Mealtime Prayer

ओ३म्

अन्नपतेऽन्नस्य देह्यनमीव्य शुष्मिणः
प्रप्र दातारं तारिषऽऊर्जं धेहि द्विपदे तुष्पदे।।

Anna-pa-te ‘nnas-ya no de-hya
-namee-vas-ya shuśh-mi-ṇah.
Pra pra daa-taa-ram taa-ri-ṣha
oor-jam no dhe-hi
dvi-pa-de cha-tush-pa-de.

O Lord, you are the provider of grains and food. Bless us with nourishing and energy-producing foods. O God, bless those who prepare our food so that they quickly cross over any difficulties or sorrows. And, O God, bless all creatures with healthy and nourishing food. (Yajur Veda 11.83)

Notes:

The above mantra (Yajur Veda 11.83) is popularly chanted before mealtime and is recommended as the ideal mealtime blessing. It uniquely recognizes the nutrition-value of food, its source (God), its use (health, strength etc) and the person(s) who prepares the food for consumption. 

The Rig Veda has an entire section (Rig Veda 1.187) dedicated to the science of nutrition – the choices of food, the effects of such choices and dedication of food toward positive purposes before consumption. 

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 3, Verse 13 confirms the Vedic teaching to offer a prayer before partaking of righteous food. The verse reads:
यज्ञशिष्टाशिन: सन्तो मुच्यन्ते सर्वकिल्बिषै: |
भुञ्जते ते त्वघं पापा ये पचन्त्यात्मकारणात् ||
yajña-śhiṣhṭaaśhinaḥ santo muchyante sarva-kilbiṣhaiḥ
bhuñjate te tvaghaṁ paapaa ye pachantyaatma-kaaraṇaat

The righteous persons free themselves from negative effects of food by offering same to God first. Those who take food for selfish enjoyment will feel those negatives that can come from food.

Healthy eating is essential to health and well-being. Our physical strength as well as our moods and degree of cohabiting with others are affected by food. The negatives of food include the biological facts of fats and other negatives – as well as the psychological effects of consuming food that comes from various sources. The Bhagvad Gita reminds us that preparing and offering a meal to the Almighty first, becomes blessed. In other words, food prepared for such blissful purposes will be blissful.

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