Festivals Coming -
Feature Article - The Psychology of Food
Modes of Worship:
About the web-site: What's there - how to utilize it.......
New Entries on the Web-site..... quite a few since the last newsletter - updates
SEARCH for Ishthadevatas and Devotees on the site world-wide......
Please Visit the ARTICLES pages - there's much information to relish there
Vaishnava Calendar - Panjika
The Glories of Prasadam - some nice information from Shastra - scripture, heaps of shlokas
Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada on some considerations of Prasadam - article
Words of encouragement & quotes from HDG on the topic - prasadam
quotes from Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad on all aspects of prasadam
(preparation, offering, honouring, distributing etc) most coming via Hari Sauri prabhu ACBSP
& Prasad katha - Swadhyaya - glorifying the Lord and His prasadam
What is the need for offering foodstuffs to the Lord? What is the purpose of honouring mahaprasada?
by Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur
The Great Benefit of coming
in contact with Devotional Service.
by Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad
The Story of Narada Muni and how he became so......
The 64 Principles of Devotion found in Narad Bhakti Sutra
Naivedya: Food Offered To The Lord
Sri Narada Purana, Uttara-bhaga
Quotes from Brahma-vaivarta Purana
Offering Respects to Krsna Prasadam
Food for Life: in Theory and Practice by Krishna Dharma dasa
Akshaya Patra program - Unlimited Food For Life
The Effect from taking Krishna Prasadam from Babhru dasa ACBSP
Prasada seva in the Sri Vaishnava tradition of South India
Stories from Sri Narada Pancha Ratram
Sri Raghavendra Tirtha Swami "Rayaru's" Miracles:
It once happened @ Mantralayam
The Glories of Sri Satyabodha Tirtha Swami
Kanaka Dâsa of the Haridasaru bhaktas of Karnataka
Day Miracles of Prasadam
- A few nice links from Ekendra prabhu CHCH
- Some great
places to purchase your puja paraphernalia on-line
Advertisements for Salagram friendly sites
Pilgrimage to the top of the world - Damodar Kunda
Everyone a Safe & Happy 2005 (519 Gaurabda)
Sri-murti-lakshana, aara shaalagraama-lakshana
“The characteristics of the Deities should be discussed, as well as the characteristics of the Shalagrama-shila. You should also discuss visiting the Deities in the temple and touring holy places like Vrindavana, Mathura and Dvaraka."
(Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya-lila 24:335. text - 61 Explanations of Atmarama verse)
Namaskaragalu - Vanakkam - G'day
Please accept my respectful obeisances, All glories to Srila Prabhupad, All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga,All glories to all the Vaishnava devotees of the Lord
Chari Vaishnava sampradaya ki jaya
Sri Swayam-vyakta Shaligram Sila, Dwaraka Sila, Govardhan Sila ki jaya
Welcome to what we hope to be the eighth of many newsletters. The present plan is to attempt to maintain the site nicely and keep updating with new information and pictures and additions to help enthuse everyone, and use this newsletter to help keep everyone informed about that. With my other various services we figured that Quarterly would be a feasible beginning, so we are looking at April - July - Sept - Dec for now.
So we went a bit off from that with unforeseeable situations occuring, my having to be away from my system for a few months and losing my old faithful computer's contents to hacker's attacks. Then my son paid for me to go to India with him, so there was another couple of months away, but wow was it worth it all.
Yes, it has been a rather eventful year with many things happening. We have experienced many new things, learned many new things, welcomed many new friends, and met some old ones too - as some wise sage once said "There are no strangers, only friends we have yet to meet !" So that has become manifest as many devotees unknown to me previously wrote in and sent pictures of their worshiful Lords. We too by the mercy of the Lord and His devotees have received a few new additions to try to render some seva to.
As Krishna consciousness is ever expanding and ever deepening we would like to expand this service to you all so as to receive your blessings. Therefore we very much welcome constructive feedback to further assist the development of the site and newsletter services - always open to that.
Sri Krishnarpanamastu - respectfully in the service of the Lord.
In this Shaligram Tirtha Pradarshini newsletter we would like to present a practical formula that can be universally proven simply by following the process again and again under a laboratory tested environment. Sounds a bit scientific? Actually it is scientific. What we are presenting here is the science of bhakti through the mercy of the Lord - prasadam.
Some hear of stories of the wonders or miracles of devotional feats from history as legends or even mythology. It's not their fault, they just don't know. The science of prasadam is every bit as tangible for those who receive it as the warning we might give that if you touch fire it has a burning effect. The burning effect is not a matter of debate, that it may or may not take place, it's scientifically proven that if you touch fire, as fire is surcharged with the heating principle, that it burns what it contacts.
Some might say that this is all a matter of faith. The fact is that faith also is a very scientific thing. If one follows the process of devotional service and avoids the various offenses along the way in the association of like minded devotees and applied the teachings of certified professors then the required results will be achieved. This formula can be repeated or reproduced again and again, and is being so in temples and homes all over the world today, it is therefore scientifically proven. A the late great Bhakta George Harrison wrote in his preface to Krsna Book "The proof of the pudding is in the eating". Simply if we follow the recipe for success the end result be the same.
Years ago I used to assist Kurma prabhu on his cooking classes at Melbourne University, in Australia. He would show the many who used to come how to prepare various preparations and they would all get to taste the end product at the end of the class. He would often set the assignment for them to go home and try to recreate the preparation themselves. To varying decrees they would report their success, "But it didn't taste exactly the same as yours, it wasn't as nice". We would ask if they offered their preparation to Krishna with Love and Devotion, and found that they'd missed out one of the primary ingredients LND (Love aNd Devotion). Any experiment has to be followed exactly to have the same result, isn't it? That is science.
What inspired me to address this topic at this time is that presently all over the world people are observing World Vegetarian Day (October 1st every year) and also World Vegetarian Awareness Month of October, during which there are other days of importance to Vegans and Vegetarians and Animal Activists alike, which is all better than exploiting other poor living beings simply to satisfy the lusty nature of the tongue. Still Vegetarianism in itself isn't quite enough to turn the negative reactions of our usurping items and facilities meant for the service of God, and more than if we compare being a small thief with being a big thief. Both are thieving that which is meant for the service of the proprietor, God.
We are hoping through this newsletter it will help to inspire all of us to somehow share this wonderful science that we have been given access to with all and sundry to our capacity. So doing other parts of the science will also be revealed to us as we do it. If anyone doubts me, take up the challenge, see if the formula works simply by applying the process, in all humility I guarantee no-one will be disappointed.
Just as we are typing this our next door neighbor came to the door, nice people, teachers at the local school. Rachel said they are going away for a few days and asked if we could clear their mailbox, to which I agreed. She gave a few heads of broccoli that were sitting in her garden that she didn't want to be wasted or go to seed, which we gratefully accepted. "....before you go, I've got something for you too !" and I rushed inside to grab a bag of Salagram maha-prasadam that we keep handy for such events. I handed it over and she was blown away at the variety and opulence of all that was in the bag. "Exchange is no robbery" I lightheartedly said, "Looks like we got the better of the deal though" she said as she left. Little does she know how true that is.
Anyway, so after all this talk of prasadam I'm off to serve and take prasadam too, hungry work this putting newsletters together. I hope that this newsletter slakes your thirst/hunger also.
Rama-Vijay Dasami - Victory of Lord Ramachandra
13th October 2005 in NZ
Appearance of Sri Radha Kunda - Snan daan
Kartik Vrata & Festivals of Kartika
Kartika mahatmya from 16th chapter Hari Bhakti Vilasa
All manner of
inspiring nectar regarding Kartika vrat - what to do and the benefits thereof........
Diwali - Dipadan - Dipavali
2nd November 2005 in NZ
Akash-dipam - offering lamps all month long
The Glories of Offering Many Lamps
During the Month of Kärttika
In the Skanda Puräëa it is said:
"A person who lights many lamps inside and outside Lord Viñëu's temple becomes a liberated soul. Holding a diñk and conch, he attains a spiritual form like Lord Viñëu's.
Worship of Govardhan Hill
Govardhan puja & Annakut mahotsav
Thursday 3rd November 2005 in NZ
The Disappearance Anniversary Day of
HDG Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
(1896-1977 - 14th Nov 1977)
Sunday 6th November 2005 in NZ
Sri Tulasi-Shaligram Vivaha - Marriage
Wednesday 16th November 2005 in NZ
Advent of Bhagavad Gita - Mokshada Ekadasi
12th December 2005 in NZ
Free Downloadable Vaishnava Reminder for your Desktop
This Vaishnava Calendar Reminder is so simple, so nice and so practical
It has a huge data base of Towns to choose from, and facility to add towns too.
This can be used in conjunction with all other software and URLs mentioned above.
"This software aimed to be a personal information manager of anyone in Krishna's devotee community. Did you ever miss Ekadasi? With Vaishnava Reminder it will not be so easy - it alerts you about fasting days. Also it has built-in vaishnava calendar generator, to-do tasks, custom events, diary and panchang. And it is 100% free - just visit http://www.vreminder.tk and download it. It quietly sits in the system tray and alerts you when needed."
Vaisnava Reminder v.0.501a setup - 520 kb
Once you've downloaded it and installed it, you'll never want to be
(To view some of the texts on this newsletter you will need to have the Balaram font installed on your system. You can download it for free HERE and then go to Start, settings, control panel and Fonts and Install New Fonts)
The Psychology of Food
The Bhagavad gita states that all foods can be classified according to the three modes of material nature - goodness, passion, and ignorance. These modes (or characteristics of the material energy) directly influence our mind, body, and intelligence. The subtle influence of these modes are sometimes compared to the strings of a pupeteer, and they bind and manipulate our senses, causing us to act in ways we sometimes later regret. The Bhagavad gita also states, however, that the soul is not completely helpless -- we do have a choice -- for we are eternally individual beings with a minute degree of independence. The quality of those choices, therefore, directly effects the manner in which the "strings" of the material energy manipulate our destiny. Here Lord Krishna describes the results of eating under the influence of the mode of goodness:
Foods dear to those in the mode of goodness increase the duration of life, purify one's existence and give strength, health, happiness and satisfaction. Such foods are juicy, fatty, wholesome, and pleasing to the heart. (Bhagavad gita 17.8)
The Bhagavad gita further states that vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, sugar, and milk products are foods in the mode of goodness and may be offered in sacrifice, or in other words: they can be transformed and purified of all karma.
bhunjate te tv agham papa
ye pacanty atma-karanat
The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of
sins because they eat food which is offered first for sacrifice.
Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only
Foods that cannot be used in sacrifice, or as offerings to the Lord, are described thus:
Foods that are too bitter, too sour, salty, hot,
pungent, dry and burning are dear to those in the mode of passion. Such
foods cause distress, misery and disease.
Food prepared more than three hours before being
eaten, food that is tasteless, decomposed and putrid, and food consisting
of remnants and untouchable things is dear to those in the mode of darkness.
( Bhagavad-gita 17.10)
Srila Prabhupada comments:
Foods in the mode of passion, which are bitter, too salty, or too hot or overly mixed with red pepper, cause misery by reducing the mucus in the stomach, leading to disease. Foods in the mode of ignorance or darkness are essentially those that are not fresh. Any food cooked more than three hours before it is eaten (except prasadam, food offered to the Lord) is considered to be in the mode of darkness. Because they are decomposing, such foods give a bad odor, which often attracts people in this mode but repulses those in the mode of goodness... The best food is the remnants of what is offered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead... Therefore to make food antiseptic, eatable and palatable for all persons, one should offer food to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
As a general rule, foods in the modes of passion and ignorance are not offerable to God (Krishna), because such eatables "cause pain, distress and disease" and are "putrid, decomposed and unclean." As may be guessed, meat, fish, and eggs are foods in the lower modes. But there are also a few vegetarian items that are classified in the lower modes - garlic and onions*, for example. They cannot be offered in sacrifice, since these foods are sexually agitating and impure, and they directly interfere with the ultimate purpose of eating sanctified foods: to increase the duration of life, purify the mind, aid bodily strength and reestablish our union (yoga) with the supreme.
* (Hing, sometimes called asafetida, is an acceptable substitute for them in cooking and is available in most Oriental or Indian specialty shops.)
Bhagavad gita quotations © Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.
"Men in the mode of goodness worship the demigods; those
in the mode of passion worship the demons;
and those in the mode of ignorance worship ghosts and spirits." Bhagavad Gita 17:4.
Worshipping the Supreme Lord (visuddha sattwam) and the Devas (sattwa guna), worshipping powerful humans or demons (raja guna), worshipping ancestors and ghosts (tamo guna) - worship according to different modes of nature of the sadhaka.
"Those who are situated in goodness
generally worship the demigods. The demigods include Brahmä, Çiva
and others such as Indra, Candra and the sun-god. There are various demigods.
Those in goodness worship a particular demigod for a particular purpose.
Similarly, those who are in the mode of passion worship the demons. We
recall that during the Second World War a man in Calcutta worshiped Hitler
because thanks to that war he had amassed a large amount of wealth by dealing
in the black market. Similarly, those in the modes of passion and ignorance
generally select a powerful man to be God. They think that anyone can be
worshiped as God and that the same results will be obtained.
Now, it is clearly described here that those who are in the mode of passion worship and create such gods, and those who are in the mode of ignorance, in darkness, worship dead spirits. Sometimes people worship at the tomb of some dead man. Sexual service is also considered to be in the mode of darkness. Similarly, in remote villages in India there are worshipers of ghosts. We have seen that in India the lower-class people sometimes go to the forest, and if they have knowledge that a ghost lives in a tree, they worship that tree and offer sacrifices. These different kinds of worship are not actually God worship. God worship is for persons who are transcendentally situated in pure goodness. In the Çrémad-Bhägavatam (4.3.23) it is said, sattvaà viçuddhaà vasudeva-çabditam: “When a man is situated in pure goodness, he worships Väsudeva.” The purport is that those who are completely purified of the material modes of nature and who are transcendentally situated can worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead." (Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Bhagavad Gita AS IT IS 17:4. purport.)
"In the material world also, wherever
the Supreme Lord is personally
present is to be understood as being the spiritual world. For example, the
Lord is worshipped in the temple by pure devotees. The Temple is therefore
to be understood as being the spiritual world." (Srimad Bhagavatam 4.11.26 Purport)
Regarding offering food: The custom is to offer the foodstuff first to the Spiritual Master; we cannot do anything directly. The Spiritual Master accepts the offering on behalf of his disciple, and offers the same to Krishna. After Krishna's eating, the Spiritual Master eats it, and then the devotees take it as Mahaprasada. This is the system. Everything is offered to the Spiritual Master first, with the prayer ``Nama Om Visnupadaya . . .''
Letter to Jadurani, Los Angeles 1968
We have started this web-site and news-letter for the purpose of sharing inspiration among like minded devotees, with a like interest in serving the Lord. On the www.salagram.net/ site there are many topics all referenced to shastra with the express purpose of helping us all over the world to have Sadhu-sanga http://www.salagram.net/sstp-sadhusanga.html So we have tried to create a sacred place in Cyber-space where devotees can find refuge, can associate, gain inspiration, share inspiration, hence it is Shaligram Tirtha, a Holy Tirtha in Cyber-space. Some of you may have noticed the Warning........ it seems appropriate to some of us it be there as many devotees were feeling they didn't want to express themselves or reveal their "bhav" least people who had no such appreciation might misunderstand - misinterpret - criticise what they saw or read due to their own vision/motivation/agenda. So following the advice of shastra we are keeping our Ishthadevas hidden while sharing mutual appreciation found in rendering some small service to the Lord.
Those of you who haven't visited the site recently, or for the many new persons on the mailing list, you will find transcendental pleasure that there are so many resources and articles, all of which you are welcome to download or copy for your personal use and to inspire others. If however you find a published article there that you would like to publish or if you have a site or some media whereby you would like to on-share with others just check with me to see who holds the legal copywrite if none are mentioned, as we don't want to offend anyone, or do anything illegal, even with our zealousness to share nectar.
If you find any inspirational articles, or items, or pictures relevant to this site please feel free to send them to us. Please include all available references and details so that everything can be appreciated fully by all.
If for some reason http://www.salagram.net/Sri-Shaligram-Tirtha.htm isn't working or available then please go to the mirror site http://www.hknet.org.nz/Sri-Shaligram-Tirtha.htm - and please remember to save these URLs in your Favorites (IE) or Hotlist (Opera) Bookmarks (Netscape).
Latest Updates & Additions @ A Glance
last updated 25 September 2005
In this section you can see all the latest additions, new picture updates of all the various devotees and Silas on the site.
Recently we had the great good fortune for our son to buy me a ticket to go with him to India, he took his digital camera too, so we went on the hunt for Salagrams and Govardhan silas. We had so much fun especially in and around Vrindavan. There's lots of new "Eyes Candy" for you all, as well as devotees we met, and even our own humble page.
We keep this NEW & Updates page separate from the main SEARCH page so that regular nectar loving bees can quickly find their sweet flavoured source in what/Who has been recently added to the site. SEARCH and ARTICLES links and all other pages are also updated simultaneously.
for Isthadevatas and Devotees on the site
"There are no strangers, only friends we are yet to meet" (unknown author)
To all those devotees who are receivers of this first newsletter; if you still haven't sent in photos or introductory descriptions or stories for the Sila in your care, that's okay, time is not out, you can still send. We are continuously updating the pages, so your sending pictures etc is never too late. Please send.
If you have Photoshop please "save for web" to keep the size down, but if you don't have that too is okay, just send, I can "save for web" also, if that will help. If you don't have a scanner that too is no problem, please send me an e-mail and I'll give you the address where you can post (snail-mail) your photographs, and there's always disposable Fuji cameras if things get really tough...... Please also view the article by Param Seva prabhu http://www.salagram.net/sstp-HELP.html
Search here for individual Sevaks and Deities World-wide.
As the late Bhakta George Harrison so nicely put it in the preface of the Krsna Book, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating", so please go to the Articles section and make good use of all the links there. There's so much information and we hope and pray that you find it as useful as we have. =>:-))
This section has to be seen to be believed. We have tried, and had much success to find articles on almost every aspect of Shalagram seva pujan. All articles are clearly marked and ready for your perusal. We trust this serves you in this seva well.
last updated 25th September 2005
Interactive Vaishnava Calendar page of Fasts,
Festivals, Functions and Feasts
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Now you can view the FULL years
1999-2000 & 2000-2001 & 2001-2002 & 2002-2003 & 2003-2004
& 2004-2005 & 2005-2006.
All Calendar entries are explained - Appearance or Disappearance days, festivals, fasts, feasts, etc., for the Iskcon Gaudiya line
For notification of events, such as ekadasi and major festival you might like to also receive the New Zealand Hare Krishna Spiritual Resource network newsletter. You can also view those newsletters current and archived on-line and join the mailing list HERE.
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Understanding the Festivals on the Vrindavan Calendar
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If, knowingly or unknowingly, or out of the association with the saints or out of good fortune, any person eats the food offered to Sri Krsna, the God, the Supreme Spirit, he becomes freed of all his sins and goes to Goloka on a divine chariot (the higher vehicle) or to any other region if he likes so.
O child! Listen; there is an ancient anecdote on this point well-worth-hearing, beautiful and leading to the highly excellent Mukti (liberation).
There was a Brahman of Kanouj doing the office of a priest in the village Suksubdha, subsisting upon the offerings made to the images which he attends, driving the bulls, very stupid and awfully sinful.
Note : Suksubdha means also afraid, distracted.
Never did he do, knowingly or dreamingly, any virtuous act or worship Sri Krsna; he used not also to see, converse or make friends with the devotees of Sri Krsna.
Now owing to a little of his past good Karma, a rare good opportunity came to him for a while; he ate a portion of the food, (Naivedyam) offered to Sri Krsna.
Seeing a little such Naivedyam lying on the roadside his boy ate that, due to the good deeds of his father; and the father, the above Brahman also got a little of the remnant of that Naivedya already eaten by another Vaisnava.
Washing those grains of rice for a long time from dirt and dust, that Brahmana ate that; though worn out and wasted, it appeared as good food to him.
But the Brahmana, out-of haste, mixed his remnant with Sri Krsna's Naivedyam and ate that; the remnant was found lying on the Naivedyam.
And his good son too, was very much hungry and ate that also. Both then returned home. Then the Brahman's chaste wife took whatever was left of that Naivedyam.
Thus, the Brahmin's wife became pure and holy; and through each other's connection, that Brahmana and his son became Jivanmukta (liberated whilst living.)
Now once on an occassion that Brahmana who ate a portion of Sri Krsna's Naivedyam was eaten up by a tiger; on account of this merit that tiger went to Goloka along with that Brahman and his son. His chaste wife died a sati and she also went along with them to the region of Goloka.
Here ends the second chapter of Sri Narada Pancha Ratram in the first Ratra on eulogizing Sri Krsna's Naivedyam in course of a dialogue between Brahma and Sanatkumara.
In this particular newsletter we are trying to share some of these experiences from the past and present to inspire us all into further appreciation of Bhagavat prasadam for the future, and future generations. Such is the potency of prasadam.
With no more ado: sarira avidya jal.........
Prasada sevaya - Songs for the Honoring of Spiritual Food (from Gitavali) part one (this first song should be sung before honoring the Lord's prasada)
sarira abidya-jal, jodendriya tahe kal,
jibe phele bisaya-sagore
ta'ra madhye jihva ati, lobhamoy sudurmati
ta'ke jeta kathina somsare
2) krsna baro doyamoy, karibare jihva
swa-prasad-anna dilo bhai
sei annamrta khao, radha-krsna-guna gao,
preme dako caitanya-nitai
To hear and learn these prayers:
"O brothers! This material body is a place of ignorance, and the senses are a network of paths to death. The senses throw the soul into this ocean of material sense enjoyment and, of all the senses, the tongue is most voracious and uncontrol-lable; it is very difficult to conquer the tongue in this world. O brothers! Lord Krsna is very kind to us and has given us such nice prasada, just to control the tongue. Now let us take this prasada to our full satisfaction and glorify Their Lordships, Sri Sri Radha and Krsna and, in love, call for the help of Lord Caitanya and Prabhu Nityananda."
ek-dina santipure, prabhu advaitera ghare,
dui prabhu bhojane bosilo
sak kori' asvadana, prabhu bole bhakta-gana,
ei sak krsna asvadilo
2) heno sak-asvadane, krsna-prema dise mane,
sei preme koro asvadana
jada-buddhi pari-hari', prasada bhojana kori',
'hari hari' bolo sarva-jan
"O brothers! One day at Santipura, in Sri Advaita's house, Lord Caitanya and Nityananda were seated at prasada. When Lord Caitanya tasted the green vegetables, He said, 'My devotees, this sak is so delicious! Lord Krsna has definitely tasted it. At the taste of such sak as this, love of Krsna arises in the heart. In such love of God you should take this prasada. Giving up all materialistic conceptions and taking the Lord's prasada, all of you just chant 'Hari! Hari!'"
sacir angane kabhu, madhavendra-puri prabhu,
prasadanna koren bhojana
khaite khaite ta'ra, ailo prema sudurbar
bole, suno sannyasirf gana
2) moca-ghanta phula-bari, dali-dalna-caccari,
saci-mata korilo randhana
ta'ra suddha bhakti heri', bhojana korilo hari,
sudha-sama e anna-byanjana
3) joge jogi pay jaha, bhoge aj ha'be taha
'hari boli' khao sabe bhai
krsnera prasad-anna, tri-jagat kore dhanya,
tripurari nace jaha pai'
"O brothers! Whenever Madhavendra Puri took prasada in the courtyard of Mother Saci, uncontrollable ecstatic symptoms of love of God overwhelmed him while he ate. O assembled sannyasis, just listen to this. Mother Saci cooked and prepared semi-solid preparations made with banana flowers, a special dahl preparation, baskets of fruits, small square cakes made of lentils and cooked-down milk and many other varieties of prasada. Seeing her pure devotion, Lord Krsna personally ate all these different vegetable preparations, which were just like nectar. All the results the mystic obtains in the execution of yoga will be obtained today in the taking of the prasada of the Lord. O brothers! Everyone simply eat the prasada of Lord Hari and chant His holy name. The entire universe glorifies and praises the prasada of Lord Krsna. Obtaining that prasada, Lord Siva dances in great joy."
sri-caitanya nityananda, srivasadi bhakta-brnda,
gauridasa panditer ghare
luci,cini khir, sar, mithai, payas,ara,
pitha-pana asvadan kore
2) mahaprabhu bhakta-gane, parama-ananda-mane
ajna dilo korite bhojana
krsnera prasad-anna, bhojane ho-iya dhanya
'krsna' boli' dake sarva-jan
"O brothers! Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda, along with all Their devotees headed by Srivasa Thakura, relish and taste different varieties of prasada at the home of Gauridasa Pandita. They are taking puris made with white flour and sugar, khir, solid cream collected over yogurt, sweetmeats, sweet rice and many kinds of cakes and condensed milk preparations. Mahaprabhu, Sri Krsna Caitanya, gave the order to all His devotees, in whose minds there was transcendental bliss, to eat the prasada of the Lord. Becoming very ecstatic by eating the prasada of the Lord, everyone chanted 'Krsna! Krsna!'"
ek-din nilacale, prasad-sevana-kale,
bolilen bhakta-gane, khecaranna suddha-mane,
seva kori' hao aj dhanya
2) khecaranna pitha-pana apurba prasad n(?)a,
jagannatha dilo toma sabe
akantha bhojana kori', bolo mukhe 'hari (?),
abidya-durita nahi ra'be
3) jagannatha-prasadanna, birinci-sambhur m(?)a,
khaile prema ho-ibe udoy
emana durlabha dhana, paiyacho sarva-jana
jaya jaya jagannatha jaya
"O brothers! One day in Jagannatha Puri, at the time of honouring the Lord's prasada, Lord Caitanya said to all the devotees, 'Honouring the khichuri of the Lord with a pure mind, may you become blessed on this day. Lord Jagannatha gave to all of you varieties of extraordinary and wonderful prasada, such as khichuri and many kinds of cakes and condensed milk preparations. Therefore, take all of this prasada till you are filled up to the neck and chant 'Hari! Hari!' In such a transcendental atmosphere ignorance and sin will not remain. This prasada of Lord Jagannatha is even worshipable for Lord Brahma and Lord Siva. Upon eating it, love of God will certainly arise within the heart. All of you have obtained such a rarely obtained treasure. All glories, all glories, all glories to Lord Jagannatha.'"
rama-krsna gocarane, jaiben dura bane,
eta cinti' jasoda-rohini
khir, sar, chana, nani, du'jane khaowano ani',
batsalye ananda mane gani'
bayasya rakhala-gane, khay rama-krsna-sane,
nace gay ananda-antare
krsner prasad khay, udara bhoriya jay,
'ara deo' 'ara deo' kare
"O brothers! One day Mother Yasoda and Mother Rohini were thinking: 'Today our two boys Balarama and Krsna will go to a forest to tend Their cows.' Thus contemplating in such ecstasy of parental affection, they prepared a wonderful feast for the two boys consisting of khir, solid cream collected over yogurt, curd and fresh yellow butter. All the cowherd boyfriends took lunch with Balarama and Krsna and danced and sang in ecstasy within their hearts. They all ate the remnants of Krsna's lunch and filled up their bellies saying, 'Give us more, give us more!'"
mahA-prasAde govinde nAma-brahmaNi vaiSNave
svalpa-puNya-vatAM rAjan vizvAso naiva jAyate
O king, for those with little pious credit, faith in mahA-prasAda, SrI
Govinda, the holy name, and the VaiSNavas never arises. [MahAbhArata]
HONOURING THE LORD'S PRASADA
One should respect the prasada of the Lord by first offering one's obeisances to it, then singing its glories, then chanting the maha-mantra and uttering the prema-dvani to the spiritual master, acaryas, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Radha-Krsna and all the assembled Vaisnavas.
