In the early days of ISKCON, when there were hardly more than 30 devotees in all, there was a constant strain over prasadam consumption. In one such instance, Kirtanananda (who was a good cook and foremost disciple) always tried to impose limits on the consumption of prasadam by the temple inmates. One such imposition was his insistence that no one could take more than two sweet balls with his morning porridge (farina, milk and sugar), but the devotees could hardly tolerate this stricture of his.
Sweet balls were made in large quantities at the Sunday LOVE FEAST, but there was always a large number left over, and so they would be eaten over the next days’ breakfast meals.
In due course of time the issue became so heated that it had to be brought before ” The Swami” for a conclusive resolution.
All together the devotees gathered in Prabhupada’s room, and Prabhupada patiently heard the opposing arguments for restricting to two sweet balls, and the argument for as many sweet balls as was reasonably within one’s limits.
After hearing all the arguments, “The Swami” finally spoke. He said that Kirtanananda may only have two sweet balls at his breakfast; all the other devotees may have as many sweet balls as they liked.
There was a great, uproarious wave of laughter and “Haribol”s from the devotees, and Kirtanananda got the point that austerity is not something to be imposed by force.
In Montreal temple, when Prabhupada was visiting there for Janmastami festival, I had cooked the entire feast and made sweet balls, which I was convinced I could do very well. Prabhupada had also cooked sweet balls in his small kitchen on Henry Street, near the temple.
As was the practice, Prabhupada would be served the first plate, and we would sometimes sit and watch him as he ate his prasadam on his dais. This time after he finished taking prasadam, I walked next to Prabhupada as he went across the temple floor (a former bowling alley) to the door leading downstairs. About halfway there he stopped and turned to me and said, “Your sweet balls were very good….” and I got a little heady and said, “Thank you.” Then in a moment he added, “But mine were better.” So I was put in my proper place as to who is who and whose sweet balls will always be better than mine.