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:
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.