More "prasadam"related quotes from His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada


Importance of distribution to public

November 25, 1975 B New Delhi and Kurukñetra
During the afternoon darçana Prabhupäda had me stand at the door to distribute sweets to each guest as they departed. Çréla Prabhupäda was insistent that every visitor must receive some prasädam. Because there are no devotees available to prepare the sweets, Prabhupäda has given Tejéyas permission to buy them from the Bengali Sweet Shop on the corner. He said those sweets may even be offered to the Deities, as they are cooked with pure ingredients.

December 5 1975 B Çré Våndävana Dhäma
I was posted at the door to give out pera, a milk sweet that is a Våndävana specialty. Prabhupäda is particularly insistent that all visitors receive some Kåñëa prasädam, a tangible offering for their spiritual advancement. A discussion of philosophy may be easily forgotten, but prasädam will always act to purify. Prasädam distribution is also in accordance with Vedic etiquette that a guest must always be offered a place to sit and a little refreshment, no matter who he may be. Thus, as always, Çréla Prabhupäda was the perfect host.

December 25 1975 B Sanand, Gujarat
Jaçomaténandana has arranged for a large paëòala tent to be erected, and programs are to be held for the next five days. At 8:30 p.m. Prabhupäda went there to lecture. About 5,000 people turned out, impressive for a town with a population of only 21,000. After a brief kértana Prabhupäda gave a well received fifty minute discourse in Hindi, which Jaçomaténandana translated into Gujarati.
On the way out of the paëòala area Prabhupäda stopped the car at the entrance and inquired whether all the visitors were being given prasädam. He was shown some small white sugar beads which are commonly given out at many temples. He wasn't very impressed, but seemed to think it was better than nothing. We arrived back at the palace by 10:30 p.m.

Morning walk, December 26 1976 B Sanand Gujarat
The talk of crops also brought up the question of prasädam distribution at these programs. Prabhupäda is very keen to see that sumptuous prasädam is given out whenever we hold a gathering. He said that otherwise ordinary people will not be attracted.
Although lecturing very strongly every day, he is aware that what he says inevitably will go over the heads of most people. Therefore he told the local devotees, "Then accept this program, distribution of prasädam. Then we can go everywhere, whole day programCkértana and distribution. Simply dry philosophy, what will people understand?"

Bombay December 17 1975  bullock cart preaching B kirtana and prasadam

A letter from Mahäàsa Swami included a progress report on Hyderabad, where another new temple is steadily being built. Work has already begun on raising the dome. The project is costing 75,000 rupees per month, which the devotees are collecting throughout South India. Mahäàsa also reported four small booksCÇré Éçopaniñad, Räjavidyä, Perfection of Yoga and Matchless GiftsChave been translated into Telegu.
Çréla Prabhupäda was most happy to hear about a small bullock cart traveling saìkértana party. Mahäàsa wrote, "The bullock cart party (only three devotees) were very successful on their second attempt. They collected lots of rice, distributed prasadam and small literatures, evening programs, and sleeping under a different tree everyday. They are thrilled and so enthusiastic. They love this kind of preaching work. Now I am giving them a portable sound system and more equipment and one more devotee and sending them immediately to a massive voyage on bullock cart all the way to the Mayapur festival!"
Prabhupäda replied enthusiastically, "Naturally the sankirtana men traveling with the bullock carts are blissful. It is Lord Caitanya's engagement. Lord Caitanya personally traveled all over India for six years. His program was simply kirtana and prasadam distribution. Lord Caitanya never spoke philosophy in public. When He met big scholars like Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya he spoke philosophy, otherwise for the mass of people, kirtana and prasadam distribution. So continue this program, it is very pleasing to Lord Caitanya."

How to Entertain Guests with Prasadam

Mr. Chaudhuri
December 27, 1975 B Sanand, Gujarat
During mail time, as Prabhupäda relaxed up on the roof, he dictated a letter to Jayapatäka Swami in Mäyäpur. He enclosed an introductory letter for him to meet Mr. Chaudhuri, the gentleman we met at the airport yesterday. Seeing that meeting as Kåñëa's arrangement, Prabhupäda requested Jayapatäka to visit him personally with prasädam and flowers and to invite him to Mäyäpur. He wants Jayapatäkä to try to enlist his help in getting the government to acquire land for our ISKCON Mäyäpur development scheme. He also suggested Mr. Chaudhuri might be able to help Jayapatäka Mahäräja, an American, with his application for Indian citizenship.
February 1, 1976 B Mayapur
As promised, Mr. Chaudhuri and family arrived. Çréla Prabhupäda happily received him, like a father receiving his son. Prabhupäda showed him the plans for the Vedic city and the land which he wants the government to acquire for the project. Then with Jayapatäkä Swami he looked over the entire compound.
Mr. Chaudhuri promised to help Jayapatäkä Mahäräja in every way possible to get the application approved. He clearly has the highest regard for Çréla Prabhupäda and was impressed with the Mäyäpur project. His wife was even more enthusiastic and challenged her husband that if he is truly a Hindu then he must help Çréla Prabhupäda.
Mr. and Mrs. Chaudhuri took lunch on the balcony. As we served them sumptuous prasädam, Prabhupäda sat to the side in his chair, hosting them graciously. While they ate, he kept the conversation light and jolly, thus allowing them to eat without distraction.

George Harrison - July 26 1976 B Bhaktivedanta Manor
Prabhupäda was resting in bed when he arrived. There is a standing rule that Çréla Prabhupäda is never to be woken for any reason, but for George, Prabhupäda made an exception. I went into the bedroom and informed him George had arrived.

"Yes, bring him immediately," he said. And then, rather than come into the sitting room, he sat up in bed to talk to George.
When he entered Prabhupäda had a seat brought for him and instructed us to feed him some prasädam. We set up small tables for George and some of the senior men. Prabhupäda engaged him in light conversation as they ate.
All the while Prabhupäda attentively supervised the serving of prasädam. Noticing which preparations George had a taste for, he told us to give him more. At the same time he kept him at ease with sweet words. "Hare Kåñëa. You give him two more samosäs, he likes it. Yes. All the boys and girls are so nicely qualified for Kåñëa's service."
George expressed pleasure at seeing his old friends. "They are looking better and better all the time. It's nice for me to see Gurudäsa. He's turning into a mountain!"
George ate steadily with Prabhupäda ensuring he had enough. When he offered more samosäs, George laughed. "I've got plenty, thanks."
Prabhupäda also laughed. "Prasädam, we can eat up to the neck! There is no harm. You'll never get indigestion. You have got some fruits?"
Prabhupäda continued to encourage him, offering cauliflower, mango drink and other preparations. "Take little."
George was doing his best, responding warmly to Prabhupäda's hospitality. "I can't finish," he laughed. He said he had been sick with jaundice recently. He had turned yellow and his liver had been affected. He thought he had contracted it from eating Chinese take-away food.
Çréla Prabhupäda advised him to cook simple foods for himself.
As conversations are wont to do, theirs meandered from one subject to another. Prabhupäda mentioned our growing number of Govinda's restaurants, and asked George if he had met Ambaréña. He also filled him in on the successful New York Ratha yäträ.
Prabhupäda also told him about the Mäyäpur project. "We are just attempting a big planetarium in Mäyäpur. We have asked government to acquire land, three hundred and fifty acres. That is negotiation going on. We shall give a Vedic planetarium."
Gurudäsa furnished some of the details. "The planetarium will be three hundred fifty feet high and show the cosmology of the spiritual world."
Prabhupäda added, "The construction will be like your Washington capital, like that."
"A big dome?" George asked.
"Yes. Estimated eight crores of rupees." Then Prabhupäda offered him more däl and fruit.
George was grinning as he said, "Very good. Fantastic. Maybe just a little bit of, but now I'm not ... Thanks. That's fine. No, okay, thanks, fine, that's enough, that's fine."
Prabhupäda smiled. "That watermelon, you can give. It is water."
Prabhupäda asked George if he was reading his books at all.
George said he was, mainly the Kåñëa book. "Mukunda gave me the new books, but there's so much in, ah, there's just so much to read. I don't know how anybody could have written it; it's difficult enough to read all that amount."
Prabhupäda acknowledged his appreciation. "Sometimes they are surprised how one man can write so many books, but it is Kåñëa's grace," he said humbly. "Otherwise not possible. For a human being, it is not possible."
As they chatted, Prabhupäda ensured a steady flow of prasädam. "Pradyumna, give him little, this one here."
"Oh, no, no. Please, no more," George laughed. "I'm really full. I won't have to eat for a few days."
That was the signal for the finale. "Sweets," Prabhupäda offered.

George smiled and conceded. "Very well."
"Sweet will help you digest," Prabhupäda said. To the server he instructed, "Don't give threeCat least four."
With George protesting that he wouldn't be able to eat much more, Prabhupäda explained, "Three is given to the enemy. According to our Indian system, if you give somebody three, that means he is enemy."
George was a little surprised. "Oh, really? I always liked the number three."
While waiting to be served some fruit, Prabhupäda listed three enemies; käma, krodha, lobhaClust, anger and greed.
"Yes. But there's a lot of nice threes," George said.
Prabhupäda agreed. "Yes. Just like Brahmä, Viñëu, Maheçvara. Three worlds, Çaìkha, Martya, Padma. Trinity. These are nice things."
George gallantly tackled the sweets. As he downed the last one he declared, "My compliments to the chef."
While we cleared away the small tables and pots, Çréla Prabhupäda thanked George for coming. "So I am very much pleased that you take so much trouble to come here."

Kindly sent in by Hari Sauri prabhu ACBSP used with permission


How not to entertain your guests
Hyderabad farm
December 9, 1976 B Hyderabad

Çréla Prabhupäda  had instructed the devotees, led by Mahäàça, Tejéyas and Hansadüta to hold a program of chanting and prasädam distribution every evening to attract local people to our new varëäçrama project on New Naimiñäraëya, a 565 acre property an hour and half=s drive outside of Hyderabad at Medchal. The first night=s program seemed to go fairly well but the second night, it was a disaster:

This is poison!
As it turned out the pandala program didn't go too well. Only about half the number of people came and the kértana was poor and unorganized with little participation. Villagers were left to aimlessly mill around and none of our men seemed to be taking much interest. Tejéyas gave his talk in Telugu and afterwards the prasädam was served.

