Sri Sri Radha GopalJiu Temple

ISKCON Gadeigiri, Orissa. - Founder-Acarya His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Prasad: how to eat spiritually.

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 lovecooking 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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How to offer your food to the Lord

As you walk down the supermarket aisles selecting the foods you will offer to Krishna, you need to know what is offerable and what is not. In the Bhagavad-gita, Lord Krishna states, "If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water, I will accept it." From this verse it is understood that we can offer Krishna foods prepared from milk products, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains. Meat, fish, and eggs are not offerable. And a few vegetarian items are also forbidden--garlic and onions, for example, which are in the mode of ignorance. (Hing, or asafetida, is a tasty substitute for them in cooking and is available at most Indian groceries.) Nor can you offer to Krishna coffee or tea that contain caffeine. If you like these beverages, purchase caffeine free coffee and herbal teas.

While shopping, be aware that you may find meat, fish, and egg products mixed with other foods; so be sure to read labels carefully. For instance, some brands of yogurt and sour cream contain gelatin, a substance made from the horns, hooves, and bones of slaughtered animals. Also, make sure the cheese you buy contains no rennet, an enzyme extracted from the stomach tissues of slaughtered calves. Most hard cheese sold in America and Europe contains rennet, so be careful about any cheese you can't verify as rennetless.

Also avoid foods cooked by non-devotees. According to the subtle laws of nature, the cook acts upon the food not only physically but mentally as well. Food thus becomes an agent for subtle influences on your conscious. The principle is the same as that at work with a painting: a painting is not simply a collection of strokes on a canvas but an expression of the artist's state of mind, which affects the viewer. So if you eat food cooked by non-devotees-employees working in a factory, for example--then you're sure to absorb a dose of materialism and karma. So as far as possible use only fresh, natural ingredients.

In preparing food, cleanliness is the most important principle. Nothing impure should be offered to God; so keep your kitchen very clean. Always wash your hands thoroughly before entering the kitchen. While preparing food, do not taste it, for you are cooking the meal not for yourself but for the pleasure of Krishna. Arrange portions of the food on dinnerware kept especially for this purpose; no one but the Lord should eat from these dishes. The easiest way to offer food is simply to pray, "My dear Lord Krishna, please accept this food," and to chant each of the following prayers three times while ringing a bell:

1. Prayer to Srila Prabhupada:

nama om vishnu-padaya krishna-preshthaya bhutale
srimate bhaktivedanta-swamin iti namine
namas te saraswate deve gaura-vani-pracharine
nirvishesha shunyavadi pashchatya desha tarine

"I offer my respectful obeisances unto His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is very dear to Lord Krishna, having taken shelter at His lotus feet. Our respectful obeisances are unto you, O spiritual master, servant of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami. You are kindly preaching the message of Lord Caitanya deva and delivering the Western countries, which are filled with impersonalism and voidism."

2. Prayer to Lord Chaitanya:

namo maha-vadanyaya krishna-prema-pradaya te
krishnaya krishna-chaitanya-namne gaura-twishe namaha

"O most munificent incarnation! You are Krishna Himself appearing as Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. You have assumed the golden color of Srimati Radharani. and You are widely distributing pure love of Krishna. We offer our respectful obeisances unto You."

3. Prayer to Lord Krishna:

namo brahmanya-devaya go-brahmana-hitaya cha
jagad-dhitaya krishnaya govindaya namo namaha

"I offer my respectful obeisances unto Lord Krishna, who is the worshipable Deity for all brahmanas the well-wisher of the cows and the brahmanas and the benefactor of the whole world. I offer my repeated obeisances to the Personality of Godhead, known as Krishna and Govinda."

Purpose

Remember that the real purpose of preparing and offering food to the Lord is to show your devotion and gratitude to Him. Krishna accepts your devotion, not the physical offering itself. God is complete in Himself--He doesn't need anything--but out of His immense kindness He allows us to offer food to Him so that we can develop our love for Him.

After offering the food to the Lord, wait at least five minutes for Him to partake of the preparations. Then you should transfer the food from the special dinnerware and wash the dishes and utensils you used for the offering. Now you and any guests may eat the prasadam. While you eat, try to appreciate the spiritual value of the food. Remember that because Krishna has accepted it, it is non-different from Him, and therefore by eating it you will become purified.

