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Are You Honoring KRSNA's Prasadam (Mercy) or Stuffing Your Face With Food (Sin)???

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Honouring Krsna Prasadam








Jul 05, CANADA (SUN) — A four-part series on Srila Prabhupada's instructions for honouring Krsna prasadam.


<center>Prasada Protocol</center>


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"The word apavitra anna refers to food that is unacceptable for a Vaisnava. In other words, a Vaisnava cannot accept any food offered by an avaisnava in the name of maha-prasada. This should be a principle for all Vaisnavas. When asked, "What is the behavior of a Vaisnava?" Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu replied, "A Vaisnava must avoid the company of an avaisnava [asat]." The word asat refers to an avaisnava, that is, one who is not a Vaisnava.
Asat-sanga-tyaga,--ei vaisnava-acara
(Cc. Madhya 22.87). A Vaisnava must be very strict in this respect and should not at all cooperate with an avaisnava. If an avaisnava offers food in the name of maha-prasada, it should not be accepted. Such food cannot be prasada because an avaisnava cannot offer anything to the Lord. Sometimes preachers in the Krsna consciousness movement have to accept food in a home where the householder is an avaisnava; however, if this food is offered to the Deity, it can be taken. Ordinary food cooked by an avaisnava should not be accepted by a Vaisnava. Even if an avaisnava cooks food without fault, he cannot offer it to Lord Visnu, and it cannot be accepted as maha-prasada. According to Lord Krsna in the Bhagavad-gita (9.26):




patram puspam phalam toyam

yo me bhaktya prayacchati

tad aham bhakty-upahrtam

asnami prayatatmanah


"If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water, I will accept it."




Krsna can accept anything offered by His devotee with devotion. An avaisnava may be a vegetarian and a very clean cook, but because he cannot offer the food he cooks to Visnu, it cannot be accepted as maha-prasada. It is better that a Vaisnava abandon such food as untouchable." Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya lila 9:53 Purport





In Vedic culture and Vaisnava sastra, we find many references to the protocol one should follow when preparing bhoga, offering foodstuffs to the Lord, and taking Krsna prasadam. These regulations establish how prasada should be handled for both home and temple worship. Srila Prabhupada gave instructions as to how these rules should apply for present time, place and circumstance. For example, he explained how prasada should be handled for those living under shelter of the temples.




Srila Prabhupada provided a great deal of instruction and purport on Vaisnava literatures which explicitly detail how offerings are to be made to the Deities in the temple, and the prasada protocol related thereto. For example, Srila Prabhupada instructed that only twice initiated brahmana disciples were to cook in the temple. Non-brahmanas were permitted to assist, but could not themselves cook. Preparations produced by non-devotees are not to be offered to the Deities, and this regulation should extend, to the greatest degree possible, to ingredients purchased in karmi stores. At the same time, Srila Prabhupada always emphasized a common sense approach to regulative practices. For example, while regulations require fasting for Ekadasi and the observance of various religious and festival events, Srila Prabhupada instructed that one should not allow such practices to interfere with devotional service:


You said that if we fast and we can't do our work and we become weak, than this is not so good.
This is not good, "not so" not, absolutely bad.
So, our devotional service comes first?


So if there is, let us say there is grain and rice being offered to the Deities, and one finds that if he eats this, his service is impaired. Like so many times I've seen, practically myself if I overeat grains in the summertime, I drive around doing my service and I'm falling asleep.

Then which foodstuff suits you?

Fruits are more... they keep me more active.

So you take fruit. Fruit is also offered to the Deity. There are varieties of prasadam. So whichever suits, you can take. Anything artificial is bad.
Srila Prabhupada Morning Walk, 07-01-75, Denver





A great deal of prasada protocol is given within the context of the Varnasrama system, which regulates right living for the varnas and asramas. Different rules are given for those who are brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, and sudra, each according to their unique station in society. While the pure varnas and asramas do not exist in the age of Kali yuga, these designations are still somewhat delineated amongst those strictly following the path of Bhakti yoga. Grhasthas (householders) are expected to take a practical approach to prasadam for one engaged in family life, whereas one in the renounced order follows a different protocol. For example, a person in the renounced order of life should not cook for himself, but is permitted to cook for the Supreme Lord. A sannyasi may take prasada at the house of a grhastha, and a brahmacari helps in this connection, given that a sannyasi is supposed to be a spiritual master and a brahmacari his disciple. The husband provides for his family, and the wife offers him service, not as a servant, but so that husband and wife work together in a way that encourages spiritual advancement.





"Although she was not accustomed to such difficulties, Queen Arci followed her husband in the regulative principles of living in the forest like great sages. She lay down on the ground and ate only fruits, flowers and leaves, and because she was not fit for these activities, she became frail and thin. Yet because of the pleasure she derived in serving her husband, she did not feel any difficulties.


Purport: The words bhartur vrata-dharma-nisthaya indicate that a woman's duty, or religious principle, is to serve her husband in all conditions. In Vedic civilization a man is taught from the beginning of his life to become a brahmacari, then an ideal grhastha, then vanaprastha, then sannyasi, and the wife is taught just to follow the husband strictly in all conditions of life. After the period of brahmacarya, a man accepts a householder's life, and the woman is also taught by her parents to be a chaste wife. Thus when a girl and boy are united, both are trained for a life dedicated to a higher purpose. The boy is trained to execute his duty in accordance with the higher purpose of life, and the girl is trained to follow him. The chaste wife's duty is to keep her husband pleased in householder life in all respects, and when the husband retires from family life, she is to go to the forest and adopt the life of vanaprastha, or vana-vasi. At that time the wife is to follow her husband and take care of him, just as she took care of him in householder life. But when the husband takes the renounced order of life, namely sannyasa, the wife is to return home and become a saintly woman, setting an example for her children and daughters-in-law and showing them how to live a life of austerity.


