Swami Prabhupada was a renunciant monk who, at the age of 69, sailed from his native India to New York in 1965. He was penniless, bringing with him nothing more than a suitcase with a few personal essentials, an umbrella, and a trunk of books from the wisdom traditions of ancient India. But he had a mission; to share with the world the ancient Krishna tradition and the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita, the epic spiritual guidebook and original yoga-text.

In the ensuing 12 years Swami Prabhupada travelled the world 14 times, established 108 temples and farm communities, and expertly propounded the ancient teachings of the east within the context of the modern day.

During these years, Swami Prabhupada wrote more than sixty volumes of translation and commentary on ancient Vedic texts, including the Bhagavad-gita. He wrote as a scholar, but most importantly as a consummate practitioner; he taught not only through his writings but also by his life example.

At the heart of these teachings are the spiritual practices and truths that are central to virtually all faith traditions: thanksgiving, offering to God the earth’s first yield, helping the poor and promoting peace and justice.


Putting these teachings into practice, it was in 1974 that Swami Prabhupada established Food For Life. He was in Mayapur (West Bengal, India), and saw some children fighting with dogs over some scraps of food in the bin. His heart overflowed with compassion, and thus he ordered his students that “no one within ten miles of a temple should go hungry… I want you to immediately begin serving food.”

From humble beginnings, Food For Life has today expanded its operations to over 150 locations around the world and is the world’s largest vegetarian food relief program. Our volunteers work tirelessly to provide healthy, cruelty free, spiritually nourishing food to the needy.

Food for Life Hungary is a non-profit organisation that works to provide an invaluable source of pure food for the significant and unaided deprived section of Hungarian society. Our meals are warm and freshly cooked the same day, with love and devotion.

This vegetarian, love-filled food is distributed to 2,000 of Budapest’s poor daily, and many hundreds more in other parts of the country. We cook, pack and distribute our provisions with a smile.

Our largest sister project is Food for Life Annamrita, based in Mumbai, India, which cooks and serves over 1.2 million meals daily to school children as part of the Mid-Day Meal program initiated by the Indian Government


Eating is one of the two main functions of the tongue and essential to our survival. But whilst some of us have access to this fundamental commodity of food in abundance, others are left severely wanting. We may talk about education, careers, and contributing to society, but none of this is possible without food. Thus, in feeding people, we are investing in people, in society, and in the future.

But our aims are not just based on bodily maintenance. We see our food distribution program as a medium for initiating a change in consciousness; individual and societal. Sharing a meal cooked with love is a timeless experience universal to all humans. The fact is that food prepared with loving intention translates perfectly across all languages. Such food has the ability to break down barriers, turning anger into love, fear into trust, and ignorance into enlightenment.


Along with water and air, food is the most basic necessity of life. Its purpose is to nourish the body, mind, and soul. Food, therefore, should give us life, cleanse our body and uplift our soul. Eating food should never be just about fuelling the physical body.

According to all Yoga traditions, food that is old, decomposed and consisting of dead flesh will pollute the body and consciousness, while food that is fresh, alive and nutritious will enrich the body, cleanse the mind and satisfy the soul.

When one recognises the equality of all beings, one will naturally want to share Earth’s bounty with others. World hunger is not due to a lack of food, but from a lack of equal distribution. Out of all the grain production on earth, 40% is grown to feed livestock, not humans; more than enough to fill the bowls of millions of hungry people.

The issue of world hunger is vast, varied and complicated – and there is no simple solution for a complex problem – but without a doubt, if humans learned to look past racial, religious and ethnic differences, there would be no scarcity anywhere in the world. What one village lacked in its ability to be sustainable, another village could contribute through free knowledge, labour exchange, or bartering.

Unfortunately, modern systems breed greed and dishonesty, and thus stand in the way of a conscious, sustainable society



The truly conscious person does not disrespect other living beings; rather, if we are truly conscious, we honour the environment, respect all and love our own body, which is treated as a blessing and “temple of God.” If we are truly conscious, we live in full awareness of our connection to our surroundings. Such a spiritual perspective is the foundation of India’s Vedic culture of hospitality. The conscious individual fully embraces a socially responsible and environmentally respectful lifestyle. By becoming aware of our human responsibility to maintain and protect the environment and other forms of life, we will learn to love our brethren and not exploit them by eating them. The same applies to our choice of clothing, cosmetics, cleaning materials and habitat. All should be chosen carefully so that the least amount of harm is inflicted upon the environment.


This journey in raising consciousness begins with and ends with the tongue. Never underestimate the power of the plate or the power of the spoken word. What we put on our plates is as much a political statement to the world as it is a mirror of who we really are. You can tell much about a person by what comes out of his mouth when he speaks and what he consumes as food.

Food for Life founder Swami Prabhupada often gave the example of a dog on a throne. “If you throw a shoe, then the dog will leave his throne to chew the shoe,” he would chuckle. Similarly, although an individual may claim to be enlightened or a great moralist, actions speak louder than words, and soon enough those actions will always reveal their true nature. The tongue will always lead the other senses either to purity (and thus liberation) or to debauchery and entanglement in samsara (the cycle of birth and death).

Annual Month of Giving

There is no doubt that we are fighting one of the world’s most intractable problems. And sometimes, especially amidst the current pandemic, we sometimes feel we are tackling a losing cause. It is possible that there may never emerge a complete solution to this problem. But people are not just numbers; they are people. And we are making a difference in the lives of people… thousands daily.


Our mission is to help those who are not currently able to help themselves. Everyone deserves a bright future, but there is no work, no education, no nothing, without food