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If Krishna does not accept my Chocolates, Who should I offer them to?

Saturday, 27 January 2007 / Published in Articles / 24,308 views

By Jaya Govinda Caran Das

‘So for Krsna He could eat anything He likes. He is God. But still, He recommends, patram puspam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati. Why? Because we have to take Krsna’s prasadam, so therefore He is recommending, “These things you can give Me.” Patram puspam phalam toyam. So that is our food. We are devotees of Krsna. We are meant for eating the remnants of foodstuff offered to Krsna.’ Srila Prabhupada 73/07/18 London, Bhagavad-gita lecture 1.21-22

When I heard about it for the first time it was in the year 2002, but it sounded too unbelievable so I took it as mere gossip. One year later in Mayapur Dham the topic came out again when I was having an informal conversation with one of Bhakti Caru Swami’s secretaries and at that time it seemed more plausible.

However, I totally forgot about it till the last month, December 2006, when one devotee asked me if Krsna can accept chocolates. I also noticed that devotees who had been abstaining from eating chocolates for 12 years or even more, were freely eating them on the street. So I told to myself, perhaps it was not a gossip! Later on, one member of the temple council confirmed it to me, Yes, she said, ‘The consumption of chocolate in ISKCON has been authorized!

To be honest, I did not know what to do, write to my spiritual master asking for advice, or run into the first chocolate shop I find, because I have to recognize, I was a chocolate addicted and the only idea of eating chocolates without any feeling of guiltiness made me so glad. So I had already one foot inside the chocolate shop but somehow I managed to restrain my mind and I walked home.

The next day I found myself in a chocolate shop, ‘just to find out prices’ my dear mind told me. ‘Black chocolate 90% pure cacao, mmmm sounds good. Oh my God, my favorite one, white chocolate with pistachios” And that was the end of my self-restrain. ‘Nothing to worry about’ my dear mind told me again and she added ‘It has been allowed!’And so, few minutes later I was devouring that chocolate, actually I bought four pieces. The first bite was tremendous, like nectar, however, when I finished the last chocolate, my psychological satisfaction had increased so much that I felt satiated and to my surprised I felt guilty.

I think I don’t have to explain the troubles I experienced due to the aphrodisiac quality of cacao and sugar, and later on all those red pimples weren’t’ pleasurable at all. Still, my tongue was requesting me, ‘Kindly give me one more chocolate’, as Srila Prabhupada says: Tongue is the bitterest enemy of the living being. The tongue is dragging. Jihva. “Kindly give me this immediately. Kindly give me this wine immediately. Kindly give me this tea immediately. Kindly give me this cigarette immediately. Kindly give me this meat.” Bhagavad-gita 1.21-22 73/07/18 London

The consumption of chocolates amongst devotees of Krishna is a catchall issue, because there is no any direct instruction from Srila Prabhupada prohibiting it, if there is please let me know I am anxious to learn about it. At the same time deep within us we know that eating chocolates is not good for the development of our Krishna consciousness. I really don’t want to get into the back and forth of endless arguments in favor and against it, as it is stated: tarko apratisthah srutayor vibhinna [Cc. Madhya 17.186] A great logician can easily defeat one who is not so good. So I find not so helpful to create forums and debates without a writing statement from our previous Acaryas. However, I take the exemplary life of Srila Prabhupada as my guide; mahajano yena gatah sa panthah [Cc. Madhya 17.186] That is the process recommended in the Sastras, to follow the previous Acarya and Srila Prabhupada was not a chocolate eater, not compulsive not moderate.

If Krishna does not accept then who should I offer it to?

I also came to know that it was forbidden to offer chocolates to the Deities. This really did not make any sense to me. In one hand a devotee is allowed to eat chocolates and on the other it is forbidden to offer them to the Deities. My first question was, if the Deities do not accept chocolates why should I eat them. A devotee must only eat foodstuffs offered to Krishna. One may argue that you cannot offer to the Deity but devotees still can eat them. However, my question is, what difference is there between Krishna Deity and Krishna paramatma. If I cannot offer to the Deity but I offer to Krishna or Vishnu closing my eyes what is the difference? Krishna is omnipresent.