When Caitanya Mahaprabhu took sannyasa, His wife, Visnupriyadevi, although only sixteen years old, also took the vow of austerity due to her husband's leaving home. She chanted her beads, and after finishing one round, she collected one grain of rice. In this way, as many rounds as she chanted, she would receive the same number of rice grains and then cook them and so take prasada. This is called austerity. Even today in India, widows or women whose husbands have taken sannyasa follow the principles of austerity, even though they live with their children. Prthu Maharaja's wife, Arci, was steadily determined to execute the duty of a wife, and while her husband was in the forest, she followed him in eating only fruits and leaves and lying down on the ground. Since a woman's body is considerably more delicate than a man's, Queen Arci became very frail and thin, parikarsita. When one engages in austerities, his body generally becomes lean and thin. Becoming fat is not a very good qualification in spiritual life because a person who is engaged in spiritual life must reduce the comforts of the body--namely eating, sleeping and mating--to a minimum. Although Queen Arci became very thin from living in the forest according to regulative principles, she was not unhappy, for she was enjoying the honor of serving her great husband."

Srimad-Bhagavatam 4:23:20





"A sannyasi should be completely detached from fire and any residential quarters. A grhastha has a relationship with fire, either for offering sacrifices or for cooking, but a sannyasi is freed from these two responsibilities. He does not have to cook or offer fire for sacrifice because he is always engaged in Krsna consciousness; therefore he has already accomplished all ritualistic performances of religion. Aniketanah means "without lodging." He should not have his own house, but should depend completely on the Supreme Lord for his food and lodging. He should travel."

Srimad-Bhagavatam 3:24:42 Purport





"After the grhastha-asrama is another asrama, known as vanaprastha, which is midway between grhastha and sannyasa. A person in the vanaprastha order is restricted in eating food grains and forbidden to eat fruits that have not ripened on the tree. Nor should he cook food with fire, although he is allowed to eat caru, grains that have been offered in a sacrificial fire. He may also eat fruits and grains that have grown naturally. Living in a thatched cottage, the vanaprastha should endure all kinds of heat and cold. He should not cut his nails or hair, and he should give up cleaning his body and teeth. He should wear tree bark, accept a danda, and practice life in the forest, taking a vow to live there for twelve years, eight years, four years, two years or at least one year. At last, when because of old age he can no longer perform the activities of a vanaprastha, he should gradually stop everything and in this way give up his body."

Srimad-Bhagavatam 7:12 Summary


<center>Personal Cleanliness</center>






<center>The Bathing Ghat</center>



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"So you must live up to the rules and regulations of brahminical life. First and foremost is cleanliness. In your country they have so many filthy habits. For example, they don't wash after eating. A brahmana does not do like that. If he did so in India, he would be highly criticized. So even if you eat a little, still you must wash immediately. And the place that you eat at must be washed off immediately also. In this way.



A brahmana's name is suci, or one who is clean. In the toilet room wash with water and wash your hands with soap. Then wash feet, face and mouth. Your cloth must be washed daily, especially any cloth used to sleep in. In the kitchen also, things should be kept spotless and cooking should only be done by brahmanas; others may assist. That is the same procedure followed with Deity worship. So these are some of the points to note in Brahminical life. Keep yourself clean outside by bathing, etc. and clean inside by chanting Hare Krishna Mantra. Go on in this way and your rapid advancement in Krishna Consciousness will be certain."
Srila Prabhupada Letter to Laksmi narayana, 07-08-71






Cleanliness is next to Godliness. One of the most important aspects to be considered when cooking for the pleasure of the Lord is cleanliness. All things must be kept fully clean and organized, including the kitchen, equipment and utensils, and the persons who are cooking and assisting.


One should always prepare for kitchen service by first performing a complete personal cleansing. In the "Hari-bhakti-vilasa", Gopala Bhatta Goswami has explicitly described the rules of Deity worship, including protocol for the preparation of foodstuffs for the Lord. One should first pass urine and stool, shave, brush the teeth and rinse the mouth, all of which are considered to be contaminated activities. Next, one must fully bathe, chant the proper mantras, and put on clean Vaisnava clothing and tilak before entering the kitchen.


All effort should be made to maintain an atmosphere of cleanliness during the cooking process. If one is called out of the kitchen, or gets involved in some other activity while in the midst of cooking, always wash the hands thoroughly before resuming the cooking activities. After cooking and making the offering, one may change into clean clothing while the Lord is eating.





"But you do not know cleanliness, although you are..., that is because your, your cleanliness is with machine. And without machine, you cannot keep clean. Why not this broomstick is sufficient? If in India machine is not available, you cannot be clean? Keep everything cleansed--utensils, plates, teeth, hands, feet. Use sufficient water. There will be no (indistinct). Dirty things should be removed, and cleansed inside and outside. Inside cleansed: simply Krsna consciousness, always thinking of Krsna. That is inside clean. And outside, that is also required. You cannot neglect, because outside unclean means inside also you'll see unclean. If you keep both sides clean, then you will be healthy inside and outside. Srnvatam sva-kathah krsna punya-sravana-kirtanah hrdy antah stho hy abhadrani. Abhadrani, all inauspicious things, that will be cleaned. They should be washed. To become sacred thread means he must be suci. Satya samah damah saucam, saucam. One must be very clean. That is brahminism. Not simply having a sacred thread: "Prabhupada, give me sacred thread, sacred thread, sacred thread," everybody. You have got sacred thread, that is certificate, but what is your saucam? Cleanliness. The brahmana's name is suci. He is always cleansed. Everyone will see, and he'll immediately feel how cleansed he is. What is the difficulty? God has given sufficient water. For cleanliness you simply require water, that's all. No antiseptic bottle--Dettol, this, that, so many. You are manufacturing so many rascal things, but ultimately unclean. Ultimately unclean. But by God's arrangement, by Krsna's arrangement, simple..."

Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation, 12-11-71, Delhi c.gifBhaktivedanta Book Trust. HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.

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Anything artificial is bad.


