Everyone longs for calm, energetic, peaceful and content state of mind. Does food we intake play a role in giving us such state of mind? We see utmost importance given to prasadam (anything taken in after offering to God) by mothers at home. Children (or most of us) may wonder how does prasadam help us? How can prasadam give one the desired state of mind? What does the word mean? Let’s see what the greatest acharya of current day, Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji explained to a wider audience during Dhanurmasam 2018/2019.
God doesn’t need or eat anything we offer. When we offer Him anything, we add our feelings to it. The feeling could be ego that ‘I’ am offering it with so much effort and love. The feeling could be anything else that is running in our minds during the making of the food. These feelings are a hindrance to our ma:nasika pra:sa:nthatha (ma:nasika – mental, prasha:nthatha- peace).
When we offer anything to God (ex: fruit), God cleanses the feelings attached to it and adds His anugraham (compassion) to it. When we intake it, the fruit is no longer the same one that you offered. It now contains His compassion. The fruit along with His anugraham enters our body. When food offered to God enters our body, While the fruit gives the desired vitamins to body, the rest goes out of the body through the biological process. But, the compassion that also entered our body remains in it giving the desired ability to make proper decisions and stay peaceful.
Our heart is always covered with unnecessary dust called ra:jas (ego, selfishness, etc). This, when not suppressed or cleansed, will raise and become the cause for all the troubles in human life. And when feel the trouble, then we seek peace. It is God’s Anugraham (compassion) that can pacify us.
This Anugraham (compassion) of God suppresses the unnecessary dust within us and helps in attaining ma:nasika pra:sa:nthatha (mental peace). The term prasadam means ‘peaceful state of mind’. The offered food is acting as the carrier of God’s anugraham to us thereby keeping us in a peaceful state of mind. Hence, the offered food is also called as Prasadam.
From the discourse of Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji during Dhanurmasa Mahothsavam 2018 Dec 31st Listen Here (relevant message from 1:16th minute of the video)
Vedas describe the term prasadam as above. However, the path of devotees is always simpler compared to the knowledge given in Vedas. If the devotees ate something, only their hands and mouth focused on intaking the food, but their heart was in love for God. If the devotees chose to stay hungry, it was also because their heart was in love for God. When their heart was filled with love for God, where is the space for the ‘dust’ (the jealousies, the anger, the selfishness, the hatred ..!). Such was the state of gopikas. Such was the state of Andal, Goda Devi!
– From the discourse of Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji, Dhanurmasam 2018