What is ‘Prasad’?
Here at Feed Them All we pride ourselves on the fact that we don’t hand out just ordinary hot meals, but food which has been cooked and offered to the Lord in the practice of devotion. Such food then becomes ‘prasad’, which literally means ‘mercy’ or ‘grace’.
The principle necessity of life is self-preservation. It is the first priority of everyone. No food, no life – as simple as that. Havoc, and the desperation that goes with it, has been created for a section of society. Over one million people are going hungry in the 6th richest nation on earth and this number is growing daily. In September 2013 a survey by Kelloggs showed that at least 820,000 children miss breakfast at least once a week and teachers are reporting children falling asleep in the classroom because of hunger. More and more people are becoming homeless. More and more people are faced with the choice of eating or heating -going hungry or cold. We find in the course of our work that elderly people are particularly vulnerable, so we provide what services we can to help. So many people tell us when we are serving hot, delicious vegetarian meals that they are so grateful:”I couldn’t survive without this food” is a frequent comment. It is quite humbling and moving to be the recipient of such gratitude. At the same time one is aware that one’s fellow human beings in this country are in a deep state of anxiety, desperation and even fear and despair. We are concerned and worried. We ask ourselves if this desperation and despair could turn into something uglier and nastier. We ask those in society who are not so affected to help those who are, and to avoid what what the old Bob Marley song prophesies “Them belly full but we hungry; A hungry mob is a angry mob.”
We solve this problem uniquely. We prepare ‘karma-free’ food. There is no violence in the preparation, cooking and serving of our food. In this world we can’t avoid devastation in the environment. Think about it. We cut down so many forests, plough up so many meadows, damn so many rivers, drain so many wetlands in the necessity for food in order to keep body and soul together. If we go to consume anything even plants, grains, fruits, seeds, then very tiny insects and microscopic creatures are killed whether grown organically or not, with or without the use of insecticides. In our understanding, every human being is a soul who is manifested by God (Krishna). After preparing and cooking the food we offer it to God, so that He will bless it. In this way we are free from reaction because He is the proprietor of everything. We serve the food with the same sentiment of love and affection to our fellow souls. In this way we hope that the lament of that quoted Bob Marley lyric will not ring true, will not come to pass. The relief in the faces of those who are the recipients of our food is palpable. They know someone genuinely cares with affection and this gives hope that they can get resolve their current situation.