On the one hand it seems, unless we go to a temple, have Deity worship in our home, (our somebody's home) there is no advancement. On the other hand Prabhupada was eminently practical as can be understood by the above quote.

I cannot and will not have Deities in my home - it is impractical (and therefore artificial) with my life style.

But thank you for outlining the black and white requirements which clearly exclude me and countless others from participating in the bhakti marga.

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On the one hand it seems, unless we go to a temple, have Deity worship in our home, (our somebody's home) there is no advancement. On the other hand Prabhupada was eminently practical as can be understood by the above quote.

I cannot and will not have Deities in my home - it is impractical (and therefore artificial) with my life style.

But thank you for outlining the black and white requirements which clearly exclude me and countless others from participating in the bhakti marga.


Cbrahma, I think you're frustrated. Maybe, christianity will be the right religion for you? It's simple and easy to practice, and comes with guarantee;), perhaps you must give it a shot.

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Honouring Krsna Prasadam, Part 2



<CENTER>shopping2.jpg </CENTER>


Jul 06, CANADA (SUN) — A four-part series on Srila Prabhupada's instructions for honouring Krsna prasadam.


<CENTER>Shopping for Bhoga</CENTER>


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"Service means activity, for when we serve someone, we are acting. When we serve Krsna, we are preaching Krsna consciousness, or cooking, or cleansing the temple, or distributing books about Krsna, or writing about Him, or shopping for foodstuff to offer Him. There are so many ways to serve."
Path of Perfection, Chapter 1







Shopping for bhoga (unoffered foodstuffs) should be an extension of the Krsna Consciousness with which prasada is prepared and served to the Lord. The same principles of cleanliness and orderliness that apply to one's person and kitchen facilities should also be applied to shopping.


Whenever possible, shop for foodstuffs in stores that are as close to 'mode of goodness' as possible. Such stores are clean, the produce is fresh, the environment is open to air and sunlight, and the mood of people there is positive and happy. Here in the west, we are more likely to experience 'mode of passion' shopping venues, where people are frenetically rushing down florescent lit aisles, and consumerism is the religion. Avoid shopping in places that appear 'mode of ignorance', where food is left rotting in the bins, the air smells foul, and the place is dark or dirty.


Shop methodically and carefully, taking the time to read labels and understand exactly what's contained in the foods you purchase. As Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita, "If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water, I will accept it." Krsna will accept offerings of foodstuffs prepared from milk products, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains. Meat, fish, and eggs are not offerable, and are strictly avoided. Unfortunately, these forbidden items are often included in prepared foods, hidden under names that are indistinguishable from other additives. For example, some brands of yogurt and sour cream contain gelatin, a substance made from the horns, hooves, and bones of slaughtered animals. Many cheese products contain rennet, an enzyme extracted from the stomach tissue of slaughtered cows. Here is a detailed list of food additives and some name brand products that contain animal ingredients, and notes on foodstuff adulterations.


Certain vegetarian items are also forbidden for offering to the Lord, including garlic and onions. Some Vaisnavas consider these items to be in the mode of darkness (ignorance), because they are grown underground. Similarly, mushrooms are considered unbonafide for offering. Some consider onions and garlic to be mode of passion, because they tend to heat up the blood, while others avoid them because the strength of their flavour dulls to palate to finer, more subtle tastes. Vedic cooks replace the tastes of onion and garlic with a spice called Hing (asafetida), which adds a similar rich taste to cooked foods without overcoming the palate.


On the subject of onions, garlic and mushrooms, we have several interesting comments from Srila Prabhupada:


  • "Odor, although one, becomes many - as mixed, offensive, fragrant, mild, strong, acidic and so on according to the proportions of associated substances.

    PURPORT: Mixed smell is sometimes perceived in foodstuffs prepared from various ingredients, such as vegetables mixed with different kinds of spices and asafetida. Bad odors are perceived in filthy places, good smells are perceived from camphor, menthol and similar other products, pungent smells are perceived from garlic and onions, and acidic smells are perceived from turmeric and similar sour substances. The original aroma is the odor emanating from the earth, and when it is mixed with different substances, this odor appears in different ways."
    Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.26.45

    My Dear Harer Nama, [...] So far as explaining my letter to Kris, I have listed the ingredients which may use for preparing prasadam but these various varieties of foodstuffs may be prepared either in the given recipes or if you like you may invent nice new formulas for offering. The important thing is that your preparations be palatable for Lord Krishna and that the ingredients be within the groups of ingredients already listed. You have asked me about sassafras and yes, it may be offered. Mushrooms are generally not offered, but there is no prohibition, there is no harm in them.
    68-12-01 Letter to Harer Nama

    My Dear Himavati, Because mushrooms grow in a filthy place, they are not usually offered to Krishna. 71-11-17 Letter to Himavati



Given the lack of specific prohibition against mushrooms coupled with Srila Prabhupada's comments above, the use of mushrooms in preparations being offered to Krsna is certainly an arguable practice. This is particularly true when you consider that in today's agri-food industry in the west, mushrooms are produced in a growing medium that is nearly always pastuerized or sterilized, which means it's 'cleaner' than most field dirt.


In general, if something can be offered to the Lord as part of a prescribed form of worship, then it is acceptable, otherwise not. Stimulants and intoxicants are always rejected, including coffee, cocoa, tea, tobacco, alcohol, and any items including caffeine. Caffeine-free coffee and herbal teas are acceptable.


Some devotees go so far as to reject all vegetarian products that are "meat look-alikes", finding these products too close for comfort to actual animal foods, or not wanting to be tempted to re-awaken their tastes for these items. Srila Prabhupada, however, found such foods to be acceptable for offering to Krsna.



