Letter to: Kris , Los Angeles , 1968-11-13
My Dear Kris,
Please accept my blessings. I thank you very much for your nice letter and have noted the contents carefully. Yes, you were very kind to massage when I was there in Santa Fe, and I thank you very much for this.
I have noted your questions carefully, and regarding your question about the Prasadam recipes; Krishna is offered foodstuff in goodness. The foodstuffs in the modes of goodness are wheat, rice, pulse (beans, peas), sugar, honey, butter and all milk preparations, vegetables, flowers, fruits, grains. So these foods can be offered in any shape, but prepared in various ways by the intelligence of the devotees. The ingredients are always the same as above, whether you fry them, boil them, bake them, powder them, or whatever way they are combined or cooked, the idea is that they must come from this group of foodstuffs. So you can make your own recipe if you like, so long as the ingredients are within this group. This foods group is stated by Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita, and we follow accordingly. Now the thing is that you must consider by whom you are being taught what is healthy and what is not healthy. What is their authority? Actually, this healthy and non-healthy is a material consideration, and we are simply interested in what Krishna wants, so we offer to Him to eat whatever He wants. And He asks for food preparations from within this group. I hope this will clarify the questions about Prasadam preparations for you to understand.
Regarding your question about Yogananda, you write to say that you "received the impression from his autobiography that he was a genuine saint who dedicated his life to serving God." But the thing is that you do not actually know what is a genuine saint, and what can you understand about saintly life from reading his autobiography. I may inform you that just recently I visited his so-called asrama retreat, and it was simply a hodge-podge of all nonsense. There was a Buddha statue, a Christ statue, a Gandhi's memorium labeled as "World Peace Memorium"—and what world peace he has brought? None. And what does Gandhi have to do with spiritual realization anyway? Gandhi was simply interested to get the Britishers out of India—what has this to do with self-realization, the prime goal of life? And here and there, there were signs of all sorts, like "Be still and realize I am God"—what is this, by becoming silent and still one becomes God?! The stone is silent for millions of years, does that mean it has become God? This is all conglomeration of nonsense ideas. Practically, this Yogananda has no philosophy or authority, he simply drags in Buddha, Jesus Christ, Gandhi, and whoever else he can think to put, so that whatever you like it is in his shop. He is just a good shop keeper.
Krishna says—Give up all nonsense engagements and come here and surrender unto Me!—that is real philosophy. Krishna says that anyone who is worshiping any demigod, it is all nonsense, and just give it up and come to me. Our philosophy is to worship Radha and Krishna. We don't make any hodge-podge or any compromise. If you like you can accept it, and if you are fortunate you will accept, and be happy, but this hodge-podge nonsense will never help you. Just like we prescribe certain rules and restrictions for our disciples so that they can make real advancement in spiritual life. This Yogananda gives no restrictions or regulative principles to his disciples, and thereby collects all nonsense class of men. But if you put restrictions then not so many men will come, but sincere ones will come, those who are actually sincerely searching after real spiritual life. This Yogananda accepts everything as bona fide, because he simply doesn't know what is bona fide and what is nonsense. So there is no need to waste your time.
I can understand you are planning to go on world tour, but I think there is no need for wasting your time on such world tour. Better you chant Hare Krishna sitting in one place, that is far better. What for you want to go on world tour—people everywhere are doing the same thing, eating, sleeping, mating, and defending—each in some slightly different way, but same substance is there. There are the same streets, same people, same cars, same trees, etc. everywhere, somewhere a hill, somewhere sandy, somewhere some water—but what is the profit of seeing so much scenery? It is better if you want to travel, you can travel to preach and spread this Krishna Consciousness to the suffering humanity at large. You can travel with our Sankirtana party if you like. They are presently here in Los Angeles, and they are making program to go to London, then over Europe, then eventually on to India, etc. So if you want to travel I recommend you travel with them, and chant Hare Krishna with them wherever you go. And you will profit by this sort of travel, whereas the other is a waste of time practically. So that is my opinion, that you would do far better not to waste your time in this way.
Thanking you once more for your letter, and hoping this meets you in good health and I remain
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami