Archive for the 'Prasadam' Category

Q&As Eating healthy and Srila Prabhupada’s prasadam
22 May 2009

    These questions about prasadam and cooking for Srila Prabhupada are from Bhakta Shane:


Prabhu – I have few questions to ask and would appreciate if you could kindly speak about this subject.

I’m studying Ayurveda and alternative naturapathy and also want to eventually help to bring about better diet and health understandings for devotees as part of that study – for instance in Australia according to some devotees I’ve talked to there have been 9 devotees in last few years that have had their gall bladders removed – (gall bladder  is there to break down fatty foods as part of its function ) so that is a very high statistic and probably avoidable as well. It would be a very good service if you could do this.”



The body beautiful–how galling can it be?


When I joined the Sydney temple in Feb. 1972 the prasadam was quite opulent. There wasn’t much sense of healthy eating. If it was offerable to Krsna, it was on the menu, and in no small measures either. The combination of ghee and sugar was a revelation that saved many a new devotee from blooping.


Oh ghee whizz! Saviour of the fallen!

Breakfast was quite simple, mainly fruits and homemade yoghurt and porridge. The real kick was lunch. Rice and dhal, homemade bread, vegetables soaked in ghee, varieties of sweets like rasagulla and gulabjamuns, sweet rice, puris, pakoras and lots of deep fried items.

On top of that, we had the “brahmacari offering” at about 6 PM every evening. We would return from our afternoon SKP, our youthful bodies having already digested the huge lunch and be feeling ravenous again. Most of us were brand new devotees and suffering sensory deprivation from our adoption of the devotional lifestyle. Eating was our compensation. Satisfaction of the tongue was our only sense enjoyment. So the cooks would make a large pot of halava with liberal amounts of nuts and raisins or a variety of berries,


which would be offered to a picture in the kitchen and then distributed hot out of the pot. The trick was to make the halava with at least one inch of melted ghee floating on the surface. The brahmacaris would line up in the hallway outside the kitchen door with their stainless steel bowls, eager for their evening charge of sugar and ghee drenched grains.

And what to speak about the Sunday ‘love feast’.


George liked a little appetizer too

It wasn’t uncommon for us (me anyway) to down at least three heaped platefuls of prasadam and then stash some for the evening or next morning. Bhakta Bernard I remember, once ate 13 bowls of halava for the feast and then stashed 6 more for his breakfast the next morning (Not surprisingly, he never got initiated and blooped after a few months).

My record was six plates in one Sunday feast. A short time after devouring the last one, I developed acute indigestion.


It got so progressively bad that I actually became afraid that I would collapse and die. Somehow after half an hour or so of morbid repentence and fervoured prayer


the pain in my midriff subsided and I took a solemn vow to never eat as much again. From that time on I restricted myself to a maximum of three plates at a sitting.

Well OK, I tell a lie. There was one occasion after that when we were on TSKP to Brisbane. It was a newly opened temple, populated mainly by ex-hippies and young counter-culture dropouts. We arrived in the double decker bus that had been converted into a traveling temple. The sign on the side of the bus read “The Hare Krishna Movement – The Positive Alternative”.


February 1972–Australia’s first traveling temple

I took the slogan to heart. The cooks didn’t really know much so the main sweet was “Simply Wonderfuls”


which were simply ghee, sugar and milk powder rolled into balls. Highly addictive. I ate 24 before developing extreme sugar burn in my throat and esophagus. After that I couldn’t look at one for about five years.

Anyway, I digress. When Srila Prabhupada arrived on April 1, 1972 on his second visit to Australia he stayed for a few days.



Srila Prabhupada, April 1972 with Mohanananda dasa, the Sydney temple president

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Q&As Prasadam
16 April 2009

April 16 2009

Here’s a good question about prasadam from Padmanabha prabhu at Govinda Valley, a highly successful yoga retreat center run by devotees an hour south of Sydney Australia.

“As you know at Govinda Valley we cook first class prasadam for our guests, which they greatly appreciate.


Its a real art though to cook the right quantities. On the one hand we don’t want to waste and on the other hand we don’t want (not even) one guest to go without. Because there’s all kinds of different groups, some very yoga who eat very little, others who eat much more, the kind of weather it is, etc.. etc… So many factors that make it really difficult to discern how much to cook.

We have many discussions about it and have very different opinions about what should be done with leftovers. Some say : Srila Prabhupada said that after two, three hours one shouldn’t eat the prasadam anymore and one should definitely not warm up prasadam.

So I wanted to ask you for clarification: ‘How did Prabhupada deal with:
-the amounts to cook?
-what to do with leftovers?
-how long can you keep eating the same prasadam?

At the moment we have ‘a standard’ on non retreat days that we cook every day fresh but add to it prasadam maximum one day old and maximum one time reheated. On retreat days we can turn a kichari or a sabji into a blended soup, if its from the same day. But we still have discussions and differences of opinions.

Can you help us out, Prabhu?
Thank you very much.

Your servant,
Padmanabha Dasa
Govinda Valley Retreat


This is a good question about how prasadam left overs should be used. There is an interesting story in this connection.

In 1975 the whole Caitanya Caritamrta was published. In Australia we received it a little later than other places but we read it eagerly. After the GBC Madhudvisa Swami read about the reactions to offenses to prasadam, he decided on a new policy for Sunday feast left-overs. This does not mean the prasadam that was left in the pots. It means the prasadam that visitors left over on their plates.

The previous policy was to dump it in bins and then take it to the ocean and throw it in the sea for the fishes to eat. We had been doing this for many years. When I joined in 1972 in Sydney, we used to take a dustbin full out to the Gap or some other such cliff top place, crawl out along a ledge so we were directly above the ocean and then dump the bin’s contents, paper plates and all, into the sea.


It was difficult to separate the food from the plates so we used to throw the lot in. However it was troublesome and, apart from the guilty feelings of dumping garbage into the sea, we were always apprehensive about being caught.

Sometimes we would bury the leftovers in a shallow pit in the back yard. After the pit was full we would cover it with earth. That seemed to work quite well and in fact, we noticed after some months that the place where the remnants had been buried became very luxurious with fresh green grass growing, whereas the rest of the yard was usually dry and barren.

Anyway, in Melbourne in 1975 Madhudvisa decided that it was an offense to throw away prasadam, even if it had been already eaten by karmis at the feast. So his new policy was that on Monday morning, all the left overs, including the remnants from the visitors plates, would be put on trays, re-heated and served out for breakfast.

Needless to say this was the cause of much contention and debate with some devotees flatly refusing to eat it.

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