Cow's milk is particularly essential for developing the finer tissues of the human brain so that one can understand the intricacies of transcendental knowledge

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Srimad-Bhagavatam

SB Canto 1

The protection of cows maintains the most miraculous form of food, i.e., milk for maintaining the finer tissues of the brain for understanding higher aims of life.
SB 1.8.5, Purport:

In the glorious days, or before the advent of the age of Kali, the brāhmaṇas, the cows, the women, the children and the old men were properly given protection.

1. The protection of the brāhmaṇas maintains the institution of varṇa and āśrama, the most scientific culture for attainment of spiritual life.

2. The protection of cows maintains the most miraculous form of food, i.e., milk for maintaining the finer tissues of the brain for understanding higher aims of life.

3. The protection of women maintains the chastity of society, by which we can get a good generation for peace, tranquillity and progress of life.

4. The protection of children gives the human form of life its best chance to prepare the way of liberty from material bondage. Such protection of children begins from the very day of begetting a child by the purificatory process of garbhādhāna-saṁskāra, the beginning of pure life.

5. The protection of the old men gives them a chance to prepare themselves for better life after death.

SB Canto 3

The body can be maintained by any kind of foodstuff, but cow's milk is particularly essential for developing the finer tissues of the human brain so that one can understand the intricacies of transcendental knowledge.
SB 3.5.7, Purport:

The cow is the most important animal for developing the human body to perfection. The body can be maintained by any kind of foodstuff, but cow's milk is particularly essential for developing the finer tissues of the human brain so that one can understand the intricacies of transcendental knowledge. A civilized man is expected to live on foodstuffs comprising fruits, vegetables, grains, sugar and milk. The bull helps in the agricultural process of producing grain, etc., and thus in one sense the bull is the father of humankind, whereas the cow is the mother, for she supplies milk to human society. A civilized man is therefore expected to give all protection to the bulls and cows.

SB Canto 4

If one feeds a serpent milk, the snake will simply increase his venom. However, if one supplies milk to a talented sage or saint, the sage will develop finer brain tissues by which he can contemplate higher, spiritual life.
SB 4.18.22, Purport:

Within this material world there are various types of living entities, and the different types of reptiles and scorpions mentioned in this verse are also provided with their sustenance by the arrangement of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The point is that everyone is taking his eatables from the planet earth. According to one's association with the material qualities, one develops a certain type of character. Payaḥ-pānaṁ bhujaṅgānām: if one feeds a serpent milk, the snake will simply increase his venom. However, if one supplies milk to a talented sage or saint, the sage will develop finer brain tissues by which he can contemplate higher, spiritual life. Thus the Lord is supplying everyone food, but according to the living entity's association with the modes of material nature, the living entity develops his specific character.

SB Canto 8

One should take ample milk, and thus one can prolong one's life, develop his brain, execute devotional service, and ultimately attain the favor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
SB 8.6.12, Purport:

Milk is compared to nectar, which one can drink to become immortal. Of course, simply drinking milk will not make one immortal, but it can increase the duration of one's life. In modern civilization, men do not think milk to be important, and therefore they do not live very long. Although in this age men can live up to one hundred years, their duration of life is reduced because they do not drink large quantities of milk. This is a sign of Kali-yuga. In Kali-yuga, instead of drinking milk, people prefer to slaughter an animal and eat its flesh. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, in His instructions of Bhagavad-gītā, advises go-rakṣya, which means cow protection. The cow should be protected, milk should be drawn from the cows, and this milk should be prepared in various ways. One should take ample milk, and thus one can prolong one's life, develop his brain, execute devotional service, and ultimately attain the favor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As it is essential to get food grains and water by digging the earth, it is also essential to give protection to the cows and take nectarean milk from their milk bags.

