Frequently Asked Questions
Social benefit to the community
Does the Prabhuji Mission offer any social benefits in a practical way to the community?
Prabhuji founded his mission with the intention of serving humanity and benefiting it both spiritually and socially. One of the ways in which this noble aspiration is expressed is “Prabhuji Annadanam” or the “Prabhuji Food Distribution Program.” On a weekly basis, the Prabhuji Mission distributes food free of charge to anyone who comes to the Avadhutashram. There is no need to register or present documents.
The term annadānam is composed of two words: annam, or “food” and dānam, or “the act of giving and sharing.” Thus, annadānam means “feeding the hungry and needy.” Among the various kinds of giving, the act of sharing food is called māhādānam, or the “great act of sharing,” because satisfying hunger is a basic and essential service.
The Taittirīya Upaniṣad states, “All life force comes from food (annam vai pranah) and let food be produced in abundance (annam bahu kurveet).” The importance of charity is clearly explained in the Varāha-purāṇa. Among the different ways in which charity is expressed, sharing food is considered the highest. In the Varāha-purāṇa, Śrī Varāha says, “One who gives food, gives all that is worth giving in this world.” In the Bhagavad Gita, Śrī Kṛṣṇa states, “All beings evolve from food (annād bhavanti bhūtāni). Even in the Vedas, Upanishads, Rāmāyana or Mahābhārata during all these periods, feeding a hungry person was considered the greatest service to humanity.
“Give food, give food, give food” is Kṛṣṇa’s advice to Yudhiṣṭhira in the Bhaviṣya-purāṇa when referring to dānam, or “the giving.” Yudhiṣṭhira requests Kṛṣṇa to impart to him the essence of Bhīṣma Pitamaha’s discourse in the Śanti Parva of the Mahābhārata about dharma. Then, Kṛṣṇa says, “Both the animate and inanimate worlds are sustained by food. The bestower of food is the bestower of life and obviously of all the rest. Therefore, one who desires good in this world and beyond should especially strive to give food. He should offer food with venerable hospitality to the old man, the child, and the exhausted traveler.”
The Bible instructs:
“Then the righteous will answer him: ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or נאמר in need of clothing and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and come to visit you?’”. (Matthew, 25:37–40)
Also the Qur’an says:
“They give food, for love of Him (Allah), to the poor, the orphans, and the slaves, saying, ‘We feed you only to please Allah; We desire not from you reward or appreciation.’” (Qur’an, 76:8–9)
For Prabhuji, service to the human being is service to God, giving food to those in need is equal to a yagña, or ‘the most elaborate ritual sacrifice’.
ayaṃ nijaḥ paro veti
“This is mine, that is his, say the small minded. The wise believe that the entire world is a family.” (Māhā Upanishad, 6.71–75)