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PRASADAM COOKING STANDARDS
BY SRILA PRABHUPADA

 

Letter to: Kirtanananda, Bombay, 23 November, 1974

 

The right thing is that only twice initiated brahmana disciples cook in the temple.

 

Letter to: Rayarama, Los Angeles, 3 March, 1968

 

Regarding the cooking, a non-brahmana may assist but he cannot cook.

 

SB  4.31.10 purport

 

In our Krishna consciousness society, unless one is twice initiated—first by chanting Hare Krishna and second by the Gayatri mantra—he is not allowed to enter the kitchen or Deity room to execute duties.

 

December 12 1976 Room Conversation Hyderabad

 

Prabhupada: No uninitiated person should cook. Brahmana cook.

Mahamsha: What about professional cooks?

Prabhupada: Real brahmana.

 

Letter to: Anangamanjari, honolulu, 28 May, 1975

 

Nothing should be offered to Krishna unless it is prepared by the devotees themselves.

 

Letter to: Kirtanananda, Hawaii, 24 March, 1969

 

So far the cucumber pickles: As far as possible we should not offer to the Deity things which are prepared by nondevotees. We can accept from them raw fruits, grains or similar raw things. So far cooking and preparing, that should be strictly limited to the initiated devotees.

 

Letter to: Sukadeva, Bombay, 24 November, 1974

 

Regarding kitchen affairs, as a rule those who are not initiated may not enter into the kitchen affairs, but uninitiated members can work under the guidance of another initiated member when there is great need. So the direction which you are giving to the willing girls to help with the kitchen affairs is not objectionable. You can go on doing that.

 

Letter to: Sudama, Allahabad, 22 January, 1971

 

Bruce has not yet taken his initiation. He wants to remain with us independently. I have no objection for such conclusion but unless he is properly initiated, he cannot help you either in the kitchen or with Deity worship, but he can help you in translating and other activities.

 

Letter to: Nayanabhirama, Bombay, 4 April, 1971

 

As far as possible, non-initiated devotees may not enter the kitchen or Deity area. They can help from outside. Just take care of them so that they may become pure devotees. That is your duty.

 

TKG’s Diary, May 13, 1977

 

The gentleman who sold land to the gurukula in Vrindavana also cooked lunch for Prabhupada and wanted to do so daily.  Prabhupada took hardly any of the food he cooked.  He told me to tell the man that we could take only food cooked by a disciple, but if he liked, he could bring the bhoga and we would cook here

 

Letter from Shrila Prabhupada, 11 July 1976

 

Unless one is initiated, he cannot cook. There is no question of the outsiders cooking in the New Delhi temple.

 

December 12 1976 Room Conversation Hyderabad

 

Hamsaduta: No, no, no. They were cutting up our vegetables which are going to be cooked and served to the public.

Mahamsha: No.

Hamsaduta: Yes, right over there by the fire.

Prabhupada: No uninitiated person should cook. Brahmana cook.

Mahamsha: What about professional cooks?

Prabhupada: Real brahmana.

Mahamsha: Professional cooks?

Prabhupada: Profes...? They are brahmanas.

Mahamsha: Yes, but they... Even though they are brahmanas, they have this habit of smoking, and if we try to find a professional cook who doesn’t smoke, it is very difficult.

Prabhupada: Hm. As far as possible, our men should cook, a professional man who is in good habit, who has promised that they will not do this smoking. We have to manage somehow. […]

Prabhupada: Yes. What can be done? Ne mama che kana mama  “If there is no uncle, one blind uncle is all right.” So the matter is now clear. You do it and develop it.

 

26 December 1976, Morning Walk Bombay

 

[…] Prabhupada: Ask the leaders! I was talking that in all our other branches, our men manage the cooking and kitchen and as soon as they come here, they become varalasai. (?) That is Ravana. Why do they not do here? We have to keep some cook who is neither initiated, nor very clean, a smoker, and we have to keep them. [break] In all other branches, the boys and girls, they manage everything. [break]

Amogha-lila: ...follow the regulations more strictly?

Prabhupada: That I have to say again? That means Ravana. He’s asking. I am repeatedly saying that follow, and he’s asking. That means he’s Ravana. Why you are inquiring like that. If you know this is the solution, why don’t you do it? That means Ravana. If you know this is the solution, why don’t you do it? [break]

 

Letter to: Kirtanananda, Bombay, 23 November, 1974

 

[…] Regarding the prasadam, I never approved Mr. Malkani cooking in the temple. He is not initiated. Of course he is Hindu, but he went there to start his business. But, he is not initiated to cook in the temple. Any paid cook is not desirable. Who was cooking formally? He wanted to start his business, not to be engaged by us. The independent cooking done in the temple kitchen is not good.*

[…]

*The right thing is that only twice initiated brahmana disciples cook in the temple.

 

 

Letter to: Gopala Krishna, New York, 11 July, 1976

[…] Unless one is initiated they cannot cook. They must be regular disciples then they can do Deity worship. So there is no question of the outsiders cooking in the New Delhi temple.

 

08 August 1977, Room Conversation Vrndavana

Tamala Krishna: It’s not a big thing here to cook. Prabhupada just closed four kitchens down.

Prabhupada: Patram pushpam phalam toyam. No cooking. Tulasi and jala. You can offer little fruits, nuts, milk. No need of cooking. Takes much time. I want here no hired... But for the Deities and the devotees it is false.(?) Their association is bad. Make some arrangement so that you can avoid hired cooks unless it is absolutely necessary. The hired cook, they are most wretched people.

 

Letter to: Bhavananda, Honolulu, 9 May, 1972

 

So far accepting water, no, practically from one who is not initiated we should not accept any eatables or drinkables. This should not be discussed, but you should remember it. But if there is dire necessity, there is not question of prohibition.

 

The Hari-bhakti-vilasa underscores this point:

Food (especially grains) which is cooked by non-Vaishnavas or by sinful people, or which has not been offered to Vishnu, is the same as dog meat. (From Pancaratrika Pradipa published by ISKCON GBC Press)

 

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that there are three varieties of invitations—those in the mode of goodness, those in passion and those in ignorance. An invitation accepted from a pure devotee is in the mode of goodness, an invitation accepted from a person who is pious but materially attached is in the mode of passion, and an invitation accepted from a person who is materially very sinful is in the mode of ignorance. (Cc Antya 6.279 purp)