Prabhupäda didn=t go out, he had stayed in his room, leaving it to his leaders to conduct the program, seemingly unaware of the situation outside. Yet at about 8:30 p.m. he rang his bell. I went into his room and he asked me to bring him some of the prasädam that was being served to our guests. I thought it a little unusual. Because of his delicate digestion he never eats the general prasädam, preferring only that cooked by his own staff. Nor does he eat much so late in the evening. I sent one of the devotees out to get some and I placed it on his desk. It was just a large, coagulated lump of rice plonked on a dusty leaf plate, and it tasted as bad as it looked. As soon as it touched Prabhupäda=s lips he spat it out. _This is poison__ he declared angrily and demanded to know who had cooked it. I thought I had better go out and find out for myself what was going on. After a few minutes looking around I returned and gave my report: The kértana had finished, large numbers of our guests were standing around looking bored and ignored, and no one would touch the Aprasädam.@ In fact most had thrown it on the ground. It was so inedible that I saw even the dogs were going up, sniffing it and walking off, refusing to eat it. I went around the side of the goçälä to the open air kitchen. A couple of pits with raised mud sides, blazed with ignited wood as deep metal woks balanced on top. I was shocked as I recognized the >cook.= He was the sweeper that was employed for cleaning the grounds and toilets in the mornings. Now he stood with a bidi in his mouth, enough smoke curling from his mouth that it matched that curling up from the fires he tended. One of the devotees told me that he had seen the fellow scoop off the top layer of rice, which was well cooked, and put it aside for himself and his family. Then he sent a batch of the inedible >clag= to be offered for the Deities.
When I asked who was responsible for the arrangements everyone said Mahäàça was the only one who knows. And when I asked where Mahäàça was, noone seemed to know.
Prabhupäda was absolutely furious. He called in Jagadéña, Hansadüta, and Tejéyas and demanded to know who was responsible for the bad program. He shouted at them, AThe poison which was not fit for dogs to eat, we are giving to human beings. We are trying to attract them to come and live here with us but once coming they will never come again. They are coming for the tongue, not for hearing your sweet voice. If they want sweet voice they can listen to some woman, so your kértana will not attract them. They are coming for the prasädam and you are giving them poison cooked by a sweeper. Materially it is impossible to eat and spiritually it has no value.@
He berated them for over half an hour. Acyutägraja, the farm manager, was also called. Prabhupäda demanded to know why the prasädam was so poor, simply inedible rice. Acyutägraja apologized, saying he didn't have enough money for proper prasädam. Prabhupäda then asked why he didn't come to Jagadéça and demanded to know from Jagadéça why he didn't supply the money. Jagadéça, along with the others, was silent. They all hung their heads with little to say. Noone seemed to want to take responsibility, all saying that everything seems to depend on Mahäàça=s presence, and without him, it was difficult to get anyone to do anything. Prabhupäda was extremely annoyed with Mahäàça because he still had not returned from Hyderabad and now it was ten o=clock. AWhen I was at the temple they said he was at the farm. Now I am at the farm they say, >Oh he is at the temple.= And when I ask why these things are going on, no one but Mahäàça knows.@ Finally, after letting them all know that he holds all of them responsible, he sent everyone out and took rest.
Mahäàça eventually arrived after 11:00 p.m,Y Prabhupäda said he would see him in the morning.

December 10th

Today is the Disappearance day of Çréla Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvaté Gosvämé Prabhupäda and we are observing a half day fast.

* * *

Early in the morning at 6 a.m. Prabhupäda called in Mahäàça along with the other senior men. He preached to him that things must be organized in a proper fashion otherwise everything will be a failure. He told him, AI am not prepared to invest anything here if things continue as they are. You must make immediate plans for irrigation and vegetable and sugar cane crops.@ Then he took up last night=s disaster and told him, ANo one will come here because we are allowing a sweeper to cook.@ He was very grave. AIt has shocked my heart that you can allow a sweeper to cook and then offer such things to Kåñëa. We say that you must be second initiated, but you are allowing a sweeper to cook. This means that after seven years you are still mleccha, yavana. Your consciousness has not changed. We are saying rädhikära pakka anna vividha byaïjana, parama änande kåñëa korena bhojana [Bhoga-ärati (8)]: Rädhikä and her gopé friends are personally cooking and making such nice arrangements for giving very palatable foodstuffs simply for pleasing Kåñëa and you are offering things cooked by a sweeper.@

Mahäàça was apologetic. He told Çréla Prabhupäda that he was unable to find any devotee that could do the cooking and thus they had hired the sweeper. In fact Mahäàça was largely unaware of who was cooking. He had gone to the city to finalize the legal documents for the formation of the new trust before Çréla Prabhupäda departs, and had left Acyutägraja to organize at the farm. Acyutägraja had foolishly engaged the hired sweeper. But Mahäàça was overall in charge and Prabhupäda held him responsible. Prabhupäda told him previously he is not all-pervasive like Kåñëa yet if he is not personally present, nothing seems to go on properly. He is neither competent to manage everything himself, not is he competent to train others to manage things properly. With displays like yesterday=s, Çréla Prabhupäda is becoming increasingly dissatisfied.
Similarly, both Hansadüta and Tejéyas were present at the lethargic program but they also did not check the details of the arrangements. Prabhupäda spoke to the small assembly. AYou are all dead men,@ he said. ADead men cannot preach. Whatever preaching there is will be all finished. The first principle of preaching is utsähän, enthusiasm, and without this enthusiasm nothing will go on._

* * *

Evening meeting:

As the devotees and children chanted Hare Kåñëa Hare Kåñëa Kåñëa Kåñëa Hare Hare, and Govinda jaya jaya, Gopäla jaya jaya with great energy and enthusiasm, Çréla Prabhupäda met with Jagadéça prabhu in his house.
He emphasized again and again the need to provide Avery nice palatable prasädam.@ He told us that this was the crux of his plan to spread Kåñëa consciousness throughout the area, AWe shall spend for that. Why miserly? There is no need of miserly. You are going to earn money by agricultural produce, so how the money will be utilized? It will be utilized for Kåñëa's purpose. By prasädam, by chanting, by drama, somehow or other bring them. That is our mission. Congregational chanting. Always festival, and we shall spend for that. Immediately arrange. If there is scarcity of money, I shall pay, but bring them somehow or other. Tomorrow I want to see at least 500 men. I came here to see that, not to sit down in a room peacefully.@
Referring to the upcoming Gita Pratisthan meeting in Wardha, he said, AThere also we shall inform the meeting that we want to propagate this Kåñëa consciousness movement town to town, village to village, by attracting them with musical demonstration of saìkértana, dramatic play, movie, prasädam. Somehow or other they should come to the temple, to the pandal and congregationally chant Hare Kåñëa mahä_mantra, hear Bhagavad_gétä, Bhägavatam. For this purpose, whatever expenditure is required, that you should collect and spend. This is the scheme of Hare Kåñëa movement.@
For those who are educated he recommended distribution of literature and scholarly presentations in schools, colleges, libraries and universities. Taking assurance from Jagadéça that he understood, he repeated his main point. ATo attract them to really nice prasädam, palatable food, we shall spend. Where is the difficulty? We shall take contribution from rich persons. We shall earn ourself, and spend it, to give them very nice prasädam.@ As people come to join us he said they could be engaged in growing their own food, making their own houses and making their own cloth. AAs soon as they understand, they will be glad to do. And they will stop all this nonsense: illicit sex, and meat eating. Then their life will be purified. And they'll make more and more advancement in this path. That is perfection. This is our mission.@
He pointed out that people travel miles to get a good meal from a restaurant or hotel. AAnd we cannot give nice Kåñëa prasädam?@ he asked. AWhy? Why you cannot give? Arrange like that, first class. Simply for eating they will come. Immediately do it.@
When Jagadéça asked what sort of prasädam we should give, Prabhupäda told him, AGive them nice prasädam by which they are attracted. It doesn't matter khicuåi, puri, kacuri, läòu. Whatever they are attracted, we must give. Kåñëa_prasädam. Don't waste, give them nice palatable foodstuff. Give them one finest kacuri, one nice samosä, two puris, they will be very glad. Make very, very, nice prasädam.@

He was still agitated by last night=s fiasco. AWhat is this rubbish, the dog cannot eat even? They have done a great mistake, all rascals. I am very angry. I say that if you have got no money, I'll spend, I will give you money. Why should you make such tenth class, and no food at all. It is to be thrown away. Simply waste of grains and energy. Engage nice professional cook, prepare nice foodstuff. I shall spend for that if you have no money. Gentlemen who are coming immediately should be offered some prasädam. >Please come here, take: puri, kacuri, samosä.=@ The poor arrangement for the pandala was not the only incident of bad management. Prabhupäda referred to a disturbing incident several days ago when Dr. Sinha Ghosh came to massage him. AThe doctor came, he comes out of love, but there is no prasädam. Hm? What is this? The doctor comes, but we couldn't supply him prasädam at 12 o'clock.@
Prabhupäda reiterated the standard that he had told the managers in Våndävana to maintain. APrasädam, as soon as they want, they'll must feed some prasädam according to the position of the person. We shall spend for that. I am not hesitating to spend money, why the arrangement is lacking? Immediately arrange for theirs and invite them. Don't make it childish ... I want to see tomorrow many thousand people. If you cannot make attractive, why they will come? Then it is failure. Make attractive. Whatever money is required, I shall pay. Simply theory will not help. Make such prasädam as people will come and be mad after it.@
He asked for his other leaders, who were still engaged in the kértana, asking Jagadéça whether he had written everything down so that he could repeat it to the others. Jagadéça assured him it was on tape, and he went off to bring the other leaders in. The chanting stopped and Mahäàça Swami entered with several other men. Çréla Prabhupäda spoke with him frankly and firmly, again stressing the same points. He asked Mahäàça if he was satisfied with the turnout this evening. Mahäàça admitted he was not.
AThen?@ Prabhupäda asked pointedly.
Mahäàça again excused the poor arrangements. ANo. The people also, there was no advertisement that today there would be a program.@
ASo whatever it is required, you do it,@ Prabhupäda told him. AGive them very, very first class prasädam. They will come for the tongue.@
Mahäàça nodded in agreement. He told Prabhupäda that the local villagers like their food very spicy. AWhat they like, I do not know what they like,@ Prabhupäda replied. ABut you prepare they should come and eat. Whatever it may be, whatever they like, the villagers, you prepare. If you have no money, I shall pay money. But attract them. They will come here to eat, >Oh, very nice thing.= That is wanted.@
He told us that the whole beginning of his creation of ISKCON was on the basis of prasädam. I made this movement successful simply by love feast. They did not come to hear Hare Kåñëa. They came for love feast. From very beginning, when I was in 26 2nd Avenue, every Sunday I was giving nice foodstuff, at least 200 men.@
He relaxed a bit and reminisced about his early followers.ADaily at least more than fifteen, twenty. I was cooking myself. That is the beginning of my movement. The cäpäöis with Kértanänanda, First of all he was taking one and two, then twelve.@ As we all laughed and Prabhupäda=s slight frame shook with mirth he recalled a story he is especially fond of. AThere was another boy, Stryädhéça. Twenty_two cäpäöis_ >Stryädhéça, can I give you?= >Yes.= I gave him four. Finished. >Stryädhéça, can I give you?= >Yes.=@ Prabhupäda laughed in fond remembrance. AVery nice boy. He was eating twenty_two. One day there was no money, so he immediately went and came after some time with some money. >And where did you go?= >The shoe booth.= He polished shoes and brought some money.@ Laughing again he told us that this was how his movement developed.

