Jain World
Sub Categories of Jain Books
Books on Line
Book of Compassion

The Book of Compassion


Table of Contents


A Few Words


Universal Declaration of the Rights of Animals


My Visit to A Dairy Farm

  Dairy Cows - Life, Usage, and Sufferings (New York Times)
  Cows� Body Parts � Common Usage � Sale Price
  Recycling of Slaughterhouses Waste (Rendering Plants)
  Milk � Its Impact on Health, Cruelty, and Pollution
  Is Nothing Sacred? - Cruelty towards India�s Holy Animals
  Varakh (Silver Foil)
  Facts about Eggs
  Story of Silk
  Story of Pearls
  The Myth About Milk

Puppy Mills: Breeding Ills

  Alternatives to Animal Abuse

What Our Readers say about


Vegetarian Definition


Recommended Reading Material

  List of Organizations of Animal care and Nonviolent Activities

Excerpts - How our Diet affects the Environment

  Jain Books
  Catalog of Books in English
  Catalog of Books in Hindi
  Catalog of Books in Gujarati
  List of Books, Topics & Sub-topics and Authors

My Visit to A Dairy Farm



Jain Religious view:

Nonviolence is the highest principle of Jain religion. However for our survival the religion permits certain violence by lay people. Jain scriptures clearly indicate that:

    For our survival, the survival of our ascetics, and the survival of our scriptures, temples, libraries, and upasrayas; limited violence to one sensed (Ekendriya) souls such as vegetables, water, fire, earth, and air are allowed only by Jain lay people (sravaks and sravikas).

    Under no circumstances violence to two to five sensed (Tras) living beings such as animals, birds, insects, and humans are allowed even by the lay people.

    Ascetics should be totally nonviolent to all souls including the souls of vegetables, water, fire, air, and earth.

A cow is a five-sensed (Panchendriya) animal that also possesses mind. Cruelty to five-sensed animals is considered the highest sin in the Jain scriptures.

In today's high tech environment, cows are killed instantly in the production of meat. However, during milk production the cows are not killed instantly but they are tortured badly during the prime of their life, their babies (all but one female calf) are tortured for six months and then slaughtered. Ultimately they are slaughtered within 5 years well before the end of their natural life of 15 years. The dairy cows and their babies have no chance to escape from this cruelty and death.

In conclusion the cruelty in the milk production is worst than the meat production. By consuming dairy products we are supporting and promoting such cruelty.

Usage of Dairy Products in the Jain Temples:

Both Swetambar and Digambar sects use milk and its products in temple rituals. This is an ancient tradition. In the past (before the birth of a high tech dairy farm, which tortures the cows and ultimately slaughters them) in India, the cows were treated like a part of the family, and after feeding the baby calf, leftover milk was consumed by humans. This may be the reason why milk and its products are not considered violent in the Jain scriptures.

We should reevaluate the usage of milk and its product (ghee for arti, milk and sweets for puja etc.) in the temple rituals under the new technological environment. The tradition should not be followed blindly. The highest Jain principle of nonviolence should not be compromised under any circumstances.

With regards to Swetambar tradition I can definitely say that no scriptures support the usage of milk in the temple rituals.

With regards to Digambar tradition, Mr. Atul Khara, the past president of Jain Center of Dallas TX, indicates that most of the Digambars do not use milk in the rituals. Also no scriptures supports the use of milk and its products in rituals. Some Digambars in South India use the milk in their rituals, which is direct influence of Hindu rituals.

Also when we consume dairy products for our personal use we are personally responsible for our actions and the resulting karma or sins. However when we use dairy products in the temples, it is considered that the entire community commits the highest sin.

Milk and other products represent certain religious symbols in the Jain rituals. However, the product we use in the rituals must be of nonviolent source. The intention of our rituals is to inspire us to grow spiritually. The net outcome of the rituals should result in the reduction of our ego, greed, anger, lust, and attachments. Milk and other dairy products derived using such a violent method can not help us to grow spiritually.

In our rituals, we should substitute the regular milk with simple water or Soya milk, ghee (used in deevo) for vegetable oil, sweets for various types of dry nuts, and serve only vegan meal during any religious function. Our youths will appreciate such changes in our rituals.


This article was first published on Internet (Jain-list) in August 1997. Since then we have received many feed backs from the readers across the world. We have published some of these responses in an article called What Our Readers Say About � at the end of this book. We strongly recommend you to read the feedbacks.