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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Spiritual Questions & Answers > Pre-2007 QnA Swami Gaurangapada > Grades of Prasadam

Title: Grades of Prasadam

User: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2007-02-18 03:27:37

 

Questions arise:

If Krishna Prasadam is not always purely on the transcendental platform--but rather possibly tinged by the modes, due to the purity of the devotee offering it, how will eating it help us conquer over our tongues?

 

Also, is it wrong for us to reject an offering that is made to the deities by a devotee whom we suspect is not following the rules and regulations?Or who may be following, but is often offensive to the other devotees?

Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita Antya 2.276

 

uparodhe prabhu mora manena nimantrana

na manile duhkhi ha-ibeka murkha jana

 

"`At my request Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepts the invitations because He knows that a foolish person like me would be unhappy if He did not accept them.'

 

PURPORT By Shrila Prabhupada:

 

Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura says that people who are advanced in learning but attached to material enjoyment, who are puffed up by material possessions, by birth in an elevated aristocratic family or by education, may offer showbottle devotional service to the Deity and also offer prasadam to Vaishnavas. Because of their ignorance, however, they cannot understand that since their minds are materially polluted, neither the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna, nor the Vaishnavas accept their offerings. If one accepts money from such materialistic persons to offer food to the Deity and Vaishnavas, a pure Vaishnava does not accept it. This causes unhappiness for the materialists because they are fully absorbed in the bodily conception of life. Therefore they sometimes turn against the Vaishnavas.

 

Verse 278

visayira anna khaile malina haya mana

malina mana haile nahe krsnera smarana

 

"When one eats food offered by a materialistic man, one's mind becomes contaminated, and when the mind is contaminated, one is unable to think of Krishna properly."

 

PURPORT

 

Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura suggests that people who are materialistically inclined and sahajiyas, or so-called Vaishnavas who take everything very casually, are both visayis, or materialists. Eating food offered by them causes contamination, and as a result of such contamination, even a serious devotee becomes like a materialistic man. There are six kinds of association-giving charity, accepting charity, accepting food, offering food, talking confidentially and inquiring confidentially. One should very carefully avoid associating with both the sahajiyas, who are sometimes known as Vaishnavas, and the non-Vaishnavas, or avaishnavas. Their association changes the transcendental devotional service of Lord Krishna into sense gratification, and when sense gratification enters the mind of a devotee, he is contaminated. The materialistic person who aspires after sense gratification cannot properly think of Krishna.

 

Verse 279

visayira anna haya `rajasa' nimantrana

data, bhokta-dunhara malina haya mana

 

"When one accepts an invitation from a person contaminated by the material mode of passion, the person who offers the food and the person who accepts it are both mentally contaminated."

 

PURPORT By Shrila Prabhupada:

 

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.

 

If Krishna Prasadam is not always purely on the transcendental platform--but rather possibly tinged by the modes, due to the purity of the devotee offering it, how will eating it help us conquer over our tongues?

 

Surely it won't fully. There are grades to the prasadam just like there are levels to our surrender and the Lord reciprocates accordingly. If the bhoga is cooked and offered with 50% devotion, then it is accepted 50% by the Lord and thus it helps to control our tongues 50% and the balance 50% does create material effects in our mind and hearts. Ideally the Lord accepts 100% as He Himself states in Shri Chaitanya Bhagavata if a devotee chants 100,000 Names devotedly daily. Shrila Prabhupada mercifully gave us a concession of 16 rounds (25,000 Names) for offering bhoga to the Lord. That is why Seventh Goswami Shrila Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura states in his essay published as Bhaktyaloka that a serious sannyasi should eat only in the homes of the householders who chant 100,000 Names daily.

 

Also, is it wrong for us to reject an offering that is made to the deities by a devotee whom we suspect is not following the rules and regulations?Or who may be following, but is often offensive to the other devotees?

It is not wrong to not accept if that is the truth. If we see in verse 276 it states: Lord Krishna, nor the Vaishnavas accept their offerings. I know it is not always possible but ideally just to make a point that if one cooks oneself and offers and then honors prasadam, it is guaranteed that one will not become contaminated more than what one already is if one is a sincere devotee and avoiding the ten offenses including Vaishnava aparadha. I generally recommend not to talk while cooking and offering but fully concentrate in the mind and heart on the presence of the Lord and the offering to the Lord which is what I do. And when I honor that prasadam, I immediately feel a powerful remembrance of the Lord.

 

There is also the question to the source of the money used to buy the bhoga foodstuffs for the prasadam like in the above case of Shrila Raghunatha Dasa Goswami where he used to receive the money from home. So a householder devotee should try to earn as honestly as possible and especially try to maintain a very spiritual consciousness at work or business. A sannyasi or brahmachari who accepts eating invitations or free bhoga foodstuffs should be careful as to check their source. A householder devotee is at an advantage in this case where he or she can honesty and purely work as an offering to the Lord and cook, offer and eat prasadam made from the foodstuffs purchased from that money. That is why it is recommended that a renunciate should eat only in the home of a pure householder devotee.

 

In an ashram or math atmosphere, I would suggest that the free donations coming in from devotees who are chanting sincerely be used for buying the bhoga foodstuffs to offer to the Lord and then the devotees. All other donations can be used for other preaching activities like book publication, preaching, other maintainence etc. since these injunctions in Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita are primarily first about bhoga and prasadam...vishayera anna khaile malina haya mana...