<CENTER>Kitchen Standards</CENTER>




<CENTER>A Well-organized Vaisnava Kitchen</CENTER>





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"The kitchen department should be very clean and things should not be wasted. This is the first consideration."
Srila Prabhupada Letter to Aksayananda, 01-06-76






When preparing food for offering to Lord Krsna, cleanliness is a most important principle. Nothing impure should be offered to the Lord, so the kitchen environment and all gear and utensils must be kept very clean. Foodstuffs being prepared for offering must be used only for that purpose:




"That which is meant to be offered in yajna cannot be tasted by anyone before being offered to the Deity. In our temples, this regulation is in effect. One cannot eat food from the kitchen unless it is offered to the Deity. If something is taken before being offered to the Deity, the entire preparation is polluted and can no longer be offered. Those engaged in Deity worship must know this very well so that they may be saved from committing offenses in Deity worship."
Srimad-Bhagavatam 9:6:8





Srila Prabhupada also instructed that prasadam should never be taken in the kitchen where cooking is going on. If space is limited, part of the kitchen may be partitioned off as a prasadam taking area, but this activity must be done separately from the cooking area.




"One should never eat within the kitchen, there is ample place to eat so why should one eat in the kitchen? Kitchen should be considered as good as the Lord's room, and nobody should wear shoes in the kitchen, smelling and tasting of foods being prepared for the Lord should never be done, talking within the kitchen should be only what is necessary for preparing the prasadam, or about the Lord, and dirty dishes (those taken from kitchen and eaten from) should not be brought back into the kitchen (but if there is no other place to wash them, then they should be put into sink and washed immediately.), hands should always be washed when preparing prasadam, and in this way, everything shall be prepared very cleanly and pure.)"


Srila Prabhupada Letter to Aniruddha, 06-16-68



"It is advisable that food being offered to the Deity be covered when taken from the kitchen to the Deity room. In that way, others may not see it. Those who are not accustomed to following the advanced regulative devotional principles may desire to eat the food, and that is an offense. Therefore no one should be given a chance to even see it. However, when it is brought before the Deity, it must be uncovered."
Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya lila 4:124




At all times, animals must be kept out of the kitchen area, and away from foodstuffs being prepared. Animals may not be permitted to see foodstuffs as they're being prepared or carried to the altar.



Whenever possible, it is best to have completely separate cooking facilities: a Deity kitchen, and a devotee kitchen. Of course, it is especially difficult for many householders to arrange separate kitchen spaces. At the least, one should maintain cooking pots, utensils, etc. that are only use when cooking for the Lord. Serving spoons must be kept only for Krsna's use, so that foodstuffs are not contaminated while being placed onto the serving dishes.




"Formerly it was the custom of brahmanas to worship Lord Visnu daily at home and cook food in new pots. This system is still going on in Jagannatha Puri. The food would be cooked in earthen pots, all fresh and new, and after cooking, the pots would be thrown away. By the side of the house there was generally a big pit where such pots were thrown."
Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi lila 14:7




.......='TEXT-ALIGN:JUSTIFY'>Pusta Krsna: "I remember when I first went to Vrndavana and I saw in the villages how they were using dirt and charcoal to clean their pots and pans...

.......='TEXT-ALIGN:JUSTIFY'>Prabhupada: Yes, they use it.

.......='TEXT-ALIGN:JUSTIFY'>Pusta Krsna: I thought the.... It was my condition.... I have never seen before. I thought, "What is this? They are making their pots and pans dirty?" Because, you know, we're so accustomed to detergents and soaps, and you have to have so many things to clean.

.......='TEXT-ALIGN:JUSTIFY'>Prabhupada: That is not also properly clean.

.......='TEXT-ALIGN:JUSTIFY'>Pusta Krsna: No.

.......='TEXT-ALIGN:JUSTIFY'>Prabhupada: The down side of the pan remains black. But if you take some dirt and rub it nicely, it become glisten.

.......='TEXT-ALIGN:JUSTIFY'>Hari-sauri: Dirt is very first-class for cleaning.

Prabhupada: Utensils for cooking purpose must be very, very clean. The.... If the black portion remains, in India they will not touch.

Pusta Krsna: Even on the bottom?

.......='TEXT-ALIGN:JUSTIFY'>Prabhupada: Yes.

.......='TEXT-ALIGN:JUSTIFY'>Pusta Krsna: On the outside?

.......='TEXT-ALIGN:JUSTIFY'>Prabhupada: They'll not touch: "Oh, it is still dirty." But our going on. What can be done? Where there is no cleanliness, little rubbed with soap, that is sufficient. What can be done? But that is not cleanliness. If there is a black spot on the..., it has to.... It will immediately be cleaned. My mother used to see every utensil, whether there is any spot. The maidservant had to surrender. Examine. Then it is no spot. Then it is finished. Otherwise she has to do again. Everything should be neat and clean. The kitchen should be very neat and clean, washed twice daily, opened nicely and smeared with water and gobar. And if you see the kitchen, immediately you'll feel comfortable. It is very cleanly prepared, then offered to the Deity. Then you take. Automatically your mind becomes cleansed."

Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation, 04-22-76, Melbourne



Mahamsa: "Yes, these people are the head of the Marwari community. They don't know how to live. They live in these slums which we saw today. They live all around that area. They are karor-patis.(?)They have crores of rupees.

Prabhupada: To live very gorgeously is not good.

Mahamsa: But even their houses are not so clean, shabby.

Prabhupada: Even though they're not... You cannot say not... They are clean. I have seen in Bombay even the poorest man, his house, and a Parsee gentleman, his house. Kitchen habits. A Parsee's kitchen is so nasty. And here you see this poor man's house, they are neat. Their utensils how much cleansed. I had been in Parsee kitchen. All the pots black. Nothing is cleansed. For eating they use this China. So clean or unclean cannot be understood. Simply washed. But so far the kitchen pots, all are... In our also, when it is handled by this European, American devotees, the black. Down, it is black. That should not be black. It must be cleansed.

Mahamsa: By the heat with these wood, it brings up a lot of soot.

Prabhupada: But it must be cleansed daily.

Mahamsa: It should not come on your finger if you touch it. That black thing.

