By Kisori devi dasi
Prasadam means Krishna’s mercy, and is the remnants of something that has been prepared for the pleasure of Krishna with love and offered to Him for His enjoyment. Because Krishna has tasted it or enjoyed it, prasadam is not a material thing – it becomes transcendental. Krishna and Krishna prasadam are non-different.
That means one can get the same benefits by honoring Krishna prasadam as one could get by being personally present with Krishna faceto-face. Prasadam is so powerful and so wonderful. Srila Prabhupada called prasadam ‘the secret weapon’ and ISKCON is renowned for being a ‘kitchen religion’ because prasadam is one of the main ways of linking with devotional service. There is something wonderful about prasadam which is illustrated by this experience of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, related in the CC, Antya 16.108:115
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “These ingredients, such as sugar, camphor, black pepper, cardamom, cloves, butter, spices and licorice, are all material. Everyone has tasted these material substances before. However, in these ingredients there are extraordinary tastes and uncommon fragrances. Just taste them and see the difference in the experience. Apart from the taste, even the fragrance pleases the mind and makes one forget any other sweetness besides its own. “Therefore, it is to be understood that the spiritual nectar of Krishna’s lips has touched these ordinary ingredients and transferred to them all their spiritual qualities. A fragrance and taste that are uncommon and greatly enchanting and that make one forget all other experiences are attributes of Krishna’s lips. This prasadam has been made available only as a result of many pious activities. Now taste it with great faith and devotion.” Loudly chanting the holy name of Hari, all of them tasted the prasadam. As they tasted it, their minds became mad in the ecstasy of love.”