Offering to the Supreme Self

In Santana Dharma, there prevailed a ritual of offering any food prepared first to the Lord before it was shared among the family members. This custom of presenting the food prepared first to God was called Naivedyam while the offered food was thereafter known as the Prasadam. The Prasadam was to be eaten not for the appeasement of the tongue but for maintaining a good health to offer our daily prayers and rituals to God. 

All the food prepared was tasty and also Sattvic in nature i.e., ingredients added while preparing the food were all limited. Nothing was added in excess to appeal the senses. The nature of food prepared for Prasadam was so to maintain the equanimity of the mind which helps to focus on the gaining the knowledge. 

During the olden days, the housewives who used to prepare the food began the process of cooking first by praying to God with an Ishvara Arpana Buddhi (State of offering made to God). This made the art of cooking itself a selfless act. Any food generally prepared with a selfless attitude tends to come out tasty. Here, the food was prepared not keeping the individual self in mind but the supreme. This etiquette made the food cooked seem tastier than it was done with high expectations.

After everyone gets seated for having their food, a common prayer was usually chanted to remind themselves that what they were about to eat was Prasadam and hence they should keep themselves contented. The food served was not relished but was just eaten and this gave them the satisfaction of having a good meal. Ultimately, the mind remained undisturbed which was the main concern. A steady mind helped them achieve great things.

By joining with hands with the Verandah Club, let us get back to life the process of Naivedyam.

The rituals to be followed are as follows,

1. The Naivedyam prepared is placed on a stool in front of the Lord in pooja room.

2. Two or three Tulasi (Basil) leaves are dropped in every dish prepared.

3. Then, the Gayatrī Mantra is chanted. Followed by taking a flower in hand, and repeating,

Auṃ Prāṇāya Svāhaḥ,

Auṃ Apānāya Svāhaḥ,

Auṃ Vyānāya Svāhaḥ,

Auṃ Udānāya Svāhaḥ,

Auṃ Samānāya Svāhaḥ,

Auṃ Brahmaṇe Svāhaḥ |

4. A Sāṣtānga Namaskāraṃ is done, and the food is served to everyone.

Prayer before Food:

Brahmārpaṇaṁ Brahma Haviḥ Brahmāgnau Brahmaṇāhutaṃ |

Brahmaiva Tena Gantavyaṁ Brahmakarmasamādhinā ||

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