Collected words from talks of Swami Tirtha


Question of Paramananda: Could you tell us something more about the glories of food offering to the Lord?

Swami Tirtha: This is a very practical service to use another capacity of ours in connection with the Supreme and this is our taste. It’s not necessary to renounce your taste or to renounce eating, but we should spiritualize our absorption of food. Because the body is like an instrument in the divine service and to achieve perfection. And we should feed the body somehow, but we should feed it properly. Just like when you have a diesel car, you don’t put petrol into the engine, because it will not function properly. In the same way, the human body is a little more complicated instrument than a car, so we should feed it with proper energy.

Food acts on three platforms: it nourishes the body, purifies the heart and enlivens the atman, the soul. Therefore if this very basic function like eating is spiritualized, it will have a very positive effect on the whole system.

But how can we spiritualize our eating? By sacrifice. Because if we take the remnants of a sacrifice, it will purify us, it will bring the results of the sacrifice. Therefore first we offer our food as a sacrifice to God, and then, if He accepts it, we take. It means first this is for Him and then it is for us. Everything is for Him first, and then we can take. Like first you offer the incense and then you enjoy the smell. Therefore we don’t smell the incense before offering, because then it’s not fit for offering anymore. If you have enjoyed something first, then how can you give it to some superior? Therefore we don’t enjoy our food before offering to Krishna.

And offering the food is a very intimate connection. Whenever Mother Sachi offers, Mahaprabhu is always there. In this way eating and cooking also, starts to be a meditation. And the devotees like to meditate.

Once a few years back there was a miracle, it was called the milk miracle. In some temples of India Ganesh started to accept the milk that was offered to him. From the pots and the cups the milk was simply disappearing on the altars! The news started to spread like wild fire. And people started to attend those temples, standing in long queues to bring milk to Ganesh. But then the news spread also among the deities. So they started to accept the milk also in different other places. It was just like an enormous wave, so much so that life practically stopped in Delhi. The banks stopped, the offices were broken down and everybody was rushing to the temples with milk. And it was filmed that people were giving in a little spoon some milk to Ganesh and the milk was disappearing! Then it started to happen in other countries also, even in London. In London the Hindus were also coming together, waiting in front of the temples. One man said: ‘Well, I’m an accountant. And I am an atheist. But people say something is happening here. So I also came and, for God’s sake, I also brought my milk.’

And then the scientific authorities in India started to “explain” the situation – that the stone structure of the deities absorbed the milk. So, let’s say, one such a small Ganesh will absorb gallons of milk! What to speak of the metal deities! But one lady commented: ‘Ah, I feel there are so many problems on this planet Earth. And maybe the Gods are hungry. They need our sacrifice, they need our offerings.’

For me that was the most beautiful explanation. It’s not that the stones start to drink up the milk – come on! But if we want to treat God as a person, He is hungry. Our Krishna is hungry – for your offering, for your service, for your love. And sometimes He gives signals: ‘Give Me more!’ God is a person, Kishna is a person, with personal needs. He likes if He is being taken care of. He likes if we like Him.

So, now you will go home to your deities and you will bring your milk, right? And you will try: ‘All right, please, drink my milk!’ But don’t worry if the milk still remains in the cup. It does not mean that Krishna does not accept it. Because what does He accept really? It’s the subtle quality. And the subtle quality He always accepts, even if the food remains there. So the real mysticism is not when the food disappears from the plate, because that is obvious, right? What is hidden – that is the real mysticism – when something remains there, but something is transferred to the Supreme.

Therefore offering our food is not simply a duty. It’s an expression of our attention, of our loving service. This is a very nice way to express ourselves and to serve the Supreme Lord, Shri Krishna.

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