is disdain and disgust for others. All these negative features are rampant. And then on the other side these organs do all kinds of positive works and dharmic pursuits. They engage in shravan, manan, niddhidhyasana [2], dhyana, japa, dharana, kiirtan, and puja etc. Baba, in this liila of Yours, all these negative and positive activities are happening right in front of Your very eyes. You can see it all happening before You.  

Baba, my mind is wild. I do not have the necessary strength to control it and therefore ask for Your mercy and surrender at Your lotus feet. By the shadow of Your infinite grace, by Your divine compassion, by Your sweet ideation, by doing kiirtan and sadhana etc, I can control that wild mind which is running under the intoxication of maya. Baba, by Your grace I can keep that wild mind cool, calm, and quiet - pointed towards Your divine Self.

Baba, You are my ultimate shelter; I surrender at Your lotus feet...


[1] Samvit: Baba says, "The popular meaning of sam'vit shakti is "awareness"-- awakening from slumber. With the help of sam'vit shakti, unit beings become aware of their existence. They realise that they are the crown of creation, the most evolved beings whose goal is to attain the supreme rank and dispel the darkness of the avaran'ii shakti of avidyamaya." (Ananda Marga Philosophy in A Nutshell - 4)

[2] Shravan, Manan, & Niddhidhyasana: Here below Baba explains the special import of these three devotional practices.

Baba says, "To attain Him human beings have to take recourse to shravana (constantly hearing His name), manana (constantly ideating on Him) and
nididya'sana (constantly meditating on Him)." (TK-3)

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