Repeatedly he told Mahäàça that providing palatable prasädam was the primary concern. Telling him to hire a first class cook and assuring him of sufficient money, he said, ASo long I am living, I shall go on paying. You don't be miserly. Bring devotees for eating, and then chanting, then cinema, then lecture, in this way you have to develop. Not that people will come, _Hare Kåñëa mantra is there, let us go away._ They will not come. What do they know about Hare Kåñëa? They will come, _Oh, there is nice, good prasädam distributed._
Mahäàça, as compliant as ever, ventured to mention last night=s failure, somehow not quite grasping the reality. ASome people I know, they said that yesterday the prasädam was not nice, and there was...@
Prabhupäda=s blunt but controlled retort cut him off. ANot nice? It is not eatable even by the dogs_ But you are less than the dogs if you (prepare) such thing. I was surprised. You allowed a sweeper to cook. I was surprised. We have distribution prasädam, not dog's food. Such rascals as here. You do not know. I do not wish to discuss anymore on this point. You have murdered the whole thing in two days. Now if possible, bring them first class prasädam, very palatable. Foodstuff means even one has no appetite he'll eat. That is food. Not that even one has got appetite, he'll forget. That is not food.@
He told him to grow crops like sugar cane and rice to make money for the programs. Mahäàça has spent a lot of money so far but for no return and Prabhupäda told him to manage Alike a businessman.@ AHe invests money, he gets a return. Spend it for Kåñëa. That is wanted. There is no question of becoming a miser. I never did it. When I have got that farthing, I want to spend it. Immediately spend. Oh, what I have made this BBT? Immediately 50% for printing, and 50% for spreading this.@
Easing off a bit Prabhupäda told him, ASo whatever is done is done, now do it very nicely. I want to see at least 1,000 men coming from the villages.@

Kindly sent in by Hari Sauri prabhu ACBSP used with permission


My parents (Hari Sauri's parents)
July 1976 B Bhaktivedanta Manor
After bidding them farewell, I went up to Prabhupäda's room. He asked me what had transpired, and was pleased to hear that they liked everything. "So, they took prasädam?" he asked.
My face fell and I had to admit they had not.
Prabhupäda's instant look of disappointment and his simple, "Oh," was as much to say, "Well, what was the use of inviting them, then?"

Indian culture and food
To get rid of guests, don=t feed them
August 17, 1976 B Hyderabad
The very first thing this morning Çréla Prabhupäda decided it would not be suitable to stay at Mr. Badruka's house. We packed and left right after bathing.
We arrived at the temple at day break, and it gave us a chance to see the place clearly. It is impressive. The land was donated by Mr. G. Pulla Reddy, and although it is only 950 square yards, the building covers 90% of it. It's location is excellent; in the central part of the city, it is hardly ten minutes from the main railway station.
Çréla Prabhupäda's quarters are on the first floor at the back of the building. Despite the fact that work is still going on, and that cement, dirt and dust are everywhere and the noise of construction is all pervasive, Prabhupäda moved right in. The room was so dirty I had to sweep it out while Prabhupäda sat and watched. Somehow the local devotees could not arrange to have it cleaned before he came. But Prabhupäda does not seem to mind. His main concern is that they organize a successful opening of the temple.

Settling into this 16' x 12' room he smiled and told us, "It is better to stay at one's own place than someone else's. In India, even a poor man, he may be forced to eat somewhere else, but he must have his own place to stay, otherwise all respect is lost. He can eat at some other place every day but he will return to his own place for rest." He said the Indian system is so nice even one's enemies may be treated as guests and given everything. Then he added with a smile, "Although to get rid of an unwanted guest one simply doesn't feed them." He explained that one does not eat or stay at another's place more than three days in a row, otherwise one becomes an unwanted guest. One actually loses one's status as a guest and becomes a resident.

July 10, 1976 - New York
Not accepting food keeps you outside the social circle
Prabhupäda: What is that?
Åñi kumära: It's called rajkacuri. (laughter)
Bali mardana: Stuffed with däl, potato, tamarind sauce and sour cream.
Devotee (1): Åñi's making up for lost time.
Prabhupäda: Where you learned this?
Åñi kumära: In Kailash Saksarya's.
Prabhupäda: Huh?
Åñi kumära: From Kailash Saksarya's cook. At least I learned something there.
Prabhupäda: From that cook, Kailash's cook?
Åñi kumära: Yes.
Prabhupäda: He was very expert. In India, a girl, if she could cook nicely, then she is perfect. There is a ceremony, it is called bahubhat(?). After marriage the girl comes to her father in law's house and there is a ceremony called bahubhat. In that bahubhat, the girl is to cook and distribute this food to all the relatives of her husband. If they say it is excellent, then she is accepted in this family.
Bali mardana: What if they say it is not excellent?
Prabhupäda: Nobody says. (laughter) But the ceremony is made. The social system in India is that "If I do not accept your food, then I do not take you within my inner circle. You remain outside."
Tamäla Kåñëa: It's a great offense if you offer someone prasädam and they refuse.
Prabhupäda: Yes. That means I am not accepting you as intimate. And if he accepts, then you cannot deny his friendship. About one hundreds years ago in Bengal in the aristocratic circle, the guests invited and very sumptuously food distributed, and then the gentlemen, guests, they come and see only, they will simply say "Oh, it is very nicely done." They'll not eat, and go away. Then the foodstuff will be distributed among the servants. This was aristocracy. They'll not eat, they will simply see and appreciate, "Oh, you have so many varieties, very nice." Then they'll go. And the household servants and others, they eat it.
Tamäla Kåñëa: Why didn't they eat it?
Prabhupäda: That was the custom.

Prasadam restaurants:

March 14, 1976 B Çré Dhäma Mäyäpur
During his massage, Prabhupäda replied to a couple of letters, one from Ambaréña prabhu and one from his former personal servant, Çruta Kérti. Both of them reported having some difficulties, Ambaréña with his parents and Çruta Kérti with the local temple president in Hawaii.

Ambaréña has moved to Boston and is attending the university there, to satisfy his parents. He said that he is helping the local temple there, and he suggested that a restaurant serving Kåñëa prasädam would be very successful among the huge student community. He also reaffirmed his commitment to fund the Kurukñetra project.
Çruta Kérti reported the successful reestablishment of the Govinda's restaurant near the University of Hawaii. It is becoming popular among the 25,000 students there. He is disturbed, however, because of some misunderstandings with the local temple management. Thus he asked for a new engagement.
Çréla Prabhupäda put the two together. He wrote to Ambaréña prabhu, approving his move to satisfy his parents, "although they do not know that someone who is a devotee is best educated." He told him that Çruta Kérti will come to Boston to help him start a restaurant.
To Çruta Kérti he sent Ambaréña's address and advised him to join him in Boston immediately, "for there are many, many young people, and a Hare Krsna Restaurant where we serve delicious Krsna prasadam will be appreciated there."

April 14, 1976 B Bombay

Çruta Kérti, who Prabhupäda wrote while we were in Mäyäpur, is now in Boston with Ambaréña prabhu. Çruta Kérti telephoned Puñöa Kåñëa Swami the other day and reported that there is a good opportunity to begin a restaurant there. Ambaréña is prepared to invest a substantial amount, but there is a lack of manpower.
Therefore Çréla Prabhupäda wrote to Häsyapriya däsa, the Los Angeles temple president, to suggest that perhaps eight devotees could go from there to work on the project. He said that it would also be a good opportunity for Häsyapriya to learn how to run a restaurant, because Ambaréña and Çruta Kérti have already successfully opened one in Hawaii.

May 4th, 1976 B Hawaii
TKG & Drstadyumna reporting on NY & Boston restaurants
Tamal Krishna mentioned that even with no advertising their new restaurant attracts fifty people a day, each paying $2.50.
Prabhupäda said it would be automatically advertised. People would hear 'Oh there is a nice ISKCON restaurant' and come. He compared it to the Krishna Balaram Mandir he opened in Våndävana; he had thought that it was so far away from the center of Våndävana town that no one would come. But it has proved very popular. "People are coming by thousands. ... " He laughed. "Balaräma is so powerful, He's bringing: 'Come out here!'"
Tamal Krishna also said that Ambaréña prabhu, faithful to Çréla Prabhupäda's request, has found a first class place just around the corner from our Boston temple where he wants to have a restaurant.
Prabhupäda was happy at the news. Distribution of prasädam is one of his more important programs. "From the very beginning I was asking to open restaurant and farm. Produce ghee in the farm and send to the restaurant, and make nice samosä, kacauré preparation, and there will be no scarcity of money. And if you organize in this way, your whole country will be transferred into Kåñëa conscious country. Whole country."

June 14, 1976 B Detroit
Ambarish and Srutakirti discuss Boston restaurant with Srila Prabhupada

Before Prabhupäda's massage Ambaréña and Çrutakérti prabhus came to discuss their proposed restaurant in Boston. Ambaréña plans to spend $250,000 to make it first class. They showed pictures of the site in a very prominent part of the city just one block from the ISKCON temple on Commonwealth Avenue. Its front portion juts out onto the pavement and has glass walls all around. Ambaréña told Prabhupäda that the real estate agent gets fifty calls of inquiry a day, it is such a good location. It was already under construction as a restaurant, but the previous owner ran out of money and received many objections. Çrutakérti said the neighbors objected to the smell of meat cooking and the serving of alcohol and so we are the only ones practically that can use the place. They expect to serve a thousand people a week, charging eight dollars for a large main meal and three dollars for a snack. Ambaréña estimated an income of half a million dollars per yearCall of which would go to Çréla Prabhupäda he said with a laugh.
Çrutakérti will be the manager of the restaurant, and they are hoping to be open by October this year. They discussed several possible names for it because they felt to be openly Hare Kåñëa would not be acceptable. They were already using the name Sankértana.
Prabhupäda laughed at what he called "Hare Kåñëa phobia." He told them that previously a devotee from Bombay, Haridäsa, had gone to Moscow and was chanting in the street. When he was asked what he was doing, he told them, "This is a cinema song." For the restaurant's name, Prabhupäda settled for Govinda's, as in Hawaii.
Ambaréña asked if they should offer the food on the altar at the temple because it is so close by. Prabhupäda said it would be all right at the restaurant. But he added, "They must know they are eating prasädam."
Ambaréña has given the Boston temple the down payment for the house next door and this will be used to house the people who work in the restaurant as well as members of the Bhaktivedanta Institute, who may be based there. He has also provided fifty thousand dollars to refurbish the temple with tiled floors and a beautiful onyx altar. Another project planned for this summer is Boston's first Ratha yäträ, which Ambaréña said will go down to Commonwealth Pier in honor of Çréla Prabhupäda's landing there when he first came from India.
Çréla Prabhupäda chuckled and asked if the A P store was still there. "Yes, that I saw first. I remember."
As I stood in my gamchä ready for Çréla Prabhupäda's massage, Çrutakérti told him that I looked as though I could give a very good massage.
To my embarrassment and everyone else's amusement, Prabhupäda replied with good humored sarcasm, "Mmm. Hari çauri's defect is he cannot cook. Otherwise, he is your duplicate. Except cooking. He knows very good cooking!"
Puñöa Kåñëa Mahäräja chimed in that I knew how to eat, but then Prabhupäda switched the mood. "A young man must eat. Why one should be like me?"

May 29, 1976 B Hawaii

Prabhupada visits Hawaii restaurant

Prabhupäda rarely goes out after his morning walks. He usually remains in his quarters throughout the day and night, only occasionally venturing out on to the sun deck. Today, however, on the request of the devotees, he visited the temple restaurant. It is a small place, situated near the university  on Kapiolani Street. Prabhupäda went in and had a look around. It is well run and pleasant, and despite the fact that financially it is only breaking even, Prabhupäda liked it.