Other Books by Srila Prabhupada

Light of the Bhagavata

If we really want to cultivate the human spirit in society we must have first-class intelligent men to guide the society, and to develop the finer tissues of our brains we must assimilate vitamin values from milk.
Light of the Bhagavata 27, Purport:

If we really want to cultivate the human spirit in society we must have first-class intelligent men to guide the society, and to develop the finer tissues of our brains we must assimilate vitamin values from milk. Devotees worship Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa by addressing Him as the well-wisher of the brāhmaṇas and the cows. The most intelligent class of men, who have perfectly attained knowledge in spiritual values, are called the brāhmaṇas. No society can improve in transcendental knowledge without the guidance of such first-class men, and no brain can assimilate the subtle form of knowledge without fine brain tissues. For such important brain tissues we require a sufficient quantity of milk and milk preparations. Ultimately, we need to protect the cow to derive the highest benefit from this important animal. The protection of cows, therefore, is not merely a religious sentiment but a means to secure the highest benefit for human society.

Lectures

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

Cow protection is very, very essential in human society because it gives the milk, the miracle food. You can prepare hundreds and thousands of preparation, all not only delicious, but brain-maintaining. You can get good brain.
Lecture on SB 1.16.1 -- Los Angeles, December 29, 1973:

Vaiśya, they should be trained in three things, productive—kṛṣi-go-rakṣya-vāṇijyaṁ vaiśya-karma svabhāva-jam (BG 18.44)—kṛṣi, agriculture; go-rakṣya, cow protection. Go-rakṣya. That is essential, agricultural and cow protection. And vāṇijyam. Vāṇijyam means trade. If there is excess milk product, if there is excess grain product, then you can sell to others. Nowadays the trade is that you take as much milk as you can, and then kill the animal and sell the flesh to other countries. That is going on. No. Go-rakṣya. Go-rakṣya. Cow protection is very, very essential in human society because it gives the milk, the miracle food. You can prepare hundreds and thousands of preparation, all not only delicious, but brain-maintaining. You can get good brain. Therefore go-rakṣya, cow protection is especially recommended, not that animal protection. If you want to eat meat, you can eat many other animals. There are. But don't eat the cows. This is Vedic civilization.

If you get milk products, milk, then you can prepare so many preparations full of vitamins, which will nourish your brain. Dull brain cannot understand what is spiritual knowledge.
Lecture on SB 1.16.19 -- Hawaii, January 15, 1974:

This is very essential to keep cows very comfortably. If they feel comfortable, then you get the most nourishing food, milk. We are practically seeing in our New Vrindaban center, because the cow are feeling secure in our custody, they're delivering milk up to the eighty pounds daily. You'll be surprised. So if you get milk products, milk, then you can prepare so many preparations full of vitamins, which will nourish your brain. Dull brain cannot understand what is spiritual knowledge. Therefore, that Mr. Bernard Shaw, he wrote a book. Perhaps you know it. You Are What You Eat. If you keep your brain dull, then how you can understand? Because without becoming very intelligent man, one cannot understand Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is stated in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, kṛṣṇa yei bhaje sei baḍa catura: "One who takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness seriously and perfectly, he must be very, very intelligent." Dull brain cannot accept it. Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate (BG 7.19). So we have to make our brain very clean. And for that purpose you require to drink not very much, at least, one pound or half-pound milk daily. That is essential. But no meat-eating. This is intelligence.

You drink the blood of the cow by natural process, which turns into white milk. You'll get better brain, better strength.
Lecture on SB 1.16.19 -- Hawaii, January 15, 1974:

Prabhupāda: The milk is also conversion of the blood, everyone knows. Just like we drink the milk of our mother. The color of the milk is white, but everyone knows that milk is produced from the red blood, red corpuscle. So this is the process, that people are very much anxious to drink the blood of cows from the slaughterhouse. They sometimes drink fresh blood, is it not?

Bali-mardana: Yes.

Prabhupāda: That is not very good intelligence. You drink the blood of the cow by natural process, which turns into white milk. You'll get better brain, better strength. Therefore cow protection is very essential in Vedic civilization.

In order to understand things as they are, you require good brain, and for good brain, you require milk preparation.
Lecture on SB 1.16.19 -- Hawaii, January 15, 1974:

Because they have got bad brain, they do not know how spirit soul is transmigrating from one body to another, how he is becoming entangled. Today I have got very nice body, American body, but what is the guarantee next life? But they do not believe in the next life because they have no good brain. So in order to understand things as they are, you require good brain, and for good brain, you require milk preparation. In this way, as they've suggested a routine in the śāstra also, and guided by sādhu-guru-śāstra, if we accept, then we shall become very happy in this life and next life also. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement.

