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Significance Of Giving Food To God In Hinduism

The ritual of offering food to the murti (idol) of God is of great significance in Hinduism. The earliest reference of giving offering or feeding food goes God is mentioned in the Rig Veda III.34.9. It is said that this ritual pleases a deity; hence the worshipper performs this in order to obtain supreme bliss at the end of worship. Without offering food, every puja, is incomplete and fruitless in Hindu religion.

The meaning conveyed through such practices, according to spiritual thinkers, is that one should share food with human beings and other living beings before taking it oneself. In the older days, devout Hindus would wait to feed a hungry person, and then eat themselves.

Different types of food are offered to a deity like cooked rice, rice boiled in milk with sugar, flour, sweets, complete meal etc. These are the later development of the Vedic concept of offering potsherd cake.

There are procedures for offering of food to a particular deity, generally everything should be first offered to Ganesha but in Bengali Vaishnava tradition all the foods are first offered to Bhagwan Vishnu.

The food offering at Puri Jagannath Temple is very famous and it is known as Maha Prasada.

During the offering of food to a deity, nobody is allowed to watch. The perfect knowledge of food as a religious ceremony is attained only if the offering of food to a deity is performed and the cooked food as food is received by the aspirant.

In South India after offering food to a deity, either in the kitchen annexed with a shelf for household deities or in a separate puja room or areas, should the family take food. This food eaten by the family is considered blessed by God. This custom is still widely prevalent among devout Hindus.

In millions of temples, across the world, the food offering is done by priests and a part is distributed to devotees to who attend the puja ceremony. In rich temples, pujas are performed six times a day. Mostly in early morning pujas in temples, milk is offered to devotees. Subsequently, in the noon time puja, rice varieties or sweet, like the famous ladoo in Tirupati Balaji temple, is offered to the God. After offering, the food is distributed among devotees.

In many South Indian Hindu families, the head of the family or housewives do the food offering to bhagavan and after which the family members eat the morning food.

In many Hindu homes till this day, a part of the offering is offered to crows which are considered forefathers.

The food offering in Hinduism is known as bhog, Prasad, naivedya, amshi and mahaprasad.