Kindly sent in by Hari Sauri prabhu ACBSP used with permission


Not eating or offering food with, or cooked by, non-devotees

April 6, 1976 Våndävana
sour cream
There was a bit of mail today. One long letter came from Puru dasa in Los Angeles. It had actually been sent to Hridayananda Maharaja in early February, when he was still the visiting secretary, but somehow wasn't acknowledged until now.
Puru was concerned about the temple purchasing sour cream that was known to have rennet, an extract from the stomach lining of a calf, in it and another batch, that had gelatin in it. The rationale used was that almost everything in Kali yuga is contaminated. And Srila Prabhupada had previously allowed the use of white sugar, which is bleached over animal bones. He had also allowed the purchase of milk that had fish liver oil added.
A further motivation was the very cheap purchase price of five cents per pound. Therefore the GBC, Jayatirtha, had consented to the purchase of the sour cream because the amount of rennet was very small about 1 cc per 150 gallons or 1/50,000 of an ounce per pint.
Still, despite the seemingly insignificant quantity, some devotees were disturbed by its use, and thus Puru requested a direct statement from Prabhupada to settle the matter. "It seems to me, though I am a fallen, fault finding rascal, that only Srila Prabhupada can say whether or not this sour cream is offerable to the Deity, and can be used. I certainly do not know. There are valid arguments on both sides, but the only real point is whether or not Krsna is pleased with such offerings, and only His pure devotee can tell us that."
He added as a postscript that the temple has over 400 pounds of it in the refrigerator, and some had reasoned that Prabhupäda wouldd not want to see the sour cream wasted. Puru wanted to know if they should use it up, never buy it again, dump it, or continue to use it and not be agitated over its contents.
Prabhupada's reply was short and clear. "Concerning the use of sour cream in the temple, it should be stopped immediately. Nothing should be offered to the Deities which is purchased in the stores. Things produced by the karmis should not be offered to Radha Krsna. Sour cream, if you can prepare it, is OK, but not otherwise. Now, you have such a big stock of this sour cream, so sell the stock at any cost. Who is the rascal who has purchased without permission?"

August 2, 1976 B New Mayapur
frozen food is tamasic
As he lay in the half light, I mentioned that I had heard some of the temples were using frozen foods for their Deity offerings.
Prabhupäda shook his head and gave a sour look. "Tamasic food, tamasic activities! It is going on simply by Kåñëa's mercy!"
August 10 1976 B Teheran, Iran
frozen food is OK.
Çréla Prabhupäda came down into the kitchen today to talk with Nandaräëé about her efforts to conserve vegetables by bottling and freezing them. I had expressed concern to her when I heard she was doing this because of what Çréla Prabhupäda said in France about frozen foods being tamasic. She explained to him that in winter no vegetables whatsoever are available. He consented, once again demonstrating his willingness to adjust devotional activity according to time, place and circumstance.

November 3, 1976 - Våndävana
frozen means nasty

Hansadüta Swami has been several times to Moscow to visit with Änanta Çänti prabhu, Prabhupäda=s only Russian disciple, and he and Prabhupäda shared some observations and realizations about the poor quality of life there. Änanta Çänti=s entire family lives in a couple of rooms half the size of Çréla Prabhupäda=s darçana room, taxi drivers beg money from their clients and the only vegetables available are frozen.
Prabhupäda screwed his face a little in disgust. AThat is also nasty. Frozen means nasty. I never take frozen. In the beginning I thought, >Oh, it is very nice, you can get fresh vegetable.= But they are not at all fresh. All rotten. Rather the same vegetable, as we have got in Indian practice, we dry it and keep it. That is tasteful. In season timeCsuppose this season there is huge quantity of vegetableCso here the system is they cut into pieces during the season and dry it in the sun and keep it. And during out of season it is soaked in water, it revives the old taste, then you can cook.@
Speaking of vegetables made him reflect once again on the glories of a simple, rural life, devoid of grand material endeavors. AThis I want to introduce, let them be satisfied whatever they can produce themselves locally. What is that, little cloth, little food? Any man can produce these things. There is no difficulty at all. They must agree to this simple life. Everywhere you can produce your own food and cloth and cottage. If possible you can construct big buildings B there is no need. And they should be satisfied, happy with Kåñëa. Then life is successful. This I want to introduce now, anywhere. And it is practical. It is not something bogus. We have already experimented. By God=s grace we can produce everything from the lands, sarva käma dughä mahé. You can get everything. If they are satisfied with this simple life, then they save time for Kåñëa consciousness and happy life.@

Meat-eating and meat-eaters

September 29 1976 B Våndävana
Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur said to serve meat if necessary
A little later in the conversation Hansadüta offered to print books in India, and although Prabhupäda confirmed that it is his main concern to get huge quantities of his books printed in Hindi and English, he told Hansadüta to simply concentrate on the guest house for now. He spoke at length, saying that having a guest house was actually his Guru Mahäräja's idea. "I am just following the desire of Çréla Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvaté Öhäkura." He chuckled as he spoke about his spiritual master's strong desire to preach and spread Kåñëa consciousness. He said that Çréla Bhaktisiddhänta had so stressed the importance of having people come to the temple, that he said even if they had to be served meat, by any means they should be induced to come and hear about Kåñëa.
Hansadüta and I were quite amazed to hear this. We must have looked a little shocked because Prabhupäda reassured us, "We will never serve meat. But the idea is that if visitors feel too much inconvenience from our rules, then arrangement can be made for tea or coffee, or even betel or bidi. Not exactly in the guest house, but some kind of shop in the front of the Gurukula building where they can get these things. We can even bring them tea into the guest house if need be. But we want that people will come. We want to give them the opportunity for spiritual life, and therefore we have temple and guest house combined."
We left the garden appreciating once again how Çréla Prabhupäda has inherited the revolutionary mantle of his Guru Mahäräja. He is prepared to go to practically any length to induce people to take to Kåñëa consciousness.

Harikesa gets two instructions
January 3rd, 1976 B Nellore
No cooking in hosts kitchen because they were meat eaters.

The two sisters' reception of Prabhupäda was cordial, but there was a distinct coolness in their temperament, which we all noticed. They gave him a small but pleasant room with a grilled in veranda. We servants were shown to a room directly above him on the roof. Çréla Prabhupäda immediately got ready for his massage.
As we sat on the veranda and I began to apply the oil to his head, we heard a familiar clucking noise across the pathway. "What is that?" Prabhupäda asked.
I looked out through the grilled window and saw a hen coop. "It's chickens, Çréla Prabhupäda."
"Oh. Then that means?"
"Well, it means that at least they are eating eggs," I said, trying to be optimistic.
"Call Harikeça."
Harikeça came in, visibly disturbed. "Çréla Prabhupäda, these people are meat eaters!"
"Oh. Then you must cook separately. You cannot cook in their kitchen. Do not use any of their pots or utensils."

February 27, 1977 B Mayapur
Harikesa told he can eat meat in E. Europe B (see Harikesa interview)

Fish eating
August 22, 1976 Hyderabad
you can keep yourself pure in any circumstance
Mahäàsa had a further concern about the girls. Some of them are young and unmarried and, he said, they may end up marrying men who are not devotees.
Prabhupäda was not concerned. "But she can chant and observe the rules and regulationsCwhat is that?"
"Even if her husband does not follow?" Mahäàsa asked.
"That does not matter," Prabhupäda said. "It is individual. My sister, while she was married, her father in law's house, they were all eating fish. So a new girl, ten years, eleven years old, so she was given this foodstuff with fish and everything. So she was crying. So her mother in law asked, 'Why you are crying?'
"'No, we do not touch all these things.'
"She immediately arranged special cooking for her. So her husband and other members they were taking fish, but she never touched. She never touched; she does not know what is fish. If one wants to keep oneself pure, he or she can keep herself pure in any circumstances."

Tree goat

Other non-devotional food

Oct 9, 1976 B Aligarh
Since Mr. Saigal had made some suggestions to Çréla Prabhupäda for helping with his health, I asked him if he could get some ghrita-kumari, or aloe vera as it is known in the west. Arjuna and Tamopahä prabhus had suggested it last week as a good remedy for high blood pressure and for cleaning the arteries. Mr. Saigal happily informed us that he had it growing in his garden. His wife takes it regularly by stuffing chapatis or parathas with it and finds it quite efficacious for relieving pains in her knees. Mr. Saigal though, suggested that garlic was the best for relieving high blood pressure.
Prabhupäda wrinkled his nose and grimaced slightly. AGarlic.@

Mr. Saigal smiled at his reaction. AGarlic. You don't want it,@ and they laughed together.
AGarlic, onions, prohibited,@ Prabhupäda told him.
So it was settled that his wife would cook aloe vera chapatis for breakfast. Prabhupäda asked Gaurasundara prabhu if he knew of it and he confirmed they had it in Hawaii. He added that it can be used externally for skin diseases, burns and cuts.
As Mr. Saigal left Prabhupäda's room to prepare for breakfast Prabhupäda concluded, ABody is simply troublesome.@

Kindly sent in by Hari Sauri prabhu ACBSP used with permission


Eating with non-devotees

January 4, 1976 B Nellore

Living in someone else's house is difficult when the family members are non Vaiñëava. When preaching in India devotees are often obliged to stay in the homes of Life Members, their bad habits tolerated in order to broadcast the message of Kåñëa consciousness. However, Tamal Krishna told Prabhupäda that when Gargamuni Swami returns to India, he doesn't want to do that anymore. He said, "He is determined that he will not eat in anyone's home."
Prabhupäda approved. "That is very good."
"Not only that, but he's not going to sleep in anyone's home either. They want to camp out by the river sides."
"Very good idea."
"He says that from reading your books it is very clear that Caitanya Mahäprabhu was very careful, strict, to only eat prasädam cooked by proper persons."
"No, purchase from Jagannätha temple. People would come to offer Him prasädam. So what is the cost of the prasädam, that was taken and He purchased. Formerly, the system was there was no hotel, but there were temples. You go and you can purchase very cheap price. I went with my father in my childhood in a place. My father would never take food at anyone's house or in the hotel. He will find out some temple and pay them and take prasädam. Still there are many temples. So I was about ten years old at that time, say, seventy years ago. So he paid two annas to the püjäré, and he gave us so much. It can be eaten by five, six men. Kicharé, vegetables, varieties. So much. Two annas."

