After a long series of experiments, researchers at the Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco recently showed that the constituents of our food alter our moods and thoughts by changing the chemistry of the brain. Their statement: "The food that we eat has intimate effects on the brain, on our appetite, our mood, curability to sleep and to think." A practical proof of this is that the students at schools in Fulton County, Georgia, where junk foods have been banned in favor of natural and nutritious meals, are reportedly learning quicker, staying healthier, and even behaving better.
Devotees of Lord Krsna eat only prasadam (vegetarian food that's been offered to Krsna). What effect does prasadam have on the brain? Besides doing all the good things that any well-balanced vegetarian diet does, prasadam also gives us the ability to think clearly about the nature of matter, spirit, and God.
How? Not because it contains certain vitamins and minerals, or complementary proteins, or just the right amount of the right kinds of carbohydrates. Prasadam has all these things, but that's not why it's spiritually potent. Since prasadam isn't material, we can't analyze its spiritual potency in material terms. Only by appreciating the value of offering our food to Krishna can we understand how prasadam can make us spiritually intelligent - so intelligent, in fact, that we feel inclined to chant the holy names of God and dance in ecstasy.
A Simply Wonderful Life Lesson
Lilavati tended to be proud. Many of the devotees were not college graduates, and none of them were classical scholars. She sometimes typed for Swamiji, did his wash, or brought flowers to his room in the morning. And he had quickly chosen her to be his exclusive cook. After only a few days of cooking lessons, Swamiji had told her, "All right, you cook." And now he came in only occasionally to check on her. Once when he saw her rolling capatis, he said, "Oh, you have learned very nicely."
One day, on Ekadasi, Lilavati arrived late at Swamiji's apartment, thinking there would not be much cooking on a fast day. But when she entered the kitchen she found Swamiji himself busily cooking. He was heating something white in a skillet, vigorously stirring and scraping it from the bottom of the pan. "Oh," he said, "I was just wondering, "Where is that girl?'"
Lilavati was too shy to ask what Swamiji was doing, so she simply busied herself cutting vegetables. "Today is a fast day," she said, as if chiding Swamiji for cooking.
"You have to understand-" he replied, "in Krsna consciousness a fast day means a feast day. We are offering this to Krsna." Lilavati continued to keep her distance from Swamiji's whitish, sticky-looking preparation until he completed it and placed it on the windowsill to cool. "Later it will harden," he said, "and we can cut it and serve it." And with that he turned and walked out of the kitchen.
When Lilavati finished cooking and served Swamiji his Ekadasi lunch, he asked her to bring him some of "that thing" on the windowsill. He took a bite, seemed pleased, and asked Lilavati to call Mukunda and Janaki to taste it.
Janaki took a bite and exclaimed, "It's wonderful! Simply wonderful! Incredible! What is this?"
Turning to Lilavati, Swamiji asked, "What is in this preparation?"
"I don't know, Swamiji," she said.
"You don't know?" he replied. "You were standing right by me in the kitchen, and you don't remember?" Lilavati's face turned red.
"Oh, Swamiji," Lilavati replied, "I was very busy. I just didn't see."
"Oh, you are busy without intelligence," he replied, and he laughed for a long time, until Mukunda was also laughing. Lilavati felt even more humiliated.
Swamiji asked Janaki if she could tell what was in the preparation. She couldn't, except that it was sweet. He then sent Lilavati downstairs to get Govinda dasi and Gaurasundara. When they entered, Swamiji told Lilavati, "Go get some more of that simply wonderful thing."
Again, this time in front of four devotees, Swamiji asked Lilavati, "So what is in this preparation?" And again she defended herself; she had been too busy to notice. And again he laughed until everyone was laughing with him. He then asked Govinda dasi to taste the "simply wonderful" and say what was in it. Immediately she guessed: sugar, butter, and powdered milk.
"Oh," Swamiji looked at Lilavati, "she is an artist. She is intelligent."
To Lilavati the whole episode was a devastating ordeal. Only later did she understand that Swamiji had been trying to teach her humility.
How can we prevent crime?
Every year the world spends more money on crime prevention and control. Yet despite these efforts crime rates are soaring. Can the simple things we do daily offer a solution. Srila Prabhupada explains: