P R A S A D A M
complied by Mahesh Raja das
SPL 70-08-05 SUBHADRA
Yes, you are certainly right when you say Radharani cooks prasadam for Lord Krsna. Whenever He returns in the evening from herding cows with His cowherd boy friends, Radharani has a nice preparation waiting for Lord Krsna.
Whereas an impersonalist tries to avoid good eatables, a devotee knows that Krsna is the supreme enjoyer and that He eats all that is offered to Him in devotion. So, after offering good eatables to the Lord, the devotee takes the remnants, called prasadam. Thus everything becomes spiritualized, and there is no danger of a downfall. The devotee takes prasadam in Krsna consciousness, whereas the nondevotee rejects it as material. The impersonalist, therefore, cannot enjoy life, due to his artificial renunciation; and for this reason, a slight agitation of the mind pulls him down again into the pool of material existence. It is said that such a soul, even though rising up to the point of liberation, falls down again due to his not having support in devotional service.
prasadam—the mercy of the Lord;
Thakura Haridasa would not even accept prasadam nor even sleep for a moment without finishing his daily routine of chanting with his beads three hundred thousand names.
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.
Any sacrifice performed without regard for the directions of scripture, without distribution of prasadam [spiritual food], without chanting of Vedic hymns and remunerations to the priests, and without faith is considered to be in the mode of ignorance.
Your service begins with the tongue. How? By the tongue you can chant Hare Krsna, and by the tongue you can taste Krsna prasadam, spiritual food. So, the beginning of the process is very nice. You can chant Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare—and whenever prasadam is offered to you by Krsna, by His kindness, you accept it. The result will be that if you become submissive, and if you begin this service—chanting and eating prasadam—Krsna will reveal Himself before you.You can’t understand Krsna by speculation; that is not Possible, because your senses are imperfect. But if you begin this process of service, then it will be possible—one day Krsna will reveal Himself to you: “I am like this.” just as Krsna is revealing to Arjuna. Arjuna is a devotee, and he is submissive, and he is in contact with Krsna as a friend. Therefore Krsna is revealing to him.
The Bhagavad-gita was spoken to Arjuna, not to any Vedantist philosophical speculator. In the beginning of the Fourth Chapter, you will note that Krsna says, “I am speaking to you that ancient system of yoga.” It is stated, “unto you.” Arjuna was a ksatriya, a fighter. He was a householder, not even a sannyasi, not a renouncer—but these are not qualifications to understand Krsna. Suppose I say I have become a sannyasi mendicant—this is not a qualification, that I can now understand Krsna. Then what is the qualification? This: One who has developed the service spirit, with love and devotion, can understand Me.” No other. Not the big scholars and mental speculators; but a child can understand Krsna, if he has full faith in Him. So faith and devotion qualify one.
Atah sri-krsna-namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih: as long as one is situated in duality, on the sensual platform, gross or subtle, realization of the original Personality of Godhead is impossible. Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau svayam eva sphuraty adah: but when one engages his senses in the service of the Lord—specifically, when one engages the tongue in chanting the Hare Krsna mantra and tasting only Krsna prasada with a spirit of service—the Supreme Personality of Godhead is revealed.
Lord Caitanya has recommended that since Krsna is worshipable, so His land—Vrndavana and Govardhana Hill—is also worshipable. To confirm this statement, Lord Krsna said that Govardhana-puja is as good as worship of Him. From that day, Govardhana-puja has been going on and is known as Annakuta. In all the temples of Vrndavana or outside of Vrndavana, huge quantities of food are prepared in this ceremony and are very sumptuously distributed to the general population. Sometimes the food is thrown to the crowds, and they enjoy collecting it off the ground. From this we can understand that prasadam offered to Krsna never becomes polluted or contaminated, even if it is thrown on the ground. The people, therefore, collect it and eat with great satisfaction.
A demoniac civilization 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 Annaukuta ceremony. When the people take to eating only prasada offered to the Deity, all the demons will be turned into Vaisnavas. When the people are Krsna conscious, naturally the government will be so also. A Krsna conscious man is always a very liberal well-wisher of everyone. When such men head the government, the people will certainly be sinless. They will no longer be disturbing demons. It is then and then only that a peaceful condition can prevail in society.
SPL 71-11-25 SATSVARUPA
I want that all the hippies should come to me and I shall solve their problems. Actually all these hippies should join us. I am seeing that in this Delhi city many hippies from your country are coming, but they are simply hungry and dirty and being cheated. During our pandal program some of them came to me and became my disciples. So we must look out for them and take interest that they should be delivered from this miserable condition. They are our best customers. If we give them place to sleep comfortably and nice prasadam, and if they agree to follow the four rules and attend our aratis and classes, why not invite the hippies to live with us? Gradually they will become devotees.
SPL 69-03-19 TOSAN KRSNA, BHURIJANA
Yes, you are two ideal ones for preaching there, and I can understand that things are going very nicely. This is very much encouraging to me. Hold kirtana and serve Prasadam, and gradually people will come, more and more. That is the program. And you are both sincere students, and very intelligent boys, and Krishna will supply you all facility for your preaching work if you try sincerely.
SPL 76-12-14 GURUKRPA
It is a nice idea to sell prasadam at the beaches from a vehicle.
SPL 68-10-17 DAYANANDA
Please accept my blessings. My program is already above mentioned. Regarding the idea of Prasadam restaurant, I am advocating it since very beginning. If you can manage such Prasadam eating place and the temple at one place it will super-excellent. I shall personally assist you in this affair because I like this idea very much. Our chanting is medicine and our Prasadam is the diet for curing material disease.
The restaurant proposal is very nice. It should be very neat and clean and in the center column there should be Guru Gauranga altar. Everything prepared should be offered and kept on a table and the customer or guest should come and take prasadam on a plate to his full satisfaction. He can sit at table with chair. The items of prasadam you already know; Kacori, Luglu, Samosa, sweet balls, simply wonderful, vegetables, chutneys, puspana, halavah, etc; The ingredients are easily available. As other things are available, you can increase your menu. And any party who pays more than $5.00 can be presented with a small book like Easy Journey, or Krishna, the Reservoir of Pleasure, and a copy of our magazine. And if possible, continually tapes should be played of kirtanas and songs and record albums also.
SPL 68-11-30 HAMSADUTA
You are thinking of accepting a job but you are already in the job of Krishna, so for the maintenance of Krishna’s temple you can contemplate as Krishna desires. But I will suggest, why do you not start the prasada program? It was in our contemplation for a longtime and you and your wife are expert cooks. There’s ample space in our temple. Why not organize the prasada program. That will be both spiritual propaganda and monetary gain also.
SPL 68-12-12 HAMSADUTA
So now there is plenty engagement for everyone at the temple and if you can secure funds simply by selling our literature, by prasadam program and by some sewing labor, then it will not be necessary to take karmi jobs outside. So Krishna has given you very good facilities to be engaged and make profit at the same time for the temple so even though you may live poorly, if you can support yourselves simply with these activities it will be very good.
SPL 70-01-16 YAMUNA
If Prasadam is to be honored in the Temple room, the curtains may be drawn before the Deities while the devotees are taking Prasadam. The best arrangement is to honor Prasadam in a separate room for the purpose, if possible.
SPL 68-11-13 KRIS
I have noted your questions carefully, and regarding your question about the Prasadam recipes; Krishna is offered foodstuff in goodness. The foodstuffs in the modes of goodness are wheat, rice, pulse (beans, peas), sugar, honey, butter and all milk preparations, vegetables, flowers, fruits, grains. So these foods can be offered in any shape, but prepared in various ways by the intelligence of the devotees. The ingredients are always the same as above, whether you fry them, boil them, bake them, powder them, or whatever way they are combined or cooked, the idea is that they must come from this group of foodstuffs. So you can make your own recipe if you like, so long as the ingredients are within this group.
SPL 69-07-15 VIBHAVATI
no, it is not very good to use yeast in preparing prasadam. It is better to prepare bread in the process as you have seen done in the temple.
Krsna says positively, “I like these things.” So we have to offer to Krsna what He likes, and then we’ll take prasada.Krsna likes Radharani. Therefore all the gopis, they are trying to push Radharani to Krsna. “Krsna likes this gopi. All right, push Her.” That is Krsna consciousness. To satisfy the senses of Krsna, not to satisfy my senses. That is bhakti. That is called prema, love for Krsna. “Ah, Krsna likes this. I must give Him this.”
Bob: There is some prasada [food offered to Krsna]. It’s offered, and then we go and eat, and different prasadams are served. Some I like, and some I find the taste not at all to my liking.
Srila Prabhupada: You should not do that. The perfection is that whatever is offered to Krsna 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 prasada is.
A devotee: What if there is someone speaking of likes and dislikes? Say someone is preparing some prasada…
A devotee: Yes. But say someone prepares something, like some prasada for Krsna, but he does not make it so good, and it is—
Srila Prabhupada: No, if made sincerely with devotion, then Krsna will like it. Just like Vidura. Vidura was feeding Krsna bananas, but he was so absorbed in thought that he was throwing away the real bananas and he was giving Krsna the skin, and Krsna was eating. [All laugh] Krsna knew that he was giving in devotion, and Krsna can eat anything, provided there is devotion. It does not matter whether it is materially tasteful or not. Similarly, a devotee also takes Krsna prasada, whether it is materially tasteful or not. We should accept everything.
A devotee: But if the devotion is not there, like in India…
Srila Prabhupada: 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—
Srila Prabhupada: Oh, India, India. Don’t talk of India! Talk of philosophy. If there is not devotion, Krsna does not accept anything, either in India or in your country. Lord Krsna is not obliged to accept anything costly because it is very tasty. Krsna 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. Krsna does not accept any food of this material world. He accepts only the devotion.
patram puspam phalam toyam
yo me bhaktya prayacchati
tad aham bhakty-upahrtam
[“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. Krsna 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.
Srila Prabhupada: Prasada is always prasada. But because we are not elevated sufficiently, therefore we do not like some prasada.
Srila Prabhupada: Well… That is also due to not appreciating, but the cook should have consideration. Krsna must be offered first-class foodstuffs. So if he offers something last class, he is not performing his duty. But Krsna can accept anything if it is offered by a devotee, and a devotee can accept any prasada, even if it is spicy. Hiranyakasipu gave his son poison [and the son offered it to Krsna], 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 Putana Raksasi—she also offered Krsna poison. But Krsna is so nice that He thought, “She took Me as My mother,” so He took the poison and delivered her. Krsna 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 Maharaja [spiritual master], but my Guru Maharaja did not take the bad side. He took the good side. He thought, “He has come forward to give me some service.”
SPL 69-1-09 BHAGAVAN
Regarding your first question about annamoya, this annamoya theory is for persons who are in the lowest grade of transcendental realization. When you take to Prasadam, it is directly on the spiritual platform. Annamoya concept of life is not on the spiritual platform. Our process is therefore very easy and effective in this age. So the prescribed methods which we have adopted under authoritative scriptural injunctions are sufficient for our progress
Maha-prasada is nondifferent from Krsna. Therefore, instead of eating maha-prasada, one should honor it. It is said here, karila vandana, “he offered prayers.” When taking maha-prasada, one should not consider the food ordinary preparations. Prasada means favor. One should consider maha-prasada a favor of Krsna. As stated by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Krsnabaro dayamaya karibare jihva jaya svaprasada-anna dila bhai. Krsna is very kind. In this material world we are all very attached to tasting various types of food. Therefore, Krsna eats many nice varieties of food and offers the food back to the devotees, so that not only are one’s demands for various tastes satisfied, but by eating prasada he makes advancement in spiritual life. Therefore, we should never consider ordinary food on an equal level with maha-prasada.
Therefore the sastras recommend that to become Krsna conscious, you should eat remnants of food left by Krsna. If a tuberculosis patient eats something and you eat the remnants, you will be infected with tuberculosis. Similarly, if you eat Krsna-prasadam, then you will be infected with Krsna consciousness. Thus our process is that we don’t eat anything immediately. First we offer the food to Krsna, then we eat it. This helps us advance in Krsna consciousness.
