Divine Prayer Before Meals
Brahmaarpanam Brahma Havir
Brahmaagnau Brahmanaa Hutam
Brahmaiva Tena Gantavyam
Brahma Karma Samaadhinaha
This is 24th verse from the 4th chapter of Bhagavad Gita. The act of offering is Brahman. The offering itself is Brahman. The offering is done by Brahman in the sacred fire which is Brahman. He alone attains Brahman who, in all actions, is fully absorbed in Brahman. (As we chant this prayer we are offering the different types of food to Brahman).
Aham Vaishvaanaro Bhutva
Praanaapaana Samaa Yuktaha
Pachaamyannam Chatur Vidam
This is 14th verse from the 15th chapter of Bhagavad Gita This sloka is a sort of acknowledgement and assurance to us from Brahman. “I am Vaishnavara, existing as fire God in the bodies of living beings. Being associated with ingoing (prana) and outgoing (apaana) life breaths, I will digest all the four different types of food (that which we bite and chew; that which we masticate with the tongue; those which we gulp; that which we swallow) and purify them.”
Harir Daatha Harir Bhoktha
Harir Annam Prajaapatih
Harir Vipra Shareerastu
Bhoonkte Bhojayathe Harih
Oh Lord Hari, You are the food, You are the enjoyer of the food, You are the giver of food. Therefore, I offer all that I consume at Thy Lotus Feet.
Swami’s explanation of this prayer
We should partake food with a Sathwic mind. Our ancestors recommended the offering of food to God before partaking. Food so partaken becomes “Prasadam” Prayer cleanses the food of the thre impurities; caused by the absence of cleanliness of the vessel, cleanliness of the food stuff, and cleanliness in the process of cooking. It is necessary to get rid of these three impurities to purify the food; for, pure food goes into the making of a pure mind. It is not possible to ensure the purity of the cooking process, since we do not know what thoughts rage in the mind of the man who prepares the food. Similarly, we cannot ensure the cleanliness of the food ingredients as we do not know whether it was acquired in a righteous way by the seller who has sold it to us. Hence, it is essential on our part to offer food to God in the form of prayer, so that these three impurities do not afflict our mind.
“The food thus offered to God is digested by ‘Vaishwanara” in the digestive system. Since God exists in the form of fire as Vaishwanara, He digests the food along with the impurities. So, man will not be affected even i the impurities enter the food.”
Source ” Summer Showers in Brindavan ” 1993 Page 86.