Mahaprasad

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As the saying goes ‘You are what you eat’, one truly takes on the qualities in accordance to the food that one eats, and the tongue is indeed one of the most prominent sense organs, which all the living entities are trying to satisfy. Regardless of age or country or any other factor, all people are always trying to satisfy the palate by trying to eat foods with the six different tastes, like sweet, salty, sour, bitter and so on. The living entities endeavour very hard to be able to satisfy this desire of eating palatable food stuffs. However, the food, which is actually crucial to keep soul and body together, can also prove to be a highway down to hell, if one indulges in eating abominable things at the expense of other living entities, by giving them tremendous pain. One should therefore partake only of vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy products and other such foodstuffs which are sanctioned in the Vedic literatures. These food stuffs themselves can also be classified into the mood of ignorance, passion and goodness, and one should endeavour to avoid those which are in the mood of ignorance and passion. Even then, despite eating food which can be classified as satwik, it can still prove to be a cause of continued bondage in this material world, for it makes one attached to enjoying the sense of taste and can thus distract one from the real goal of life. Knowing how difficult it is to resist the urge to eat delicious food stuffs, Sri Krishna, due to his causeless Kindness, kindly provides us with his Mahaprasad, which is food sanctified due to having been eaten by him and which bestows great good fortune upon those who relish it with respect and love rather than being a cause of further bondage in this material world. The same food which can keep us bound to this material world, after having been offered to the Lord, becomes potent to deliver us from this conditioned life. Such is the glory of Mahaprasad, that Srila Prabhupad said that our’s is a Kitchen religion, and he emphasised greatly on Prasadam distribution, so that by eating prasad the general populace can get some sukriti and be gradually purified to the stage of being able to seriously take up the process of Krishna Consciousness. This position of the fallen conditioned souls and Krishna’s mercy upon them in the form of Mahaprasad has been beautifully described by Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur in the following prayers, which are chanted by all the devotees before each meal to remind them of Sri Krishna’s Mercy in the form of Prasad.

bhāi-re!
śarīra abidyā-jāl, joḍendriya tāhe kāl,
jīve phele viṣaya-sāgore
tā’ra madhye jihwā ati, lobhamoy sudurmati,
tā’ke jetā kaṭhina saḿsāre
O brothers! This material body is a network of ignorance, and the senses are one’s deadly enemies, for they throw the soul into the ocean of material sense enjoyment. Among the senses, the tongue is the most voracious and verily wicked; it is very difficult to conquer the tongue in this world.

kṛṣṇa boro doyāmoy, koribāre jihwā jay,
swa-prasād-anna dilo bhāi
sei annāmṛta pāo, rādhā-kṛṣṇa-guṇa gāo,
preme ḍāko caitanya-nitāi
O brothers, Lord Krsna is very merciful. Just to control the tongue, He has given us the remnants of His own food! Now, please eat these nectarean grains while singing the glories of Their Lordships Sri Sri Radha and Krsna, and in love call out “Caitanya! Nitai!”