I’ve been noticing that many devotees pray before eating food. Why do we do this? And what are we supposed to think about when we offer food?
Offering our food to God before eating has several benefits to us. First of all, it is a chance to remember that we do not eat for the taste of the food, but to nourish our body, which has been given to us by Shree Krishna. This body should be used to do devotion and service to Him, so we have to keep it healthy so we can do better devotion and service. That way, even eating becomes a devotional activity which is dedicated to Krishna. This is a part of doing karm yog.
Secondly, it is a chance to slow down, stop everything else, and remember Radha Krishna for a few moments. Remember that They are with us. Any chance we get to do that, we should take advantage of it. So thinking of Radha Krishna before we eat is a good discipline which helps us get in the habit of remembering God throughout the day. This is also part of doing karm yog.
Lastly, offering our food to Radha Krishna means that we are requesting Them to come and eat. It is an exercise in devotion and faith. There are many examples in our scriptures of people who offered food to God with full faith, and God appeared before them and ate the food. We also want to become like them. Even if our faith in Radha Krishna is not yet complete, yet by practicing or exercising our faith, we strengthen it and purify our heart. So with as much faith as you can muster, close your eyes and beseech Radha and Krishna to come to you and eat the food you have placed before you. You can use whatever words you want, in any language you want. He hears the feelings of your heart. Here is a simple prayer in English that you can use or modify to your liking:
“Oh my dearest darling! The absolute supreme Shree Krishna! Everything I own is Yours and is for Your service. I wish You come with Radha and eat this food I have prepared for You. Whoever eats the rest of this food, I wish them to be blessed by Your love. Yours forever. Shree Radhey!”
RR Bhaiya – thank you so much for your answer. It really clarifies things for me…