Everything you offer on your altar becomes prasadam, the mercy of the Lord. The flowers, the incense, the water, the food--everything you offer for the Lord's pleasure becomes spiritualized. When we offer the Lord something with genuine love and devotion, He enters into the offering, and thus the remnants are non-different from Him. So you should not only deeply respect the things you've offered, but you should distribute them to others as well.

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Food for Life: The world's largest vegetarian food-relief

The International charity program Hare Krishna Food for Life is doing its part to combat world hunger by providing free meals to the needy. For the past two decades, the Food for Life program has served over 65 million hot, nutritious vegetarian meals through America, Asia, Africa, Australia, and Europe. Srila Prabhupada, founder of Food for Life, began the program in 1972, stating that "No one within ten miles of our kitchens should go hungry." Since that time Food for Life has emerged as the world's largest vegetarian food-relief service, with programs in over 62 countries.

The meticulous preparation and vast distribution of vegetarian foods has always been an essential part of the 5000-year-old cultural tradition that Food for Life represents. In Vedic times, whenever a householder made prasadam, he would call out into the street, "Prasadam," 3 times and offer the food to others before he would eat. Today, the program distributes up to 350,000 free meals every month from vans and free food restaurants, as well as to homeless shelters, orphanages, mental hospitals, schools, and disaster areas.

At the risk of their lives, Food for Life volunteers also help in areas of conflict, feeding innocent victims of war. Food for Life's courageous men and women have been bringing food, hope and happiness into the lives of orphans, the elderly, single mothers, and handicapped children in Sarajevo, Grozny, and Sukhumi. Over two million free meals have been served in these three cities.

Governments in many parts of the world have recognized the effectiveness of Food for Life in addressing the world hunger problem and are supporting the service with money, buildings, vehicles, and food. "Food for Life can feed more people for less money than any other food-relief organization in the world," claims Paul Turner, international director for the service, "primarily because we're totally vegetarian and partly because all Food for Life members are volunteers."

Started in the early 70's personally by Srila Prabhupada, the goal of this program is to feed needy people, wherever they may be, with spiritually and materially nutritious food. To date, tens of millions of plates of prasadam have been distributed throughout the world.

During the severe floods in Eastern India, the Food For Life was the only relief team to bring kichari, the staple Bengali food, by boat directly to the starving people. FFL is now being praised by both Russian and Chechnyan authorities as having the most efficient food-distribution program in the embattled region. In Sarajevo, despite the hostilities, FFL has for many years been supplying hospitals and educational institutions with needed food. In Australia and America, regular programs for feeding the poor and homeless make life more pleasant for these desperate people. There are literally hundreds of examples of the good work done by dedicated volunteers who take nothing in the way of salary for their charitable work. FFL relief organizations have also supplied clothing and blankets in areas of major earthquakes and other disasters.

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When does food become Prasad?

This article was sourced from His Holiness Sivarama Swami's website.

The phenomenon of something changing from material to spiritual is an extraordinary one, but it is something we as devotees are involved in daily—often several times a day. It happens when bhoga (unoffered food) is becoming Prasad, or food sanctified by the Lord.

When I was a new devotee in Montreal, we arranged a program that was to be given on campus at McGill University. The leaflet advertising the program read, “See matter transformed into spirit before your very eyes.” That title certainly drew interest from a lot of people.

During the program, the Temple president was giving the presentation, and he was leading up to this point. Finally he said, “OK, now it’s going to happen. You are going to see spirit manifest before your very eyes.”

The students were sitting on the edge of their seats. The plate of unoffered food, which was the feast for that day, was brought in and placed in front of a picture of Panca-tattva (Lord Chaitanya and His four main associates). A devotee then bowed down, rang the bell, and uttered some mantras.

Finally he stood and declared, “Here it is! We brought in ordinary food, and now it’s transformed into spiritual substance.”

And before anyone could challenge, he said, “The proof will be that you eat it now and see the effect that it has.”

As Krishna says, pratyakshavagamam dharmyam: “The principle of religion is understood by direct experience.” (Bhagavad-gita 9.2), or in this case, the proof is certainly in the tasting. Those who have tasted Krishna’s Prasad know that it has extraordinary potency, and eating it is a very different experience from eating food that isn’t offered to the Lord with love and devotion.

