Preparation of food to God

Offering food to God as naivedyam is one of the important service in the process of worshiping God in our houses and temples. Food, material or non-material things, living or non-living beings, visible or invisible, no matter what, the entire universe is a creation of God. When the food we are offering is a creation of God, then why do we have to offer it again to God? The reason is that we are expressing our love and conveying thanks to God for giving us food, shelter, other necessities required to lead our life. Hence offering food to God occupies a prime place in the worship of God.

When we cook food for special people we do with extra care. Similarly when we cook food for God we should do it with utmost respect. Scriptures has provided the procedures to cook prasadam. It is said that food offered to God should be sattwic. In food preparation, tamasic ingredients like garlic, onion, eggs, meat etc… should not be included.

As per the procedures described in scriptures, the devotee has to clean himself inside and outside by taking bath, doing pranayama, chanting Gayathri mantra and meditation. After that he has to clean the kitchen floor, hearth with good antibiotic floor cleaners and spray the sacred water. Even today in temples the kitchen ground, hearth are being smeared with cow dung and sprinkled with consecrated water. The cooking vessels also should be well cleaned and the sacred grass (darbha) should be tied over the neck of the vessels for further purification of the vessels. While cleaning the kitchen, hearth and vessels, hridaya mantra is chanted. The fire wood that is used for cooking the food is also purified with hridaya mantra and is ignited with vamadeva mantra. In this way the devotee also has to clean the raw materials and ingredients to be used in God’s food preparation accompanied by chanting of hridaya mantra.

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But in these modern days it is not possible to use cow dung for cleaning present marble/ceramic/cement/wooden flooring and gas/electric hearths or stoves. It is suggested to use good floor cleaners instead of cow dung. In the same way the devotee may implement the procedures which are most suitable to the present modern living system to cook food to God.

  1. Devotee should clean himself by taking bath, doing pranayama and meditation. Then he has to chant hridaya mantra or do prayer of Ista devatha (beloved God).
  2. Clean the kitchen and hearth with good antibiotic floor cleaners and also has to clean the vessels intensively with good cleaning powder/soap/tamarind paste. Then he has to sprinkle some sacred water like sacred river water or turmeric powder mixed water on the cleaned vessels and chant hridaya mantra. The food prepared without cleanliness is useless.
  3. Have the necessary ingredients like rice, dal (split), lintels, dry fruits, vegetables ready. Clean them thoroughly and measure them as per the recipe. While doing this chant hridaya mantra.
  4. Before igniting the stove the devotee has to light an incense stick and chant vamadeva mantra (his beloved God mantra/prayer). Then ignite the hearth/stove and start cooking.
  5. All the dishes should be fresh and pure, cooked well, free from all defects and should include ghee(clarified butter). They should be well mixed with ground coconut, dry fruits and seasoned with pepper, cumin seeds and other spices. Such seasoned dishes are highly valued for offering to God as naivedyam.
  6. After preparing food, the vessels should be covered properly with suitable lid or with banana leaves and be kept in the place of worship. At the time of offering of food (Naivedyam) to God, the devotee has to blow a conch or ring a bronze bell. While doing naivedyam the devotee should drip warm ghee over dishes and chant Gayathri Mantra (“Om bhurbhuvat suwaha tatsa vituvarenyam bhargo devasya dheemahi dhiyonaha prachodayat”), followed by naivedya mantra (Satyam swarthena parishanchmi, Amritamasthu Amritostharanamasi swaha. Om pranayaswaha, Om apanaya swaha, Om vyanayaswaha, Om vudanayaswaha, Om samanaya swaha, Om Brahmane swaha). While chanting mantra he has to sprinkle some sacred water over the dishes and pray to God to have the food offered. Then the food becomes prasadam. Prasadam should be taken with utmost love, humility and respect to God. Naivedya mantra also starts with Gayathri mantra to purify the food (though the devotee has taken all the care in preparation of food he may commit mistakes or some impurities may be in the ingredients).

While doing this entire procedure the devotee should be in pleasant mood, calm, quiet and purified mind. This peace and tranquility adds value to food and makes it sattwic. If the devotee doesn’t know any mantras mentioned above, he can simply chant God’s name or sing songs of God. The love, devotion, patience, humility, respect and honor to God are more important than the procedures in preparation of food.

Hridaya mantra and Vamadeva Mantra:

Hridaya mantra is a seed word HREEM. It represents AMBA, the goddess. Chanting of this mantra keeps the devotee in quiet and calm state.

Vamadeva mantra is “Om namo brahmane vamadevaya

Vamadeva is another name for Lord Shiva. By chanting this mantra regularly, the devotee will be absolved from sins and will be purified.

While doing the cooking the devotee is seeking the blessings of God Siva and Goddess Parvathi by chanting these mantras.

When I was writing this article, memories of my childhood came to my mind. My Mom and sister used to cook food for God everyday morning singing songs of God beautifully. The taste of that food used to be very good. Any food cooked with love for God becomes sacred.

-Varadacharyulu Peddinty

2 Responses to “Preparation of food to God”

  1. Sanjai Says:

    Dear Uncle,
    Not only the article is talking about ancient procedure but you have explained how we can follow the procedure for the modern times. You have beautifully pointed out that “Love” is more important than any procedures.
    Thanks
    Sanjai

  2. Shankar Says:

    Excellent Blog Uncle! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and pointing out how to be devoted to God while preparing & offering food to God. The article also reminded of my childhood where my parents offered cooked food to God as Naivedyam everday. We participate in the naivedyam pooja and will consume food with great satisfaction afterwards.

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