Foodstuffs should be given, nice foodstuff given, should be given to the particular person for developing nice brain. Milk is a foodstuff which can develop your finer tissues of the brain so that you can understand higher philosophy.
Lecture on SB 2.3.19 -- Los Angeles, June 14, 1972:

We are not killing the cow. We are eating milk, but we are not drinking the blood. Milk is nothing but blood of cow. But we know the art, how to drink the blood of cow without killing. That is civilization. That is civilization. Medically, they say the cow's blood or bull's blood is very effective, and that is accepted. But you must know the art. It is the arrangement of God that cow's milk... Cow's own milk, she does not drink. She eats grass. That means God's arrangement is like that, that "Let the human being drink the milk of cow, and the cow may eat grass." Because they haven't got good brain... Foodstuffs should be given, nice foodstuff given, should be given to the particular person for developing nice brain. Milk is a foodstuff which can develop your finer tissues of the brain so that you can understand higher philosophy. And if you become blunt, and you eat meat by killing any animal, then how you will understand? The finer tissues given in the human form of life for understanding spiritual things... You cannot.

Even if you take it as primitive, the saintly persons, sages, they used to live long, long years, and their brain was so sharp, because they were taking natural food, fruits, grains, and milk that helps to develop human brain for understanding subtle subject matter.
Lecture on SB 2.3.24 -- Los Angeles, June 22, 1972:

Even if you say "primitive," the primitive life is very nice. Primitive life means simple life. Keeping pace with the nature's law. It is very nice. Primitive life ... It gives you anxiety-free life, and therefore, even if you take it as primitive, the saintly persons, sages, they used to live long, long years, and their brain was so sharp, because they were taking natural food, fruits, grains, and milk that helps to develop human brain for understanding subtle subject matter. So even Vyāsadeva... You have seen the picture of Vyāsadeva. He's writing books just near a cottage only. But he's writing. Nobody can create such literature. But he was leading very simple life, in a cottage.

If you drink more milk and milk products, then your brain will be very sharp. You will understand things very nicely, corectly. Therefore milk is very important.
Lecture on SB 5.5.1 -- Johannesburg, October 20, 1975:

Vaiśya means the productive class of men. Their business is how to produce food for all the society and give protection to the cows. Kṛṣi-gorakṣya-vāṇijyaṁ vaiśya-karma svabhāva-jam (Bg 18.44). There must be sufficient milk in the human society. If you drink more milk and milk products, then your brain will be very sharp. You will understand things very nicely, corectly. Therefore milk is very important. In the Vedic śāstra cow protection is recommended. Why? Because milk is very, very important thing.

Go-rakṣya, because without cows' milk there is no civilization. You will not have nice brain to understand things, simply speculate.
Lecture on SB 6.1.21 -- Honolulu, May 21, 1976:

Without brahminical culture, useless. That is not civilization. Therefore Kṛṣṇa is offered obeisance, namo brahmanya-devāya go-brāhmaṇa-hitāya ca. He is first concerned for the cows and the brāhmaṇa. Go-brāhmaṇa-hitāya ca. Then jagad-hitāya. Then He's concerned for the whole, other things. The first concern means cows and brāhmaṇa. Many times He has repeated, go-rakṣya. Why He did not say "pig-rakṣya"? No. He said, go-rakṣya, because without cows' milk there is no civilization. You will not have nice brain to understand things, simply speculate. We are discussing the philosophy of so many speculators, simply talking nonsense. Simply... Why? This speculator to another, he says, "I think, I..." What you are? You can think? First of all you become brāhmaṇa; then you can think properly. Where is your education as brāhmaṇa? Where is that brain? Eating all nasty things and you become a brāhmaṇa? Therefore Kṛṣṇa's is go-brāhmaṇa-hitāya ca.