So when does Prasad become Prasad? When it is offered, certainly. But for an offering to be successful, it must be accepted. When Krishna accepts what we offer to Him, it becomes Prasad. The word Prasad means “mercy,” and in the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna says, prasade sarva-duhkhanam hanir asyopajayate: “Receiving the mercy of the Lord destroys all misery.” Therefore, when we eat (or, as we say, honor) Prasad, we feel elated. Prasad destroys the results of our past sinful activities. Rupa Goswami says it makes us feel “very auspicious.”

And what is it that is really being accepted? Is it the foods itself? Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita (9.26),

patram pushpam phalam toyam
yo me bhaktya prayacchati
tad aham bhakty-upahritam
ashnami prayatatmanah

“If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit, or water, I will accept it.” He says, “I accept the bhakti.” You may offer a leaf, a flower, fruit, milk, or ghee-cooked preparations, but the devotion is what carries those preparations to Krishna, and that’s what makes Him inclined to accept it. Sri Isopanisad (Mantra 5) tells us, tad dure tad v antike: although Krishna is very far away, He is also very close. So wherever we are when we offer something to Krishna, devotion brings Him right to us.

We should recognize, however, that not all offerings are on the same level; they depend on the nature of the devotee. Although there are many ways to categorize devotees, in this case we may consider three types: motivated, pure, and love-saturated devotees. Consequently, their offerings will fall into one of these three categories.

The Motivated Offering

A motivated offering is when something is offered to Krishna with the idea that some material benefit will come in return, such as liberation from material suffering: “If I give this to Krishna, I’ll be prosperous, I’ll be healthy, my children will find suitable spouses,” and so on. Or someone might desire to be free from suffering, or to recover from an illness—this is offering with motivation. But even that motivated offering can be done in two ways.
 If it is done through the guru-parampara, the succession of gurus, then Krishna will accept it, because pure devotees are very merciful, and to elevate motivated devotees they beseech Krishna to accept their meager offerings. In other words, it is the purity of the devotees in the guru-parampara that transforms the impure offering into a pure offering.

If a motivated person just makes an offering whimsically, however, not through a guru-parampara, then the offering doesn’t become Prasad but remains bhoga. Yet still such offerings have value in the sense that the person is thinking, “At least I am offering this to Krishna.”

Of course, whatever way people think of Krishna is beneficial. Akama, sarva-kama, moksha-kama: without material desires, full of material desires, or desiring liberation. In each case they become gradually purified. But unless Krishna exercises some extraordinary mercy, He doesn’t accept food offered with ulterior motives.
Yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto ‘pi: “Without the grace of the spiritual master, one cannot make any advancement.” (Gurvashtaka 8th verse) Krishna won’t accept something unless it comes through the guru-parampara.

An interesting question often arises regarding congregation members or new devotees who are not initiated but who are making offerings: Are the offerings bhoga or Prasad? In this case we should consider the potency of the disciplic succession. The disciplic succession is not restricted to initiated devotees.
If someone receives an instruction from an authorized Vaishnava to offer food, then Krishna will accept their offering. Krishna won’t reject their sincere approach, because such persons are, in effect, accepting the guru-parampara even though they have not yet gone through the process of diksha.

The Pure Offering

The second type of offering is the pure offering, when a devotee offers something to Krishna to please Him. A devotee has no selfish motives; he only wants please the Lord. Therefore at home he offers food to a picture, to a Deity, to a Shalagrama-shila. And in the Temple, pure-hearted pujaris try to please Gaura-Nitai and Radha-Krishna. But even in this category there are two types of offerings: regulated and spontaneous.

Regulated offerings are done out of duty, following all the rules and regulations. The other also involves the devotee doing everything just right, but out of a spontaneous attachment to the Lord. Such a devotee has a certain degree of affection, and the dominant thought is not one of obligation—”I will do this because I’ve been instructed to by guru and shastra.” Yet by doing things according to guru and shastra, devotees awaken their natural attraction to Krishna and perform spontaneous acts of devotion out of affection. This affection is a little different from mature love, spiritual love, but it is genuine. Still, both these pure offerings have to be made through the guru-parampara.

The Prasad is also different in this category. When you offer something to Krishna out of duty, He accepts it out of duty. He feels duty-bound. In the Bhagavad-gita (3.24) Krishna says, “If I didn’t follow the rules and regulations, then other people would be misled.” Krishna is acting out of duty.
But Krishna considers that of all the devotees who are surrendered to Him, the one who is offering things to Him with affection is most dear to Him. Consequently, Krishna reciprocates in kind: He responds with loving affection toward that devotee.

