Why should you offer food to God before eating?

The food is cooked with the consciousness that it is for the pleasure of God and not for the sole purpose of gratifying our taste buds.
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Date: 25th July 2017

In the Vedic tradition, many people make prayers and offer food to God before eating. The food is cooked with the consciousness that it is for the pleasure of God and not for the sole purpose of gratifying our taste buds. A portion of the food items is then put in a plate and a verbal or mental prayer is made for the Lord to come and eat it. After the offering, the food on the plate is considered prasād and is accepted as God’s grace. 

Shree Krishna stated in the 13th Verse of Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 3:

यज्ञशिष्टाशिन: सन्तो मुच्यन्ते सर्वकिल्बिषै: |
भुञ्जते ते त्वघं पापा ये पचन्त्यात्मकारणात् ||

yajña-śhiṣhṭāśhinaḥ santo muchyante sarva-kilbiṣhaiḥ
bhuñjate te tvaghaṁ pāpā ye pachantyātma-kāraṇāt

The spiritually-minded, who eat food that is first offered in sacrifice, are released from all kinds of sin. Others, who cook food for their own enjoyment, verily eat only sin.

Other religious traditions follow similar customs. Christianity has the sacrament of the Eucharist, where bread and wine are consecrated and then partaken. It is simple, whatever we eat has to be first offered to God.  Eating food offered to God changes our consciousness. It not only nourishes the body it also nourishes our soul.

The question may arise whether we can offer non-vegetarian items to God and then accept the remnants as his prasād. The answer to this question is that the Vedas prescribe a vegetarian diet for humans, which includes grains, pulses and beans, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, etc.

Apart from the Vedic culture, many spiritually evolved souls in the history of all cultures around the world also rejected a non-vegetarian diet that makes the stomach a graveyard for animals. Even though many of them were born in meat-eating families, they gravitated to a vegetarian lifestyle as they advanced on the path of spirituality.

According to Leonardo da Vinci:

Truly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds them. We live by the death of others. We are burial places! I have since an early age abjured the use of meat…

In fact, in the Bhagavad Gita Shree Krishna goes a step further and states that even vegetation contains life, and if we eat it for our own sense enjoyment, we get bound in the karmic reactions of destroying life. However, if we eat food as remnants of sacrifice offered to God, then the consciousness changes. We then look at our body as the property of God, which has been put under our care for his service. And we partake of permitted food, as his grace, with the intention that it will nourish the body.

We understand how food affects our body but we often overlook its impact on the mind.  Vedas say, what we eat is what our body and mind are made of.

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K S Satish chandra
K S Satish chandra
19/04/2020 12:02 am

Very nice! Another opportunity to remember god daily and thank him for giving us food.

01/01/2023 9:28 am

But what about swami Vivekananda, he was born in a meat eating family but continued to eat meat even after enlightenment. The Vedas also say that one’s profession also requires certain food. For example a soldier or an athlete needs non veg and that is the truth. It is also seen that humans are omnivores biologically.

30/01/2023 5:46 am
Reply to  Arjun

In truth, modern medical science is proving that you are perfectly capable of being a highly athletic person and eating a vegetarian diet, in fact, in might be better in the long run as the food is more clean and you mind will be less tamasic/it will work faster. It is true their are certain qualities in meat as per Ayurveda which cannot be exactly replicated in the vegetarian/vegan diet, but in truth I think we have actually progressed enough in our understanding of science that we need not make such a compromise.
Ahimsa is a cornerstone of all Indian spirituality. I don’t know about the case of Vivekananda, but he the Ramakrishna’s greatest disciple and a spiritual giant, I don’t think we should compare ourselves to him at our stage of evolution. For the vast majority of seekers, Ahimsa is a very fundamental and important practice that should not be overlooked. If or when you decide to make the change to a vegetarian or vegan (I say vegan because unless you get your dairy products from your own cow or a cow you know is treated well, which is often not the case, it is highly tamasic because industrial cows are subjected to great torture, not love), know you are taking a great step towards God, it is a great expression your devotion to show God you put him first.

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