The Glorification of the Lord's Prasada
anna-panadikam ca yat
nasti tad-bhaksane dvijah
yatha visnus tathaiva tat
vikaram ye prakurvanti
bhaksane tad dvijatayah
nirayam yanti te vipras
tasman navartate punah
"O brahmanas, in the eating of food such as rice and water, etc., which has been tasted by the Lord of the universe, Sri Krsna, there is no consideration of whether it is eatable or uneatable. Just as Lord Visnu is spiritual and is not subject to mundane transformation, so in the same way His prasada is spiritual and untransformable. Those brahmanas, who consider that in the eating of visnu-prasada there is some mundane transformation of its spiritual qualities and thus it can become contaminated by contact with someone's mouth or hands, become afflicted with leprosy, become bereft of their sons and wife, and go to hell, never again to return from that place." (Visnu Purana)
bhunjate te tv agham papa
ye pacanty atma-karanat
The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat food which is offered first for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin. (Bhagavad-gita 3.13)
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 8/195 from HARI BHAKTI SUDDHODAYA)
The Supreme Personality of Godhead becomes very satisfied even if very minute food if offered to him by a devotee with full devotion and at once He gives full happiness to the offerer.
YAD ANANDA KALAM GAYAN BHAKTAH PUNYA ASRU VARSATI
TAT SARVVA TIRTHA-SALILA SNANAM SVAMALA SODHANAM
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 8/273 from HARI BHAKTI SUDDHODAYA)
Devoted devotees, while singing for the Supreme Lord with a choked throat, with hairs standing on end, or with tears from their eyes like rain, they burn their acquired sins, and achieve the merit of bathing in all the places of pilgrimage.
APAVITRA YADANNAM SYAT PANIYAN CAPI PAPINAM
BHUKTVA PITVA VISUDDHAH SYAT PITVA PADODAKAM HAREH
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 9/50 from BRAHMANDA PURANA conversation between Lord Brahma and Narada Muni)
If someone has eaten impure foods from someone or has drank water left from a great sinner, the sins which are derived from such eating and drinking, can become nullified just by drinking the water which has emanated from the lotus feet of Lord Sri Hari.
SUDDHAM BHAGAVATASYANNAM SUDDHAM BHAGIRATHI JALAM
SUDDHAM VISNU PARAM CITTAM SUDDHAM EKADASI VRATAM
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 9/283 from SKANDA PURANA conversation between Markandeya and Bhagiratha)
Food from the devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Ganges water, the mind engaged in the lotus feet of Lord Visnu and the day of Lord Hari, named Ekadasi, these are all pure.
PATRAM PUSPAM PHALAM TOYAM ANNA PANADY AUSADHAM
ANIVEDYA NA BHUNJITA YAD AHARAYA KALPITAM
ANIVEDYA TU BHUNJANAH PRAYASCITTI BHAVENNARAH
TASMAT SARVAM NIVEDYAIVA VISNOR BHUNJITA SARVADA
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 9/338,339 from BRAHMANDA PURANA)
Leaves, flowers, fruits, water, grains, drinks, and medicines altogether, whatever is to be used by a person, cannot be used without offering it to the Supreme Lord. If somebody uses something without first offering it to the Lord, that person must perform atonements. Therefore, everything should be first offered to the Lord before taking it himself.
AMBARISA GRHE PAKVAM YAD ABHISTAM SADATMANAH
ANIVEDYA HARER BHUNJAN SAPTA KALPANI NARAKI
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 9/34O from PADMA PURANA conversation between Gautama and Ambarisa)
Oh Ambarisa, if anything desirable is being prepared within the house, if iteaten without first offering it to Lord Janardana, that person has to sufferin hell for seven kalpas (one kalpa is one thousand yugas).
AMBARISA NAVAM VASTRAM PHALAM ANNAM RASADIKAM
KRTVA VISNU UPABHUKTAN TU SADA SEVYAM HI VAISNAVAIH
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 9/343 from VISNU SMRTI conversation between Gautama Rsi and Ambarisa Maharaja)
A Vaisnava should always offer new clothes, fruits, grains, and juices to the Supreme Lord Visnu before he accepts them for himself.
YO MAMA EVA ARCANAM KRTVA TATRA PRAPANAM UTTAMAM
SESAM ANNAM SAMASNATI TATAH SAUKHYA TARAM NU KIM
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 9/390 from VARAHA PURANA)
After worshipping Me, one should offer Me sumptuous food, and after offering it to Me, he should eat sumptuously. What would be more pleasing than this?
See more about making offerings to Krishna here
BHAKTYA BHUNAKTI NAIVEDYAM SALAGRAMA SILARPITAM
KOTIM MAKHASYA LABHATE PHALAM SATA SAHASRASAH
(HARI BHAKTI VILASA 9/395 from SKANDA PURANA)
One who eats food after offering it to Salagram Sila, he achieves
the results of performing one hundred times one thousand times one million
Srila Rupa Goswami mentions some of the benefits of worshipping a Nrsimha shalagram sila in his book, Padyavali:
"A tulasi leaf offered to the lotus feet of the Nrsimha shalagram sila destroys the sin of murder. Water that has washed the lotus feet of the Nrsimha shalagram sila destroys the sin of theft. Foodstuff offered to the Nrsimha shalagram sila destroys the sin of drinking liquor. Sincere surrender to the Nrsimha shalagram sila destroys the sin of adultery with the wife of the spiritual master. Association with the devotees of the Nrsimha shalagram sila destroys the sin of offenses to the devotees. This is the extraordinary glory of the Nrsimha shalagram sila."
[ Srila Rupa Goswami: Padyavali, Verse 116]
deçe käle ca sampräpte
çraddhayä vidhivat pätre
nyastaà kämadhug akñayam
deçe—in a proper place, namely a holy place of pilgrimage; käle—at an auspicious time; ca—also; sampräpte—when available; muni-annam—foodstuffs prepared with ghee and suitable to be eaten by great saintly persons; hari-daivatam—unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari; çraddhayä—with love and affection; vidhi-vat—according to the directions of the spiritual master and the çästras; pätre—unto the suitable person; nyastam—if it is so offered; kämadhuk—becomes a source of prosperity; akñayam—everlasting.
When one gets the opportunity of a suitable auspicious time and place, one should, with love, offer food prepared with ghee to the Deity of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and then offer the prasäda to a suitable person—a Vaiñëava or brähmaëa. This will be the cause of everlasting prosperity. (Srimad Bhagavatam 7:15:5.)
ätmane sva-janäya ca
annaà saàvibhajan paçyet
sarvaà tat puruñätmakam
deva—unto the demigods; åñi—saintly persons; pitå—forefathers; bhütebhyaù—the living entities in general; ätmane—relatives; sva-janäya—family members and friends; ca—and; annam—foodstuff (prasäda); saàvibhajan—offering; paçyet—one should see; sarvam—all; tat—them; puruña-ätmakam—related to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
One should offer prasäda to the demigods, the saintly persons, one's forefathers, the people in general, one's family members, one's relatives and one's friends, seeing them all as devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
As mentioned above, it is recommended that everyone distribute prasäda, considering every living being a part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. Even in feeding the poor, one should distribute prasäda. In Kali-yuga there is a scarcity of food almost every year, and thus philanthropists spend lavishly to feed the poor. For this they invent the term daridra-näräyaëa-sevä. This is prohibited. One should distribute sumptuous prasäda, considering everyone a part of the Supreme Lord, but one should not juggle words to make a poor man Näräyaëa. Everyone is related to the Supreme Lord, but one should not mistakenly think that because one is related to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he has become the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Näräyaëa. Such a Mäyäväda philosophy is extremely dangerous, especially for a devotee. Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu has therefore strictly forbidden us to associate with Mäyävädé philosophers. Mäyävädi-bhäñya çunile haya sarva-näça: if one associates with the Mäyäväda philosophy, his devotional life is doomed.(Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad. Srimad Bhagavatam 7:15:6., text and purport.)
na dadyäd ämiñaà
na cädyäd dharma-tattvavit
muny-annaiù syät parä prétir
yathä na paçu-hiàsayä
na—never; dadyät—should offer; ämiñam—meat, fish, eggs and so on; çräddhe—in the performance of the çräddha ceremony; na—nor; ca—also; adyät—one should eat personally; dharma-tattva-vit—one who is actually learned in regard to religious activities; muni-annaiù—by preparations made with ghee for saintly persons; syät—should be; parä—first-class; prétiù—satisfaction; yathä—for the forefathers and the Supreme Personality of Godhead; na—not; paçu-hiàsayä—by killing animals unnecessarily.
A person fully aware of religious principles should never offer anything like meat, eggs or fish in the çräddha ceremony, and even if one is a kñatriya, he himself should not eat such things. When suitable food prepared with ghee is offered to saintly persons, the function is pleasing to the forefathers and the Supreme Lord, who are never pleased when animals are killed in the name of sacrifice.(Srimad Bhagavatam. 7:15:7.)
kalpayed våttim ätmanaù
çeñe svatvaà tyajan präjïaù
padavéà mahatäm iyät
siddhaiù—things obtained by the grace of the Lord; yajïä-avaçiñöa-arthaiù—things obtained after a sacrifice is offered to the Lord or after the recommended païca-sünä yajïa is performed; kalpayet—one should consider; våttim—the means of livelihood; ätmanaù—for the self; çeñe—at the end; svatvam—so-called proprietorship over one's wife, children, home, business and so on; tyajan—giving up; präjïaù—those who are wise; padavém—the position; mahatäm—of the great personalities who are fully satisfied in spiritual consciousness; iyät—should achieve.
An intelligent person should be satisfied with eating prasäda [food offered to the Lord] or with performing the five different kinds of yajïa [païca-sünä*]. By such activities, one can give up attachment for the body and so-called proprietorship with reference to the body. When one is able to do this, he is firmly fixed in the position of a mahätmä.
The five mahä-yajïas, or great sacrifices, are defined as follows: päöho homaç cätithénäà saparyä tarpaëaà baliù—"reciting the Vedas, offering oblations into the sacrificial fire, waiting on guests, making offerings to the forefathers, and offering [a share of one's food] to living entities in general."
Çréla Prabhupäda comments as follows on these sacrifices: "In another palace Kåñëa was found performing the païca-yajïa sacrifice, which is compulsory for a householder. This yajïa is also known as païca-sünä. Knowingly or unknowingly, everyone, specifically the householder, is committing five kinds of sinful activities. When we receive water from a water pitcher, we kill many germs that are in it. Similarly, when we use a grinding machine or take foodstuffs, we kill many germs. When sweeping the floor or igniting a fire, we kill many germs. When we walk on the street we kill many ants and other insects. Consciously or unconsciously, in all our different activities we are killing. Therefore it is incumbent upon every householder to perform the païca-sünä sacrifice to rid himself of the reactions to such sinful activities."(Srimad Bhagavatam 10:69:24. purport)
Prabhupad: This bhüta-hatyä.
Bhüta-hatyä is also recognized here as sinful activities. As
wine is sinful or impure—if not sinful, it is impure—bhüta-hatyä,
killing of animal, is also sinful activities. So you cannot counteract
by performing yajïa, because in the yajïa there is also another
So even there is no bhüta-hatyä... That is called païca-sünä-yajïa, five kinds of imperceptible sinful activities. Just like when we are walking on the street, there are many ants and germs, they are being killed. I do not know, I do not wish to kill, but they are being killed. When you are igniting fire, in the fireplace, there are so many small ants. So as soon as you ignite, all those small ants—you cannot see—they die. Similarly, when you keep water, there are so many microbes and other living entities. So as you press on it, they die. Similarly, pestle and mortar. In India the system, they don't purchase...Those who are rigid family, they do not purchase these powdered spices. No. They bring whole spices and they smash it with mortar and pestle. That is very nice. So doing that smashing work, you kill so many animals. In breathing, you kill so many animals. In drinking water, you kill so many animals. This is bhüta-hatyä. You are killing. This is not intentional. You do not know. Therefore in a Vedic system there is prescription, païca-sünä-yajïa. Païca means five, and sünä means bhüta-hatyä, or killing animals, sünä.
Striya-sünä-päna-dyüta [SB 1.17.38]. Sünä. Sünä means violence. So we prohibit these four kinds of sinful life: killing of animals and illicit sex... Striya, sünä, and... Païca-sünä. Yes... Striya-sünä-päna. Päna means intoxicants, and dyüta means gambling. So these are four kinds of sinful activities. So out of that, sünä is one. That is also divided in many divisions, at least five. Willingly, we are not going to kill anybody, but unwillingly... Therefore there is païca-sünä-yajïa. You have to perform yajïa every day to counteract the sinful reaction of your imperceptible killings of animals. That's it. This is Vedic life.
So Yudhiñöhira Mahäräja says that "It is not possible to counteract." But indirectly, Yudhiñöhira Mahäräja says, that if you... He says simply the negative side, but the positive side is, in this age, simply by chanting Hare Kåñëa mahä-mantra, you become purified. That is the recommendation by Caitanya Mahäprabhu. Ceto-darpaëa-märjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. There are two kinds of, what is called, atonement. One atonement, by the prescribed method. You have done... Just like I'll give you common example. Just like you have committed theft. One atonement is that you go to the jail and live there for some time. This is atonement. If you have committed a murder, then you also be hanged. These are the laws. When the king orders somebody to be hanged on account of his committing murder, the king is not sinful. King is helpful. King is helping that rascal to atone his murdering activities. Otherwise, if he is not hanged, then next life, next time, he will be put into difficulty. Next time he will have to become animal. He will be slaughtered. These laws they do not know. Why these animals are being slaughtered? There is some nature's law. They were murderer or slaughterer in their past life as human being. Now they have assumed, they have accepted a body to be slaughtered by the laws of nature. When an animal is slaughtered in sacrifice, there is mantra.
The mantra is that... The animal slaughter in sacrifice is recommended for the animal-eaters, not for all. Those who are... To restrict.
In the Vedas there is recommendation that animals can be sacrificed in yajïa. So that is also another meaning. The verse is loke vyaväyämiña-madya-sevä nityä hi jantor na hi tatra codanä. In this material world every living entity has got natural propensity for sex life, meat-eating and intoxication. There is already propensities. You haven't got to teach. Nobody teaches in the school how to enjoy sex life. Everyone knows. So these things are natural. Then why it has been taken by the Vedas? This should be the question, that "Without marriage, sex life is going on. Why this show of marriage?" People may question this. But there is need. Because Vedas have taken this marriage. Marriage is Vedic. So why Vedas have taken this marriage? No, to restrict it. Without marriage, sex life (is) unrestricted. And as soon as it comes to the Vedic principles, it becomes restricted. So the idea is to restrict. People are accustomed to this habit, and on account of this habit, they gradually become implicated with the laws of material nature. Therefore there is some restriction. Just like anyone can distill liquor at home. It is not very difficult thing. Anyone can do it. In India they do it. It is called dheno-mada. Dheno-mada means... Mada means liquor, and dheno means from rice. Just like we cook rice, so you cook rice and keep it in water for a few days or for a month, it becomes liquor. It becomes liquor. So why government has restricted, "No, you cannot manufacture liquor; you have to purchase from the licensed shop." Why? That is restriction. If the government would have allowed that "You can distill liquor and drink it," then there was no limit. Everyone would have. There is no restriction.
So restriction is required. Why? It is because it is bad. Nobody restricts that "You don't manufacture cäpäöi." No. Because it is not bad thing. There is no such law, that "You don't manufacture nice foodstuff." No. That is very good. But when it is bad, then there is restriction. Therefore there is restriction of sex life, there is restriction of drinking wine, there is restriction of meat-eating, and there is restriction of gambling. Because these things are bad. You cannot become good by indulging in bad things. That is not possible. The same thing. Just like you cannot clear muddy water by putting another mud. That is not possible.
So the human life is meant for purification. Sattva-çuddhi. In the Bhagavad-gétä there is, abhayam... What is that? Can anyone... Abhayaà sattva-saàçuddhiù. Sattva-saàçuddhi, it is very important thing. Sattva means my existence. I am eternal. So I am existing, but I am suffering. I am suffering. Just like I have got now cold affection (infection). This is not my natural state, but I have been affected by chilly cold or something like that. Therefore I am suffering. So it is my duty to cure it, to take some medicine, to go to the physician. That is called sattva-saàçuddhi, purifying your existence. By nature, by constitutional position, every living entity is as pure as God. But God does not become impure. We become impure. Therefore we are suffering. That is the... So this impurity can be rectified in this life, this human form of life. Therefore human form of life is meant for purification. Therefore so many scriptures are there, so many teachers are there, so many rules and regulations are there. They are not meant for the animals, because they cannot be purified. They must have to come to this position by evolution of human being. Then there is chance of purification.
Therefore in this human life, if we do not purify our existence, then we go on with this impure existence. Impure existence means transmigration of the soul from one body to another, and become subjected to birth, death, old age and disease. This is impurification. So they do not know that "Death is not my obligation. Because I am impure, therefore I am dying. Birth is not my obligation. Because I am impure, therefore I am taking birth." Janma-måtyu... Four things: janma-måtyu-jarä-vyädhi [Bg. 13.9]. Janma, birth, is due to my impure consciousness. Therefore if we purify our consciousness by advancing, by developing Kåñëa consciousness, then we become pure. This is the process of Kåñëa consciousness movement. Ceto-darpaëa-märjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12], Caitanya Mahäprabhu says, cleansing the heart. And all these purificatory methods, they are based on cleansing the heart. If I think myself that "I am something of this material product..." The scientists, they say that "I am these material things." They do not understand what is spiritual identity. And I do, I act, according to that material conception, that is impurity of my consciousness. First thing is to understand that "I am not this material body."
Therefore, spiritual education begins from this body. As Kåñëa says in the Bhagavad-gétä, dehino 'smin yathä dehe [Bg. 2.13]. Asmin dehe, in this body there is the spiritual spark who is the proprietor of the body. This is the beginning of spiritual education. What is, the scientists cannot imagine, or they have no idea, from there we begin our education in spiritual life, beyond their jurisdiction, beyond the jurisdiction of the scientists. And how they can understand this movement? It is beyond their jurisdiction. When they will receive one hundred or one thousands of Nobel Prize, at that time they may be able to understand that where Kåñëa consciousness movement begins. They do not know even where the Kåñëa consciousness movement begins. Therefore, generally people cannot understand what is this Kåñëa consciousness movement. They think it is some religious sentiment. Like so many other religions, it is like that. No. It is most the scientific movement, purifying the existence of the living being so that he can eternally, blissfully live, with complete knowledge. That is Kåñëa consciousness movement. To purify. Yena çuddhyet sattvam. And for such... Just like for being cured from your attack of cold and cough, you take so many medicine, go to so many physician, you spend some money. Why? You want to be cured. Similarly, if you understand that "This is my disease, repetition of birth, death, old age and disease," so you'll have to sacrifice. Just like you are sacrificing money for being cured from the diseased condition, similarly, çästra says that this human life is meant for tapasya, tapasya. Tapo divyaà yena çuddhyet sattvam [SB 5.5.1]. This human life is meant for tapasya, not for indulging in sensual gratification like the animals. Tapasya. So in the tapasya method these things are prescribed. So Yudhiñöhira Mahäräja is mentioning them.
So this Kåñëa consciousness movement means training people how to become tapasvé, tapasvé, who is undergoing tapasya, regulative, so that he may be cured from this permanent disease, birth, death, old age and disease. The Kåñëa consciousness movement. The whole Vedic process is meant for that purpose, to purify the existence of the living being so that he can be saved from the repetition of birth, death, old age and disease. (Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad. 14th May 1973. Lecture Srimad Bhagavatam 1:8 series excerpt. Los Angeles.)
Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada on some considerations of Prasadam
I am always well... in the sense that even if there is suffering, I know
Kåñëa will protect me. But this suffering is not due
to my sinful activities.
Bob: But let us say when I—in the town I live in, I take boiled water because some of the water has disease in it. Now, why should I drink boiled water if I have been good enough not to get a disease? Then I may drink any water. And if I have been not acting properly. then I shall get disease anyway.
Çréla Prabhupäda: So long as you are in the material world, you cannot neglect physical laws. Suppose you go to a jungle and there is a tiger. It is known that it will attack you, so why should you voluntarily go and be attacked? It is not that a devotee should take physical risk so long as he has a physical body. It is not a challenge to the physical laws: “I have become a devotee. I challenge everything.” That is foolishness.
yuktaà vairägyam ucyate
The devotee is advised to accept the necessities of life without attachment. He’ll take boiled water, but if boiled water is not available, does it mean he will not drink water? If it is not available, he will drink ordinary water. We take Kåñëa prasäda, but while touring, sometimes we have to take some food in a hotel. Because one is a devotee, should he think, “I will not take any foodstuffs from the hotel. I shall starve”? If I starve, then I will be weak and will not be able to preach.
Bob: Does a devotee lose some of
his individuality, in that—
Çréla Prabhupäda: No, he has full individuality for pleasing Kåñëa. Kåñëa says, “You surrender unto Me.” So he voluntarily surrenders. It is not that he has lost his individuality. He keeps his individuality. Just like Arjuna—in the beginning, he was declining to fight, on account of his individuality. But when he accepted Kåñëa as his spiritual master, he became çiñya [a disciple]. Then whatever Kåñëa ordered, he said yes. That doesn’t mean he lost his individuality. He voluntarily accepted: “Whatever Kåñëa says, I shall do it.” Just like all my disciples—they have not lost their individuality, but they have surrendered their individuality. That is required. For example, suppose a man does not use sex. It does not mean he has become impotent. If he likes, he can have sex life a thousand times. But he has voluntarily avoided it. Paraà dåñövä nivartate: he has a higher taste. Sometimes we fast, but that does not mean we are diseased. We voluntarily fast. It does not mean that I am not hungry or cannot eat. But we voluntarily fast.
Bob: Does the devotee who surrenders keep his individual taste?
Çréla Prabhupäda: Yes, in full.
Bob: Taste for different things?
Çréla Prabhupäda: Hm?
Bob: Does he keep his individual likes and dislikes?
Çréla Prabhupäda: Yes, he keeps everything. But he gives preference to Kåñëa.
Suppose I like this thing but Kåñëa says, “No, you cannot use it.” Then I shall not use it. It is for Kåñëa’s sake.
yuktaà vairägyam ucyate
Kåñëa says positively,
“I like these things.” So we have to offer to Kåñëa what
He likes, and then we’ll take prasäda. Kåñëa likes
Rädhäräëé. Therefore all the gopés, they
are trying to push Rädhäräëé to Kåñëa.
“Kåñëa likes this gopé. All right, push Her.”
