There is conversation happening now amongst many BKs... should we become vegan? The earliest teachings of the Brahma Kumaris were born from the Vedic tradition and the main textual reference for the community was the Shrimad Bhagwad Gita, the 18th Chapter of the Hindu Epic 'Mahabharata'.
Ahimsa is a core principle in Vedic tradition, and the Brahma Kumaris teach a lifestyle based on non-violence. Below is an email I wrote in May 2012 as part of an email conversation that was taking place among the Brahma Kumaris Environment Initiative.
Even to have this serious conversation I think is a good thing. And I know that many BKs are becoming vegan. But whether it will ever be supported as an organisational principle remains to be seen. This is part of a deeper organisational cultural stasis.
Email from May 2012:
I would like to support the dairy conversation too. We had an interesting conversation at the UN a few weeks ago. We offered a visiting brahmin a bagel (from a store). She refused, as she doesn't eat any food prepared outside. Yet she wanted milk in her coffee. Luckily we use organic milk but - even when the milk is organic - the reason we get the milk in the first place is because the baby calves - who the milk is for - are taken for slaughter.
This inspired a conversation among all of us. Our principles are based on the idea of non-violence. On one hand we have strict disciplines about who cooks our food. Even if it is vegan many brahmins won't eat food that is prepared by someone else. Yet, food that contain dairy products that directly support and fund the cycle of animal slaughter are okay and offered to God and eaten.
The way dairy products were produced in the 1930s Subcontinent was undoubtedly very different than the industrial animal farming we have today. But why do we have the principles that we have? Is it to maintain tradition? Or to live non-violently? I think these are important questions. Presumably Baba gave us our principles so we could learn to live as karmically gently as possible, with as much benevolent impact and as little malevolent impact as possible in our lives. As the world changes, should we change in certain ways to maintain the underlying principles of peace and non-violence?