Naturally the question arises, Are there different kinds of Prasad? And the answer, then, is yes. Krishna says, ye yatha mam prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajamyaham: “As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly.” (Bg. 4.11) According to the quality and quantity of devotion with which one makes an offering to Krishna, that offering proportionately becomes Prasad.
It is interesting to note that a devotee’s ability to taste Prasad will also be in proportion to his or her ability to offer Prasad. In other words, devotees will taste the spiritual nature of Prasad in the same degree they are manifesting devotion in the offering.

The Offering in Pure Love

The third kind of offering is that which is done with pure love. When devotees come to the stage of loving devotion, Krishna directly accepts offerings from their hands, and He reciprocates with them in kind. Loving devotion is that which is exhibited by Krishna’s eternal associates in the spiritual world, where He is directly engaged in tasting all the types of love His devotees offer.

So what is it that’s different, and how is it that food becomes spiritual? The food looks the same before and after the offering, but what actually happens is that Krishna reciprocates with the devotion of the devotee by manifesting His svarupa-shakti, or His daivi-prakriti, His internal spiritual potency, to the degree that the devotee allows.
By “allows” I mean to the degree the devotee wants, or to the degree that he manifests a quality and quantity of devotional service.

When Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was in Jagannatha Puri and tasted Jagannatha Prasad, He became overwhelmed by the ecstatic taste of the Prasad. He glorified the Prasad and could directly taste the saliva of Krishna’s lotus lips mixed in with the food. He went on to glorify the effect of the touch of Krishna’s lips.

This is what happens when someone in loving devotion tastes food that has been offered to the Lord. And in this case, no doubt, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s ability to taste the potency of the Prasad exceeds that of the brahmanas who offered it to Lord Jagannatha. But, still, that Prasad is Krishna’s internal potency. It is non-different from Krishna, and it is dynamic. A loving devotee may taste more of the spiritual potency present in Prasad than was originally manifest to the pujari who offered it.

We may also consider the examples of Prahlada Maharaja and Mirabai: Both were given poison to drink, but because of their great loving devotion, the poison was transformed into nectar and had no effect. Why is that? Because both poison and nutritious food are part of the relativity of this material world. But when we offer something with love to Krishna, then Krishna’s sac-cid-ananda potency manifests in that food. In this way, poison becomes as much Prasad as a pakora does.

Offering Our Lives

We shouldn’t think, however, that an “offering” is simply the bhoga or food we offer to Krishna. Devotees make their entire life an offering:

yat karoshi yad ashnasi
yaj juhoshi dadasi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya
tat kurushva mad-arpanam

Krishna is saying, “Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer or give away, and whatever austerities you perform—do that, O son of Kunti, as an offering to Me.” (Bg. 9.27) Ultimately every breath a devotee takes is an offering: when devotees sleep because they need to maintain their bodies for Krishna’s service, then that sleep becomes an offering to the Lord; their eating to maintain their bodies so they can remain healthy to serve Krishna is an offering to the Lord; when they receive anything—food, soap, money—all of these things are offered to Krishna.
In New Vraja Dhama (the devotee farm community in Hungary) anything the devotees acquire or receive, they first offer to Radha-Syamasundara, the presiding deities, on a tray that sits before the altar. In this way the practice of offering everything to Krishna becomes natural.

We should learn how to offer everything. We rise early in the morning, and the first thing we do is offer prayers to the Lord. We chant Hare Krishna not as entertainment but as an offering to glorify Krishna. And when someone lives like that, then in one sense the act of making the offering becomes unnecessary (although devotees do it to set the example) because such devotees are always absorbed in doing everything for Krishna.
Therefore, yo me bhaktya prayacchati—the bhakti is already there, and Krishna is very eager to receive it. In fact, Krishna follows behind devotees to accept their loving devotion every moment of the day, in every movement of their bodies, and in every thought they manifest in relation to their devotional service to Him.

Ultimately this is what we aspire for, and this is what loving devotees do: they live for Krishna, and thus everything they do becomes Krishna conscious—it becomes Prasad. The cowherd boys simply sit down with Krishna and eat from their lunch packs—they don’t make any offering to Krishna.
When they offer something to Krishna, they take from their lunch packs and put it right in Krishna’s mouth. Or they may even bite off half a sweetball and then say, “Oh, Krishna, just see how wonderful this sweetball tastes!” and put the rest in Krishna’s mouth. Yo me bhaktya prayacchati: it’s just their love.
The formality and technicality of offering is no longer relevant, because what Krishna really wants is the love and devotion. That’s all that actually interests Him. And whether Mother Yashoda offers her breast milk, the gopis offer their bodies, the cows offer their milk, the cowherd boys wrestle and jump on Krishna’s shoulders—everything becomes Prasad because everything is an offering of love.

