Sunday, January 25, 2015

Hundreds of Visitors get Free Prasadam Meals at ISKCON Bangalore

On the auspicious occasion of the 30th annual Sri Krishna Balarama ratha-yatra, ISKCON Bangalore has inaugurated yet another ambitious scheme of providing free lunch prasadam to the hundreds visiting the temple daily. The multi-course meal consisting of piping hot rice, sambar, a vegetable preparation, pickle, buttermilk and payasam is served to pilgrims visiting the temple between 11:30 am and 2:00 pm every day. 
The temple’s Annakuta restaurant, which is closed otherwise in the afternoon, is the venue for this program. Since the seating capacity of the Annakuta hall is about a hundred, serving meals in three batches will feed about three hundred persons as of now. A new Annadana hall, above the Open Air Theater, when built and functional, by next year’s Krishna Balrama ratha-yatra, will cater to about 1500 pilgrims per day. Then eventually, about 10,000 persons will be served every day. 
Since prasad distribution is one of the key programs introduced by Srila Prabhupada, the Founder-Acharya of ISKCON, the ISKCON Bangalore temple, following in his footsteps, has been distributing free cups of tasty Khichdi prasadam, since inauguration, to the thousands who throng Hare Krishna Hill daily. Thus this new lunch Annadana program is taking another step forward towards fulfilling Srila Prabhupada’s desire. A lot of devotees visit the temple during the day from outside Bangalore city. This free lunch prasadam is a facility that is especially appreciated by these pilgrims. 
Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa, the temple president, in an exclusive interview, explained the significance of Annadana, “Amongst all different categories of charity, anna-dana, the charity of food, is considered as maha dana – the greatest. A noble hearted person, who gives this charity becomes free from the three kinds of debts and goes to the transcendental abode of Lord Vishnu.” “anna-danam yah karoti maha- manah, rna – trayam vimucyeta yati visnoh param padam” he said, quoting the Garga Samhita.
“We have not yet worked out the cost. In such noble programs, our usual method has been to start the program somehow, and we know that Lord Sri Krishna will send devotees to support this program” Dasa said, when asked about the funding for this mammoth program. 
It is to be noted that this new Annadana program is different from, and in addition to, the popular Akshaya Patra program feeding 1.5 million school children mid-day meals daily. Just as Akshaya Patra has grown from humble beginnings but now has scaled great heights, let us hope that this Annadana program will also be a huge success. 

His Holiness Sri Shivanubhava Charamurthi Sri Shivarudra Maha Swamiji of Belimutt, His Holiness Shri Vidyesha Thirtha, Sri Bhandarakeri Mutt, Shri Gopalaiah, M.L.A, Mahalakshmi Layout, Shri N L Narendra Babu, Ex – MLA and Shri S Harish, Ex Dy. Mayor of BBMP, Bangalore  were among the dignitaries present on the occasion of the Annadana inauguration.

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