Prasadam How to Prepare and Offer Food
Food prepared for and offered to Krishna with love and devotion becomes completely spiritualized. Such food is called Krishna prasadam, which means “the mercy of Lord Krishna.”
Lord Caitanya said of prasadam…”now that they have been prepared for Krishna and offered to Him with devotion, these foods have acquired extraordinary tastes and uncommon fragrances. Just taste them and see the difference! Apart from the taste, even the fragrance pleases the mind and makes one forget any other fragrance. Therefore, it should be understood that the spiritual nectar of Krishna’s lips must have touched these ordinary foods and imparted to them all their transcendental qualities.”
Eating only food offered to Krishna is the perfection of vegetarianism. In the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna says that unless one eats only food that has been offered to Him in sacrifice, one will suffer the reactions of karma. He also states, “If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water, I will accept it.”
Wwe 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 darkness. (Hing, or asafoetida, is a tasty substitute for them in cooking.) Nor can you offer Krishna coffee or tea.
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 plea¬sure of Krishna. Arrange positions 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.
Prayer to Srila Prabhupada
nama om vishnu-padaya krishna-presthaya bhutale srimate bhaktivedanta-svamin iti namine
“I offer my respectful obeisances unto His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, who is very dear to Lord Kṛṣṇa, having taken shelter at His lotus feet.”
namas te sarasvate deve gaura-vani-pracharine nirvisesa-sunyavadi-pascatya-desa-tarine
“Our respectful obeisances are unto you, O spiritual master, servant of Sarasvatī Gosvāmī. You are kindly preaching the message of Lord Caitanyadeva and delivering the Western countries, which are filled with impersonalism and voidism.”
Prayer to Lord Chaitanya
namo maha-vadanyaya krsna-prema-pradaya te krsnaya krsna-caitanya-namne gaura-tvise namah
“I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna Caitanya, who is more magnanimous than any other incarnation, even Krishna Himself, because He is bestowing freely what no one else has ever given-pure love of Krishna”
Prayer to Lord Krishna
namo brahmanya-devaya go-brahmana-hitaya ca jagad-dhitaya krsnaya govindaya namo namah
“I offer my respectful obeisances to the Supreme Absolute Truth, Krishna, who is the well-wisher of the cows and brahmanas, as well al the living entities in general. I offer my repeated obeisances to Govinda, who is the pleasure reservoir for all the senses.”
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 nondifferent from Him, and there¬fore by eating it you will become purified.
Everything you offer on your altar becomes prasadam, the mercy of the Lord. Flowers, incense, the water, the food— everything you offer for the Lord’s pleasure becomes spiritualized. The Lord enters into the offerings, and thus the remnants are nondifferent from Him. So you should not only deeply respect the things you’ve offered, but you should distribute them to others as well. Distribution of prasadam is an essential part of Deity worship, and the Hare Krishna Movement.
Prayers were copied from: The Hare KRSNA Cookbook
Additional text pasted from; iskconbangalor