The word prasada literally means ‘grace’ or ‘serenity’ and is often used to refer to the grace of God. This can be in a theological sense of the grace of God helping those who are following a spiritual path, or it can be understood as the blessings that give us the good things in life. Very often prasada is used to refer to food, particularly the food that is distributed in places of worship, but also food in general, which is seen as the grace of God. In the temple, offerings of different kinds are made before the sacred images, and when the worship is concluded these items, including the food offerings, are then distributed freely to all people who enter the sacred space. So we can think of prasada in the sense of food and sustenance that is freely given to those in need and as the blessings of God, the mercy he bestows upon humanity in need. The act of feeding the poor and disadvantaged is the very essence of prasada, whether one sees it as acting in the service of God or simply doing what it is right to do. It is dharma and hence both the food itself and the act of giving are rightly given the name ‘prasada’.
Image shows Go Dharmic co-founder working with SWAT in central London.