Food for Spiritual Thought

Late in the morning an exploding “PSSSSS” resounded from the kitchen. I didn’t even have to look at my watch to know it was precisely 11:55 a.m., because Kirtanananda would spice the dahl with the chaunce, precipitating a mini-explosion at the exact same time each day.

At noon two devotees brought from the kitchen the big pot of dahl, another big pot of basmati rice, and another of Indian-style vegetables which Prabhupada called sabji. They placed them on the altar room floor, just next to the rolled up oriental rug. Then they put Krsna’s personal plates, filled with small helpings from each of the large pots as well as a cup of milk and a banana, on the oblong altar. Having just taken his noon bath, Prabhupada came in, and I joined the other devotees in bowing down as he rang the bells and said the prayers for offering the foodstuffs to Krsna.

After the prayers, Prabhupada took the plate off the altar, and after Krsna’s plate was washed, he sat down to honor prasadam. We went down to the temple room to take our prasadam with everyone else. At times like this I wished I had joined the temple when there were fewer devotees, because I was told that in those days all the devotees used to eat along with Prabhupada— right in the altar room. I peeked back to watch Prabhupada as he was cutting the banana into slices by using the edge of his bowl of milk as a knife, and allowing the banana pieces to fall into his milk. He then put some of the rice in the milk and mashed it all together with his fingers, as he very cleverly turned the rice, milk and bananas into a type of pudding.

After lunch Kirtanananda and I returned to the altar room and resumed our services. Prabhupada came in and asked him to be sure to give me two glasses of hot milk every day. Surprised, I looked up from my canvas. All the devotees already drank a cup of hot sweet milk with bananas every evening, after the class and kirtana. Why would he want me to get an extra glass during the day?

Seeing my questioning countenance Prabhupada said, “All creative people should have two glasses of milk a day. Just as materialists eat fish because it is supposed to be good for the material brain, so milk is good for the spiritual brain. It develops the finer tissues of the brain for spiritual understanding.”

I was touched by his concern for me, and it made me determined to put those finer brain tissues to good use in understanding the Krsna consciousness philosophy.

The devotees sometimes called the altar room the 'front room' and sometimes the 'sweetball room', because, at least for all the time I had been there, Prabhupada had kept a large jar of gulabjamon sweetballs in the corner near where I painted. Whenever one batch was gone, he would make sure another was cooked to replace them.

Now, Prabhupada put a large spoon in the amber syrup, scooped out a few gulabjamons, and offered them to me as I painted. Once again I was surprised, as well as a little embarrassed, to be given such special attention—and I took them thankfully.

That evening, after the temple program, a handful of us again went upstairs. As I started picking up the newspapers from around my painting area, Prabhupada motioned once again to the sweetball jar. “We are not nonviolent,” he said. “We have got our ‘ISKCON bullets’, and they will kill the maya of the conditioned souls.”

I had never before heard him call sweetballs ‘bullets’. I had to cover a giggle.

“Perfect description,” Hayagriva said. “They are like bullets. They ex plode in the mouth like celestial nectar as soon as anyone bites into them. Sometimes the explosion even drips down the sides of my mouth.”

Everyone laughed including Prabhupada.

Copyright 2001-2002 Jadurani/Syamarani dasi.
All Rights Reserved.