Srila Prabhupada on Agriculture
The most important word in these verses is maha-gunam, indicating that the brahmanas were offered very palatable food of exalted quality. Such palatable dishes were generally prepared with two things, namely food grains and milk products. Bhagavad-gita (18.44) therefore enjoins that human society must give protection to the cows and encourage agriculture (krsi-go-raksya-vanijyam vaisya-karma svabhavajam). Simply by expert cooking, hundreds and thousands of palatable dishes can be prepared from agricultural produce and milk products. This is indicated here by the words annam maha-gunam. Still today in India, from these two things, namely food grains and milk, hundreds and thousands of varieties of food are prepared, and then they are offered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (Catur-vidha-sri-bhagavat-prasada. patram puspam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati.) Then the prasada is distributed. Even today in Jagannatha-ksetra and other big temples, very palatable dishes are offered to the Deity, and prasada is distributed profusely. Cooked by first-class brahmanas with expert knowledge and then distributed to the public, this prasada is also a blessing from the brahmanas or Vaisnavas. There are four kinds of prasada (catur-vidha). Salty, sweet, sour and pungent tastes are made with different types of spices, and the food is prepared in four divisions, called carvya, cusya, lehya and pehya–prasada that is chewed, prasada that is licked, prasada tasted with the tongue, and prasada that is drunk. Thus there are many varieties of prasada, prepared very nicely with grains and ghee, offered to the Deity and distributed to the brahmanas and Vaisnavas and then to the general public. This is the way of human society. Killing the cows and spoiling the land will not solve the problem of food. This is not civilization. Uncivilized men living in the jungle and being unqualified to produce food by agriculture and cow protection may eat animals, but a perfect human society advanced in knowledge must learn how to produce first-class food simply by agriculture and protection of cows.