Only this cow's milk will help you. It is so nice. And it gives very nice brain, not pig's brain. So it is so important thing.
Lecture on SB 6.1.21 -- Honolulu, May 21, 1976:

The Vedic civilization, the brāhmaṇas, they used to live in the forest, and the king would offer them some cows. So they will draw some milk. And in the forest there are fruits, so they will eat fruits and milk. And if the disciples go to the village, beg some food grain, then sometimes they cook some food grains. Otherwise the brāhmaṇas used to live in the forest, drink milk and take fruit. That is sufficient. There was no need of jumping here and there. Anywhere you keep cows. And what cows to maintain? No expenditure. The fruits? The skin thrown away, and the cow will eat. And in exchange it will give you nice foodstuff, milk. Or it will eat in the grazing ground, some grass. So there is no expenditure of keeping cows, but you get the best food in the world. The proof is that the child born simply can live on milk. That is the proof. So anyone can live only on milk. If you have got the opportunity to drink one pound milk maximum, not very much—half-pound is sufficient; suppose one pound—then you don't require any other foodstuff. Only this cow's milk will help you. It is so nice. And it gives very nice brain, not pig's brain. So it is so important thing. Other..., why Kṛṣṇa says go-rakṣya? He did not say that "pig-rakṣya." No. "Dog-rakṣya." No. Now they are interested in dog-rakṣya instead of cow-rakṣya. This is the civilization. They'll spend millions of dollars for dog, not for cow.

The cow a very, very important animal in the human society, very important animal. You get milk and milk products. Then your brain becomes very nice, memory sharpened.
Lecture on SB 7.9.10 -- Mayapur, February 17, 1976:

Generally those who are meat-eaters, they take meat of such animals like goats, lambs, like that, those who are meat-eaters. And they never take cow's flesh because cow is protected, go-raksya. So in the Bhagavad-gītā to the meat-eaters also it is said, kṛṣi go-rakṣya vāṇijyam (BG 18.44). Even if you are meat-eater, don't eat cow. You can eat others animals. But don't eat... "We are śvapacas," śvapaca is there. So if you are at all meat-eater, you can eat pigs, goats, but don't eat cows' flesh. That is very sinful. Why it is sinful? Because it's a very, very important animal in the human society, very important animal. You get milk and milk products. Then your brain becomes very nice, memory sharpened. That is, therefore, important. Don't eat. It is economically.

General Lectures

The brāhmaṇa cannot take any other food except it is made of milk preparation. That develops the finer tissues of the brain. You can understand in subtle matters, in philosophy, in spiritual science.
Lecture -- Los Angeles, December 4, 1968:

And protect the cows. Actually, we are taking so much advantages. So from the cows, the milk. And from the milk we can make hundreds of vitaminous foodstuff, hundreds. They're all palatable. So such a nice animal, faithful, peaceful, and beneficial. After taking milk from it, if we kill, does it look very well? Even after the death, the cows supply the skin for your shoes. It is so beneficial. You see. Even after death. While living, he gives you nice milk. You cannot reject milk from the human society. As soon as there is a child born, milk immediately required. Old man, milk is life. Diseased person, milk is life. Invalid, milk is life. So therefore Kṛṣṇa is teaching by His practical demonstration how He loves this innocent animal, cow. So human society should develop brahminical culture on the basis of protecting cows. The brāhmaṇa cannot take any other food except it is made of milk preparation. That develops the finer tissues of the brain. You can understand in subtle matters, in philosophy, in spiritual science. Just like in a scientific college, not ordinary man can understand the scientific intricacies. They require some preliminary qualification to enter into the scientific college. They require some preliminary qualification to enter into the law college, in the postgraduate classes. Similarly, to understand the subtle or finer implications of spiritual science, one has to become brāhmaṇa. Without becoming brāhmaṇa it is not possible.

Conversations and Morning Walks

1974 Conversations and Morning Walks

The big, big saintly persons developed such nice brain simply by drinking milk and eating fruits.
Room Conversation with Scientists -- July 2, 1974, Melbourne:

Prabhupāda: Formerly big, big saintly person they used to live in the forest, and their livelihood was fruits and milk. They used to keep cows and draw milk from them, and whatever fruits are available in the forest, and they have given us these literatures, Vyāsadeva. So the... He has written Mahābhārata, one hundred thousand verses and similarly, this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, he has given us eighteen thousand verses. And each verse is full of so grave meaning that if you study, it will take months and months together. So they developed such nice brain simply by drinking milk and fruits.

