By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

The most important word in these verses is mahā-gunam, indicating that the brāhmanas were offered very palatable food of exalted quality. Such palatable dishes were generally prepared with two things, namely food grains and milk products. Bhagavad-gIta (18.44) therefore enjoins that human society must give protection to the cows and encourage agriculture (krsi-go-raksya-vānijyam vaiśya-karma svabhāvajam). Simply by expert cooking, hundreds and thousands of palatable dishes can be prepared from agricultural produce and milk products. This is indicated here by the words annam mahā-gunam.

Prasadam of Lord Jagannatha at Puri Temple

Still today in India, from these two things, namely food grains and milk, hundreds and thousands of varieties of food are prepared, and then they are offered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (Catur-vidha-śrī-bhagavat-prasāda. patram puspam phalam toyam yo me bhaktyā prayacchati [Bg. 9.26].) Then the prasāda is distributed. Even today in Jagannātha-ksetra and other big temples, very palatable dishes are offered to the Deity, and prasāda is distributed profusely. Cooked by first-class brāhmanas with expert knowledge and then distributed to the public, this prasāda is also a blessing from the brāhmanas or Vaisnavas.

There are four kinds of prasāda (catur-vidha). Salty, sweet, sour and pungent tastes are made with different types of spices, and the food is prepared in four divisions, called carvya, cūsya, lehya and peya-prasāda that is chewed, prasāda that is licked, prasāda tasted with the tongue, and prasāda that is drunk. Thus there are many varieties of prasāda, prepared very nicely with grains and ghee, offered to the Deity and distributed to the brāhmanas and Vaisnavas and then to the general public. This is the way of human society.

Killing the cows and spoiling the land will not solve the problem of food. This is not civilization. Uncivilized men living in the jungle and being unqualified to produce food by agriculture and cow protection may eat animals, but a perfect human society advanced in knowledge must learn how to produce first-class food simply by agriculture and protection of cows.

[An excerpt from the Bhaktivedanta Purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 10.7.13-15]



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