If you read in detail about the life of great spiritual masters, you will notice that they are very particular about the type of food they eat and the source of food. While reading the book 'Mejda' about Sri Paramahansa Yogananda, his older brother talks about how their father would not allow them to eat from any unknown household or outside eating place as it was considered 'impure' and he used to say that if we want to stay healthy, we must eat from our own homes where the food we eat is prepared with the love of the mother.
There are similar stories about the Buddha too in this regard because He was very careful about the food He accepted from the followers.
Three types of Purity while Preparing Food
According to the Vedic Hindu tradition, Bhagawan Baba told His earliest devotees that three types of purity or 'shuddhi' should be observed while preparing food.
- Paathrashuddhi: The vessels in which the food is prepared and served should be clean.
- Paakashuddhi: The mind and body of the person preparing the food should be clean.
- Padaarthashuddhi: All the ingredients used for making the food should have been bought with money that has been earned honestly.
Also, Bhagawan Baba taught all devotees to chant 'Bramharpanam' and 'Aham vaishnavaro' mantra to sanctify food before eating it. Most of His devotees and students chant this mantra before eating any type of food.
How to Sanctify Your Food by Chanting Mantra
As we all know now, mantras have the energizing power to protect and the food that we eat is meant to also protect our gross bodies. Blessing our food with a thanksgiving prayer is a great way to sanctify the food that we eat. Blessing our food with mantra is a powerful way to keep the body from absorbing any negative energy or even negative karma that is associated with the preparation of food.
Since many of you may be cynical about what I have stated here, you can check into your religion's spiritual practices regarding preparation and serving of food. The spiritual nuances involved in the preparation of food are clear as daylight for most religions.
CAN PRAYERS AND MANTRAS MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
For those who scoff at religion, spiritual masters and so on, pick up the famous Rujuta Diwekar's book on the Weight Loss Tamasha and you will find that she says that chanting a mantra or saying a prayer before eating food has a very positive impact on the quality and speed of digestion of food in the human body. She says that it also energizes the mind in a positive way and is a stress buster. In fact, she advises her clients to do this.
Therefore, when offering 'prasad' to God, it would be ideal to make it oneself rather than buy from the bakery or any outside source for the simple reason that when you prepare it yourself, you put all your love and energy into it.