November 15, 1976 B Våndävana
Letter to Dr. Shyamasundara
AI thank you very much for your kindly remembering me. Sometimes I wish to take Jagannatha prasada, because nowadays I have no appetite here. I went to Jagannatha Puri in 1958 during some special function. I was taking Lord Jagannatha prasada very sumptuously. I am praying to Lord Jagannatha to take me there again at His will and honor His remnants of food.@

December 22nd, 1976 Poona
Çréla Prabhupäda AI was punished immediately for eating with the karmis.@
The Malhotras received us cordially and drove us to their home in Poona for breakfast before setting out on the trip to Mahabaleswar, which is several hours from here.     The house is large, with a swimming pool etc. and they are obviously quite rich, although they do not appear to have the culture that the more traditional aristocratic Hindu families have. For breakfast everyone sat round the table together and the food was brought out in large bowls and passed around. Everyone simply helped themselves, dipping in, eating and dipping in again, thus completely contaminating everything. Fortunately I had served Prabhupäda with a portion of everything on his plate before anyone had a chance to touch it so he was not affected. I was also careful to only take from the bowls which were untouched.
* * *
Lunch was the same as breakfast, different food but the same style of eating. This time I made sure Prabhupäda and myself had sufficient so that no seconds would be required and Giriräja and Gopäla also were careful to do the same. We didn't want to offend our hosts but we wanted to keep our standards. However, it was still difficult to sit, all around the one small table, because gross habits and lusty propensities are all openly displayed when it comes to the matter of satisfying the tongue. It was hardly prasäda-sevä.
* * *

Finally the rest of his family arrived back and after some light conversation we were obliged again to sit and eat. They laid out some quite heavy foodstuffs and we took a full meal before retiring for the night. Prabhupäda was too polite to say anything but after everyone had taken rest he called in Giriräja and myself and told us to prepare to leave at first light. He was having difficulty digesting the food and his system was upset. Also he was not keen to associate so closely with them. He told us to inform them as soon as they wake that AWe are very sorry but Çréla Prabhupäda is not well and we have to leave so we shall not be able to stay after all.@ In this way we can leave in a friendly manner and not upset them.@

December 23rd, 1976
This morning began with the ring of Prabhupäda=s bell. It was 5 AM and we were all still sound asleep. Giriräja and Gopäla Kåñëa didn't even hear the bell and I only responded because I was trained to it. I jumped groggily from the bed and went in to find Prabhupäda sitting on the end of his bed with the small table on which I had set up his dictaphone, in front of him, illuminated with the small table lamp. He looked at me when I came in and asked quite innocently, "So you have all become infected like this?" In the background there was a loud snoring coming from the Malhotras= bedroom and, still thick in the brain from a heavy sleep and not realising what Prabhupäda was implying I said, puzzled, AWell, I don't think we are as infected as that.@ Without losing his demeanour Prabhupad said softly, "No, I mean to say, you should have risen at 4 AM and bathed and had mangala-ärati, but due to only one night's association you are already infected.@ I could understand then his point that association with karmés, no matter how  friendly, is so dangerous. He told me this was due simply to eating with the karmés, the eating process is so important.
He sent me back into our room to wake the others and bathe and by first light we were ready for off. Fortunately the Malhotras were not long in waking and after some short discussion they agreed to allow Prabhupäda to use their car to drive back to Bombay as it was said to be shorter than driving to Poona to catch a flight. Actually it was also a fact that he didn't want to return to Poona because it would have meant having to take prasädam with them again.
After tactfully taking our leave we all drove down to the village and Prabhupäda had a short walk with them around a small lake before we set off for Bombay proper at 7.45 am. It wasn't long before we hit some very twisty sections of road and although it was all down hill progress was slow and difficult. For one and half hours continuously, with any break we negotiated one sharp >S= bend after another, every fifty to one hundred yards.
Prabhupäda was in great discomfort and after half an hour we had to suddenly stop the car and Prabhupäda vomited out the open door. As we pulled up I got into great anxiety because I realised I had not packed any water and now it would be required for Prabhupäda to wash his mouth out with. As I wondered what to do, by Kåñëa=s mercy a car suddenly appeared behind us. It was the only vehicle we had seen in either direction and they pulled up and gladly supplied some fresh water for Prabhupäda. After a couple of minutes we were on our way again but again after another half hour Prabhupäda was vomiting. Finally we arrived on the flat lands and Prabhupäda vowed he would never make such a journey again.
After about an hour Prabhupäda had us stop at one village. Now feeling better he wanted some puffed rice, and he had us go to different stalls and bring back samples till he saw some he thought was fresh enough. He took a little and passed his remnants to us as we drove along. I was a little surprised that he was eating again so soon after throwing up. But Prabhupäda smiled and said that puffed rice can be eaten any time, even if one is ill Ait is so innocent.@

So after a very difficult ride we arrived back in Bombay at 2.15pm. As usual the devotees were ready with full ärati and foot washing paraphernalia in his room, but I saw he was a little dismayed when he came in although he said nothing. He didn't want to refuse his disciples offering of love and devotion but it was going to be a strain. I therefore ushered everyone out before they could begin despite one or two protests and Prabhupäda did not object.
He took his massage immediately. As he sat on the small veranda outside his bedroom he said, "I was punished almost immediately for eating with the karmés.@ I couldn't imagine Kåñëa punishing Prabhupäda for anything but that was his humility.

Kindly sent in by Hari Sauri prabhu ACBSP used with permission


Other instructions on devotees not taking prasadam cooked by karmis

February 7, 1976 B Mayapur
During his massage Prabhupäda heard a letter from Balavanta däsa, the temple president in Atlanta, in which he learned that the devotees were making a tea from tulasé leaves. "Immediately stop it!" he exclaimed. He was very disturbed by this news and declared that such "tea" should not be made even for Lord Jagannätha during His yearly convalescence.
Balavanta also questioned whether the devotees on traveling saìkértana could eat bread made by karmés.
Prabhupäda replied that they may not, unless it is an emergency situation. In any event he said that such food cannot be offered to the Deities. As a substitute he suggested they eat farina fried in a little ghee with sugar added. Or purés because these would last for three or four days.

February 19, 1976 - Mayapur
Because the weather has become quite hot, some visiting devotees are buying flavored ice on sticks from the stalls in front of the temple. Jayapatäkä Swami asked Prabhupäda if we can make our own iced sherbet drink for the Gaura Pürëimä festival. He's afraid that the devotees will become ill because the local confection is generally made from bad water.
Prabhupäda was disturbed to hear that devotees are eating outside. He quite emphatically said, "No one may buy anything from the market. If they eat these things they will fall down!  No one should eat anything not offered to the Deity."

March 8, 1976 - Mayapur
Hearing that some Australian devotees have been purchasing fruit from the market, and also remembering Prabhupäda's previous comment that no one should eat anything without first offering it to the Deities, I asked him if they should stop.
Prabhupäda wasn't disturbed. He replied, "Fruit may be offered within the mind."

Only qualified persons must prepare prasädam

July 11, 1976 - New York
Letter from Gopal Kåñëa dasa - only initiated devotees can cook
He had a question about the local women cooking. "A Few of the women who come are strict Vaishnavas at home. They have offered to cook for the devotees in our kitchen. Is this O.K?"

Prabhupäda replied at length. He was glad to hear that many people are attracted in Delhi and he told him to keep the standard of Deity worship up.
He was negative in his reply about the local women cooking. "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."

Bengali Markets B devotees allowed to offer sweets from Bengali Sweet shop

Prabhupada liked taking prasädam by himself

December 29, 1975, Sananda Gujarat
Our hosts are cooking for us, but Harikeça still prepares Çréla Prabhupäda's meals. In this way Prabhupäda can maintain his regular diet suited to his own taste and delicate digestion. He likes to eat alone and rarely allows anyone to remain with him while he honors his prasädam, as I found out this afternoon.
Prabhupäda sat down after taking his bath, and I brought in his plate. He began to eat, so I sat obediently in front, eager to serve. I thought myself very privileged to share the intimacy of Çréla Prabhupäda taking his lunch. Prabhupäda, however, looked up from his plate and raised his eyebrows, questioning why I was there. He clearly felt the intrusion. And, slightly embarrassed, I left. I could understand he likes us to do things with reason and purpose and not simply hang around.

Prabhupäda taking prasädam with others

January 17th, 1976, going to Mayapur
After a walk in a nearby park, Çréla Prabhupäda set off for Mäyäpur at 7:30 a.m. With Prabhupäda, Madhudviña Swami, Tamal Krishna Goswami, and Jayapatäkä Swami were in the lead car; Çrédhara Swami, Harikeça, Caitya guru, who has come from Bombay to associate with Çréla Prabhupäda, and I followed in another.
Two hours later and seven kilometers before the town of Ranaghäöa our party stopped to take breakfast in a large grove of several hundred mango trees. The grove has become a regular resting point for Çréla Prabhupäda whenever he goes to Mäyäpur. Seated on a folded chaddar on the leaf strewn grass, with the spreading arms of the huge trees forming a pleasant canopy above, Prabhupäda seemed completely at ease in the natural setting. We had brought various fruits, baòa, fried cashew nuts, and sweets. The sannyäsés sat in a row alongside His Divine Grace, while Caitya guru and I served the prasädam out on leaf plates. After a relaxed half an hour, hands and mouths washed, we proceeded on to our destination, the birthplace of Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu.

1977 B PanihatiB Prabhupäda stopped the car to give prasadam to other devotees.

October 22, 1976 B Våndävana
Yamunä gets some mercy
Çréla Prabhupäda was surprised and pleased to receive Yamunä däsé today. She arrived from America just as he was taking his lunch. Normally he doesn=t receive guests while eating but he immediately invited her to sit with him and offered her a small plate of his prasädam. After eating, they sat together in his darçana room and chatted. She showed him photos of their açräma in Southern Oregon and their worshipable Deities, Çré Çré Rädhä Vanabehari.

Yamunä has come to ask for his formal blessings and approval to write a cook book, something he suggested to her in 1967 but which she didn=t feel competent to do until now, although she has previously written and calligraphed a book entitled Krsna Prasadam, but this has not yet been published. She told him that she intends to remain in Våndävana for about a week and then go to Calcutta to stay with Mr. C.L. Bajoria, one of our prominent life members. Mr. Bajoria has a first class cook whom she has studied with several times before and she wants to further study Bengali cooking with him. She also intends to do other research and interviews with Pishima, Çréla Prabhupäda=s sister.
Çréla Prabhupäda was most happy with her proposal and gave her his full encouragement.

February 28th, 1977 B Mayapur
Atreya Åñé gets some mercy
Atreya Åñé prabhu arrived at lunch time from Iran and he brought with him a large basket of sweet lemons and oranges from Iran. Prabhupäda was eating his lunch when he arrived and generally he does not see anyone while he eats but he was so pleased to see Atreya that he insisted he sit next to him and he personally made up a plate for him and he made him take prasädam with him. Prabhupäda had me make some juice up for him from the fruits.

January 11, 1977 B train to Allahabad -
Prabhupäda gives me some mercy
He had already taken his massage and bath at four thirty before we left so he decided to have his full lunch at breakfast time which I had packed away in a tiffin. Everyone went out to allow Prabhupäda to eat in peace and I served him. I took out his silver plate and he sat cross legged on the train seat and then I set out all of the preps. from the tiffin in front of him and he pointed out one by one each preparation and I served him a little of everything with puris etc. and he ate as I served. Then after finishing the subjis rice etc he decided to have a little fruit but he insisted that  I now take and made me sit opposite and take all his extras. While I did so he helped himself to whatever fruit he wanted and handed over what the didn't require, half an orange, some grapes etc. for me to finish. He was so merciful to me even though I am such a dull  brained rascal. Afterwards I handed out whatever was left to Rämeçvara and Jagadéça and Prabhupäda rested alone in his compartment.