Mr. Faill: You are all vegetarians?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, because Krsna is a vegetarian. Krsna can eat anything because He is God, but in the Bhagavad-gita (9.26) He says, “If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit, or water, I will accept it.” He never says, “Give Me meat and wine.”
SPL 68-11-19 RAYARAMA
We are not meant for moving anyone’s sentiment against animal slaughter, we are neither Buddhists or Jains, whose main propaganda is against animal slaughter. Even the so-called vegetarians who do not take Krishna prasadam are as much sinful as the non-vegetarians. Our propaganda is different, to make people Krishna Conscious, which automatically makes them sympathetic against any kind of animal slaughter. According to Srimad-Bhagavatam, one living entity subsists on the life of other living entities, either vegetarian or non-vegetarian. But we are neither of them.We are not vegetarian nor non-vegetarian. We are transcendental. We are concerned with Krishna Prasadam. Try to popularize Krishna Prasadam as you have already done. People will naturally become vegetarian without any ghastly propaganda. The pictures of a mahajana or similar pictures for propagating the Bhagavata conclusion should be our objective
SPL 68-11-26 HRSIKESA
Regarding the Christmas Day meal with your family, I do not think you should partake of the food prepared by non-devotees. Better you should prepare your own foodstuffs and offer to Krishna and then, if you like, you may offer these remnants to Lord Jesus. I think that Lord Jesus will also appreciate this. Of course you may sit down with your family and take fruits and milk which they offer but rather than taking the foods which they have prepared, you may prepare and offer your own prasadam for Lord Krishna, and then offer the same to Lord Jesus.
SPL 70-07-11 HAMSADUTA
So accident is accident; do not be worried, be careful in future. There is a common proverb in Sanskrit that when travelling one should avoid accompaniment of women–pathe nari vivarjayet. So far her stay in the hospital is concerned, she has already written to me about this. It is good that you are carrying Prasadam to the hospital.
SPL 74-04-05 TAMALA KRSNA
Tamala Krsna Goswami has just had a successful hernia operation which was arranged free of charge at one of the most modern hospitals, and there is also a girl devotee undergoing operation there also. Tamala Krsna is now living in a room at our temple; the devotees see that he gets all facility, a hospital bed, proper prasadam, and personal care and visiting. So there is no question of ill treating of our own Godbrothers simply because they are sick, nor should you allow such neglect to go on. So long we have this material body there will be sickness, but we have to remain on the transcendental platform nevertheless.
Lieutenant Mozee: If I could return to my original purpose for coming, might I ask what advice you could give to assist us in reducing crime? I recognize that the first and foremost way would be a return to God, as you say—there’s no doubt about that—but is there something that we could immediately do to diminish this spreading criminal mentality?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. As I’ve already outlined in the beginning of our talk, you should give us the facility to chant the holy name of God and distribute prasada. Then there will be a tremendous change in the population. I came alone from India, and now I have many followers. What did I do? I asked them to sit down and chant the Hare Krsna mantra, and afterward I distributed a little prasadam. If this is done on a mass scale, the entire society will become very pleasing. This is a fact.
In Bhagavad-gita the peace formula is clearly given. We have to understand that Krsna is the only enjoyer. The consciousness of this is developed in a Krsna conscious temple where the central point of all activities is Krsna. All cooking is carried on for Krsna, not for one’s own purposes. Ultimately we shall eat the prasadam (offered food), but when we cook we should think that we are cooking for Krsna and not for ourselves.
According to the Vedic principles, there must always be a guest in a householder’s house. In my childhood I have actually seen my father receive not less than four guests every day, and in those days my father’s income was not very great. Nonetheless, there was no difficulty in offering prasada to at least four guests every day. According to Vedic principles, a householder, before taking lunch, should go outside and shout very loudly to see if there is anyone without food. In this way he invites people to take prasada. If someone comes, the householder offers him prasada, and if there is not much left, he should offer his own portion to the guest. If no one responds to his call, the householder can accept his own lunch. Thus the householder’s life is also a kind of austerity. Because of this, the householder’s life is called the grhastha-asrama. Although a person may live with his wife and children happily in Krsna consciousness, he also observes the regulative principles followed in any temple.
So, when you apply your energy in the service of Krsna, do not think that it remains material. Everything used in Krsna’s service is spiritual. For example, each day we distribute fruit prasadam [fruit that has been offered to Krsna]. Now, one may ask, “Why is this fruit different from ordinary fruit? It has been purchased at the market like any other fruit. We also eat fruit at home. What is the difference?” No. Because we offer the fruit to Krsna, it immediately becomes spiritual. The result? Just go on eating Krsna-prasadam, and you will see how you are making progress in Krsna consciousness.
Here is another example. If you drink a large quantity of milk, there may be some disorder in your bowels. If you go to a physician (at least, if you go to an Ayur-vedic physician), he’ll offer you a medical preparation made with yogurt. And that yogurt with a little medicine in it will cure you.Now, yogurt is nothing but milk transformed. So, your disease was caused by milk, and it is also cured by milk. How is that? Because you are taking the medicine under the direction of a qualified physician. Similarly, if you engage the material energy in the service of Krsna under the direction of a bona fide spiritual master, that same material energy which has been the cause of your bondage will bring you to the transcendental stage beyond all misery.
krtvaiva trptim bhajatah sadaiva
vande guroh sri-caranaravindam
The spiritual master encourages distribution of prasadam (remnants of Krsna’s food) to the public. Ours is not a dry philosophy—simply talk and go away. No. We distribute prasadam, very sumptuous prasadam. In every temple, we offer prasadam to anyone who comes. In each and every temple we already have from fifty to two hundred devotees, and outsiders also come and take prasadam. So prasadam distribution is another symptom of the genuine spiritual master.
If you eat bhagavat-prasadam, then gradually you become spiritualized; it has this potency. Therefore it is said that realization of God begins with the tongue. Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau: If you engage your tongue in the service of the Lord, then you realize God. So what is that engagement of the tongue? You chant the holy name of the Lord, and you take this prasadam, remnants of food offered to the Lord. Then you become self-realized, God-realized—by these two methods. You don’t have to be very highly educated or be a philosopher, a scientist, or a rich man to realize God. If you just sincerely engage your tongue in the service of the Lord, you will realize Him. It is so simple. It is not very difficult. Therefore the guru, the spiritual master, introduces this prasadam program. svadv-anna-trptan hari-bhakta-sanghan. Hari-bhakta-saìghan means “in the association of devotees.” You cannot do it outside. krtvaiva trptim bhajatah sadaiva:When the guru is fully satisfied that prasadam distribution is going on, he is very much pleased, and he engages himself in the devotional service of the Lord by chanting and dancing. This is the fourth symptom.
SPL 77-011-8 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 be always engaged. Whenever any guest comes, he must get prasada. This arrangement must be made, that the cooks prepare ten-twenty servings at a time, of puris and subji, and you can add halava and pakoras, and the visitors must be supplied immediately. Whenever a gentleman comes, he must be served. As the twenty servings are being distributed, immediately the cooks prepare another twenty servings and store it. At the end of the day, if no one comes, our own 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, Laksmiji; so why should there be want? Our philosophy is, if anyone comes, let him take prasada, chant Hare Krsna and be happy. Everything is being supplied by Krsna, Krsna is not poor, so why we should 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 Krsna is providing and maintaining everyone, then why should we be misers? This means losing faith in Krsna, and thinking that we are the doers and suppliers. We are confident Krsna will supply! Let the whole world come, we can feed them. So please do this nicely, begin at once.
Hoping this meets you all in good health.
Your ever well-wisher,
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
SPL 75-07-07 LOCANANANDA
By chanting and giving prasadam you will get so many devotees.
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 prasada.
A grhastha should not be very much attached to his wife; he should engage even his own wife in serving a guest with all attention. Whatever money a grhastha accumulates by the grace of God he should spend in five activities, namely worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, receiving Vaisnavas and saintly persons, distributing prasada to the general public and to all living entities, offering prasada to his forefathers, and also offering prasada to his own self.
Prabhupada: He can eat the whole world, but you cannot do that. You must follow his instruction, “Thou shall not kill.” You must have discrimination. You are human beings; you are not cats and dogs. You must have discrimination, what to eat, what to not eat. Because we have to eat some other living entity, it does not mean that I shall eat my sons and daughters. “Discrimination is the best part of valor.” So far we are concerned, we are eating certainly vegetable, but not directly. We eat Krsna-prasadam. Krsna says, patram puspam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati: “Anyone who offers Me with love and affection vegetables, grains, milk, I eat.” So if there is any sin for eating vegetables, that is Krsna’s sin, not our sin. We take the prasadam. We are teaching people to eat Krsna-prasadam. We are not teaching people to become vegetarian or nonvegetarian. That is not our business. After all, we have to eat, so if we eat Krsna-prasadam… That is stated, yajna-sistasinah santo mucyante sarva-kilbisaih: “If you accept prasadam which is offered to God, then you are free from all sinful resultant action.”
Now, at the present moment, after the, we have got sva-raja, or independence, the government has interfered with this sort of service. They say that “This is waste of money. Why you are offering?” They are becoming atheist. But this is not waste of money. At the cost of the rich men, the prasadam was being distributed to the poor class of men at a nominal cost. You see? Now, poor men, they go to hotel. But if they take prasadam in a temple, oh, the far better quality foodstuff is supplied to him only at nominal cost. In a hotel, what will be charged, one dollar, he can have it in the temple for ten cents. So this is still more sane.
In our childhood, when I was a boy of eight or ten years, sometimes I used to accompany my father. My father was a great devotee. He would take prasadam from the temple. So I have got experience that we paid for two dishes, four annas. Four annas means, according to modern exchange, it is five cents only, five cents according to your exchange value. For five cents we were, very nice prasadam we can get. Two persons we were fed. Still there is a place which is called Nathadvara. Nathadvara, if you pay there two annas, you will get worth prasadam, two dollars worth. So this system is going on still. So if one has got sufficient means, he should supply Krsna to his best capacity. But when Krsna wants that “You give Me…” He says… This is the lowest common factor. Patram puspam phalam toyam. Anyone, any poor man in any part of the country, they can supply Krsna and take the prasadam. So that by taking that prasadam, you become free from the, I mean to say, responsibility of being sinful. That is the point. That you will find in Bhagavad-gita, that yajna-sistasinah santo mucyante sarva-kilbisaih: “If you take the remnants after offering Krsna, that foodstuff makes you free from all kinds of sin.”
Devotee (1): So if there is, let us say there is grain and rice being offered to the Deities, and one finds that if he eats this, his service is impaired. Like so many times I’ve seen, practically myself if I overeat grains in the summertime, I drive around doing my service and I’m falling asleep.
Prabhupada: Then which foodstuff suits you?
Devotee (1): Fruits are more… they keep me more active.
Prabhupada: So you take fruit. Fruit is also offered to the Deity. There are varieties of prasadam. So whichever suits, you can take. Anything artificial is bad.
Yadubara: Srila Prabhupada, in Los Angeles they are charging money for the prasadam, and we find that it’s cheaper to buy our own prasadam and offer it ourself.
Yadubara: They are charging money in Los Angeles for the prasadam each meal, so we find it is cheaper to…
Prabhupada: Prepare your own?
Prabhupada: So you do that.
Harikesa: Yes. They will not let a householder take unless they pay money first.
Yadubara: 75c for noon prasadam and 50c for breakfast.
Prabhupada: So if you can prepare cheaper, you can do that.
Gopala Krsna: Oh, yes. Nirnayika just wanted to use their scale, and they would try and cheat him. They would ask him for money just to let us use their scale to weigh the vegetables we buy. So I intervened one day, and then he got so angry that he abused Krsna also. These are such big demons, these people. They live in Vrndavanabut…
Prabhupada: So give them prasada; they will be all right. Yes. Give them prasada.
Harikesa: The perfect solution.