Our business in Krishna consciousness, therefore, is to live in this world of Prasad and thereby become Prasad ourselves. This is what Krishna concludes in the Bhagavad-gita (4.24) when He says, brahmarpanam brahma havir brahmagnau brahmana hutam …: “A person who is fully absorbed in Krishna consciousness is sure to attain the spiritual kingdom because of his full contribution to spiritual activities.”
If we’re thinking about offering everything to Krishna, if our physical acts are an offering to Krishna, if our words are an offering to Krishna, then ultimately we become an offering to Krishna. Then we become Prasad. And Krishna is always very eager to taste the wonderful mellows of our loving offerings to Him.

Many texts and photos on this website are copied,with permission, from www.krishna.com.

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Prasaddistribution/distributie in Gadeigiri

(Eng.)Photo's Prasaddistribution Gadeigiri (Jagatsinghpur,Orissa,India):

(Nl.)   Foto's Prasad verspreiding Gadeigiri:

(Eng.)Here there is being cooked for about fifteenhundred visitors during the "Anual Function" festival, which is a yearly event to honor the opening of Gopal's Tempel in 1999...(held on Vasanta pancami day/the first day of spring)

(Nl.)   Hier word er gekookt voor zo'n vijftienhonderd bezoekers tijdens het "Anual Function" festival, wat een jaarlijks evenement is ter ere van de opening van Gopal's Tempel in 1999...(gehouden op Vasanta pancami dag/de eerste dag van de lente)



(Eng.)...this is done in a simple and efficient manner... 

(Nl.)   ...dit gebeurt op simpele en doeltreffende wijze...

(Eng.)...it is a nutricious and spiritual meal which generaly consists of rice, lentelsoup (dahl), mixed vegetables (subji),...

(Nl.)   ...het is een voedzame en spirituele maaltijd die doorgaans bestaat uit rijst, linzensoep (dahl), gemengde groenten (subji),...

(Eng.)...salad, a fried preperation (pakora) and as a dessert sweet rice...

(Nl.)   ...salade, een gefrituurde preperatie (pakora) en met als apperatief zoete rijst...

(Eng.)...which is being offered to one and all...

(Nl.)   ...die aan een ieder word aangeboden...

(Eng.)...and is very much apreciated...

(Nl.)   ...en door jong en oud...

(Eng.)...by the young and old.

(Nl.)   ...zeer word gewaardeerd.

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Videos Prasad distribution (Food For Life) ISKCON

 
Food for life global, 5:24
 
 
Lalli feast, 1:18
 
 
Hare krishna Food For Life & restaurants, 6:58
 
 
Vegetarianism and the effects eating meat has on our planet, 8:53
 
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Prasad: hoe je op een spirituele manier kunt eten.

cookingDoor Zijn al-machtige, transcendentale energieën kan Krishna materie veranderen in spirituele substantie. Zo ook wordt voedsel dat met liefde en toewijding voor Krishna bereid is en aan Hem wordt geofferd volledig gespiritualiseerd. Zulk voedsel wordt Krishna-Prasad genoemd, 'de genade van Heer Krishna'.

Het eten van Prasad is een fundamenteel onderdeel van bhakti-yoga. Bij andere vormen van yoga moet je op kunstmatige manier je zintuigen in bedwang houden, maar de bhakti-yogi (beoefenaar van bhakti-yoga) kan zijn zintuigen bezighouden met een veelheid aan plezierige, spirituele activiteiten, zoals het proeven van heerlijk voedsel dat eerst aan Heer Krishna is aangeboden. Op die manier worden de zintuigen langzaam maar zeker gezuiverd en gespiritualiseerd.

Heer Caitanya zei het volgende over Prasad: 'Iedereen heeft dit voedsel eerder geproefd, maar nu het voor Krishna bereid is en met toewijding aan Hem geofferd is, heeft dit voedsel een buitengewone smaak en ongekende geuren gekregen. Proef het gewoon eens en merk het verschil in ervaring! Los van de smaak is zelfs de geur plezierig voor de geest en zorgt ervoor dat je elk ander aroma vergeet. Daarom moeten we begrijpen dat de spirituele nectar van Krishna’s lippen dit voedsel eerst moet hebben aangeraakt zodat Hij er al Zijn spirituele kwaliteiten op kan overbrengen'.

