Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das (Moods of Vraj): The Puranas, Goswami granthas and most Radha-Krishna Archana Puja books describe the bhakti sadhana of manasic-seva. This is one authentic limb of bhakti. It means to mentally, with your thoughts and feelings, offer varieties of invisible and intangible tasty foods to your beloved Thakurji.
Shri Krishna equally accepts any favorable thing that is lovingly and caringly offered to Him, be it done externally with the body or internally with the mind. The bhakta gets the full benefit and result from both devotional practices. Everywhere shastras proclaim the efficacy of this sublime and mystical practice.
Here are some examples of the visible effect and power of serving Shri Krishna within the mind.
The Padma Purana and Shri Rupa Goswamipada’s Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu (1.2.282) both narrate the famous story of the Pratiṣṭhānapura brahmin who burned his finger tip when testing the temperature of his mentally prepared sweet rice for Thakuraji. Afterwards, Shri Vishnu immediately took him to Vaikuntha.
Shri Narottama Dasa Thakura:
One day while mentally visualizing Radha-Krishna’s divya-lila, Shri Narottama Dasa Thakura was simultaneously mentally stirring milk (his nitya-seva for Swamini). Somehow due absorption in the lila, his “mental milk” boiled over and scalded his hand which he felt and saw upon returning to external consciousness. Shri Jiva Goswamipada thrilled with joy seeing how Narottama had attained bhajana siddhi. (PBC tika Shri Ananta Dasji Maharaja)
In Antya-two of Shri Chaitanya Caritamrita, Shri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja tells the amazing story of Nrisimhananda Dasa’s beautiful, opulent and comfortable “mental road” he offered to Mahaprabhu who was traveling outside of Navadvipa. Suddenly his meditation broke and his “mental road” abruptly stopped in the village of Kanai Natashala. And lo and behold in external time and space that is exactly where Mahaprabhu stopped His journey.
Once Shri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami suffered severe indigestion. Doctors diagnosed him and found no cause, especially since he only ate a bit of buttermilk. Humbly, Dasa Goswami revealed the mystery—within in mind during his meditation, he relished a little too much of Shrimati Radharani’s “mental kheer prasadam”!
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Shrila Prabhupada:
Krishna makes no distinction. Thus, if you serve Krishna by mind He will accept. That is sure!” (conv. Hrshikeshanandaji) “But in case you have nothing to offer materially, but still, you can offer in the mind.” (folio: 740417BG.BOM) “Yes, you are correct—spiritual activities, even mentally performed, are beneficial.” (SPletter 72.12-21)
Offer Mental Chappana Bhoga (56 delightful preps)
Devotees generally eat simply and also externally offer simple foods to Shri Krishna. So why not start doing this from today on to the lotus feet of Shyama in Vraja Dhama? Offer 6 items externally directly to Thakurji Shri Krishna. And then mentally offer 50 more to make it 56. Shri Shri Radha-Krishna pura santoshanam ki jai! Jagannatha Swami ki jai!
Shrila Prabhupada introduced and beautifully sang the following bhoga bhajana which he wanted his followers to sing for the pleasure of Shri Shri Radha-Krishna when They enjoy our simple daily offerings. In Gaudiya Padavali i.e. songbooks, there are literally hundreds of such songs, many of which have been in vogue for 500 years.
Many vaishnavas try to sing one of these offering songs at least once daily during their “big” bhoga offering to Shri Krishna. While singing, meditate that in your siddha deha you’re right beside Radhika in Nandagrama, assisting Her by cutting, cooking and giving the various delicacies to Yashoda Ma to serve to Shri Krishna. You may become so absorbed in your bhoga-lila smarana manasi seva than you completely forget to eat!