Prabhupada Memories

Published on October 31st, 2023 | by


Cooking For Prabhupada

On your average day outside of India the process for preparing Srila Prabhupada’s lunch was as follows. About one half hour before massage I made a small chapati dough. Then, I chopped various types of vegetables and placed them in the middle tier of Srila Prabhupada’s famous three tiered cooker.

On the bottom tier I put some cauliflower and potato or some other vegetable combination with water to become a wet vegetable. In the top tier I placed a small two part tiffan. I put split dahl in the bottom with water and rice and water in the top. More vegetables were placed around the tiffan in the top tier of the cooker. Now, Srila Prabhupada’s famous three tiered cooker would be put on the stove with the heat set at a medium- low flame. Then I left the kitchen to give Srila Prabhupada his massage.

The massage could last from one to two hours. The trick in using the cooker during the massage was not to let the water dry out in the bottom. Srila Prabhupada showed me how to use the cooker with dahl on the bottom. A few times the dahl started to burn during the massage. That was a great source of anxiety to me. I never wanted to leave Srila Prabhupada in the middle of massage but sometimes you could smell the dahl burning. Srila Prabhupada would say, “What is that smell?” He knew it was his lunch. That is another story, for another day. Anyway, after about eight months and a few burnt lunches, I came up with the idea of cooking a wet subji on the bottom and steaming the dahl and rice in the top tier. That eliminated the anxiety of burning because the wet vegetable didn’t thicken like dahl.

After completing the massage Srila Prabhupada would pour a small amount of mustard oil into the palm of his hand and oil the gates of his body. Then he would walk to the bathroom to bathe. This gave me about 20 minutes to do the following. First, I would lay out his dhoti, kurta and copin (underwear) neatly on his bed. I would button the bottom two buttons of his kurta, so Srila Prabhupada would have only two more to close. Then, I raced to his sitting room and prepared his desk for putting on tilak. This meant opening his mirror. It was round like that of a powder compact, with a piece of carved ivory on the lid. Then, I made sure that his small silver lota (about the size of a golf ball) had water in it. There was a small silver spoon placed next to the lota.

Finally, I placed the ball of tilak at the center of his desk.

After doing this I ran back to the servant quarters to finish preparing lunch.

First, I took the cooker off the stove and put a small wok on the fire. In an emergency the lid of the cooker was used as the wok in it I made a large chaunce. Some was poured into the wet vegetable in the bottom tier. A little was put into the dahl, located at the top in one of the tiffan parts. Then, some assorted vegetables would be put into the remainder of the chaunce in the wok. If bitter melon was available, I would saute it in ghee and turmeric. Another chaunce was made to cook the remaining cut veggies. I would place all the preparations on Srila Prabhupada’s plates along with katori of plain yogurt and another with milk sweets. With Srila Prabhupada’s plate almost ready, it was now time to roll and cook a chapati.

Hopefully, all of this was done at about the same time His Divine Grace finished his Gayatri mantra. He didn’t mind waiting a few minutes but I would get scared if it took longer. I put the plates down on his choki, offered obeisances, and ran back to my room to cook another chapati. After he was finished taking chapatis with his lunch he would open the small tiffan that had the rice in it. Srila Prabhupada would usually take 3 to 6 chapatis with his meal. More often than not he took 3-4 chapatis. He enjoyed the remainder of his meal with steaming hot rice.

Please forgive me for this post. I started to write a different story but got caught up in preparing Srila Prabhupada’s lunch. It was so wonderful to be busily engaged in cooking for you Srila Prabhupada. I pray to become an expert cook, like my godsister Yamuna devi, so that I can prepare you sumptuous foodstuff life after life.

– From the Srila Prabhupada Uvaca by HG Srutakirti Dasa

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7 Responses to Cooking For Prabhupada

  1. Sthayi Bhava dasi says:

    Hare Krishna Madhuvisa das Prabhu

    I took initiation in the early 80s in Italy from Bhagavan Goswami, lived at Bhaktivedanta Manor (London UK) for a while and I subsequently left to returned to material exhistence. Throughout the years I’ve remained vegetarian and I have continued offering the bhoga (first to my Guru and later, when he left ISKCON, I wasn’t sure what to do and started to offer it to Shrila Prabhupada) using the prayers I had been taught in the temple.
    I met my husband 20 years ago and, since explaining about Krishna Consciousness, he started to make some of the offerings himself, but “just” reciting the Maha Mantra.

    I wonder if you could let me know if we should continue like that or if it’s appropriate for me to tell him the specific prayers (3+3+3) and if I should do so, perhaps you may be so kind to write them down for me as I know them to recite but don’t remember how they are written.

    I apologise for taking up your valuable time but we live in the remote West of Ireland and I have no contact with any Irish devotees.

    Many Thanks
    Hare Krishna

    Sthayi Bhava dasi

    • Hare Krishna Mother Sthayi Bhava dasi

      Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

      Yes. At the present time I think it is best not to have any connection with the ISKCON devotees. They have gone so far off the clear and straight path given to us by Srila Prabhupada that they can only harm our advancement in spiritual life… It is now much more crazy then in the 80’s with Bhagavan, etc. At least then they were preaching the correct philosophy but Bhagavan and company were not actually the pure devotees they were pretending to be. But now they have changed the philosophy to work around their own imperfections and material desires and the result is a disaster and it is better to stay as far away from ISKCON as possible.

      Certainly you and your husband should increase and improve your Krishna conscious activities as you are able to. You know Krishna consciousness is anandam buddhi vardhanam, an ever-increasing ocean of transcendental bliss. So Krishna consciousness is always increasing. Therefore we should never be satisfied with just staying where we are in Krishna consciousness. We need to be always improving and increasing our devotional service.

      So the idea to add the proper prasadam offering prayers is a wonderful idea. I have included them below. Of course after also these three prayers you also chant the Panca-Tattva maha mantra [sri krishna caitanya prabhu nityananda sri advaita gadadhara srivasadi gaura bhakta vrnda] three times and the Hare Krishna maha-mantra three times…

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

      1. Prayer to Srila Prabhupada:

      nama om vishnu-padaya krishna-preshthaya bhutale
      srimate bhaktivedanta-swamin iti namine
      namas te saraswate deve gaura-vani-pracharine
      nirvishesha shunyavadi pashchatya desha tarine

      “I offer my respectful obeisances unto His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is very dear to Lord Krishna, having taken shelter at His lotus feet. Our respectful obeisances are unto you, O spiritual master, servant of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami. You are kindly preaching the message of Lord Caitanya deva and delivering the Western countries, which are filled with impersonalism and voidism.”

      2. Prayer to Lord Chaitanya:

      namo maha-vadanyaya krishna-prema-pradaya te
      krishnaya krishna-chaitanya-namne gaura-twishe namaha

      “O most munificent incarnation! You are Krishna Himself appearing as Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. You have assumed the golden color of Srimati Radharani. and You are widely distributing pure love of Krishna. We offer our respectful obeisances unto You.”

      3. Prayer to Lord Krishna:

      namo brahmanya-devaya go-brahmana-hitaya cha
      jagad-dhitaya krishnaya govindaya namo namaha

      “I offer my respectful obeisances unto Lord Krishna, who is the worshipable Deity for all brahmanas the well-wisher of the cows and the brahmanas and the benefactor of the whole world. I offer my repeated obeisances to the Personality of Godhead, known as Krishna and Govinda.”

  2. Lissa says:

    I am married to a non veg husband who is a chef.

    please advise

    • Chant Hare Krishna and he is a chef so probably he does not really want to cook at home if he cooks at work. So cook Krishna nice things and offer them to Krishna and feed the prasadam to your husband. If you make it very well and offer it nicely it will be so nice that he will not miss the meat…

      You should get the Hare Krishna Book of Vegetarian Cooking from:

      And learn how to cook the recipes there. I am sure your husband will be quite impressed.

      The answer to all these problems is to chant at least 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra daily and strictly follow the four regulative principles [no illicit sex, no meat eating, no gambling and no intoxication] and to read Srila Prabhupada’s books daily. Even when problems seem practically impossible to solve you can solve them by following this process. You can not force your husband to be a vegetarian and there is no point really bothering him about this. But you can become a nice devotee of Krishna yourself and by your association your husband will also make spiritual advancement. And as I said you can cook nice food and offer it to Srila Prabhupada and Krishna and then offer the prasadam to your husband and he will make more spiritual advancement. So gradually in this way by your good association he will also become a devotee gradually. Let him become in his time without forcing it on him. But try and speak about Krishna and Krishna consciousness as much as he will tolerate and that will also help him advance in spiritual life, and try to convince him to read some of Prabhupada’s books, that will help him advance in spiritual life.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  3. Chetan says:

    Hare Krsna Madhudvisa dasa Prabhu

    Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

    How to manage Satavik food or Krsna Prasadam while on tour…?

    • Hare Krishna Chetan

      It depends on your situation. You have to make some arrangement. If you can somehow cook for Prabhupada and Krishna yourself that is best.

      It depends where you are touring. If you are touring the holy places for example prasadam is available. Otherwise really you have to make some arrangement to cook the bhoga and offer it to Prabhupada and Krishna yourself. Unless it is for a very short time. It is my experience that whenever you eat food cooked by the non devotees it has a bad effect on your consciousness. Sometimes it may be unavoidable, but you do not want to be doing this on a regular basis otherwise gradually your Krishna consciousness will just slip away…

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  4. Radhapriya dasi says:

    Dear Prabhus,
    I am searching for photos of Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda at Bhaktivedanta Manor, England from before 1976 or from Srila Prabhupada’s pandal programme in India before the Deities travelled to England.
    I long for a picture for a new altar I am making and thank you in advance.
    your servant
    Radhapriya dasi

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