De perfectie van het vegetarisme bestaat eruit om alleen dàt voedsel te eten dat eerst aan Krishna geofferd is. Afzien van het eten van vlees is zeker een prijzenswaardig standpunt, maar als we verder gaan dan vegetarisme, naar een dieet van alleen Prasad, dan helpt ons eten ons om het doel van het mensenleven te bereiken: weer bewust worden van onze oorspronkelijke relatie met God. In de Bhagavad-gita zegt Heer Krishna dat iemand zal lijden als gevolg van de reacties van karma, behalve wanneer hij alleen voedsel eet dat eerst aan Hem als een offer is aangeboden.

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Hoe je een offering (voor)bereid en aanbied

Wanneer je langs de schappen in de supermarkt loopt en het voedsel selecteert dat je aan Krishna wilt offeren, moet je wel eerst weten wat geofferd kan worden en wat niet. In de Bhagavad-gita zegt Heer Krishna: 'Wanneer iemand Mij met liefde een blad, een bloem, wat fruit of water aanbiedt, dan zal ik het aanvaarden'. Ergens anders wordt gezegd dat we Krishna voedsel kunnen aanbieden dat bereid is uit melkproducten, groenten, fruit, noten en granen. Er zijn veel Hare Krishna-kookboeken verkrijgbaar met daarin de heerlijkste vegetarische gerechten.

Vlees, vis en eieren zijn niet offerbaar. Sommige vegetarische producten zijn ook niet toegestaan, zoals bijvoorbeeld knoflook en uien, omdat deze de neiging hebben de geest onrustig te maken, wat het mediteren moeizamer maakt (hing, ook wel bekend als asafoetida, is tijdens het koken een smakelijk vervangingsmiddel en is verkrijgbaar bij de meeste toko's). Ook kun je Krishna geen (zwarte) thee of koffie aanbieden, omdat die cafeïne bevatten. Mocht je toch van deze dranken houden, koop dan liever cafeïnevrije koffie (decafé) of cichorei en rooibos of kruidenthee. 

Houd er rekening mee dat je tijdens het winkelen producten tegen kunt komen die vermengd zijn met ander (onwenselijk) voedsel – lees dus altijd de ingrediëntenlijst goed door. Sommige merken yoghurt en zure room bevatten bijvoorbeeld gelatine, een substantie die gemaakt is van de horens, hoeven en botten van geslachte dieren. De meeste kaas bevat stremsel, een enzym dat aan het weefsel van geslachte kalveren wordt onttrokken. Kijk daarom uit naar kaas waarop staat aangegeven dat hij geschikt is voor vegetariërs. Probeer voedsel dat door niet-toegewijden gekookt is te vermijden. Volgens de subtielere wetten van de natuur heeft het bewustzijn van de kok effect op het voedsel. Je kunt het vergelijken met een schilderij: een schilderij is niet zomaar een verzameling verfstreken op een doek, maar is een uitdrukking van de gemoedsgesteldheid van de kunstenaar, die invloed heeft op de toeschouwer. Wanneer je dus voedsel eet dat gekookt is door niet-toegewijden, zoals bijvoorbeeld kant-en-klare-maaltijden, dan is het zo dat je een dosis materialisme en karma zult opnemen. Gebruik tijdens het koken zoveel mogelijk verse, natuurlijke ingrediënten.

Tijdens het bereiden van de offering is reinheid een belangrijk principe. Aan God mag niets dat onzuiver is geofferd worden – houd je keuken dus goed schoon. Was altijd eerst grondig je handen voordat je de keuken binnengaat. Proef tijdens het koken niet van het eten, want je kookt de maaltijd niet voor jezelf, maar voor het plezier van Krishna. Breng kleine hoeveelheden van het voedsel over op eetservies dat je speciaal voor dit doel gebruikt; niemand anders dan de Heer mag van dit servies eten.

Het offeren van voedsel aan Krishna 

De gemakkelijkste manier om voedsel te offeren is door simpelweg te bidden: 'Mijn beste Heer Krishna, aanvaard alstublieft dit voedsel', waarna je de volgende gebeden een keer op kunt zeggen tijdens het rinkelen van een bel.

