Mantras before Meals


The Hindu tradition has only one aim, that of achieving Self/God realization, therefore, every occasion including the most simple and common events in everyday life are considered to be a moment to remember the highest consciousness. There is a system called the Nitya Karma Paddati meaning those deeds that are to be done every day in the sense of prayer, continuously throughout the day. There are mantras when a person wakes up, mantras asking forgiveness that one must step on mother earth, mantras when one bathes, mantras to remember the Guru, mantras during prayers, mantras before meals, mantras after meals, mantras when one switches on the lights and mantras when one goes to sleep. Some of the simpler mantras can be practiced. For most people it may be very tedious to do mantras all day long especially with the modern day busy routine.
There is another tradition in the Hindu Scriptures, a spiritual master will start speaking from the level he is at, so usually in most Hindu scriptures one finds that the first few shloks may be the more difficult ones as the author straight away starts from the high level of consciousness where he is, then slowly he starts lowering his thoughts to the level of his audience.

The body is the temple of the soul and so it is important to look after it so that this instrument may exist till one achieves self realization, however at every point one must strive to achieve god. Unlike the known version of prayer such as “bless us and bless our food and we thank you for the food, god” the ancient Hindus spoke from the spiritual level at which they were. For them, they were praying to the almighty divine mother who was in the form of Annapurna the goddess who nourishes the entire world. She is Parvati as the daughter of the Himalayas and she is Shakti the consort of Lord Shiv. For these ancient spiritual masters when they prayed to the divine mother it would be an offence to ask for food, for it was like asking for candy from a King. The shloks that one repeats before meals maintain the same vision of these spiritual masters.

They were wise and always asked for the best with their goal set on the highest level of spiritual consciousness, so they said “Divine mother if you bless us, then please bless us with nothing less than the best. The best is that we too become divine and perfected, so give as food those qualities that will make us divine. Please give us perfection in our deeds (so that our prayers are perfected), non attachment and divine knowledge. (Gyan in the spiritual context means knowledge of the absolute truth or of god.)” This shlok has been taken from the famous stotra known as the Annapurna stotram written by Shankracharya.

1. Annpurne sada purne shankar pran vallabhe |
Gyan vairagya siddhiartham bhiksham dehi ch parvati ||
You divine mother Annpurna who is the energy and life force of the lord Shankar|
Please divine mother Parvati, as food, give us perfection in our deeds, non-attachment (desirelessness) and divine knowledge (God/Self-realisation)||
The second shlok that is usually said before meals is taken from the Bhagvat Gita. It maintains a similar level of consciousness. The shlok is as follows: 2. Brahma arpanam, Brahma havir, Brahma agnau, Brahmanah hutam|
Brahmaiv tein gantavyam, brahma karma samadhina|| Bhagvad Gita 4:24||

The offering is to Brahma, that what is offered is Brahma, Brahma is the fire that consumes, and the entire process is itself Brahma|
Brahma alone shall be reached by him, who sees Brahma in all his actions and thus shall attain that equanimity of mind that will establish him in the highest consciousness.||  
(Brahma meaning the highest consciousness, karma is deed, samadhina- absorption in the state of equilibrium as in the word Samadhi) (Thus Brahmakarma samadhina means he who does every deed keeping in mind the highest level of consciousness will attain to that state of absorption in Brahma or highest consciousness that is the original state of equilibrium called Samadhi.)
Again before our meals we do not speak of physical food but continue to refer and remind ourselves of our goal of attaining the highest consciousness, to therefore remember that all around us is Brahman or the immanent (sarvavyapi) aspect of god and eventually we must realize and attain the transcendental (vishvotirrna) aspect of god too. This shlok actually sums up Vedanta. Veda meaning knowledge and Anta meaning end and therefore Vedanta means the highest knowledge.

3. Punarapi jananam punarapi maranam punnarapi jannijatthre shanayam|
Eh samsare bahdustare kripya-aphare pahi murare||
Bhaj govindam bhaj govindam govindam bhaj mudhmate||21|| ||BhajGovindam (Moh Mudgar)||
This shlok too is commonly repeated before meals. It has been taken from a poem called the Moh Mudgar commonly known as Bhaj Govindam. In a similar flow of consciousness we continue to remind ourselves of the purpose of our lives. The shlok means :
Repeated births, repeated deaths, and repeatedly laying in the mother’s womb|
It is very difficult to cross this world (to be liberated), shower endless grace on me  Murari *||
Pray to the Lord, Pray to the Lord, To the Lord must one pray, O dull headed one||
*(Murari is a name of God Krishna and was given to him because he slayed a demon by the name of mur. The word mur means to surround, to wrap around, to change, to encircle. Hence, here Mur is the Demon of ignorance, darkness and attachment to this world, that wraps himself around every ordinary mortal. Murari is the slayer of this darkness, ignorance and false attachment.)
The Bhaj Govindam was written by the Shankracharya. Actually story has it that the Shankracharya was going on the streets of Benaras with his 14 disciples and saw a Pandit repeating the rules of Samskrit Grammar to himself. On seeing this waste of effort and energy the great master burst into a poem which became known as the Moh Mudgar commonly called the Bhaj Govindam. Moh means delusion born of attachment to the world or the quality (negative) of our mind not being able to release wordly objects, attachments and relationships; Mudgar means Mace ( Mace is a heavy weapon like a hammer but it is round in shape and is used to strike the opponent.), hence the Moh Mudgar means the weapon that destroys attachments or delusion. The poem has 31 stanzas.
The object of repeating all three or either of these above given shloks is to maintain a level of high consciousness while we eat; to keep reminding ourselves of the purpose of our lives, as of well as our dedication to achieve enlightenment and liberation.
As always if one practices mantrayog one must first remember the Guru, then Ganesh, then Bhairav, then Lord Shiv and finally the divine mother.
The mantras are in this order:
Jai Gurudev
Jai Ganesh
Jai Batuk Bhairav
Jai Shiv
Jai Ma (and the form- Durga, Chamunda, Kali, Maha Tripursundari,etc)
(If you have received mantra initiation you should repeat your mantra atleast three times)

1. Annpurne sada purne shankar pran vallabhe|
Gyan vairagya siddhiartham bhiksham dehi ch parvati||
2. Brahma arpanam, Brahma havir, Brahma agnau, Brahmanah hutam|
Brahmaiv tein gantavyam, brahma karma samadhina|| Bhagvad Gita 4:24||
3. Punarapi jananam punarapi maranam punnarapi jannijatthre shanayam|
Eh samsare bahdustare kripya-aphare pahi murare||
Bhaj govindam bhaj govindam govindam bhaj mudhmate||21||
||BhajGovindam (Moh Mudgar)||


(One may repeat either or all three of these shloks given above.)
Then one remembers the Prana vayus as given below:
Namah Apana Vayu
Namah Vyana Vayu
Namah Samana Vayu
Namah Prana Vayu
Namah Udana Vayu
For those who know how to form the Kamadhenu mudra, one may display this mudra.
Usually while saying these mantras the person also takes a little water in his hand and as he repeats these mantras, he sprinkles clockwise a little water around his plate. This is to bless the food with the power of the mantras.


Copyright © 2017 All right reserved | Terms of Use | Privacy policy | Powered By ABL Online