What is Neivedhya
Neivedhya is the food offered to Gods in the temples and at home. In a day, neivedhya is offered to God at regular intervals by the priests. Offering food to deities at the puja room of homes is also a common practice followed by the Hindus.
Why is offering food to the Lord important
The food offering ceremony is an important custom of Hinduism. The priests serving in the temple offer neivedhya three times a day to the deities. As per Hinduism, God is omnipresent and omnipotent. Offering food to the God symbolizes offering of food to each and every living thing of the world.
Food is the most important of the basic necessities. Right from a single cell to the mighty blue whale everything needs food. It is believed that offering food to the Lord shall ensure that all the living beings remain free of hunger and starvation. Moreover, though the statues and idols of Hindu gods and goddesses are made of stone or other metals, the shastras prescribe that they are full of energy and vibration and have to be
How is food offered to the Lord
In the temple, priests and pujaris offer neivedhya to the Lord. The neivedhya offering procedure differs from deity to deity. The agamas (Vedic-based rules) specify the ways and rules of offering food to Gods.
The food has to be offered with devotion and care.
What can be offered as Neivedhyam
Neivedhya offering is not same for all the Gods and Goddesses. Hindus worship several gods and goddess and they are offered Neivedhya based on the sastras.
However, there are certain general rules that are followed while preparing and offering the Neivedhya. The Neivedhya has to be cooked in a clean place. The person preparing food for the God should be pure physically and mentally.
The raw materials used for cooking and the cooking process have to be clean, unadulterated and unpolluted.
Neivedhya and Prasad
Once the neivedhya is offered to God, it is distributed to the devotees. It is not necessary that all neivedhyams have to be distributed. Some might not be distributed.
It is believed that the divine vibrations reach the food offered to the God. When a person consumes a small amount of prasad, the divine blessings of God will reach him.
Neivedhya and Gods
As mentioned earlier, different food items are offered to the deities depending on the location of temples and the culture and tradition of that particular area.
- In Tirupati Venkateswara swamy temple, laddu prasad is very famous.
- At Palani, Panchamrutha (a traditional jam) made from five different fruits is offered as Prasad.
- The kitchen of Puri Jagannath temple is the biggest of temple kitchens. Lord Jagannath is offered several varieties as neivedhya.
- Lord Shiva is generally offered Sudha anna (pure white rice) and milk as neivedhya.
- Sakkara Pongal (sweet rice) is offered to Goddess Parvathi.
- Lord Ganesh is fond of traditional sweet, Modhak.
- Devotees offer Vada made from urad dhal to Hanuman and Kal Bhairav.