Varieties in 'prasada'


I may not believe in God but I believe in the ‘prasada’ that is distributed at temples. The delicacy that is distributed to devotees comes in different shapes and forms, like the God himself. This does not mean that I go to the temple for the sake of ‘prasada’ but when I got to go, I look forward to the eatable offered to devotees. That’s why whenever someone goes to Tirupati I ask him to pack a ladoo for me. Who can match Lord Venkateshwara for his out of the world ‘prasada’ in the form of the ladoo? True many temples offer ladoo as prasada but the Tirupati sweet ball is unique.

Another favourite of mine is pongal. But one must be prepared to rise early during winter to eat this delicious rice and dal preparation as it is distributed only during Dhanurmas. So only the early birds get the pongal. Even here I am lucky because my wife, devoted to the Almighty and not to my might, makes it to the temple in the wee hours and brings home the freshly cooked pongal. I relish it at the breakfast table as an extra delicacy, and that too free!

I remember eating the prasada at the Golden Temple in Amritsar. I do not know what they called it but I could make out that it was made of rava and ghee and it was warm and sweet. But the temples in North are not known for the prasada they offer. They are dull, drab and unattractive. Sometimes sugar balls of the size of pepper or pea are offered as prasada. While you cannot criticise it you cannot relish it either.

Some time back when I was in Palakkad, aka Palghat, I was taken to a temple for the darshan of Lord Hanuman. And lo! What do I get as prasada? Hot medu vada or uddina vade. I needed one more but had to stand in queue again. For me getting a ‘uddina vade’ as prasada was something unique because this is prepared in Brahmin houses only during the shraddah ceremonies.

The other day I walked into a Shirdi Saibaba temple to while away my time. And what do I get here as prasada? Two Marie biscuits!! As I munched on them I was wondering how they hit upon the idea of distributing biscuit as prasada. Call it novel or revolutionary?

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