That is Kåñëa consciousness. To satisfy the senses of
Kåñëa, not to satisfy my senses. That is bhakti. That
is called prema, love for Kåñëa. “Ah, Kåñëa
likes this. I must give Him this.”
Bob: There is some prasäda [food offered to Kåñëa]. It’s offered, and then we go and eat, and different prasädams are served. Some I like, and some I find the taste not at all to my liking.
Çréla Prabhupäda: You should not do that. The perfection is that whatever is offered to Kåñëa you should accept. That is perfection. You cannot say. “I like this, I don’t like this.” So long as you make such discrimination, that means you have not appreciated what prasäda is.
A devotee: What if there is someone speaking of likes and dislikes? Say someone is preparing some prasäda...
Çréla Prabhupäda: No disliking, no liking. Whatever Kåñëa likes, that’s all right.
A devotee: Yes. But say someone prepares something, like some prasäda for Kåñëa, but he does not make it so good, and it is—
Çréla Prabhupäda: No, if made sincerely with devotion, then Kåñëa will like it. Just like Vidura. Vidura was feeding Kåñëa bananas, but he was so absorbed in thought that he was throwing away the real bananas and he was giving Kåñëa the skin, and Kåñëa was eating. [All laugh] Kåñëa knew that he was giving in devotion, and Kåñëa can eat anything, provided there is devotion. It does not matter whether it is materially tasteful or not. Similarly, a devotee also takes Kåñëa prasäda, whether it is materially tasteful or not. We should accept everything.
A devotee: But if the devotion is not there, like in India...
Çréla Prabhupäda: If devotion is not there, He doesn’t like any food, either tasteful or not tasteful. He does not accept it.
A devotee: In India... Somebody—
Çréla Prabhupäda: Oh, India, India. Don’t talk of India! Talk of philosophy. If there is not devotion, Kåñëa does not accept anything, either in India or in your country. Lord Kåñëa is not obliged to accept anything costly because it is very tasty. Kåñëa has very many tasteful dishes in Vaikuëöha. He is not hankering after your food. He accepts your devotion, bhakti. The real thing is devotion, not the food. Kåñëa does not accept any food of this material world. He accepts only the devotion.
yo me bhaktyä prayacchati
tad ahaà bhakty-upahåtam
[Bhagavad gita. 9.26]
[“If one offers Me with love and
devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it.”] “Because
it has been offered to Me with devotion and love”—that is required. Therefore
we do not allow anyone to cook who is not a devotee. Kåñëa
does not accept anything from the hands of a nondevotee. Why should He
accept? He is not hungry. He does not require any food. He accepts only
the devotion, that’s all. That is the main point. So one has to become
a devotee. Not a good cook. But if he is a devotee, then he will be a good
cook also. Automatically he will become a good cook. Therefore one has
to become a devotee only. Then all other good qualifications will automatically
be there. And if he is a nondevotee, any good qualifications have no value.
He is on the mental plane, so he has no good qualification. [There is a
long pause in the conversation.]
Çréla Prabhupäda: And the time?
Çyämasundara: Six o’clock.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Questions and answers are required. They are beneficial to all.
Bob: I still have a question on the prasäda.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Süta Gosvämé says:
munayaù sädhu påñöo
yat kåtaù kåñëa-sampraçno
[Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.5]
[“O sages, I have been justly questioned
by you. Your questions are worthy because they relate to Lord Kåñëa
and so are relevant to the world’s welfare. Only questions of this sort
are capable of completely satisfying the self.”] Kåñëa-sampraçnaù,
that is very good. When you discuss and hear, that is loka-maìgalam,
auspicious for everyone. Both the questions and the answers.
Bob: I still do not understand so much about prasäda. But if you like I’ll think about it and ask you again tomorrow.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Prasäda is always prasäda. But because we are not elevated sufficiently, therefore we do not like some prasäda.
Bob: I found specifically that what I mean—that some are too spicy, and it hurts my stomach.
Çréla Prabhupäda: Well... That is also due to not appreciating, but the cook should have consideration. Kåñëa must be offered first-class foodstuffs. So if he offers something last class, he is not performing his duty. But Kåñëa can accept anything if it is offered by a devotee, and a devotee can accept any prasäda, even if it is spicy.
Hiraëyakaçipu gave his son poison [and the son offered it to Kåñëa], and the son drank it as nectar. So even if it is spicy to others, taste, it is very palatable to the devotee. What is the question of spicy? He was offered poison, real poison. And Pütanä Räkñasé—she also offered Kåñëa poison. But Kåñëa is so nice that He thought, “She took Me as My mother,” so He took the poison and delivered her. Kåñëa does not take the bad side. A good man does not take the bad side—he takes only the good side. Just like one of my big Godbrothers—he wanted to make business with my Guru Mahäräja [spiritual master], but my Guru Mahäräja did not take the bad side. He took the good side. He thought, “He has come forward to give me some service.”
Bob: Business with your—what was that? Business with who?
Çréla Prabhupäda: I am talking about my Guru Mahäräja.
Bob: Oh, I see. I have another question on prasäda, if I may. Let us say some devotee has some trouble and does not eat a certain type of food—like some devotees do not eat ghee because of liver trouble. So these devotees, should they take all the prasäda?
Çréla Prabhupäda: No, no. Those who are not perfect devotees may discriminate. But a perfect devotee does not discriminate. Why should you imitate a perfect devotee? So long as you have discrimination, you are not a perfect devotee. So why should you artificially imitate a perfect devotee and eat everything?
Çréla Prabhupäda: The point is, a perfect devotee does not make any discrimination. Whatever is offered to Kåñëa is nectar. That’s all. Kåñëa accepts anything from a devotee. “Whatever is offered to Me by My devotee,” He accepts. The same thing for a devotee. Don’t you see the point? A perfect devotee does not make any discrimination. But if I am not a perfect devotee and I have discrimination, why shall I imitate the perfect devotee? It may not be possible for me to digest everything because I am not a perfect devotee. A devotee should not be a foolish man. It is said:
kåñëa ye bhaje se baòa catura
So a devotee knows his position, and he is intelligent enough to deal with others accordingly.
courtesy of http://www.vedabase.com
verses from other religious traditions on vegetarianism and partaking of
sacred remnants of sacrifice here:
"Giving classes and holding feasts is our preaching. We should hold sankirtana as much as possible and distribute prasadam. Gradually when their heart is softened, then we will talk of philosophy, not in the beginning."
Srila Prabhupada Letter to Tusta Krsna, 08-23-76
Krsna Prasadam can be used as the centerpiece of an endless number of opportunities for preaching Krsna Consciousness, both in the temple and the home. Nama hatta means that you transform your home and family into an asrama wherein Krsna becomes the center and the Holy Name of the Lord is chanted regularly, Krsna prasadam is offered, and the Deities are served. Dovetailing prasadam distribution with a home preaching program is easy and enjoyable, and allows the whole family to participate in spreading Krsna Consciousness. Whatever your personal circumstances, you can creatively adapt some level of preaching around your own program of offering and taking Krsna prasadam.
Many pages in the Prasadam section of the website describe recipes -- and whole menus -- for feasts that celebrate Vaisnava holy days. Inviting guests to festival events is a great way to share Krsna culture. But secular and Christian holidays can also provide an opportunity for prasadam preaching. Devotees can find it quite difficult to deal with family holidays that are surcharged with passionate activity, meat eating and imbibing. You can sometimes find middle ground by offering to host these get-togethers, providing the main meal which can be made up of Krsna prasadam creatively adapted to suit the holiday. While curry isn’t likely to please many palates on Thanksgiving, there are many meat substitute products available today that can be offered, and endless vegetarian side dishes to please even the fussiest eaters. While describing the various vegetarian dishes, you can emphasize the merits of Krsna Consciousness without offending others.
Indian food and culture in itself provides a unique opportunity for preaching. Dinner parties or other get-togethers that feature delicious banquets of traditional Vedic preparations create an excellent environment for sharing Krsna Consciousness. This is also a great way to expose newcomers -- many of whom might be hesitant about being ‘preached to’ - to Krsna culture. Simply by offering guests a detailed description of each of the foodstuffs, a lot of preaching can take place. Guests love to hear the stories Sri Krsna/Caitanya pastimes associated with various dishes, or the temples where preparations were made famous.
We like to use the travelogue approach to prasadam preaching by inviting guests to a Krsna prasadam feast that’s focused on a particular regional Indian cuisine. No matter what area of India you choose, Krsna's Name, Fame and Pastimes can be found there! We've found this format to be a particularly successful way to expose business associates to the philosophy. Even guests who express little interest in Krsna Consciousness can’t help but be attracted to the nectar prasadam. Try giving them a repeat experience by hosting several different regional feast get-togethers. Not only will they look forward to the next sumptuous meal, their minds will slowly get attuned to the pleasures of hearing about Krsna as part of the eating celebration. Reading aloud from Krsna Book, or reading about Lord Caitanya’s prasadam pastimes, is a nice tie-in to the food theme, and gives guests a great dose of nectar. End the evening with a rousing game of India Mission, which lets you organize various spiritual events across a beautiful map of India. "
Cooking classes are another excellent way to simultaneously share Krsna Conscious culture and distribute prasadam to new folks. A great trend has unfolded with the upsurge of natural and organic supermarkets. Many of these markets have a small kitchen built-in where gourmet and whole foods cooking classes are held. Try signing-up to teach a Krsna prasadam cooking class. No one but the devotees are trained up to teach the remarkable art of cooking to please Lord Krsna! You’ll have a rapt audience.
Prabhupada: “.... If halava is made nicely, actually it
is best. So prepare all these things. Offer to Krsna and devotees, and
at last you take. Don't take first. Give all, as much as you like, then
you take. Susukham kartum avyayam. It is such a nice movement. It is simply
pleasing. To execute, it is simply pleasing. And avyayam. Whatever you
do is permanent. Whatever little service you have given. It will never
be lost. Avyayam. Therefore Narada Muni says, bhajann apakvo 'tha patet
tato yadi. Even if he's not fully matured and falls down, kva vabhadram
abhud amusya kim. Where is loss? Whatever he has done, that is permanent.
Because that will grow. If the seed is permanently sown, then it will naturally
grow. It may take some time, but it will grow. So he's not loser. If he's
little careful, then it will grow. Mali hana sei bija kare aropana, sravana-kirtana-jale
karaye... Then the creeper goes, grows, and at last takes shelter of Krsna.
These are described in the Caitanya-caritamrta.
Vipramukhya: When we prepare a feast we should give and give and give, and when no one wants any more then... Prabhupada: Up until he comes to this point. Not only this point, but up to this point. Eat as much as you like. We are not miser. You eat. As much you want I shall supply. But don't waste. Eat. Don't waste.
Hari-sauri: This morning you were saying that fasting is very good. (laughter)
Harikesa: I was just thinking about that. Prabhupada: No. Not prasadam. I never said. No, those who want to eat... Fasting... One who has not developed Krsna consciousness, for him fasting. And one who takes pleasure, "Oh, it is Krsna's pleasure, or Krsna's food. I'll take." This is the idea. So we are not devotees, therefore we should first fast. And those who are devotees, they'll take as much as they like. I was telling fasting because I am not a devotee. (laughs) For me fasting is good. If I eat more--atyaharah. Atyaharah prayasas ca, sadbhir bhaktir pranasyati.
Hari-sauri: If you can appreciate krsna-prasadam without filling up to the neck...
Prabhupada: Yes. It is for the devotee. A devotee can eat. As Caitanya Mahaprabhu was eating. Govinda, his servant complained, "Sir, so many things are lying here and everyone asks, 'Whether Caitanya Mahaprabhu has taken my preparation.' 'Oh yes, He has taken.' So I have to speak so many lies. You don't take. What can I do?" He said, "All right, bring it. Bring it." So He began to eat for one hundred men's foodstuff stocked. He finished. Then He asked, "Any more?" So, now only the bags are there. Everything finished. (laughs) So He ate. Everything, one after another, one after another, one after another. "All right. Bring, bring, bring." So He can eat. We cannot.”
Srila Prabhupada Garden Conversation, 09-06-76Vrindaban
Srila Prabhupada Lecture on Gurvastam, Stockholm, 09-09-73
Prasadam distribution is an essential element of Krsna Consciousness. Not only are the devotees instructed to prepare and offer sumptuous foodstuffs to the Lord, taking only His remnants as their own eatables, they are also requested to liberally distribute Krsna prasadam to all other persons who are suffering due to spiritual hunger.
Srila Prabhupada taught the devotees many methods for distributing prasadam, each with its own unique mood. ISKCON quickly became famous for the lavish Sunday Love Feasts held in temples everywhere. Devotees out on sankirtana and book distributing parties would hand out sweets and invite everyone they met to come to the Sunday program to enjoy a vegetarian feast and take darshan of the Deities. Prasadam was always made available to temple visitors, no matter the day or time they might visit. Food For Life programs were established, with large quantities of prasadam being freely distributed to the hungry from mobile and permanent stations. College preaching programs grew around the distribution of prasad at lunchtime on campus grounds. At Ratha Yatras around the world each year, the Festival of India includes booths where prasadam is distributed to all.
The distribution of Krsna prasadam is a prime benediction of Lord Caitanya’s Sankirtana movement. As Lord Caitanya instructed Nityananda and Haridas Prabhus, “Go from house to house and beg the residents as follows: Speak about Krsna, worship Krsna and teach others about Krsna." ….and everywhere you go, liberally distribute Krsna Consciousness in the form of wonderful prasadam!
"This gratitude and love for God is exhibited by a pure devotee, who knows that the Lord lives in every living entity. As such, temple worship necessarily includes distribution of prasada. It is not that one should create a temple in his private apartment or private room, offer something to the Lord, and then eat. Of course, that is better than simply cooking foodstuffs and eating without understanding one's relationship with the Supreme Lord; people who act in this manner are just like animals. But the devotee who wants to elevate himself to the higher level of understanding must know that the Lord is present in every living entity, and, as stated in the previous verse, one should be compassionate to other living entities. A devotee should worship the Supreme Lord, be friendly to persons who are on the same level and be compassionate to the ignorant. One should exhibit his compassion for ignorant living entities by distributing prasada. Distribution of prasada to the ignorant masses of people is essential for persons who make offerings to the Personality of Godhead."
Srila Prabhupada Lecture on Srimad-Bhagavatam 3:29:24
"Just like in our temples, everywhere, we are daily feeding so many daridras. So many. In Los Angeles, in New York, and Mayapur also, daily we are feeding five hundred to one thousand people. They are daridras. So that is the duty of every temple. There we're feeding not only Hindus and, only, but Muslims also. Anyone. Anyone come here and take prasadam. And the whole village is so satisfied with these activities. Temple means there must be sufficient foodstuff. Anyone who comes for foodstuff, he should be given. So by worshiping Krsna, these things automatically done. There is no need of extra endeavor. Paratma-nistha. This is called paratma-nistha. Etam sa asthaya paratma-nistha. Not only now. From time immemorial, all the temples in India, they have got sufficient foodstuff. Even at Natha-dvara, if you pay them only one anna or four annas, they'll give you so much nice prasadam. The two annas, four annas, the priestly order, they take. Otherwise, prasada is distributed. So by worshiping Krsna... Krsna is not hungry. He's fully satisfied. He doesn't require to eat. Temple worship means to distribute the prasadam to the poor. That is temple worship. Temple worship does not mean that you, you bring some rice from the neighbors and cook it and eat yourself and sit, sleep down, nice. No. Temple worship means you must distribute prasadam... You should... To the poor. Everyone is poor. Not that the rich man is not poor. Actually I have seen one rich man, he was coming for asking some prasadam. In my, before when I taking, when I was grhastha, I was going in so many temples, asking for some prasadam. That's a long history. So there is no question of, if one is financially poor, he should come to the temple. Everyone should come to the temple and ask for prasada. That is required. So paratma-nistham. The sannyasi should worship the Deity in the temple and feed the poor. Poor does not mean that one who has no legs, no ears, or no... Poor... Everyone who is spiritually poor, he should be given prasadam. "
Srila Prabhupada Initiation Lecture, Calcutta, 01-26-73 730126in.cal
Prabhupada: "You distribute that prasadam, little, everyone.
Devotee (1): This lugdu?
Prabhupada: Yes. I will also take little. Distribute. What is your program?
Karandhara: Well, we thought we could do both because we have a recording studio for sound. So you can come into the recording studio and record as much as you wanted, all day long. The shooting for the TV show... We worked out a program of shooting each week forty minutes.
Prabhupada: Oh, you take more. Why little, little? Give more. Give me also little more.
Prabhupada: Mm. It is very nice.
Devotee (1): Prabhupada distributes mercy to the world.
Prabhupada: Who has made it?
Prabhupada: Oh. He is good cook?
Prabhupada: Mm. He has made nice.
Sudama: Shall I save one for later for you?
Prabhupada: No. No saving. (laughter) Give me immediately. (laughter) Give them."
Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation, 04-20-72, Tokyo
My first taste of Krsna prasadam was an intensely wonderful sweetball aptly named a “Simply Wonderfuls”. By the late 1960’s, Krsna devotees had taken to the street across America, handing out all manner of wonderful foodstuffs. More than 35 years later, Simply Wonderfuls still rank as one the favorite prasadam handouts for Sankirtana parties.
It’s best to choose foodstuffs for prasadam distribution that are well suited to the preaching environment. While syrup sweets are delectable, there’s little point in handing them out on the street, where managing sticky hands is a difficulty. Distributing prasadam on the streets is best done by eliminating foodstuffs that don’t travel well, are sensitive to heat or air, or are complicated to distribute and eat.
Following are just a few recipes for prasadam handouts that are simple and always relished by devotees and non-devotees alike. Many more great preps are included in our Recipe section.http://www.harekrsna.com/practice/prasadam/recipes/recipes.htm
ätmanaù putravat paçyet
tair eñäm antaraà kiyat
måga—deer; uñöra—camels; khara—asses; marka—monkeys; äkhu—mice; sarésåp—snakes; khaga—birds; makñikäù—flies; ätmanaù—of one's self; putra-vat—like the sons; paçyet—one should see; taiù—with those sons; eñäm—of these animals; antaram—difference; kiyat—how little.
One should treat animals such as deer, camels, asses, monkeys, mice, snakes, birds and flies exactly like one's own son. How little difference there actually is between children and these innocent animals.
One who is in Kåñëa consciousness understands that there is no difference between the animals and the innocent children in one's home. Even in ordinary life, it is our practical experience that a household dog or cat is regarded on the same level as one's children, without any envy. Like children, the unintelligent animals are also sons of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore a Kåñëa conscious person, even though a householder, should not discriminate between children and poor animals. Unfortunately, modern society has devised many means for killing animals in different forms of life. For example, in the agricultural fields there may be many mice, flies and other creatures that disturb production, and sometimes they are killed by pesticides. In this verse, however, such killing is forbidden. Every living entity should be nourished by the food given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Human society should not consider itself the only enjoyer of all the properties of God; rather, men should understand that all the other animals also have a claim to God's property. In this verse even the snake is mentioned, indicating that a householder should not be envious even of a snake. If everyone is fully satisfied by eating food that is a gift from the Lord, why should there be envy between one living being and another? In modern days people are very much inclined toward communistic ideas of society, but we do not think that there can be any better communistic idea than that which is explained in this verse of Çrémad-Bhägavatam. Even in the communistic countries the poor animals are killed without consideration, although they also should have the right to take their allotted food with which to live. (Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad. Srimad Bhagavatam 7:14:9. text and purport.)
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's words
of encouragement on the topic:
The following snippets, letters and instructions from His Divine Grace Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad are put here so that we can appreciate the care and depth to which he tried to train his followers in the science of Krishna consciousness, and in this instnace around the preparation and distribution and consumption of Sri Bhagavat Prasadam.
You cannot expect peace and you go on killing animals. That is not possible.
If you want peace, then you must think for others also. That is Krishna consciousness.
That is God consciousness. How you can kill another animal? He is also as good a child of God.
(6th January 1969. Bhagavad Gita 4:7-10 lecture. Los Angeles. )
This morning's newspaper carried a feature story on our Mayapur Candrodaya Mandir. After breakfast prasadam Jayapataka Swami read the whole article to Prabhupada, noting a certain amount of cynicism on the part of the writer. The man had noticed the pujari offering bhoga to Sri Sri Radha-Madhava in a Deity room warmed by a heater. The author questioned who the heater was for, since he had been told that everything we did was for God's pleasure and not our own. What would God want with a heater? He concluded that it must have been for the devotee's comfort.
Prabhupada said that this is the atheistic mentality. He is compelled to question who it is for; whereas a devotee knows that it is for the Lord. If the Deities can enjoy bhoga, why not heat? This inability to understand that God has senses is impersonalism. In their experience personality means "having limited senses." Therefore God must be impersonal in order to be unlimited.
"Actually," he said, "unlimited means you can eat six rasagullas, but Krsna can eat unlimited coconuts. Krsna has senses, and He appreciates the heater."
- From the "A Transcendental Diary Vol 1" by HG Hari Sauri dasa
During the train ride to Calcutta, Srila Prabhupada reiterated his displeasure with the mismanaged ISKCON pandal at Kumbha-mela. Thousands of guests were coming to the Hare Kanëa pandal without receiving prasadam. Determined that the bad example not be repeated, he dictated a letter,
"To all ISKCON Temple Presidents."
"Please accept my blessings.
Now you must arrange in each temple there must be sufficient stock of prasadam
for distribution. You can keep first-class cooks, two or three, and they
should always be engaged. Whenever any guests comes, he must get prasad.
This arrangement must be made, that the cooks prepare 10-20 servings at
a time, of pures and sabji, and then you can add halava and pakoras and
the visitors may be supplied immediately. Whenever a gentleman comes, he
must be served. As the twenty servings are being distributed, immediately
the cooks prepare another 20 servings and store it.
At the end of the day if no one comes, our men will take, so there is no loss. You cannot say, "It is finished," "It is not cooked yet," "There is no supply for cooking," etc. This must be enforced rigidly.
The temple is managed by Srimati Radharani, Lakshmiji; so why should there be want? Our philosophy is, if anyone comes, let him take prasad, chant Hare Krishna, and be happy. Everything is being supplied by Krishna. Krishna is not poor, so why should we deny them? This should be done at any cost.
There is no difficulty. It simply requires nice management. At the end of the day you may sell or give away. If we believe that Krishna is providing for and maintaining everyone, then why should we be misers? This means losing faith in Krishna and thinking that we are the doers and suppliers. We are confident that Krishna will supply! Let the whole world come. We can feed them. So please do this nicely. Begin at once."
Lilamrta Volume VI p. 232, letter: January 1977
So my request is that you continue your devotional service very faithfully and rigidly, then in this life you will be able to see Krsna face to face. That is a fact. So you follow the advice, as given by Rupa Gosvami, utsahat. The first thing is enthusiasm, that "I must see Krsna." You are seeing Krsna. The Deity of Krsna and Krsna is not different. But even personally we can see. Simply we have to continue the enthusiasm.
Departure Lecture, Caracas 1975
More "prasadam"related quotes of this nature from His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada
This section has relied heavily on letters and snippets from the Prabhupad Remembrances postings, and Prabhupad Nectar, as well as notes from a forth coming book of Hari Sauri prabhu's on prasadam, and his Transcendental Diary books. If you'd like to receive such snippets on a daily basis please send a message to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org with the positive affirmative "Subscribe" in the Subject area.
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Sila & Prasad Katha - Swadhyaya...
What is the need for offering foodstuffs to the Lord? What is the purpose of honouring mahaprasada?
by Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur
Honouring mahaprasada is not only symbplic of the superior life of the Vaisnavas, but it is a part of worship, which ordinary theists cannot fully understand. Ordinary men are very much inclined to preserve the superiority of reason over the intuitive feelings of man toward the God of love. We must now precede to show with healthy arguments that our intuitive feelings want us to offer everything we eat to the Lord of our heart. We must first examine the arguments of the antagonists.
The rationalist states that God is infinite and without wants, and consequently it is foolish to offer eatables to such a being. It is sacrilege to offer created things to the creator and thereby degrade the divinty of God, treating Him as a human being. These are reasonable arguments indeed, and one who has heard them will certainly be inclined to tell others, "down with mahaprasada." These conclusions, which may appear reasonable, are dry and destructive. They tend to seperate us from all connection in worshipping God. When you say that the Infinite wants nothing, you forbid all contemplation and prayer. The infinite does not want your grateful expression or flattery. Utter a word to the unconditioned Lord and you are sure to degrade Him into a conditioned being. Hymns, prayers and sermons are all over! Shut your temple door and church gates because our rationalist has advised you to do so. Believe a creative principle and you have done your duty! Oh! What a shame! What a dreadful fall! Theists, beware of these degrading principles!
Now the rationalist appears in another form and allows prayers, sermons, psalms, and church going, saying that these things are wanted for the improvement of the soul, but God does not want them at all. We are glad that the rationalist has come toward us and will make further approaches in the course of time.
Yes, the progressive rationalist has admitted a very broad principle in theology: whatever we do toward God is for our own benefit and not for the benefit of God, who is not in want of anything. However, the rationalist is a rationalist still and will continue to be so as long as he seeks self-interest. We know for certain that religion promises to give eternal happiness to man and it is impossible to conceive of any religion, which is not based on self-interest. This view, however, smells of utilitarianism and can never be theism. We must love God for God's sake even if our actions appear unreasonable. Our love must be without any goal concerning ourselves.
