Preparing and Offering Prasadam

By His immense transcendental energies, Krsna can convert matter into spirit. If we place an iron rod in a fire, before long the rod becomes red hot and acts just like fire. In the same way, food prepared for and offered to Krishna with love and devotion becomes spiritualized. Such food is called Krsna prasadam, which means “the mercy of Lord Krsna.”

Eating prasadam is a fundamental practice of bhakti yoga. In other forms of yoga one must artificially repress the senses, but the bhakti-yogi can engage his or her senses in a variety of pleasing spiritual activities, such as tasting delicious food offered to Lord Krsna. In this way the senses gradually become spiritualized and bring the devotee more and more transcendental pleasure by being engaged in devotional service. Such spiritual pleasure far surpasses any kind of material experience.

Lord Caitanya said of prasadam, “Everyone has tasted these foods before. However, now that they have been prepared for Krishna and offered to Him with devotion, these foods have acquired extraordinary tastes and uncommon fragrances. Just taste them and see the difference in the experience! Apart from the taste, even the fragrance pleases the mind and makes one forget any other fragrance. Therefore one should know that the spiritual nectar of Krsna’s lips must have touched these ordinary foods and imparted to them all their transcendental qualities.”

Eating only food offered to Lord Krsna is the perfection of vegetarianism. In itself, being a vegetarian is not enough; after all, even pigeons and monkeys are vegetarians. But when we go beyond vegetarianism to a diet of prasadam, our eating becomes helpful in achieving the goal of human life–reawakening the soul’s original relationship with God. In the Bhagavad-gita Krsna says that unless one eats only food that has been offered to Him in sacrifice, one will suffer the reactions of karma.

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