(courtesy of ISKCON News)

This year, ISKCON is celebrating the 125th birth anniversary of its Founder-Acharya His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, born in 1896 in Calcutta.

Among his many contributions, Srila Prabhupada taught his disciples how to prepare food with love for Krishna, or God, and how to offer it to the Lord and accept the sanctified food as “prasadam,” meaning “mercy.” Under Prabhupada’s direction and inspiration, there are now around 110 restaurants serving pure vegetarian cuisine in the form of prasadam around the world, and Food For Life global charities feed millions daily.

For Srila Prabhupada, prasadam was a spiritual practice. “It’s the beginning of our spiritual lives,” says Srutirupa Dasi, who served as Prabhupada’s cook, assisting Palika Dasi, from 1975 to 1977. “Not only does it purify us, but it’s a complete meditation — the shopping, the cooking, the offering, and then the eating. It all goes together.”

She explains how Prabhupada honored prasadam, giving his full attention to Krishna’s mercy without the common distractions many are used to such as watching TV, driving, or chatting while eating: “Srila Prabhupada ate in silence, and he ate alone. It wasn’t eating, he was actually relishing. He was meditating on each dish. He saw Krishna in everything.”

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