According to Bhagavad Geetha, the body and life in it are based on food and sustained by food. The food we eat is an
important constituent of the physical body and the mind. Purity of food leads to purity of mind. Our ancient scriptures insist on the intake of Satwic food. Satwic food is that which is wholesome, nutritious, fresh, and essentially vegetarian. Intake of such food promotes purity, serenity and equanimity of mind. The physical body is “The temple of the living God”. We are what we eat. What we feel, think, and express depend on what we eat. The food we eat has to be pure, free from the subtle evils radiated by the persons who collect the materials, who cook the dishes, and who serve them.
Our ancestors recommended offering of food to God before eating. They say however impure the food maybe, when it is offered to God, it gets purified and nourishes us both physically and mentally as it is filled with God’s grace.
There are 3 types of purities we need to understand with regard to food. These are:
1. Pathra Shuddhi (purity of vessels): The vessels for cooking must be clean and pure.
2. Paka Shuddhi (purity of the process of cooking): The process of cooking should not bring impurities. The person
who prepares the food and serves the food must not only be clean in dress, but clean in habits, character, and
conduct. He/she should prepare food with a good mind.
3. Padartha Shuddhi (Purity of food ingredients): The ingredients used for cooking has to be pure and of good
The absence of any of the above three qualities makes the food impure. Impure food affects body and mind. Hence it
is necessary to purify the food before we eat.
Nowadays, in our fast life, it is not always possible to ensure the purity of the cooking process, since we do not know
about the thoughts in the mind of the person who prepares the food. We cannot ensure cleanliness of the ingredients
of food (vegetables and fruits sprinkled with pesticides and genetically modified). We do not know whether the
seller who had sold it to us acquired the food grains in a righteous way. Thus, it is essential to understand about
the importance of offering food to God in the form of a prayer to remove these three impurities. When we offer food
to God, all the three types of impurities are destroyed and the food is turned into Prasad, which will nourish us
physically, mentally, and spiritually. This should be done even when we eat outside our homes (we can pray
Prayers to chant before eating food:
Brahmaarpanam Brahma Havir
Brahmaagnau Brahmanaa Hutam
Brahmaiva Tena Gantavyam
Brahma Karma Samaadhinaa
(This is 24th verse from the 4th chapter of Bhagavad Geetha)
Meaning: The act of offering is Brahman. The offering itself is Brahman. The offering is done by Brahman in the
sacred fire which is Brahman. He alone attains Brahman who, in all actions, is fully absorbed in Brahman.
Aham Vaishvaanaro Bhutva
Praanaapaana Samaa Yuktah
Pachaamyannam Chatur Vidham
(This is 14th verse from the 15th chapter of Bhagavad Geetha). This sloka is an acknowledgement and assurance to us
Meaning: I am Vaishvaanara, existing as the Fire God in the bodies of living beings. Associated with ingoing (prana)
and outgoing (apaana) life breaths, I digest all the four different types of food and purify them.
As we chant this prayer we are offering the different types of food to Brahman. The four different types of food are
– that which we chew (solid), that which we suck (sugercane etc.), that which we drink (liquid), and that which we
lick (honey, etc.).