Cooking for the Lord's Satisfaction
Srila Prabhupada Cooking
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.
Jun 01, CANADA (SUN) The last in a four-part series on the glories of Sri Krsna Prasadam.
"When we cook foodstuffs in the kitchen for eating ourselves, it is a different thing from the foodstuff which is prepared and offered to Krishna. The same dahl, rice is material for one purpose but the same thing becomes spiritual when it is dovetailed with Krishna. So on the higher platform, there is nothing material when everything is accepted in relationship with Krishna or the Supreme Spirit."
Srila Prabhupada Letter to Bhagavan, 01-10-70
"I have noted your questions carefully, and regarding your question about the Prasadam recipes; Krishna is offered foodstuff in goodness. The foodstuffs in the modes of goodness are wheat, rice, pulse (beans, peas), sugar, honey, butter and all milk preparations, vegetables, flowers, fruits, grains. So these foods can be offered in any shape, but prepared in various ways by the intelligence of the devotees. The ingredients are always the same as above, whether you fry them, boil them, bake them, powder them, or whatever way they are combined or cooked, the idea is that they must come from this group of foodstuffs. So you can make your own recipe if you like, so long as the ingredients are within this group. This foods group is stated by Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita, and we follow accordingly. Now the thing is that you must consider by whom you are being taught what is healthy and what is not healthy. What is their authority? Actually, this healthy and non-healthy is a material consideration, and we are simply interested in what Krishna wants, so we offer to Him to eat whatever He wants. And He asks for food preparations from within this group. I hope this will clarify the questions about Prasadam preparations for you to understand."
Srila Prabhupada Letter, 11-13-68
"You are taking so many things from Krsna. Krsna is giving you everything. Eko bahunam vidadhati kaman. Whatever our necessities of life, that is being supplied by Krsna. We are taking these fruits, flowers, grains. It is not possible to manufacture these in your factory. It is Krsna sending, Krsna giving you. So we are living at the cost of Krsna, and after cooking these fruits, flowers or grains, if we do not offer to Krsna, is that very good gentlemanliness? I take so much from you and simply, nicely, and very cleanly cooking the foodstuff, if we offer to Krsna, then what is the wrong there? The rascals, they say, "Oh, they are heathens. They are worshiping some stone." Just see. So these are all less intelligent person. God eats. Krsna says, tad aham asnami. "I eat."
patram puspam phalam toyam
yo me bhaktya prayacchati
tad aham asnami
Krsna says that "My devotee, when he brings something within the categories of vegetables, grains and fruits, because he has brought with devotion and love, I eat them." So when the devotee offers with devotion and love, "Krsna, You have given us so many nice things. So I have cooked it. Kindly You take first," oh, how it is nice. Just like your father has given you so many things and you are obliged, "Oh, our father is maintaining us." And if you cook something and give it to the father first, "My dear father, I have cooked this. It is very nice. You first of all..." "Oh, it is very nice? All right, give me." The father will be so much pleased. "Oh, here is my dear son." It is father's property. You cannot give anything to the father. Similarly, you have nothing to offer to Krsna. Simply you have to become little intelligent. That's all. Not rascal. If you remain rascal, then your human life is spoiled. If you become little intelligent, then your human life is successful. This is intelligence, that "God is giving us... God is giving us daily bread. Why not offer to God first?" That is intelligence."
Srila Prabhupada, Initiations in San Diego, 06-30-72
"So our life should be so formed that in our every activity there will be God consciousness. That is the technique of yoga-sthah. You haven't got to separately being seated in meditation as yoga, generally as we understand. Now, how much you can devote your time to meditation? Suppose one hour in the morning or one hour in the evening you can devote. But if you mold your life in such a way that always, twenty-four hours, you are in meditation, that is the platform of yoga-sthah kuru karmani. I am earning for the Supreme Lord. Then, when I earn, I bring things for cooking, I am thinking, "Oh, this thing will be cooked for Lord." Now, your wife cooks, and she is also very clean because it is being cooked for Lord Krsna. You see? Now, as far as I am concerned here, I also cook myself my food and offer to Krsna, and therefore I ask my friends that unless it is offered to Krsna, you please do not take it. You see? Sometimes I see that in your country, while cooking, they taste. They taste. But I request them that don't taste before the cooking is finished. After cooking is finished and when it is offered to the Deity, then you take as much as you like, as much as you like. So that means there is God consciousness, that "This thing is being cooked for the Lord." The cooking will go on. If you don't think of God, you require cooking because you want to eat. The cooking is there in the program. But if you think that this cooking is done for God, then your God consciousness is there. The cooking you cannot avoid. As a householder you have to cook for yourself, you have to cook for your children, you have to cook for somebody else or for your own self. Just like I am cooking. I have no here family or children, but I am cooking for myself. So cooking you cannot stop. But if you cook with the understanding that "This foodstuff is being cooked for the Lord. The Lord may be offered first; then we shall take," this is God consciousness. This is God consciousness. But is it very difficult thing? Anyone can accept this."
Srila Prabhupada Lecture on Bhagavad-Gita, 04-01-66, New York
"Material world, you cannot neglect physical laws. Suppose you go to a jungle and there is a tiger. It is known that it will attack you, so why should you voluntarily go and be attacked? It is not that a devotee should take physical risk so long as he has a physical body. It is not a challenge to the physical laws: "I have become a devotee. I challenge everything." That is foolishness.
yuktam vairagyam ucyate
The devotee is advised to accept the necessities of life without attachment. He'll take boiled water, but if boiled water is not available, does it mean he will not drink water? If it is not available, he will drink ordinary water. We take Krsna prasada, but while touring, sometimes we have to take some food in a hotel. Because one is a devotee, should he think, "I will not take any foodstuffs from the hotel. I shall starve"? If I starve, then I will be weak and will not be able to preach.