Brahmananda: We were also demons before we took prasada. (laughter)
Prabhupada: Jaya. Our preaching means to turn demons into devotees. That is our preaching. If you keep them demon, then your preaching is lacking. Give them prasadam today and tell them, “Whenever you come, take prasada.”
Prabhupada: Therefore Krsna said that “Bhagavad-gita should be discussed amongst My devotees, not amongst the rascals.” It will be waste of time. ya idam paramam guhyam
mad-bhaktesv abhidhasyati Find out this verse.
Pusta Krsna: ya idam paramam guhyam
bhaktim mayi param krtva
mam evaisyaty asamsayah
”For one who explains the supreme secret to the devotees, devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me.”
Prabhupada: Not to the fools and rascals. So first of all, to give them chance, let them come to the temple, take prasadam, hear sankirtana, offer obeisances by imitating others. In this way, when they become little devotee, then instruct. Otherwise it will be useless. You’ll waste your time by arguing.
Pusta Krsna: You have given the example that the field has to be plowed before the seed is sown, cultivated.
Cyavana: The mind has to want that higher taste.
Prabhupada: Ceto-darpana-marjanam. So this process… Bring the… Invite them. Chant Hare Krsna, dance, give them prasadam. Everyone will take part in this way, not immediately instructing that “You are not this body; you are soul.” He will not be able to.
Cyavana: It’s too difficult.
Prabhupada: Therefore this process is recommended. Caitanya Mahaprabhu argued with Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, Prakasananda Sarasvati, not with ordinary public. Ordinary public—“Go on chanting Hare Krsna and dancing.” Never argued, neither He discussed Bhagavatam. For ordinary public—four hours’ kirtana, chanting and dancing, bas. And then give them sufficient prasadam: “Take prasada.” This process… Because unless he has got little sraddha, he will simply put some false argument and waste your time. Not in the beginning. Mad-bhakteñv abhidhasyati. First of all create him a devotee a little. Chant Hare Krsna—harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam—only. Because this is Kali-yuga, people are so fallen, so downtrodden, so rascal, cats and dogs. It is very difficult. But this process—chanting of Hare Krsna maha-mantra, giving them chance to hear it and take prasadam—that will cure. And that is easily accepted by anyone. It doesn’t matter what he is. Anyone will accept. To chant and dance and take prasadam—no one will disagree. So this is the process. When they come to the temple… Just like these boys. You are offering obeisances; they are also offering. But that will go to their credit, to become bhakta. This process should be adopted. Not in the beginning, but in the beginning give them prasadam, chant Hare Krsna. And try to sell some book. You pay something. That means he is giving some service, the hard-earned money. That will also go to his credit. And then, when he’ll concerned that “I have paid for it. Let me see what this nonsense has written. All right. Read.” And that will also convince him. This is the way. He’ll keep this body, book, and show some friend, so the infection will go on.
Prabhupada: This hari-kirtana, chant. Somehow or other, induce them to chant Hare Krsna. Everything all right. By flattering, by soliciting, by giving him prasada, by elevating him, that “You are the best man in the world”—in this way inducing him, “Please chant Hare Krsna,” then he will be recitified. This is Hare Krsna movement. There is no other way. He is ruined, and the more the Kali-yuga advances, he becomes more and more ruined. All other attempts will failure. Don’t you see in your country the LSD-addicted hippies? Government spends so much money to recitify them—failure. But as soon as they come to our camp, immediately success. How it is possible?
means busy fool, and dhira means lazy intelligent. But our, this movement is meant both for the dhira and adhira. Adhira. We can make them really human beings. Never mind he is dhira or adhira. It is so nice movement. Dhiradhira. krsnotkirtana-gana-nartana-parau premamrtambho-nidhi dhiradhira priyau. It is very pleasing both for the dhiras and adhiras. Why not? What we are doing? We invite people, “Please come here. Chant, dance, and take prasada.” So both the dhiras and adhiras, they will be attracted. Dhiradhira priya. (break) You cannot make everyone dhira; that is not possible. There is necessity of adhira also. That is also… But it should be guided by the dhira.
Prabhupada: Not voracious. They want very palatable things, the tongue. Ta’ra madhye jihwa ati, lobhamoy sudurmati, very greedy. So if you supply them krsna-prasadam at the same time to satisfy their greediness, then you conquer. This is the secret.
Gopala Krsna: You conquered a lot of devotees by prasadam.
Prabhupada: Oh, yes. Yes. Automatically he becomes devotee: “No, we shall become, remain here.” This is the secret. Why the woman is liked? Because the woman, if she is trained up to give satisfaction to the tongue, to the belly and the sex, straight line, she becomes favorite immediately. This is woman’s business. And people are hankering. The karmis especially, they are hankering after these three things: palatable dishes, fill up belly, and sex. That’s all. If the woman can do it, she conquers over the husband immediately because these three things they want. Take things very practically. Hm? Am I wrong or right?
Jayapataka: You are always right.
Prabhupada: (laughs) Yes. Ta’ra madhye jihwa ati, lobhamoy sudurmati, ta’ke jeta kathina samsare, krsna baro doyamoy, koribare jihwa jay, swa-prasad. So prasadam should be so nice that he’ll (be) conquered. He’ll not go to the restaurant; they will come to Mayapura.
Prabhupada: I have suggested already, already suggested that “Take milk powder and ghee from Australia, and every center distribute prasadam like anything.” And in India at least, if you give them nice puri and chana preparation and sweet preparation from milk, oh, they’ll be so glad, both poor man and rich man. Yesterday I was eating kacuris. What is this kacuri? Made of ghee. Samosa, made of ghee; rasagulla, made of… Cow is so important. She can deliver so many nice preparations, sweet and salty. The whole world does not know how to eat. Like raksasa they are killing the poor animals. So we have to teach. This is an introduction of new type of civilization for making life successful.
Prabhupada: We restrict the tongue practicing. Anything can be done by practice. So if we take Krsna-prasadam, the tongue is restricted, locked to some limited… Then our all other senses become controlled. And spiritual life means sense control. We are not going to kill the senses. The yogis, they artificially want to stop the activities of the senses, but that is not possible. Senses are there. Life means senses. Aprakrta, prakrta And when senses are engaged in Krsna’s service, that is aprakrta, transcendental. That is described, sarvopadhi-vinirmuktam. Our senses are now upadhi—“I am Indian,” “I am American,” “I am this,” “I am that.” Senses are there, everywhere, but it is designated. So we have to free the senses from this material designation. And when the designations are washed away, at…, with that senses, hrsikena hrsikesa-sevanam bhaktir ucyate. Purified senses without any designation, when we engage in the service of Krsna, that is called bhakti.
Prabhupada: Yes. That must be done. Anyone who comes to see the arati, at least two puris, little vegetable, halava should be given. Prasada distribution should go on everywhere. Who said that that is my trick? Who was…?
Hari-sauri: He was just saying last night.
Prabhupada: Oh, somebody…
Hari-sauri: Secret weapon.
Prabhupada: (laughs) Yes.
Maha-prasada, the foodstuff, remnant of foodstuff of Narayana, Krsna, the same…. Maha-prasade govinde. And Govinda, Krsna. And maha-prasade govinde nama-brahmani. And in the holy name of Hare Krsna maha-mantra. Maha-prasade govinde nama-brahmani vaisnave. As also in Vaisnava.Svalpa-punyavatam rajan visvaso naiva jayate. Those who are less pious, they cannot believe in these things.
Therefore, a person in Krsna consciousness, who eats only food offered to Krsna, can counteract all reactions of past material infections, which are impediments to the progress of self-realization. On the other hand, one who does not do so continues to increase the volume of sinful action, and this prepares the next body to resemble hogs and dogs, to suffer the resultant reactions of all sins. The material world is full of contaminations, and one who is immunized by accepting prasadam of the Lord (food offered to Visnu) is saved from the attack, whereas one who does not do so becomes subjected to contamination.
The practice of reduced eating is automatically done when one eats only Krsna-prasadam, or food which is offered first to the Lord. Reducing the eating process is very helpful in the matter of sense control. And without sense control there is no possibility of getting out of the material entanglement.
The remnants of food offered to Lord Krsna are called maha-prasada. After this same maha-prasada has been taken by a devotee, the remnants are elevated to maha-maha-prasada.
Since everyone had previously tasted these ingredients, why had they become extraordinary and spiritually tasteful? This was proof that food, prasada, becomes uncommonly flavorful and tasteful by touching Krsna’s lips.
SPL 73-12-06 KRITIDA KANYAKA
Please accept my blessings. Thank you very much for the Tulasi leaves offered to Lord Caitanya’s lotus feet. If one is fortunate enough to receive such holy prasadam then all sinful reactions are immediately purified within the heart and pure devotional service is very easily obtained.
The performance of sraddha, or offering oblations with prasada, is still current in India, especially at Gaya, where oblations are offered at the lotus feet of Visnu in a celebrated temple. Because the Lord is thus pleased with the devotional service of the descendants, by His grace He liberates the condemned souls of forefathers who do not have gross bodies, and He favors them to again receive a gross body for development of spiritual advancement.
The purpose of the sraddha ceremony is to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Visnu, so that after pleasing Him one may offer prasada to one’s forefathers and in this way make them happy. The inhabitants of Pitrloka are generally men of the karma-kandiya, or fruitive activities category, who have been transferred there because of their pious activities. They can stay there as long as their descendants offer them Visnu-prasada. Everyone in heavenly planets such as Pitrloka, however, must return to earth after exhausting the effects of his pious acts. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (9.21), ksine punye martya-lokam visanti: persons who perform pious acts are transferred to higher planets, but when the effects of their pious acts are over, they are again transferred to earth.
Sraddha is prasada offered to the forefathers at a certain date of the year or month. The sraddha-patra, or plate offered to the forefathers, is then offered to the best of the brahmanas in society.
similarly, we are obliged to our forefathers, because we take our birth in a particular family, where we take all advantages and inherit property.Therefore, we are indebted to the forefathers and have to offer them pinda(prasada) after they are dead.
SPL 73-01-04 KRSNA GOPAL
Your letter December 30, 1972, is in hand, I have only just now got it, so tomorrow is your Sharadh ceremony of your father, so I do not know if this letter will reach you in time to be of any help in the matter. But for conducting Sharadh ceremony, that should be done in our temple, and feasting should be arranged in the temple. Afterwards, the prasada should be distributed to friends and relatives. Perform kirtana, give lecture and readings, just like our ordinary program. The idea is that in addition we are offering sumptuous prasadam of Visnu to the soul of father and mother. Therefore Visnu’s prasada should be distributed in sufficient quantities, not otherwise.
SPL 73-11-14 REVATINANDANA
Regarding the auto accident, just hold a condolence meeting for Raghava dasa brahmacari and pray for his soul to Krsna for giving him a good chance for advancement in Krsna consciousness. Certainly Krsna will give him a good place to take birth where he can again begin in Krsna consciousness activities. That is sure. But, we offer our condolences to a departed soul separated from a Vaisnava. Do you know that there must be prasadam distributed? After three days after the demise of a Vaisnava a function should be held for offering the departed soul and all others prasadam. This is the system.
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.
SPL 74-01-11 TAMALA KRSNA
Yes, I fully agree that “What is the use of a temple if there is no prasadam distribution?” Prasadam distribution on a large scale must be resumed. Such a temple where there is no such distribution has no value, I agree.
SPL 74-03-03 MAHADEVA
We will present our program at Bhaktivedanta Manor exactly in the line of Lord Caitanya, by kirtana, prasadam distribution and speaking from Bhagavad-gita. We cannot deviate even an inch in order to attract the followers of the ecology philosophy or any other materialistic, utopian movement. You say you know a number of influential leaders of this group, but what is the use of knowing them, since you yourself found them deficient and left them? Our ideal Vedic community will attract everyone on its own merit, and we shall be glad to welcome and accept everyone who comes without our compromising in order to attract them.
