How to get Prasadam in functions of friends and Relatives?
A devotee (Name hidden) :
Hare Krishna prabhuji. please hide my name..I m not a dikshit. I hv a friend of mine. I used to go with him for eating outside food. I was eating food which was without onion n garlic only. But now I am getting prasadam only from temple n eating that only. He also started eating that Prasadam with me. Now he is offended dat I dnt eat outside karmic food with him in restaurants. he made me forcefully swear on Bhagvad Gita n Krishna pic dat I won’t eat anything in my marriage which is not prasadam n I won’t go with my spouse n children to and restaurant or movie. I know it’s possible but Wat if it’s broken . What are the consequences. How to get Prasadam in functions of friends and Relatives?
It is good if we are very strict in honouring only the Prasadam all the time. Some times, we may be caught in a place where there are no relatives, temples, etc and our schedules are very tight to travel and get Prasadam. We may not be able to bear just the fruits or milk as we may have to stay there for 2-3 days with unavoidable busy schedules. In such situations, it happens that we are forced to eat outside.
(To know how to offer food to Krishna, Read this Post : How to offer food to Krishna?)
Let us now see how to get Prasadam in functions of friends and Relatives.However, you can be selective in attending the marriages. If the marriage is that of non devotees, you may attend, have milk or fruits there and return. In case, you are forced to eat there (Vegetarian food) to avoid any split in relations/ friendship, you may request them to serve only the dishes that have no onion or garlic. They will definitely cooperate. If they serve, you should clean that food first.
If that food is cooked by a devotee and already offered to Krishna, then, you can recite the following manthra before eating and then honour that prasadam:
visvaso naiva jayate
sarira avidya-jal, jodendriya tahe kal,
jive phele visaya-sagore
tar’ madhye jihva ati, lobhamoy sudurmati,
ta ´ke jeta kathina samsara
krishna baro doyamoy, koribare jihva jay,
sva-prasad-anna dilo bhai
sei annamrita pao, radha-krishna-guna gao,
preme dako chaitanya-nitai
(Should we spend money to offer food and things to Krishna, instead of poor? READ HERE!)
In case, it is the food in marriage not cooked by you or the devotees and if you are unable to refuse the invitation because of the above reasons, then, recite “Hare Krishna Maha Manthra” three times (or) “OM SHREE VISHNU” eight times and then pray “Oh, My dear Krishna. I am unable to offer this food to you and I am forced to take this food from outside today. Please forgive the offences and karma involved in that food and accept my offering of fruits within mind”
Then take that food. If this is done rarely in unavoidable circumstances, Krishna will help you by cleansing that food.
In case you try to convince the persons who invited you, just explain them that you are following the rules recommended for you that you should take only the food after offering to Krishna, even when they give you the invitation. Tell them kindly that you will attend the marriage, bless the couples and all, remain there till the marriage is over and do all possible helps, but, you should be allowed to take only the fruits and milk there. Tell them that this is not to insult others, but, to avoid deviating from the regular practice. Most of the people will understand your genuine point and cooperate with you. Then, attend the marriage, be cordial, speak to everybody and gently come back. Problem solved.
Now, let us see managing your family’s functions. Since you are a devotee, you can arrange to prepare food as per the recommendations and offer to the Lord and then serve the visitors of your marriage. You may ask, how can I make the cooks who are employed by me, to prepare food as per rules?
(Why Annadhaan (Prasadam Distribution) is the best charity among others? READ HERE!)
It is possible. You know, in the large functions/ celebrations in some of our temples in which hundreds of the devotees attend, our temples employ cooks to cook the food. They instruct the cooks to prepare food according to the rules, WITHOUT TASTING THEM. That food is then offered to Lord and then served to the visiting devotees. I myself have seen that in a temple.
Similarly, you too can employ Brahmin cooks for your marriage. They know how to prepare food without tasting and neatly. Just tell about your practices to them. They will cook the delicious foods properly. Then, take some quantity of every dish and keep them in front of the pictures of Krishna, your guru and/ or acharya in the marriage hall (Take one photo there). Recite the offering manthra three times, keep it for 8-10 minutes and then, mix with the whole food and then serve.
Nice. Isn’t it? If possible, you can even request your temple to arrange for temple cooks to cook in your marriage. In Chennai ISKCON temple, they have a large marriage hall to perform marriage and they arrange all the facilities to conduct a devotee marriage there. You can explore such possibilities near your area, if available.
(How to cook for Krishna in a non veg family? READ HERE!)
You may ask another question: I will be sitting near my wife in my marriage. How to get Prasadam in functions that seriously needs my presence in the stage?
This is not an issue. Take a devotee friend with you to marriage. Entrust him the duty to ensure that the cooks prepare food as per your request and let him do the offerings. Every devotee will feel pleasure to help you in this matter.
If possible, you can even conduct your marriage as per our temple customs. In ISKCON, there are many purohits (priests) who conduct the devotee marriages perfectly. They travel all the cities to perform the devotee marriages as a service to the vaishnavas. You can engage them.
(5) As far as going to the restaurants with wife and children is concerned, it is not an issue. Your wife will be your closest material relation. Who else will understand you except your wife if you explain your customs lovefully? Every good wife will agree to this.
(Can we offer Krishna Prasadam to other gods and accept the Prasadam of other gods? READ HERE!)
In case they call you to dine out together take them to your nearby ISKCON temples. If you pay some thing, the temple will prepare delicious dishes for you and serve. In some centers they have restaurants also.
Or, if they are particular about taking something in hotel, take them to a decent hotel and order for milk or fruit mix or good milk sweets without grain ingredients. Mostly, the wife and children will not pressurize you in this matter.
Under any circumstances, avoid taking food in a place where meat is also cooked and served, and onion and garlic is used. Even in your friend or close relative’s functions.
Hope you are clear now about how to get Prasadam in functions of friends and Relatives, and confident of fulfilling your vows!
All the best.
(How to have only Prasadam during sensitive jobs? READ HERE!)