This love must be natural emotion to the deity, as our well-wisher, without inference or experience. Salvation, dear as it is, should not be the object of this love. What then about other forms of happiness? Love of God is it's own reward. Salvation, as a concomitant consequence, must be a servant of love, but we must not look on it as the main goal. If a rationalist is prepared to believe this, he becomes a theist of the Vaisnava class, but the mere assuming of a name is of no consequence.
Though fully aware that the Lord is completely unconditioned, our holy and sweet principle of love takes a different view to that of the rationalist.
Reason says one thing but love prescribes the opposite. Reason tells me that God has no sorrow, but love sees God in tears for His sons who are misled to evil. Reason tells me that the strict laws of God reward and punish me in a cold manner, but love reveals that God slackens His laws to the repentant soul. Reason tells me that, with all his improvements, man will never touch God, but love preaches that on the conversion of the soul into a state of spiritual womanhood, God, unconditioned as He is accepts an eternal marriage with the liberated soul. Reason tells me that God is in infinite space and time, but love describes that the all-beautifull Lord is sitting before us like a respected relative and enjoying the pleasures of society. As a father in his amusements with his young children, God is spreading all sorts of delicious food all over the earth and expecting His sons to gather them for their own benefit. But the loving children, out of their holy and unmixed love, gather all the scattered blessings and with strong feelings of love, regardless of reason, offer all the blessings to the Father whom they love more than their lives.
The Father again, in reply to their kind feelings, gives back the offering to the children and kindly tells them, "O My children! These blessings are intended for you! Out of your natural love, your bring them to Me for My enjoyment, but naturally I have no wants for you to supply. I have, however, accepted that part of your offering which is for Me: your unmixed love and unbiased affections, for which I am exceedingly anxious. Take back these sweet things and enjoy them."
This process of unbiased love, which dry reason can never approach, sanctifies the food we take and brings us harmless enjoyment every day of our natural life! This is a system of sincere worship, which theists of a higher class alone can act upon. We cannot express the joy often felt when we took the mahaprasada in the temple! The holiness we attach to it is its sweetness and often we pray that all men may enjoy it.
(The Temple of Jagannatha at Puri)
In the Padma Puräëa, man's sinful activities have been analyzed and are shown to be the results of sin after sin. Those who are engaged in fruitive activities are entangled in different stages and forms of sinful reactions. For instance, when the seed of a particular tree is sown, the tree does not appear immediately to grow; it takes some time. It is first a small, sprouting plant, then it assumes the form of a tree, then it flowers and bears fruit, and, when it is complete, the flowers and fruits are enjoyed by persons who have sown the seed of the tree.
Similarly, a man performs a sinful
act, and like a seed it takes time to fructify. There are different stages.
The sinful action may have already stopped within the individual, but the
results or the fruit of that sinful action are still to be enjoyed. There
are sins which are still in the form of a seed, and there are others which
are already fructified and are giving us fruit, which we are enjoying as
distress and pain.
As explained in the twenty-eighth verse of the Seventh Chapter, a person who has completely ended the reactions of all sinful activities and who is fully engaged in pious activities, being freed from the duality of this material world, becomes engaged in devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kåñëa. In other words, those who are actually engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord are already freed from all reactions. This statement is confirmed in the Padma Puräëa:
küöaà béjaà phalonmukham
For those who are engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, all sinful reactions, whether fructified, in the stock, or in the form of a seed, gradually vanish. Therefore the purifying potency of devotional service is very strong, and it is called pavitram uttamam, the purest. Uttama means transcendental. Tamas means this material world or darkness, and uttama means that which is transcendental to material activities. Devotional activities are never to be considered material, although sometimes it appears that devotees are engaged just like ordinary men. One who can see and is familiar with devotional service will know that they are not material activities. They are all spiritual and devotional, uncontaminated by the material modes of nature.
It is said that the execution of devotional service is so perfect that one can perceive the results directly. This direct result is actually perceived, and we have practical experience that any person who is chanting the holy names of Kåñëa (Hare Kåñëa, Hare Kåñëa, Kåñëa Kåñëa, Hare Hare/ Hare Räma, Hare Räma, Räma Räma, Hare Hare) in course of chanting without offenses feels some transcendental pleasure and very quickly becomes purified of all material contamination. This is actually seen. Furthermore, if one engages not only in hearing but in trying to broadcast the message of devotional activities as well, or if he engages himself in helping the missionary activities of Kåñëa consciousness, he gradually feels spiritual progress. This advancement in spiritual life does not depend on any kind of previous education or qualification. The method itself is so pure that by simply engaging in it one becomes pure.
In the Vedänta-sütra (3.2.26) this is also described in the following words: prakäçaç ca karmaëy abhyäsät. "Devotional service is so potent that simply by engaging in the activities of devotional service one becomes enlightened without a doubt." A practical example of this can be seen in the previous life of Närada, who in that life happened to be the son of a maidservant. He had no education, nor was he born into a high family. But when his mother was engaged in serving great devotees, Närada also became engaged, and sometimes, in the absence of his mother, he would serve the great devotees himself. Närada personally says,
sakåt sma bhuïje tad-apästa-kilbiñaù
evaà pravåttasya viçuddha-cetasas
tad-dharma evätma-ruciù prajäyate
In this verse from Çrémad-Bhägavatam (1.5.25) Närada describes his previous life to his disciple Vyäsadeva. He says that while engaged as a boy servant for those purified devotees during the four months of their stay, he was intimately associating with them. Sometimes those sages left remnants of food on their dishes, and the boy, who would wash their dishes, wanted to taste the remnants. So he asked the great devotees for their permission, and when they gave it Närada ate those remnants and consequently became freed from all sinful reactions. As he went on eating, he gradually became as pure-hearted as the sages. The great devotees relished the taste of unceasing devotional service to the Lord by hearing and chanting, and Närada gradually developed the same taste. Närada says further,
täù çraddhayä me 'nupadaà viçåëvataù
priyaçravasy aìga mamäbhavad ruciù
By associating with the sages, Närada got the taste for hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord, and he developed a great desire for devotional service. Therefore, as described in the Vedänta-sütra, prakäçaç ca karmaëy abhyäsät: if one is engaged simply in the acts of devotional service, everything is revealed to him automatically, and he can understand. This is called pratyakña, directly perceived.
The word dharmyam means "the path of religion." Närada was actually a son of a maidservant. He had no opportunity to go to school. He was simply assisting his mother, and fortunately his mother rendered some service to the devotees. The child Närada also got the opportunity and simply by association achieved the highest goal of all religion. The highest goal of all religion is devotional service, as stated in Çrémad-Bhägavatam (sa vai puàsäà paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokñaje). Religious people generally do not know that the highest perfection of religion is the attainment of devotional service. As we have already discussed in regard to the last verse of Chapter Eight (vedeñu yajïeñu tapaùsu caiva), generally Vedic knowledge is required for self-realization. But here, although Närada never went to the school of the spiritual master and was not educated in the Vedic principles, he acquired the highest results of Vedic study. This process is so potent that even without performing the religious process regularly, one can be raised to the highest perfection. How is this possible? This is also confirmed in Vedic literature: äcäryavän puruño veda. One who is in association with great äcäryas, even if he is not educated or has never studied the Vedas, can become familiar with all the knowledge necessary for realization.
The process of devotional service is a very happy one (susukham). Why? Devotional service consists of çravaëaà kértanaà viñëoù [SB 7.5.23], so one can simply hear the chanting of the glories of the Lord or can attend philosophical lectures on transcendental knowledge given by authorized äcäryas. Simply by sitting, one can learn; then one can eat the remnants of the food offered to God, nice palatable dishes. In every state devotional service is joyful. One can execute devotional service even in the most poverty-stricken condition. The Lord says, patraà puñpaà phalaà toyam: He is ready to accept from the devotee any kind of offering, never mind what. Even a leaf, a flower, a bit of fruit, or a little water, which are all available in every part of the world, can be offered by any person, regardless of social position, and will be accepted if offered with love. There are many instances in history. Simply by tasting the tulasé leaves offered to the lotus feet of the Lord, great sages like Sanat-kumära became great devotees. Therefore the devotional process is very nice, and it can be executed in a happy mood. God accepts only the love with which things are offered to Him.
It is said here that this devotional service is eternally existing. It is not as the Mäyävädé philosophers claim. Although they sometimes take to so-called devotional service, their idea is that as long as they are not liberated they will continue their devotional service, but at the end, when they become liberated, they will "become one with God." Such temporary time-serving devotional service is not accepted as pure devotional service. Actual devotional service continues even after liberation. When the devotee goes to the spiritual planet in the kingdom of God, he is also engaged there in serving the Supreme Lord. He does not try to become one with the Supreme Lord.
As will be seen in Bhagavad-gétä, actual devotional service begins after liberation. After one is liberated, when one is situated in the Brahman position (brahma-bhüta [SB 4.30.20]), one's devotional service begins (samaù sarveñu bhüteñu mad-bhaktià labhate paräm). No one can understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead by executing karma-yoga, jïäna-yoga, añöäìga-yoga or any other yoga independently. By these yogic methods one may make a little progress toward bhakti-yoga, but without coming to the stage of devotional service one cannot understand what is the Personality of Godhead. In the Çrémad-Bhägavatam it is also confirmed that when one becomes purified by executing the process of devotional service, especially by hearing Çrémad-Bhägavatam or Bhagavad-gétä from realized souls, then he can understand the science of Kåñëa, or the science of God. Evaà prasanna-manaso bhagavad-bhakti yogataù. When one's heart is cleared of all nonsense, then one can understand what God is. Thus the process of devotional service, of Kåñëa consciousness, is the king of all education and the king of all confidential knowledge. It is the purest form of religion, and it can be executed joyfully without difficulty. Therefore one should adopt it. (Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad. Bhagavad Gita As It Is 9:2., purport extract.)
Srila Narada himself explains how he came to be the transcendental,
eternal, travelling, preaching mendicant. "In a previous life I was
a Gandharva of the name Upabarhana and was supremely expert in music as
well as being handsome to look at. Once when Prajapati Daksa held a great
sacrifice I was asked to come and sing for that respected assembly. All
the 'devas' came, all the heavenly 'apsara' dancing girls too. While they
danced I sang devotional songs on that great occasion. But I was not concentrating
fully; my attention was drawn by some of those exquisitly beautiful damsels.
Prajapati Daksa was not very amused by my obvious interest in the dancing
girls, so in anger he turned to me and said, "You lecherous 'gandharva'.
You are not here for your pleasure, your intelligence has become bewildered.
So let it be, that you lose your knowledge of trancendence, you don't deserve
to be here in the heavenly kingdom within such a saintly assembly, you
lusty creature. Your mood is suiting to the despicable, miserly humans.
So go now and become a human on Earth.
"After a moment I regained my senses, but only after I had heard this dreadful curse. Humbly and with great feeling I begged for forgiveness, to which Daksa responded. 'Do not lament Upabahana you will be blessed by the company of good association.' It was due to this that I was placed in the womb of a maid servant."
Srila Narad Muni was so honest that he explained this to Srila Vyasadeva,
his disciple, in the Srimad Bhagavatam as follows.
"In the last millenium I was born as the son of a certain maidservant engaged in the service of Brahmanas who were following the principles of Vedanta. When they were living together during the four months of the rainy season ('Caturmasya'), I was engaged in their personal service. Although they were impartial by nature, those followers of the Vedanta blessed me with their causeless mercy. As far as I was concerned, I was self-controlled and had no attachment for sports, even though I was a boy. In addition, I was not naughty, and did not speak more than required. Only once, by their permission, I took the remnants of their food, and by doing so all my sins were at once eradicated. Thus being engaged, I became purified in heart, and at that time the very nature of the transcendentalist became attractive to me. O Srila Vyasadeva, in that association and by the mercy of those great Vedantists, I could hear them describe the activities of Lord Krsna. And thus listening attentively, my taste for hearing of the Personality of Godhead increased at every step. I was very much attached to those sages. I was gentle in behaviour, and all my sins were eradicated in their service. In my heart I had strong faith in them. I had subjugated the senses, and I was strictly following them with body and mind. As they were leaving, those 'Bhakti-Vedantas', who are very kind to the poor-hearted souls, instructed me in that most confidential subject which is instructed by the Personality of Godhead Himself. By that confidential knowledge, I could understand clearly the influence of the energy of Lord Sri Krsna, the creator, maintainer and annihilator of everything. By knowing that, one can return to Him and personally meet Him." (Srimad Bhagavatam 1:5:23-32.).
"Many years passed by as I lived on smple fruits, and leaves in the forest. Now my mind was always absorbed in deep contemplation of God. On one such occasion the Lord appeared before me and told me that you will you will not see me again in this life, and so I was upset. Then I heard the Lord's voice, 'I do not appear before persons who have desires for sense gratification or anger. As you have once seen Me, your devotion for Me is now made steadfast, become fixed by My grace. Always remember Me, and keep good association. In you next birth you will become one of My close attendants.' I felt somewhat relieved after hearing that divine voice. But I had changed. I felt a great sense of renunciation, the world now appeared pervaded by the Lord. My attachment even for this body was like that of a drop of water on a lotus leaf, there was no attachment. In fact I cast away that body at the time of the next deluge when all creatures were absorbed back into the body of the Mahavisnu. When the next creation came, begining with the Lord giving birth to the lotus born Brahma. Then he began to further create as the Lord directed from within. After some time Marichi, Atri and the other eight Prajeshwaras appeared, I was one of them. It was then that I became Narad due to the blessings of the Lord."
Taken from the pages on Narad Muni from the second chapter of the book "Life and Legacy of Sripad Ananda Tirtha - Madhwacharya" http://www.hknet.org.nz/gp-narad.htm compiled by Jaya Tirtha Charan dasa - copywrite (c) 2000-2005 (The life and activities of Sri Narada Muni http://www.hknet.org.nz/parishad145.html )
In the Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya lila 22.115-28), Lord Caitanya lists sixty-four regulative principles one must follow to be elevated to the highest platform of devotional service. And, as stressed here in Sutra 12, even after being elevated to the highest platform of devotional service, one must continue following the scriptural injunctions for devotional life. The sixty-four regulative principles are as follows: (1) To accept a bona fide spiritual master. (2) To become initiated by the spiritual master. (3) To engage oneself in the service of the spiritual master. (4) To receive instructions from the spiritual master and inquire about advancing on the path of devotional service. (5) To follow in the footsteps of previous acaryas and follow the directions given by the spiritual master. (6) To give up anything for the satisfaction of Krsna, and to accept anything for the satisfaction of Krsna. (7) To live in a place where Krsna is present--a city like Vrndavana or Mathura, or a Krsna temple. (8) To minimize one's means of living as much as one can, while living comfortably to execute devotional service. (9) To observe fasting days, such as Ekadasi. (10) To worship cows, brahmanas, Vaisnavas, and sacred trees like the banyan. These ten principles of devotional service are the beginning. Additional principles are as follows: (11) One should avoid committing offenses against the holy name, the Deity, etc. (12) One should avoid associating with nondevotees. (13) One should not aspire to have many disciples. (14) One should not unnecessarily divert his attention by partially studying many books so as to appear very learned. For devotional service, it is sufficient to scrutinizingly study books like the Bhagavad-gita, the Srimad-Bhagavatam, and the Caitanya-caritamrta. (15) One should not be disturbed in either loss or gain. (16) One should not allow oneself to be overwhelmed by lamentation for any reason. (17) One should not blaspheme the demigods, although one should not worship them. Similarly, one should not criticize other scriptures, although one should not follow the principles therein. (18) One should not tolerate blasphemy of the Supreme Lord or His devotees. (19) One should not indulge in idle talks, such as those about relationships between men and women. (20) One should not unnecessarily disturb any living being, whatever he may be.
The above-mentioned twenty items are the doorway to devotional service. And among them, the first three--namely, acceptance of the spiritual master, initiation by the spiritual master, and service to the spiritual master--are the most important. Then come the following items: (21) To hear about the Lord. (22) To chant His glories. (23) To remember Him. (24) To serve and meditate upon the lotus feet of the Lord and His devotees. (25) To worship Him. (26) To pray to Him. (27) To think of oneself as the Lord's eternal servant. (28) To become the Lord's friend. (29) To offer everything to the Lord. (30) To dance before the Deity. (31) To sing before the Deity. (32) To inform the Lord of everything about one's life. (33) To bow down to the Lord. (34) To offer respect to the spiritual master and the Supreme Lord by standing up at the appropriate time. (35) To follow the spiritual master or the Supreme Lord in procession. (36) To visit places of pilgrimage and temples of the Supreme Lord. (37) To circumambulate the temple. (38) To recite prayers. (39) To chant the Lord's name softly to oneself. (40) To chant the Lord's name loudly in congregation. (41) To smell incense and flowers offered to the Deity. (42) To eat the remnants of food offered to the Deity. (43) To regularly attend the arati offered to the Deity, as well as special festivals. (44) To regularly look upon the Deity. (45) To offer one's dearmost possessions to the Supreme Lord. (46) To meditate on the Lord's name, form, pastimes, etc. (47) To water the tulasi plant. (48) To serve the Lord's devotees. (49) To try to live in Vrndavana or Mathura. (50) To relish the topics of the Srimad-Bhagavatam. (51) To take all kinds of risks for Krsna. (52) To always expect the mercy of Krsna. (53) To observe ceremonies like Janmastami (the appearance day of Lord Krsna) and Rama-navami (the appearance day of Lord Ramacandra) with devotees. (54) To fully surrender to Krsna. (55) To observe special regulations like those followed during the month of Kartika (Oct.-Nov.). (56) To mark the body with Vaisnava tilaka (clay markings). (57) To mark the body with the holy names of God. (58) To accept the remnants of garlands that have been offered to the Supreme Lord. (59) To drink caranamrta, the water that has washed the lotus feet of the Deity.
Among these fifty-nine items, five are considered so important that they are mentioned again separately, thus completing the sixty-four items of devotional service. These five are (60) associating with devotees, (61) chanting the holy name of the Lord, (62) hearing the Srimad-Bhagavatam, (63) residing at a place of pilgrimage like Mathura, and (64) worshiping the Deity with faith and veneration. (Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad. Narad Bhakti Sutras, Sutra 12 page 18 - 19.)
Pure devotional service is so powerful, however, that one may at once take to it without acquiring the previous qualification of brahma-bhuta life. A sincere devotee who engages in the service of the Lord automatically becomes situated in the brahma-bhuta stage. The devotee's duty is only to strictly follow the principles of regulated devotional service, as previously mentioned. Therefore a devotee should not be too concerned about social and political obligations, since all such activities belong to the body. He should similarly restrict his eating; this is essential to the execution of devotional service. A devotee cannot eat anything and everything he likes; he must eat only foods that have been offered to the Lord. The Lord clearly says (Bhagavad-gita 9.26) that He will accept a flower, a fruit, a leaf, or a little water if they are offered to Him with devotional love. (One should note that the Supreme Lord accepts only foods from the vegetable kingdom, as well as milk products. "Water" includes milk and its products.) The Lord is not hungry or poor, in need of our offering.
Actually, it is to our advantage to offer Him something to eat. If the Supreme Lord kindly accepts our offering, then we are benefited. The Lord is full, but to establish the universal principle that everyone can offer something to the Lord, He accepts even the most meager offering--when it is presented with love. Even the poorest of the poor can collect a flower, a leaf, and a little water and offer them to the Supreme Lord.
It is incumbent upon all devotees of Krsna to avoid eating anything that has not been offered to the Supreme Lord. A devotee who does not strictly follow this principle is sure to fall down. Similarly, one who refuses to accept prasadam, the remnants of food offered to Krsna, cannot become a devotee.
In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (5.5.3) Lord Rsabhadeva states that one who is determined to become a pure devotee avoids associating with the general mass of people, who are simply engaged in the animal propensities of eating, sleeping, defending, and mating. The general mass of people mistake the body for the self, and therefore they are always busy trying to maintain the body very nicely. A devotee should not associate with such people. Nor should he be overly attached to his family members, knowing that he has been accidentally thrown together with his wife, children, and so on. Spiritually, no one is a wife, child, husband, or father of anyone else. Everyone comes into this world according to his past deeds and takes shelter of a father and a mother, but actually no one is anyone's father or mother. While a devotee must know this, that does not mean he should neglect his family. As a matter of duty he should maintain his family members without attachment and instruct them in Krsna consciousness.
So, whether in social life or political life, or in the matter of eating, sleeping, mating, and defending, a devotee should avoid performing any action tainted by material attachment. The word used here is bhojanadi, which indicates the four propensities of eating, sleeping, defending, and mating. As the devotee does not eat anything that has not been offered to Krsna, so he does not sleep more than is absolutely necessary. In the lives of the great devotees Sanatana Gosvami and Rupa Gosvami, we see that they did not sleep more than one and a half hours a day, and they were reluctant even to accept that. So sleeping is also restricted. Naturally one who is always engaged in devotional service of the Lord has very little time to sleep. Sleep is a necessity of the body, not the spirit soul, and therefore as one advances in devotional service one's propensity to sleep decreases.
Similarly, a devotee minimizes his defending propensity. A pure devotee knows he is under the shelter of the all-powerful Supreme Lord, and so he is not very anxious about defending himself. Although he should use his common sense in the matter of defending, he is sure that without being protected by Lord Krsna no one can defend himself, however expert he may be in the art of defense. In the same way, a devotee minimizes or eliminates sex. He does not indulge indiscriminately in sex, begetting offspring as the cats and dogs do. If he begets any children at all, he takes charge of them to elevate them to Krsna consciousness so that they may not have to suffer in material life again, in future lives. That is the duty of a devotee.
In this material world, people in general engage in sense-gratificatory activities, which keep them bound up by the laws of the material modes of nature. Indeed, the more a person engages in such activities, the more he expands his life in material existence. A devotee acts differently: he knows he is not the body and that as long as he is in his body he will have to suffer the threefold material miseries. Therefore to decrease his material entanglement and help his advancement in spiritual life, he always minimizes his social and political activities and his eating, sleeping, defending, and mating. (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad. Narad Bhakti Sutras, Sutra 14 page 21 - 22.)
In ISKCON we talk a lot about prasadam and maha-prasadam, which we simply call "Maha". If we were to search for key words in Sanskrit books, like verse beginnings in the slokanukramanika (an alphabetical verse index that is sometimes supplied with a Purana or other literature), we would wrongly conclude that these books do not have much to say about prasadam. There are however a great number of statements, especially in the Brahma-vaivarta Purana, the Hari-bhakti-vilasa and other books, but we would have to search for the words naivedyam, niveditam, nirmalyam, sesa, avasesa etc.
One devotee had posted a message on COM, in which he asked whether anyone Could supply a sastric reference to the effect that a person who takes Krsna-prasadam, would attain liberation after 700 births. What I found is as follows:
In the Hari-bhakti-vilasa, just as there is a Nirmalya-mahatmya at the end of the eighth vilasa, so there is at the end of the ninth vilasa a section called Naivedya-mahatmyam, The Glories of Prasadam. There are some fifteen verses, quoted from different sources, and even though there is nothing about liberation after 700 births, still, the wonderful results of taking prasadam, which are listed there, are sometimes exceeding simple liberation after 700 births.
It is stated that the remnants of food offered to the Lord have the potency of one million fire sacrifices; then there is a nice verse ending with the statement:
yo 'snati nityam purato murareh
"One who takes the food that was previously accepted by Murari, attains the pious results of ten-thousand times ten-million fire yajnas."
After this verse, which is numbered as 130 in my Bengali edition, verse 131 comes as a commentary of the above, as it were:
sadbhir masopavasais tu
yat phalam parikirtitam
visnor naivedya-sese yat
phalam tad bhunjatam kalau
This verse explains that in the Kali-yuga, a person who eats the remnants of food offered to Lord Visnu, gets the same pious credits as if he has been observing a fast for six months.
In the Brahma-vaivarta Purana (4.37.27) it is stated that a person who happens to eat the remnants of food offered to the Lord, in the association of sadhus, gets the results of performing sixty thousand years of austerities.
In general, most quotes compare the powers of taking the remnants of food that has been offered to the Lord to the performance of a particular number of certain yajnas.
Now somebody may argue that liberation is still better than any number of yajnas, because yajnas take you to heaven only. Even though the yajnas are specified in one verse as agnistoma and vajapeya, the meaning is not limited to that. In verse 133 there is a quite interesting (and a little funny) statement, that explains what one actually gets:
hrdi rupam mukhe nama
naivedyam udare hareh
padodakam ca nirmalyam
mastake yasya so 'cyutah
"Having the form of the Lord in one's heart, His name in one's mouth, the remnants of His food in one's belly, the water that has washed His feet on one's head and being decorated with garlands and flowers that had been offered to the Lord, one becomes like Acyuta."
Sanatana Gosvami comments on the words "sah acyutah": "Acyutah means like Acyuta, because one attains the liberations beginning with sarupya."
