Jump to content


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Prasad)
Naivedya offered to Radha Krishna in Sri Maya Chandrodaya Mandir in Mayapur, India

Prasāda (Sanskrit pronunciation: [pɽɐsaːdɐ], Sanskrit: प्रसाद), prasadam or prasad is a religious offering in Hinduism. Most often Prasada is vegetarian food especially cooked for devotees after praise and thanksgiving to a god. Mahaprasada (also called bhandarā),[1] is the consecrated food offered to the deity in a Hindu temple which is then distributed and partaken by all the devotees regardless of any orientation.[2][3][4]

Prasada is closely linked to the term naivedya, also spelt naivedhya, naibedya or naived(h)yam. The food offered to the deity is called naivedya, while the sacred food sanctified and returned by the deity as a blessing is called prasada.[citation needed]


Prasāda is derived from the verb prasād which consists of the verb सद् (sad - to sit, dwell) which is prefixed with प्र (pra - before, afore, in front) and used as finite verb प्रसीदति (prasīdati - dwells, presides, pleases or favours etc.).[5] It denotes anything, typically food, that is first offered to a deity or saint and then distributed in His or Her name to their followers or others as a good sign.[6]

'Prasāda' is sometimes translated as gift or grace.[7]


Prasada served at the Bharatiya Hindu Temple in Powell, Ohio, US

The prasada is to be consumed by attendees as a holy offering. The offerings may include cooked food, fruits and confectionery sweets. Vegetarian food is usually offered and later distributed to the devotees who are present in the temple. Sometimes this vegetarian offering will exclude prohibited items such as garlic, onion, mushroom, etc.[2]

Naivedya offered in a home puja in West Bengal, India

Non-vegetarian is prohibited in some of the temples. Hindu goddesses like Chandi, Kali and Hindu gods like Bhairava, Mahakala are given meat offerings of animals like roosters, goats, fish, buffalo which are slaughtered in the temple precincts.

Offering of food items forms part of the upachara or services to a Hindu deity in many Hindu traditions but is not universal. The murti (icon) is revered as a living entity who is offered food, fruits, and betelnut among others.

Offering of fresh produce before cooking in Tamil Nadu, India

Temples usually have stricter worship routines that include offering naivedya multiple times a day. Most temples allow only trained pujaris to cook the naivedya. The naivedya offered directly to the deity is considered as prasada, the deity having "enjoyed" it. This can be considered to be a symbolic rather than a literal offering.

Offerings of food in home shrines are relatively simpler than the Hindu temples. A common practice is to mix the prasada back into the remaining food before partaking it.

Tasting during preparation or eating the naivedya food before offering it to the god is strictly forbidden. The food is first placed before a deity and specific prayers are offered with accompanying rituals. Afterwards, the food is considered as having been blessed by the god, and has officially become the sanctified prasada.

In its material sense, prasada is created by a process of giving and receiving between a human devotee and the god. For example, a devotee makes an offering of a material substance such as flowers, fruits, or sweets. The deity then 'enjoys' or tastes a bit of the offering.[8] This now-divinely invested substance is called prasada and is received by the devotee to be ingested, worn, etc. It may be the same material that was originally offered or material offered by others and then re-distributed to other devotees. In many temples, several kinds of prasada (e.g., nuts, sweets) are distributed to the devotees. [citation needed]

Offering food and subsequently receiving prasada is central to the practice of puja.[8] Any food that is offered either physically to the image of the god or silently in prayer is considered prasada.[9]

In Sikhism, karah parshad is served to the congregation after prayer and reading of scripture.[10] Parshad represents the same values as langar in that it is served indiscriminately.[citation needed]

Kurukshetra Prasadam (Channa laddu) in 48 kos parikrama of Kurukshetra, Tirupati Laddu and Mathura peda in the Braj Parikrama are geo-specialty prasada.[11]


  1. ^ Pashaura Singh, Louis E. Fenech, 2014, The Oxford Handbook of Sikh Studies
  2. ^ a b Chitrita Banerji, 2010, Eating India: Exploring the Food and Culture of the Land of Spices.
  3. ^ Subhakanta Behera, 2002, Construction of an identity discourse: Oriya literature and the Jagannath lovers (1866–1936), pp. 140–177.
  4. ^ Susan Pattinson, 2011, The Final Journey: Complete Hospice Care for the Departing Vaishnavas, pp. 220.
  5. ^ Apte, Vaman Shivaram (1992). The Practical Sanskrit-English Dictionary. Kyoto, Japan: Rinsen Book Company. ISBN 4653000387.
  6. ^ Natu, Bal, Glimpses of the God-Man, Meher Baba, Sheriar Press, 1987
  7. ^ Mukundananda, Swami. "Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 2, Verse 64". Retrieved 2021-04-11.
  8. ^ a b Hawley, John (2006). The Life of Hinduism. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. p. 13. ISBN 9780520249141.
  9. ^ "Prasada | Hinduism". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2021-05-12.
  10. ^ Bhatia, Harbans Singh; Bakshi, Shiri Ram (1999). Religious Traditions of the Sikhs. Deep & Deep Publications. ISBN 978-81-7629-132-3.
  11. ^ Chana laddoo to be ‘Kurukshetra prasadam’, The Tribune, 1 March 2020.

External links[edit]