Prabhupada: Not even you cannot see black, any black spots. Then it is clean. Otherwise not clean. If there's a single black spot, it is not clean. You can see from this poor class of men, how their utensils are cleansed. Before taking water the jug, the waterpot... You'll like to drink water. In our school days there were sweeper, they were a different quarter. So you like to sit down. So clean. The sweeper, cleansing the toilet, bangi. But when you come to his house, living quarter, oh, it is so clean. The bed, the room, the utensils. And they also will take twice, thrice bath, then they will eat. That is a Hindu culture. Even the sweeper class, lowest class. And I have seen one sweeper class who were in Allahabad, regularly worshiping Deity. Very nice worship.

Mahamsa: So a Vaisnava then...


Prabhupada: They took initiation from the Vrndavana Goswami and they follow strictly rules and regulations. Cleanliness is very essential. In English also it is said cleanliness is next to Godliness. Everything should be, especially temple. It will attract them. And we are singing daily, sri-vigraharadhana-nitya-nana-srngara-tan-mandira-marjanadau. Tat-mandira-marjana. Marjana means cleanliness. And want of cleanliness means laziness. If you are lazy you cannot keep clean. "Ah, let me sleep for the time being." That is mode of ignorance. Tamo-guna. So we have to conquer over rajo-guna, tamo-guna. Tada rajas-tamo-bhavah."


Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation, 08-24-76, Hyderbad c.gifBhaktivedanta Book Trust. HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.

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Cbrahma, I think you're frustrated. Maybe, christianity will be the right religion for you? It's simple and easy to practice, and comes with guarantee;), perhaps you must give it a shot.

Yes I already am practicing Christianity. It isn't simple in the sense of easy , but it isn't complicated with dozens and dozens of little rules that make every day life impossibly stressful. That's what the Old Testament did and the Pharisees were the perfect examples of that fussy rule-following. They plotted to kill Jesus precisely because He understood the Spirit rather than the letter of the law. It would be interesting to take a poll as to how many members of this forum actually prepare prasadam according to all the rules stated in the krsna post, if they do at all. It takes up so much time, that a working person wouldn't have time for anything else.

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On the one hand it seems, unless we go to a temple, have Deity worship in our home, (our somebody's home) there is no advancement. On the other hand Prabhupada was eminently practical as can be understood by the above quote.

I cannot and will not have Deities in my home - it is impractical (and therefore artificial) with my life style.

But thank you for outlining the black and white requirements which clearly exclude me and countless others from participating in the bhakti marga.


Where you get this from, what about Haridas Thakur..?

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Honouring Krsna Prasadam, Part 3


<CENTER>cooking2.jpg </CENTER>


Jul 07, CANADA (SUN) — A four-part series on Srila Prabhupada's instructions for honouring Krsna prasadam.


<CENTER>Preparation and Cooking</CENTER>


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"The devotee should not be anxious about cooking food; whatever is available in the forest or in the city among the fruit and vegetable groups should be offered to the Deity, and the devotee should be satisfied eating that. He should not be anxious to have very palatable dishes. Of course, wherever it is possible, one should offer the Deities the best foodstuffs, prepared within the category of fruits and vegetables, cooked or uncooked. The important factor is that the devotee should be regulated (mita-bhuk); that is one of the good qualifications of a devotee. He should not hanker to satisfy the tongue with a particular kind of foodstuff. He should be satisfied to eat whatever prasada is available by the grace of the Lord."
Srimad-Bhagavatam 4:8:56 Purport






While preparing and cooking foodstuffs, all focus should be kept on performing activities in such a way that they will be most pleasing to the Lord. The kitchen is considered an extension of the altar, and all activities carried out there should be done accordingly.


Work in the kitchen should not be considered 'social time'. Always avoid prajalpa (nonsense talk) while cooking, and keep in mind that one's consciousness directly affects the quality of foodstuffs being prepared. Rather than chat with others, listen to Krsna bhajans or one of Srila Prabhupada's lectures.


Do not lust over bhoga (unoffered food stuffs), wishing to sample preparations or thinking ahead to when prasadam will be distributed. Even after offering, do not bring prasadam back into the kitchen for eating it. If necessary, take a small meal or snack before cooking, so your appetite will be dulled.


Many new devotees find it difficult to cook without tasting or smelling the foodstuffs, because they were so used to testing the balance of ingredients when cooking for themselves. Regardless, tasting the bhoga while cooking should never be permitted. Trust the recipes, your cooking intuition and a good service attitude, and you can rest assured the preparations will be very palatable. Avoid the mental agitation of hoping the devotees find the dishes desirable and delicious. Remember that you are cooking the meal not for yourself or for the devotees, but for the pleasure of Krsna.


If bhoga falls on the floor and touches someone's feet, it cannot be offered. As previously said, cleaning the kitchen is extremely important and should be done constantly and thoroughly all throughout the cooking process. Once the offering has been placed on serving dishes, the kitchen should be cleaned up to the greatest degree possible before the cooks go off to the program.


<CENTER>Cooking Paraphernalia</CENTER>


<CENTER>Rolling Chapatis</CENTER>




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"It is luxurious. (break) ...the ata dough. So after it is cooked... They have got ghee. That ball soaked in ghee and the dal, it is so nice when taken. That is called bati. Very quickly made. And after eating, with that ash the two or three utensils, mean the lota and the plate, they'll cleanse it very nice and walk away. And that food is sufficient for twenty-four hours. Within twenty-four hours he will not be hungry and feel very strong. The two things. And you can cook anywhere without any difficulty. In India, especially in village, you can get so many dried cow dung. So fuel is ready. The ata is packed up. And ghee in a pot. That's all. How simple life. Simply they'll sit down where there is water, and they'll take water. Then everything is arranged. No hotel. Or even there is no ata, they keep their own ghee, homemade, pure. Ata can be purchased anywhere in the village. There is no need of carrying ata."
Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation, 04-29-77, Bombay




Srila Prabhupada commented occassionally on the matters of kitchen facility and paraphernalia. When discussing facilities for a particular temple, he referred to having two separate kitchen facilities, one being pakki and the other kachi. In other words, one kitchen whould be ‘expert’, and the other a simpler facility. Srila Prabhupada said that one who is self-sufficient may use simple utensils like banana leaves and clay cups. In the following purport, he described the paraphernalia one might find in a proper Vedic home:


  • "The walls of the house were made of first-class marble, decorated with valuable jewels. There was no need of light, for the household was illuminated by the rays of these jewels. The female members of the household were all amply decorated with jewelry.