Still, one may argue that liberation simply from taking prasadam is not possible, because the above verse should mean that one must meet all the requirements simultaneously, i.e.:
1. form in one's heart,
2. name in one's mouth,
3. food in one's belly,
4. water on one's head,
5. garlands, tulasi, flowers etc. all around
Sri Narada Purana, Uttara-bhaga 67.41, states:
naivedyam bhaksayec capi
sa muktim labhate dhruvam
"One who happens to eat the remnants of food offered to the Lord, definitely attains liberation."
Here are further quotes from the Brahma-vaivarta Purana:
In the Brahma-vaivarta Purana 2.36.27-41 Durvasa Muni is heavily chastising Indra. What has happened is that Durvasa had received a garland from the Deity and was walking down the street with that garland around his neck. Then he met Indra who was riding on his elephant. Durvasa gave Indra his garland, but Indra, instead of decorating himself respectfully with that garland, placed it on the head of his elephant carrier. The animal grabbed the garland with his trunk and threw it on the ground. This of course enraged Durvasa Muni, who took the opportunity to give a long speech condemning Indra in which he lists the glories of remnants in general and prasadam in particular. He also points out that he should have been respected, because he, wearing the garland, had now become sanctified. The passage goes as follows:
27 durvasa uvaca
are sriya pramattas tvam
katham mam avamanyase
"Maddened by your opulence and because of pride you have placed the garland which I gave you on the head of your elephant!"
28 visnor niveditam puspam
naivedyam va phalam jalam
tyagena brahma-ha janah
"One should respectfully accept items offered to Lord Visnu, such as flowers, food, fruits or water, at that very moment when one receives them. A person who refuses such sanctified articles is guilty of killing a brahmana."
29 bhrasta-srir bhrasta-buddhis ca
bhrasta-jnano bhaven narah
yas tyajed visnu-naivedyam
"If he rejects the remnants of items offered to Lord Visnu, which are being presented to him by some good fortune, such a person looses his wealth and beauty, his intelligence and knowledge."
30 prapti-matrena yo bhunkte
pumsam satam samuddhrtya
jivan-muktah svayam bhavet
"One who immediately and with devotion accepts the sanctified remnants of items offered to Lord Visnu, becomes liberated in the self-same body (as the only one out of hundreds of excellent persons)."
31 visnu-naivedya-bhoji yo
nityam tu pranamed dharim
pujayet stauti va bhaktya
sa visnu sadrso bhavet
Here Durvasa also explains that one becomes "just like Visnu", if one respects prasadam properly and offers obeisances and prayers with devotion.
32 tat-sparsa-vayuna sadyas
tirthaughas ca visuddhyati
sadyah puta vasundhara
"The breeze that touched the body of such a saintly person (like me), at once purifies tons of holy places. O fool! The dust of his feet purifies the planet earth."
33 pumscaly-annam avirannam
sudra-sraddhannam eva ca
yad dharer anivedyam ca
vrtha mamsam abhaksakam
yad annam sudra-yajinam
devalannam tathaiva ca
yad annam yoni-jivinam
36 sudra-pati-dvijannam ca
yad annam savadahinam
37 agamya-gaminam caiva
dvijanam annam eva ca
38 mithya-saksya-pradanam ca
brahmananam tathaiva ca
etat sarvam visuddhyeta
In these six verses Durvasa Muni is elaborately listing all sorts of food prepared by low class people and therefore unofferable. He recommends that one eats Visnu-prasadam to counteract the inauspicious effects of eating such sinful food.
39 sva-paco visnu-sevi ca
vamsanam kotim uddharet
harer abhakto vipras ca
svam ca raksitum aksamah
Just like Srimad Bhagavatam 7.9.10
40 ajnanad yadi grhnati
visnor nirmalyam eva ca
mucyate natra samsayah
"If one (by chance) unknowingly accepts the remnants of items offered to Lord Visnu he becomes freed from the results of sins accumulated during his last seven births. Of this there is no doubt."
41 jnatva bhaktya ca grhnati
visnor naivedyam eva ca
mucyate natra samsayah
"But if one knowingly and with devotion accepts the remnants of food offered to Lord Visnu, one is freed from one's sins accumulated during the last ten million births. Of this there is no doubt."
visnor ucchista-bhoji yo
matsyam mamsam na khadati
pade pade asvamedhasya
labhate niscitam phalam
"One who eats the remnants of food offered to Lord Visnu and who does not eat fish or meat, is positively assured to receive the results of the asvamedha yajna at every moment of his existence."
7 nityam bhunkte mat-prasadam
annam vistha jalam mutram
yad visnor aniveditam
"For him who always eats the remnants of food offered to Me, if he should at any time eat unoffered food, those grains will be like stool and water will taste like urine."
29 visnu-prasada-bhoji ca
pavitram kurute mahim
tirthani ca narams caiva
jivan-mukto hi sa dvijah
30 sarva-tirthesu sah snato
vratanam ca phalam labhet
pade pade asvamedhasya
labhate niscitam phalam
"One who eats Visnu-prasadam purifies the whole earth, the holy places and the people. Such a brahmana is liberated in the self-same body. He is considered to have taken bath and to have observed sacred vows in all places of pilgrimage. He is positively assured to receive the results of the asvamedha yajna at every moment of his existence."
Offering Respects to Krsna Prasadam
"There is this specific statement in the Padma Purana: “A person who honors the prasada and regularly eats it, not exactly in front of the Deity, along with caranamrta [the water offered to the lotus feet of the Lord, which is mixed with seeds of the tulasi tree], immediately can achieve the results of pious activities which are obtained through ten thousand performances of sacrificial rites."
Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 9
There are many Vedic injunctions for the process of taking prasada:
One should take prasadam in a peaceful state of mind. The body and dress should be clean and fresh. Five parts of the body should be damp (from washing): two hands, two feet, and the mouth.
The householder may wear rings on the fingers, and should cover one's head. One's clothing should not be damp, and shoes should not be worn. The man's sikha should be properly tied up.
It is best to sit in a clean and spacious place, preferably on an asana, with the legs crossed rather than spread out. One should be facing east or north, and should avoid eating while sitting in a vehicle.
Meals should not be taken at the sandhyas (sunrise, noon and sunset), and one should not eat before performing sandhya vandana (chanting Gayatri) or morning puja. Don't take food until the previous meal has fully digested.
Tamala Krsna: "It's a great offense if you offer someone prasadam and they refuse.
Prabhupada: Yes. That means I am not accepting you as intimate. And if he accepts, then you cannot deny his friendship."
Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation, 07-10-76, New York
According to formal protocol, those of similar rank should sit together in the same row. The senior-most person should be given all respects, and should be permitted to finish first before others finish and rise to go. As soon as one person rises, the meal has ended and others in the row should not continue eating. The senior person may also choose to sit separately, so as not to disturb or be disturbed.
Mahaprasad is non-different from Krsna, therefore prasada should be honored, not eaten. One should never consider mahaprasada to be ordinary food preparations. Before taking, one should first glance over the prasada and offer respects, remembering that prasadam is the mercy of the Lord. One should ask Krsna's permission to eat, reciting the Prasada Sevaya prayer (sarira abidya-jal). One may also recite the Jayadhvani prayers and according to Hari Bhakti Vilasa, one should chant the Gayatra mantra then chant one's mula mantra seven times over the prasadam. (See link below for prasada prayers.)
The householder should serve prasadam as follows: First, guests should be served, particularly those who are spiritually qualified persons, such as sannyasis. Next, one should serve the elders, married daughters, pregnant women, sick persons and children. The grhasta should also feed tied-up cows and horses before taking his own meal.
An initiated Vaisnava should serve another initiated Vaisnava. The server should be clean and peaceful, performing his duties quietly and efficiently. Loud noise and frenetic activity should be avoided.
One should serve prasada with the right hand. Neither the server's hands or the utensils should ever touch the plates or hands of those who are eating, as this will contaminate the server and utensils. If this happens, hands and/or utensils should be washed before serving resumes. Serving vessels should not touch the feet. The server should in no way contaminate the prasada or utensils by touching his mouth, feet, hair, lower body, nor should he yawn, sneeze, etc.
Prasadam should be served onto a plate, and the plate should not be kept on one's lap. Preparations should be carefully dropped onto the plate in a free area, and spoons should be used to serve most items, except sweets, water or dry items. Foods should be taken from the plate, not received directly into the hands and placed in the mouth.
One should sit quietly while taking prasada, not discussing material affairs. Those seated together should not touch one another while eating. One should only use the right hand to place foodstuffs in the mouth. Avoid making unnecessary noises while eating. One should tear large items with the fingers of the right hand, not with the teeth, then small pieces should be placed in the mouth. One should avoid eating with the left hand, which is contaminated due to other uses.
The householder and his wife (or others who are serving) should be last to eat, and should stop taking prasada themselves whenever necessary in order to attend to guests (or wait until others are finished to begin taking themselves). When guests finish a portion, they should quickly be offered more of it, and should be permitted to have all they wish. All persons in a group should be offered the same items. The food should be served while still hot, if possible. Guests should never be left with an empty plate except at the end of the meal, or when they have exclaimed they can take no more. The server may describe the wonderful qualities of a preparation as he offers it, to encourage the guest to eat more.
While the server encourages guests to continue eating sumptuously, one should not overeat. Excessive eating causes discomfort, sickness, and decreases the lifespan. It interferes with one's devotional activities, causes one to be unregulated, and generally encourages sinful behaviors. Too much sense gratification, over-dependence on another's mercy, and artificial standards of living are detrimental to spiritual advancement.
It is said that one should fill half the stomach with food, one quarter with water, and one quarter with air. The order of foodstuffs eaten is also important. The Hari Bhakti Vilasa states that one should begin by eating a little sweet food, then take salty and sour items, and then pungent and bitter items. Different customs are followed in different regions of India. In Bengal, for example, it is the custom to take bitters first, and end the meal with sweets. Generally, liquid foodstuffs should be taken at the beginning and end of the meal, and solid foods should be taken in the middle.
"Caritamrta is obtained in the morning while the Lord is being washed before dressing. Scented with perfumes and flowers, the water comes gliding down through His lotus feet and is collected and mixed with yogurt. In this way this caritamrta not only becomes very tastefully flavored, but also has tremendous spiritual value. As described in the Padma Purana, even a person who has never been able to give in charity, who has never been able to perform a great sacrifice, who has never been able to study the Vedas, who has never been able to worship the Lord-or, in other words, even one who has never done any pious activities-will become eligible to enter into the kingdom of God if he simply drinks the caritamrta which is kept in the temple. In the temple it is the custom that the caritamrta be kept in a big pot. The devotees who come to visit and offer respects to the Deity take three drops of caritamrta very submissively and feel themselves happy in transcendental bliss."
Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 9
One should drink water out of a cup or vessel, using the right hand and not touching the lips to the vessel, particularly if others might drink from it. Water should not be drunk directly out of the hands. While drinking, water should not be allowed to drip onto the prasadam, which then becomes ucchista (contaminated leftovers).
After finishing the meal, one should take the plate (if disposable) in the right hand and discard it. All food remnants remaining on plates and in serving dishes are ucchista, and may not be mixed in with other, un-offered foods, or returned to the kitchen, or in any way be re-offered to the Lord.
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.
Food for Life:
in Theory and Practice
by Krishna Dharma dasa
One objection to Food for Life frequently encountered from devotees and non-devotees alike, is that the programme is simply an attempt to win public favour. We are not really interested in helping people but are trying to manipulate public opinion by performing a high profile charitable service. For devotees, this objection is also rooted in the doubt that, as a spiritual organisation, ISKCON should not be concerned with mundane welfare work and, of course, we should certainly not be trying to manipulate people's minds by doing something we don't really believe in ourselves. The purpose of this paper therefore, is to answer this objection and to establish Food for Life as a programme deserving as much credibility as both hari-nama and book distribution. It is divided into two sections: the philosophical basis of the programme from Srila Prabhupada's writings, and some practical aspects and benefits of Food for Life.
Perhaps it would be appropriate to begin with a few words about the name 'Food for Life'. For devotees, the name should be synonymous with prasadam distribution. However, the fact that the perfectly acceptable programme of prasadam distribution has been given the name 'Food for Life' is perhaps where the doubts begin. It seems to indicate an attempt to manipulate opinion and win favour with the public. Well, in a sense, that's true - we are trying to highlight prasadam distribution. However, although that has the benefit of winning public support - and I doubt if anyone will say that this is in itself a bad thing - there are also other good reasons for it. By giving it an identity of its own, we make prasadam distribution into something that can be easily accepted by everyone. The public may view it as a welfare programme, but does that matter? As long as we ourselves do not lose sight of what 'Food for Life' actually is, then there should be no problem. If the public are watching us perform devotional service and they appreciate that service, for whatever reason, then surely this is most desirable. In addition, by having a division of ISKCON which is dedicated to distributing food to the needy, we can open many doors in society and thus greatly expand prasadam distribution. Obviously we want everyone to get prasadam and not just the 'needy'; but we have to start wherever we can and continue from there - 'In like a needle and go out like a plough'. In addition, although I do not have access to a computer database of all Srila Prabhupada's instructions, I have fully researched his main writings and will therefore support my position with quotes taken from these, namely Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam and Caitanya-caritamrta. I know that Srila Prabhupada gave many instructions about prasadam distribution in both his lectures and his conversations.
I would now like to talk about the philosophical basis of 'Food for
Life'. I have divided this into five headings which I will deal with individually.
Prasadam distribution is a fundamental strand of preaching
This statement will probably not attract much argument, if any at all.
We all know how important it is to distribute prasadam. Where would the
Sunday Feast be without a feast? Could we contemplate any festival without
big prasadam distribution? Would we ever turn anyone away from our temples
without offering prasadam? Obviously not. Indeed the Bhagavad-gita states
that, 'Any sacrifice performed without distribution of prasadam is considered
to be in the mode of ignorance.' (Bg 17.13). But is there a need to make
prasadam distribution a separate programme, outside of our normal preaching
at meetings and festivals, etc.? There are several quotes which appear
to support this. For example, in the Srimad-Bhagavatam we find the following
instruction: 'Temple worship necessarily includes distribution of prasadam
. One should exhibit compassion for ignorant living entities by distributing
prasadam. Distribution of prasadam to the ignorant masses of people is
essential for persons who make offerings to the Personality of Godhead.'
(SB 3.29.24 purp.). This quote appears in the significant context of instructions
on Deity worship. Lord Kapila has stated that Deity Worship is not pleasing
to Him if it is performed by a person ignorant of His presence in everyone's
heart. In his purport, Srila Prabhupada confirms that the way to recognise
the Lord's presence is the hearts of others is by giving them prasadam.
By the qualification 'ignorant masses', Prabhupada gives a clear indication
that we should be going out to the people with that prasadam. The preceding
purport also contains the following instruction: 'Distribution of prasadam
. even to the ignorant masses of people and to animals, gives such living
entities the chance for elevation to Krsna consciousness.' (SB 3.29.23
purp.). The Fourth Canto similarly states: 'In this age, distribution of
prasadam has replaced distribution of money. No-one has sufficient money
to distribute, but if we distribute Krsna-prasadam as far as possible,
this is more valuable than the distribution of money'. (SB 4.9.24). This
appears in the context of descriptions of the great sacrifices performed
by Dhruva Maharaja. Sacrifices are complete only after charity has been
given and here Srila Prabhupada instructs that this charity should be prasadam
distribution. Later in the same Canto, we find this statement: 'Somehow
or other everyone can manage to perform such a yajna (sankirtana) and distribute
prasadam to the people in general. That is quite sufficient for this age
of Kali. The Hare Krsna Movement is based on this principle: chant the
Hare Krsna mantra at every moment, both inside and outside of the temples,
and, as far as possible, distribute prasadam. This process can be accelerated
with the help of the state administrators and those who are producing the
country's wealth. Simply by liberal distribution of prasadam and sankirtana,
the whole world can become peaceful and prosperous'. (SB 4.12.10). These
various instructions indicate the significance of prasadam distribution
as a fundamental preaching tool. Of course, the ideal situation is also
to perform sankirtana and there are ways that kirtana can be incorporated
into Food for Life. However, even if we cannot engage these 'ignorant masses'
in sankirtana, we can at least give them prasadam. By the purifying effect
of the prasadam, their inclination to chant the holy name can thus be awakened.
Prasadam distribution is our secret weapon
Srila Prabhupada himself coined this phrase, and there is an interesting
purport in the Caitanya-caritamrta which nicely illustrates it: 'The Krsna
consciousness movement vigorously approves this practice of preparing food,
offering it to the Deity and distributing it to the general population.
This activity should be extended universally to stop sinful eating habits
as well as other behaviour befitting only demons. A demoniac civilisation
will never bring peace within the world. Since eating is the first necessity
in human society, those engaged in solving the problems of preparing and
distributing food should take lessons from Madhavendra Puri and execute
the Annakuta ceremony. When the people take to eating only prasadam offered
to the Deity all demons will be turned into Vaishnavas.' Prabhupada goes
on to say that due to this there will be Krsna conscious leadership and
thus peace in society. (Peace resulting from distribution of prasadam was
also mentioned in the purport quoted above from the Fourth Canto). If it
is presented nicely in an appropriate manner, hardly anyone will object
to taking prasadam. As we are satisfied that the taking of prasadam is
in itself purification, we do not have to feel the need to overtly preach
at the same time. We can simply hand out prasadam and let that do the preaching
from within. The result in society will be as Prabhupada describes: there
will be no more 'disturbing demons' as leaders and the threat of wars and
oppression will thus recede. Prasadam is therefore a secret weapon, with
the power to neutralise the enemy without their even knowing how it has
Prasadam distribution is giving people Krsna
Every devotee knows that the remnants of food left by the Lord are considered
non-different from the Lord. By giving people prasadam, therefore, we are
actually giving them Krsna. 'Yesam tv anta gatam papam jananam punya karmanam'
(Bg 7.28). In addition, by offering prasadam to people we are also giving
them pious credits on the transcendental platform; this means, for example,
they will be able to gain some understanding of our books. Thus prasadam
distribution will also enhance the effect of book distribution. In fact,
a point of interest in this regard is the following verse spoken by Lord
Brahma in the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, 'Athapi te deva padambujam-dvayam-prasaa
lesanugrhita eva hi.' (SB 10.14.29) - unless a person receives the mercy
of Krsna, specifically referred to here as prasadam, he will not be able
to understand knowledge about Krsna (janati tattvam bhagavan manhimno);
even if he studies the Vedas for a very long time (na canya eko 'pi ciram
vicinvan). Also worth mentioning is the case of Narada Muni, who, by once
taking the remnants of food left by great sages, became engaged in devotional
service, 'Ucchista-lepan anumodito dvijaih sakrt sma bhunje tad-apasta-kilbisah.'
(SB 1.5.25). This pastime also indicates the importance of ensuring prasadam
is properly offered.
Prasadam distribution is grhastha dharma
There is a famous story of a grhastha who asked Srila Prabhupada about the specific duties of grhastha asrama. Prabhupada replied that before taking prasadam, the grhastha should stand on the doorstep and call out for any hungry man to come and share his food. In fact, Srila Prabhupada was simply giving a practical definition of the duties of grhastha-asrama which are given in the sastra. We find many instructions in this regard; the instruction cited above is found in the Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 3.41: 'According to Vedic principles the householder, before taking lunch, should go outside and shout very loudly to see if there is anyone without food. In this way he invited people to take prasadam.' Further in this purport, Prabhupada also interestingly states, 'Thus (because of the above) the householder's life is called grhastha-asrama.' As we know, the essence of the religious duties for householders is charity, and this takes practical shape in the form of prasadam distribution. As quoted above (SB 4.9.24), Prabhupada states that distribution of prasadam replaces the distribution of money in this age, and also has greater value. In the purport to SB 4.12.10 Srila Prabhupada talks about sankirtana-yajna for householders, stating that they should, 'distribute prasadam to the people in general . somehow or other everyone can manage this.' Regarding to whom prasadam should be given, the following are specifically mentioned: 'Dogs, fallen persons and untouchables including candalas (dog eaters) should all be maintained with their proper necessities which should be contributed by the householders.' (SB 7.11.14).
Sometimes Food for Life' is criticised for 'targeting the bums and destitutes
on the street and this is not good because you're just encouraging them
to be bums', but the previous quote specifically mentions that these people
should be maintained by the grhasthas. In the Seventh Canto there are several
statements regarding the importance of prasadam distribution by householders.
'Factually, according to the instructions of Srimad-Bhagavatam, every grhastha
is a great communist who provides the means of living for everyone. Whatever
a grhastha may possess, he should equally distribute to all living entities,
without discrimination. The best process is to distribute prasadam. Whatever
money a grhastha accumulates by the grace of God, he should spend in five
activities. Namely worshipping the Supreme personality of Godhead, receiving
Vaishnavas and saintly persons, distributing prasadam to the general public
and all living entities, offering prasadam to his own self.' (SB 7.14 introd.).
Perhaps a point worth considering in this regard is that Srila Prabhupada
specifically refers to five kinds of sacrifice. In traditional varnasrama-dharma,
this is karma kanda, not really appropriate for the Vaishnavas. However,
Srila Prabhupada has given us a purely transcendental process which focuses
on offering prasadam to different types of living beings. In fact, there
is no such emphasis on any other kind of service for grhasthas anywhere
in Srila Prabhupada's books. Clearly he considered this to be very important.
Prasadam for distribution must be nicely offered
I wanted to emphasise this point as Srila Prabhupada has some very specific things to say in this regard. Food for Life prasadam is often not considered as needing to be such high quality. After all, beggars can't be choosers, they should all be grateful for anything at all. However, I feel this attitude is a little mistaken. For a start, surely any contact a person has with our movement should be memorable. Taking first-class prasadam is certainly that, but there are also statements in our books specifically dealing with this: 'To distribute to all living entities, the process is that we must first offer prasadam to the brahmans and the Vaishnavas, for the demigods are represented by the brahmans'. (Note here how Srila Prabhupada obviates the offering to the demigods by saying the brahmans represent the demigods). 'In this way the Supreme Personality of Godhead who is situated in everyone's heart will be worshipped. This is the Vedic system of offering prasadam. Whenever there is a ceremony for distribution of prasadam, the prasadam is offered first to the brahmans, then to the children, then to the old men, and then to women, and then to the animals like dogs and other domestic animals.' So the point here is that it should be done in a particular way. Certainly that would fulfil these instructions and also facilitate the distribution of first-class prasadam endued with great spiritual potency.
This hopefully establishes something of the philosophical import of
prasadam distribution in our movement. Of course, we can find many more
statements from Srila Prabhupada; I have not quoted any of his letters,
conversations or lectures. However, it is still obvious that the programme
is of paramount importance to our preaching.
Stress the spiritual aspect
We should be very confident about telling people about the spiritual
benefits of prasadam. After all, we are a spiritual movement and they are
obviously going to understand that we have some kind of spiritual programme,
even while giving out food. As mentioned above, we should first of all
make it clear that prasadam distribution is itself preaching as far as
we are concerned. In other words, it is not just a front to enable us to
get some straight proselytising in as soon as the opportunity arises; there
are no obligations imposed by us on recipients of our food. We should however,
try to explain how prasadam has a spiritually purifying effect, both on
the individual and ultimately on society itself. For example, we can point
out that shortages and scarcity in society are ultimately caused by man's
greed, and how through his exploitation of the earth he has created various
imbalances in nature.
As I have already mentioned, it is possible to government support for
this programme. Indeed, it is a particular instruction of Srila Prabhupada
that this programme should have such support. In the Fourth Canto, verse
12.10, he states that the leaders should support this programme of prasadam
distribution. Such support is also mentioned in Madhya-lila, when referring
to the Annakuta ceremony. In some areas they are already receiving such
support. For example, there are surplus schemes in America and the European
Community. They have mountains of food, especially butter which is given
by the ton. Last year we obtained nine tons of this butter; we went out
on to the street with a van and handed out blocks of it to people (after
it had first been offered, of course), which was greatly appreciated by
the public. Your local council or MEP will be able to tell you how to obtain
The question is: to whom are we going to give food? Everyone needs prasadam,
so where do we start? In most places we go to the homeless and the destitute
to begin with because they are usually the most accessible. They are certainly
the most receptive to prasadam. Your first step therefore, therefore, is
to identify where the primary need exists. Usually in the so-called developed
countries, a certain class of people will be found on the streets. These
people are usually easy to find as they tend to congregate in certain areas.
In large cities such as London, where there are large numbers of homeless,
there is no shortage of customers for free food. It is also very good public
relations because it is such a problem . It has gone beyond to capacity
of the Social Services to cope with and they're looking to the charity
sector to help them out. In doing this, we can also gain support from the
government. It is therefore intelligent to go for the homeless to begin
with, because everyone recognises that there's a need there. In many programmes
prasadam is given out from a van or a truck. Homeless people in cities
will generally congregate in one particular place. If not, you may give
them the impetus to do this by going regularly to the same place with the
prasadam. Do not be too impatient: you may find there are only three people
there on the first day. However, if you tell those three people, 'We'll
be back tomorrow', the next day here will be six people, the following
day several more. Therefore, don't give after only one or two days if there
are not many people. Keep going and you will probably find that they eventually
start coming if you have identified that there is a particular need in
the area of your own town.
