The Bhakti Yoga lifestyle embraces food as a key principle in purifying and revitalising the body, mind and spirit. According to Bhagavad Gita, the prime yoga text, food is not just for satisfying our hunger and cravings. When eaten properly, food also serves in a medicinal capacity to provide the body with strength, vigour, health and a long duration of life.
Just as we tend to binge of certain foods when we feel a certain way, the opposite also holds true. The type of food we eat in turn affects our emotions and state of mind. Foods which are juicy, fatty, wholesome, nutritious and pleasing to the heart make us feel good. On the other hand, foods which are too heavy, salty, pungent, spicy, stale and the like, not only harm the body but negatively affect our state of consiousness by making us feel lethargic and uneasy.
The Bhakti culture advocates a health-giving plant-based diet along with a moderate amount of dairy. Practitioners of Krishna Consiousness, or Bhakti Yoga eat a diet rich in grains, lentils, lengumes, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, spices and plant based oils. Food is cooked and prepared in a spirit of devotion and in a cheerful state of mind. Bhakti Yogis understand Krishna to be the original source of all spiritual as well as material energy and so once cooked, food is first offered to Krishna to taste and enjoy. This special procedure purifies the food of any negative karmic effects that it may have taken on during the production and cooking process. This purified food is called "prasadam" in Sanskrit. A sincere practioner of bhakti yoga will notice that by consuming a prolonged diet consisting of prasadam, one's consiousness becomes clearer and more stable and the tendancy to want to advance in spiritual life is aroused.
Scroll along the gallery below to see some tasty prasadam meals cooked by the Happy Jiva Krishna monks and by some of our bhakti yogi friends!