    PURPORT:It is understood from this statement that the opulences of household life were exhibited in valuable jewels, ivory, first-class marble, and furniture made of gold and jewels. The clothes are also mentioned as being decorated with golden filigree. Everything actually had some value. It was not like the furniture of the present day, which is cast in valueless plastic or base metal. The way of Vedic civilization is that whatever was used in household affairs had to be valuable. In case of need, such items of value could be exchanged immediately. Thus one's broken and unwanted furniture and paraphernalia would never be without value. This system is still followed by Indians in household affairs. They keep metal utensils and golden ornaments or silver plates and valuable silk garments with gold embroidery, and in case of need, they can have some money in exchange immediately. There are exchanges for the moneylenders and the householders."
    Srimad Bhagavatam 3:33:17
    c.gifBhaktivedanta Book Trust. HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.


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Honouring Krsna Prasadam, Part 4


<CENTER>prasada2.jpg </CENTER>


Jul 08, CANADA (SUN) — A four-part series on Srila Prabhupada's instructions for honouring Krsna prasadam.


<CENTER>Taking Prasada</CENTER>


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"There is this specific statement in the Padma Purana: “A person who honors the prasada and regularly eats it, not exactly in front of the Deity, along with caranamrta [the water offered to the lotus feet of the Lord, which is mixed with seeds of the tulasi tree], immediately can achieve the results of pious activities which are obtained through ten thousand performances of sacrificial rites."
Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 9






There are many Vedic injunctions for the process of taking prasada:


One should take prasadam in a peaceful state of mind. The body and dress should be clean and fresh. Five parts of the body should be damp (from washing): two hands, two feet, and the mouth.


The householder may wear rings on the fingers, and should cover one's head. One's clothing should not be damp, and shoes should not be worn. The man's sikha should be properly tied up.


It is best to sit in a clean and spacious place, preferably on an asana, with the legs crossed rather than spread out. One should be facing east or north, and should avoid eating while sitting in a vehicle.


Meals should not be taken at the sandhyas (sunrise, noon and sunset), and one should not eat before performing sandhya vandana (chanting Gayatri) or morning puja. Don't take food until the previous meal has fully digested.

  • Tamala Krsna: "It's a great offense if you offer someone prasadam and they refuse.
    Prabhupada: Yes. That means I am not accepting you as intimate. And if he accepts, then you cannot deny his friendship."
    Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation, 07-10-76, New York



According to formal protocol, those of similar rank should sit together in the same row. The senior-most person should be given all respects, and should be permitted to finish first before others finish and rise to go. As soon as one person rises, the meal has ended and others in the row should not continue eating. The senior person may also choose to sit separately, so as not to disturb or be disturbed.


Mahaprasad is non-different from Krsna, therefore prasada should be honored, not eaten. One should never consider mahaprasada to be ordinary food preparations. Before taking, one should first glance over the prasada and offer respects, remembering that prasadam is the mercy of the Lord. One should ask Krsna's permission to eat, reciting the Prasada Sevaya prayer (sarira abidya-jal). One may also recite the Jayadhvani prayers and according to Hari Bhakti Vilasa, one should chant the Gayatra mantra then chant one's mula mantra seven times over the prasadam. (See link below for prasada prayers.)


The householder should serve prasadam as follows: First, guests should be served, particularly those who are spiritually qualified persons, such as sannyasis. Next, one should serve the elders, married daughters, pregnant women, sick persons and children. The grhasta should also feed tied-up cows and horses before taking his own meal.


An initiated Vaisnava should serve another initiated Vaisnava. The server should be clean and peaceful, performing his duties quietly and efficiently. Loud noise and frenetic activity should be avoided.


One should serve prasada with the right hand. Neither the server's hands or the utensils should ever touch the plates or hands of those who are eating, as this will contaminate the server and utensils. If this happens, hands and/or utensils should be washed before serving resumes. Serving vessels should not touch the feet. The server should in no way contaminate the prasada or utensils by touching his mouth, feet, hair, lower body, nor should he yawn, sneeze, etc.


Prasadam should be served onto a plate, and the plate should not be kept on one's lap. Preparations should be carefully dropped onto the plate in a free area, and spoons should be used to serve most items, except sweets, water or dry items. Foods should be taken from the plate, not received directly into the hands and placed in the mouth.


One should sit quietly while taking prasada, not discussing material affairs. Those seated together should not touch one another while eating. One should only use the right hand to place foodstuffs in the mouth. Avoid making unnecessary noises while eating. One should tear large items with the fingers of the right hand, not with the teeth, then small pieces should be placed in the mouth. One should avoid eating with the left hand, which is contaminated due to other uses.


The householder and his wife (or others who are serving) should be last to eat, and should stop taking prasada themselves whenever necessary in order to attend to guests (or wait until others are finished to begin taking themselves). When guests finish a portion, they should quickly be offered more of it, and should be permitted to have all they wish. All persons in a group should be offered the same items. The food should be served while still hot, if possible. Guests should never be left with an empty plate except at the end of the meal, or when they have exclaimed they can take no more. The server may describe the wonderful qualities of a preparation as he offers it, to encourage the guest to eat more.


While the server encourages guests to continue eating sumptuously, one should not overeat. Excessive eating causes discomfort, sickness, and decreases the lifespan. It interferes with one's devotional activities, causes one to be unregulated, and generally encourages sinful behaviors. Too much sense gratification, over-dependence on another's mercy, and artificial standards of living are detrimental to spiritual advancement.