There is the story of Vallabha Acarya who wanted to present a poem of his own composition to Caitanya Mahaprabhu. All the writings had to go through Svarup Damodara and he would decide whether a particular writing was fit to be presented to Caitanya Mahaprabhu or not. Vallabha Acarya had composed some verses glorifying Mahaprabhu and in one of the verses he said that Jagannatha was non-moving wooden Krishna and Mahaprabhu was moving Krishna. Svarupa Damodara got very much upset and scolded Vallabha Acarya because he was discriminating between Jagannatha and Mahaprabhu. Svarupa Damodara told Vallabha Acarya that his poem was not in accordance with the Vaisnava siddhantha. The Deity is non-different from Krishna and Krishna is non-different from the Deity.

In this way, if I cannot offer my chocolates to the Deities then how can I offer them to Krsna or who should I offer them to? There must be some reason why Krishna does not accept chocolates don’t you think so? If I just ‘Sri Visnu’ my chocolates I might get a Karma free pleasure but what about my Bhakti Sir? I can be a karma free bhogi but if I don’t eat prasadam offered to Krishna surely I will not develop love for Krishna. Moreover, if Krsna does not accept my chocolates and I still eat them it is clearly that I am just gratifying my tongue: ‘Tongue is the bitterest enemy of the living being. The tongue is dragging. ” Jihva, Kindly give me this, immediately. Kindly give me this wine, immediately. Kindly give me this tea, immediately. Kindly give me this cigarette, immediately. Kindly give me this meat.” Bhagavad-gita 1.21-22 73/07/18 London.

A psychosomatic factor

The Vaisnava tradition emphasizes many activities such as fasting, striking bell in a temple, fast of grains during Ekadasi, waking up early in the morning, take bath etc. These activities accentuate sattva guna in the physical sense and invigorate our desire for self-realization in the psychological sense.

These are psychosomatic activities, they simultaneously are physical as well as psychological. (Note that here we use the word psychosomatic as pertaining to the relationship of the mind and body)

Eating also has a psychosomatic effect, eating of vegetables for example will invigorate our sattva guna in the physical sense and strengthen our desire for self-realization in the psychological sense. For this reason items such as onion, garlic, mushrooms, though they are not drugs and are purely vegetarian, are forbidden. Same is the case of chocolates. Chocolates accentuates tama and raja gunas in the physical sense, and strengthens our desire for sense gratification and sleepiness in the psychological sense.

Sastra does not force us to follow

Actually there is no such thing as forbidden. Sastra just illuminates our path and ultimately it is up to the sincere sadhaka to follow it or not. If I want I can even eat meat, but because I am committed to go back to Krisna in this life I have decided by my own will to follow those valuable instructions.

We have to remember that Mahaprabhu has taught us that even authorized delicious foodstaffs have to be given up if one is seriously trying to go back to Godhead.

Finally I am quoting a Bengali saying: bhajana kara sadhana kara murti yanre haya. (?) You may be very great devotee. That’s all right. But it will be tested at the time of your death, how you remember Krsna. That will be the last examination. Srila Prabhupada Bhagavad-gita 1.28-29, 73/07/22 London

So one should always keep in mind that at the end of our life we should make a final choice, whether chocolates, cakes, coca cola or Krishna, it is up to us only.

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26 Responses to “If Krishna does not accept my Chocolates, Who should I offer them to?”

  1. Danavir Goswami says :

    “So far attending pujas at the houses of the Hindus there we can go and hold our kirtana but we should not take prasadam there. We can accept raw materials and take them to our temple but we should not accept any prasädam prepared by them. However, if they insist then we can take fruits and milk and offer them to Krishna. Cocoa and chocolate are not to be taken as they are intoxicants.” (Letter from Srila Prabhupada to Surasrestha 1972; From the new Veda Base; 1998)

    Some devotees still consider chocolate acceptable for consumption based on the information that Srila Prabhupada had eaten some. Here is an interesting anecdote from Hari Sauri das Prabhu about chocolate:

    From Hari Sauri:

