Srila Prabhupada and the chocolate

. Cocoa and chocolate are not to be taken as they are intoxicants. (Letter to Surasrestha 1972;

November 25 1976 - Vrndavana

I went up to the front gate tonight to check out the fare at a new snack bar that Mahavira prabhu has set up. Situated just inside and to the right of the front entrance as you enter our property, it sells French fries, lassi, kachuries, and other small snacks. With three picnic tables, it has quickly become a social spot for the devotees, especially after the evening arati.Now that the weather is getting colder, some like to gather and chat over a fried snack or hot drink. When I walked up, the first thing I saw was a small sign on the counter advertising hot drinking chocolate.

"Hey, Maha, that's not bona fide!" I called to Mahavira.

"What's not bona fide?" Mahavira responded, looking concerned.

"The hot drinking chocolate. You can't serve chocolate.

""No, drinking chocolate is different. It's okay. Prabhupada said it's okay.

""Did you ask him?" I asked suspiciously.

"Well, no, but drinking chocolate isn't the same as regular chocolate.""Of course it is. It's chocolate. How can it be any different?""Well, how do you know that chocolate isn't bona fide?"

"I heard when I first joined. You can't offer chocolate. It's like coffee;it has caffeine."

"No, I don't think it does. I heard it's okay."We debated in this way for a few minutes. He wasn't willing to concede, and I could see that the several others who were gathered there also thought hot drinking chocolate was a good idea. Then I said,

"Well, let's go and ask Srila Prabhupada." He agreed that this would settle the matter clearly, sowe went into Prabhupada's darsana room where he was sitting quietly,chanting almost inaudibly on his beads.

"What is that?" Prabhupada asked pleasantly as we offered our obeisances and sat before him.

"Well, the devotees are selling hot drinking chocolate at the new snack bar,Srila Prabhupada," I said, "and I don't think it's bona fide. Mahavira prabhu thinks it is, so we thought we should ask you."

"Hmm. So, what is it made from?" Prabhupada asked thoughtfully .Mahavira raced back to the shop and brought the can. He read out the ingredients.

"It's mainly from cocoa,

Srila Prabhupada.""Oh, cocoa. That, there is cocoa bean, it comes from this?"

"Yes, Srila Prabhupada."

"No, then it is not all right. If it is from cocoa bean you cannot take.That means caffeine."

So that was it. The issue was settled, and hot drinking chocolate is nol onger on the menu.----

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