Prasad. A Gracious Gift

Traditionally Prasad is something sweet offered to a deity, an enlightened being or the heart of the Self. We are offering everything up, our body our mind, our heart. An offering a gift. Every move we make in the practice, every glance gesture, word is an offering of sort. Lets examine the quality of our offerings. Lets look for a vibrant but consistent offering. An offering that is not a reaction to a should…. but a persistent expression of who you really are and how you really want to connect.

In The Illuminated Prayer, a marvelous book offering countless metaphors for the graciousness of sacred offering, Coleman Barks translates Rumi’s Poem entitled

 One Song.

“All religions,

all this singing,

is one song…”

By looking at life as if it were an offering, you are opening yourself up to the possibility of connection with the divine

The gift once offered with sincerity is surely to be received; therefore, it will have the presence of the divine within it.

 

“The differences are just

illusion and vanity…..”

Lets begin by making an offering of Prasad into the fire. The fire represents the tongue of God. Make sure your offering is sweet and steady. So often we reach out to offer with a burst, and end up drained. We will work on the slow steady offering of everything in a way where we are fed by the residue of that which we offer.

Traditionally you would offer everything into the fire,  into the external fire you offer everything: food, people, animals.  The Buddhist tradition introduces non violence. Then the ritual became filled with symbolic offerings: colored powder, ghee, seeds, but the idea remains the same: to offer everything into the fire.

“ The sun’s light looks a little different

on this wall than it does on that wall,

and a lot different on this other one,

but still there is light…..

 

When you offer Prasad as an internal practice, you are opening to the possibility of acknowledging and releasing everything you think you know about yourself. You are releasing all the things that you think are great, not so great, etc. In this releasing we find freedom. We find freedom in realizing who we think we are is just a mere imitation to the vastness of our reality. 

“We have borrowed these clothes,

these time and place personalities,

from a light, and when we praise,

we’re pouring them back in.” Rumi

 

The offering represents the opening to the divine, which makes the exchange possible. You can work on the yogic path for eons without taking the risk which brings you into the presence of God. The teachings expound: once you begin to fall into step with the path of genuine opening, of risk taking, a sort of tumbling happens which makes your steps move quickly and perhaps faster than you are comfortable with; you find yourself running. In response, it is said that God is also running at full speed toward you. 

Richard Freeman says,

 “Life imitates yoga. So if the sacrifice is successful and you poured all of your emotion thoughts techniques, presupposition into the fire of awareness, then at the end of the practice all that is left is the residue, the shesha. This shesha is the sofa on which Vishnu reclines; it is the comfort and support of our sustenance.  In this place we can begin to experience who we are, free from the constraints of the small ideas about ourselves."

 

 

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