    Dear Shyamasundara prabhu,
    Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada! Thanks for your enquiry on Dec. 17 about chocolate.
    As it happens, we did specifically ask Srila Prabhupada about chocolate. In late October or November 1976 in Vrindavana, the devotees had opened a snack bar to the right of the front gate, where the Samadhi exhibition building now stands. They were selling hot drinking chocolate. I questioned the wisdom in this but some said it was OK.
    So I took the matter directly to Prabhupada. His first response was to ask, “Where does chocolate come from?”
    So we replied that it was made from the cocoa bean. As soon as he heard that, he said, “Oh, then you may not take it. Anything made from the cocoa bean cannot be taken.” So that was it. The drinking chocolate was taken off the menu. There was some short discussion about caffeine in the cocoa bean, and it is probably significant that Prabhupada asked first what chocolate was made from before he answered. His not knowing this in late 1976 would account for his taking it in early years. Its likely he just thought it was a harmless sweet and never questioned it until we came with the controversy and when he had to give a definite decision he decided against it.
    I don’t think eating chocolate is a major crime but I do recall reading in a health book, one by a proponent of a strict vegetarian, non-fat diet and weight training (I just forgot his name now) that a bar of chocolate has as much caffeine in it as a cup of coffee.
    Hope this helps.
    Yhs, Hsd

    ISKCON’s current position on consumption of chocolate is:

    That, as it contains various stimulants like caffeine (contained in coffee), theine (contained in black tea) and theobromine (contained in cacao), chocolate should not be eaten by ISKCON devotees. (GBC Resolution 31, 1993)

    From Giriraja Swami:

    “In about 1978 a Swiss director of the Cadbury confection company came to Bombay ISKCON temple. He spoke to Amoghalila Prabhu. The man asked, ‘do the Hare Krishna devotees eat chocolate?’ Amoghavirya replied no. The man asked why. Amoghavirya replied that chocolate contained an ingredient similar to caffeine which was a mild stimulant. The man agreed and added that it is also addictive.”

    Coffee, tea and chocolate may not contain sufficient intoxicants to cause a man to stagger but they do affect consciousness and are addictive. These facts have been proven by numerous investigations and confirmed by a Swiss Cadbury chocolate company director.

  2. Nitai dasa says :

    I did not hear that the consumption of chocolates has been authorised in ISKCON. Is there a reference?

    The writer mentiones that the consumption of chocolates amongst devotees is a catchall issue, because there is no direct instruction from Srila Prabhupada prohibiting it.

    Chocolates have caffeine like stimulants which are intoxicants. This disturbs the mind and is not good for spiritual advancement. Srila Prabhupada was not familar with the use of chocolates amoungst people as he was with tea or coffee. Chocolates was a western phenomenon then and we should not assume that Srila Prabhupada would have allowed its use had he known the addictive effects of it.

    There is not much difference between the stimulating effects of tea, coffee and chocolates. A bar of chocolate has less stimulants that a cup of tea or coffee but the effect is there. So one can argue that tea and coffee can also be consumed.

    Your servant
    Nitai dasa

  3. kcs says :

    Chocoholism is a faceitious word refering to an addiction to chocolate. A person who is addicted to chocolate is often described as a Chocoholic. However, most people who say they are chocoholics aren’t actually addicted to chocolate; they simply have a strong liking for the food.

    Contents [hide]
    1 Chemistry of Chocolate
    2 Origins of the word “Chocoholic”
    3 See also
    4 External links

    [edit] Chemistry of Chocolate
    Chocolate contains a variety of substances, some of which are addictive (such as caffeine–in trace quantities). These include:

    Sugar – Chocolate (as opposed to Cocoa) contain large amounts of sugar.
    Caffeine – The chemical present in coffee and tea.
    Theobromine – Various theobromines are present.
    Anandamide – An endogenous cannabinoid which is also naturally produced in the Human brain.
    Tryptophan – An essential amino acid that is a precursor to Serotonin an important neurotransmitter involved in regulating moods.
    Phenylethylamine – An endogenous amphetamine which is also naturally produced in the Human brain. Often described as a ‘love chemical’.
    It may be possible for the human brain to become accustomed to chocolate at regular intervals.

    Chocolate may be addictive and could negatively affect the health of a chocoholic if consumed in large amounts. Proponents of hypnotherapy claim that “chocoholism” can be treated through aversives, in effect forcing the addict to associate chocolate consumption with negative stimuli.

    [edit] Origins of the word “Chocoholic”
    Etymologically, “chocoholic” is a portmanteau of “chocolate” and “alcoholic”, though some linguists complain that the word, by construction, implies addiction to “chocohol” rather than “chocolate”, suggesting that “chocolatic” is a more appropriate neologism.