Distributing within the community
Even if there is not a homeless problem in your area, there will almost certainly be needy groups living in the community, particularly the elderly. These people are often neglected by their families and are in a very impoverished condition. As this is also a recognised area of need, it will again attract a lot of sympathy and support. The best way to begin helping in this area is to approach other charities who are directly involved in looking after the aged and work with them. In England, for example, there are charities called Help the Aged and Age Concern. You will have to work in conjunction with such organisations for a period of time. It's no good thinking that they are immediately going to trust you; due to our religious convictions they will suspect ulterior motives at first. However, if you demonstrate sincerity and a desire to give out prasadam with no strings attached, they will gradually come to accept you. They usually won't give you addresses of individuals within the community because they have to protect them. However, they may take the food and distribute it themselves, and as you win their confidence they may eventually allow you to go directly into the community and distribute.
There are also many families who, for one reason or another, have had to leave their home; they couldn't afford the mortgage repayments, the wife is kicked out by the husband who was beating her, etc. In these case, you can also approach the Social Services and ask them for information on this section of the community. Some may co-operate, others may refuse to admit there's a problem that they're not dealing with. Again, other charities will usually help; charities network and co-operate with each other, so we must also learn how to do this. We can gain support in this way as there are certain agencies specifically set up to give financial support to charities. You can obtain information on from sources such as directories of grant-giving bodies or local government representatives.
Students are another target area as they nearly always short of money You can either distribute to individual student hostels or from a fixed location, for example, somewhere on campus that the student union allows you to use on a regular basis. It doesn't necessarily have to be daily; it could be weekly to start with - even this will have a good effect on the public's perception of ISKCON. For instance, in Newcastle recently there was a problem with the anti-cult people and we had certain persons in the community come forward and support us. They made very positive statements about us because of the Food for Life programme, even though distribution only takes place a couple of times a week. However, this small effort won important support when it really mattered.
Prasadam distribution can also be undertaken at events such as music
festivals. There are thousands of people there and you can give out vast
amounts of prasadam, in addition to selling books and chanting the holy
name. However, Food for Life means free, or heavily subsidised, food. In
my opinion, food sold for profit should not be advertised as 'Hare Krsna
Food for Life'.
Perhaps the best way to distribute prasadam on a regular basis is from
a fixed site such as a restaurant or café. In addition, there is
far less stigma attached to going to a café than to getting food
from a truck on the street. A donation box can be made available and people
can retain their self esteem by giving something towards their meal if
they desire. Alternatively, a small charge can be made for all they can
eat. An example of this can be found in Australia, where several 'budget
restaurants' have been opened offering unlimited prasadam for fifty cents
or a dollar; this has resulted in trenendously good public relations. In
England, whenever we meet an Australian on the street, they are immediately
favourable, often saying 'Oh Hare Krsna, I ate some of your food and it
was delicious.' They will know us as being strongly committed to free or
subsidised food distribution. Prasadam's a big thing in Australia and has
certainly won a lot of the public and government support. We have recently
adopted this idea in Manchester and it has been very successful. We have
a shop with two rooms; one containing tables and chairs in which free prasadam
is served. the other selling devotional items. We are hoping that this
idea could be tied into the grhastha-dharma. A pertinent problem our movement
faces now is engaging and maintaining grhasthas. Having a small preaching
centre where free prasadam is given out together with an outlet selling
prasadam, books, incense, etc. is something which I believe grhastha couples
could do quite easily.
As I have demonstrated, there are many ways to get a Food for Life programme started. Even if all of the above is beyond your capabilities, you can still invite guests to eat your own prasadam. Srila Prabhupada would often refer to his own father who would always have 'two or three or even more guests for dinner'. So where there's a will there's a way: you can always find some way to distribute prasadam. However, I should emphasise that it must be done in a compassionate mood. It is real preaching to give a person prasadam, a great mercy of the Lord, and should not be considered as just a public relations exercise. Most importantly, try to make the prasadam as first-class as possible. It really makes a difference when the food is very tasty, hot, nicely offered, nicely served and, if possible, in vast quantities.
This article is based on a lecture given at the Second European Communications Seminar, NJNK, January 1992.
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Akshaya Patra program - Unlimited Food For Life
THE MID-DAY MEAL PROGRAM IN SCHOOLS:
A Strategic Program to address two of the most pressing problems of India:Hunger & Education
Akshaya Patra currently feeds about
2,62,010 hygienic and nutritious meals to underprivileged children everyday.
THE AKSHAYA PATRA FOUNDATION
A strategic program to address two of the most pressing problems of India: Hunger & Education. The Akshaya Patra Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, has been providing free meals everyday to poverty stricken school children in and around Bangalore city, Hubli, Mysore, Hassan and Mangalore in southern India, Vrindavan in Mathura dist. in Uttar Pradesh and Jaipur in Rajasthan. In just four years since it was founded, the program has scaled to provide over 2,52,350 hygienic and nutritious meals every day through an extremely cost-effective program. Akshaya Patra has demonstrated and is now showcased as an operating model that can strategically address two of the most pressing problems for poor children in India: hunger and education.
Our goal is to scale the program to serve over 10,00,000 children per day by 2010. We believe success on that scale will offer a model of replication by other developmental organizations and State Governments across India. To many of our children, the Akshaya Patra meal is the only complete meal that they have access to during the entire day. This has produced dramatic results in terms of enrolment, attendance, and attention spans. We are seeking your assistance to grow Akshaya Patra and to make it a model for addressing a large and desperate problem for children in India.
Distribution of pure Vegetarian Spiritual Food (prasadam) gains recognition
Iskcon Akshaya Patra Food Distribution
in Bangalore India:
ISKCON Akshaya Patra Program
in Jaipur schools
Hindunet: The Hindu Universe: One Hot Meal
"Say what you will about ISKON, they are at least out there in the trenches fighting the enemies of India. Not all battles are fought with weapons and fists."
The Effect from taking Krishna Prasadam from Babhru dasa ACBSP
"In Honolulu in early 1974, Srila Prabhupada said it was not necessarily
the case that any creature eating prasadam would automatically get a human
birth. He explained that the benefit derived from eating prasadam depends
on the appreciation for the prasadam. If someone appreciates that he got
something to put in his belly, he gets some benefit; if he likes it because
it tastes good, he gets even more benefit; if he appreciates that it is
the Lord's remnants, he gets the most benefit. As far as I know, these
questions after classes were not taped."
In this regard there's an ancient story surrounding Sripad Ramanujacharya and some of his disciples walking around the temple kund / tank as he expounded the glories of Maha-prasadam of the Lord. As he glorified the wonders of the Lord's prasadam he took some sweets and crombled them in his hands and threw them into the temple tank. Simultaneously as they hit the water fish who were fortunate to be living in the temple tank took that maha-prasadam in their mouths and began to leave the water skyward with four armed forms much to the astonishment of the disciples of Ramanuja.
The disciples immediately began to disrobe so as to enter the waters and also receive a similar boon. Ramanujacharya stopped them saying; it's not the lake, its the maha-prasadam.......
They then began to ponder the fact that all their lives they had taken prasadam on a daily basis, yet what happened to the fish hadn't happened to them.
They asked Ramanujacharya what had happened and why it had not happened to them. Simply he told them that the fish took that prasadam without any offense, they put no material conceptions on it of what they like and what they didn't like, to them it was "life". Everything that came their way was the mercy of the Lord. If we also take maha-prasadam without any misconception, purely the understanding that everything coming from the Lord, is His mercy, His prasadam, we gain the highest benefit and go back to Godhead.
na—not; hi—indeed; agni—fire; mukhataù—from the mouth or the flames; ayam—this; vai—certainly; bhagavän—Lord Çré Kåñëa; sarva-yajïa-bhuk—the enjoyer of the results of all kinds of sacrifices; ijyeta—is worshiped; haviñä—by offering of clarified butter; räjan—O King; yathä—as much as; vipra-mukhe—through the mouth of a brähmaëa; hutaiù—by offering him first-class food.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Çré Kåñëa, is the enjoyer of sacrificial offerings. Yet although His Lordship eats the oblations offered in the fire, my dear King, He is still more satisfied when nice food made of grains and ghee is offered to Him through the mouths of qualified brähmaëas.
As stated in Bhagavad-gétä (3.9), yajïärthät karmaëo 'nyatra loko 'yaà karma-bandhanaù: all fruitive activities should be performed for sacrifice, which should be directed toward pleasing Kåñëa. As stated elsewhere in Bhagavad-gétä (5.29), bhoktäraà yajïa-tapasäà sarva-loka-maheçvaram: He is the Supreme Lord and enjoyer of everything. However, although sacrifice may be offered to please Kåñëa, He is more pleased when grains and ghee, instead of being offered in the fire, are prepared as prasäda and distributed, first to the brähmaëas and then to others. This system pleases Kåñëa more than anything else. Furthermore, at the present time there is very little chance to offer sacrifices by pouring oblations of food grains and ghee into the fire. Especially in India, there is practically no ghee; for everything that should be done with ghee, people use a certain type of oil preparation. Oil, however, is never recommended for offering in a sacrificial fire. In Kali-yuga, the available quantity of food grains and ghee is gradually diminishing, and people are embarrassed that they cannot produce sufficient ghee and food grains. Under the circumstances, the çästras enjoin, yajïaiù saìkértana-präyair yajanti hi sumedhasaù: [SB 11.5.32] in this age, those who are intellectual offer yajïa, or perform sacrifices, through the saìkértana movement. Everyone should join the saìkértana movement, offering to the fire of this movement the oblations of his knowledge and riches. In our saìkértana movement, or Hare Kåñëa movement, we offer sumptuous prasäda to the Deity and later distribute the same prasäda to the brähmaëas, the Vaiñëavas and then to the people in general. Kåñëa's prasäda is offered to the brähmaëas and Vaiñëavas, and the prasäda of the brähmaëas and Vaiñëavas is offered to the general populace. This kind of sacrifice—chanting of the Hare Kåñëa mantra and distribution of prasäda—is the most perfect and bona fide way of offering sacrifice for the pleasure of Yajïa, or Viñëu. (Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad. Srimad Bhagavatam 7:14:17., text and purport.)
tais taiù kämair yajasvainaà
kñetra-jïaà brähmaëän anu
tasmät—therefore; brähmaëa-deveñu—through the brähmaëas and the demigods; martya-ädiñu—through ordinary human beings and other living entities; yathä-arhataù—according to your ability; taiù taiù—with all those; kämaiù—various objects of enjoyment such as sumptuous food, flower garlands, sandalwood paste, etc.; yajasva—you should worship; enam—this; kñetra-jïam—Supreme Lord situated in the hearts of all beings; brähmaëän—the brähmaëas; anu—after.
Therefore, my dear King, first offer prasäda unto the brähmaëas and the demigods, and after sumptuously feeding them you may distribute prasäda to other living entities according to your ability. In this way you will be able to worship all living entities—or, in other words, the supreme living entity within every living entity.
To distribute prasäda to all living entities, the process is that we must first offer prasäda to the brähmaëas and the Vaiñëavas, for the demigods are represented by the brähmaëas. In this way the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is situated in everyone's heart, will be worshiped. This is the Vedic system of offering prasäda. Whenever there is a ceremony for distribution of prasäda, the prasäda is offered first to the brähmaëas, then to the children and old men, then to the women, and then to animals like dogs and other domestic animals. When it is said that Näräyaëa, the Supreme Being, is situated in everyone's heart, this does not mean that everyone has become Näräyaëa or that a particular poor man has become Näräyaëa. Such a conclusion is rejected herein. (Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad. Srimad Bhagavatam 7:14:18., text and purport.)
Prasada seva in the Sri Vaishnava tradition of South India
Sri Narada Pancha Ratram
ON THE HIGHEST KNOWLEDGE
pages 16 - 19
Sanat Kumara said: - O Sire! O! What a wonder today I have heard
about the greatness of eating the excellent Naivedyam of the Supreme Soul,
Sri Krisna; kindly explain this is detail. (1)
Brahma spoke: - Once on a time, that Brahmana went to a friend’s house, with a gladdened heart and cheerful mind, his eyes opening wide with joy. (2)
This invitation was on a marriage ceremony; and the Brahmana with his son ate a lot of diverse good dishes and sweetmeats and drank nice cool water and then was on his return way to home. (3)
On the way the Brahmana and his son felt themselves very much afflicted with hunger and thirst; they then saw the exceedingly lovely Chandrabhaga river. (4)
The son, then, exclaimed to his father: - “O father! I am very hungry and thirsty. Therefore I take my bath in this river and then eat something. (5)
Hearing the words of the son, the Brahmana addressed him: - “O son! This is a place of great danger; and the river is also seen so close. (6)
Therefore let us march on quickly to a village; there we will certainly see a beautiful tank and we will bathe there! And then eat and drink. O son! Let us go on. (7)
Hearing the above words, the Brahmana’s son laughed a little and expressed his anger too, and with eyes, reddened like a red lotus, looked at his father and began to reply thus: - (8)
The boy said: - I am ten years old and you are aged, experienced, and my instructor; movever it is the rule everywhere that fathers instruct their sons. (9)
But alas! Such is the nature of insurmountable time that an aged and experienced man talks like a child; O father! Why do you speak contrary words, taking no notice of what we call “fate” (adrista). (10)
O Father! It is Fate that brings us pleasure, pain, disease, sorrow, fear, a good and happy death, long life, and short life. (11)
No one can avert the time when birth, death, or an auspicious act will take place; no one can act to the contrary. (12)
What has been ordained by the Creator in whose hand one would meet one’s death, cannot be averted even by Visnu or Mahadeva. (13)
O father! Out of your dullness of understanding, your birth and your study of the Sastras are in vain and have borne no fruit; good understanding makes one’s life happy and fruitful. (14)
He will save me Who has the swans of a white colour, Who has made parrots green, Who has made the peacocks of variegated colour. (15)
Will He not save me Who has created endless infinite Universes, Who is protecting all these beings, moveable and non-moveable. (16)
There are some persons who sleep in the deep jungles protected by Sri Krisna; again there are others who are dying in their homes, due to the curse of Fate. (17)
Persons, by virtue of their previous good, sleeping on snakes, do not die, though bitten by snakes, and they again on account of their bad luck quit their lives though they live in company with Garuda (the bird out of whose fear the serpents fly away). (18)
Again persons do not die in oceans, fire, and out of poisons, weapons and arrows; their longevity protects them. (19)
Until the proper time comes, one’s death does not take place, even pierced by hundreds or arrows; again when time comes one dies by the edge of a straw. (20)
Rather some die in wombs, some die just after being born, some die in their vigorous youth and some die in their good old age. (21)
By virtue of their karmas some are long-lived, some are diseased, some are healthy, some wealthy and some again are poor. (22)
Some by their luck live till the end of a Kalpa; some live very long; some again are immortal. So Fate is the strongest. (23)
Some, again, by virtue of their karmas become Kings of kings and drive on divine chariots; some again become worms and insects; some are born as animals. (24)
Some, again, by virtue of their karmas, become Sannyasins; some again kill men; some go on Gajendras; some again go on vehicles dragged by animals. (25)
Some again make presents of gems and jewels; some again subsist by begging; some put on silken and fine garments, some others wear tattered clothes. (26)
Some are naked and do not get food; some drink nectar; some are beautiful and prosperous and some are lepers. (27)
Some are hunched-back; some are deformed; some are deaf; some blind; some tall, some of mediocre size; some dwarfish and some are lame. (28)
Some are of black complexion; some fair, some pretty fair and some again by their respective karmas get rare devotion to Krisna as His servant. (29)
Some acquire the highest place of Brahma free from birth, death and old age; some others acquire the highest region of Brahma, free from all diseases. (30)
Some go to Heaven and become Indra; some others acquire Sivaloka; some again by virtue of their karmas acquire Yamaloka, Indraloka or Paradise. (31)
Some again suffer endless troubles in hell; some others are chastised by the servants of Yama and suffer terribly from hunger and thirst. (32)
Some again eat insects of urine and feces and the dirt excreted by insects; some again eat fat and marrow; some again suffer terribly from the edges of swords, hot oils, from fire, cold water and cold place. (33)
O Father! The sinners thus get endless terrific pains till the end of a Kalpa; than after expiry of their karmic effects, quit that life by the grace of God. (34)
By the will of God the people become attacked with disease and get themselves again freed from disease. It is through the terror of God that wind blows, the Sun radiates heat, Indra rains, Fire burns and Death occurs amongst the beings. By the command of God Kurma (Tortoise) supports the infinite Brahmanda (the Universe) (35-36)
That Sri Krisna pervades everywhere and protects all; thus He sports; it is by His will that the earth is very afraid and is the support of all. (37)
The Earth yields all sorts of grains; the Mouth Himalayas has stored up gems and the Creator Brahma is meditating who day and night. (38)
Whom Mrityunjaya Mahadeva (Conqueror of Death) is meditating and worshipping; Indra too meditates on Him and worships Him always. (39)
The Devi Saravati Herself too chants hymns to Him (Sri Krisna) O Father, Laksmi, residing on lotuses, serves His feel always. (40)
Him the Maya Sakti fears and therefore chants hymns; and Durga, the Destroyer of all evils and dangers and Savitri, the mother of the four Vedas praise Him. (41)
The Siddhendras, the Munindras, the Yogindras, Sanaka, etc., Rajendras, Surendras, Asurendras, the fourteen Manus all praise and chant hymns to Him incessantly; the saints and Bhaktas meditate on Him and worship Him always and some call Him as the Eternal Bhagavan. (42)
Some denominate Him as the Origin and Chief (Pradhana) of all; some other names Him as Jyotirmaya (full of light) and some others call Him as embodying all forms (Sarvarupi) and some mention Him as the Cause of all causes. (43-44)
Some call Him as Svechhamaya Rupadari, as assuming forms at His will, for favouring His bhaktas; some call Him as exceedingly beautiful blue and extremely lovely and charming Govinda Nandanandana, Sananda Paramananda (some of Nanda, with highest bliss). (45)
O Father! So remember and worship that Purna Brahma Sri Krisna, the God of the Immortals. (46)
Thus speaking to his father, the boy bathed in the Chandrabhaga river and drank the pure clear water and ate some good sweet modakas (Laddus; sweet balls). (47)
The father too became gladdened in his hearts to hear the words of his son and, shedding tears of joy, embraced and kissed his son. (48)
Then his father finished his bath and began to perform Sandya and worship. Seeing his father have had a good bath, the boy went to the forest. (49)
That restless boy cut readily five broad leaves on which they would eat their edibles. (50)
He collected beautiful forest flowers for the worship by his father; he then saw nice ripe jujube fruits (plums) and collected them; then he took ripe Amalaki fruits and ripe Amra fruits. (51-52)
He then culled full blown Kadamba flowers, the beautiful ripe pomegranate, Bel fruits, nice jack fruits, nice dates, Karanjas, Jambiras, beautiful Chikuras, etc. (53-54)
When he has thus collected various fruits, he saw a tank in front and close to its pure water beautiful white lotuses and red lotuses (Rakta kahlaras) keeping all what he had collected the red lotuses and ripe seeds of lotuses (Padma-Vijas). (55-56)
Collecting all these, he become ready to go to his father. That joyous and prosperous lad, the Brahman boy smilingly and fearlessly saw before a nice Champaka tree and Mallika, Malati, Kunda, Yuthika and Madhavi creeper. He then got a load of various beautiful flowers and fruits from the above mentioned trees. (57-60)
That load was somewhat heavy for the boy and he went on slowly and thought within himself whether it would be right or not to eat any fruit on the way and he did not eat a single fruit even. (61)
Sent in by Gaura Keshava prabhu ACBSP
Vatu-purna or Andhra-purna, whose first entry into your history may
be remembered as having taken place when Ramanuja was at Saligrama (Mysore),
is known, above all other dissiples, to have been the closest attached
adherent of Ramanuja, and the staunchest follower of the Path, known as
the Pancha – nopaya, or the Fifth Path – the Acharyabhimana, in other words,
answering faith placed in the Saviour, who is incarnated on earth, and
never dividing such faith between a saviour who has taken on humanity,
and God who ever remains Divine.
Vatu – Purna was not a mere theoretical believer in this mode of salvation, but exemplified it forcibly by his personal example.
Is the exclusive worship he paid to Ramanuja’s Holy feet, he excluded all thoughts of God. His Saviour was his God. He recognised no other rival Saviour – God to his visible human Saviour. Once on an occasion, Ramanuja went to the Holy shrine Tiruvellarai (about 10 miles north of Srirangam). Vatu – Purna followed him of course, carrying the Tiruppulkadai containing washed clothes, images, articles or worship, to Ramanuja, after reaching Tiruvellarai, went to bathe and returning, opened the cover of the wallet to find to his surprise and chagrin that his own sandals had been placed on the top of all other things. Irate, he called Purna and asked him to explain this sacrilege – the sacrilege of placing him sandals over the heads of his holy Images of worship! “Sire,” promptly answered Purna, “how is my God inferior to thine?”
Ramanuja went to visit the Lords in the temples, but Purna’s gaze was steadily fixed on Ramanuja’s handsome person. Ramanuja ooften marked this; and once remarked: “Son, why dost thou not direct thy sight to the charming eyes of the Lord?” Purna then looked at the Lord and looked at Ramanuja alternately for a few seconds and then exclaimed; “Sire, the eyes that have seen thee cannot see other objects.”
Ramanuja used to hand over the remains of food, after he had eaten, to Purna to eat; the latter, after eating, wiped his soiled hands on his head. Ramanuja fretfully chided him for this slovenly habit and directed him henceforth to wash his hands with water. “Yea,” said Purna, The next day, Ramanuja handed over to him eat consecrated food given to him in the temple. Purna ate and washed his hands with water. “What hast thou done, son;” exclaimed Ramanuja, “the Lord’s food is too holy to be thus washed away, thou oughtest to wipe it on thy head.” “Sire,” reported he, “I have done as thou badest me yesterday.” Ramanuja simply said: “Son, thou hast overcome me.”
On another occasion Purna was busy boiling milk for Ramanuja in the math, when Lord Ranganatha was coveyed in procession, decked in all the glory of decorative art Ramanuja rose to go, see and pay homage to the Deity, calling Purna, as he went, to come and do the same with him, But Purna, immediately excused himself saying: “Holy sire, if I come out to see thy God, the milk that is on the fire for my God (Ramanuja) will boil over.”
Sent in by Gaura Keshava prabhu ACBSP
On another occasion he came across a number of boys in the streets. They were enacting all that they saw their elders doing in the Temple. They had described in the dust a diagram of the Srirangam Temple, with several chambers allotted therein for God, for His Consort, His Saints and so on. Regular worship they commenced, and it was now time to offer food to the several Deities. The boys procured the food easily; for they gathered the road-dust, made it into convenient heaps, and offered the same to their God pictured on the ground. Food so consecrated should be distributed next, to all the worshippers. That is the rule. So the boys did; and finding Ramanuja in their midst: “God’s food, Sire, take,” cried they. Ramanuja fell reverently on the floor, and rising, as reverently stretched his hands and received the food and went his way.
Ramanuja’s stewardship in the Temple necessarily gave rise to bickerings on the part of the priests. They were jealous of his discipline and his growing power. Why not do away with this Sanyasin, and let us freely revel in corruption? Thought they. They would poison him, decided they. To one of the seven houses which Ramanuja was found frequenting for alms, they went and prevailed upon the owner to mix poison with the alms and give it to him. In India, the house-wife is to perform the duty of doling out alms. So the husband told the house-wife to do the nefarious deed. She objected, but he persisted. She was obliged to obey. Ramanuja came. With hands somewhat trembling, she doled out poisoned food to him, and prostrating herself below him, abruptly retired with eyes downcast. Her manner, he observed, was somewhat peculiar that day. This raised suspicion. He thought he would place the foof before a dog. He did, and lo! It had made the dog sick and giddy; it fell and died. “This is food with poison(sa-gara)” cried Ramanuja: “Let the poison(gara) go to its birth-place(sagara). So saying with a pun on the word sagara, he cast the food into the waters of the Kaveri river close by.
Sent in by Gaura Keshava prabhu ACBSP
Chronicles of Kaschi-Purna
[A tradition also has been handed down, with regard to Arulalan that he was the favourite of Kanchipurna, so much so that he daily received from the latter the remains of Varada- offered food in the Temple, after having been eaten by him. One day Purna gave the food on a leaf to Arulalan. Somehow a leaf had found its way into one of the holy vessels with which food was offered to Lord Varada; and Purna was shown this. He identified it with the leaf he had given Arulalan; and the latter, when asked, he could not explain how it found its way into the shrine and into a holy vessel. Of course the temple-officials resolved to perform a great purificatory ceremony. But Lord Varada declared to them that he would brook no such ceremony, inasmuch as Arulalan was such a dear servant of his, and Purna was a sacred person, whose touch of food and Arulalan’s touch of it again made the leaf so holy that he would rather have the day’s food served to him with the leaf. This was accordingly done and no purificatory ritual customarily binding, was gone through, It is said that Ramanuja had come to learn the extraordinary sanctity of Purna and of all that concerned him and of the esteem in which Lord Varada held him; and that it was on this account Ramanuja had been eager to partake of the food first taken by Purna. It was for this purpose, it may remembered, that Ramanuja invited Purna to his house; but he was thwarted in the design by the indiscretion of his wife – which has already been related on page. 70.]
