Question: How can we take prasādam without being totally hedonistic? Is it possible to deeply experience the prasādam without reinforcing the experience of sense gratification?
I think this subject is too advanced for most of us. Most of us are not tyāgīs (renunciates), and even those of us who are supposed to be renunciates live in air-conditioned buildings, sleep on beds, etc. etc, so let’s be real. It’s good enough to eat relatively simply without making every little body-function into a gigantic drama.
Better if we stop trying to mimic external things associated with spiritual advancement and start trying to really grasp the essence of spiritual advancement by ever-more frequently and deeply concentrating on Sri Hari Nama and Sri Hari Līlā.
Sri Rupa Goswami unequivocally states:
rucim udva hatas tatra janasya bhajane hareḥ |
viṣayeṣu gariṣṭho ‘pi rāgaḥ prāyo vilīyate || BRS 1.2.254 ||
“Affection for sense objects, however deep it may be, is gradually destroyed by developing taste for Hari-bhajan.“
He says this immediately after stating that pursuit of renunciation is unnecessary. It happens automatically and naturally for a bhakta.
So, in short, the right way to eat prasādam is to chant Hare Krishna and hear Srimad Bhagavatam often and deeply. Then you will naturally and sincerely be able to appreciate prasadam properly. Otherwise you will just be trying to mimic someone other people respect.
Vraja Kishor das