Prasadam & Cleanliness

Q. Some devotees insist that, while taking prasadam  only those who have not eaten can serve; they say that those who have just eaten are unclean. How can one be unclean while taking in prasadam? One added point is that if we were to be taking prasadam in a house where we would like to have all of the family members honor prasadam simultaneously, it would not be possible to do so if we insisted on the above rule.

A. The general principle is that after eating, one must at least wash one’s mouth, hands and feet, before touching other things, especially kitchen utensils which are used in Krishna’s service (like serving utensils). Although prasadam is transcendental and purifying, while eating our hands touch our mouth (either directly or with a spoon or fork), which is not clean. The minimum Vedic standard of cleanliness we should follow after eating is that we must cleanse our hands and mouth thoroughly. Prior to worship of an installed Deity in the Temple, one must fully bathe and put on a clean set of clothes after eating.