Selling Prasādam (05/26/12)
Actually your idea is good for a food product, but not for prasādam, because, real prasādam can only be sold by a Temple directly to those who will take it knowing that it is prasādam, and when the profits go directly to the Deity. That is a very important to understand. When it is Kṛṣṇa’s mercy (prasādam), all the profit must go directly to the Deity.
If prasādam were ‘sold’ wholesale and then again ‘sold’ retail, then the retailer would be profiting from the prasādam. The retailer being a conditioned soul will enjoy and exploit the profits from prasādam and thus this is an offense to prasādam. The consumer also may enjoy his/her snack along with some egg or other meat, and this is also not the accepted process to honor prasādam.
But the idea of a snack-food line is noble and good if you want to sell wholesale to retailers. IF you were to selling prasādam directly to the consumer, that is a different story, but then to there are qualifications for making, offering, distributing prasādam and giving all the profit to the Deity. So making prasādam and prasādam
distribution are not as easy as some people might like to think.
Printing the holy name on anything is always a problem because printed matter of almost any kind ends up in the trash or in the fire – even books. So sometimes it is better to adopt names like ‘Bliss Bars’, ‘Pure Energy’ and so on when distributing a product to the public, wherein the wrapper will end up being destroyed. There are better choices than the holy name when one wants to attract some one to eat the product.
Spiritual Sky Incense Company is probably the biggest example of this ever of what happens to printed photos of Kṛṣṇa on packaging. For decades and decades they have been printing incense packs with pictures of Kṛṣṇa, and all those pictures went into the trash or were burned. Here in India there are thousands of such examples of products made by Hindus where the name of Kṛṣṇa is printed where it should not be. I have even seen toilet companies with Kṛṣṇa printed on the bowl. Several years ago in India we had ‘Sannyasa Vodka’, ‘Guru Beer’ and Hare Krishna Beedis’. Not to mention the hundreds of ‘Balaji Wine Shops’ in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh alone. Thank God we are not Hindus!
I have seen almost as bad from the so-called devotees in Iskcon, showing time and time again that they do not know how to deal with or properly respect the divinity of Kṛṣṇa’s name or picture. They think that everything is preaching and never stop to think that something might be being done inappropriately. This is because they are all kaniṣṭhas or worse. A madhyama devotee means proper understanding and discrimination.
In regard to your email, my opinion is that for financial purposes there is no harm in producing a strictly vegetarian food item and selling it retail or wholesale, but to do that with ‘prasādam’ has many problems accompanying the idea.
Hoping this meets you well.