Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sunday Chat: What kind of food can we offer to Krishna? (Swami B. A. Pramadvaiti Maharaj)

(Excerpt from a lecture given in Miami, 5th August 2012)

Dear devotees,

Today we will recall a bit about Srila Rupa Goswami's Upadesamrita, more specifically the second verse explanation, that talks about the six activities that take us away from devotional service.

Atyaharah prayasas ca prajalpo niyamagrahahjana-sangas ca laulyam ca sadbhir bhakti vinasyati'

Let's recall the topics mentioned in this verse, explained by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur in a book called Sri Bhaktialoka. One of the topics touches us deeply at our sensual addictions, almost in a shameful way. Atyahara.

Atyahara is not only about eating too much, but about more general aspects such as accumulating anything more than we really need. The essential topic is the control over the senses. Like it is said in the first verse of this same book: The person who is stable and able to control the different impulses of the senses and the mind, is qualified to be a devotee and to share the message of Bhagavad Gita

The tongue can only be controlled if all is offered to Krsna and by accepting His prasadam. But the question is: What kind of food should we offer to Krsna? The answer is that all that comes from the food industry is absolutely far from the level of quality to offer God. If you only offer to Krsna different types of junk food (from the food industry), it will not be completely accepted.

The offering to Krsna must be pure and prepared by people of favorable consciousness.We know that a kitchen where non vegetarian food is cooked is no longer satvika and what is cooked there no longer meets the requirements of a favorable offering. So what to say about industrialized food that we don't even know what is its origin or the way it was prepared? We must be alert with all this.

The industrialized food is full of chemicals that add fragrance and color, to make it more tasty... Who would have thought that the very fruits Krsna created needed to be have extra flavor? The Lord Himself has created the most wonderful variety of flavors, smells and textures in all vegetables, fruits, grains that was given to us. God's creation is complete. We don't need to add hard chemicals.

This aspect is not only related to Atyahara, but also with the intelligence: We must consider what kind of food we offer to Krsna and eat. That is why I give so much emphasis on healthy products, organics, because it is the most clean and of the best quality so we can offer to God. Most of the food on the market nowadays is bad quality, or causes deep harm to your health. Like refined sugar for example, which is not pure sugar, but it is full of chemicals and whitener that makes it addictive. We cannot say organic food is something sophisticated, but it is a necessity for our health.

We must consider that 20 or 30 years ago pesticides were not used like they are now, and there were no interventions in the genes of food. It is becoming a subject of lack of intelligence, because it is poisoning the Earth, the underground water, and consequently affecting the future of food. This way we can understand the cause of many diseases of these days. For this reason we must be very aware of the type of food we offer to Krsna. And that means a lot of sacrifice, but the devotee is willing to do any sacrifice to please his Lord. Hard work must be part of a devotee's life, it is healthy for the spiritual life.

We must work hard for our children to have healthy food, homemade and offered to Krsna, because if you consume only industrialized food full of additives, you will end up addicted to it. If we don't work hard to generate organic and healthy food, we cannot talk about controlling our senses. And if we do not control our senses, they control us.

Back to Atyahara. The esential point is to not collect more than the necessary, to not wish for more than what is required. We enjoy this world in many ways, we cannot avoid it, because this world is made to be enjoyed in a way or another. You see a beautiful landscape and you enojoy it, you eat a fruit and you enjoy it. We are always enjoying, it is part of life, but beyond the joy offered to us by the world, we must control our senses. How? By taking the prasadam offered to Krsna. Only Krsna's remnants can purify us on all levels. But when we are situated in a worldly modality, of “satisfying what my senses want”, we go away from yoga, and all the mystical details lose sense. And this worldly modality will only bring us more constant anxiety and frustration.

You must understand the essence of this whole message and apply it by time, place and circumstance. Because fanaticism is also a type of atyahara. This material existence is full of suffering. It is horrible. That is why we must leave all addictions of sense satisfaction and fight to satisfy Krsna and to be identified with Krsna's pleasure. This mentality of sense gratification is very unhealthy for the physical aspect as well as for spiritual life. We must try to always keep simple in our ways of living. 

A devotee is always concerned about controlling his senses to be able to make a better offering to Krsna, and in a very concrete way, to control the mind and the senses is to focus deeply in the service we realize; where it is possible to be dedicated with all our heart and enthusiasm. This way the mind is kept entertained and happiness is developed around devotional service, because this is what is going to keep us going in this life. If we seek only for commodity in life and all our actions are guided by this, so we are walking on the wrong path. 

We must be motivated by the tapasya, by sacrifice and happiness. Sacrifice to conquer the most elevated goal.

1 comment:

  1. "the most elevated goal":
    Krishna Prema. Love of God.