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Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Art of Preparing Spiritual Food

To get right on track, here is a quote from my spiritual grandfather Srila Prabhupada, on the art of preparing spiritual, karma-free food, or prasadam, as it's known in the Krishna culture. 

"We have to understand that Krishna is the only enjoyer. The consciousness of this is developed in a Krishna Conscious temple, where the central point of all activities is Krishna. All cooking is carried out for Krishna, not for one’s own purposes. Ultimately we shall eat the prasadam, but when we cook we should think that we are cooking for Krishna and not for ourselves. When you cook, if you think, “Oh, this nice thing is being cooked. I shall eat it very nicely,” then it is not Krishna. But while cooking, if you think, “Let me do it very nicely so that Krishna will taste it,” it is Krishna consciousness. "

- [Lecture: SB 1.5.13, New Vrindaban, 13/06/69]

So if we prepare food in this mood then it is a selfless meditation and our love permeates our offering and that love is what Krishna or God accepts. He doesnt need offerings of food but He kindly accepts whatever we offer with love - for our spiritual benefit. In Bhagavad Gita As It Is, 9.26, Krishna says; 

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, fruit or water, I will accept it.

In this way we can connect with God through food, directing our affection to Him and our friends, family etc., with Him in the center. Then the food we prepare becomes spiritualized and karma-free because we are not taking it for ourselves as such, but honoring it as His prasadam or mercy after offerng it in sacrifice to Him. By affectionately putting Krishna first, He takes away any negative entanglements which we would otherwise accrue when we put ourselves in the center. This naturally frees us up to make spiritual progress towards transcendental loving service to God and our true happiness more quickly. :-)

This consciousness of intentionally preparing food with love for the pleasure of the Divine Godhead, and His acceptance of our love is the secret ingredient in Krishna food - that is what makes it taste so good!! :-) 

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