Chapter 76: Don't Sleep During Mangala Arotika; Sleeping & Eating

Śrīla Prabhupāda Uvāca 76
Don't Sleep During Mangala Arotika; Sleeping & Eating

June 1973, ISKCON Māyāpur Candrodaya Mandir

One day Śrīla Prabhupāda chastised his Sanskrit editor, Pradyumna Dāsa for sleeping during the morning program. Pradyumna, my favorite devotee in Śrīla Prabhupāda's entourage, took the correction very seriously. He decided to reduce his eating by taking only hot milk, fruit and almonds. Pradyumna said that almonds were 'brain food." He had a lot of brains as well as a photographic memory.

As previously mentioned, Śrīla Prabhupāda, while in Māyāpur, often walked onto the verandah while his disciples were taking prasadam. He enjoyed watching his children take Kṛṣṇa prasadam to their full satisfaction. I felt very cared for by my spiritual father. He appeared pleased by our attraction to Kṛṣṇa prasadam. He was not pleased, however, when he noticed that Pradyumna was not with us.

"Why you are not taking prasadam with the others?" Śrīla Prabhupāda asked Pradyumna after walking to his room.

" I'm not very hungry, Śrīla Prabhupāda," Pradyumna quietly replied.

"What do you mean?" Śrīla Prabhupāda said. "You should be taking prasadam."Pradyumna knew his spiritual master was not satisfied with his explanation.

"Well, Prabhupāda," he said, "If I take prasadam, then I sleep."

"What can be done," Śrīla Prabhupāda said. "You have to take prasadam, even if you sleep ten hours a day. How can you live if you don't take prasadam? So, take prasadam and sleep. You can't stop taking prasadam, even if you sleep all day . . . You must take prasadam. Otherwise, how can you go on?"

Pradyumna walked out of the room, offered his obeisances and took prasadam with the rest of us. I was happy to have his association again.

Śrīla Prabhupāda always encouraged his disciples to minimize their eating and sleeping in order to advance in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, but he also told us to use our common sense.

"You should eat as much as you can digest," he often said. "Take as much prasadam as you want, but eat everything that you take. Not one grain of rice should be wasted."

He was also very strict about everyone attending the morning program. If more sleep was required, it should be done at other times such as a nap after lunch or going to bed earlier at night.

In general, Śrīla Prabhupāda ate breakfast right after he lectured in the morning and ate lunch around 1:00 p.m. In the evening he drank hot milk before taking rest. Sometimes, if he felt hungry, I prepared puris, vegetable or puffed rice. When he had an appetite, he enjoyed eating as much as we enjoyed feeding him. Some of my most joyful days were spent running back and forth from the kitchen to his room with a hot chapati, putting it on his lunch plate while it was still puffed up with steam inside. I ran back and forth five or six times within ten minutes offering my obeisances each time I entered his room. Śrīla Prabhupāda sat with his right knee straight in the air and gracefully mixed subji with his chapati.

Śrīla Prabhupāda, please give me your mercy. I would gladly give up eating and sleeping just to be able to once again roll and cook chapatis for you. There is nothing sweeter in all the three worlds than having one glimpse of your childlike innocence as you sit and honor prasadam. I don't think it is possible for anyone to watch you eat and not fall deeply in love with you, except for a demon such as me. I may never taste the nectar of love of Godhead, but I pray for your mercy on my soul that I may be able to cook chapatis for you again.