[1] Eerbetuigingen aan Srila Prabhupada:

nama om visnu-padaya krishna-presthaya bhu-tale
srimate bhaktivedanta-svamin iti namine
namas te sarasvate deve gaura-vani-pracarine
nirvisesa-sunyavadi-pascatya-desa-tarine

"Ik breng mijn nederige eerbetuigingen aan Sri Srimad A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, die zeer dierbaar is aan Heer Krishna, omdat hij zijn toevlucht bij Zijn lotusvoeten heeft gezocht. Onze eerbiedige eerbetuigingen brengen wij aan u, o geestelijk leraar, dienaar van Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami. U bent zo vriendelijk om de boodschap van Heer Caitanya te prediken om zo de westerse landen te bevrijden die vol zijn van impersonalisme en aanhangers van de leegteleer."

[2] Eerbetuigingen aan Heer Caitanya:

namo maha-vadanyaya krishna-prema-pradaya te
krishnaya krishna-caitanya-namne gaura-tvise namah

"O meest vrijgevige incarnatie! Je bent Krishna Zelf die verschijnt als Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Je hebt de gouden kleur van Srimati Radharani aangenomen en Je verspreidt overal zuivere liefde voor Krishna. Wij brengen Je onze eerbiedige eerbetuigingen."

[3]
Eerbetuigingen aan Heer Krishna:

namo brahmanya-devaya go-brahmana-hitaya ca
jagad-dhitaya krishnya govindaya namo namah

"Ik breng mijn eerbiedige eerbetuigingen aan Heer Krishna, die de vererenswaardige Godheid van alle brahmana's is, die de brahmana’s en de koeien welgezind is en die de weldoener is van de hele wereld. Ik breng keer op keer mijn nederige eerbetuigingen aan de Persoonlijkheid Gods, die bekend staat als Krishna en Govinda."

Doel 

Het werkelijke doel van het bereiden en offeren van voedsel aan de Heer is dat je volledige toewijding en dankbaarheid ontwikkeld. Krishna aanvaardt je toewijding, niet de materiële substantie van het offer. God is volledig voldaan in Zichzelf – Hij heeft niets nodig – maar uit Zijn onmetelijke vriendelijkheid staat Hij ons toe om Hem voedsel aan te bieden, zodat we onze liefde voor Hem kunnen ontwikkelen.
Wacht tenminste vijf minuten nadat je het voedsel aan de Heer hebt geofferd, zodat Hij van de gerechten kan proeven. Breng het voedsel daarna van het speciale serviesgoed ergens anders in over en was de borden en alle spullen die je hebt gebruikt goed af. Nu kunnen jij, je familie en eventuele gasten de Prasad nemen. Probeer tijdens het eten de spirituele waarde van het voedsel te waarderen en probeer te beseffen dat, omdat Krishna het aanvaard heeft, het nu niet meer verschillend is van Hem en dat je door ervan te eten gezuiverd wordt.

Alles wat je op het altaar offert, wordt Prasad, de genade van de Heer. De bloemen, de wierook, het water, het voedsel dat geofferd werd voor het plezier van de Heer, allemaal worden ze gespiritualiseerd. De Heer gaat binnen in het geofferde en dat wat Hij overlaat verschilt dus niet van Hem. Daarom moet je de dingen die je geofferd hebt niet alleen respecteren, maar ze ook verspreiden onder anderen. Het verspreiden van Prasad is een essentiële uitdrukking van je toewijding aan Krishna.

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Prasaddistributie ISKCON wereldwijd

In 1974 richtte ISKCON Hare Krishna Food For Life op voor het wereldwijd gratis verspreiden van vegetarisch gespiritualiseerd (aan Krishna geofferd) voedsel (Prasad). Tegenwoordig werkt onze organisatie samen met o.a. het Internationale Rode Kruis, Care, de VN-organisatie voor vluchtelingen (UNHCR), Save The Children en Oxfam. Sinds 1974 heeft Food For Life al meer dan 60 miljoen warme maaltijden uitgedeeld. Daarmee is het de grootste vegetarische voedselhulpdienst ter wereld.
 
