Once when Srila Prabhupada saw what was being served to the devotees, lavishly prepared multi-course lunches, he told the managers that it was too opulent. He said we should eat simply during the week with rice, dhal, chapatis and a little subji and once a week on the Sunday love feasts we could be more lavish. Today with more of us becoming Health Conscious, it is good to remember the very simple devotee diet that was recommended to us so long ago.
Standard Devotee Diet
Srila Prabhupada recommended a standard diet for the devotees, and instructed that all of the temples should follow it every day. That menu follows:
Simple farina cereal with nuts and raisins Milk (steaming hot), or yogurt in the summertime Chick peas (raw, soaked overnight) Ginger root (raw) Oranges, apples and/or bananas
Rice Chapatis Dal made with freshly ground ginger root and freshly ground spices Subji made with ghee, freshly ground ginger root and freshly ground spices
BEFORE TAKING REST:
Milk (steaming hot) Bananas
For a free download of the Hare Krishna Cookbook on pdf
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. (Prabhupada letter to Harer Nama 28th May, 1968)
Srila Prabhupada: “Regarding your 2 question, 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.”
Srila Prabhupada’s Letter to: Harer Nama — Allston, Mass 28 May, 1968
My wife shared this with me, it was a post on Facebook, that she found interesting.
Letter by Srila Prabhupada
16 June, 1969 New Vrindaban
My Dear Arundhati
“Regarding your question about offering Prasadam, whatever is offered to the Deity actually it goes through the Spiritual Master. The Spiritual Master offers to Lord Caitanya, and Lord Caitanya offers it to Krishna. Then Radha Krishna eats, or Jagannatha eats, then Caitanya Mahaprabhu eats, then the Spiritual Master eats, and it becomes Mahaprasadam. So when you offer something, you think like that and chant the Gayatri mantra, and then everything is complete. At last, ring the bell, take out the plate and wipe the place where the plate was kept.”
This morning as I was heating up some hot milk to offer, I was reminded of something Srila Prabhupada said about drinking milk; ‘that we should drink milk “sipping hot” this will help develop the finer brain cells needed to understand spiritual subject matter’
I don’t have anything against vegans, rather I respect their endeavor to not promote violence against animals by refraining, but we are getting our milk from protected cows, and I view milk as one of the many gifts from God. Milk, yogurt, butter, ghee, and paneer (cheese curd), have all been used for thousands of years in Vedic cooking. And Krishna is also known as Makhan Chor (the butter thief) and is very fond of eating butter and yogurt, and is something that is offered daily in all the ISKCON temples
…Milk is compared to nectar, which one can drink to become immortal. Of course, simply drinking milk will not make one immortal, but it can increase the duration of one’s life. In modern civilization, men do not think milk to be important, and therefore they do not live very long. Although in this age men can live up to one hundred years, their duration of life is reduced because they do not drink large quantities of milk. This is a sign of Kali-yuga. In Kali-yuga, instead of drinking milk, people prefer to slaughter an animal and eat its flesh.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, in His instructions of Bhagavad-gītā, advises go-rakṣya, which means cow protection. The cow should be protected, milk should be drawn from the cows, and this milk should be prepared in various ways. One should take ample milk, and thus one can prolong one’s life, develop his brain, execute devotional service, and ultimately attain the favor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As it is essential to get food grains and water by digging the earth, it is also essential to give protection to the cows and take nectarean milk from their milk bags. (purport to SB 8.6.12)
Food prepared for and offered to Krishna with love and devotion becomes completely spiritualized. Such food is called Krishna prasadam, which means “the mercy of Lord Krishna.”
Lord Caitanya said of prasadam…”now that they have been prepared for Krishna and offered to Him with devotion, these foods have acquired extraordinary tastes and uncommon fragrances. Just taste them and see the difference! Apart from the taste, even the fragrance pleases the mind and makes one forget any other fragrance. Therefore, it should be understood that the spiritual nectar of Krishna’s lips must have touched these ordinary foods and imparted to them all their transcendental qualities.”
Eating only food offered to Krishna is the perfection of vegetarianism. In the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna says that unless one eats only food that has been offered to Him in sacrifice, one will suffer the reactions of karma. He also states, “If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water, I will accept it.”
Prasadam: Food for the Body, Food for the Soul and Food for God
by Kirtanananda Swami
Recipes contributed by Sridama das Brahmacari
from Back to Godhead Magazine Vol. 1, Number 32, 1970
Prasadam means food for the body, food for the soul and food for God. More specifically, it is food which has been sanctified by special selection and preparation and then offered to Krsna, God, in love and devotion. Cooking for God? How absurd that sounds to the sophisticates of this modern age! How anthropomorphic! Even most transcendentalists will smile a smile of condescension at the suggestion: cooking for God! But why not? We cook for every conceivable nonsensical purpose. Why not cook instead for the Lord? Why shouldn’t this most important and central activity of life be dedicated to the Supreme? Why not cook transcendentally?