This simple prasada takes the author back to his college days.
The mercy of the Lord flows from ISKCON temples via multiple channels. Sometimes it flows in the form of the holy name, sometimes in the form of the Bhagavad-gita and sometimes in the form of prasada, sanctified food. This prasada ranges from sweet rice to khicari, a simple rice-and-lentil preparation. Whatever its form, prasada is always full of the Lord’s mercy.
Whenever I am offered khicari in the temple I offer it to my daughter. A devotee observed this and out of curiosity he asked, “I see that every time you receive khicari you feed a major portion to your daughter. Any special reason?” Yes, there is a special reason. If you are cured by some medicine, you enthusiastically prescribe it to others. I had a similar experience with khicari.
BACK TO MY COLLEGE DAYS
The devotee’s question made me nostalgic for my college days. I was staying in the hostel of the medical college along with my friend Dr. Shankar Sawant (now Sukadeva Dasa). We were the only two students in the whole institution who were showing some interest in Krsna consciousness. Therefore we were pampered by all the devotees like parents pamper their only child. We used to receive prasada from the ISKCON temple. As a devotee eagerly waits for the Lord, we used to wait for the prasada in the morning. As a lion jumps over a deer, both of us would swoon over the prasada and eat it. On free days, after honoring prasada we would fall into deep slumber. We would lie on the ground for hours as if exhibiting symptoms of ecstasy. By the time the evening tiffin of khicari would arrive, we would still be struggling to digest the lunch prasada. Still we were so addicted to khicari that we would always make space in our stomachs to accommodate it. There was no Krsna consciousness in our blood, but Krsna-prasada was definitely circulating everywhere in our bodies.
The only progress I achieved in Krsna consciousness was that my weight jumped from 60 to 70 kgs. The other 998 students in the hostel would joke at us. Their discourses on sense gratification would appeal to us more than the lectures on the Gita. Everyday we would be persuaded to quit Krsna consciousness but the thought of losing prasada would overwhelm us. The Krsna–prasada would empower us (two Panòavas) to fight against the 1000 Kauravas. We kept on fighting. Eventually Sukadeva led the Hare Krsna explosion in our medical college from which hundreds of trained devotee doctors are now spread all over the world, from Detroit to small places in India. All this is thanks to Krsna-prasada, which sustained us and helped us to sail through the wavy, shaky preliminary years.
SIX BOXES OF THE GITA
After I finished my MBBS exams, I went home for a month. Just before leaving, the Hare Krsna devotees handed me six boxes of the Bhagavad-gita for the December book distribution marathon. I was the only so-called devotee in my hometown. Every day after breakfast I would leave my house on my bicycle with copies of Bhagavad-gita and I would return in the evening only after distributing them. I never got time to have my lunch for that entire month. For the first time in my life, I made productive use of my vacations. All the copies of Gita were sold out.
As I was about to board the train after my vacation, I felt very light. I checked my weight and discovered I had lost exactly 10 kilos. Krsna had utilized all that extra fat deposited by the khicari for fulfilling His plan for book distribution. Krsna had recovered the debt of khicari by engaging me in book distribution.
It is for this reason that I regularly feed khicari to my daughter. I have firm faith that one day Krsna, just to recover the debt of each bite, will engage her in His service.
Yugavatara Dasa is a lecturer in Anatomy in a medical college in Mumbai. He is a regular contributor to BTG.
Krsna is the Source of All Incarnations and Expansions
Usually Srila Prabhupada accepted devotees for initiation based on the temple president’s recommendation, but sometimes he personally interviewed devotees to see if they were fit. Once he called Subhananda dasa, Srinatha dasa, and another devotee into his room in June of 1971 before awarding them their brahminical initiation.
“What is your conception of Krsna?” Srila Prabhupada asked, turning to Subhananda.
“He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead,” Subhananda replied, and he enumerated Krsna’s six qualities all strength, all beauty, all knowledge, all wealth, all fame, and all renunciation.
“Thank you,” said Srila Prabhupada.
He then turned to Srinatha and asked, “Who is Lord Caitanya?”
Srinatha replied confidently, “Lord Caitanya is the most munificent incarnation of Krsna.”
“No,” said Prabhupada. Srinatha was surprised. “Not incarnation,” Prabhupada said, “He is Krsna Himself.” At first Srinatha thought to defend himself, remembering how Prabhupada used the word “incarnation” for Lord Caitanya in Teachings of Lord Caitanya, but then he realized that he should not argue with the spiritual master. Srila Prabhupada was correcting and refining his improper understanding. Then Srila Prabhupada briefly explained that there is no difference between Lord Krsna and Lord Caitanya.
“Have you read the Bhagavatam?” Prabhupada addressed all three of them, and they nodded yes.
“Have you read the chapter on incarnations and expansions?” Again they all nodded and said yes.
“Krsna is the source of all incarnations and expansions,” said Subhananda, and Prabhupada again replied, “Thank you.”
“All glories to you, Srila Prabhupada!” they said upon leaving.
“Jaya,” Prabhupada replied.
Conferring among themselves, the devotees agreed that Srila Prabhupada’s requirements seemed very little. They had not been devotees very long, and they had been born and raised in the degraded Western culture. Yet it had been so simple. He had only asked, “Do you know who Krsna is? Who is Lord Caitanya? How are They different?” It required no great learning or austerities, but faith that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and Lord Caitanya is Krsna Himself.