In the previous verse it was explained that living entities should be honored by charitable gifts and friendly behavior, and in this verse and in the following verses, the description of different grades of living entities is given so that one can know when to behave friendly and when to give charity. For example, a tiger is a living entity, part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the Supreme Lord is living in the heart of the tiger as Supersoul. But does this mean that we have to treat the tiger in a friendly manner? Certainly not. We have to treat him differently, giving him charity in the form of prasada. The many saintly persons in the jungles do not treat the tigers in a friendly way, but they supply prasada foodstuffs to them. The tigers come, take the food and go away, just as a dog does. According to the Vedic system, a dog is not allowed to enter the house. Because of their uncleanliness, cats and dogs are not allowed within the apartment of a gentleman, but are so trained that they stand outside. The compassionate householder will supply prasada to the dogs and cats, who eat outside and then go away. We must treat the lower living entities compassionately, but this does not mean that we have to treat them in the same way we treat other human beings.
But unless one pleases the demigods, there will be no regulated seasonal activities or rainfall. Everything is controlled by the demigods. Under the circumstances, in this age, in order to keep the balance of social peace and prosperity, all intelligent men should execute the performance of sankirtana-yajna by chanting the holy names Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. One should invite people, chant Hare Krsna, and then distribute prasada. This yajna will satisfy all the demigods, and thus there will be peace and prosperity in the world.
SPL 70-11-24 BALI MARDAN
Regarding staying in the various Temples of demigods that is quite alright, but you should not take prasadam from the demigods if you are offered. Our method is to follow the system as it is done in Jagannatha Puri. There, the bhoga is first offered to Lord Jagannatha and then His Prasadam is distributed and offered to various demigods who reside in some nearby Temples. Then the remnants of such Prasadam may be taken by us
Lord Visnu should be offered everything, and His prasada should be distributed to all the demigods. This practice is still followed in the temple of Jagannatha at Puri. There are many temples of demigods around the main temple of Jagannatha, and the prasada which is offered first to Jagannatha is distributed to all the demigods. The deity of Bhagalin is worshiped with the prasada of Visnu, and also, in the famous Lord Siva temple of Bhuvanesvara, the prasada of Lord Visnu or Lord Jagannatha is offered to the deity of Lord Siva. This is the Vaisnava principle. The Vaisnava does not deride even ordinary living entities, including the small ant; everyone is offered proper respect according to his position.
Lord Siva is also a great Vaisnava and never eats nonvegetarian food, and the goddess Kali accepts the remnants of food left by Lord Siva. Therefore there is no possibility of her eating flesh or fish. Such offerings are accepted by the associates of goddess Kali known as bhutas, pisacas and Raksasas, and those who take the prasada of goddess Kali in the shape of flesh or fish are not actually taking the prasada left by goddess Kali, but the food left by the bhutas and pisacas.
The devotee should not be anxious about cooking food; whatever is available in the forest or in the city among the fruit and vegetable groups should be offered to the Deity, and the devotee should be satisfied eating that. He should not be anxious to have very palatable dishes. Of course, wherever it is possible, one should offer the Deities the best foodstuffs, prepared within the category of fruits and vegetables, cooked or uncooked. The important factor is that the devotee should be regulated (mita-bhuk); that is one of the good qualifications of a devotee. He should not hanker to satisfy the tongue with a particular kind of foodstuff. He should be satisfied to eat whatever prasada is available by the grace of the Lord.
As far as our ISKCON movement is concerned, we simply ask that one observe the four prohibitive rules, chant sixteen rounds and, instead of indulging in luxurious eating for the tongue, simply accept prasada offered to the Lord. This does not mean that with our fasting the Lord should also fast. The Lord should be given foodstuff which is as nice as possible. But we should not make it a point to satisfy our own tongues. As far as possible we should accept simple foodstuff, just to keep the body and soul together to execute devotional service.
Prabhupada: Oh yes. But not guru. Ekadasi observed by jiva-tattva, not by Visnu-tattva. We are fasting for clearing our material disease, but Radha-Krsna, Caitanya Mahaprabhu… Caitanya Mahaprabhu also may not be offered grains because He is playing the part of a devotee. Only Radha-Krsna, Jagannatha can be offered grains. Otherwise, Guru-Gauranga, no. And the prasadam should not be taken by anyone. It should be kept for next day.
Our Krsna consciousness movement is designed to teach people (and to learn ourselves) the exact instruction of the Personality of Godhead. In this way we shall continuously perform the sankirtana-yajna and continuously chant the Hare Krsna mantra. Then at the end of our lives we shall certainly be able to remember Krsna, and our program of life will be successful. In this age, distribution of prasada has replaced distribution of money. No one has sufficient money to distribute, but if we distribute Krsna-prasada as far as possible, this is more valuable than the distribution of money.
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.”
In this connection Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says:
sarira avidya jala, jadendriya tahe kala,
jive phele visaya-sagare
ta’ra madhye jihva ati, lobhamaya sudurmati,
ta’ke jeta kathina samsare
krsna bada dayamaya, karibare jihva jaya,
sva-prasada-anna dila bhai
sei annamrta khao, radha-krsna-guna gao,
preme daka caitanya-nitai
“O Lord! This material body is a lump of ignorance, and the senses are a network of paths leading to death. Somehow or other we have fallen into the ocean of material sense enjoyment, and of all the senses the tongue is the most voracious and uncontrollable. It is very difficult to conquer the tongue in this world, but You, dear Krsna, are very kind to us. You have sent this nice prasada to help us conquer the tongue; therefore let us take this prasada to our full satisfaction and glorify Your Lordships Sri Sri Radha and Krsna and in love call for the help of Lord Caitanya and Prabhu Nityananda.” There are six kinds of rasas (tastes), and if one is agitated by any one of them, he becomes controlled by the urges of the tongue. Some persons are attracted to the eating of meat, fish, crabs, eggs and other things produced by semina and blood and eaten in the form of dead bodies. Others are attracted by eating vegetables, creepers, spinach or milk products, but all for the satisfaction of the tongue’s demands. Such eating for sense gratification—including the use of extra quantities of spices like chili and tamarind—is to be given up by Krsna conscious persons.
However, if one accepts prasada only because of its palatable taste and thus eats too much, he also falls prey to trying to satisfy the demands of the tongue. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu taught us to avoid very palatable dishes even while eating prasada. If we offer palatable dishes to the Deity with the intention of eating such nice food, we are involved in trying to satisfy the demands of the tongue. If we accept the invitation of a rich man with the idea of receiving palatable food, we are also trying to satisfy the demands of the tongue. In Caitanya-caritamrta (Antya 6.227) it is stated:
Offering gifts in charity, accepting charitable gifts, revealing one’s mind in confidence, inquiring confidentially, accepting prasada and offering prasada are the six symptoms of love shared by one devotee and another.
Caitanya-caritamrta (Antya 6.227) it is stated:
jihvara lalase yei iti-uti dhaya
sisnodara-parayana krsna nahi paya
“That person who runs here and there seeking to gratify his palate and who is always attached to the desires of his stomach and genitals is unable to attain Krsna.”
As stated before, the tongue, belly and genitals are all situated in a straight line, and they fall in the same category. Lord Caitanya has said, bhala na khaibe ara bhala na paribe: “Do not dress luxuriously and do not eat delicious foodstuffs.” (Cc. Antya 6.236)Those who suffer from diseases of the stomach must be unable to control the urges of the belly, at least according to this analysis. When we desire to eat more than necessary we automatically create many inconveniences in life. However, if we observe fasting days like Ekadasi and Janmastami, we can restrain the demands of the belly.
Generally we should not allow the tongue to eat according to its choice, but should control the tongue by supplying prasada. The devotee’s attitude is that he will eat only when Krsna gives him prasada. That is the way to control the urge of the tongue. One should take prasada at scheduled times and should not eat in restaurants or sweetmeat shops simply to satisfy the whims of the tongue or belly. If we stick to the principle of taking only prasada, the urges of the belly and tongue can be controlled.
SB 4.18 7
The population has a right to use goods only after offering them to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the process of accepting prasada. Unless one eats prasada, he is certainly a thief. It is the duty of governors and kings to punish such thieves and maintain the world nicely. If this is not done, grains will no longer be produced, and people will simply starve. Indeed, not only will people be obliged to eat less, but they will kill one another and eat each other’s flesh. They are already killing animals for flesh, so when there will no longer be grains, vegetables and fruits, they will kill their own sons and fathers and eat their flesh for sustenance.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura remarks that people who are under the bodily conception of life are called materialists. If we accept the offerings of such people, place them before the Lord and invite Vaisnavas to partake of the prasada, that attempt will gain us only a material reputation, not the actual benefit of service to a pure Vaisnava. One should therefore try to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead by fully surrendering at His lotus feet. If one engages for the service of the Lord whatever money one has honestly earned, that is spiritual service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the spiritual master and the Vaisnavas.
In the days of Haridasa Thakura, all the brahmanas worshiped Narayana in the form of the salagrama-sila. Therefore begging from a Brahmana’s house meant taking Krsna-prasada, which is transcendental (nirguna). If we take food from the house of others, such as karmis, we shall have to share the qualities of those from whom we take alms. Therefore Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu took prasada in the houses of Vaisnavas. This is the general process. The members of the Krsna consciousness movement are advised not to take food from anywhere but a Vaisnava’s or Brahmana’s house where Deity worship is performed. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has said, visayira anna khaile dusta haya mana: if a devotee takes alms or food from the house of a karmi who is simply interested in money, his mind will be unclean. We must always remember that a devotee’s life is one of vairagya-vidya, or renunciation and knowledge. Therefore all devotees are warned not to live unnecessarily luxurious lives at the cost of others.
For example, if one eats in a place which is very sinful, he shares in the resultant reaction of the sinful activities performed there. (It is a Vedic system, therefore, for a householder to call brahmanas and Vaisnavas to eat at ceremonial performances in his house because the brahmanas and Vaisnavas can immunize him from sinful activities. But it is not the duty of rigid brahmanas and Vaisnavas to accept invitations everywhere. There is, of course, no objection to taking part in feasts in which prasada is distributed.)
When a person is initiated by a spiritual master, he changes his habits and does not eat undesirable eatables or engage in the eating of meat, the drinking of liquor, illicit sex or gambling. Sattvika-ahara, foodstuffs in the mode of goodness, are described in the sastras as wheat, rice, vegetables, fruits, milk, sugar, and milk products. Simple food like rice, dhal, capatis, vegetables, milk and sugar constitute a balanced diet, but sometimes it is found that an initiated person, in the name of prasada, eats very luxurious foodstuffs. Due to his past sinful life he becomes attracted by Cupid and eats good food voraciously. It is clearly visible that when a neophyte in Krsna consciousness eats too much, he falls down.Instead of being elevated to pure Krsna consciousness, he becomes attracted by Cupid. The so-called brahmacari becomes agitated by women, and the vanaprastha may again become captivated into having sex with his wife. Or he may begin to search out another wife. Due to some sentiment, he may give up his own wife and come into the association of devotees and a spiritual master, but due to his past sinful life he cannot stay. Instead of being elevated to Krsna consciousness, he falls down, being attracted by Cupid, and takes to another wife for sex enjoyment.
We can definitely see that to advance in Krsna consciousness one must control his bodily weight. If one becomes too fat, it is to be assumed that he is not advancing spiritually. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura severely criticized his fat disciples. The idea is that one who intends to advance in Krsna consciousness must not eat very much. Devotees used to go to forests, high hills or mountains on pilgrimages, but such severe austerities are not possible in these days. One should instead eat only prasada and no more than required. According to the Vaisnava calendar, there are many fasts, such as Ekadasi and the appearance and disappearance days of God and His devotees. All of these are meant to decrease the fat within the body so that one will not sleep more than desired and will not become inactive and lazy. Overindulgence in food will cause a man to sleep more than required. This human form of life is meant for austerity, and austerity means controlling sex, food intake, etc. In this way time can be saved for spiritual activity, and one can purify himself both externally and internally. Thus both body and mind can be cleansed.
A householder should lead such a life that he gets full opportunity to hear and chant. He should worship the Deity at home. observe festivals, invite friends in and give them prasada. A householder should earn money for this purpose, not for sense gratification.