    [edit] See also

  4. asprng_vaishnav says :

    Hare Krishna,
    PAMHO. AGTSP.
    When I asked my local iskcon preachers about chocalate, they told me something like this: No intoxication is one of the 4 regulative principals. Alcohol, drugs like heroin, opium are not allowed as they cause intoxication. Tea and coffee are not allowed as they contain caffeine and caffeine is also an intoxicant Chocolate has caffeine and other stuff related to increasing sex desire, so chocolate should be avoided.”
    IMHO, if some substance was not there during Prabhupad’s time, then we can not use that if it causes intoxication. Tomorrow, if somebody invented cool and hip substance XYZ and XYZ is commonly used but it causes intoxication, we can not use an excuse “Srila Prabhupad has no instructions about XYZ, so I am going to indulge in XYZ.” We have to use our common sense in following “No intoxication” rule.
    Hari Bol
    Your Servant

  5. vikram108 says :

    Letter to: Surasrestha, (new98)

    Los Angeles
    14 June, 1972
    My dear Surasrestha,
    Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated May 25, 1972, and I have noted the contents. The article you have sent which was published in the newsletter there is very nice. The interviewer asked intelligent questions and you have given very nice answers also. It is apparent that you have understood our philosophy nicely so you continue to read our books regularly and preach vigorously, and help to distribute this great transcendental knowledge to all the distressed souls of this Kali yuga.
    In answer to your questions, the red incarnation who appeared in the Treta-yuga is Yajnapati. Lord Mohammed is accepted by us as Saktyavesa Avatar, but we do not recognize the Bahai faith. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu appears once in the day of Brahma or whenever He is required to come. So far attending pujas at the houses of the Hindus there we can go and hold our kirtana but we should not take prasadam there. We can accept raw materials and take them to our temple but we should not accept any prasadam prepared by them. However, if they insist then we can take fruits and milk and offer them to Krishna. Cocoa and chocolate are not to be taken as they are intoxicants.
    I am leaving for London on July the 4th and am returning to New Vrndavana for Janmastami celebration and at that time we can make further plans on my coming to Trinadad. In the meantime, continue to distribute this great message of Krsna Consciousness to all the people there and work hard to make the whole country into devotees. Hoping this will meet you in good health.

    Your ever well wisher,
    A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
    Srimad Surasrestha das Brahmacary c/o ISKCON Trinadad

  6. bh. kurt harris says :

    I think it’s odd that devotees are so concerned with chocolate, yet it has become common practice to introduce African drums, such as djembes, into ISKCON kirtans performed in front of the Deities.

    Prabhupada’s standard is to use mrdunga, kartals and in certain situations the harmonium, which is common practice in all Gaudiya Vaisnava kirtan. These instruments are pure and authorized. Djembes are a speculation, were never authorized by Prabhupada, and are clearly composed of the lower modes of nature.

    If you are concerned with the subtle effects chocolate has on your consciousness (and perhaps you should be), please also be concerned that instruments composed of the lower modes of nature are now being used regularly in ISKCON. If chocolate has such potentially negative spiritual consequences on our consciousness, imagine the consequences of contaminating our primary spiritual practice — harinam sankirtan — with impure, unauthorized musical instruments.

  7. Locanananda dasa says :

    Good point, Bhakta Kurt, and I agree cent percent concerning the proliferation of African drum playing in kirtana. Our NYC Times Square Harinam sankirtana party strictly forbids their use. Srila Prabhupada’s instruction was that we should teach the Africans to play mrdanga, not that we should learn to play African drums. I have been told that according to a book written by Mahaniddhi Swami, the sound of the mrdanga drum is the incarnation of the sound of Krishna’s flute. Why would any devotee want to drown out that transcendental sound with the sound of the lower modes of nature?

    Your servant,
    Locanananda dasa
    NYC

  8. Akruranatha says :

    Nice article.

    One minor point is, I do not remember the devotee who composed the poem about the “two Jagannathas” as being Vallabhacarya.

    I do remember that Vallabha had composed a commentary on Srimad Bhagavatam that he said surpassed Sridhara Swami, and Lord Caitanya did not approve. Somehow Vallabha made Gadadhar Pandit hear this commentary and Gadadhara was distressed.

    I do not have time to go back and check, but the poem that said there was a wooden Jagannatha, and that the moving Jagannatha (Lord Caitanya) had become the “soul” of the nonmoving Jagannatha (a foolish and offensive concept, because Jagannatha is sac cid ananda and does not have a material body covering a soul), was not Sri Vallabhacarya.

