On Janmashtami, Krishna devotees feed the Lord and the poor with their best vegetarian offerings

by | Sep 7, 2023 | Religion

(RNS) — It is said in the Hindu scriptures that the blue-skinned Lord Krishna was a sweet yet mischievous child who would steal handfuls of fresh, sweetened butter from his cow-herding neighbors. It follows, then, that celebrations of Krishna’s birth, or Janmashtami, include an abundance of food. At midnight Wednesday (Sept. 6), Bhakti yogis, or devotees of Krishna, broke their daylong fast together by welcoming Bal Gopal, or baby Krishna, to the world with his 56 favorite foods. This ritual of Chhappan Bhog, an originally North Indian ritual, includes a specially arranged platter of mouthwatering vegetarian dishes, many of them milk-based. 56 meals represent Krishna’s eight meals a day multiplied by the seven days he is said to have lifted the Govardhan mountain.
In addition to feeding the incarnate of Vishnu, International Society for Krishna Consciousness temples around the world doubled up their Chhappan Bhog practice with a community food offering. Home-cooked meals from devotees will be offered to the Krishna and his consort, Radha, before donation — so long as they do not contain mushrooms, canned or frozen vegetables or fruits or store-bought preparations.
These offerings must be satvik: strictly vegetarian, and without any onions or garlic. 
While individual Hindus may differ on their definitions of vegetarian …

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