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What is Prasad

What is Prasad

Prasada, commonly known as prasadam, is a religious offering to the deities, mostly food materials, by the Hindus and Sikhs. It is thereafter consumed by the worshippers. The literal meaning of ‘prasad’ is ‘a gracious gift.’ It refers to any edible food item which is first offered to God, Almighty, then to the saint and later on to the followers in God’s name as a good sign. The Prasad thus consumed is believed to have the blessings of the deity residing within it. As per Hinduism, the main motive of pilgrimage and temple visits is to get the darshana and the Prasad of the deity.

‘Prasad’ has three stages to it viz. preparing food for the same, offering it to the deity and eating of the food offered. This entire process can be converted into a powerful devotional meditation. The meditative discipline denotes that we should be able to offer our food to God with complete devotion before eating it ourselves. Be doing so, we would not be implicated in the karma involved in acquiring the food and we would even be able to attain spiritual progress for eating the food offered as Prasad to the deity. It is our intense devotion and belief in the deity which subtly transcends the offered food from mere material nutrition to a sacred, spiritual and merciful Prasad.

How to prepare the Prasad? Important guidelines which should be followed before making Prasad for the deity:

  • According to Hindu Dharma, God accepts only pure vegetarian offerings which have been acquired without giving pain or suffering to any other creature created by the Almighty.
  • Food items like onion, garlic or mushrooms which excite the passionate elements of the human psycho-physical constitution are not offered to the deities as they do not accept them.
  • The preparation of Prasad is supposed to be an active devotional meditation and hence the food prepared as Prasad should not be tasted before offering to the deity. The idea behind this is to prepare delicious food keeping in mind to satisfy God as the major goal for it so that He is the first one to taste the fruits his devotees labor.
  • The meditative goal of pleasing the God being the prime idea behind preparing Prasad, the environment in the kitchen too should be conducive to this. In other words, the atmosphere in the kitchen, or where the Prasad is being made, should be calm and peaceful and the preparer should be in a contemplative frame of mind.
  • Maintaining a high standard of cleanliness and purity is also of utmost importance while preparing, cooking and offering the Prasad. The kitchen utensils should be absolutely clean. Even we should be clean from top to toe before beginning the preparation or the Prasad meditation.

It is believed that if one meticulously follows the above guidelines for Prasad preparation and offering by maintaining a meditative consciousness of love and devotion for God, then the latter will surely accept the offering most gladly.

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