Chakra Discussions

Effects of prasadam on health

by Gaurav Mittal

Posted March 26, 2005

The article "Honoring Prasadam" represents common accepted views among Iskcon devotees. Personally, I agree with "Vitamins not in Srimad Bhagavatam" article.

Using logic, reasoning and experience (spiritual, material etc) is required to accept knowledge. Knowledge shouldn't be accepted based on blind faith. Just because knowledge is claimed to come from right source does not mean that we should not use our experience, intellect, reasoning etc to verify it. We can misinterpret knowledge from right source and therefore, get ignorance instead of knowledge. Also, source itself may be imperfect. Therefore, verifying knowledge before accepting it is a safer but difficult path.

The claims on prasadam should be also be verified in some way instead of accepting them on blind faith. Obviously, most devotees who have been practicing Krishna consciousness for long time have some sort of unhealthy body ie. diseases. I have seen many Iskcon gurus on some special diet ie. they themselves don't take prasadam indiscriminately. Experience tells that prasadam does not make food healthy miraculously.

"Honoring Prasadam" article has misconception about food in mode of goodness. Lord Rama was supposed to take diet of sages when he was banished to forest. That diet was raw fruits and vegetables. Most probably, sages used to eat raw fruits and vegetables. Mainly raw food is in mode of goodness. Fried fatty food etc is either rajasic or tamasic. It is surely not in mode of goodness. "Honoring Prasadam" article claimed sugar to be in mode of goodness. Sugar is a creation of modern lifestyle. Earlier, there was no sugar. Actually, Vedic food was not excessively sweet. In India, fruits were not cooked. I think that the main reason is that fruits should be eaten raw to preserve nutrients. Overcooked food kills the nutrients. I don't think that overcooked food is in mode of goodness.

Some people argue that according to Ayurveda, one should take lots of ghee. Ayurveda was meant for people who used to do heavy physical labor. Even few decades ago, people used to walk a lot. Now, we live sedantary lifestyle. May be ayurveda's statement about ghee may not apply to those people who live sedantary lifestyle? Our way of living is much different than the way we used to live few hundred years ago. Food requirements also change with our lifestyle. Therefore, ayurveda statements also cannot be accepted blindly.

It is better to accept modern science in terms of nutrition and food instead of accepting unverified statements from fanatic devotees.

The bhakti is about gratitude. Bhakta tries to show gratitude to Krishna for everything. Offering food to God is a way of expressing gratitude to God for giving us food. In advanced stage, it may be act of love towards God. Attributing unverified mysticism to rituals is like fooling ourselves.