By Caitanya Nitai dasa
Dear Maharajas and Prabhus,
Please accept my respectful obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and to all his faithful servants.
As I regularly see on the health conference questions regarding grains or beans prepared in factories and sold in shops, I feel so surprised that devotees eat these things. The question whether these may be good for your physical health or not is not very relevant. The actual problem is that any food prepared by karmis is bad for your spiritual health, as it affects your consciousness, especially grains and beans. Offering these things to Krishna may not solve the problem, as Krishna is a person, not just a machine meant for accepting anything we put before Him.
In 1966 in New York Srila Prabhupada posted on the Temple’s door the famous basic principles of spiritual life that all of us have read many times. One of these is: “All initiated devotees … Should not eat foodstuffs cooked by non-devotees.” Sometimes devotees feel that these are austere instructions for strict & advanced devotees, but remember that Srila Prabhupada gave these instructions in 1966 to very new devotees.
Once in Mayapura Srila Prabhupada emphatically said, “No one may buy anything from the market. If they eat these things they will fall down! No one should eat anything not offered to the Deity.”” (Transcendental Diary
1-9: Sri Dhama Mayapur)
Another time in Germany Srila Prabhupada said that, “Under no circumstances should we eat grains prepared by non-devotees” (SPDG 14: Prabhupada at Schloss Rettershof)
In ISKCON’s official Deity worship manual, Pancaratra Pradipa, is the following quotation from Hari-Bhakti-Vilasa: “Food (especially grains) which is cooked by non-Vaisnavas or by sinful people, or which has not been offered to Visnu, is the same as dog meat.”
(1.13: Gathering Items for Worship (upadana))
There are many other things that Srila Prabhupada said on this subject, but to end this list, I would like to tell you an instructive event that happened where I live, in New Zealand. Recently some people studying the working conditions in New Zealand factories set a few hidden video-cameras in some food-factories. They were surprised and horrified to see some workers spitting or blowing their noses into the preparations, some even passing urine into the cooking pots. This was shown on television.
Similarly, regarding jam, tomato paste, etc. Do you think they bother to carefully wash the hundreds of tons of fruits and veggies, sort the rotten ones … How many worms, rotten fruits, dirt, etc … are there in jam or tomato paste? Of course once it is processed we cannot see anything, it is an advantage for the manufacturer …
The whole point of our movement is to try to maintain and increase our consciousness of Krishna, and simultaneously avoid anything that may decrease it. His consciousness of Krishna is by far the most precious asset of a devotee, and he / she should be constantly vigilant not to loose it.
Caitanya Nitai dasa
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