A person is considered no better than a crow if after receiving some food, he does not divide it among guests, old men and children, but simply eats it himself, or if he eats it without performing the five kinds of sacrifice. After death he is put into the most abominable hell, known as Krmibhojana. In that hell is a lake becomes a worm in that lake and feeds on the other worms there, who also feed on him. Unless he atones for his actions before his death, such a sinful man remains in the hellish lake of Krmibhojana for as many years as there are yojanas in the width of the lake.
As stated in Bhagavad-gita (3.13):
bhunjate te tv agham papa
ya pacanty atma-karanat
“The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat food which is first offered for sacrifice.Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin.” All food is given to us by the Supreme personality of Godhead. Eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman: the Lord supplies everyone with the necessities of life. Therefore we should acknowledge His mercy by performing yajna (sacrifice). This is the duty of everyone. Indeed, the sole purpose of life is to perform yajna. According to Krsna (Bg. 3.9):
yajnarthat karmano ‘nyatra
loko ‘yam karma-bandhanah
tad-artham karma kaunteya
“Work done as a sacrifice for Visnu has to be performed, otherwise work binds one to this material world. Therefore, O son of Kunti, perform your prescribed duties for His satisfaction, and in that way you will always remain unattached and free from bondage.” If we do not perform yajna and distribute prasada to others, our lives are condemned. Only after performing yajna and distributing the prasada to all dependents–children, brahmanas and old men–should one eat. However, one who cooks only for himself or his family is condemned, along with everyone he feeds. After death he is put into the hell known as Krmibhojana.
As stated in Bhagavad-gita (3.9), yajnarthat karmano ‘nyatra loko ‘yam karma-bandhanah: all fruitive activities should be performed for sacrifice, which should be directed toward pleasing Krsna. As stated elsewhere in Bhagavad-gita (5.29), bhoktaraà yajna-tapasaà sarva-loka-mahesvaram: He is the Supreme Lord and enjoyer of everything. However, although sacrifice may be offered to please Krsna, He is more pleased when grains and ghee, instead of being offered in the fire, are prepared as prasada and distributed, first to the brahmanas and then to others. This system pleases Krsna more than anything else.
In our sankirtana movement, or Hare Krsna movement, we offer sumptuous prasada to the Deity and later distribute the same prasada to the brahmanas, the Vaisnavas and then to the people in general. Krsna’s prasada is offered to the brahmanas and Vaisnavas, and the prasada of the brahmanas and Vaisnavas is offered to the general populace. This kind of sacrifice—chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra and distribution of prasada—is the most perfect and bona fide way of offering sacrifice for the pleasure of Yajna, or Visnu.
To distribute prasada to all living entities, the process is that we must first offer prasada to the brahmanas and the Vaisnavas, for the demigods are represented by the brahmanas. 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 prasada. Whenever there is a ceremony for distribution of prasada, the prasada is offered first to the brahmanas, then to the children and old men, then to the women, and then to animals like dogs and other domestic animals.
Food taken and cooked for oneself is material, but food cooked for the Supreme Lord is spiritual prasada. This is a question of realization. Actually, everything is given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore everything is spiritual, but those who are not advanced in proper knowledge make distinctions because of the interactions of the three modes of material nature. In this regard, Srila Jiva Gosvami says that although the sun is the only light, the sunshine, which is exhibited in seven colors, and darkness, which is the absence of sunshine, are not different from the sun, for without the existence of the sun such differentiations cannot exist. There may be varied nomenclature because of different conditions, but they are all the sun. ThePuranas therefore say:
jyotsna vistarini yatha
parasya brahmanah saktis
tathedam akhilam jagat
“Just as the illumination of a fire, which is situated in one place, is spread all over, the energies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Parabrahman, are spread all over this universe.” (VisnuPurana 1.22.53) Materially, we can directly perceive the sunshine spreading itself according to different names and activities, but ultimately the sun is one. Similarly, sarva khalv idam brahma: everything is an expansion of the Supreme Brahman. Therefore, the Supreme Lord is everything, and He is one without differentiation. There is no existence separate from the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
krtvaiva trptim bhajatah sadaiva
vande guroh sri-caranaravindam
“The spiritual master is always offering Krsna four kinds of delicious food [analyzed as that which is licked, chewed, drunk and sucked]. When the spiritual master sees that the devotees are satisfied by eating bhagavat-prasada, he is satisfied. I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of such a spiritual master.”
The spiritual master’s duty is to engage his disciples in preparing varieties of nice food to offer the Deity. After being offered, this food is distributed as prasada to the devotees. These activities satisfy the spiritual master, although he himself does not eat or require such a variety of prasada. By seeing to the offering and distribution of prasada, he himself is encouraged in devotional service.
Animal killing is prohibited. Every living being, of course, has to eat something (jivo jivasya jivanam). But one should be taught what kind of food one should take. Therefore the Isopanisad instructs, tena tyaktena bhunjithah: one should eat whatever is allotted for human beings. Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita (9.26):
patram puspam phalam toyam
yo me bhaktya prayacchati
tad aham bhakty-upahrtam
“If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it.” A devotee, therefore, does not eat anything that would require slaughterhouses for poor animals. Rather, devotees take prasada of Krsna (tena tyaktena bhunjithah). Krsna recommends that one give Him patram puspam phalam toyam–a leaf, a flower, fruit or water. Animal food is never recommended for human beings; instead, a human being is recommended to take prasada, remnants of food left by Krsna. Yajna-sistasinah santo mucyante sarva-kilbisaih (Bg. 3.13). If one practices eating prasada, even if there is some little sinful activity involved, one becomes free from the results of sinful acts.
A diseased person needs both proper medicine and a proper diet, and therefore the Krsna consciousness movement supplies materially stricken people with the medicine of the chanting of the holy name, or the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, and the diet of prasada. There are many hospitals and medical clinics to cure bodily diseases, but there are no such hospitals to cure the material disease of the spirit soul. The centers of the Krsna consciousness movement are the only established hospitals that can cure man of birth, death, old age and disease.
On Ekadasi, everything is cooked for Visnu, including regular grains and dahi, but it is enjoined that a Vaisnava should not even take Visnu-prasada on Ekadasi. It is said that a Vaisnava does not accept anything eatable that is not offered to Lord Visnu, but on Ekadasi a Vaisnava should not touch even maha-prasada offered to Visnu, although such prasada may be kept for being eaten the next day. It is strictly forbidden for one to accept any kind of grain on Ekadasi, even if it is offered to Lord Visnu.
By touching the remnants of food thrown by Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Acarya immediately felt Himself purified of all smarta contamination. The remnants of food left by a pure Vaisnava are called maha-maha-prasada. This is completely spiritual and is identified with Lord Visnu. Such remnants are not ordinary. The spiritual master is to be considered on the stage of paramahamsa and beyond the jurisdiction of the varnasrama institution. The remnants of food left by the spiritual master and similar paramahamsas or pure Vaisnavas are purifying. When an ordinary person touches such prasada, his mind is purified, and his mind is raised to the status of a pure brahmana. The behavior and statements of Advaita Acarya are meant for the understanding of ordinary people who are unaware of the strength of spiritual values, not knowing the potency of food left by the bona fide spiritual master and pure Vaisnavas.
Actually, by eating such maha-prasada, one is freed from all the contaminations of the material condition. That is the verdict of the sastra.
In the Brhad-Visnu Purana it is stated that one who considers maha-prasada to be equal to ordinary rice and dal certainly commits a great offense. Ordinary edibles are touchable and untouchable, but there are no such dualistic considerations where prasada is concerned. prasada is transcendental, and there are no transformations or contaminations, just as there are no contaminations or transformations in the body of Lord Visnu Himself. Thus even if one is a brahmana he is certain to be attacked by leprosy and bereft of all family members if he makes such dualistic considerations. Such an offender goes to hell, never to return. This is the injunction of the Brhad-VisnuPurana.
Lord Caitanya then offered him the prasada which He had received in the temple of Jagannatha, and Bhattacarya was very glad to receive this prasada from the hands of Lord Caitanya Himself. Indeed, without taking his bath and without performing his daily duties or even washing his teeth, he began immediately to eat the prasada. In this way, he was freed from all material contamination and attachment, and as he began to eat the prasada, he cited a verse from PadmaPurana. In PadmaPurana it is stated that when prasada is brought or received, it must be eaten immediately, even if it has become very dry or old, or even if it is brought from a distant place, or even if one has not completed executing his daily duties. Since it is enjoined in the sastras that prasada should immediately be taken, there is no restriction of time and space; the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead must be followed. There are restrictions one must follow before accepting food from various people, but there are no restrictions on accepting prasada from all kinds of people. prasada is always transcendental and can be taken under any condition. Lord Caitanya was very pleased to see that Bhattacarya, who had always obeyed the rules and regulations strictly, accepted prasada without following any rules and regulations.
Having made their plot, the Buddhists brought a plate of untouchable food before Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and called it maha-prasada.
The word apavitra anna refers to food that is unacceptable for a Vaisnava. In other words, a Vaisnava cannot accept any food offered by an aVaisnava in the name of maha-prasada. This should be a principle for all Vaisnavas. When asked, “What is the behavior of a Vaisnava?” Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “A Vaisnava must avoid the company of an aVaisnava [asat].” The word asat refers to an aVaisnava, that is, one who is not a Vaisnava. Asat-sanga-tyaga,—ei Vaisnava-acara (Cc. Madhya 22.87). A Vaisnava must be very strict in this respect and should not at all cooperate with an aVaisnava. If an aVaisnava offers food in the name of maha-prasada, it should not be accepted. Such food cannot be prasada because an aVaisnava cannot offer anything to the Lord. Sometimes preachers in the Krsna consciousness movement have to accept food in a home where the householder is an aVaisnava; however, if this food is offered to the Deity, it can be taken. Ordinary food cooked by an aVaisnava should not be accepted by a Vaisnava. Even if an aVaisnava cooks food without fault, he cannot offer it to Lord Visnu, and it cannot be accepted as maha-prasada. According to Lord Krsna in the Bhagavad-gita (9.26):
patram puspam phalam toyam
yo me bhaktya prayacchati
tad aham bhakty-upahrtam
“If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water, I will accept it.”Krsna can accept anything offered by His devotee with devotion. An aVaisnava may be a vegetarian and a very clean cook, but because he cannot offer the food he cooks to Visnu, it cannot be accepted as maha-prasada. It is better that a Vaisnava abandon such food as untouchable.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura says that people who are advanced in learning but attached to material enjoyment, who are puffed up by material possessions, by birth in an elevated aristocratic family or by education, may offer showbottle devotional service to the Deity and also offer prasada to Vaisnavas. Because of their ignorance, however, they cannot understand that since their minds are materially polluted, neither the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krsna, nor the Vaisnavas accept their offerings. If one accepts money from such materialistic persons to offer food to the Deity and Vaisnavas, a pure Vaisnava does not accept it. This causes unhappiness for the materialists because they are fully absorbed in the bodily conception of life. Therefore they sometimes turn against the Vaisnavas.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura suggests that people who are materialistically inclined and sahajiyas, or so-called Vaisnavas who take everything very casually, are both visayi materialists. Eating food offered by them causes contamination, and as a result of such contamination, even a serious devotee becomes like a materialistic man. There are six kinds of association—giving charity, accepting charity, accepting food, offering food, talking confidentially and inquiring confidentially. One should very carefully avoid associating with both the sahajiyas, who are sometimes known as Vaisnavas, and the non-Vaisnavas, or aVaisnavas. Their association changes the transcendental devotional service of Lord Krsna into sense gratification, and when sense gratification enters the mind of a devotee, he is contaminated. The materialistic person who aspires after sense gratification cannot properly think of Krsna.
Srila Nityananda Prabhu’s reference in this connection is meant to emphasize that one should avoid eating with Mayavadis and covert Mayavadis like the sahajiya Vaisnavas, who are materially affected.