    Anyway, later Vallabhacarya and Lord Caitanya had many friendly dealings and we should be careful to avoid unnecessarily criticizing him (as we know from the incident when the devotees published the pastime from Caitanya Caritamrta that presented him in an inferior light and it upset Sumati Morarji and many Gujurati life members.)

  9. asprng_vaishnav says :

    Hare Krishna
    PAMHHO. AGTSP.
    I have visited 6 iskcon temples in the US. I never saw this instrument djembes being played.
    Sometimes devotees in their enthusiasm to preach to younger folks resort to using hip and cool music and instruments. If this instrument is really in “tamas guna”, GBC can ban this in iskcon functions.
    It is recorded that once in a big congregation one devotee was leading kirtan and he was using peculiar music and beats. Srila Prabhupad did not approve that music and he made that devotee stop and another devotee continued kirtan with traditional vaishnav music.
    Hari Bol

  10. Pandu das says :

    Hare Krsna. I don’t understand the idea of a substance being an intoxicant without any reference to dosage. Drinking too much water causes intoxication and even death, but of course it is essential in moderate quantities. Also, alcohol is present in ripe fruits, which we eat with no problem. Then there are the sweets. Is sugar an intoxicant, or not?

    Of course, it may be easier to just say ‘no,’ and forget about it. But really, it seems hard to believe that chocolate could make any difference at all. Then again, if every time I thought about chocolate, it reminded me of Krsna, I might actually find my way back to Godhead.

  11. Nitai dasa says :

    Dear Pandu prabhu. Hare Krsna.

    As you point out, water in moderate quantities is essential for the human body. But by nature’s protective law, we can only consume so much water, not nearly enough to cause intoxication or death.

    Fruits are used to make alcohol, but there is a process of fermentation before it becomes an intoxication. Fresh fruits do not intoxicate. Did you hear of anyone becoming addicted to fruits as they would to products which contain caffeine?

    As for understanding how a substance is an intoxicant without any reference to dosage, there are scientific facts of how tea, coffee and chocolates are addictive and affect the mind. We also have Srila Prabhupada’s word. He said tea and coffee are intoxicants and this follows that chocolates are as well.

    Your servant
    Nitai dasa

  12. radhas_servant says :

    In my opinion, not that I know anything, but I would think you should stop enjoying yourself so much with those chocolates. Krsna likes butterballs, rasgullas, etc. Think about pleasing Krsna and not your tongue. If you cannot detach yourself from chocolates and other foodstuffs you enjoy, then you will be stuck in this material world forever….The only things the body really needs to survive are foods that are either nutrients and/or carbs.
    Radharani ki JAYA!

  13. Vyenkata Bhatta dasa says :

    If djembe drum beats are drowning out the transcendental sound of kirtan by bringing in “the sounds of the lower modes of nature” then this is a serious issue indeed. In fact, I can hardly think of a single other thing that would pollute the sankirtana movement more.

  14. Pandu das says :

    Dear Nitai prabhu,

    Perhaps you did not hear about the death by water intoxication that occurred just a few weeks ago in California after a radio contest. Also, it is not that uncommon for athletes to die from water intoxication when re-hydrating after intense competition. Heavy perspiration depletes sodium, and when followed by drinking too much water without added electrolytes causes, death can easily result from electrolyte imbalance.
    (Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_intoxication)

    Regarding alcohol in fruit, as I said, the quantity is small and increases as the fruit goes from ripe to over-ripe. And as I also said, it does not typically cause intoxication because of that small quantity. Yeast is naturally occurring, and I have experienced many times at temples when it was quite obvious that some fermentation had taken place in the fruit used to make the ‘nectar.’ I didn’t bother about it because there was never any chance for intoxication from it.

    I do not argue that chocolate is without intoxicant properties, only that it is insignificant in small amounts (i.e. a chocolate chip cookie). One of the trace compounds in chocolate, called anandamide, activates the same receptor in the brain that THC (the main intoxicant in marijuana) fits into, but again, the quantity is so small that it’s unclear if it has any effect at all.