1976 Conversations and Morning Walks

If we protect the cows, we can have the facility of drinking milk, which will help us in keeping our health in order and developing very nice brain tissues to understand spiritual subject matter.
Morning Walk -- May 30, 1976, Honolulu:

Prabhupāda: Go-rakṣya, the point is that cow's milk is very important. Therefore specifically mentioned go-rakṣya. Kṛṣṇa does not say that don't eat meat. It is not really said that meat-eating is forbidden. But meat-eating is tāmasika, prāmādya (indistinct). But He's speaking of go-rakṣya for our special material benefit, that if we protect the cows, we can have the facility of drinking milk, which will help us in keeping our health in order and developing very nice brain tissues to understand spiritual subject matter. Fish-eaters, they're all dull. They cannot understand finer philosophy of life. Meat-eating, not good. But the śūdras, and the less than śūdras, they eat. But for them there's lower animals, not cow.

Then their life is built up strong, and nice brain to understand. Do they not see the benefit of the society, that we are not killing children, we are maintaining them with sufficient milk?
Room Conversation -- June 24, 1976, New Vrindaban:

Prabhupāda: So everyone is getting milk? How much?

Kīrtanānanda: As much as they want.

Prabhupāda: As much as they want, then jaundice. (laughter) Too much is not good. They may take minimum half pound per head.

Kīrtanānanda: Minimum.

Prabhupāda: Minimum. And maximum one pound. Not more than that. But "Because there is enough, let us eat," no. That is not good. But children must get at least one pound, milk. If they drink more milk they become stout and strong.

Kīrtanānanda: They get more than one pound. They get at least two pounds.

Prabhupāda: Then their life is built up strong, and nice brain to understand. Do they not see the benefit of the society, that we are not killing children, we are maintaining them with sufficient milk. Is it not better civilization? And they are, for fear of overpopulation, they are killing. The mother is killing the child. Is that civilization?

If you are fond of eating flesh, you take other animals, not the cow. Give protection, take milk from it, and prepare nice preparations, that will be good for brain, for your mind.
Arrival Room Conversation -- July 2, 1976, Washington, D.C.:

Prabhupāda: We don't reject anything but accept in a regular way. Flesh eaters? All right, you want flesh? "No, I want flesh, but I want this big cow." Why not less important animals? There are so many other animals. The goats are there, the lambs are there, the hogs are there. Take them. Why Kṛṣṇa says go-rakṣya? It is a very important animal. It will give you brain substance, this rasagullā. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says go-rakṣya. But this rascal has no knowledge. The cows give us milk, very nutritious. "Oh, eat the whole cow. Then all nutrition will come." This is their intelligence. Rubbish civilization. Why Kṛṣṇa has recommended go-rakṣya? He never said that other animal. If you are fond of eating flesh, you take other animals, not the cow. Give protection, take milk from it, and prepare nice preparations, that will be good for brain, for your mind. Apart from... There is no question of religious sentiment. From practical.

Health, brain, everything. Milk is miracle food. And we are practically experiencing in our farms that if the cows are protected nicely, they can supply immense milk.
Morning Walk -- August 14, 1976, Bombay:

Dr. Patel: I think go-rakṣya must be the backbone of the economy.

Prabhupāda: No, health, brain, everything. Milk is miracle food. And we are practically experiencing in our farms that if the cows are protected nicely, they can supply immense milk. We are getting in our farms, extra milk. Everyone is eating so many preparations, sandeśa, rasagullā, rābrī. They are surprised. In their history they have not eaten all these things.

If they do not have sufficient milk production, then their brain will be dull. They will not be able to understand subtle things.
Room Conversation with Dr. Theodore Kneupper -- November 6, 1976, Vrndavana:

Prabhupāda: Meat-eating is third-class man's eating. It is not denied. Amedhya. But to give us our life, don't kill cows, because it gives you milk, very substantial food. If you want to eat meat, you can eat the hogs and dogs. But don't kill the cows. Kṛṣi-go-rakṣya-vāṇijyam (BG 18.44). This is special. It is not forbidding meat-eating, but don't eat cows' flesh. That is loss. It is a great loss to the human society. If they do not have sufficient milk production, then their brain will be dull. They will not be able to understand subtle things. Therefore it is better to avoid it. But if you cannot avoid, you can eat some inferior, useless animals. But don't touch the cows. This is Bhagavad-gītā.