How To Offer Your Food To The Lord
As you walk down the supermarket aisles selecting the foods
you will offer to Krishna, you need to know what is offerable
and what is not. In the Bhagavad-gita, Lord Krishna states, "If
one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit,
or water, I will accept it." From this verse it is understood
that we can offer Krishna foods prepared from milk products,
vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains. Meat, fish, and eggs are
not offerable. And a few vegetarian items are also forbidden--garlic
and onions, for example, which are in the mode of ignorance.
(Hing, or asafetida, is a tasty substitute for them in cooking
and is available at most Indian groceries.) Nor can you offer
to Krishna coffee or tea that contain caffeine. If you like these
beverages, purchase caffeine free coffee and herbal teas.
While shopping, be aware that you may find meat, fish, and
egg products mixed with other foods; so be sure to read labels
carefully. For instance, some brands of yogurt and sour cream
contain gelatin, a substance made from the horns, hooves, and
bones of slaughtered animals. Also, make sure the cheese you
buy contains no rennet, an enzyme extracted from the stomach
tissues of slaughtered calves. Most hard cheese sold in America
contains rennet, so be careful about any cheese you can't verify
Also avoid foods cooked by non-devotees. According to the
subtle laws of nature, the cook acts upon the food not only physically
but mentally as well. Food thus becomes an agent for subtle influences
on your conscious. The principle is the same as that at work
with a painting: a painting is not simply a collection of strokes
on a canvas but an expression of the artist's state of mind,
which affects the viewer. So if you eat food cooked by non-devotees-employees
working in a factory, for example--then you're sure to absorb
a dose of materialism and karma. So as far as possible use only
fresh, natural ingredients.
In preparing food, cleanliness is the most important principle.
Nothing impure should be offered to God; so keep your kitchen
very clean. Always wash your hands thoroughly before entering
the kitchen. While preparing food, do not taste it, for you are
cooking the meal not for yourself but for the pleasure of Krishna.
Arrange portions of the food on dinnerware kept especially for
this purpose; no one but the Lord should eat from these dishes.
The easiest way to offer food is simply to pray, "My dear
Lord Krishna, please accept this food," and to chant each
of the following prayers three times while ringing a bell:
1. Prayer to Srila Prabhupada:
nama om vishnu-padaya krishna-preshthaya bhutale
srimate bhaktivedanta-swamin iti namine
namas te saraswate deve gaura-vani-pracharine
nirvishesha shunyavadi pashchatya desha tarine
"I offer my respectful obeisances unto His Divine Grace
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is very dear to Lord
Krishna, having taken shelter at His lotus feet. Our respectful
obeisances are unto you, O spiritual master, servant of Bhaktisiddhanta
Sarasvati Gosvami. You are kindly preaching the message of Lord
Caitanya deva and delivering the Western countries, which are
filled with impersonalism and voidism."
2. Prayer to Lord Chaitanya:
namo maha-vadanyaya krishna-prema-pradaya te
krishnaya krishna-chaitanya-namne gaura-twishe namaha
"O most munificent incarnation! You are Krishna Himself
appearing as Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. You have assumed
the golden color of Srimati Radharani. and You are widely distributing
pure love of Krishna. We offer our respectful obeisances unto
3. Prayer to Lord Krishna:
namo brahmanya-devaya go-brahmana-hitaya cha
jagad-dhitaya krishnaya govindaya namo namaha
"I offer my respectful obeisances unto Lord Krishna,
who is the worshipable Deity for all brahmanas the well-wisher
of the cows and the brahmanas and the benefactor of the whole
world. I offer my repeated obeisances to the Personality of Godhead,
known as Krishna and Govinda."
Remember that the real purpose of preparing and offering food
to the Lord is to show your devotion and gratitude to Him. Krishna
accepts your devotion, not the physical offering itself. God
is complete in Himself--He doesn't need anything--but out of
His immense kindness He allows us to offer food to Him so that
we can develop our love for Him.
After offering the food to the Lord, wait at least five minutes
for Him to partake of the preparations. Then you should transfer
the food from the special dinnerware and wash the dishes and
utensils you used for the offering. Now you and any guests may
eat the prasadam. While you eat, try to appreciate the spiritual
value of the food. Remember that because Krishna has accepted
it, it is non-different from Him, and therefore by eating it
you will become purified.
Everything you offer on your altar becomes prasadam, the mercy
of the Lord. The flowers, the incense, the water, the food--everything
you offer for the Lord's pleasure becomes spiritualized. When
we offer the Lord something with genuine love and devotion, He
enters into the offering, and thus the remnants are non-different
from Him. So you should not only deeply respect the things you've
offered, but you should distribute them to others as well.
Nice prasadam distribution programs are
ISKCON Food for Life and the
Akshaya Patra Program
The ISKCON Bangalore temple currently feeds 50,000 school children lunch everyday!
The programs not only fill bellies but give nourishment to the soul.
On Chanting Hare Krishna - essay
by Srila Prabhupada
Setting up your altar - How to worship
Krishna in your home
Eating Spiritually: Prasadam
- the Karma Free Diet
Preparing and Offering Prasadam
- How to Offer Vegetarian Food to God
Everyday Living: The Regulative Principles
- Moral Principles to Live By
Practical engagement in Devotional
Service - Doing Everything for Krishna