By Shilpy Malhotra
The literal meaning of the Sanskrit word “prasadam” is mercy. So when we say “Krishna prasadam” we are referring to Krishna’s mercy.
Krishna is the owner of everything & we can do nothing without his mercy. We can take the things that Krishna provides and use these raw materials to produce something. In order to create something, we use the intelligence that is gifted to us by Krishna. Thus, we can not make anything unless Krishna provides the raw materials.
The concept of prasadam is to recognize the fact that everything belongs to Krishna and because these things belong to Krishna they should be used for Krishna’s pleasure. Prasadam refers to the remnants of something that has been prepared for the Krishna with love and devotion and offered to Him for His enjoyment. Because Krishna has tasted it or enjoyed it, prasadam is not a material thing. Once Krishna tastes something it becomes transcendental.
There is something wonderful about prasadam which is illustrated by this experience of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu related in the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Antya 16.108:
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “These ingredients, such as sugar, camphor, black pepper, cardamom, cloves, butter, spices and licorice, are all material. Everyone has tasted these material substances before. However, in these ingredients there are 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 sweetness besides its own.”
“Therefore, it is to be understood that the spiritual nectar of Krishna’s lips has touched these ordinary ingredients and transferred to them all their spiritual qualities. A fragrance and taste that are uncommon and greatly enchanting and that make one forget all other experiences are attributes of Krishna’s lips. This prasadam has been made available only as a result of many pious activities. Now taste it with great faith and devotion.” Loudly chanting the holy name of Hari, all of them tasted the prasadam. As they tasted it, their minds became mad in the ecstasy of love.
So, there is an amazing transformation that takes place when something is prepared & offered to Krishna with love & devotion.
Krishna prasadam tastes wonderful.
Why should we eat only Krishna Prasadam & nothing else?
As we all know everything belongs to Krishna therefore everything is meant for the service of Krishna, for the pleasure of Krishna, so if we take things for ourselves, for our own pleasure and try to enjoy them without first offering them to Krishna then we become thieves. If we take something that belongs to Krishna and use it for ourselves then we have stolen it from Krishna and we become sinful thieves.
Karma is another aspect that we have to look into. Everything we do in the material world, good or bad, generates a reaction that we will have to enjoy or suffer in the future. So if we are performing these activities that generate good and bad karma that will force us to continue taking birth in the material world perpetually so that we can experience the good and bad karma we have accumulated in this life. So unless we can stop generating karma there is no escape for us from the material world.
But, if we work for Krishna there will be no karmic reaction generated by that work and if we eat foods that have been prepared with love and devotion and offered to Krishna, then eating will not generate any karmic reaction. Rather this service to Krishna and eating Krishna prasadam will stop the karmic reactions that are stored up within our hearts from acting on us.
If we are serious about advancing in spiritual life then we must eat only Krishna prasadam and nothing else. If we eat foodstuffs which are not prepared by devotees and which are not offered to Krishna with love then we will be eating only sin and we will be subject to the karmic reactions involved in that food. It will entangle us more and more in the cycle of birth and death.
So for most of us that means we have to learn how to cook for Krishna, because if we don’t cook for Krishna and offer the food to Krishna then how will we be able to get Krishna prasadam on a regular basis?
Here is my little contribution on preparing & offering food to Krishna with love & devotion. I have developed all these recipes with special care & effort. I believe it will be of great help to everyone to learn & cook for Krishna. It is a collection of recipes, for everyday cooking as well as for the festivals & other special occasions. It will help everyone to be able to get Krishna prasadam regularly.