Kindly sent in by Hari Sauri prabhu ACBSP used with permission


Maha-mahä-prasädam B General instruction to distribute

January 28th 1976 B Mayapur
TKG and Harikesa
After lunch this afternoon Prabhupäda sat at the end of the veranda, enjoying the view of the Gaìgä. Suddenly loud shouts and the slam of a door broke his tranquillity. He sent me to investigate.
I found Tamal Krishna Mahäräja sitting in his room before a plate of prasädam, clearly upset. He had just had an argument with Harikeça over who should get the remnants of Çréla Prabhupäda's prasädam. As I stood, Harikeça came back in and began berating him again.
Several days ago Tamal Krishna had asked Prabhupäda if he could eat the extra that was cooked for him because he found the kind of rice the devotees eat here in Mäyäpur too coarse for his digestion. Prabhupäda had approved.

However, Harikeça had previously received instructions from Çréla Prabhupäda while we were in Våndävana that all his remnants could not be monopolized by his immediate servants, but should be distributed to other devotees. As cook, Harikeça resented Tamal Krishna's acquisition of all the leftovers; while Tamal Krishna argued that he was only taking what was left in the pots and not what was left on Prabhupäda's plate. Thus the dispute. Tamal Krishna also complained that he should not have been interrupted while he was honoring prasädam.
Prabhupäda called them both onto the veranda. After hearing their arguments, he managed to resolve the issue to everyone's satisfaction. Prabhupäda said that Harikeça should not have interrupted Tamal Krishna while he was eating. Respecting prasädam is a very important function, and there should be no disturbance. He said that otherwise one's appetite is lost and indigestion results.
He gave his permission for Tamal Krishna to eat what was left in the pots, but also confirmed his desire that his prasädam be distributed.
He told us there is absolutely no difference between what is on the plate and what is in the pot. Whether cooked for guru or Kåñëa it is all prasädam and all just as spiritually potent. When I mentioned that in the Caitanya caritämåta there was a distinction made between mahä prasädam, the remnants of the Deity offering, and mahä mahä prasädam, which is the spiritual master's remnants, Prabhupäda said the distinction was made for reference only. It is all prasädam.

Prabhupäda distributing prasädam at Guru-puja

January 24th, 1976 B Mayapur
Each morning at guru püjä Prabhupäda is personally giving out sweets to all the children. He sits on the vyäsäsana as each child comes forward to receive his prasädam.
There is a small, two year old boy from Australia called Dämodara, who persistently remains right in front of the vyäsäsana each morning with his pudgy hand held out. Çréla Prabhupäda gives him half a sweet, which Dämodara pushes into his mouth. Then he moves his hand over the back of his head, wipes his open palm on his çikhä, and again holds it out.
Again Prabhupäda gives him another piece of sweet, and again Dämodara repeats the ritual. There are no words exchanged, simply the boy's chubby palm goes out for the sweet, up to his mouth, over his head, and back again for more. This exchange with Dämodara has gone on for several mornings now, and Çréla Prabhupäda laughs to see him wipe his hand in such a fashion. "Who has taught him this?" he asked.

* * *
Damodara in room eating sweet balls B after 6 Prabhupäda told me to stop

* * *

Standard feature of his western tour was the distribution of cookies to the children at guru-puja.

Prasädam on planes and in cars

April 19th, 1976 B going to Australia

As soon as we were airborne, Prabhupäda had his breakfast. I set out each of the four circular, stainless steel containers and filled them with whatever Prabhupäda indicated from his well packed tiffin box. From the multi tiered container he ate sabjés, puris, rice, some fried savories, vaòa, and samosa, as well as some fruit and sandeça. I served him very carefully, much to the interest of the other passengers.
As he does wherever and whenever he travels, Çréla Prabhupäda maintained his regular eating schedule. Knowing this I was well equipped for the journey, and I am by now well versed in all the items that Prabhupäda requires when traveling. On planes he never accepts anything provided by the airlines, because they handle meat. He doesn't even use the utensils like knives, forks, and spoons, because generally the metal ones have already been used. He will use new plastic ones though. He won't eat anything touched by karmés. He will not even accept the salt that they provide. So in addition to the prasädam, I carried small packets of salt, pepper, and ginger.
Generally he eats alone, but on the plane this was not possible. Unperturbed by his surroundings and the curiosity of the passengers, he simply continued following his daily schedule. He ate very slowly and carefully. By watching him take prasädam it was easy to understand that the Lord's mercy, prasädam, is to be rendered service by the devotee. Prasädam should be eaten as humbly as one performs other forms of devotional service. Completely free from lust and other mundane attributes, His Divine Grace's devotion is apparent even in the most basic activity of eating.
When he finished his meal, Prabhupäda told me to call Puñöa Kåñëa Mahäräja. Together, we shared whatever was left over. I always feel a little uncomfortable eating in Prabhupäda's presence, thinking that it may offend him. But he always insists that his servants take prasädam whenever he does, and he is concerned to see we are taken care of. Some of the passengers saw us eating the remnants of Prabhupäda's half chewed puris, and I think they were a little shocked. But, of course, in Prabhupäda's association we were unaffected by their mundane opinions.
At the end of his meal, Prabhupäda very carefully cleaned his mouth with a toothpick, then poured a little water on his hand to cleanse it, before drinking from the cup. He first swilled his mouth out and then drank, and thereafter he completed his ablutions in the bathroom. By the time he returned, I had cleared everything away.

June 21, 1976 B New Vrindaban arrival
After a short while Kértanänanda produced some cartons of prasädam from the New Vrindaban kitchensCpurés, sabjés, samosäs and various milk sweets. I thought Prabhupäda would just try a morsel to oblige the devotees, but to our delight he had me spread out the preparations and he took a little of each. He enjoyed them and encouraged us to take some. He praised Kértanänanda as a good cook and told us, "So this was my dream, that a place should be there where we can get all nice foods, best foods, of milk. Kåñëa is fulfilling our desire. Everything's there. These rascals they do not know how to live or to eat. Intelligence is there, everything is there. Simply for want of training they have become rogues. Make them human beings, your countrymen."
As we drove the last few miles into the New Vrindaban countryside Kértanänanda Mahäräja mentioned that the local authorities, including the sheriff, were becoming very favorable. A judge who had seen Çréla Prabhupäda on his last visit still keeps a picture of him on his desk. He said the local television had agreed to show Yadubara prabhu's movie, Spiritual Frontier.
Çréla Prabhupäda was happy to hear it but told him, "One thing you have missed: how we are preparing all these foodstuffs."

"In the movie?" Kértanänanda asked. "It was too short how to prepare it?"
"Yes. How from milk in different stages you get this foodstuff, kachaurés, singhara, sandeça, rabré." He gave a little chuckle. "And this channä [däl], if fried, if you prepare nicely with little hing and ginger, then it will exactly taste like meat. They'll forget. If you give them without telling them, they will think that they're eating meat. They prepare the semiliquid meat like that. You give them little piece and they will not understand that it is not meat."
I told him that when we were in Los Angeles Pälikä had made some baòa and it tasted so much like fish that Puñöa Kåñëa Mahäräja wouldn't eat it.
Prabhupäda smiled. "With uraò däl, you can prepare fishy taste."
"Someone told me that your Guru Mahäräja said that?" I asked.
Çréla Prabhupäda laughed. "Yes. 'Anyone who is not taking uraò däl, he must be taking fish silently, secretly.'"

Prabhupäda liked to purchase bhoga in quantity

April 5th, 1976
For his walk Prabhupäda went to look at some vacant land in Räman Reöi that he wants to purchase. He suggested that our householders build their own houses there and "colonize it" like our Los Angeles community.
As we walked about, a local farmer passed, carrying a large basket of green beans on his head. Çréla Prabhupäda spotted him and immediately began to bargain with him. After a lengthy exchange, he purchased the whole basket. The man left happily, having done his whole day's business within a few minutes.
Gurudäsa Mahäräja complimented Prabhupäda on getting a good bargain. Prabhupäda laughed, telling us it was something he had learned in his childhood. "My father used to do that. He'd go to a vegetable vendor. He has got a big basket, and he'll say, 'What do you want for all, the whole basket.' So he is ready because he'll sit down so long [in the market], so at very cheap rate he'll give it. And it was not required in the family so much. My mother became very angry, that 'You are bringing so much vegetable, it is being spoiled.' But he would purchase like that. If you give him in those days fifty rupees to go to the market, he will spend all the money and bring at home. Hare Kåñëa."

Hyderabad farm - man carrying eggplants

Prabhupäda liked to cook for himself and others

November 12, 1976 - Våndävana
Prabhupäda goes into his kitchen
Pälikä and Çrutirüpa have returned from a successful cooking excursion to Calcutta. Yamunä has gone back to America. Prabhupäda was pleased to see them, as was Arundhaté. She has been having some difficulty in preparing a Punjabi badi subji, a vegetable stew with spicy dried dal cakes simmered in a seasoned stock. Somehow she hasn=t been getting it quite to Prabhupäda=s liking. It has become such a frustration for her that Prabhupäda decided to show her himself.

Today, right after his massage, still wearing his gamcha, oil glistening on his golden skin, Prabhupäda went to the far corner of his back garden and entered the kitchen. His presence filled the small kitchen with the fragrance of sandalwood and mustard. The ladies had already been at work, preparing freshly ground spices. Because of his delicate digestion and the high likelihood that any powdered spice is either old or adulterated, Prabhupäda has his cooks grind various spices fresh every morning. He often instructs them on which spices and combinations he wants B cumin, cumin and black pepper, turmeric, fresh ginger, hot chili paste etc. It often takes an hour or more to prepare them and some, like turmeric root, must be softened for five days before grinding. With the spices already prepared, the ladies were cutting up the vegetables when he entered.
Accompanied by Bhagatjé Prabhupäda stopped briefly at the entrance, quickly surveying the interior before stepping in. It=s a tiny place, about eight feet wide, fourteen feet long tapering to a point and six and half feet high. He was in good humor and he smiled with satisfaction as he stepped inside. AI=ve never been in my kitchen before. It is very nice.@ Relaxed and unhurried he looked around the benches, at the burners and the pots and pans and then unexpectedly dipped into a small bucket of vegetable scraps next to where Çrutirüpa was sitting with a knife. Fishing out a large cauliflower core, just denuded of its florets, he asked her, AWhy are you throwing this?@ She flushed in embarrassed silence and Prabhupäda shook his head slightly but didn=t say anything more. His enquiry was enough to tell them not to waste anything.
He chatted amiably with Bhagatjé as he sat down on a low stool in front of the two gas burners. With the ladies standing at the side, ingredients at the ready, he heated ghee in a heavy bottomed brass pot over a high heat. In quick sequence, he briefly fried a few paste masalas and then added potatoes and cauliflower. He added water and badis and simmered the stew until the vegetables were tender. As he cooked, he was laughing and chuckling with Bhagatjé in Hindi. Pälikä stirred the pot, turned down the flame and continued to stir. Prabhupäda looked at it and turned it back up. Turning to Bhagatjé he said, ASee, so simple, and still they cannot do.@ After twenty minutes it was done and he got up to leave and take his bath.
Bhagatjé, who generally comes every morning to ask Çréla Prabhupäda what he wants for lunch and always makes his chapatis, was impressed. As they made their way along the small brick path to the house Prabhupäda laughed and told him, AOh, I can cook for one hundred men in less than one hour.@
Bhagatjé laughed and shook his head. ANo, Prabhupäda that=s not possible.@ Prabhupäda laughed louder and declared, AI bet you one lakh of rupees I can do it!@ At this Bhagatjé cracked up with mirth. ANo, I am not going to take your bet. You will win both ways. If you do it, you get one lakh. If you don=t succeed you will tell me to donate it!@
Çréla Prabhupäda shook with amusement. He loved the joke and admitted it was so.

