eSpiritual: Why do we Offer Food to God in Every Pooja?


Dr KK Aggarwal    13 November 2017

We follow a ritual of offering bhog to the deity we worship. The ritual also involves sprinkling water all around the place where we sit down to eat food. Many people have advocated that the sprinkling of water is related to preventing ants and insects from approaching the food. But in spiritual language there is a deeper meaning of these rituals. Bhagwad Gita and Yoga Shastras categorize food into three types corresponding to their properties termed as gunas. Depending upon satoguna rajoguna and tamoguna the food items are categorized as satwik rajsik or tamsik. Satwik food provides calmness purity and promotes longevity intelligence strength health happiness and delight. The examples of satwik food items are fruits vegetables leaves grains cereals milk honey etc. These items can be consumed as they are. One can also live on satwik food for life. Rajsik food items possess attributes of negativity passion and restlessness. Hot spicy and salty food items with pungent sour and salt taste promote rajas qualities. Tamsik food has attributes of inducing sleep ignorance dullness and inertia. The examples of tamsik food are meat onions garlic leftover food etc. Only satwik food is offered to God. Rajsik and tamsik food is never offered as Bhog. The only persons who were offered tamsik and rajsik food in Ramayana are Ahi Ravana and Kumbhkaran. Both had an evil nature. Kumbhkaran signified tamas and Ahi Ravana rajas or aggression. Tamsik and rajsik food can be converted into satwik by slow heating sprouting or keeping them in water overnight. The examples are sprouted wheat and chana chickpeas etc. A mixture of honey milk ghee curd and sugar is called panchamrut and is a routine offering to the God. All the five components have satwik properties and their consumption promotes health. In Ayurveda there is a saying that any food item which grows under the ground is tamsik in nature and one which comes from the top of the tree or plant like leaves flower and fruits are satwik in nature. Satwik food is usually fresh seasonal and locally grown. Human beings are made up of body mind and soul and soul is equated to consciousness or God. Whatever offered to external God if offered to the internal God or consciousness leads to inner happiness. The ritual therefore of offering food to God before eating forces us to either eat only satwik food or to include a substantial portion of satwik food in our meals. It helps a person convert his meal into a pure satwik one or at least adding satwik items. Sprinkling water around the plate is considered an act of purification. Many people confuse bhog with chadhava or offerings to the deity. While bhog is shared with God chadhava is the offering of your illness or negative thoughts to the God and you go back with prasada of inner happiness. Many people counter the above argument by saying that alcohol is offered to Bhairon viewed as a demon God which means alcohol is good for health. I personally feel that alcohol is offered to Bhairon not as a bhog but as an offering which means that people who are addicted to alcohol go to Bhairon and give their share of alcohol to him so they can de addict themselves. Disclaimer The views expressed in this write up are my own .

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