    In the comment by Danavir Maharaj, above, he quotes Hari Sauri prabhu saying that a chocolate bar has as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. A small (1 to 1.5 oz) bar of milk chocolate has about the same caffeine as a cup of DECAFFINATED coffee. A cup of regular coffee typically has more than ten times the caffeine compared to the chocolate bar. Here is one reference for that:
    http://coffeetea.about.com/library/blcaffeine.htm

    Also related to this topic is edible hemp (cannabis) seeds, which contain trace quantities of THC. Govinda’s, the company that makes Bliss Bars, also makes bars with hemp seeds. Hemp is the same species of plant as marijuana, although its drug content is insignificant, and ingesting the seeds cannot cause intoxication. One would have to eat some 50 pounds of the seeds at a time to have that effect.
    (Reference: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16637630/)

    I am not advocating that devotees eat chocolate (though I do recommend they try the hemp seed bars from Govinda’s). I’m just saying that there are shades of grey in aspects of this issue, and if we’re going to state objective facts, like how much caffeine is in something, or whether water can cause intoxication, we should make sure our facts are correct. It would be a shame to lose credibility over something so trivial.

  15. vyoma says :

    Hare Krishna!

    Dandvat Pranams to all…

    This is a story about how Srila Pabhupad instructed his disciple about cocoa contained in chocolates and inspired that disciple to get higher taste.

    Prabhupad took under his care a small orphan boy. Among other services, this boy was given one service of buying vegetables from the market for Srila Prabhupad’s kitchen.

    One day (specifically in the summer of year 1973) the boy bought some chocolates
    (cadbury and 5 star) using the left over money, instead of returning the unused money. He put these chocolates in his bead bag to hide them and came back to the temple.

    Upon seeing Prabhupad seated in the visitor room (this was around 4 in the afternoon), he quickly offered dandavat pranam, and a few chocolates slipped out of his bead bag and fell onto the floor.

    Prabhupad waited for the boy to explain himself. Ashamed at being caught stealing money to buy chocolates, the boy quickly unwrapped one chocolate and offered it as a bribe to Prabhupad, expecting less scolding from him. Prabhupad took one bite and frowned. He said “What is this you have given me? Let us read the wrapper to see what it contains.”

    Prabhupad loudly read out the ingredients at the back of the wrapper and remarked “This contains Cocoa!”; then he looked at the boy and said , “We don’t eat Cocoa. It has caffiene.” (we meaning vaishnava)

    Then seeing that the boy was feeling deprived Prabhupad asked “Why you feel like eating this chocolate? What do you like about it?”

    “It is sweet, that is why i like it”, said the boy. Prabhupad asked the boy to accompany him to the kitchen. The boy washed the vegetables he had bought. Meanwhile, Prabhupad personally made suji halwa, and without even offering it to Krishna, he gave the boy a serving of the halwa. And what is the taste of a spoonful of pure love for Krishna? Probably none of us knows.

    This boy is a Prabhupad disciple called Haridas. He is one of the oldest Prabhupad disciples at Radha-Rasabihari temple in Juhu. When he was telling me this story tears welled up in his eyes. He said, “That suji halwa was simply magical, how do I explain? Even though it was just made from milk, roasted suji in ghee, and sugar and little water, no one can make anything like that. I have never tasted anything like that in my whole life after that day. Prabhupad not only ignored my stealing the temple money, he corrected my by telling me that Vaishnavas don’t eat cocoa. Prabhupad is so perfect. He did not even chatise me. He simply gave me higher taste.”

    This higher taste is actually what we all need. Given this we can give up all attraction for the different sense gratifying objects available in this material world.

    Seeing the different articles posted on dandavats.com complaining that there is no “direct instruction” from Prabhupad regarding chocolates, I am submitting this article.

    I am greatly indebted to Srila Prabhupad and Haridasji for sharing this lovely pastime with me. It is more about Prabhupad’s love and expert way of correcting his disciples than about chocolate.

    In any case, the conclusion is that Prabhupad has definitely given direct intruction about chocolates containing cocoa. Caffiene is found in cocoa and it comes under the category of intoxicants.

    Thank you for publishing this article. I am sure it will inspire Vaishnavas worldwide to replace chocolates with sugar sweets which have been offered to Krishna.

    vyoma

  16. Deenabandhu says :

    Sridhar Swami personally told me, “I didn’t vote for that one.” And he went back to Godhead!

  17. Akruranatha says :

    Is there really a trace compound in chocolate called “anandamide” that activates receptors in the brain that are activated by THC?