According to Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, the breathing dead body is a ghost. When a man dies, he is called dead, but when he again appears in a subtle form not visible to our present vision and yet acts, such a dead body is called a ghost. Ghosts are always very bad elements, always creating a fearful situation for others. Similarly, the ghostlike nondevotees who have no respect for the pure devotees, nor for the Visnu Deity in the temples, create a fearful situation for the devotees at all times. The Lord never accepts any offering by such impure ghosts. There is a common saying that one should first love the dog of the beloved before one shows any loving sentiments for the beloved. The stage of pure devotion is attained by sincerely serving a pure devotee of the Lord. The first condition of devotional service to the Lord is therefore to be a servant of a pure devotee, and this condition is fulfilled by the statement “reception of the dust of the lotus feet of a pure devotee who has also served another pure devotee.” That is the way of pure disciplic succession, or devotional parampara.
NOTE: Ghostlike nondevotees are demoniac have no respect for Srila Prabhupada create a fearful situation e.g by driving away devotees who have accepted the ritvik(July 9th 1977 Order from Srila Prabhupada) system of initiation (their motive is money and self-worship).
Their offerings are not accepted because they OBSTRUCT worship of the CURRENT ACARYA Srila Prabhupada. Offering to such so-called guru is deviation. The conditioned soul so-called gurus picture is incapable offering to Krishna. Krishna does not accept such offering. Only Srila Prabhupada being a pure devotee and current link acarya is capable of accepting on behalf of Krishna.
Bg 16.4 T The Divine And Demoniac Natures
Arrogance, pride, anger, conceit, harshness and ignorance–these qualities belong to those of demoniac nature, O son of Prtha.
In this verse, the royal road to hell is described. The demoniac want to make a show of religion and advancement in spiritual science, although they do not follow the principles. They are always arrogant or proud in possessing some type of education or so much wealth. THEY DESIRE TO BE WORSHIPED BY OTHERS, and demand respectability, although they do not command respect. Over trifles they become very angry and speak harshly, not gently. They do not know what should be done and what should not be done. They do everything whimsically, according to their own desire, and they do not recognize any authority.
The pseudo religionists have neither knowledge nor detachment from material affairs, for most of them want to live in the golden shackles of material bondage under the shadow of philanthropic activities disguised as religious principles. By a false display of religious sentiments, they present a show of devotional service while indulging in all sorts of immoral activities. In this way they pass as spiritual masters and devotees of God. Such violators of religious principles have no respect for the authoritative acaryas, the holy teachers in the strict disciplic succession. They ignore the Vedic injunction acaryopasana–“One must worship the acarya”–and Krsna’s statement in the Bhagavad-gita (4.2) evam parampara-praptam, “This supreme science of God is received through the disciplic succession.” Instead, to mislead the people in general they themselves become so-called acaryas, but they do not even follow the principles of the acaryas.
These rogues are the most dangerous elements in human society. Because there is no religious government, they escape punishment by the law of the state. They cannot, however, escape the law of the Supreme, who has clearly declared in the Bhagavad-gita that envious demons in the garb of religious propagandists shall be thrown into the darkest regions of hell (Bg. 16.19-20). Sri Isopanisad confirms that these pseudo religionists are heading toward the most obnoxious place in the universe after the completion of their spiritual master business, which they conduct simply for sense gratification.
It is indicated herein that if there is negligence on the part of the priest, the demigods do not accept their share in sacrifices. Similarly, in devotional service there are offenses known as seva-aparadha. Those who are engaged in worshiping the Deity, Radha and Krsna, in the temple, should avoid such offenses in service. The offenses in service are described in The Nectar of Devotion. If we simply make a show of offering services to the Deity but do not care for the seva-aparadha, certainly the Radha-Krsna Deity will not accept offerings from such nondevotees.Devotees engaged in temple worship should not, therefore, manufacture their own methods, but should strictly follow the regulative principles of cleanliness, and then offerings will be accepted.
It is prescribed in Bhagavad-gita: “If a devotee offers Me a small flower, a leaf, some water or a little fruit, I will accept it.” The real purpose is to exhibit one’s loving devotion to the Lord; the offerings themselves are secondary. If one has not developed loving devotion to the Lord and simply offers many kinds of foodstuffs, fruits and flowers without real devotion, the offering will not be accepted by the Lord. We cannot bribe the Personality of Godhead. He is so great that our bribery has no value. Nor has He any scarcity; since He is full in Himself, what can we offer Him? Everything is produced by Him. We simply offer to show our love and gratitude to the Lord.
However, Krsna does not accept anything from a person with a material conception of life. When a devotee no longer has any desire for material sense gratification, in his spiritual identity he engages in the service of the Lord, for his dormant spiritual consciousness awakens. This awakening of spiritual consciousness makes his body spiritual, and thus he becomes fit to render service to the Lord.
It is the practice of Vaisnavas while taking prasada to chant the holy name of Lord Hari at intervals and also sing various songs, such as sarira avidya-jala. Those who are honoring prasada, accepting the remnants of food offered to the Deity, must always remember that prasada is not ordinary food. Prasada is transcendental. We are therefore reminded:
Those who are not pious cannot understand the value of maha-prasada or the holy name of the Lord. Both prasada and the Lord’s name are on the Brahman platform, or spiritual platform. One should never consider prasada to be like ordinary hotel cooking. Nor should one touch any kind of food not offered to the Deity. Every Vaisnava strictly follows this principle and does not accept any food that is not prasada. One should take prasada with great faith and should chant the holy name of the Lord and worship the Deity in the temple, always remembering that the Deity, maha-prasada and the holy name do not belong to the mundane platform. By worshiping the Deity, eating prasada and chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, one can always remain on the spiritual platform (brahma-bhuyaya kalpate).
Madhya 19.213 Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Instructs Srila Rupa Gosvami
Sei annamrta khao, radha-krsna-guna gao, preme daka caitanya-nitai. Since a devotee only eats prasada, he conquers the dictations of the tongue, belly and genitals. One can control the dictates of the senses when situated in the position of santa-rasa. Then one’s advancement in Krsna consciousness is assured.
There are certainly many householders in our Krsna consciousness movement. They join the movement and live in the society’s centers, but if they take advantage of this opportunity and do not work but live at the expense of the movement, eating prasada and simply sleeping, they place themselves in a very dangerous position. It is therefore advised that grhasthas should not live in the temple. They must live outside the temple and maintain themselves. Of course, if the grhasthas are fully engaged in the Lord’s service according to the directions of the authorities, there is no harm in their living in a temple. In any case, a temple should not be a place to eat and sleep. A temple manager should be very careful about these things.
Furthermore, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was throwing remnants of green coconut pulp to the dog. Smiling in His own way, He was saying to the dog, “Chant the holy names Rama, Krsna, and Hari.”
Seeing the dog eating the green coconut pulp and chanting “Krsna, Krsna” again and again, all the devotees present were very much surprised.
When he saw the dog sitting in that way and chanting the name of Krsna, Sivananda, because of his natural humility, immediately offered his obeisances to the dog just to counteract his offenses to it.
The next day, no one saw that dog, for it had obtained its spiritual body and departed for Vaikuntha, the spiritual kingdom.
This is the result of sadhu-sanga, consequent association with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and promotion back home, back to Godhead. This result is possible even for a dog, by the mercy of the Vaisnava. Therefore, everyone in the human form of life should be induced to associate with devotees. By rendering a little service, even by eating prasada, not to speak of chanting and dancing, everyone could be promoted to Vaikunthaloka. It is therefore requested that all our devotees in the ISKCON community become pure Vaisnavas, so that by their mercy all the people of the world will be transferred to Vaikunthaloka, even without their knowledge.
Everyone should be given a chance to take prasada and thus be induced to chant the holy names Hare Krsna and also dance in ecstasy. By these three processes, although performed without knowledge or education, even an animal went back to Godhead.
Similarly, if you remain with Krsna by chanting His holy name, then you will be purified and one day will come—you will be Krsnaized. The process is very simple: chant Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. That’s all. (break) …twenty-four hours. Kirtaniyah sada harih. This is not my word; this is Caitanya Mahaprabhu. You have to associate with kirtana. The reading is also kirtana, and chanting on the beads, that is also kirtana. There is no difference. So make your life in such a way. Either chant Hare Krsna or read books. And when you are hungry, you take little prasadam. Don’t take much. Then you will sleep more. Take as little as possible. Then you will also sleep… Our business is to conquer over the demands of the body. The demands of the body is eating, sleeping, sex and defense. So spiritual life means make it almost nil.
Male devotee: Srila Prabhupada, if someone takes prasadam even once, is it true that they’re guaranteed at least a human body in their next life?
Prabhupada: Yes. You go on simply eating, that’s all. (laughter) And all of my devotees, they have come to me simply by eating prasada. You are also? (laughter) So we give all facilities. If you cannot do anything, please come and eat with us.
Devotee (1): Prabhupada, when we’re chanting on the street and the people walk by and hear us chant or we give them prasadam or they give a small donation, to what extent is the benefit they receive? They can go on walking by and hearing us chant.
Prabhupada: The benefit is… Just like the bank sometimes gives you a box, “Whatever little money you save, put it in this.” And when it is filled up, it becomes a big amount. Similarly, these people, abodha-jata, rascals, if they little appreciate, “Oh, these people are nice,” that is one asset. This is called ajnata-sukrti, accumulation of the result of pious activities. And when one is fully pious, at that time, he can understand what is God. So we are helping them, by and by, to advance in the matter of understanding God. This is our propaganda.
Bali-mardana: I believe I’ve heard you said in other lectures that a person who takes prasadam, even a plant or a…, any kind of living entity who takes prasadam or hears the name, that it will come back at least to human form of life. Is that correct?
Prabhupada: No, if he’s devotee, then he’ll come. But this taking of prasadam, or hearing Hare Krsna mantra is advancement for becoming a devotee. But if he takes prasadam not as ordinary prasadam, foodstuff, he believes that “This is remnants of foodstuffs given to God,” if he understands this philosophy, then guaranteed. If he takes the prasadam as ordinary food, “All right, these people are distributing, prasa… Let me take it. It is very tasteful,” that will give him chance to accept prasadam next, next, next… In this way, one day he’ll come to the point that “This prasadam is not ordinary foodstuff.” Then he’ll… There is guarantee. Because only the devotee can appreciate that “This prasadam is not ordinary foodstuff. It is Krsna’s remnant of…” Therefore, he understands Krsna. That is said in the Bhagavad-gita, janma-karma ca me divyam yo janati tattvatah. In truth, when he understands, then his life is guaranteed. Why guaranteed? He goes back to home next life. Tyaktva deham punar janma naiti. If you simply can understand what is Krsna and what is your relationship with Krsna, that is sufficient to take you back to home, back to Godhead. That is sufficient. It is so nice.
Because prasada is transcendental. It is not material thing. So one must have faith that it is not material. It cannot be infected by any material things. In this way prasada should be taken. It is called prasada-seva, not “prasada enjoyment.” Seva means giving service. Prasada is as good as Krsna; therefore prasada should be respected as good as Krsna. As soon as one gets prasadam, immediately he touches on the head because it is Krsna, absolute. In this way we have to be trained up as it is prescribed in the sastras.
So those who are attached to Krsna consciousness movement and those who are attached to the service, they should take prasadam, first-class prasadam. Everyone likes the taste of the prasadam. I used to go in my household life to take prasadam in the temples and pay them. I used to do that. And I used to go… Especially in Sri Ramapur, there are two temples, one of Jagannatha and one of Radha-Vallabhaji. So it was very nice. On Sunday I used to go to take prasadam. So you should be habituated to prasadam as far as possible unless you are very sick, you cannot take. That is different. Otherwise you should take it. Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau. Then we will remember Krsna, and that will keep us fit and immune from all infection of material miserable condition.
Nityam, daily, there must be bhagavata-seva. Everything is sevaya. Prasada-seva, bhagavata-seva. Because, seva means service. Just like maha-prasada, not eating. The exact term is seva. Krsna has sent him maha-prasada. So by taking it, it is seva, it is service to Krsna, Krsna likes it, that you take the prasadam. Therefore it is seva. In this way, increasing seva.
