Why do we offer everything to Lord Sri Krishna before eating?
The Vedas describe the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna as “purnam”, meaning Complete. He is completely self-satisfied and hence does not want anything from us. Nevertheless, the Vedas, especially the Bhagavad Gita, on countless occasions have prescribed to offer everything, including food, to the Lord. Why?
In the 26th verse of the 9th chapter of Srimad Bhagavad Gita, Lord Sri Krishna says,
“If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit, water, I will accept it.”
This verse clearly portrays that offering food to the Lord is an expression of one’s affection for the Lord. The Lord will never accept the above said things if they are not presented with love and devotion. The underlining factor that determines whether our offering will be accepted by the Supreme Lord is love. Therefore, this activity of offering everything to Lord Sri Krishna helps a devotee to increase his loving relationship with the Lord.
Lord Sri Krishna, in the 13th verse of the 3rd chapter of Srimad Bhagavad Gita says,
“The devotees of the Lord are released from all kinds of sins because they eat food which is offered first for sacrifice. Others, who prepare food for personal sense enjoyment, verily eat only sin.”
Thus, it is very clear that if we want to be free from all sins, we should prepare food for satisfying Lord Sri Krishna, instead of satisfying our own selves. We should prepare food with love and devotion and offer it to Lord Sri Krishna, and then eat the remnants of the food offered to the Lord as His mercy.
The process of offering food to Lord Sri Krishna
- Make a small temple of Lord Sri Krishna at your home and keep the following pictures – Shri Shri Radha Krishna, Shri Shri Gaur Nitai Panchtattva, Shri Narsimh Dev, Shri shad goswamis, Shri Guru Parampara, Srila Prabhupada. If you don’t have the altar pictures you can get from this link givegita.com/altar.
- Buy new utensils for cooking or take those utensils in which onion-garlic, non veg foods have never been cooked.
- Buy a new set of utensils in which the bhoga can be served to the Lord like One Plate, 2 Bowls, spoon, and two glasses for water and other drinks (like milk, butter milk etc).
- One should only offer food to the Lord which lie in the mode of goodness. Never offer foods in the mode of passion and ignorance like Meat, Fish, Eggs, Mushroom, Masoor Dal, Onion Garlic, Caffeine containing products like tea, coffee, cola drinks. Food which has been cooked before three hours should also not to be offered.
- Cleanliness is next to Godliness, so one should keep the kitchen very clean. As the food is to be offered to Krishna, the Supreme Enjoyer, one should not taste anything before the offering is made. The most essential ingredients are love and devotion, so while cooking one should remember that one is cooking for Krishna’s pleasure. You should keep on playing Srila Prabhupada Japa Box in the Kitchen 24 hrs.
- A portion of each preparation should be arranged in Krishna’s personal plate and bowls. Fresh water should be offered in His glass. Keep at least 8 chapatis or 16 puris. Fill the bowls with dal or vegetable completely. The quantity of food to be served to the Lord should be determined by keeping in mind of a 16-year-old boy. A little salt should also be kept. A Tulasi leaf must be placed on each preparation. Let the Lord eat the food at least for 15 mins.
- After 15 mins ring the bell or clap and enter into the temple. Thankyou the Lord for having bhoga. Now mix all the varieties offered to Lord in the remaining food to make everything prasad. And now serve to the devotees.
While offering Bhoga please chant the following Mantras.
Beginners may chant the maha-mantra three times,
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
For a more elaborate offering, the prayers below are chanted three times each while ringing a bell. Although the offering is made to Krishna, it is done through the spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, so we begin with prayers to his lotus feet:
1. Prayer to Srila Prabhupada:
Nama om visnu-padayakrishna-presthayabhutale,
Srimatebhakti vedanta-swamin iti namine
Namaste sarasvate deve gaura-vani-pracharine,
nirvishesha sunyavadi paschyatya desha tarine
2. Prayer to Lord Chaitanya:
Namo maha-vadanyaya, krishna-prema-pradayate
Krishnaya krishna-chaitanya, namne gaura-twishe namah
3. Prayer to Lord Krishna:
Namo brahmanya-devaya go-brahmana-hitaya ca
jagad-dhitaya krishnaya govindaya namo namah