Cooking for Prabhupäda

Prabhupäda=s prasädam must be on time!

January 29 1976 B Mayapur
For the past few days I have been going down to the kitchen, with Prabhupäda's approval, to learn how to cook from Harikeça. We are using Çréla Prabhupäda's three tiered cooker.
Previously Harikeça timed things so that prasädam was ready for Prabhupäda immediately after he had bathed and dressed. But because he is taking his massage early now, Prabhupäda has agreed to a fixed time of 1:30 p.m. for lunch.
Because of his illness, Harikeça was late starting today. By the time Prabhupäda was back in his room and prasädam was due, we were still cooking. Foolishly, I did not go up and inform Prabhupäda the reason for the delay, although I thought of doing it. I grew increasingly uneasy as the clock ticked on to 1:35, 1:40.... Instead I kept thinking, "Another few minutes, another few minutes and he'll be finished."
Suddenly Änakadundubhi, the extremely lanky English devotee who sometimes stands guard at Prabhupäda's floor, burst into the kitchen. "Hari çauri! Hari çauri! Prabhupäda has been ringing the bell for the last ten minutes, and no one is answering. I think you had better go up!"

I zipped up the stairs full of anxiety and opened the door to Çréla Prabhupäda's room. I got down to offer my obeisances, but froze halfway as the blast of Prabhupäda's anger hit me. I have never seen him so furious. He sat with his back stiff and straight. His face was flushed and his top lip quivered as he shouted at me for being negligent. "I have been ringing for ten minutes! You didn't hear? Where have you been? Where is prasädam?"
I tried to explain the reason why we were late, that I was just waiting until his prasädam was ready. But the more I tried to pacify him the more agitated he became as he rammed home his point.
"I don't want your prasädam! Don't bring it! You rascal! Now you sit in your room and don't go anywhere unless I call you!"
His anger had the right effect. Due to dullness I had neglected my duty, which was to serve him and keep him informed about what was happening. His sharp words crashed through the cloud of ignorance covering my brain as I realized that my inattentiveness was simply mäyä. I hung my head and stopped trying to defend my position. Finally he relented a little. "Now bring whatever is done. It doesn't matter, just bring whatever is there." I ran down and brought up whatever was ready. He accepted it without any further comment and with no sign of any agitation whatsoever. As easily as it had arisen, his anger had abated.
After clearing his plate and wiping the desk down, I retired to my room and did not stir from there for the rest of the day.

February 5, 1977 B Palika was late in Calcutta B Prabhupäda chastised her and then explained that Aonce the appetite comes up, it must be fed.@

Kindly sent in by Hari Sauri prabhu ACBSP used with permission


January 23, 1976 - Mayapur
At lunch Prabhupäda requested that I learn how to cook from Harikeça.

Harikesa=s instructions on how to cook for Çréla Prabhupäda
February 6th, 1976 B Mayapur
The two new swamis left for Calcutta this morning. Harikeça Mahäräja will go to the USA. via London. I gave him my quilted cotton jacket, a bagalbundi from Våndävana, because he had no clothes for colder climates. Before he left he gave me a three page, handwritten list of instructions on how to cook for Çréla Prabhupäda:
1. Take bottom section of cooker and put perhaps 3 or 4 heaping tablespoons of yellow split mung or toor dal which has been well washed and immediately let it boil so that you can regulate the temperature to a small rolling boil. Water level should be 5/8 full. Add turmeric (till nice deep color) and salt.
In 2nd section put 4 6 oz rice (nice basmati) and clean and wash 1 or 2 times (not too much) then add twice as much water or slightly less.
In 3rd section whatever vegetables you want to steam should be placed here and do not cover the holes.
Cover with lid and wait 45 minutes.
Vegetables (typical steaming schedule):
Cauliflower, potato, zucchini, loki, eggplant, tomato, (beans or peas), portals etc.

Dahl should be completely merged, not solid, not liquid, chaunched with chili, cumin, asafoetida, either methi or dhanya but never at the same time, sometimes ginger in chaunch is nice.
Paneer cheese:
Boil milk, curdle with yogurt, take out and put in cloth. Press under cloth with heavy weight by forcing out all water. Cut cheese into chunks and deep fry brown. Meantime make masala (as you like) put in water and tomato C then cheese and boil till cheese is very soft.
Wet veg:
Masala, add water, turmeric, salt, sometimes yoghurt, then steamed veg C heat and serve.
Dry veg.
masala, add steamed veg, turmeric, salt, fry for short while.
Some masalas
Cumin, anise, chili, (hing)
Cumin, anise, methi, chili, mustard, (hing),
cumin, anise, ginger, hing
methi, anise, (hing)
Coriander powder, turmeric, salt, sweet neem (curry leaves) are also used.
As you change the ratios of one spice to another in the masalas you get an infinite variety of tastes.
Recipe for Sukta:
Wok on very low heat with sufficient ghee to fry the vegetables first. Use whatever you like of the below list but kerala (bitter melon) is absolutely essential:
kerala, radish, potato, green banana (plantain), pepper, green tomato, carrots, beets, beans (string beans), mooli.
When little soft add saltCspice by pushing aside vegetables and in the middle cooking cumin, anise, green chili, methi, not very dark, continue frying. When finished add water and boil down. Add turmeric. Mash poppy seeds (white) to paste add dry fry methi, anise, cumin, chili and grind add to top after putting off the heat, serve liquid.
Masala with methi, chili, cumin, anise and add spinach leaves, cover and cook. In the meantime deep fry to brown, badi, and break up into prep with salt C finished (do not add extra water).
Rice cooks automatically in the cooker just keep it hot.

April 8, 1976 - Våndävana
I have been learning how to make capätés from Bhagatjé, who Prabhupäda said makes the best. They are thick but well cooked, and each one puffs up perfectly and tastes sweet. Each day he comes to cook them for Prabhupäda's lunch, stopping briefly to ask Prabhupäda what he would like to eat, before entering the kitchen at the bottom of the garden. Çréla Prabhupäda is encouraging me to learn in preparation for the next few months on the road. He said he would personally show me how to use his three tiered cooker.

Prabhupäda shows me how to use the cooker
April 13 1976 - Bombay

Prabhupäda showed us how to prepare lunch with his three tiered cooker today. Before his massage was finished, he got up and we went to the kitchen. He loaded the cooker, putting däl in the bottom tier, rice in the middle, and vegetables on top. He set the cooker on a low flame and had Pradyumna make some capäté dough. Thirty five minutes later he came back to the kitchen and chaunched the däl, spiced the vegetables, made capätés, and then ate. It was a simple, wholesome meal, expertly prepared with a minimum of fuss.
We were fortunate to share his remnants, which to me tasted far better than usual, having been cooked with his own hands.

Me (Hari Sauri) actually cooking for Çréla Prabhupäda
April 20, 1976 B Melbourne
Cooking breakfast
In addition to the fruits and fried cashews the local devotees prepared for him, Prabhupäda asked me to make two additional preparations: bora (soaked däl mashed to a paste and then deep fried) and chéra (spicy, fried flat rice mixed with deep fried peas and potato cubes).
For convenience I cooked in the Australian TSKP bus.

April 27, 1976 B Auckland
Since there are so few devotees at this temple, I got my first chance to cook for His Divine Grace today. I completely blew itCmuch to Çréla Prabhupäda's disappointment and my own mortification. Using the cooker required much more expertise than I thought. It seemed so easy when I watched Çréla Prabhupäda make his meal in Bombay. I had everything prepared before the massage. I remembered to stop at the right time to put the cooker on the stove. But when I went back at the end of the massage, everything had turned to mush. I had left the flame on too high and the vegetables, rice, and däl were all way overcooked. With no time to prepare anything else, I had to serve it as it was.
Needless to say, Çréla Prabhupäda was not happy. He could not understand how I could have made such a mess, and he told me bluntly that I had no brain; I was too dull to learn, he said. Because there was nothing else available, he ate it, but it was a disaster that I don't hope to repeat.

May 6th 1976 B Hawaii.
Cooking for Çréla Prabhupäda has been something of a problem. After my disastrous attempt in New Zealand, I left it to the local devotees to make arrangements here. One of the girls, Kuça däsé, tried for the first couple of days, but Prabhupäda complained she used too much salt. Before I could speak to her personally, word got out and she became discouraged. Then she suddenly was taken to the hospital suffering from a bad infection. So yesterday I had another go. It was another complete failure and Prabhupäda repeated his criticism: I am simply too dull to learn.
Prabhupäda's digestion is so delicate that a constant change of cooks can mean serious  health problems for him. In evident frustration at my incompetence he asked for the three tier cooker and some burners to be brought upstairs to his room, declaring that he would cook for himself. I was completely downcast that I was so useless I couldn't even cook properly, so Çukadeva prabhu, the temple president, offered to try. Prabhupäda consented and today's lunch turned out to his satisfactionCexcept for the däl, which Çukadeva had cooked down to a mush. Prabhupäda said that was untouchable. But that was his only complaint, so Çukadeva is going to do it every day now.
May 8, 1976

Çréla Prabhupäda declared Çukadeva's cooking "first class" today. I am relieved. He is not only using the three tiered cooker to do däl, rice and bitter melon, but he has another six pots going at the same time, from which he makes three wet and three dry sabjés. Added to this is a very palatable lassé made by one of the ladies, which His Divine Grace said was very good.

June 14, 1976  - Detroit
He knows very good cooking
As I stood in my gamchä ready for Çréla Prabhupäda's massage, Çrutakérti told him that I looked as though I could give a very good massage.
To my embarrassment and everyone else's amusement, Prabhupäda replied with good humored sarcasm, "Mmm. Hari çauri's defect is he cannot cook. Otherwise, he is your duplicate. Except cooking. He knows very good cooking!"
Puñöa Kåñëa Mahäräja chimed in that I knew how to eat, but then Prabhupäda switched the mood. "A young man must eat. Why one should be like me?"

June 15, 1976 - Detroit
Settling in his room, Prabhupäda asked for Pälikä. I was very happy when he asked her to make chéra the same way that I cook it. Although I have failed as a cook, Prabhupäda does occasionally ask me to make chéra, usually in the evenings. He likes it, so I am not a total loss.