It is said that one should fill half the stomach with food, one quarter with water, and one quarter with air. The order of foodstuffs eaten is also important. The Hari Bhakti Vilasa states that one should begin by eating a little sweet food, then take salty and sour items, and then pungent and bitter items. Different customs are followed in different regions of India. In Bengal, for example, it is the custom to take bitters first, and end the meal with sweets. Generally, liquid foodstuffs should be taken at the beginning and end of the meal, and solid foods should be taken in the middle.

  • "Caritamrta is obtained in the morning while the Lord is being washed before dressing. Scented with perfumes and flowers, the water comes gliding down through His lotus feet and is collected and mixed with yogurt. In this way this caritamrta not only becomes very tastefully flavored, but also has tremendous spiritual value. As described in the Padma Purana, even a person who has never been able to give in charity, who has never been able to perform a great sacrifice, who has never been able to study the Vedas, who has never been able to worship the Lord-or, in other words, even one who has never done any pious activities-will become eligible to enter into the kingdom of God if he simply drinks the caritamrta which is kept in the temple. In the temple it is the custom that the caritamrta be kept in a big pot. The devotees who come to visit and offer respects to the Deity take three drops of caritamrta very submissively and feel themselves happy in transcendental bliss." Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 9



One should drink water out of a cup or vessel, using the right hand and not touching the lips to the vessel, particularly if others might drink from it. Water should not be drunk directly out of the hands. While drinking, water should not be allowed to drip onto the prasadam, which then becomes ucchista (contaminated leftovers).


After finishing the meal, one should take the plate (if disposable) in the right hand and discard it. All food remnants remaining on plates and in serving dishes are ucchista, and may not be mixed in with other, un-offered foods, or returned to the kitchen, or in any way be re-offered to the Lord.



c.gifBhaktivedanta Book Trust. HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.



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from Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Gitavali


1) bhai-re!

sarira abidya-jal, jodendriya tahe kal,

jibe phele bisaya-sagore

ta'ra madhye jihva ati, lobhamoy sudurmati

ta'ke jeta kathina somsare

2) krsna baro doyamoy, karibare jihva jay,

swa-prasad-anna dilo bhai

sei annamrta khao, radha-krsna-guna gao,

preme dako caitanya-nitai


"O brothers! This material body is a place of ignorance, and the senses are a network of paths to death. The senses throw the soul into this ocean of material sense enjoyment and, of all the senses, the tongue is most voracious and uncontrol-lable; it is very difficult to conquer the tongue in this world. O brothers! Lord Krsna is very kind to us and has given us such nice prasada, just to control the tongue. Now let us take this prasada to our full satisfaction and glorify Their Lordships, Sri Sri Radha and Krsna and, in love, call for the help of Lord Caitanya and Prabhu Nityananda."





<CENTER>After Prasada</CENTER>


<CENTER>Organizing Prasadam at New Vrindaban, c. 1970</CENTER>




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"Regarding prasadam, leftovers should always be taken if they have not spoiled or if they have not been touched by diseased persons. We should never waste Krishna prasadam. Best thing is to cook only what is required and then give each person what he wants. That is the Vedic system, that the people sit in rows behind their plates and servers pass down the rows and put a very small portion of each foodstuff on each plate, unless there is some objection by a person then nothing is given. Then if anyone wants more, the servers pass up and down the rows continually and give more if anyone requests. In this way nothing is wasted and everyone is satisfied."
Srila Prabhupada Letter to Kirtiraja, 11-27-71





"No, food which has been offered should never be put back into the refrigerator with the unoffered foods, or brought back into the kitchen. You should prepare as much as can be consumed, and after offering, nothing should be put back in the refrigerator, or kitchen. Refrigerator should always be very cleansed and pure. Everyone should be careful to make only as much as they can eat; they cannot keep any leftovers in refrigerator. I know this is a practice in your country, but in the temples or at homes of any Krishna Consciousness persons, a person should not indulge in such unclean habits. If there is any food extra, that should be kept separately; and if there is a separate refrigerator, not within the kitchen and not having in it any unoffered foods, then you may have such special refrigerator for leftover prasadam. But it cannot be kept within the same refrigerator as the unoffered, unprepared foods. That cannot be."

Srila Prabhupada Letter to Aniruddha, 06-16-68



"The eating area must be thoroughly cleansed with water, since the area has become impure by the act of eating. One thing is that you should keep everything very clean. That is the first business. Every room should be as clean as a mirror. The prasadam room should be immediately cleaned after taking prasadam, otherwise you are inviting rats."

Srila Prabhupada Letter to Mukunda, 10-20-73

c.gifBhaktivedanta Book Trust. HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.





At the temple or at large feasts, servers usually collect all the plates and utensils at once. In small settings, however, one should dispose of their own plate when the meal is finished, or wash it outside of the kitchen. Afterwards, one should wash the hands and rinse the mouth.

One should not sleep, bathe or engage in strenuous activity directly after a meal. Being over-active may cause the blood to flow away from the stomach to other areas, thus interrupting the digestion process. After taking prasada, one should maintain a peaceful mind so the body can properly digest and process the nourishment. This time is well spent remembering the Lord, chanting His Name and discussing the Lord's pastimes with associates.

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Çré Caitanya – caritämåta

Madhya 14.17 to 69

Finally Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu said, “Who are you? You have done so much for Me. All of a sudden you have come here and made Me drink the nectar of the pastimes of Lord Kåñëa.”

The King replied, “My Lord, I am the most obedient servant of Your servants. It is my ambition that You will accept me as the servant of Your servants.”

At that time, Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu displayed some of His divine opulences to the King, and He forbade him to disclose this to anyone. Although within His heart Caitanya Mahäprabhu knew everything that was happening, externally He did not disclose it. Nor did He disclose that He knew He was talking with King Pratäparudra.

Seeing the Lord’s special mercy upon King Pratäparudra, the devotees praised the King’s good fortune, and their minds became open and blissful.

Submissively offering prayers to the devotees with folded hands and offering obeisances to Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu, the King went outside.

After this, Väëénätha Räya brought all kinds of prasädam, and Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu accepted lunch with the devotees.

The King also sent a large quantity of prasädam through Särvabhauma Bhaööäcärya, Rämänanda Räya and Väëénätha Räya.

The prasädam sent by the King had been offered at the Balagaëòi festival and included uncooked milk products and fruits. It was all of the finest quality, and there was no end to the variety.

There were curd, fruit juice, coconut, mango, dried coconut, jackfruit, various kinds of bananas and palm-fruit seeds.

There were also oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, almonds, dried fruit, raisins and dates.

There were hundreds of different types of sweetmeats like manoharä-läòu, sweets like amåta-guöikä and various types of condensed milk.

There were also papayas and saravaté, a type of orange, and also crushed squash. There were also regular cream, fried cream and a type of puré made with cream.

There were also the sweets known as hari-vallabha and sweets made of seìoti flowers, karpüra flowers and mälaté flowers. There were pomegranates, sweets made with black pepper, sweets made with fused sugar, and amåti-jilipi.

There were lotus-flower sugar, a kind of bread made from urad dhal, crispy sweetmeats, sugar candy, fried-rice sweets, sesame-seed sweets and cookies made from sesame seeds.

There were sugar-candy sweetmeats formed into the shape of orange, lemon and mango trees and arranged with fruits, flowers and leaves.

There were yogurt, milk, butter, buttermilk, fruit juice, a preparation made of fried yogurt and sugar candy, and salty mung-dhal sprouts with shredded ginger.

There were also various types of pickles—lemon pickle, berry pickle and so on. Indeed, I am not able to describe the variety of food offered to Lord Jagannätha.

When Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu saw half the garden filled with a variety of prasädam, He was very satisfied.

Indeed, Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu was fully satisfied just to see how Lord Jagannätha accepted all the food.

There then arrived five or seven loads of plates made of the leaves of the ketaké tree. Each man was supplied ten of these plates, and in this way the leaf dishes were distributed.

Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu understood the labor of all the kértana chanters; therefore He was very eager to feed them sumptuously.

All the devotees sat down in lines, and Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu personally began to distribute the prasädam.

But the devotees would not accept the prasädam until Caitanya Mahäprabhu took it. Svarüpa Gosvämé informed the Lord of this.

Svarüpa Dämodara said, “My Lord, please sit down. No one will eat until You do.”

At that time, Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu sat down with His personal associates and had every one of them fed very sumptuously until they were filled to the necks.

After finishing, the Lord washed His mouth and sat down. There was so much extra prasädam that it was distributed to thousands.

Following the orders of Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu, Govinda, His personal servant, called for all the poor beggars, who were unhappy due to their poverty, and fed them sumptuously.

Observing the beggars eating prasädam, Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu chanted, “Haribol!” and instructed them to chant the holy name.

As soon as the beggars chanted the holy name, “Haribol,” they were immediately absorbed in ecstatic love of Godhead. In this way Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu performed wonderful pastimes.

Outside the garden, when it was time to pull Jagannätha’s car, all the workers called gauòas tried to pull it, but it would not move forward.

When the gauòas saw that they could not budge the car, they abandoned the attempt. Then the King arrived in great anxiety, and he was accompanied by his officers and friends.

The King then arranged for big wrestlers to try to pull the car, and even the King himself joined in, but the car could not be moved.

Becoming even more anxious to move the car, the King had very strong elephants brought forth and harnessed to it.

The strong elephants pulled with all their strength, but still the car remained at a standstill, not budging an inch.

As soon as Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu heard this news, He went there with all His personal associates. They then stood there and watched the elephants try to pull the car.

The elephants, being beaten by the elephant-goad, were crying, but still the car would not move. The assembled people cried out, “Alas!”

At that time, Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu let all the elephants go free and placed the car’s ropes in the hands of His own men.

Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu then went to the back of the car and began to push with His head. It was then that the car began to move and roll along, making a rattling sound.

Indeed, the car began to move automatically, and the devotees simply carried the ropes in their hands. Since it was moving effortlessly, they did not need to pull it.

When the car moved forward, everyone began to chant with great pleasure, “All glories! All glories!” and “All glories to Lord Jagannätha!” No one could hear anything else.

In a moment the car reached the door of the Guëòicä temple. Upon seeing the uncommon strength of Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu, all the people were struck with wonder.

The crowd made a tumultuous vibration, chanting “Jaya Gauracandra! Jaya Çré Kåñëa Caitanya!” Then the people began to chant, “Wonderful! Wonderful!”

Seeing the greatness of Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu, Pratäparudra Mahäräja and his ministers and friends were so moved by ecstatic love that the hair on their bodies stood on end.

All the servants of Lord Jagannätha then took Him down from the car, and the Lord went to sit on His throne.

Subhadrä and Balaräma also sat on their respective thrones. There followed the bathing of Lord Jagannätha and finally the offering of food.

While Lord Jagannätha, Lord Balaräma and Subhadrä sat on their respective thrones, Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu and His devotees began to perform saìkértana with great pleasure, chanting and dancing in the yard of the temple.

While Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu was chanting and dancing, He was overwhelmed with ecstatic love, and all the people who saw Him were also flooded in the ocean of love of Godhead.

In the evening, after finishing His dancing in the yard of the Guëòicä temple, the Lord observed the ärati ceremony. Thereafter He went to a place called Aiöoöä and took rest for the night.

For nine days, nine chief devotees, headed by Advaita Äcärya, got an opportunity to invite the Lord to their homes.

During the four months of the rainy season, the remaining devotees extended invitations to the Lord for one day each. In this way they shared invitations.

For the four-month period, all the daily invitations were shared among the important devotees. The rest of the devotees did not get an opportunity to extend an invitation to the Lord.

Since they could not get one day each, two or three devotees combined to extend an invitation. These are the pastimes of Lord Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu’s acceptance of invitations.

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