Milk is central to the yogic Indian diet, yet milk has been assailed in modern America due to its association with the unjust treatment of the cow. Its nutritional value is also questioned. You call milk the miracle food, even recommending occasional milk fasts (consuming only milk for up to 40 days at a time) for purifying the body and mind. What is your response to those who denounce milk?
Harish Johari :
First of all we are mammals. Our mothers have milk to give us and our life thus depends upon milk from the start. If modern society has polluted the cow's milk and caused harm to the giver of the milk, then so much for city living and "civilized life". This represents only 20% of the population. The other 80% living in the Third World are drinking milk without any difficulty. Because someone has corrupted natural living, that does not mean we should throw out milk. Milk has everything we require for healthy living. According to the Vedic culture, the rishis who gave up everything, all work, were living on milk alone as their perfect food.
Milk is a food that is readily converted into semen, which produces new blood. Thus if milk is the sole nourishment of the human organism for some time, it can rejuvenate that organism. "Milk kalpa" or a milk fast is a treatment employed by homeopathic doctors for patients who have lost hope of living a healthy, happy life. Such a milk fast can also cure premature aging. During the fast the body reorganizes itself. Premature aging is often the result of food material clinging to the intestinal walls. When the process of assimilation malfunctions, various organs in the system are unable to receive the proper supply of nutrients and thus begin to age quickly. If these waste materials can be expelled, all the organs will receive proper nutrition. Milk is known to clean the digestive tract. It expels toxins and waste from the stomach and intestines and supplies nutritious food material readily digestible and convertible into blood. Being alkaline in nature, milk is an aid to the stomach in its digestive function.`
The main organs of digestion are the mouth, stomach, and small intestine. Milk helps the entire digestive process and if digestion is working properly, the circulatory system works well. If the circulatory system is functioning properly, then the nervous system will be healthy. These three systems regulate the human body, and milk helps to regulate them.
Milk is best straight from the cow while it is still warm. Milk from a cow 21 days after she has delivered a calf is especially powerful. It must be remembered that in India cows are especially well taken care of, even revered. They are brushed and washed regularly and they are not milked when they are pregnant. In Vedic times, care of the cow was considered sattvic. There was no need to pasteurize or tone milk. With the appearance of anthrax, people in Europe became alarmed and pasteurization began and saved many lives. Pasteurization was an alternative to disease. But no one ever thought to revert to cleaning and properly caring for the cow. Thus today we have ultra-pasteurization and poorly cared-for cows who, instead of being gently hand-milked by someone who cares about them, are milked electronically without sensitivity.
In ayurveda cows are classified according to color and place of residence. Milk from a black cow is highly praised and recommended. Such milk is like nectar and it relieves gases, mucus, bile, burning sensations, depression, heart disease, stomach troubles, kidney disorders, jaundice and more. Milk from a spotted cow, brown cow or red cow cures problems of excess bile. But milk from a cow whose calf has died creates mucus, bile and gas. Milk from a cow who has stopped feeding her calf is strengthening but harder to digest. So in this way, before modern society condemns milk, they might do well to consult those who have the experience of loving and knowing cows as we do in India. There is more to be discussed than the fact that cows are mistreated. One must learn how to treat the cow properly and that includes taking her milk, which is her gift to humanity in return for her being nicely taken care of.