This is a most interesting question, because in every temple in India, it is customary to make a small offering of sweets or other food, as a mark of our devotion and gratefulness towards whichever God or Goddess we are worshiping.
Once the Lord has “partaken” from the offering, the remaining food is considered sacred and blessed, and is thereafter consumed by the devotees as “prasad”. So an enquiring mind naturally asks: “Does God actuallybless and eat the food offered? If such things genuinely happen, then how does God do it, because the idol in the temple itself cannot move?”
The above questions carry with them the most amazing answers, provided for us, by two God realized teachers of Vedanta Philosophy, Swami Vivekananda and Swami Sivananda of the Divine Life Society. Their profound responses have been outlined in detail, in the video below. As you watch the video, do remember that although the answers revealed here, are for the Hindu manner of worship, they are nevertheless equally applicable, for the worships performed in other religions, such as the offering of prashad by Sikhs in their Gurdwaras, or the prayer of grace said before a meal in Christianity.
An intriguing question to ponder on- does God actually eat the food offered during worship as naivedya or prasadam? It is a common practice among Hindus to offer food to the deities while worshipping them. It is believed that the deities partake the food offered while worshipping and the leftovers is distributed among the devotees as ‘prasad’. But if we analyse it logically, the idols cannot move or eat whatever is offered in front of them. Then how does God eat? This question has been asked since time immemorial and there have been many instances where the devotees have claimed to see God eating by assuming a physical form. For example, the great saint Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa used to feed Goddess Kali with His own hands. He claimed to have seen the Goddess appear in front of Him in the form of a little girl and eat the offerings He made in front of Her.
But this is only a vague and far fetched explanation to the question. Let us find out whether God actually eats and what is the significance of prasad?
According to Swami Sivananda, the founder of Divine Life Society, “if food is offered with a yearning heart, then sometimes God does eat it assuming a physical form. In other cases, God enjoys the subtle essence of the food offered and the food remains as it is in the shape of prasad.” According to Swami Vivekananda, God will actually partake the food in physical form if only the food is offered with a true heart and unfaltering devotion. There have been many incidents in which people have actually seen God materialise and partake the food.