    I wonder where the name “anandamide” comes from and if it has any relation to the word “ananda”.

    That reminds me of the story about when Lord Nityananda took Lord Caitanya to visit the “grhastha sannyasi” who kept asking Lord Caitanya if He wanted some “ananda”.

    When Nitai finally explained that the man was offering Him wine, Lord Caitanya ran away and jumped in the Ganges. :-)

  18. Isana das says :

    Dandavat Pranams. All glories to param-jagatguru Srila Prabhupada.

    I feel Pandu prabhu’s point about remaining credible is very important. Actually it’s of the utmost importance if we want Prabhupada’s ISKCON to remain relevant & dynamic enough that it will continue to attract jivas back into Krsna’ service.

    When we state “facts” like chocolate containing caffeine, we need to be sure we are speaking the truth & not speculating. Neither chocolate nor the cocoa plant that it is derived from contain caffeine. There is a stimulant contained in the edible portion called theobromine. However, one would have to ingest huge quantities of chocolate in order to become chemically stimulated by the minute quantity of remaining theobromine present after processing. Factually the extremely high processed sugar content would be much more stimulating to the human nervous system than the theobromine. Processed sugar has been linked to many adverse health effects & diseases such as diabetes. However we offer it, & we eat it, because it is offerable & enjoyable. Many of us eat ALOT of it. To tell an educated public that they can eat as much sugar as they can get their hands on, but not one bite of it can contain cocoa due to “the caffeine” content, or the stimulants, is not a leg that we as the topmost society should be standing on. Cocoa is not related to coffee or the coca plant & it has been proven to contain high amounts of bio-available antioxidants, something that we can always use more of.

    My humble understanding is through his love for us, Prabhupada said not to take Chocolate due to the “caffeine”. Unfortunately someone misinformed him as to what it actually was & what it contained & what those contents did to the human nervous system when eaten at sane levels. Of course as a chemist he knew all about caffeine, but the chemical composition of cocoa was not accurately, or widely known at that point in time.

    I am in no way claiming that I know all the facts or that I can decide what is best for the devotees. However, I do feel that as a representative of my gurudeva, Srila Prabhupada & of ISKCON, that the onus is on me to use my intelligence in order to present our best side to the public.

    On an end note, I do think it would be very wise of us, as the devotee community, to think deeper, & to become more educated about what we are offering to Sri Krsna. This chocolate topic has really started me thinking. We (myself included) regularly offer milk that is taken by a machine from a mother who has had her babies taken away for a short life of veal torture, or just straight to the slaughterhouse. Is this the type of milk that Krsna asks for? Isn’t it logical that the subtle influence of the fear & pain that these cows suffer is having an effect on our consciousness? Or what about milk containing vitamin D3, cholecalciferol, usually sourced from non-vegetarian origins? Or what about wearing leather? … Sitting inches away from Prabhupada on the beach blanket, Satsvarupa asked a question on behalf of the devotees in New York. “Swamiji, is wearing of leather shoes permissible?”

    “No.”

    “What if someone has given us some leather shoes?”

    “Leather means violence,” Prabhupada said. He pointed to Satsvarupa’s shoes of inexpensive man-made material. “Your country is very nice. By your technology you can get these shoes easily without wearing leather.” For Satsvarupa and the others the question was answered for a lifetime; and the time and place became a reference, like a chapter and verse number in the scriptures. (Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta 25: Long Branch, New Jersey, 1967)

    Just some food for thought (100% cocoa free) & my humble .001 cent, your fallen servant Ishana dasa

  19. Candi says :

    According to the U.S. Pharmacist web site, two naturally-occurring chemicals make up about 3% of a cocoa bean, with theobromine outweighing caffeine by about two to one.

  20. Madhava Ghosh dasa says :

    You can simply apply the same priciple to chocolate as is used to justify usage of milk from cows en route to the slaughterhouse — by offering it, the chocolatier makes advancement.

    I do endulge in chocolate from time to time — but let’s keep it in perspective. If the worst falldown someone has is a little chocolate, but they are vegetarian, please cut some slack. I think sometimes devotees need to step back and get a little perspective on the overall.

    On the other hand, one devotee told me once,”If I eat carob instead of chocolate, it makes me think of Krishna because that is what Srila Prabhupada said to use.”