Sent in by Gaura Keshava prabhu ACBSP
Forest-Men And Kongil
They then brought grain and honey in abundance; and new pots, in which to fry the former, pound it into powder, and mix with honey and eat it. Ramanuja and his men gratefully partook of the same, after having been greatly exhausted by journeys and elemental inclemencies; and retired for a long-wished-for rest.
The next morning, they were all up and prepared to continue their journey northwards towards the hills and beyond. One of the forest-men and one disciple were chosen to carry tidings to Srirangam and inquire how it fared with Kuresa; and the rest-forty-five disciples, it is written-journeyed northward, guided by the forest-men. They performed about six days’ journey and reached a certain fastness in the heart of the Nilagiri Hill range, where the chief of the forest-men lived. The chief was gone out hunting. The guides conducted their holy party however to his house, where they were introduced to the chief’s wife, whom, as their high mistress, the addressed thus:-“Madam, these holy men are our Gurus; we commend them to your care. Pray attend to all their wants, and whatever it may cost, debit it to us by your master.” Thus entrusting their holy burden to good hands, they departed. The chief now returned from his hunting, and was told all. “How can we eat, while those good men are hungry,” he said, and despatched his men to conduct them to a neighbouring village, to the house of a Brahmana, named Kattalai-vari, sending an abundance of provisions to entertain them with, without least delay. The messengers saw this done and returned and reported the same to their chief.
The wife of Kattalai-vari was the reputed Kongil-piratti or Chelanchalamba.
She prostrated herself before them and asked whether she might not cook
for them. They replied in the negative. “To whom feet, sirs, do ye belong?”
she inquired. “Ramanuja,” they replied. “Doubt not, sirs, I also belong
to him,” rejoined she. “Strange, pray give an account how that came about,”
asked the guests. “Sire,” she began, “once rains failed, and famine was
on the land. We therefore left our native lands and went to Srirangam;
where myself and my husband engaged a house, living on the second floor
thereof. I was daily watching Ramanuja emerging into the streets, after
his morning’s duties in the temple were fulfilled, for the sake of entering
seven houses to collect his daily alms. As his holiness strolled in the
streets like a very god on earth, many people fell at his feet; among the
number I particularly observed Akalankanatt-azhvan, the husband of Tripura-devi.
One day, Ramanuja entered my poor house. Observing it, I ran down the stairs
and stood behind a door, attentive. “Good dame, what is in thy mind,” he
asked me, and I humbly said:- “Holy Sire, thou comest a-begging to poor
peoples’ houses, whilst I see kings fall at thy feet in the streets. Please
solve this mystery for me.” He said:-“Dear daughter, I tell these men bits
of news about God; and they become attached to my person. And it is my
duty to go to pour houses, and go anywhere where there may be people who
wish to hear good tidings of God.” The Holy Father,” said I, “may
I not be the recipient of a little of it?” “Surely,” said he, “and he told
me what was good for me and took his departure. Now rains fell, and famine
had left our land, and we resolve to join our native country; but I had
forgotten the good advice given to me by Ramanuja. I was troubled and did
not know what to do. As I was pensive how-ever, Ramanuja suddenly dropped
into our poor house again. I ran down the stairs to meet him to tell the
tidings of God once more to me, as I was about to leave Srirangam for my
native village. Looking upon me once more the Dvaya-mantra, along with
the Holy Names of all the Apostles of our faith, God downwards and ending
with himself. He was leaving me; but I entreated him to stay a while and
bestow on me something which I might carry in remembrance and which I might
worship as my saviour. And he was so kind as to grant me his holy sandals.
And then myself and my husband returned home with his blessed gift. Never
since I have I had the joy of seeing Ramanuja again. It is many years ago
now.” Ramanuja heard all this, but he was half in cognito, wearing the
white garments of Kuresa and many days had gone past, so that Kongil had
not recognised him yet. Learning, as he did, the account given, he gave
her permission to cook and commanded a disciple of his to watch her performances.
She left and her procedure was thus: - By repeating: ‘Blessed be Ramanuja,’
she sprinkled her head with water so consecrated. She washed the whole
house with cow dung and water, took fresh pots, and wearing clean washed
cloth, cooked meals, all the time muttering the holy prabandha, and after
placing the viands in clean caskets, entered into her chapel. Here she
place Ramanuja’ sandals on a raised dais, and repeating: “Ramanuja’s Holy
Feet are my refuge,” offered the viands she carried, and returning to the
guests, begged them to wash thief feet and get ready to discuss the meals
before it became cold. The disciple, told out to watch her, was now called
aside by Ramanuja to give an account and he recounted exactly all that
she did, but he said:- “It was dark in the chapel. There were two black
objects, which looked long, which he worshipped and to which she offered
food.” “Daughter,” called her Ramanuja, “please let us see what you worshipped
in the dark.”
She brought them and said: - “Holy Sire, these are the sandals of my Ramanuja, which he gave to me at Srirangam. I daily worship them and eat only after offering food to them. And this day I did the same. Nothing more.” Ramanuja measured them with his feet, and said:- “Curious enough; they suit me; but come here, daughter.” She approached and he whispered into her ears thus: - “Daughter, know that these disciples of mine are very strict. They see the sandals suit my feet, but this does not quite satisfy them however, please let me hear what Ramanuja taught thee.” Kongil repeated the mantra taught her before. “Good, but dost thou discover Ramanuja is this band?” asked Ramanuja. Kongil returned inside and bringing a light examined Ramanuja’s feet, and exclaimed:- “Sire, your feet are indeed like Ramanuja’s, but you wear white robes which he did not and could not as a Sanyasin. I am confused, Father.” Ramanuja, moved by her anxiety and no longer wishing to hide himself from her said:- “Dear daughter, I am Ramanuja.” On hearing this, her confusion turned into joy and wonder. She fell on her face and nestling to his feet, wept for joy. “Disciples,” said Ramanuja, turning to them: “now there need be no more hesitation on your part to eat her food. Sri Krishna ate Vidura’s food. Go and eat.” They did so, but Ramanuja did not. So Kongil was troubled and cried: But how about you, father?” “Daughter,” he said, “you see the food has been offered to my sandals. So I cannot eat that.” “The, father,” said she, “I shall bring milk and fruits; offer them to your God and eat.” Ramanuja did so all then rested, steeped in bliss.
The devout Kongil collected the remnants of food left, after they too ate, and taking it and the food evasned water of Ramanuja to her husband, who was sleeping aloft, rousing him and let him eat. But he saw he fasting. “Why dost though no eat, dear?” asked he. “Lord,” she answered, “Ramanuja and his disciples have come to our house from Srirangam, and they have slept away without taking food.” “What can I do, lady?” he asked. “Cannot you, Lord, become Ramanuja’s disciple?” “If you please,” said he. On obtaining this promise on the ruse, she ate and went to rest after her hard day’s loving labour. Next day, she awoke and approaching Ramanuja, entreated him to stay yet longer, and deign to take her husband to his fold by administering to him necessary Vaishnava-sacraments. He gladly consented and did every thing needed and reading to them many a useful lesson for thief future welfare, sojourned in their good home for a few days, and taking leave of the good pair by blessing them, pursued his journey.
Sent in by Gaura Keshava prabhu ACBSP
Sri Raghavendra Tirtha Swami "Rayaru's" Miracles:
Nawab tests rAyaru and loses
Once rAyaru visited Adoni and accepted Venkanna’s invitation to stay with him. Venkanna waxed eloquent about rAyaru’s prowess to his Nawab and forced him to visit rAyaru to pay his respects. Now the Nawab was skeptical about rAyaru and did not accept any authority other than Allah and his devotees. He wanted to expose rAyaru and score a point on Venkanna. He secretly ordered for three silver plates, full of meat, but totally covered with silken cloth to be prepared. He took this with him and accompanied Venkanna to the pUja. Along with the offering brought by Venkanna, he also offered his covered plates as naivedya for mUla rAma. RAyaru saw through his guile and sprinkled water from his kamanDala on the plates. Later, he ordered the clothes to be removed. The Nawab was waiting for this moment with bated breath. He was licking his lips in anticipation of unmasking this brahmin swAmiji. When the clothes were removed, they revealed 3 plates full of fresh fruits and flowers! The Nawab was astounded and instantly realized the greatness of rAyaru, and the great sin he had committed by testing this man of god. He immediately prostrated before rAyaru and with tears in his eyes begged his forgiveness. The kind and ever merciful rAyaru forgave him gladly. However, the Nawab was not satisfied, he begged rAyaru to accept some offering from him. rAyaru initially refused saying that he was a sanyAsi who had no desire for worldly things, but the Nawab kept on begging him, so finally he had to agree. He asked for the Nawab to give him the village of manchAle on the banks of the tungabhadra. The Nawab was surprised since that was barren land, yielding no crops or revenue. He tried to talk rAyaru into accepting more fertile land, but rAyaru would not accept anything other than manchAle. The Nawab immediately gifted that village to rAyaru.
The British were in India and held great sway through the East India Company. One of their rewarding financial `arrangements' was to arrange for monies being paid to temples for their maintenance to instead be paid as a tax to them.
The Indian system is that endowments are often left by rich devotee patrons so that the Deity of the temple can be worshipped in perpetuity. And often the endowment was the entire village wherein the temple stood, along with all its fields, many of its rented houses and tithes. In the world-view of the Europeans this did not make sense. Why should taxes be paid to a sacred `image' in a temple and not to the ruling monarch or the empowered officers?
Sir Thomas Munroe, one of the East India Company officers in south India in the early part of the 19th century, was asked to `resume' one such endowment village: the small community of Mantralaya. On the appointed day he met with the elders of the temple who told him that he could pay his respects at the Samadhi (tomb) of the great Madhva saint who had established the temple - Sri Raghavendra Tirtha Swami.
Sir Thomas slipped off his shoes and entered the tomb. The onlookers then heard him talking with someone within. However, they could only hear Sir Thomas's voice and not the person he was talking to.
Several minutes later he emerged from the tomb with some yellow-coloured dry rice in his hand. He told the onlookers that he had just spoken to `the swami' who had convinced him of the irrevocability of the endowment and given him some Prasad, and was astonished when the elders told him who had given it to him!
Sir Thomas ordered the rice - Mantrakshate Prasad - to be cooked along with his evening meal and gave up any thought of `resuming' the taxes of the village to the British.
(This episode is found in a British newspaper of the time, The Madras Gazettier, which can still be viewed at the Collectorate in Anantapura)
Later it is recorded that Munroe himself took to being a follower of Raghavendra Swami, changed his entire life-style and began to worship Tulasi devi the mother of devotion.
Naivedyakabavisham Rame Vikshyatatbhuktibhagguru |
Yodarsayatravim Ratrausatyabhodhastume Mude ||
|| Shri Gurubhyonamaha ||
|| Shri Hari Om ||
Shri Satyabodha Teertha's previously known as Shri Ramacharya.On
assuming the pontificate of the Shri Uttaradi Matha , he built as excellent
Brindavana to his guru at Mana-Madurai and performed a great aradhana in
his honor.He was the person who, as poor, very poor, Ramacharya, was brought
up, and taught all the Shatra in the Matha by Shri Satyapriya Teertharu.
It is said that he , before becoming a saint , used to do his daily worship
of a Saligrama and Shanka with his head and the Murthys completely covered,
when Swetavaraha would actually be present in a miniature from .But notwithstanding
his great scholarship, some people began to think , because of the background
of abject poverty, that he was not enough of a saint to honour the pontificate
of the great Uttaradi Matha. Which opinion they all had to revise soon
One of the sishyas of the Matha had accumulated a lot of wealth by hood-winking people by means of his tantric and indrajal deceptions into believing that he was the favourite devotee of Lord Venkateshwara whose vigraha he used to worship chatting the name of the Lord completely ms-pronounced and declaring that all his activities were as instructed by him. Shri Satyabodha Teertha , Who would not stand such nonsense and people being cheated went to him.The sishya was shocked that his deceptive and indrajal activities would not work in the sacred presence of the saint. Thus humiliated he surrendered all his ill acquired wealth , fell at his feet and begged to be excused promising that he would never again cheat people like that.
Shri Satyabodha Teertha Swamiji Traveled extensively all over india winning over adversaries in philosophical scholarly discussions acquiring sishya and considerable wealth, landed properties and Tamarapatras from kings, and Navabs. When he came to Gaya, he found the Gayawallas were up to their tricks again in spite of their being taught bitter lesson by Shri Vidyadhisa Teertharu , to whom they had given a sole men promise of good behavior towards the pilgrims visiting this holy's place . The Gayawalls or pandas demanded Rs. 10,000/- from this saint before they could even open the temple. The latter thereupon established a small shelter near the Vishnupada temple called it Rama Gaya and made all arrangements for the pilgrims to do by Lord Moola Rama of his Matha. When the Pandas found they were thus completely isolated, they came to the Swamiji on bended knees and pleaded to be excused for their un-reasonable demand . The Swamiji received their allegiance again to Uttaradi matha and its pontiffs and a large Kanike . He then went to Kashi and established a Matha office at Durga Ghatta to provide facilities for pilgrims.
After thus traveling in the North he came to Savanur and stayed for sometime in the Matha premises which he got specially developed. By this time Shri Satyabodha Teertha had earned a reputation as the greatest of Madhva saints of the time for his un-rivaled scholarship, miraculous achievements and dynamism and as the pontiff of the wealthiest of the maths with the largest number of sishyas over 80 % of the Madhwas. The other Madhwa mathas were nowhere in the picture at the time. The honou bestowed on the Uttaradi Matha by one and all, rich and poor was unique. Naturally there were many who were jealous of this un-challenged supremacy. They wanted to destroy the matha, steal all the Gods worshipped therein and as a first step in this direction, they wanted to kill him. They poisoned the "PARAMANNA" which he was to eat after naivedya to the Lord. After the naivedya , and during the Maha-managalarthy the Swamiji saw the face of Shri Moola Rama turn dark and knew instantly what had happened . Though all the sishyas present advised him not to eat that poisoned paramanna , he ate it without a second thought saying what was offered to Moola Rama was good enough for him also.He prayed , and prayed , to be pardoned for offering poisoned food to the Lord, even un-knowingly. Everyone there was overwhelmed with joy when the Swamiji showned no after effects of the poison but had digested everything . The evil people who wanted to destroy the Matha by killing him in the first instance were dumbstruck and frightened at this miracle of the saint even digesting such heavily poisoned food, did not have the courage to proceed with their plans further. They ran away from the scene lest they themselves were destroyed as a result of their evil actions.
Many were the miraculous achievements of Shri Satyabodha Teertha Swamiji and it would take volumes to write all of them . When he wanted to go North again to have another dip in the Ganga waters before his death, Lord Badarayana came in his dream that night and advised him not to go that far as Bhagirithy herself will come to his matha under a tree on a particular morning . Lo! Behold ! it did happen and the Swamiji and everyone had the good fortune of a holy dip in the Ganga at the matha itself. Shri Satyabodha Teertha was the pontiff of the Matha for 39 years , 11 months and 13 days. He handed over the pontificate to Shri Satyasandha but found thereafter that the latter had only a short time to live. He prayed to Lord Moola Rama with Raksha-stotram and got the boon of 10 more years of life. He passed away in Savanur in course of time where he has been entombed . So many were his achievements and so well was he liked, admired and respected by people of all castes and creeds, rich and poor, that the Uttaradi Matha in Savanur is known as Shri Satyabodha Matha.Even now , after so many years , amny pilgrims visit his Brindavana , offer seva and get the blessings of this great saint.
Shri Satyabodha Vijaya is a kavya of twenty one sargas written by Kanchi Achrya who was his own disciple . The Mahakavya describes his life in detail. He was a saint of marvelous powers, his life is full of thrilling events. Let alone Hindus, even Mohammedanas worshipped his with great reverence , Tippu Sultan , Nawab of Ramnad, Nawab os Savanur and many other Muslim princes felt it an honour and many others Muslim princes felt it an honour to be puppets in his hands. Once English high official bears testimony to this fact that he had telepathic power and could devine the ins and outs of all . He was worshipped by him as Trikalajnani. The Swamiji spent the whole day in "Samadhi" and took his meals late at night . some pandits criticised this custom behind his back. The Swamiji immediately called these persons and showned them the Sun at dead of night. When one of them stupidly doubted even then and branded it as indejal he lost his eyesight altogether for casting aspersions on the actions of the deities Moola Rama, Digvijaya Rama, and other details that were worsgipped in the matha everyday.
The famous Shri Dheerendra Teertharu was his contermporary and met him often and happly passed his time with him in philosophical deliberations and spiritual conversation.Numerous miracles are attributed to him by his chroniclers.
We get some important information in the Bombay Gazetteer, Karnataka Dharwad district Chapter III . Page Nos 58-59 edited and published by James M. Campbell, caompiled in the year 1863 A.D
"The 15th in succession to Ramachandra Tirtha by name Shri Satyabhodha Teertha, became chief priest on the thirteenth of Chaitra or March in the Shalivahana year 1665, taht is AD 1744, During the rule of thirtyeight years Satyabodha Teertha travelled all over india and was respected by all the Hindu princes of the time. He was very learned and holy and performed such great austerities that the people were afraid to approch him , lest he should discover their hidden sins. At the same time he was most generous and popular and is held nextin order of merit to Jayarayacharya or third to the great Brvajna . His name is so much revered that the chief branch of the Vaishnava sect, to which more than two thirds of the Vaishnava people belong, is still known as "SHRI UTTARADI MATHA" at Savanur and subsequently after his name called Shri Satyabodha Swamiji Matha, gained great wealth. A throne of gold and siver and precious stones about four feet square and six feet hight was made and very costly jewels were bought for "RAM", the god of the monastery. Most of this wealth is enjoyed by the present chief priest Shri Satyapravana who is sixth in succession to Shri Satyabodha Teertha. He travelled all over India, where his disciples live, staying only a short time in each place . He passed through Bombay Karnataka about live years ago and is now in Kadapa in Madras.
Thus of the eighteen sects into wich the Madhwacharya Vaishnava community in sect divided, sixteen, the members of the main, and the members of the ten Malabar sects started by Shri Madhwacharya's four immediate successors, though each has a pontiff of its own , agree in considering the head of the main or Shri Satyabodha's sect, their supreme pontiff.On the other hand, the two more modern sects. Rajendra Teertha's wich dates from the above from the begining of the fourteenth century, and Vibhudhendra's also called Raghavendra's which stared about fifty years later are independent and are generally on unfriendly terms with the Head of the main sect."
|| Shri Digvijaya Rama Vijayate ||
|| Shri Krishnarpanamastu ||
When we enter the Car Street from Padupet and proceed to the East, the ancient gopura tower in front of the Krishna Mutt attracts our attention. Below the tower is a window known as Kanaka Dâsa KiNDi. In front of this window, and to the right, is located Kanaka MaNTapa, which enshrines an icon of Kanaka Dâsa. This MaNTapa is constructed in the place where the saint Kanaka Dâsa stayed in the sixteenth century A.D. during his visit to Udupi.
It is believed that when the saint Kanaka Dâsa came to Udupi on pilgrimage, he camped close to Sri Krishna Mutt, not far from the tower. Later on a small room was constructed in that place to commemorate his visit. It became known as the Kanaka Dâsa shrine and was used for recitations and discourses. In 1965, a large statue of Kanaka Dâsa was installed there and a tower was built.
Saints Purandara Dâsa, Vijaya Dâsa, and other great saints of the Hari-Dâsa tradition were all devotees of Lord Krishna and all of them came to visit Udupi, but Kanaka Dâsa's association with Udupi is more intimate and strong. The history of Udupi is vitally associated with the name of Kanaka Dâsa.
There are many popular legends regarding Lord Krishna's revelation to saint Kanaka Dâsa. We can unravel the mystery of this episode on the basis of the available historical documents as follows. Kanaka Dâsa came to Udupi as a pilgrim. Sri Vâdirâja Tîrtha knew about this pious devotee of the Lord, and made arrangements for his stay in a hut in the roadside in front of the temple. Kanaka Dâsa used to play on his tambuura and sing in the hut, but the wall of the temple was there between the icon and himself. Being of a lower class, by tradition he was forbidden to enter the temple and have darshana of Sri Krishna. The wall of the shrine was, of course, a barrier to the physical eyes, but who could prevent the vision of his inner eyes? They were fully open and the Sri Krishna was visible to Kanaka Dâsa.
Some time passed and then one night there was an earthquake and a small crack appeared in the wall of the shrine. Through this crack Kanaka Dâsa was able to have darshana of the icon of Krishna. Sri Vâdirâja Tîrtha became aware of this crack and of the fact that Kanaka Dâsa was using it to have darshana of Sri Krishna. Instead of having the crack plastered over, Sri Vâdirâja enlarged it and turned it into a window. To commemorate Lord Krishna's darshana to Kanaka Dâsa, the window has been designated as 'Kanaka's window.'
From that time onward, Kanaka Dâsa could have the darshana of Sri Krishna with his physical eyes as well as his inner eye. To perpetuate this sacred memory, the tradition of looking at the icon of Sri Krishna through this window before entering the shrine was started.
Not only pilgrims, but even the piiThaadhipati-s of the eight Mutts who go to take charge of the temple at the time of paryaaya come in procession to this window. It is only after looking at the icon through this window that they enter the shrine. This tradition has been going on since the time of Sri Vâdirâja.
The story that is current now is quite different. According to this story the icon of Sri Krishna was formerly facing East. Since Kanaka Dâsa was singing on the Western side of the temple, the icon turned to the West when Krishna was pleased with Kanaka Dâsa's devotion. This popular story, however, does not agree with the evidence available.
The architectural plan of the temple has been the way it is since the time of Sri Madhva. A portico for the distribution of sacred water and prasaada, a tuLasii plant, and discourse-hall -- all face the West. Hence it is quite unlikely that the icon alone was facing the East. The Eastern door, which is now closed and barred by Chenna Keshava, must have been the one used by the Swamijis to go out for ablution. Swamijis used to bathe in the sacred tank and enter the sanctum sanctorum through this door. Sri Madhva installed the icon of Krishna facing Westwards and that is why all the shrines of the eight Mutts have their icons facing West. More than anything else there is a reference in the commentary known as sanyaasa paddhati Tiike written by a piiThaadhipati of Bhandarakeri Mutt, Sri Surottama Tîrtha, who was a puurvaashrama brother of Sri Vâdirâja. It states that Sriman Madhvaachaarya had established the icon facing the West. For these reasons, the story of Krishna's icon turning towards the West must be a later invention.
Rice gruel and cake for Krishna
Kanaka Dâsa's window is quite famous. But there is another incident connected with him which is not known to many people. But for Sri Vâdirâja Tîrtha, it would have been forgotten a long time ago. That interesting episode can be stated thus: It was noon and Kanaka Dâsa had baked rice cake for his lunch. Suddenly, his attention was drawn towards a small hole on the Northern side of the discourse hall. From the kitchen inside, some rice gruel was flowing out through the hole. Kanaka Dâsa took the shell of a coconut and filled it with some gruel. He then took the cake and the gruel to the front of the temple and prayed for Krishna to accept the offerings, and then ate it.
Sri Vâdirâja Tîrtha came to know of this due to his divine vision, summoned his attendants and said, 'Kanaka is a great devotee. Krishna is more pleased with his gruel water than with our costly dishes. He may be a shepherd by caste, but he does not lag behind in his devotion and enlightenment. He is like pure gold (`kanaka' means "gold"). From this day onwards we will also offer rice gruel and cake to Sri Krishna to perpetuate the memory of Kanaka's great devotion.'
This tradition continues even today. Rice gruel and cake are offered, along with other dishes, except that the coconut shell has been replaced by a silver goblet. Sri Vâdirâja Tîrtha has thus immortalized this episode in the history of Udupi.
This story is recorded in Sri Vâdirâja Guruvara charitaamR^ita (5.16-19)
pragR^ihya saH |
kanakaH pishhTabhakshyaM cha kR^itvaa kR^ishhNaarpitaM vyadhaat.h ||
Once, Kanaka Dâsa collected the rice gruel coming from the drain of the kitchen and offered it to Krishna along with the cake.
punaH paakaM kaarayitvaa kR^ishhNapuujaaM samaapayat.h ||
Through his divine eyes Sri Vâdirâja came to know that Kanaka had offered his naivedya first. Hence he got the food cooked again and offered it to Krishna.
tat.h kathaa smaraNaarthaM sa
pishhTabhakshyaM samaNDakam.h |
kR^ishhNapriityai samarpyaM tanniyuyocha muniishvaraH ||
To retain the memory of this incident in the history of Udupi, the peerless saint (Sri Vâdirâja Tîrtha) ordered that rice gruel and cake must henceforth be offered to Krishna every day.
This section is due to Raymond Crawford - Ramadasa ACBSP. Much of the material comes from a book published for the 1984 paryaaya of H.H. Sri Vishwesha Tîrtha Swamiji, by Bannanje Govindacharya, U.P. Upadhyaya, and Muralidhar Upadhyaya.
Present Day Miracles
(I'm sure there are hundreds more, maybe this will open the flood gate.....)
