Naivedyam Prasadam - significance , why its done and how

Naivedyam is a traditional food offering made to the deities during ritualistic worship or puja at home or temples. It is a common practice in Hinduism / Hindu Dharma to express gratitude and devotion to the God who provides us with our daily food. Naivedyam signifies the actual gross state of the individual, as food is essential for the sustenance of life. In this article, we will explore the significance, scientific relevance, types and procedure of Naivedyam.


Naivedyam is not merely a ritualistic act, but a spiritual one. It symbolizes the surrender of our ego and attachment to the God, who is the source of all creation. By offering food to the God, we acknowledge that everything belongs to Him and we are only His instruments. We also seek His blessings and grace to purify our mind and body, and to transform our ignorant consciousness into divine consciousness.

Naivedyam also reflects the principle of sharing and caring. We share what we get with others before consuming it ourselves. We do not demand, complain or criticize the quality of the food we get. We eat it with cheerful acceptance (prasaada buddhi), as it is a holy gift from the Lord. We also distribute the prasada to our family members, friends and other living beings, as a way of spreading love and harmony.

Scientific relevance

Naivedyam has some scientific benefits as well. The food offered to the God is sanctified by the positive vibrations and energy emitted by the deity during the puja. The food also absorbs the subtle frequencies of the deity, which are specific to each deity. For example, kheer or shira for Vishnu, modak for Ganapati, payas for Goddess. These frequencies help in enhancing the sattva (purity) component in us and reducing the raja (passion) and tama (ignorance) components.

The food also undergoes a subtle transformation when it is offered to the God with faith and devotion. The food becomes more nutritious and beneficial for our health. The food also helps in balancing the five vital energies (pranas) in our body, namely prana, apana, vyana, udana and samana. These pranas are responsible for various physiological functions such as respiration, excretion, circulation, reversal and digestion.

Naivedyam Prasadam - significance , why its done and how


Types of Naivedyam

Naivedyam can be of different types depending on the occasion, deity and region. Some of the common types of Naivedyam are:

  • Fruits: Fruits are considered as natural and pure offerings to the God. They are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Some of the fruits that are commonly offered are grape, mango, coconut, jack fruit, apple, banana, lemon fruit, wood apple, rose apple, Indian gooseberry, red date and pomegranate.
  • Eatables: Eatables are cooked or prepared food items that are offered to the God. They are usually made with sattvik ingredients such as rice, wheat flour, ghee (clarified butter), milk, sugar, honey etc. Some of the eatables that are commonly offered are vadai, appam, murukku, butter, milk, ladoo and sweets.
  • Food items: Food items are cooked dishes that are offered to the God as a part of a meal. They are usually made with less amount of salt, oil and spices to maintain their sattvik quality. Some of the food items that are commonly offered are curd rice, pongal, lemon rice, milk rice, sweet pongal, payasam and ghee rice.

Procedure of Naivedyam

The procedure of Naivedyam may vary slightly according to different traditions and customs. However, some of the general steps that are followed are:

  • The food should be prepared with utmost care, cleanliness and devotion. The cook should have a bath before cooking and should not taste or eat anything during the preparation.
  • The food should be served on a banana leaf or a plate that is clean and fresh. Salt should not be served on the leaf or plate prepared for Naivedya.
  • The leaf or plate should be placed before the deity on a mandala (a sacred diagram) drawn on the floor with water or rice flour. The stalk of the leaf should be towards the deity and the tip of the leaf should be towards oneself.
  • Water should be sprinkled clockwise around the leaf or plate only once as an act of purification.
  • The food should be sprinkled with water along with two tulsi (holy basil) leaves. One leaf should be placed over the food and another leaf should be offered at the deity’s feet.
  • The eyes should be closed by placing the thumb of the left hand on the left eye and the ring finger of the left hand on the right eye. Then, the aroma of the food should be directed towards the deity using the fingertips of the right hand while reciting mantras associated with the five pranas, such as “Om Pranaya Swaha, Om Apanaya Swaha, Om Vyanaya Swaha, Om Udanaya Swaha, Om Samanaya Swaha, Om Brahmane Swaha”.
  • Then, water should be poured into a round metal dish from the right hand and the same mantras should be recited again. Then, water should be released from the right hand into the dish four times while reciting “Naivedyam samarpayami, uttaraposhanam samarpayami, hasta samarpayami, mukha samarpayami”, which means “I offer Naivedya, I offer water for washing hands and mouth”.
  • The leaf or plate should be covered with another leaf or cloth and left for some time for the deity to accept the offering. Then, the cover should be removed and the food should be distributed as prasada to everyone present.