This is a story about how Srila Pabhupad instructed his disciple about cocoa contained in chocolates and inspired that disciple to get higher taste.
Prabhupad took under his care a small orphan boy. Among other services, this boy was given one service of buying vegetables from the market for Srila Prabhupad’s kitchen.
One day (specifically in the summer of year 1973) the boy bought some chocolates (cadbury and 5 star) using the left over money, instead of returning the unused money. He put these chocolates in his bead bag to hide them and came back to the temple.
Upon seeing Prabhupad seated in the visitor room (this was around 4 in the afternoon), he quickly offered dandavat pranam, and a few chocolates slipped out of his bead bag and fell onto the floor.
Prabhupad waited for the boy to explain himself. Ashamed at being caught stealing money to buy chocolates, the boy quickly unwrapped one chocolate and offered it as a bribe to Prabhupad, expecting less scolding from him. Prabhupad took one bite and frowned. He said “What is this you have given me? Let us read the wrapper to see what it contains.”
Prabhupad loudly read out the ingredients at the back of the wrapper and remarked “This contains Cocoa!”; then he looked at the boy and said , “We don’t eat Cocoa. It has caffeine.” (we meaning Vaishnava)
Then seeing that the boy was feeling deprived Prabhupad asked “Why you feel like eating this chocolate? What do you like about it?”
“It is sweet, that is why I like it,” said the boy. Prabhupad asked the boy to accompany him to the kitchen. The boy washed the vegetables he had bought. Meanwhile, Prabhupad personally made suji halwa, and without even offering it to Krishna, he gave the boy a serving of the halwa. And what is the taste of a spoonful of pure love for Krishna? Probably none of us knows.
This boy is a Prabhupad disciple called Haridas. He is one of the oldest Prabhupad disciples at Radha-Rasabihari temple in Juhu. When he was telling me this story tears welled up in his eyes. He said, “That suji halwa was simply magical, how do I explain? Even though it was just made from milk, roasted suji in ghee, and sugar and little water, no one can make anything like that. I have never tasted anything like that in my whole life after that day. Prabhupad not only ignored my stealing the temple money, he corrected me by telling me that Vaishnavas don’t eat cocoa. Prabhupad is so perfect. He did not even chastise me. He simply gave me higher taste.”
This higher taste is actually what we all need. Given this we can give up all attraction for the different sense gratifying objects available in this material world.