  21. iksvaku dasa says :

    Jaya Govinda Charan Pr:

    Dandavats…

    Seems that your article has generated some peculiar comments and exchanges. Although I’m not interested in the choco-debate. I would appreciate if you write to my email iksvakudasa_jps@hotmaill.com. I assumed you are from Ecuador and we spent time together in Mayapur. If you are tha ‘Jaya Govinda’… pls write to me soon.

    Tu sirviente,

    Iksvaku dasa

  22. asprng_vaishnav says :

    Dear Madhava Ghosh Prabhu
    PAMHO. AGTSP.
    Regarding part of your comment:
    If the worst falldown someone has is a little chocolate, but they are vegetarian, please cut some slack.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^
    What about effects of chocolate on sex desire? You can read about it on http://chocolate.org/
    The first sentence on that website is “Chocolate is a psychoactive food.” This website is maintained by proponents of chocolate.
    If iskcon cuts a slack on chocolate then why not on garlic? garlic has many good qualities for health including heart health and cancer prevention.
    The reason we banned garlic and onion is because those increase sex desire and that hampers spirtual progress.
    If we keep cutting slack then the movement will become impure and go on downward path as other religions.
    Hari Bol

  23. Madhavananda says :

    People can debate about the substantiality of the impact of chocolate in terms of its theobromine on the psyche, but the theobromine content isn’t the reason of its being not offerable. Chocolate bought in stores is not offerable because it hasn’t been prepared by Vaisnavas. Moreover, it is a product of beans, which are an ingredient that carries more “karmic weight” than fruits for example, on par with rice and other grains, and as cooking is involved in the process of its preparation.

    Visvanatha Cakravarti, commenting on patraM puSpaM phalaM toyam, notes that while devotion is the essential factor, considerations of purity and so forth apply. One who has love will seek to offer pure ingredients prepared with love.

    I once heard a note in reply to “should I offer or not” to the effect of “you can try to offer anything”. However, is this an act of love? Throw everything at Krishna without consideration of how much or little it pleases him. Don’t use Krishna as a prasada machine! That is not bhakti, nor are such offerings accepted – even if the item offered might be offerable! The offering becomes unfit due to the offerer’s unfit mentality.

    Arguably, taking into account the above considerations, you could then “properly” offer chocolate if you were to prepare it yourself from the very beginning.

    However – even if Krishna might love chocolate, whether Krishna will be happy to see his devotees eating foodstuffs that have the potential for causing addiction and unrest is a whole another consideration. He eats tambula, and we offer it on the altar to him. He takes honey punch too, we know from the acaryas’ writings! Regardless, consuming the such does not yield beneficial psychophysical effects for those encaged in material bodies subject to negative influence arising from diverse ingredients.

  24. Madhavananda says :

    Yes, and I forgot to include a reply to the question in the title of the contribution. If Krishna doesn’t accept your chocolates, and your concern is more in eating karma-free chocolate than it is in Krishna’s pleasure, then you could try offering them to Shiva or his wife. They accept ganja and a host of other offerings, and aren’t that concerned over who prepared what. I’m sure chocolate would pass, too. To ensure that offerings are accepted, a tilaka formed with three horizontal lines may be worn at the time of the offering, so say the sages.

  25. patita says :

    Pandu Das
    Your point of eating chocolateS and remembering Krshna reminds me of Srila Prabhupada telling the drunkard to ‘at least’ think of Krsna while drinking. If your level of consciesness is that low as that of the drunkard, then sure you can eat chocolate and ‘AT LEAST’ think of Krsna and you will get purified. However, by purification the day shall come when you will realize that eating chocolate or drinking colas and even the attachment to the rasagulams have to be given up, for the pleasure of Krsna.

    If however, you still think that by eating chocolates you can go back to Godhead, then surely you should go to CHOCKYLOKA, and the CHOCKYDUTAS will come to take you in the CHOCKYPLANE to your meet your god, CHOCYVAN….

  26. Madhava Ghosh dasa says :

    >If we keep cutting slack then the movement will become impure and go on downward path as other religions.

    I am not proposing changing the religious culture. I am saying emphasis the positive. If someone thinks they are purer than someone else because they don’t eat chocolate, perhaps they are applying the wrong standard.

    The point about slippery slope compromises is a good one though. We have gone from a religious culture based on the land and cow to an urban based one where cow protection is considered optional via one slippery slope compromise after another.

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