STORY 1:- When I joined ISKCON at Bhaktivedanta Manor in 1975 the devotees were so poor that there was no heating inside, although there was snow outside. Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda were offered garlands largely made of leaves, and the bhoga offerings were tiny. Devotees would queue up to supplement their daily semolina porridge and chickpea breakfast with a mite of maha-prasada.
Then Jayatirtha Prabhu, famed for his opulent Deity worship in LA, became the new GBC. He immediately ordered superb garlands for Their Lordships, along with massive bhoga offerings starting at 4 a.m. with 108 whopping milk sweets. He also enthused the hitherto torpid devotees to get out and collect for this increased service.
And although Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda cannot be perceived by mundane vision, it soon became obvious that Their previously slender forms were becoming rather chubby. So much so that a whole new wardrobe had to be made for Them, as the old clothes no longer fitted.
Sent in by His Holiness Bhakti Vikas Swami
STORY 2:- Yes when I was in Botswana’s Sri Sri Krsna Balarama mandir (in 2003) the devotees told me that when they offered the deities prasad for raj bhoga and when they came back after the Their Lordships had eaten they saw that prasad was all over the floor. It was like The Lordships had thrown prasad at each other and prasad was also just behind Them. Of course the devotees asked if anyone had went in the altar room and everyone said that they had not. Jai Sri Krsna Balarama.
Sent in by Narottam dasa - South Africa
STORY 3:- If you know the raw food scene right now you'll know that it's not about people who look like broom sticks eating nothing but lettuce and carrots. That's a stereotyped idea of the past. Along with the rapid decline of general world health due to, among other factors, an over-emphasis on fast-food and a self-destructive sweeping under the carpet of environmental poisoning, a high level of nutritional consciousness has sprung up amongst a selective few and along with this so too has a knowledge that one must have a higher taste in order to transcend that seemingly all-pervasive glutonous, meat-head-strong, ignorance in society.
And this higher taste has further developed, not quite in the sense of spiritual development, but at least in the sense that raw-food doesn't have to be a bland meal that exists in conjunction with a bland life. For example, in order to become a certified raw-food chef (if I can use the word "chef" in reference to "raw") a person has to undertake an intensive course that lasts months and costs an arm and a leg. And at the end of it they should be able to prepare anything from a delicious raw salad to a very tasty raw lasagna... the sky's the limit! That is except bland. Raw has taken off and it's shooting for the taste buds.
So recently, some friends of mine went to attend a gathering of raw-foodies (I forget the name of these gatherings for, as is usual in something novel and fashionable, there has to be a stylish label attached to it to reflect it's ambience and sexiness) and in that assembly of purified and refined beings everyone, as is the custom, brought their favorite preparation. There were exotic salads, quiches, raw breads, you name it - preps for people who have regained full use of their taste buds and could also knock up a killer raw dish at whim; people who would recoil in disgust at the sight of anything that had been in an oven or had been exposed to chemicals and/or pesticides. But alas, in the midst of all these colorful dishes was one that looked outwardly very bland and was obviously very chemicalized.
A week before I had given my friends a large ziplock bag full of sulphur-dioxide dried apricots (they are light orange in color - naturally dried ones are dark), un-organic pecans and supermarket sliced almonds that had all come from the local Honolulu food-bank (they sell perishables cheaply by the pound to charities just after the sell-by-dates have passed). During my recent 17 day fast these food bank items were the staple of what I had offered my Girirajas and all the Salagramas. I know - it's not the best of offering and I should have gone out of my way to get the Lord something better, but in my defense I had prayed to the Lords for forgiveness as I had so little energy from the fasting to do anything beyond Their daily bathing and arranging. I'm not a Sanatan Goswami who can induce the Lord to accept simple flour preps but I do plead unqualified in Deity worship - maybe one day I can change that.
Anyhow, these dried fruit and nuts had been offered with as much love and devotion as I could muster up and, to get back to the raw food people gathering, with a little help from my friends those neon edibles had found their way onto that table full of organic and delicious raw preparations. And they certainly did look out of place amongst all those dishes made by people adept at eating right.
But then something mysterious happened. Somehow or other that simple bag of food bank chemically dried fruits and slightly old nuts became the center of attention at that gathering and people kept on walking up to my friends to tell them how wonderful that preparation was.
What makes this story amazing is knowing how abrasively these people react to chemicals in their food - and they scientifically know what is not organic. What else could explain the popularity of unhealthy looking food at a health food meeting but the prasadam factor? Food bank mercy!
Sent in by Aishvarya prabhu HDG
STORY 4:- I was traveling in a bus on a preaching tour in the north of Bangladesh with about 20 bramacaris. We stayed a couple of days in Dinajpur as the guests of one elderly Vaisnava Brahmin. He took great care to make sure we were properly looked after. The ladies cooked a big lunch. After the brahmin offered the bhoga to his deities, he personally served us the prasadam.
As he came along with a pan of koshu shak, a favorite spinach
of Mahaprahu, I noticed he was crying. After serving the shak to all the
devotees he returned and knelt in front of me. Tears poured from his eyes,
he held his cupped palms before me begging for remnants and sobbed...
"pritivite ache joto nagaradi gram sarvatra prochar hoibe mor nam".
As he wept he spoke in Bengali of the mercy of Mahaprabhu who inaugurated the sankirtan movement all round the planet.
"How fortunate I am" he said, "that those recipients of Mahaprabhu's mercy from the foreign countries are now honoring prasada in my home".
Your servant, Atul Krsna dasa PVS.
STORY 5:- Yesterday (17th Aug 2005) I was going around some houses door to door presenting hardback Bhagavad gitas. I go out in dhoti and kurta. Knocking on people's doors for the last 17years I have noticed that people are very attracted to devotional cloth. For me it helps to make my presentation more authoritative and authentic and people seem to take you more seriously. Every day when one makes the endeavour to do it, one can experience and witness Lord Caitanya's mercy in action.
We understand that the greatest weapons to push back Kali's influence are Krsna prasadam, the Holy Name and Srila Prabhupada's transcendental books. But sometimes we forget how potent they are. Yesterday Krsna gave me a little glimpse. I especially saw how transendental Krsna prasadam softens the hearts of the conditioned souls and makes them receptive to receiving more and more of Krsna's mercy.
Here's how it happened. I approached one house and lady who was about 70 came to the door. She said she didn't want a book as her eyesight was very bad and she couldn't read. However she said that she had eaten in our restaurant many times here in Christchurch over the years and loved the food. She said she loves what we do and will never forget in the early days how in Latimer square devotees used to take out a bus and distribute free food to needy persons. Her heart was very soft and she was very appreciative of the devotees for their efforts to serve humanity in this way.
Down another driveway before I reached the door, I met another lady. She told me she already had some books in her shelf. Then her husband came out. He said that he really loves the Hare Krsnas and especially has heard that their food is delicious. He said he has been meaning to come to the restaurant, so I gave him an invitation. He was delighted. He said he wanted to become a vegetarian.
I went to another house where a man had received a Gita from me a few years ago. He remembered me and was very friendly. He had a very beautiful garden. We talked about it a little and he started opening up and said he had eaten in our restaurant here in Christchurch, Govindas, and that he loved the food. He went on to say that he had almost stopped eating meat and that he is a retired farmer. He humbly revealed that he sorely regrets what he used to do to the animals and that he could never kill another animal again. We then discussed about the Bhagavad gita and I gave him some hints how to get more out of it. I also suggested some sections he'd find particularly interesting such as in the second chapter.
At another house there was a lady sitting on the driveway drinking a can of beer, smoking a cigarette while talking to her son who was sitting on the doorstep of the house. I showed her the Gita and she was fascinated by it. She ended up buying it. In the meantime her son had gone off somewhere. I said goodbye to her and went back out on the street. There I saw my sankirtana partner talking to her son. He was so attracted to Stambha bhava prabhu, dressed in his effulgent saffron cloth, with clear bright tilaka on his forehead. He wanted to accompany us around the houses. His mother didn't mind him doing it, so we couldn't turn him down. I suggested that he go with Stambha bhava as he was so attracted to him.
When we met up a half hour or so later I saw little 10 year old Isiah totally in ecstacy, running up to a man sitting in a car and giving him a flyer to Govinda's restaraunt. The man was taken back and immediately came out of the car and asked me about the restaurant. He said he'd just come back from Durbye ( not sure of the spelling ) and used to eat in Gopals here many years ago. He said he loved the food and would definitely come to our new restaraunt. He was very enthusiastic about it and I could see he was remembering the nectarean tastes he had experienced many years ago. Those tastes weren't ordinary but the tastes of Krsna in His most merciful form of prasadam, attracting him and many others, back to His lotus feet.
Isiah wanted to come and live with us in the temple. We told him that he could when he was older and that first he should ask his mum to take him to the Sunday Feast. Stambhava had been teaching him to chant and I listened to him say the mantra. He chanted very sweetly and clearly.
In this way in just two hours of attempting to go around and meet a few people in their houses, one see the hand of the Lord. One can realise that Lord Caitanya is wanting to catch everyone in His big net and drown them in the ocean of love of Godhead.
The more we try and serve Him by distributing Krsna's prasadam, the Holy Name and Srila Prabhupada's books, the more people who are burning in the fire of material grief will be able to experience the soothing mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Your servant, Ameyatma dasa PVS
STORY 6:- For the past 27 years that I have been a devotee, I have been trying to gently encourage my father to take an interest in Krsna consciousness, but he remained determined to be cynical for all these years. Whenever I would bring up some point of our philosophy in conversation he would immediately refute what I had said as religious dogmatic propaganda, or at best he would ignore my statement. Over the years I have occasionally given him prasadam from the temple and sometimes he came to the temples for some festivals, but overall he remained skeptical and disinterested in Krsna consciousness. However, by the mercy of the Salagramas that has now changed. My father was having some health problems and he asked me to buy him some various seeds and nuts that were helpful remedies for him. So every week I would offer the mixture of nuts and seeds to our Salagramas and our other home Deities and then give that prasadam to him in a jar. Each day, he would have a little of this prasadam in the morning and then again in the evening. After a few weeks I noticed a big change in my father’s receptivity to Krsna consciousness. I found when I dropped some Krsna-katha into the conversation he now enjoyed it and even began to ask me for more information about the subject. Then I was able to give him a ten pack of audio-cassettes containing the pastimes of Lord Ramacandra - which he enjoyed. Now each time I see him I am able to give him one of our small books on Krsna consciousness and he is reading through them with great enthusiasm. He is now very interested in Krsna consciousness and lamenting that he has wasted his life by neglecting so much wonderful information about Krsna consciousness. When we speak about aspects of Krsna consciousness, I no longer get the cold shoulder or a cynical response. Now, thanks to the powerful mercy of the Salagrama-silas and Their potent prasadam, he is actually relishing the nectar of Krsna-katha.
ys, Gangesvar dasa
STORY 7:- One lady in America had some problem in her brain and got a surgical operation. Everything went fine, and she quickly recovered, except one thing: she had lost the ability to feel the taste of food. One day she went to one of our Govinda's restaurants (I forgot which city it was), and to her great surprise she could feel the taste of this food perfectly, and it was excellent! She thought she had somehow or other recovered from this handicap, but after she left our restaurant, she could not feel the taste of food anymore. Then she went back to Govinda's, and she could again perfectly feel all tastes. Since this time she has become a regular customer of our restaurants. (Told by Badrinarayana Prabhu in Mayapura)
sent in by Chaitanya Nitai prabhu GRS Auckland
STORY 8:- The Power of Prasadam - "Come out with your samosas
up!" told by Braja Bihari dasa
The impression that the Krishna Lunch has on people lasts forever. Here’s another story of how a former lunch patron showed his gratitude.
It was 1984 and after distributing books at the State Fairgrounds in
Tampa, Florida. We had parked in a Days Inn parking lot for the night.
Our van of five brahmacharis was fast asleep when we heard over a megaphone,
"Alright in there! Come out slowly with your hands raised!" I looked out
window surprised to see the van surrounded by ten police cars and more than a dozen officers with their guns drawn!
We emerged from the van squinting from the bright flashlights burning our eyes. The officers began to frisk each one of us, though we were dressed only in gamshas (bath towels).
"What are you doing here?" the officer in charge demanded.
"We are distributing love of God in the form of books," I explained.
I opened the van doors, thinking this to perhaps be a dream. I reached into one of the boxes, pulled out a Bhagavad-gita and handed it to the officer in charge. He intently inspected the book, then me, then the book again, until finally he broke the silence declaring, "All glories to Srila Prabhupada!"
I was taken aback as were his gun-toting subordinates. At this point I was convinced this was all a dream! The officer in charge proudly explained, "I used to go to the University of Florida and regularly ate the Krishna Lunch. You practically put me through college. I even stayed two days at the temple!"
Turning to his associates he pronounced, "These are great books and you should all buy one." On his order, the officers began reaching for their wallets. Of the twenty cops, I think about 90% of them took books. We made almost $200!
Our new friend then apologized for the abrupt entry, telling us that
earlier that night a gun store had been robbed and the description of the
getaway vehicle exactly matched our van. I doubt we got back to sleep that
night after one of the most bizarre experiences of my life. But thanks
to prasadam distribution it turned into a great sankirtan story!
Braja Bihari Prabhu lives in India where he runs the Vrindavan Institute for Higher Education.
STORY 9:- At the rest home where my wife works they are often recipients of our Salagram's maha-prasadam. The rest home is less than a kilometre from the Salagrams too so the residents get special mercy all the time.
My wife came home a few days ago with this story about what happened in the staff room at break time.
Usually at any given time, with the RNs Admin staff and Housekeeping there'd be about 25 - 30 people at the staggered lunch and tea breakes.
The room is set up with a few soafas and a couple of tables and chairs, and then another table over to one side, that for some reason no-one uses.
When my wife takes in the Salagram maha-prasadam comprising of all manner of dried fruits; dried mango slices, figs, dates, dried cantelope slices, crystalized ginger, dried pineapple, dried peach halves, dried pears, dried apple rings, dried sticky bananas, sultanas, to name a few that come to mind; Then there's the nuts; Almonds, hazelnuts, macadameons, cashews, brazil nuts, pine nuts, walnuts, pecan nuts (I don't usually offer peanuts), an amazing array of nuts and dried fruit as well as pink and white coconut slice flavoured with rose water, barfi (fudge), and ladhu.
My wife leaves it all in a bowl and lets everyone help themselves. The whole lot completely goes, each time.
One lady was heard to say, "I don't know who brings this stuff in but I've never tasted anything like it, I can't leave it alone."
Another said, "We buy dried friots at home but it doesn't taste anything like this, what do you do to it?"
My wife has told them all she's a vegetarian and some know she's a devotee also, but there's one Indian lady who also works there and she just couldn't contain herself and began preaching to the full canteen about the glories of Krishna prasadam, it is the mercy of God, God is so attractive in any shape or form, so when you taste this wonderful food you are tasting God. My wife was totally awestruck. All this time she'd been so careful not to offend anyone by pushing her religion on anyone, even got chastised by senior management for preaching to the dying family of one resident, and so took to using this secret weapon of prasadam.
Since that time her boss was driving past the Auckland Iskcon temple in Riverhead and said to her husband "...that's the place where Vicki goes, let's go and see it." So they went in and devotees gave prasadam and darshan of Sri Sri Radha Giridhari, and on the Monday when she got back to work she was like a rejuvenated woman, in fact it was getting embarrassing how she wouldn't stop glorifying the Auckland temple, the beauty of the Deities, and the food.
written by Jaya Tirtha Charan dasa on behalf of wife Vedavati devi dasi
Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Here are some links to some prasadam related infos on the net:
http://www.krishnalunch.com/newsletter.asp# (in particular the Power of Prasadam column)
http://www.iskcondc.org/cgi-bin/renderphilo.pl?ndx=17 something general
http://www.iskcon.com/basics/prasadam.html nice overview
thought you might find it useful.
caitanyam kanaka-dyutim nija-janaih samsevyamanam bhaje
I worship Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is being served by all His devotees and associates; whose hair is bound with strings of pearls; on whose moonlike face is the nectar of His gentle smile. His beautiful golden body is covered with lovely garments and various shining ornaments. He is so charming, being absorbed as He is in the enjoyment of sweet mellows in dancing, and is more splendid in His dress than even Cupid himself."
Puja Paraphernalia on-line
- Finest world class incense on-line
All Crowns, Alankaras, Mukut, Jari, Sringar etc - for the Deity worship, made by devotees:
Nepali style puja paraphernalia - chamaras - conches - Deities - Salagram rings and pendents
Puja paraphernalia on-line - Yantras - Achaman cups - patras - lamps - yajna kundas etc
Salagram sila book - by Padma Nabha Goswami - purchase on-line
Iskcon's Official Deity worship site:
Archana articles and links:
Some wonderful insights into Amara prabhu's site and pujas
Sriman Mathura dasa @ Mystic Mantra
Rudraksha-ratna - Srimati Neeta Sharma Mataji
Nepa Rudraksha - Sriman Mukunda Khatiwadi
Incense and Oils for puja - SRI NILACHAL EXPORTS
Organize, print and share your digital photos - Click
here to get the software for FREE
Jaipur and Karoli Deities
Picture galleries from India - totally wonderful
Take a Transcendental Pilgrimage here to many sacred places
Sacred places in India
Transcendental Picture Gallery:
Various prayers for reading or reciting:
Who is who in Vrindavan pastimes
Sri Sri Radha-Krishna Ganoddesh Dipika
Bhaktivedanta Museum & Library - New York
Please visit Thailand's Sri Navaratna Museum of Sacred
Natural Wonders on the web
See fabled Snake head pearls (Naga Mani), Bamboo stem pearls (Venu mani), Elephant head pearls (Gaja Mani), rare Shalagram Shila, genuine Sri Lakshmi Conch, Sri Nava Ratna, Sacred Herbs, Stones, Seeds, Shells, Trees, Gems, etc., rare items from Vedic antiquity.
All different things in relation to seva pujan
Our ARTICLES page with links to many aspects of seva pujan
Pilgrimage to the "Top of
Visit Muktinath or Damodar Kund in Northern Nepal the home of the Shaligram Sila
Fly up the Kali-gandaki gorge, the deepest
natural gorge on the planet amid the towering Annapurna range of Himalayas.
An experience of a life-time, with stunning views that will remain with you treasured for the rest of your life.
Take a quick look here to whet your appetite....
There are two pilgrimage time periods when
this region is accessible, as the rest of the year it is snow-bound.
April - May - June
End of September - October - November
Kathmandu - Pokhara (By bus or plane - bus takes six - eight hours, plane takes less than an hour)
Pokhara - Muktinath (by Helicopter) where devotees
get one hour to worship Muktinath and fly back to Pokhara then back to
Cost US $400.00 + $40.00 (if ktm-Pok by plane)
For Kathmandu - Pokhara (By bus or plane) Pokhara
- Damodar kunda (by Helicopter) and fly back to Pokhara then back to Kathmandu.
Cost US $850.00 + $40.00 (if ktm-Pok by plane)
Details:Damodar kunda Trekking Itinerary
Day 01: Arrive at Kathmandu and transfer to Hotel
Day 02: Half day sight seeing tour.
Day 03: Ply to Pokhara
Day 04 :Fly Pokhara – Jomsom and trek to Kagbeni
Day 05: Kagbeni - Tashukang O/N Camp
Day 04: Tashukang - Tetang O/N Camp
Day 05: Tetang - Tange O/N Camp
Day 06: Tange - Surkhang O/N Camp
Day 07: Surkhang – Luri O/N Camp
Day 08: Lur i- Bas Khola O/N Camp
Day 09: Bas Khola – Damodar Kundai O/N Camp
Day 10: Damodar Kunda- Luri O/N Camp
Day 11: Luri - Ten O/N Camp
Day 12: Ten – Tetang O/N Camp
Day 13: Tetang- Muktinath
Day 14: Muktinath-Jomsom
Day 15: Jomsom- Pokhara
Day 16: Pokhara- Kathamndu and transfer to hotel
Day 17: Rest and explore your self.
Day 18: Fly back to home.
Cost - US $ 2600.00 per person for group of 5 people (Special permit fee included)
a) All domestic air and land fares within Nepal.
b) All three course meals in trekking days (not in hotels in Katmandu)
c) All staff and trekking leader wages included.
d) 4 nights at Kathmandu and 1 night in Pokhara on Bed and Breakfast.
e) Departure and arrival transportation.
Cost does not include.
a) Visa fee - which will be purchased at your home country.
b) Special permit fee of Upper Mustang (US$700. - as of August 2003 we are now getting this Permit @ US$350. each)
c) Private and Personal Expenses.
d) Tips and donations that you may feel obliged to give along the way......
For those in doubt of ridiculous price of Special trekking permit, sadly these are the prices for such a remote area as Upper-Mustang. The following URLs are Nepali Government sites supporting and confirming the US$ 700 cost.http://www.manang.com/Trekking%20Permit.htm and http://www.project-himalaya.com/info-visa.html and http://www.buddhatreks.com/nepal/trekking/trekking-permit.htmsorry !!!
(presently we are getting these permits for US $350 each 8th Aug 2003 - get back to us NOW.)
For Enquiries/Inquiries Bookings send E-mail
To get some idea of the views etc please visit HERE: Visit
Have a Happy 2005
...may it be, healthy and prosperous in every possible way
Sri swayam-vyakta saligram silas ki jai
#008 - July 2005
#007 - Gaura Purnima 2005
#006 - Kartik 2004
#005 - April 2004
#004 - Dec 31st 2003 - 01st Jan 2004
#003 - Sept 2003
#002 - July 2003
#001 - April 2003
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A Grateful Word to our Supporters
Personally we find that so many devotees are inspiring us in so many different ways, by the grace of the Lord. Especially I'd like to thank HDG Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad for saving my very life, and to HH Jayapataka Swami and HH Indradyumna Swami for all the support and encouragement in seva pujan. There are literally hundreds who have helped in this humble service of ours here, Paramseva dasa was the catalyst for the web-site, Hrsikeshananda prabhu has kindly sponsored the site and maintains it financially (kindly just paid for another two years - up until 2007), so without his help it wouldn't be, and similarly for the mirror site Tirtharaj prabhu allowed us space and hosted us for free for some time with www.hknet.org.nz to both these devotees we are so much indebted. Now we are kindly sponsored by Bhakta Gary Kearns and Yagnesh Rajani (kindly just paid for another two years - up until 2007) on www.hknet.org.nz on a huge new host - plenty of bandwidth. There are so many others who have and are helping so much with articles, gifting Silas, books, and paraphernalia, and support; special thanks to Gaura Keshava prabhu ACBSP, Ramadasa prabhu ACBSP, Kurma prabhu ACBSP, Hari Sauri prabhu ACBSP, Sukadev prabhu ACBSP, Bhaktisiddhanta swami JPS, Ameyatma prabhu PVS, Aisvarya prabhu HDG, Jvala Nrsimha prabhu IDS, Matsya Avatara prabhu BTS, Mathura prabhu, Kailash mataji (Aus), Sudevi mataji (Aus), Hamsa Avatara DS prabhu, Jagjeevan prabhu and Sudevi mataji MVG, Vikram and Aasha Murthy, and mother Neeta Sharma and Mukunda Khatiwada, Krishna Akilesha prabhu, and my eldest daugther Kirtida Sundari and youngest daughter Tungabhadra Devi (for both doing so much typing of articles) to name but a few. Sarv-lok vaishnavebhyo namo namah so as not to miss anyone, as we so much appreciate all of you who are receiving this newsletter, otherwise we wouldn't do all this, thank you so much for just being part of it.
A special thanks to my Vrijbasi son Gaura Gopal who kindly paid for ticket to go to India just because he wanted someone to go with, that was so nice. Thanks also to all those devotees; Bal & Laxmi, Sikhandi & Bhagavati, Priyanka Prakash, Yagnesh Rajani, Gary Kearns, Devang & Dipti, Kailash mataji, Vijay Gopikesh prabhu, Bhakta Greg Nichol, The Metha family, Amit Karanji, Taravali mataji for covering all the other expenses and items for the Saligram puja. A big thanks also to our local devotees in Katikati who are always a source of inspiration that helps to keep us going, and to my wife who is just amazing, a God-send, as they say.
Also thanks to all the devotees we met on our yatra who helped to make it such a wonderful experience all round. Krishna is so kind that He has given such wonderful devotees to associate with, we are more than ever, eternally indebted to both, Krishna and His parishad - devotees.
Indeed, many thanks to all the readers who have one way or another subscribed to Sri Shaligram Tirtha Pradarshini newsletter. Your interest and support makes this service possible. Those wishing to contribute in any way to this 'Net-work, send articles, and or information please do so by contacting me here ... mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
By the grace of the Lord and His devotees at the BBT we have also been given permission to use any BBTI pictures and articles throughout the site(s)
Copyright ©2005 The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust
International, on the web at www.krishna.com. Used with permission.
We are very grateful to our sponsors' donations that help maintain this and similar devotional service, especially on a regular basis, so again and again thank you. ...for real I couldn't do it without you.
If anyone would like to send donations
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especially on a regular basis please contact me here also ...
Every little is VERY much appreciated, and is what allows the service to continue regularly. Thanx
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After some feedback from our readers we are trying to maintain that the newsletter go out Quarterly, (four times a year - April, July, Sept, Dec). I hope that this is okay with everyone. See you in a couple of weeks.
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