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Essential Worship: Eating!

„Hinduism“, 5
th Part
HH Shri Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji Maharaja

One of the very important duties of a devotee is to offer food to God. As I said, God is not just treated like a piece of stone or anything, but He is a person. So you prepare the best food according to your means and then you offer it to Him. You put it on a plate, keep it in front, draw the curtain, leave it for some time as if He is eating and you pray, „please accept it“. Devotees believe that He, with His eyes, with His vision, with His darshan, He eats. You may say that if He is eating why the food is still lying there? No, He is actually accepting your love.

God is hungry only for Love
and nothing else.

Because He is the owner of everything, He has got everything, so your devotion is what He accepts from the food. Then this food becomes sanctified and is called Prasada and then we accept that. Actually, we don‘t eat food, we take Prasada. Prasada means „blessed food“ and really speaking, we don‘t use that word „eat“, although we may say in English that we eat it, but rather we honor it, we respect it. This is also a type of service to God. Eating Prasada is also a service to Him, it is a pleasure for Him.

In India
we have the very important concept
food has a great influence on our consciousness.

This is one very important principle which we are taught in Hinduism. Because we are made of food and food is nourishing our mind, our brain, it is also influencing it, influencing our awareness, our consciousness. If the food is cooked by a person who is in an angry mood then that anger will also enter the food, and when you eat that, it will influence your mind. You may become disturbed by eating that food. But if that food is made with love and devotion and then it is offered to God and you eat it, then it will also have an influence on you. I am not talking here about what vitamines and proteins you are getting from the food, that may be same. The same food which is cooked with love, or the same food, with the same ingredients used to cook in a very angry or disturbed state of mind. From a medical point of view, both may have the same amount of proteins, minerals and vitamines. But there is something which medical science cannot test, and these are the feelings. The feelings are also going inside the food and these feelings are influencing theperson who is eating it.

There was a Japanese scientist [Masaru Emoto] who made a film called Water in which he showed how our thoughts influence the water - have you seen it? [One lady among the audience comments that she saw the film and that it was about analyzing and photographing water crystals after water had been exposed to positive or negative thoughts]. Now, food also contains water. Your feelings are creating nice or disturbed crystals and then you eat that and the same feelings are going inside you. Besides, our body consists 70 % of water. That‘s why in India, eating is a very religious act. Eating is not that you just eat food. Actually, it is a very religious act.

people don‘t know that
but for those who know:

Eating is as good as worship or meditation!

Those who know this don‘t eat anywhere or any food. They are very restricted in their eating, how they eat, who has prepared the food. There are many people in India who eat only food cooked by themselves. They will not eat food cooked by anyone else, because they don‘t want to get infected by others‘ state of mind. And these people remain very clean. This is one of the reasons why at present

People‘s minds are so much disturbed.
Because they are eating food
which is prepared by people

who are in a disturbed state of mind.

How the food is produced in the field, how it is harvested, how it is transported, how it is purchased, cooked and how it is served to you and how you yourself eat, in what state of consciousness, it all has an influence. If you eat in an angry mood, then that anger is also going into the food and, again coming back to you.

You are getting into
a loop of anger.

Therefore, one of the things which is done in these temples is offering food and then that food is accepted. Visitors are very eager to get even a little bit of that prasada, because it is highly potent. This is what is being done in the temples here [in Vrindavan]. The person whom we call as pujari [priest] - every temple will have at least one or a couple of pujaris - his job is actually to just take care of the Deity, dressing Him, generally at least five times a day offering food and then also five times a day doing arati. Putting the Deity to sleep, waking Him up, cooking for the Deity and making an offering. In most temples, this is the daily routine. And then there are special occasions when a big feast is offered, like when Krishna‘s birthday [Janmasthami] is coming they will make 108 preparations and offer them to Krishna! Like when you have birthday they are making a cake. Devotees cook according to their love and affection and offer it. This is Vrindavan life.