Khichdi as food for the Soul- Delectable, Pleasing, Ecstatic
By – Abhishek (B.Com)
The highest Vedic literature, Srimad Bhagavatam, complied by Srila Vyasadeva over 5000 years ago, is an ancient reference to the use of khichdi (arising from the sanskrit root kicca, meaning a dish of rice and dhal) in Vedic culture, medicine and cuisine. Vedic cooking kept the body energetic, the mind peaceful, and the soul happy, and khichdi was no exception.
Srila Prabhupada Founder Acharya of ISKCON has started Prasad distribution since the beginning of ISKCON in 1966 at New York, USA. One day in Mayapur he saw some small children fighting with dogs for scraps of food at the place where the leaf plates were thrown out. He shed tears thinking how hungry these children must be, and told his disciples:
Since then, it has been going on at every ISKCON temple worldwide, in India especially at Vrindavan , Mayapur, Delhi and Mumabi.
“If you eat Bhagavat-Prasadam, then gradually you become spiritualized; it has this potency. Therefore it is said that realization of God begins with the tongue. Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau:” [Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu, 1.2.234]
Chant the holy name of the Lord and take Prasadam (remnants of food offered to the Lord). Then you become self-realized, God-realized—-by these two methods the whole world can attain prosperity and peace. You don’t have to be very highly educated or be a philosopher, a scientist, or a rich man to realize God.
Everything you offer on your altar becomes Prasadam (the mercy of the Lord). Flowers, incense, the water, the food—-everything you offer for the Lord’s pleasure becomes spiritualized. The Lord enters into the offerings, and thus the remnants are non-different from Him.
Khichdi is therefore a mainstay of ISKCON’s diverse culinary menu and is served hot in a variety of flavors in its many prasadam distribution initiatives. This includes the provision of full prasadam meals (sanctified vegetarian food) at lunchtime to children in many schools, to starving people in disaster recovery efforts around the world, and of course to the general public in every one of its temples. Since the ingredients are procured and cooked with love for the satisfaction of the Supreme Father, Krsna, even a simple meal like khichdi is capable of providing the highest benefit to the spiritually starving masses – reconnecting the lost sons of God with Him.
“The greatest problem in this world is hunger. Not hunger of the stomach but hunger of the heart. All over the world, both the rich and the poor are suffering. They are lonely, starving for love. Only God’s love can satisfy the heart. There is no other solution. Feeding the stomachs of the poor is not so difficult. Feeding the starving hearts of humanity with God’s love – that is the great challenge.”
The core benefit of ISKCON’s distribution effort, therefore, arises from its nourishment of the heart with the love of God. Without this love, our own life becomes an unwholesome khichdi – in desperate need of both detoxification and nutrition.