So if we can… Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau, the seva, the service, begins from the tongue, service. Not with the hand but with the tongue. If you simply chant Hare Krsna, this is seva, and if you take prasadam, then your business begins immediately. Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau svayam eva sphuraty adah. And if you simply continue this seva, then Krsna will reveal Himself and gradually He will give you intelligence how you can make advance to go back to home, back to Godhead.
The brahmacari will collect dahl, rice, attar, and everything. It will be prepared, offered to the Deity. That’s a fact. But if by mistake guru forgets to call a particular disciple—“My dear son, please come, take your prasadam”—then he should not take prasadam. “Guru has forgotten, so I shall not go and take, myself, the foodstuff. I shall fast.” This is brahmacari. Here it is said, bhuïjita yady anujïato. Everything is there, prasadam is ready, but you can eat if you are ordered by the spiritual master. This is called tapasya. Not that “Guru is not here and so much foodstuff… Let me eat sumptuously and sleep twenty-four hours.” This is not brahmacari. We should be very careful. Without order of guru… Of course, our students are trained up. They ask permission. But here it is said that he should not ask permission even. If guru calls him, then he can take; otherwise guru has forgotten to call him somehow or other, so he should starve, or he should fast on that day.
Prabhupada: Otherwise, even you do ordinary killing, vegetable killing, you are killing so many germs. So in higher sense if you take this principle of Bible, “Thou shalt not kill,” that means you must eat Krsna prasadam, otherwise you will be killing. And whichever you do, it will be killing. So our process is perfect, take Krsna prasadam. Hm?
Visakha: What happens to the jiva souls who were fruits and vegetables that were offered to Krsna?
Prabhupada: Yes, there is jiva also. I say that even vegetable you are killing, but that killing responsibility goes to Krsna. We are killing for Krsna. Suppose in the vegetable there is life, but we are preparing food for Krsna.
Nara-Narayana: I think she wants to know what happens to the soul. Supposing that a plant, we are killing the plant and offering in prasadam to Krsna. The jiva soul who is living in the plant, what happens to him?
Prabhupada: Because he is killed for Krsna’s purpose so he gets immediately liberation.
Devotee (lady): This is a very sinful life they’re living unless we offer everything to Krsna.
Prabhupada: Not anything. Krsna, whatever says (indistinct). Krsna says, patraà puñpaà phalaà toyam. You can offer these things which is asked by Krsna.
Devotee: Do they just get liberation or do they go directly to Krsna?
Devotee: They go to Krsna or do they only get liberation? Do they go to Goloka Våndavana?
Devotee: What kind of liberation?
Prabhupada: Well, liberation not always means that he goes directly. In the lower stage liberation means to come out of the lower stage to the human form of body. Then he gets chance for directly serving Krsna, then real liberation takes place.
Svarupa Damodara: So when you take Krsna prasadam, the living entities which are within our body, they’re also taking prasadam?
Prabhupada: Yes. You are very benevolent. You take Krsna prasadam for others.
Brahmananda: Welfare work.
Prabhupada: Yes. That you can do without taking Krsna prasadam. Because you have got stool and urine within your body, and there are many germs. They’re eating that. You need not make a separate endeavor to feed them.
SPL 71-06-08 JADURANI
The two men sitting up on Lord Jagannatha’s altar are pujaris. They are just sitting there and anyone coming to make offering to the Deity, they are accepting and returning tulasi and caranamrta. So they are very busy. And when there is bhoga offering, no visitors are allowed in the temple. The floor is immediately washed and pots and trays of foodstuffs are placed in the room. And each time Jagannatha is offered prasadam, there is enough for one thousand men. Similarly he is offered 56 times in a day. And they don’t purchase any ingredients from the market. They have got their own agricultural field and big management. Another temple in South India is called Tirupati where daily they collect Rs 100,000/-.
SPL BHAVANANDA 72-08-01
And I am informed by Gurudasa that the distribution program in Mayapur is not very widespread. Why you have neglected this very important program? I want that you shall distribute prasadam at least to hundreds of persons daily, and advertise very widely all over Nadia Province for people to come there and take prasadam daily without charge. Otherwise the whole thing is a farce. We have worked so hard for so long to get this foodstuff donated by your government and now we are neglecting? And if you expand this program to their satisfaction, they will give so much more of different varieties of foodstuffs and we can expand this program widely throughout India and become very much popular with the people as a whole.
SPL 68-06-24 ANIRUDDHA
If a preparation is cooked all together, then offer all together. But if it is prepared separately, then the milk, the sugar and the cereal should be offered separately. But if the milk, sugar and grains are all cooked together, that can be done. (Everything should be prepared very carefully and cleanly within the groups of foods listed. And nothing should ever be eaten before offering to the Lord. Best thing is to prepare separately each preparation. No, food which has been offered should never be put back into the refrigerator with the unoffered foods, or brought back into the kitchen. You should prepare as much as can be consumed, and after offering, nothing should be put back in the refrigerator, or kitchen. Refrigerator should always be very cleansed and pure. Everyone should be careful to make only as much as they can eat; they cannot keep any leftovers in refrigerator. I know this is a practice in your country, but in the temples or at homes of any Krishna Consciousness persons, a person should not indulge in such unclean habits. If there is any food extra, that should be kept separately; and if there is a separate refrigerator, not within the kitchen and not having in it any unoffered foods, then you may have such special refrigerator for leftover prasadam. But it cannot be kept within the same refrigerator as the unoffered, unprepared foods. That cannot be. One should never eat within the kitchen, there is ample place to eat so why should one eat in the kitchen? Kitchen should be considered as good as the Lord’s room, and nobody should wear shoes in the kitchen, smelling and tasting of foods being prepared for the Lord should never be done, talking within the kitchen should be only what is necessary for preparing the prasadam, or about the Lord, and dirty dishes (those taken from kitchen and eaten from) should not be brought back into the kitchen (but if there is no other place to wash them, then they should be put into sink and washed immediately.), hands should always be washed when preparing prasadam, and in this way, everything shall be prepared very cleanly and pure.)
SPL 71-11-27 KIRTARAJA
Regarding prasadam, leftovers should always be taken if they have not spoiled or if they have not been touched by diseased persons. We should never waste Krishna prasadam. Best thing is to cook only what is required and then give each person what he wants. That is the Vedic system, that the people sit in rows behind their plates and servers pass down the rows and put a very small portion of each foodstuff on each plate, unless there is some objection by a person then nothing is given. Then if anyone wants more, the servers pass up and down the rows continually and give more if anyone requests. In this way nothing is wasted and everyone is satisfied.
SPL 75-08-04 VEDAVYASA
Regarding your questions, you may not be so advanced that you will take the karmi remnants as prasada. The karmis should not be given so much that there is waste. You can give them a little, and then if they like you can give them more. This system should be introduced everywhere. I have seen myself that so much prasada is being left. This is not good.Regarding the attitude for taking prasada, if you think it is something palatable, so let me take more and more, then that is sense gratification. But, still it is prasadam so it will act. Prasad is transcendental, but one should not take too much. Sannyasis may take the maha-prasada but not to overeat. Caitanya Mahaprabhu was taking, but on principle he was avoiding.
SPL 72-02-08 CHATURBHUJA
Krishna Prasad is always all right. The consideration of spoiling foodstuff after 3 hours, that is ordinary or it is so for persons who are not advanced in accepting Krishna prasada as transcendental, just like Ragunatha Goswami: he was collecting rejected rice from the cooking of Lord Jagannatha and he was eating only that. So this is a higher stage, so for the time being you should know that Krishna prasada is never contaminated by any material source.
SPL 75-08-07 DR. Y.G.NAIK
Prasadam in this country means a full meal. From the very beginning even when I was alone, I was cooking myself for at least one dozen men, and I distributed full meals. According to Caitanya Mahaprabhu philosophy, prasadam should be taken up to the neck, akantha. In Jagannatha Puri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s only occupation was holding Sankirtana at least four hours every day and distributing prasadam to the devotees. It is stated in the Caitanya Caritamrta that the Lord was so liberal that He would give to every man prasadam quite sufficient for being eaten by two or three men. So we are trying to follow by distributing prasadam very liberally, and we invite everyone without any discrimination.
SPL 74-11-23 KIRTANANDA
Regarding the prasadam, I never approved Mr. Malkani cooking in the temple. He is not initiated. Of course he is Hindu, but he went there to start his business. But, he is not initiated to cook in the temple. Any paid cook is not desirable. Who was cooking formally? He wanted to start his business, not to be engaged by us. The independent cooking done in the temple kitchen is not good.*
That’s the fact. That is the fact. Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita: yo me bhaktya prayacchati. Patram puspam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati. Krsna says that “A little flower, little water, little fruit, that’s all, if somebody offers Me with devotion and love, then I eat.” Krsna is not hungry. Krsna is not hungry. He is self-satisfied, purna. But if His devotee offers Him something with love and affection, then He accepts. So do not think that “We have made such nice, sumptuous plate for Krsna. Krsna must eat.” No. There is no such thing, “must.” You cannot make Krsna must. That is not possible. So Krsna will see how much you have love for Him. Then He will accept. Otherwise He’ll reject. Therefore, it is forbidden, those who are nondevotee, those who are not initiated, those who are not chanting regularly, their offering to Krsna will not be accepted. We must be very careful. We must know our position, whether I am sincerely following the principles of devotional service. Then Krsna will accept. Yo me bhaktya prayacchati. The real thing is bhakti. So either you offer Krsna prayers or you offer foodstuff, everything must be along with bhakti, devotion, love. Then Krsna will accept
Note: as regards initiated devotee – as per Srila Prabhupada’s instruction his ORDER of July 9th 1977 Ritvik(rtvik) initiations formality was his arrangement to continue with Srila Prabhupada as the initiator and those initiated as HIS disciples. Now however conditioned soul – opportunists “swamis” under the pretext of “Initiating Guru” in ISKCON have defied and usurped Srila Prabhupada’s Initiating Guru position. Initiated does not mean one has to take shelter of opportunist so-called guru with ISKCON rubber stamp.
75-08-04. Letter: Madhudvisa:
The GBC should all be the instructor gurus. I am in the initiator guru, and you should be the instructor guru by teaching what I am teaching and doing what I am doing. This is not a title, but you must actually come to this platform. This I want.
Pusta Krsna: What about the so-called gurus that take a little bit here and a little bit there?
Prabhupada: So-called gurus, they are so-called gurus. They are not gurus. That is already explained. If one does not speak what Krsna speaks, he is not guru. If you accept so-called guru, that is your misfortune. What can be done?
Pusta Krsna: Some of them will say some things that Krsna says, but they’ll take from other places also. What is the position of such persons?
Prabhupada: He’s most dangerous. He’s most dangerous. He is opportunist. He’s finding out customer, something here… According to the customer he is giving something, as the customers will be pleased. So he is not guru. He’s a servant. He wants to serve the so-called disciples so that he may be satisfied and pay him something. He’s servant. He’s not guru. Guru is the master. You cannot disobey guru. But if you become a servant, you want to please the disciple by flattering him to get his money, then you are not guru, you are servant. Just like a servant pleases the master. He’s not guru. He’s servant. So our position should be servant, yes, but servant of the Supreme. So guru means heavy. You cannot utilize him for satisfying your whims. That is not guru.
SPL 75-05-26 AKSYANANDA , DHANANJAYA
Continue to organize the guest house. This is very important. Do it very nicely with the co-operation of Dr. Verma. In the evening, you must have many varieties of first class ghee-cooked preparations offered to the Deity and you can sell the prasadam. The L.A. standard is good, but still you should have a better standard. You should make kacoris, samosa, etc. If it is required, a professional confectioner may be employed.
SPL 68-03-28 MAHAPURUSA
Yes, a non-initiate can work under the direction of a devotee in the kitchen. So Eric can certainly work under your direction in the kitchen for distribution of prasadam. That is very nice
SPL 68-01-25 BALAI DASI
Regarding your questions: Yes, leave Krishna’s plate for 15-20 minutes or more, not more than half an hour. After offering the plate, the balance in the pots should be distributed immediately. The plate can remain on the altar while the rest is being distributed.