Cooking neem patties in france

Harikesa cooking for Prabhupäda
August 7th, 1976 B leaving France for Iran
He is cooking 90% for himself
We had to be at the airport by midday, so the morning was hectic.
Çréla Prabhupäda had his massage at 8:30 a.m., and prasädam at 10:00. Right after this he had to visit the local post office to sign for a registered letter sent to him from England. The postal authorities had refused to give it to the devotees, insisting that he collect it himself. That done, we proceeded on, escorted by just a small party of local devotees. Finally we boarded the Iran Air flight for a 1:15 p.m. departure and a four hour forty five minute flight to Tehran.
As soon as we settled into our seats Çréla Prabhupäda turned to me. He caustically complained about Harikeça's cooking and the erratic nature of his offerings. After several minutes expressing his dissatisfaction he concluded, "He is cooking ninety per cent for himself. He is not cooking to my desire."
I had to think what to do. Prabhupäda was making it clear he wanted some change, although he didn't say it directly. Harikeça was trying his best, but somehow Çréla Prabhupäda wasn't satisfied.  I mentally resolved that as soon as we got to Tehran I would contact Los Angeles and insist that Pälikä däsé be sent to join up with us in Bombay to resume her service as cook. I figured that would ensure that Prabhupäda will have a good and steady standard of cooking; it is absolutely essential to his health. The only other alternative would be for his personal servant to do the service, but I am already a proven failure. And even apart from this, when his servant has to do both cooking and massage, neither service can be rendered as efficiently as when each is performed by a separate devotee. Pälikä's cooking of first rate prasädam made just according to Prabhupäda's wishes enabled me to give him a long and attentive massage. I feel a return to this standard is best. His Divine Grace's health is gradually deteriorating, and I want to assure him at least of a good diet to help forestall any major health problem.

August 8th, 1976
One of the first things I did on our arrival was ask Atreya to telex Los Angeles from his office with a request for Pälikä däsé to rejoin our party in India next week.
After Çréla Prabhupäda's complaints on the airplane leaving France I can see no alternative. Harikeça Mahäräja has conceded that his cooking is not satisfying His Divine Grace and while we are here Nandaräëé will do it.
August 13th, 1976 B Bombay
Pälikä prabhu was waiting amongst a small crowd of devotees at the entrance to his apartment building. Çréla Prabhupäda was happy, but surprised, to see her. "Oh, you are here."
She was surprised at his surprise, telling him that she had come to cook for him.
They both looked at me inquisitively: she because she thought Çréla Prabhupäda had personally called her to India, and he because he had not been informed that she was rejoining the party.
Thinking Prabhupäda may not agree to having money spent for his personal needs, I had taken a gamble that he would approve. Now, with some trepidation, I explained my actions in sending for her, motivated by my desire that he get good prasädam everyday. Then I waited for his response.
"Hmm. Anyway, now there will be no difficulty," he said with a gentle smile, filling me with relief.

Kindly sent in by Hari Sauri prabhu ACBSP used with permission


Pisima cooking for Prabhupäda

February 27th, 1976 - Mayapur

Prabhupäda is not feeling well, yet he continues to receive visitors and take his walks. On top of a bad cold, he now has uremia again, so he is not taking rice.
His sister, who is still staying here, insists on cooking for him. But he complains that she uses too much chili and ghee, or sometimes heavy doses of mustard oil, which cause some digestive problems.

February 29, 1976 - Mayapur
Prabhupäda refused to allow Piñimä to cook for him any moreCafter eating her lunch yesterday he became ill and had to take rest at 8:00 p.m.
He called her in and told her to return to Calcutta. She argued with him. Then Prabhupäda shouted at her in Bengali and she became upset and started to cry. He was telling her to go, and she refused. Finally she got up in tears and left the room.
They have a very special, transcendental relationship. Apart from being Çréla Prabhupäda's sister (she even looks like him), Piñimä is also an initiated disciple of Çréla Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvaté and a great devotee of Lord Kåñëa.
As he relaxed on his äsana afterward, he told me she should stay in Calcutta and look after their childhood Deities. He shook his head and laughed. "She has some idea of traveling with me. She thinks I am her brother. This is the problem. Therefore Caitanya Mahäprabhu took sannyäsa. Not because it changed Him as a person, but to get away from the family. Generally family members don't take instruction. I was the same person before taking sannyäsa as after. I took sannyäsa for this reason. Otherwise, I could have done the same things without it."

February 7, 1977 B Calcutta Mayapur
Pisima came out with our party in a car with Palika and Sruti Rupa.
October 13, 1977 - Våndävana
Prabhupäda=s sister arrived on October 12
Prabhupäda called for his sister and spoke in Bengali.
Prabhupäda (to his sister): Sometime in past I heard you were not allowed in the room.  So if there is any offense, I want you to forgive me.  (Then to Bhakti caru Mahäräja who was standing there) Apart from being my sister, she is my Godsister.  She took harinäma dékñä from Bhaktisiddhänta.  If we make offense upon any Vaiñëava, it is not good.  So please ask her to forgive me.  I am only taking juice, but I would like to eat something.  What?  Today I am going to eat something, solid food.  It doesn't matter whether it does good to me or bad to me.  Nothing can be worse than this.  She is a Vaiñëavé, it will be good for me.
Probably I became a little puffed up of my opulence and success.  Now God has shattered that pride If you don't have your body, then what's there to be puffed up of?
Bhakti caru Mahäräja: Çréla Prabhupäda, whatever you have done, you have done for Kåñëa.
Prabhupäda: That may be, but in this world unknowingly you commit offenses.
Bhakti caru Mahäräja: You can't ever commit offenses, Çréla Prabhupäda.  You are God's dear one, how can you commit offenses?
Prabhupäda: I am a little temperamental person.  Often I used to use the words like rascal, etc.  I never compromised.  They used to call it kurul niye pracära. Preaching with a pickaxe.  Kurul in one hand and Bhägavatam in the other hand.  That's how I preached.  Anyway, make all the arrangements for her.

October 17, 1977 B Våndävana
Dr. G. Ghosh stated that Prabhupäda's stomach and liver were all right but stressed that Prabhupäda should eat more and drink lots of liquids.  Prabhupäda's sister cooked fried eggplant, fried portals, puris, yogurt blended with figs, apricots, and raisins, papaya, coconut milk blended with avocado.  Çréla Prabhupäda ate very heartily.

Cooking for health
August 15, 1976 Bombay
 Pälikä to soak black pepper and cumin seed and then grind them into a paste. He had her do the same with tumeric. She cooked his lunch using this spicing, carefully mixing the paste with the required amount of water and adding it to his lunch preparations. Then this evening he called her in and had her make two parathas and a potato and eggplant subji. We were delighted to see him eat and he told us that the spicing had given him a good appetite.

Prasädam as an inducement and on vegetarianism

January 9 1976B Letter to Tusta Krsna
prasadam as inducement for book distributors; vegetarianism waste of time

There was also a long letter from Tuñöa Kåñëa Swami in New Zealand. He and his men are preaching vigorously and have launched several new projects as well as developing their farm. He has opened a vegetarian restaurant with money that a boy inherited from his family's beef farm. They had good publicity from the press and on television, and he also has plans to start a Vedic University as part of his development of a varëäçrama community.
In one short paragraph he also affirmed his desire to distribute Prabhupäda's books, although he mentioned some devotees were "hesitant due to previous pressure put on them to collect certain quotas each day." (A main point of contention between Tuñöa Kåñëa's faction and the body of devotees is that they dislike the major emphasis that ISKCON leaders and devotees place on the importance of book distribution, and the pressure sometimes applied to encourage devotees to distribute the books).
Pleased with their preaching efforts, Prabhupäda sent a long letter in reply, dealing with the report point by point. He especially stressed the importance of book distribution. "So far the devotees being hesitant to distribute books on account of pressure, sometimes pressure is required, especially when one is not so advanced. Of course it has to be applied properly, otherwise there may be some bad taste. But spontaneous service can only be expected from advanced devotees. It is vaidhi bhakti vaidhi means 'must.' Sometimes devotees are promised a plate of maha prasadam for the biggest distributor. There is no harm. Actually one should try to serve Kåñëa to his or her full capacity without thought of rewardCservice is itself the reward. But this takes time to actually realize, and until that platform is achieved some pressure or inducement is required."
He was pleased about the opening of the restaurant but cautioned him that it should not be seen simply as a place for promoting vegetarianism. "We should not waste time encouraging vegetarianism as opposed to meat eating. We want to encourage prasädam taking, and that is automatically vegetarian."

Kindly sent in by Hari Sauri prabhu ACBSP used with permission


'This is Very Good,' She Said Innocently. 'What is It?'

Prabhupada's activities in the unusual and sometimes stressful situation of airplane travel constitute a special lila. Sometimes the devotees accompanying Prabhupada felt acute discomfort in having to see their spiritual master in such an inconvenienced setting. For example, it was Srila Prabhupada's habit to eat alone, but on planes this was not possible. Of course, he was sitting on the same, equal level with his disciples and with nondevotees. Usually, after finishing eating, he told his disciples to share the remnants among themselves. Sometimes the devotees felt that such eating in Prabhupada's presence was perhaps offensive, but Prabhupada always insisted that they should honor the prasadam after he did. He was concerned to see that the devotees were nicely taken care of. Sometimes passengers in the opposite seats would observe the devotees eating and notice that they were eating leftovers from their master's plate. These situations had their nice features in that the devotees were forced, by Prabhupada's presence, to stay in transcendental consciousness and not be affected by the mundane opinions of the karmis.

On one occasion when Srila Prabhupada was flying from Venezuela, the only food he had with him was puffed rice wrapped up in aluminum foil. When his servant told Srila Prabhupada that this was all they had and asked whether Prabhupada wanted to take something from the plane kitchen, Prabhupada replied, "No, we have our prasadam. That's all right."

Prabhupada's servant unwrapped the aluminum foil and sat it on the little table before Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada ate about half of the puffed rice and then handed it over to the two disciples beside him. Just as the devotees were about to share the remnants, a stewardess walked down the aisle, looked at the scene with Prabhupada, stuck her hand into the puffed rice, took a handful, and ate it. "This is very good," she said innocently. "What is it?"

Prabhupada's servant replied, "It is puffed rice."

Prabhupada looked up at the stewardess and was smiling at her. She smiled back at Prabhupada, saying, "This is very good."

"I'm glad you like it," said Prabhupada's servant.

"Are you having anything else to eat?" the stewardess asked.

"Well, we are vegetarians," said Srutakirti. "Unless there is some fruit or something, we won't take."

"Oh, I'll go up to first-class and get you a basket of fruit," she said. The stewardess was back in a few moments with a basket of fruit along with knives and glasses. She asked if there was anything further she could get.

"Prabhupada, would you like some milk?" asked Sruta-kirti.

"Yes," said Prabhupada, "hot milk." Usually it was not an easy thing to get a cup of hot milk from the airplane crew, but on this occasion, the stewardess was very willing. She went forward and soon returned with hot milk. Everything had happened spontaneously, starting from the moment the stewardess took a bit of prasadam from Prabhupada's plate. Devotees in the temple used to run and dive to get Prabhupada's maha-prasadam, but this stewardess had just spontaneously grabbed a handful and eaten it, and then she had become inspired to render service to Srila Prabhupada.

"That was really something," remarked Srutakirti after the stewardess had left.

"It's natural," said Srila Prabhupada. "Women have a motherly tendency to be like this."

- From the Prabhupada Nectar by HH Satsvarupa dasa Goswami