Once Indra (King of Devatas) riding his Elephant (Iravatam) came across Maharishi Durvasa. Maharishi blessed Indra with a garland, which was a Prasad of (granted by) Ishwara. Indra took that garland objectively and used it to decorate his Elephant, in other words, he discarded the garland, which was the very anugraham (grace) of Ishwara. Understanding the state of Indra’s ego, Maharishi said, “since you relinquished the garland, which was a anugraham (grace) of Ishwara, which has upheld you as a king to all Devatas, may that anugraham (grace) leave you and in turn make you realize your gratitude towards Ishwara”. This is the reason why Prasad from a Pooja should never be rejected since it’s equivalent to rejecting Ishwara’s anugraham (grace), in special circumstances, it should properly and respectfully be discarded, like leaving it in a Tulasi plant. A similar story in the context of rejecting Ishwara’s prasadam can also be found the in stories of Sri Satyanarayana Kalpa(m) (Pooja/Ratham). The more one rejects Ishwara’s anugraham (grace) the more we permit ourselves to ignorance. This is a reason in Sanatana Dharma, one does not bow down to food (prepared auspiciously and dedicated to Ishwara) when taken for offering, but once offered we receive it with gratitude. Once offered the sight of Ishwara falls on it, note Ishwara never touches or eats it, unless few very rare and special circumstances.
But why offer something to Ishwara, when everything in this creation is His? Its a gesture to show gratitude and love. We love our children, but to express that love we buy things and perform many actions and gestures, in the same way, we express our gratitude by treating Ishwara as if He is one among us. What we can learn from this scenario is, when we receive similar flowers or garland with respect to a Pooja or a temple as Ishwara prasadam, we need to be very careful, and not try to decorate our vehicles with it.
Please note that in Sanatana Dharma, great rishis (sages) like Durvasa, who attained Brahma:gyana(m) wouldn’t use their intellect for ego or selfishness. He took away Indra’s glory to lessen the destructive path He was heading towards. By depriving Him of His glory, His wealth and power, He now has time to contemplate and seek truth beyond ego. One can find many such instances with rishis. In many situations they lessen the intensity when asked for forgiveness realizing their mistakes.
What is the significance of Prasad in Shastra? Whatever we eat, one-sixth of it becomes our conscious, so when Ishwara’s Prasad is consumed one-sixth goes to energizing our consciousness. Sometimes when we are stuck in life seeking a solution, the solution might be right in front of us, but we fail to recognize or comprehend it. Suddenly we realize it and feel dimwitted, Prasadam can constitute to play a significant role in such situations. (Srichaganti. K.D.S, n.d., p.1-3)
REFERENCE ENTRY (APA Style citation)
Sri Chaganti Koteshwar Rao (Orator). (n.d.). Kanaka Dhara Stotram [Audio Part 1-19, Recorded by Srichaganti.net]. Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India. Retrieved from http://www.english.srichaganti.net/KanakaDharaStrotram.aspx