Anno 1999 worden er elke maand wereldwijd ongeveer 350.000 maaltijden uitgedeeld, via 165 voedselhulpprojecten verspreid over 67 landen: 50 in Oost-Europa (o.a. Rusland, Polen, Bosnie, Hongarije); 41 in Azie en Australie (waarvan 20 in India); 32 in Noord- en Zuid-Amerika (o.a. Ecuador, Nicaragua); de overige 42 in West-Europa (o.a. Duitsland, Belgie, Frankrijk, Nederland en Engeland) en in Afrika (o.a. Oeganda, Zuid-Afrika en Kenia).
 
Bij de jaarlijkse overstromingen in Bengalen (India) evenals in het regelmatig door overstromingen geteisterde Bangladesh, is Food For Life steeds ter plaatse om voor Prasaddistributie te zorgen.

Tijdens de twee jaar durende burgeroorlog in Georgie hebben de (Hare Krishna) toegewijden vanuit veldkeukens elke dag duizenden maaltijden gekookt en uitgedeeld net zoals in ex-Jugoslavie gedurende de burgeroorlog (o.a. in Sarajevo). Na een ernstige aardbeving in Spitak (Armenie) zorgde Food for Life geruime tijd voor Prasaddistributie. In 1993 verwoeste een aardbeving de stad Latur in India. Hare Krishna toegewijden van de ISKCON-tempel te Bombay hebben toen aan duizenden mensen Prasad en kleding uitgedeeld. Na de aardbeving van 1995 in Sachalin (Siberie) deelden de toegewijden dagelijks meer dan 500 maaltijden aan de slachtoffers uit. Tevens hielp Food for Life bij de grote overstromingen in Polen en andere Oost-Europese landen. Ze werden geasisteerd door het Internationale Rode Kruis die de Prasad met helicopters uitdeelde. 
                                                     
Ongeveer 20 jaar geleden is FFL gestart in de Benelux (in Amsterdam). Nu zijn er met enige regelmaat bescheiden FFL-acties in Amsterdam, Den Haag en Rotterdam.
In België bestaat Food for Life sinds mei 1996. Zij zijn gestart in Antwerpen en sinds september 1997 wordt er ook in Luik (vanuit Radhadesh één maal per week) Prasad verdeeld. Net als in andere grote steden leven in Luik velen onder het bestaansminimum en sommigen hebben helemaal niets. Vooral tijdens de winterse kou is de behoefte aan deze vorm van hulpverlening voelbaar.

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Hoe ISKCON Food For Life ontstond

Srila Prabhupada vroeg zijn leerlingen om ervoor te zorgen dat er niemand hongerig zou zijn in een straal van tien kilometer rond een Tempel. Hij deed dit verzoek toen hij vanuit een Tempelraam in Mayapur (India) kinderen met honden om voedselresten zag vechten. Vanaf die dag is Food For Life (FFL) gestart en nu, na enkele decennia, is het de grootste vegetarische voedselhulp- organisatie ter wereld.

Dagelijks deelt FFL over de gehele wereld duizenden gezonde, warme vegetarische maaltijden uit. Soms wordt er bij rampen direct actie ondernomen vanuit de plaatselijke Tempels. Dit was het geval tijdens de tsunami- ramp in december 2004, waarbij er op grote schaal hulp werd aangeboden in India, Sri Lanka en op kleinere schaal in Indonesië en Maleisië.

Er komen ook steeds meer speciale projecten van de grond, zoals het Bhaktivedanta Hospitaal, een weeshuis voor kinderen in Sri Lanka, een weeshuis in Kenia, een school in Vrindavana, enz. Belangrijk is dat in al deze projecten het wegnemen van de bron van alle misère centraal staat: het gebrek aan godsbewustzijn, Krishna-bewustzijn.

Veel teksten en foto's op deze website zijn gekopieerd, met toestemming, van www.krishna.com.

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Uitnodiging

Verder willen wij u uitnodigen om zelf eens Krishna Prasad te komen proeven in een van onze Tempels of centra wereldwijd (tegen vrijwillige donatie). 
Ook kunt u daar een van onze beroemde vegetarische kookboeken aanschaffen, dit ook voor een uitgebreidere uitleg over Prasad en haar bereiding (zie hiervoor ook de hogergelegen pagina Prasad: hoe je....).
Voor tijden en data bel a.u.b. de Hare Krishna Tempel in Amsterdam op 020-6751404, voor adressen kijk op www.haribol.nl bij "adressen" voor adressen in de Benelux of op www.iskcon.com bij "worldwide" voor adressen wereldwijd.

Hare Krishna.

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