My friend, Ash, and I were discussing food for our lunch when he recited this Marathi shloka that he heard from his Grandfather. It, in my mind, really puts the relevance and importance of food very simply, succinctly and powerfully. Something that I could relate to and one that we would do well to remember. Here is the shloka and the other practices that go along with eating a meal in Ash’s own words:
You need to pay your respects to food which is considered poornabramha – God. My grandfather used to recite the following Marathi prayer:
“Vadani kawal gheta, naam ghya shrihariche
Sahaj hawan hote, naam gheta fookache
Jeevan Kari Jeevitva, Anna hey poornabramha
Udar Bharan Nohe, Jaanije Yadnya karma”
I have given the meaning with the help of my mother. Meaning – Partaking food is not mere satiating hunger, it is in fact a yagna. The food is Brahma incarnate that gives life its living force. (I never thought of looking at food as Brahman… suddenly the entire paradigm and perspective changes!!)
The meal always ends with a simple thanksgiving prayer: “Annadaata Sukhi Bhav!” (“May the Food-giver – God – be happy (live in bliss)” – I found it, again, very interesting that the giver was also given blessing rather than using “It/Him” as a someone that you keep asking from and thanking or cursing depending on the result!)
The perspective of the food you eat being the Brahman is not only spiritually logical but it in someway shows a way to detach yourself from the yearning for or lusting for food which hurts the body anyways.
Do you have any other such prayers that you say during, before or after your meals?