When we at our Hare Krsna center in Boise, Idaho, suggested that members of our congregation sponsor the Sunday feasts, some guests from the Indian community questioned ISKCON's emphasis on mass distribution of prasadam, food offered to Krsna. In India, our guests said, temples usually give a little piece of rock candy or some fruit, not a full meal. So much prasadam is not needed. The temple is meant for worship, not for socializing over full meals.
Our reply, in summary, was that everything should be offered to Krsna, including full, opulent meals, and the Vaisnava practice is to liberally distribute Krsna's prasadam (literally "mercy") and encourage people to honor it (eat it) to their full satisfaction.
In the eighteenth chapter of the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krsna says that one should never abandon the giving of charity. In the present age the recommended charity is the distribution of prasadam charity in a form everyone can appreciate. And because the food has been accepted by Krsna, it is completely spiritualized. So the more we distribute prasadam, the more it satisfies the recipients' bodily and spiritual hunger.
Prasadam for Everyone
So charity, in the form of prasadam, should be given in abundance to everyone. That practice is still observed in many places in India. For example, thousands of people receive full prasadam every day from the Jagannatha temple in Puri and the Balaji temple in Tirupati. And now, through Hare Krishna Food for Life, ISKCON centers distribute prasadam to thousands of people throughout the world.
Srila Prabhupada wrote in a letter, "If we believe that Krsna is providing and maintaining everyone, then why should we be misers? This means losing faith in Krsna and thinking that we are the doers and suppliers. We are confident Krsna will supply! Let the whole world come; we can feed them."
Ravi Gupta, age thirteen, lives at the Hare Krsna center in Boise, Idaho. The center is run by his parents.