Before my late grandmother starts eating her meals, she will take a remarkably small amount of the food in her right hand, take the hand nearer to the chest, close her eyes, mumble something, look up to the ceiling, smile and then put that piece of food at the edge of the plate and then continue on eating the rest of the food. She would eat every morsel of food on her plate except that bit of food at the side of her plate. I asked her why she does this every day. She told me that she had asked God to taste the food and blessed it and had left it at the corner for God to visit anytime to eat the food……….well, Your truly had sat down next to my grandma just so that one day I may catch a glimpse of God eating the food and I never witnessed it.
But her habit did not stop with her…..I follow it but darned discreetly so that I don’t have to answer everyone I sit down to eat with. Yes, I grew up affirming that if we want to stay healthy and maintain a happy face, have clearer complexion we will have to pray over our food and drink before consuming it. I am glad I grew spiritually instead of just gorging myself with food. I think I have to pray over my food and drink more so if it is prepared by someone else, including my Amma as she also may have her miserable days. Just like food are energy, our body, mind and soul are energy too, and energy is transmitted by touch you know? We can pass some real minute atom of energy – good and hurtful when we prepare food and another person eat it.
As I grew spiritually and increase my understanding, I realized that my body grew in sensitivity. As soon as a ‘bad’ food enters me, I react by feeling nauseated so that I will have to throw up, or drink lots of water to flush or dilute it. I believe that food prepared and served by people who have ‘bad’ energy brings your energy level down. That is why I offer my food and drink to God, the highest power to bless. Yes, but then I am not just asking my food to be blessed, I also thank God that I am blessed with lots of food now, food as my career and food to nourish and strengthen my body. I thank God for giving me the brains to think of what I should and should not eat. I do sometimes have guilt feeling when I have to throw away food that I cannot eat into the garbage bin, for which I thanked God for.
Teaching our children to ask a blessing at meals sets an example they will remember when they become parents, but then how many parents set an example. The children grew up thinking food comes through exchanges of dollars and cents. In these tremendously fast paced lives, we have a chance to stop for a breather, to thank God and to be grateful for the food we eat, and when we pause to reflect and thank God, we become relaxed and so we help our digestive system to work better!
When I was working in a Catholic school, I remember typing verses for prayers “Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves” and “…He took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat”. It is funny and weird and I have goose pimples now as I am typing this…..I can’t imagine me remembering these lines after more than 30 years!! I think it is FOOD, extraordinarily much chiseled in my brain! The Hindus have Prasatham – food that has first been offered to God, and therefore this food is considered sacred and is given to those who pray at the temple.
One need not be religious or pious to ask God to bless his or her food. The prayer for the modern person is:
“Dear God, I thank you very much for providing me this meal. Please bless my food and make it energize and nourish my body. Please protect every multiplying cells in my body from any harmful bacteria, virus and germs. Please let my body feel and be alert if a particular food cannot synergize with my body. I thank you God.”