sábado, agosto 18, 2012

"A Misericórdia do Senhor" em forma de alimento

Um texto (em inglês) sobre a Prasada, o alimento que ao ser oferecido ao Senhor, torna-se espiritualizado.
..."Então, no caminho espiritual, comer alimentos que são primeiramente oferecidos a Deus, constitui-se na suprema perfeição de uma dieta vegetariana."
Prasadam – Sacred food offered to the Lord

Prasadam (a Sanskrit word) meaning “the Lord’s mercy”, is food that has first been offered to God. Prasadam is prepared by devotees specifically for God and offered to Him with devotional prayers and is thus considered sacred.
Food offered to Lord Krishna is transformed spiritually into prasadam. When we eat food which has been offered to Krishna we receive the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. To offer food to Krishna and to take the remnants as prasadam, is a spiritual activity.
We should never consider ordinary food on an equal level with prasadam. Instead of merely eating food offered to Krishna we speak of honouring prasadam. Honoring prasadam helps us to develop love of Krishna. So by eating prasadam we make advancement in spiritual life.
The tongue is very difficult to satisfy since it is always craving different kinds of foods. Due to this desire, we end up eating things that we shouldn’t. In acquiring such food, we go to great lengths such as killing innocent animals. We become bound up in the material world through our eating and thus have to suffer the results through the laws of karma.
Prasadam is considered “karma-free” food since it is sanctified by God. Prasadam is prepared and offered to satisfy the Lord and not to satisfy our senses. We purify ourselves by remembering that God supplies us everything and that we should aim to please Him instead of ourselves. In preparing and eating prasadam, we thank God for everything He has done for us and we pray that we will always remember Him.
In the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna says, “All that you do, all that you eat, all that you offer and give away, as well as all austerities that you may perform, should be done as an offering unto Me.” So offering what we eat to the Lord is an integral part of bhakti-yoga and makes the food blessed with spiritual potencies. Then such food is called prasadam, or the mercy of the Lord.
The Lord also describes what He accepts as offerings: “If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it.” Thus, we can see that the Lord does not need anything, but if one offers fruits, grains, and vegetarian foods, He will accept it. The Lord does not accept foods like meat, fish or eggs, but only those that are pure and naturally available without harming others. So we offer what Krishna likes, not those items which are distasteful to Him. We also do not use garlic, onions or mushrooms and any foods containing stimulants such as caffeine when we prepare food for Krishna. We only offer foods in the mode of goodness or satvic foods. Lord Krishna is also known as Govinda, meaning one who gives protection and pleasure to cows. Milk products and sweets are some of Krishna’s favorite foods.

Due to its auspicious nature, prasadam should be distributed to as many people as possible. This sanctified food ignites a spiritual spark in the soul which will eventually reawakens one’s dormant love for God. Vedic literature references many historical incidents where people have had the good fortune of partaking of prasadam, sometimes even by accident, and have had their lives made perfect as a result. It is believed that anyone who regularly partakes of it, will at the very least return as a human being in their next life.
Food offered to the Lord with love and devotion becomes spiritualized
The Lord is fully satisfied in Himself. He is the creator of all so everything is already His. He supplies us with food through nature, but we give thanks to Him by offering it back in a mood of loving devotion. So if His devotee offers something with love, out of His causeless mercy Krishna accepts it. The Lord is never hungry for our food, but for the love and devotion we offer. And then He reciprocates with that love.
So on the spiritual path eating food that is first offered to God is the ultimate perfection of a vegetarian diet. The Vedic literature explains that the purpose of human life is reawakening the soul’s original relationship with God, and accepting prasadam is the way to help us reach that goal.
The food is meant to be cooked with the consciousness of love, knowing that it will be offered to Lord Krishna. In the spiritual world, Radharani cooks for Krishna and She never cooks the same preparation twice. The temple kitchen is understood to belong to Radharani.
The ingredients are selected with great care and must be fresh, clean and pure vegetarian. Also, in cooking for Krishna we do not taste the preparations while cooking. We leave the first taste for Krishna when it is offered.
After all the preparations are ready, we take a portion of each one and place it in bowls on a special plate and take it to the altar to offer it to the Deities or pictures of Krishna.
Then the preparations are presented with special prayers as we ask that God accept our humble offering. The Lord accepts it with the most important part being the love with which it is offered. God does not need to eat, but it is our love for God which attracts Him to us and to accept our offering. Even if the most sumptuous banquet is offered to God but without devotion and love, Krishna will not be hungry to accept it. It is our love which catches the attention of Lord Krishna who is then inclined to accept our service.
After He glances over and tastes that loving offering of vegetarian preparations, He leaves the remnants for us to honor and relish. Krishna’s potency is absorbed in that food. In this way material substance becomes spiritualized, which then affects our body, mind and soul in a similar way. This is His special mercy for us. Thus, the devotional process becomes an exchange of love between us and God, which includes food. And that food not only nourishes our body, but also purifies our consciousness.
By relishing the sacred food of Krishna prasadam, it purifies our heart and protects us from falling into illusion. In this way, the devotee imbibes the spiritual potency of Lord Krishna and becomes cleansed of sinful reactions by eating food that is first offered in sacrifice to God. We thus also become free from reincarnation, the continued cycle of life and death. This process prepares us for entering the spiritual world since the devotees there also relish eating in the company of Krishna.
Not only do we make advancement, but also all of the plants that are used in the preparations as an offering to God are also purified and reap spiritual benefit. However, we become implicated in karma if we cause the harm of any living being, even plants, if we use them for food without offering them to God. Thus prasadam also becomes the perfect yoga diet.
Therefore, the cooking, the offering and then the respectful eating or honouring of this spiritualized food all become a part of the joyful process of devotional service to the Lord. Anyone can learn to do this and enjoy the happiness of experiencing prasadam. The Sunday love feast in the Hare Krishna temples is the opportunity in which everyone can participate in this opulence of Lord Krishna. So we invite you to attend as often as you like and make spiritual advancement simply by relishing Krishna prasadam

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