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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhaktivinoda Thakura > Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava > Bhaktivinoda Vani Vaibhava Part 1 > Mahaprasada




1.Is mahaprasdda, material?

Mahaprasdda, Krsna, the names of Krsna, and the pure Vaisnavas—these four items, present in the material world, are spiritual.

(Jaiva Dharma Chapter 6)


2.Why has mahaprasdda incarnated in this world?


Krsna is very merciful; to help us conquer our tongue He has given us His remnants. Please honor His nectarean remnants of food and sing the qualities of  Radha Krsna and in ecstasy chant the names of Caitanya and Nityananda.(Gltavali)


3.What is the result of honoring prasada?


By accepting foodstuffs that have been offered to the Lord, all one's material desires are conquered. (Sarandgati)


4.What does one obtain by the mercy of mahaprasdda?


Any living entity who is favored by mahaprasdda will certainly obtain pure devotional service to Krsna. (Navadvlpa-bhdva-taranga 131)


5.What is the consequence of thinking prasdda is mundane?


When we were residing at Sri Purusottama-ksetra, we heard many learned smdrtas make false arguments regarding mahdprasdda. Some said that mahdprasdda should  be honored within the temple premises; others said that mahdprasdda should be honored within 10 miles of the temple; yet others said that mahdprasdda touched  by sudras should not be accepted; and still others said that one should not accept mahdprasdda inside the temple or outside the temple. We have also seen the  kind of superior punishment these learned classes of people received.(Sajjana-tosani 10/8)


6.What is the need for offering foodstuffs to the Lord? What is the purpose of honoring mahaprasada?


Honoring mahdprasdda is not only symbolic of the superior life of the Vaisnavas, but it is part of worship, which ordinary theists cannot fully understand.  Ordinary men are very much inclined to preserve the superiority of reason over the intuitive feelings of man toward the God of love. We must now proceed to  show with healthy arguments that our intuitive feelings want us to offer everything we eat to the Lord of our heart. We must first examine the arguments of  the antagonists. The rationalist states that God is infinite and without wants, and consequently it is foolish to offer eatables to such a being. It is a  sacrilege to offer created things to the creator and thereby degrade the divinity of God, treating Him as a human being. These are reasonable arguments  indeed, and one who has heard them will certainly be inclined to declare to others, "Down with mahdprasdda." These conclusions, which may appear reasonable,  are dry and destructive.They tend to separate us from all connection in worshiping God. When you say that the Infinite wants nothing, you forbid all  contemplation and prayer. The Infinite does not want your grateful expressions or flattery. Utter a word to the unconditioned Lord and you are sure to  degrade Him into a conditioned being. Hymns, prayers, and sermons are all over! Shut your temple door and church gates because our rationalist has advised  you to do so. Believe a creative principle and you have done your duty! Oh! What a shame! What a dreadful fall! Theists, beware of these degrading  principles!


Now the rationalist appears in another form and allows prayers, sermons, psalms, and church going, saying that these things are wanted for the improvement of  the soul, but God does not want them at all. We are glad that the rationalist has come toward us and will make further approaches in the course of time. Yes, the progressive rationalist has admitted a very broad principle in theology: whatever we do toward God is for our own benefit and not for the benefit of  God, who is not in want of anything. However, the rationalist is a rationalist still and will continue to be so as long as he seeks self-interest. We know  for certain that religion promises to give eternal happiness to man and it is impossible to conceive of any religion, which is not based on self-interest.  This view, however, smells of utilitarianism and can never be theism. We must love God for God's sake even if our actions appear unreasonable. Our love must  be without any goal concerning ourselves. This love must be a natural emotion to the deity, as our well-wisher, without inference or experience. Salvation,  dear as it is, should not be the object of this love. What then about other forms of happiness? Love of God is its own reward. Salvation, as a concomitant  consequence, must be a servant of love, but we must not look on it as the main goal. If a rationalist is prepared to believe this, he becomes a theist of the  Vaisnava class, but the mere assuming of a name is of no consequence.


Though fully aware that the Lord is completely unconditioned, our holy and sweet principle of love takes a different view to that of the rationalist. Reason  says one thing but love prescribes the opposite. Reason tells me that God has no sorrow, but love sees God in tears for His sons who are misled to evil.  Reason tells me that the strict laws of God reward and punish me in a cold manner, but love reveals that God slackens His laws to the repentant soul. Reason  tells me that, with all his improvements, man will never touch God, but love preaches that on the conversion of the soul into a state of spiritual womanhood,  God, unconditioned as He is, accepts an eternal marriage with the liberated soul. Reason tells me that God is in infinite space and time, but love describes  that the all-beautiful Lord is sitting before us like a respected relative and enjoying the pleasures of society. As a father in his amusements with his  young children, God is spreading all sorts of delicious food all over the earth and expecting His sons to gather them for their own benefit. But the loving  children, out of their holy and unmixed love, gather all the scattered blessings and with strong feelings of love, regardless of reason, offer all the  blessings to the Father whom they love more than their lives.


The Father again, in reply to their kind feelings, gives back the offering to the children and kindly tells them, "O My children! These blessings are  intended for you! Out of your natural love, you bring them to Me for My enjoyment, but naturally I have no wants for you to supply. I have, however, accepted  that part of your offering which is for Me: your unmixed love and unbiased affections, for which I am exceedingly anxious. Take back these sweet things and  enjoy them."


This process of unbiased love, which dry reason can never approach, sanctifies the food we take and brings us harmless enjoyment every day of our natural  life! This is a system of sincere worship, which theists of a higher class alone can act upon. We cannot express the joy we often felt when we took the  mahdprasdda in the temple! The holiness we attach to it is its sweetness and often we pray that all men may enjoy it.

(The Temple of Jagannatha at Puri)