Bob: Does a devotee lose some of his individuality, in that--
Srila Prabhupada: No, he has full individuality for pleasing Krsna. Krsna says, "You surrender unto Me." So he voluntarily surrenders. It is not that he has lost his individuality. He keeps his individuality. Just like Arjuna--in the beginning, he was declining to fight, on account of his individuality. But when he accepted Krsna as his spiritual master, he became sisya [a disciple]. Then whatever Krsna ordered, he said yes. That doesn't mean he lost his individuality. He voluntarily accepted: "Whatever Krsna says, I shall do it." Just like all my disciples--they have not lost their individuality, but they have surrendered their individuality. That is required. For example, suppose a man does not use sex. It does not mean he has become impotent. If he likes, he can have sex life a thousand times. But he has voluntarily avoided it. Param drstva nivartate: he has a higher taste. Sometimes we fast, but that does not mean we are diseased. We voluntarily fast. It does not mean that I am not hungry or cannot eat. But we voluntarily fast.
Bob: Does the devotee who surrenders keep his individual taste?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, in full.
Bob: Taste for different things?
Srila Prabhupada: Hm?
Bob: Does he keep his individual likes and dislikes?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, he keeps everything. But he gives preference to Krsna. Suppose I like this thing but Krsna says, "No, you cannot use it." Then I shall not use it. It is for Krsna's sake.
yuktam vairagyam ucyate
Krsna says positively, "I like these things." So we have to offer to Krsna what He likes, and then we'll take prasada. Krsna likes Radharani. Therefore all the gopis, they are trying to push Radharani to Krsna. "Krsna likes this gopi. All right, push Her." That is Krsna consciousness. To satisfy the senses of Krsna, not to satisfy my senses. That is bhakti. That is called prema, love for Krsna. "Ah, Krsna likes this. I must give Him this."
Bob: There is some prasada [food offered to Krsna]. It's offered, and then we go and eat, and different prasadams are served. Some I like, and some I find the taste not at all to my liking.
Srila Prabhupada: You should not do that. The perfection is that whatever is offered to Krsna you should accept. That is perfection. You cannot say. "I like this, I don't like this." So long as you make such discrimination, that means you have not appreciated what prasada is.
A devotee: What if there is someone speaking of likes and dislikes? Say someone is preparing some prasada...
Srila Prabhupada: No disliking, no liking. Whatever Krsna likes, that's all right.
A devotee: Yes. But say someone prepares something, like some prasada for Krsna, but he does not make it so good, and it is--
Srila Prabhupada: No, if made sincerely with devotion, then Krsna will like it. Just like Vidura. Vidura was feeding Krsna bananas, but he was so absorbed in thought that he was throwing away the real bananas and he was giving Krsna the skin, and Krsna was eating. [All laugh] Krsna knew that he was giving in devotion, and Krsna can eat anything, provided there is devotion. It does not matter whether it is materially tasteful or not. Similarly, a devotee also takes Krsna prasada, whether it is materially tasteful or not. We should accept everything.
A Devotee: But if the devotion is not there, like in India...
Srila Prabhupada: If devotion is not there, He doesn't like any food, either tasteful or not tasteful. He does not accept it.
Srila Prabhupada: Prasada is always prasada. But because we are not elevated sufficiently, therefore we do not like some prasada.
Bob: I found specifically that what I mean--that some are too spicy, and it hurts my stomach.
Srila Prabhupada: Well... That is also due to not appreciating, but the cook should have consideration. Krsna must be offered first-class foodstuffs. So if he offers something last class, he is not performing his duty. But Krsna can accept anything if it is offered by a devotee, and a devotee can accept any prasada, even if it is spicy. Hiranyakasipu gave his son poison [and the son offered it to Krsna], and the son drank it as nectar. So even if it is spicy to others, taste, it is very palatable to the devotee. What is the question of spicy? He was offered poison, real poison. And Putana Raksasi--she also offered Krsna poison. But Krsna is so nice that He thought, "She took Me as My mother," so He took the poison and delivered her. Krsna does not take the bad side. A good man does not take the bad side--he takes only the good side. Just like one of my big Godbrothers--he wanted to make business with my Guru Maharaja [spiritual master], but my Guru Maharaja did not take the bad side. He took the good side. He thought, "He has come forward to give me some service."
Bob:....Let us say some devotee has some trouble and does not eat a certain type of food--like some devotees do not eat ghee because of liver trouble. So these devotees, should they take all the prasada?
Srila Prabhupada: No, no. Those who are not perfect devotees may discriminate. But a perfect devotee does not discriminate. Why should you imitate a perfect devotee? So long as you have discrimination, you are not a perfect devotee. So why should you artificially imitate a perfect devotee and eat everything?
Srila Prabhupada: The point is, a perfect devotee does not make any discrimination. Whatever is offered to Krsna is nectar. That's all. Krsna accepts anything from a devotee. "Whatever is offered to Me by My devotee," He accepts. The same thing for a devotee. Don't you see the point? A perfect devotee does not make any discrimination. But if I am not a perfect devotee and I have discrimination, why shall I imitate the perfect devotee? It may not be possible for me to digest everything because I am not a perfect devotee. A devotee should not be a foolish man. It is said:
krsna ye bhaje se bada catura
So a devotee knows his position, and he is intelligent enough to deal with others accordingly."
Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers, Chapter 6
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.