Any initiated girl can take part in preparation of prasadam, and even a boy who is not initiated cannot take part.
76-07-11. Letter: Gopala Krsna
Unless one is initiated they cannot cook. They must be regular disciples then they can do Deity worship. So there is no question of the outsiders cooking in the New Delhi temple.
Note: It seems Srila Prabhupada is a little flexible in terms of time, place, circumstances and constraints at the time but generally speaking as a rule he does not allow non-initiates to cook prasadam – but If they really had to do it – it was under direction of devotees as helping hand.
68-03-16. Letter: Jadurani
The dishwashing occupation is open to anyone who wishes to help. There is no restriction. Also, non-initiates may help in cooking prasadam under the direction of devotees. That is all right.
SPL 74-11-23 KIRTANANDA
Regarding the prasadam, I never approved Mr. Malkani cooking in the temple. He is not initiated. Of course he is Hindu, but he went there to start his business. But, he is not initiated to cook in the temple. Any paid cook is not desirable. Who was cooking formally? He wanted to start his business, not to be engaged by us. The independent cooking done in the temple kitchen is not good.*
SPL 71-05-19 JADURANI
Yes, do not take too much foodstuffs; take so that no remnants are left. Immediately after, the dishes should be washed, or paper dishes thrown away. But do not throw away prasadam. Better to take a little less than to have leftover for saving. That is not good.
SPL 68-04-09 ANIRUDDHA
For dishes, best thing is everyone who is eating Prasadam should wash his plate. Otherwise, one man has to do so many dishes. So even the guests should also wash their dishes, that is the system in the Temple; not leave one man to do it.
SPL 68-08-07 NATHAN BARUCH
So far Sankirtana is concerned, that should be continued in all circumstances. Chanting of Hare Krishna, Sankirtana is our life and soul. Side by side, if possible, then you can attempt for the ISKCON restaurant and Krishna Prasadam distribution, but this I think is secondary.
SPL 75-12-31 KIRTARAJA
So try to present my books there. It is assure of success because Lord Caitanya predicted, “In ever town and village of the world, my name will be known” The whole world is full of rascals presenting concocted ideas and everyone is suffering. Caitanya Mahaprabhu came just to deliver these rascals. How?
hare nama hare nama hare nama eva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha
Chant Hare Krishna, induce others to chant, and distribute prasadam. This can be done everywhere, who will object. Temple or no temple, you simply chant and give prasadam and it will act.
SPL 68-06-24 ANIRUDDHA
Please accept my blessings. Just now I understand from Mahapurusa das that you phoned here to inquire whether the temple can be closed for your going to San Francisco on the Rathayatra Festival. Since the temple is started, the temple cannot be closed on any day. This is the serious business of opening a center. In no case, even in the most urgent case, the temple cannot be closed even for a single day. The Deities should be offered prasadam regularly, and worshipped regularly, so if you are going to San Francisco, somebody must remain to look after the temple affairs.
SPL 68-02-24 CIDANANDA
You can arrange to supply prasadam only to our devotees. We are not in a position financially to distribute foodstuff for the poor class of men. Such men may take shelter of some charitable institution. At the present moment, we are not in a position to make charities but for the devotees we can sacrifice anything. So you can stop preparing prasadam for persons who are not willing to work neither to pay.
SPL 68-01-21 JANARDANA
Lord Caitanya’s Birthdate is on the Phalguna Purnima between 15 of Feb. and 15th of March. The full moon day is Lord Caitanya’s Birthday. I think you can send for Rayarama’s calendar which he has published. The exact day is 14th March, Thursday, 1968. The procedure is that you should fast from morning to evening (about 7:00) after that there should be offering to Lord Caitanya and prasadam should be accepted just like on Ekadasi day, and next day, Friday, full love feasting may be provided to as many devotees as you can.
SPL 68-03-26 MUKUNDA
Our next ceremony is Lord Ramacandra’s Birthday, on the 7th of April. It should be observed in the same way as Lord Caitanya’s Appearance Day, namely, fasting up to evening and then accept Prasadam, and all our ceremonies should be performed with continuous Kirtana, of Hare Krishna, Hare Rama. That will make all our functions successful.
SPL 68-03-28 MAHAPURUSA
So far the Advent Day of Lord Rama Candra, it should be celebrated as Lord Caitanya’s Birthday was done. Fasting up to evening, and then take prasadam, and chant Hare Krishna whole day, and be engaged in reading and chanting off and on, chant for some time, then read for some time, then again have Kirtana and so on, throughout the day. If you have not got a Ramayana, then you can read Bhagavad-gita or Srimad-Bhagavatam, that is all right.
SPL 68-08-08 SATSVARUPA
Regarding Prasadam: It should be cooked in the temple, and nowhere else, and both the Brahmacaris and the Brahmacarinis shall partake of the Prasadam in the temple.
SPL 68-10-06 BRAHMANANDA
The first thing is that in the meeting of Dr. Spock, you should eat there. But you simply eat vegetarian dishes, like fruits, nuts, boiled potato, biscuit, milk, etc., and remembering Krishna. As you will pay for the dinner, for the fooding, you can offer them to Krishna within your mind, then eat them as Krishna Prasadam. Any foodstuff when it is paid for, it becomes purified. There is a verse in Vedic literature, Drabyamulyena Suddhati. The source of receipt of the thing, may be not very good, but if one pays for it, it becomes purified. So, vegetable diet when it is paid for, you can offer it in your mind to Krishna and take it. But this Drabya means eatables, and eatables meaning vegetables, grains, milk, flowers, fruits; meat is not considered an eatable–it is considered untouchable. Just like if somebody purchases some stool, that does not mean it is now purified. So meat is like that. This Drabya means vegetables, etc. And this Drabyamulyena Suddhati is only in special cases like this. It is not to done ordinarily, or unless in special circumstance. We should prepare our own foodstuff and offer as much as possible, of course.
Whenever the Indian community invites you to go and take Prasadam, be always kind with them, and go there and chant Hare Krishna. They are vegetarian, so whatever
Prasadam they prepare you offer to the Deity and enjoy it.
SPL 71-04-04 VAIKUNTHANATHA, SARADIA
For the time being you can go to the jail and lecture about Krishna Consciousness and the values of life. You can give this lecture simply by repeating different chapters from our books. And the same can be done in the mental hospital as well. Distribute prasadam there also. Preaching at these and other big institutions is solid work, so try to increase this activity.
SPL 71-02-16 BHAGAVAN
Preaching in schools, colleges and universities, along with distribution of our books and prasadam will flourish the propaganda of our mission.
Manihara: Srila Prabhupada, when we give prasada to people…
Prabhupada: Anyone who comes, he must be given prasada.
Manihara: …what is the benefit they get exactly? There have been so many concoctions: “Oh, they will take human birth,” “they will take this…” What is the actual benefit that a karmi will get when he takes prasada?
Prabhupada: Prasada means the mercy of Krsna.
Prabhupada: By eating you are getting mercy. Krsna bado doyamoy koribare jihva jay swa-prasad-anna dilo bhai. Swa-prasad-anna dilo bhai. Sei prasada anna pao radha-krsna-guna gao preme dako caitanya-nitai.
Manihara: ‘Cause some devotees, they are saying…
Prabhupada: Krsna bado doyamoy. Because we want eating, so He is giving His mercy through eating. Eating nobody will refuse. So by eating he is being favored by Krsna. This is the process. You understand Bengali? Krsna bado doyamoy, He’s very merciful. Koribare jihva jay. We are accustomed to eat, go to the restaurant, go to the hotel, go to here and there, at home and so on. Simply eating, eating. So this is jihva lampata.Prostitution of the tongue. Just like a woman prostitute is not satisfied with one man. Similarly, our tongue is like a prostitute. It is not satisfied with simple foods. Sometimes here, sometimes there, sometimes on the street, sometimes on the restaurant, sometimes a hotel. Regular prostitution. It is called tongue prostitution. There are prostitution of three things: prostitution of the tongue, prostitution of the belly, and prostitution of the genital. Three kinds of. Udara-upastha-vegam. Jihva-udara-upastha-vegam. Straight line. So to stop this prostitution is to control the tongue. The tongue prostitution means he wants to eat varieties of foodstuff. Krsna is so merciful, “All right, you eat varieties of prasada.” Then tongue prostitution is controlled and naturally the belly and the genital controlled. Krsna bado doyamoy koribare jihva jay. To own victory over the tongue, He has given varieties… Therefore all nice things should be offered to Krsna and then take prasada. They will be benefited.
Manihara: This is Krsna’s arrangement, special.
Prabhupada: Krsna bado doyamoy koribare jihva jay.. Jaya means you conquer over the tongue. If you do not give tongue Krsna prasada then the tongue will dictate, “Why not go to the restaurant?” So this is the process. Give everyone nice prasada. His tongue will be conquered and he’ll be conquered. He’ll be able to conquer over the prostitution of the senses, and then he’ll become a devotee.
SPL 70-08-06 UPENDRA
Meanwhile, kindly push on our Sankirtana program and distribute as much literature and prasada as possible.
I hope this reply finds you in good mood.
Your Ever Well-Wisher,
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
However, Krsna does NOT accept anything from a person with a material conception of life. When a devotee no longer has any desire for material sense gratification, in his spiritual identity he engages in the service of the Lord, for his dormant spiritual consciousness awakens. This awakening of spiritual consciousness makes his body spiritual, and thus he becomes fit to render service to the Lord.
SPL 68-03-22 BALAI DASI
Yes, you may say the prayer to the Spiritual Master 3 times, and also the Namo Brahmanya . . . prayer 3 times, when offering Prasadam. That is very nice to say the mantra 3 times. Also, you may, after offering to the Spiritual Master, offer to Lord Caitanya by saying the prayer, Namo Maha Badanyaya . . . 3 times, and then offer to Krishna thrice.
Note: the system here is to offer to Srila Prabhupada (THE Spiritual master) FIRST.
The concoction of offering Krsna first is NOT NOT NOT the accepted standard.
SPL 68-05-28 HARER NAMA
Regarding your 2 questions: For offering prasadam simply prayers to the Spiritual Master is sufficient. THE PROCESS IS THAT EVERYTHING IS OFFERED TO THE SPIRITUAL MASTER, AND THE SPIRITUAL MASTER IS SUPPOSED TO OFFER THE SAME FOODSTUFF TO THE LORD. WHEN A THING IS OFFERED TO THE SPIRITUAL MASTER, HE IMMEDIATELY OFFERS TO THE LORD. THAT IS THE SYSTEM, AND AS WE COME BY PARAMPARA SYSTEM, IT IS OUR DUTY TO GO THROUGH THE RIGHT CHANNEL–NAMELY, FIRST THE SPIRITUAL MASTER, THEN LORD CAITANYA, AND THEN KRISHNA. So when we chant prayers, we do this, Bande ham Sri Guru . . . and gradually to the Goswamis, then to Lord Caitanya, and then to Radha Krishna. That is the praying system. BUT OFFERING THE PRASADAM TO PRESENT EVERYTHING BEFORE THE SPIRITUAL MASTER WHOSE PICTURE IS ALSO IN THE ALTAR, MEANS THAT THE SPIRITUAL MASTER WILL TAKE CARE OF OFFERING THE FOODSTUFF TO THE LORD. THEREFORE SIMPLY BY CHANTING THE PRAYER TO THE SPIRITUAL MASTER, EVERYTHING WILL BE COMPLETE.
SPL 68-01-25 BALAI DASI
Regarding your questions: Yes, leave Krishna’s plate for 15-20 minutes or more, not more than half an hour. After offering the plate, the balance in the pots should be distributed immediately. The plate can remain on the altar while the rest is being distributed.
Any initiated girl can take part in preparation of prasadam, and even a boy who is not initiated cannot take part.
OFFERING PRASADAM PROCESS
Our Srila Prabhupada AUTHORISED process for offering prasadam is to say three times each of thefollowing prayers:
namine gaura-tvise namah
govindaya namo namah