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Wednesday, September 17th, 2003

Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India

Prasad Seva

Overcoming picky eating habits

The milk at the Govardhan Math is much nicer than the milk here at the Vrindavan Math. The milk in Govardhan is served hot, creamy, and sweet; the milk here in Vrindavan is, well, let's just say it's — different.

I don't consider myself a picky eater but one or two of the other preparations here were also not quite to my liking. I know this is not good (this type of consciousness, not the food!) and just the other day I was talking about how Srila Gurudeva has taught us about prasad seva — how to honor, how to respect prasadam. I have to change my attitude.

Then the other night I was listening to an MP3 where Srila Guru Maharaj gives a wonderful explanation of the first instruction of the Upadeshamrita. Particularly apropos for me was Srila Guru Maharaj's practical advice on how to control the urges of the tongue (jihva-vegam):

"Jihva-vegam means our preference for a particular taste. Some may have a preference for the pungent, some for the bitter, some for the sweet, some for the acidic, etc. The tongue always wants to taste that sort of thing. We should try to avoid that."


"The process is that whenever we eat anything, we must be conscious that it is prasadam: that the sadhu, the Guru, or the Lord has tasted it first. The material taste should be subservient. Our consciousness must be drawn from the lower plane to the higher plane, from the objective world to the subjective world: that is the key to becoming free from the material taste."

The idea is not to accept or reject prasadam based on material considerations of what we like or dislike, but to appreciate everything that comes from above as mercy (prasadam), which by definition, descends from the higher plane.

I am living here in the holy dham with Srila Gurudeva, taking his prasadam daily. He has personally tasted everything that is served to us. To pick and choose what I will eat is not only ungrateful, but also offensive.

So now whenever I eat, I try to elevate my consciousness from the mundane (bhur bhuvar svah) to the spiritual (tat savitur varenyam). I try to engage in some real prasad seva: curbing my tongue by eating everything that is put in front of me. You know, the milk is not that bad!

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