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Saturday, August 16th, 2003

St. Petersburg, Russia

Prasadam Seva

Feeding the masses

The regular kitchen is too small to cook enough for the huge crowds that are staying here at the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math in Saint Petersburg for Srila Gurudeva's 20th World Tour, so a makeshift kitchen has been erected outside, next to the guesthouse.

The outside kitchen has four gas burners and four wood fires to accommodate the extra big pots needed to cook for so many devotees from all over the world, and there is always a stream of devotees chopping wood, stoking the fires, washing or cutting up vegetables, rolling chapati dough, or cooking a variety of dahls, rices, subjis, kichuris, rotis, or making salads for the pleasure of Sri Guru and Vaishnava. It is like preparing and cooking for a big feast every day.

Prasadam is served in a covered area under the temple. A steady stream of devotees carry the prasadam in buckets from the temporary kitchen to the rows of hungry pilgrims waiting to be fed.

After everyone has eaten, another crew of devotees cleans up the area, sweeps and wipes the floor, empties the trash, washes the pots and utensils, and gets everything ready to do it all again for the next meal.

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