We try to offer pure and satvik food to the Deity at our home, and then have it as ‘prasaad’. We also have ‘prasaad’ at all temples? But, what does the word ‘prasaad’ mean and what makes it ‘prasaad’? Does food attain some auspicious powers after offering to Deity? What actually happens? Swamiji speaks on this topic to devotees in ISKON temple at Moscow, Russia. We have the excerpt here for the benefit of all our dear readers!

Our manas is a think-tank, goes through one or another thought constantly! Even at the time of cooking and offering food to God, our manas goes through a series of structured or even random thoughts. Unless one is in pure devotion with the Deity form, it is impossible to offer food to God without a trail of egoistic thought during the process.

The manas could be thinking about how much effort went into the preparation of the dish. It could be thinking about how much love we have for God to offer him the tasty dish. It could also be thinking about how much money we spent in preparing the dish and feel proud about it. Or it could be thinking about something entirely different about some situation or argument with a friend, neighbour, child or spouse. It could be revising some movie, or craving for jewellery, car. It could be thinking about getting to work soon and finishing a task. It could be angry about certain outcome with a loved one!

Whatever thoughts or feelings our manas went through during the time of preparation and offering, the food ends up carrying the nature of all those thoughts in it as well. When it is offered to God, He accepts our interest in serving him. He then takes away all the unwanted and egoistic aspects of the thoughts from the food and fills it with His grace. We can now call it prasaad.

How does His grace, that is received in the form of prasaad, work upon us through the day?

Throughout the day, His grace works upon us to create a satvik atmosphere in our hearts suppressing the unwanted and/or egoistic thoughts and feelings. This peaceful state of our manas aids in conducting ourselves better during daily activities, both mentally and physically.

Prasaad does not mean the food that is offered to Lord, but it means ‘peaceful state of mind’. This peaceful state of mind is given by God to us through a medium: such as food, or thulasi or thertham or flowers etc. Therefore, they are all also referred to as ‘prasaad’.

A beautiful analogy here:

Consider a road filled with dust. Vehicles are passing by all the time, and therefore dust rises constantly on the road. Now, how do we let the vehicles pass through and keep the dust intact on the road? It happens when we sprinkle water carefully. If water is poured down, the road can get completely messy at a further point. Therefore, the road needs to be carefully sprinkled with clean water so the dust does not rise up when a vehicle passes by.

The road represents our manas. Vehicles represent the thoughts that arise in our manas. Dust represents the unwanted and egoistic nature in the thoughts. Sprinkled water represents the satvik-ness (good and wise) that suppresses the dust! When His grace enters us through prasaad, our thoughts will remain un-influenced by our ill and inefficient nature!

– From the discourse of Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swami, 19th July, Moscow, Russia


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