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The value and benefits of Prasadam Distribution

In a conversation with Acintya Rupa last night I was reminded of an incident that occurred in Mayapur during the GBC meetings and the importance of mass prasadam distribution. I happened to be in earshot of a rather intense conversation between two old friends, Ramabhadra Prabhu and Ramesvara Prabhu. They are currently at loggerheads over the selling of the Brooklyn property. The conversation was intense but, might I add, entirely amicable and respectful. There are ways to disagree as Vaisnavas and still be gentlemen. It is all about respect. More on that later.

In the course of the conversation Ramabhadra Prabhu mentioned the success of their Govinda’s restaurant in the Brooklyn temple and how he was telephoned by an Aussie who looked up Govinda’s and found it on Yelp. He wanted me to know they had travelled half way around the world to seek out Govinda’s. This is not an uncommon occurrence. Praghosa Prabhu, our immediate past GBC Chairman, often tells me stories of Aussies visiting Ireland from the Gold Coast, Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne specifically seeking out the Hare Krsna restaurants they expect to find in every capital city of the world. He oversees the running of several successful restaurants in Ireland and England.
In the video I just viewed it was mentioned we have 110 restaurants around the world. By those
calculations that means ten percent of those restaurants are in Australia. That really isn’t good enough, in my humble opinion.

The positive reputation of ISKCON in Australia is built in good part on the good will created by the prasadam distribution of our restaurants and the vegetarian or bhakti yoga clubs in our universities. It is an essential element of connecting with the man on the street, especially in countries with small populations where you can’t sell a book to an individual every day of the week. They will however, be hungry every day, and happy to pay for a good, healthy, scrumptious meal of delicious Krsna prasadam. Sometimes eating more than one meal a day!
We should take advantage of this global opportunity!

Here’s another interesting story. We had one elderly gentleman who used to eat every day at Gopal’s. For an older person that is an effort because those stairs at Gopal’s take quite a bit of effort to climb. I recall he had a turn in the restaurant one day when he was close to his denouement. As it turned out he left ISKCON a substantial amount of funds in his will. He used to visit the temple for the Sunday Feast, religiously, and Gopal’s was his daily lunchtime haunt.

So when Aussies go abroad, they expect to find a Gopal’s or a Govinda’s in every capital city of the world. The tragedy is, we don’t have them. The opportunity still remains. It was recommended by Srila Prabhupada as a preaching strategy, as well as a steady source of income. Not only that, as we have found, it is followed by immense good will and appreciation of Krsna consciousness amongst the rank and file. We don’t have to indoctrinate, we simply have to feed, and everyone appreciates the benefits. That, and chant Hare Krsna, of course.
“Our chanting is medicine and our prasadam is the diet for curing material disease.” SPL to Himavati, 7th June, 1967