Prasadam Distribution in Covid Times

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Morning Walk at Stow Lake — March 27, 1968, San Francisco:

Prabhupāda: “Here the man, distributing food to the animals and fish, he’s thinking that ‘I am doing some pious activities and I shall enjoy the fruit of it.’ And that’s a fact. But if we distribute Kṛṣṇa prasādam, we think that ‘This man is being supplied Kṛṣṇa prasādam. One day he may become Kṛṣṇa conscious.’ There is no personal question. And the principle of distributing Kṛṣṇa prasādam is there. Therefore even they don’t see any charge, if you distribute the prasādam, if you are able, you are doing some service. Because by eating only, he shall one day become Kṛṣṇa conscious. So whole program is for Kṛṣṇa.”

These days, when the daily wage workers, small business owners, and simple villagers are deprived of their means of livelihood and are facing the dire challenges of starvation and a lack of life’s basic necessities, numerous individuals and organizations arrange various food relief programs for the benefit of under privileged people.  

How are our Food for Life programs any different from these numerous endeavors? Those unfamiliar with the great potency of Sri Krsna prasada may not perceive any difference at all. But in fact there is a tremendous difference between ordinary food, which nourishes the body, and Sri Krsna prasada, which nourishes the soul as well as the body. In other words, Krsna prasada nourishes the true self and eventually leads one towards the practice of bhakti and living a life of purity and bliss. In the quote above, Srila Prabhupada says that unlike those who distribute food with the motive of reaping the pious results of such philanthropic activity, the devotees of the Lord distribute Krishna prasada not for their personal benefit but for the pleasure of the Lord and for the spiritual upliftment of all who partake of that most wonderful prasad. 

Srila Prabhupada further mentions in his conversation with Dai Nippon (April 22, 1972, Tokyo), “It was a very nice system that nobody should remain hungry. That is the system. If there is any temple in any neighborhood, in that neighborhood nobody should remain hungry. The Vedic system is that in your house, a householder shall see that even a lizard in the house is not hungry.”

Following this mood and instruction of Srila Prabhupada, all Iskcon temples throughout the world perform prasadam distribution in accordance with their capacity. In Iskcon Vrindavan, also, we distribute prasada daily, seeing the current lockdown as an opportunity to reach out to even more people and distribute Krishna prasada. By this, such people receive the opportunity to accumulate bhakti-unmukhi-sukrti, or spiritual merit that leads them to Krishna consciousness. 

Every day, a vehicle goes out to one of the villages in Vraja, where delicious and nutritious prasad is served to the local people. We also serve free prasad to those who come to our temple gate at certain times.In this way, Iskcon Vrindavan attempts to ensure that no one living in proximity to the temple goes hungry.  

In a morning walk in Los Angeles, December 16, 1973, Srila Prabhupāda said of those doing a certain level of welfare work, “So you feed them. But we also feed them. But we feed them with Kṛṣṇa prasādam. That is the difference. You do this. That will be actually beneficial. By distributing Kṛṣṇa’s prasādam, you will be benefited, they will be benefited.”

The glories of Krsna prasada have been extoled throughout the Vedic literatures, and our acaryas have also greatly stressed the importance of Krsna prasad. Srila Prabhupada called Krsna consciousness “the kitchen religion”, thus showing the great importance of Krsna prasad. 

“Distributing prasad in Vraja is a little different from distributing prasada in the West. The offering of foodstuffs in one’s home is common practice here, and at the same time, sadly, people are turning from their glorious culture and embracing Western thought and practices. So even in Vraja, prasadam distribution is a way of rekindling their spiritual wealth. 

Every day, our cooks and kitchen managers headed by Sanaka-Sanatana prabhu, Gaura Bhgavan prabhu, Shubha Krishna Prabhu and Karnamrita Prabhu put great effort into preparing large amounts of prasad. Our distributors then take this prasad to the local people, bringing a smile to their face.

Let us all therefore join in this movement to distribute Krsna prasada and thus bring about the ultimate benefit of one and all. Distribute Krsna prasad to those around you or support Iskcon Vrindavan Food Relief in doing so.Either ways, everyone will benefit