Prabhupada’s plans for restaurants

We have often heard that Srila Prabhupada talked of “cultural conquest.” ISKCON’s ‘food culture’ or prasadam distribution was always an important part of Srila Prabhupada’s arsenal. Satsvarupa das Goswami wrote this on June 18, 1974: “The other day His Divine Grace revealed in detail his plans for Hare Krsna restaurants, which can be opened anywhere in the world. After his talk most recently, he told me to see that this information is disseminated to all the devotees. He described it as ‘the next phase of our movement.’ Please therefore make a newsletter of the information that follows for all-ISKCON distribution.” In another letter Tamala Krsna Goswami wrote, “Srila Prabhupada has suggested that rather than opening any more temples in the U.S. that we open combinations of reading rooms and restaurants. After the local people frequent these, then we can open temples. These reading rooms and restaurants will be appreciated by the public as not being sectarian. Our farms can supply the foodstuffs and those who work in the restaurants should be able to eat as much as they like.” Elsewhere in the letter Srila Prabhupada indicates how this program will counteract negative publicity and enable the public to see ISKCON’s “cultural position.”