A Yoga Trainer, Therapist and Research Scholar, delving deep into the world of ancient knowledge.
In Hinduism and few other religions, devotees offer food, fruits, dry nuts, sweets, coconuts and other items as Prasad. Before telling more about this divine food, I will share a true story.
A multimillionaire was waking up from a nightmare that he was fanatically searching for a house for past many days. He took this repeated dream as a prophecy of upcoming bad luck. He immediately consulted his spiritual Guru to solve the mystery of house searching dream. He was advised to talk to the person cooking his meals. He found that his cook was very disturbed and worried about the shortage of money to buy a house for her family. Later he helped his cook to buy the house and then his dreams too stopped. Cook was so engrossed in her problem that the feeling of anxiety got ingrained in the food.
1. Prasad is filled with positivity and warmth.
The above story underlines the importance of feelings and emotions with which the food is prepared. In Hinduism, God is personified and worshipped. Each devotee shares unique relationship with God. Some see a mother, father, friend, protector or a teacher in Almighty.
Prasad is always delicious. It is cooked with lots of love and devotion towards God. People preparing Prasad always maintain physical and mental purity. They enter kitchen only after taking bath and wearing clean clothes. Mentally too, they are full of positivity and devotion. They want to prepare best meal for their beloved deity.
One gets the same taste as that of Prasad when mother or any loving person cooks the meal. A simple meal cooked with love, tastes better than food prepared the best cook of any restaurant.
2. Different types of deities are offered different types of prasads.
Lord Vishnu incarnated himself as king on earth as Lord Krishna and Lord Rama. Temples of these deities offered Prasad befitting a king. On special days like Janmashtami 56 "bhogs" or types of prasads are prepared by devotees especially in temples.
Whereas the Prasad of Lord Shiva is very simple. He gets pleased with simple offering of water, milk, honey, curd and ghee or the Panchamrit. Even during the festival of Navratri where Goddess Durga and her various forms are worshipped, prasads of different types are offered. The variety of Prasad changes with the place and availability of local ingredients. After preparing the Prasad, it is beautifully placed in front of the deity. Then it is either mixed with the rest of the meal or distributed directly to all the devotees. People feel blessed to have the Prasad of far away temples visited by others. Prasad are normally eaten in a small quantity to satisfy the soul and not the stomach.
3. Prasad is the sattvic food.
Prasad are basically the sattvic food with a long list of prohibited items like onion, garlic or non vegetarian items. Ingredients of Prasad are chosen carefully to maintain the sanctity of the meal. The Prasad is discarded if it touched by dirty hands or tasted before being offered to God.
Normal table salt is strictly prohibited as it may have traces of dead sea animals. Sea salt which we consume daily, comes from evaporating the sea water. This water may have micro organisms which can be intertwined with the salt crystals. Instead of sea salt, Himalaya rock salt (pink, white or black) are used for religious purposes. These are mined from the Himalayan foothills of India and Pakistan. Rock salt are natural halite with distinct pungent odor. These salts are rich in other minerals which are good for health.
Similarly sugar is avoided in preparing for the prasads. Instead of sugar to sweeten the dish, jiggery and honey are used. Most temples do not use this for preparing sweets. Sugar gets its white colour after it is processed by the bone charcoal. The bones of the slaughtered animals are used as carbon filters which decolorizes the brown colour to white.
But today’s fast paced life, people buy readymade sweets like laddoos, pedas and other sweets as an offering to God. In earlier times, people used to prepare themselves to maintain the purity of the Prasad. Even today, on the occasions of festivals, people prepare traditional meals as Prasad relished by all family members.
4. Consuming prasad brings us closer to the divine power.
It is so strange that people take so much effort to prepare Prasad for their God but it is never eaten by Him. This tradition of offering has a deep rooted impact on human mind. It teaches one to share with others not only the physical items like food but also happiness. Prasad is the connecting link which strengthens the ether umbilical cord with divinity.
Next time when you have a handful of Prasad, do feel the vibrations of love with which it is prepared. A unique tradition of offering started centuries ago, is still followed with equal zeal and enthusiasm.
Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on October 18, 2020:
Thank You for this article. I appreciate it.
I have had prasad a few times in my life and it was always very special. I am not a vegetarian but that was I would say the best vegetarian food I ever ate.
You have yourself a lovely Sunday and all the very best!
Monika Singh on October 18, 2020:
No wonder, there are so many prohibitions in making of Prasad. After all it’s sending your emotional vibrations to others through god
Swara on October 17, 2020:
Thank you for posting this! Always knew prasad had more hidden meaning behind it
Aditya Kumar on October 17, 2020:
Amazing insights ma'am
Ishita on October 17, 2020: