On the occasion of the most awaited festival of Janamastami how could we forget to talk about Prasadam that we do offer every year to our beloved Nandlala, so I decide to republish my old post.“Haathi ghoda palaki, Jai Kanhiya lal ki”
Definition of food according to Hinduism:
Food doesn’t just satisfy our tastebuds and serve our body but it nurtures our soul too. In India, a famous saying goes as ‘Jaisa khaoo ann, Waisa bane man.‘
Therefore, in our culture, the process from cooking to eating is very auspicious and we refer to food as Mahaprasad. Our five fingers have five rasas: sweet, salty, sour, spicy and savoury. When we cook with our hands, these five rasas get transferred to the food.
Looking at the larger picture of the Chappan Bhog, I’d like to think that this grand feast is a bigger manifestation of those rasas. After all, what better medium to convey and transfer feelings than food? In artistic or literary terms, rasa can be called the aesthetic flavour of any form of art that elicits the desired emotion in the mind of the reader or viewer. Likewise, food is a source of emotion too.
It brings joy, it brings back memories, it opens up conversations. When food is prepared for and offered to the Gods, it is believed to become even more sacred, having been ‘consumed’ by the powers above.So, the 56 dishes being ‘accepted’ by Krishna and then distributed among his devotees is symbolic of the rasas or relationship with him being established.
What is Chappan Bhog ?
The typical offerings included in the Chappan Bhog comprise a variety of cereals, fruits and dry fruits, vegetable preparations, sweets, beverages, savouries and chutneys and pickles. However, the actual dishes of the Chapan Bhog vary across regions based on their culinary practices, spiritual connotations and ingredients available. Apart from the customary favourites of butter, yogurt, ghee and rice, there are others that range from sweet: mohan bhog (a semolina halwa), shakkarpara, ghewar, rabri and shrikhand to savoury: khichdi, puri, saag (cooked greens), as well as nuts, papad and chutneys. Along with these, the dairy and sweet preparations are placed closest to the deity as they are believed to be dearer to Lord Krishna’s palate.
The Story behind Chappan Bhog: Legend has it that Krishna held up the Govardhan mountain for a week to protect villagers and livestock from a torrential thunderstorm caused by the wrath of Lord Indra. As per the legend, Krishna held up the mountain for seven days straight, skipping his usual eight meals a day. Once the rains abated, the villagers offered their thanks by preparing the Annakuta or mountain of food. This was a combination of the eight meals of the day multiplied times seven and hence, fifty-six.
The Main 56 items of ‘CHAPANA BHOGA or MAHAPRASAD’ are as follows:
1. Sadha Anna – Simple Rice water
2. Kanika – Rice, Ghee and Sugar
3. Dahi Pakhal – Curd Rice and water
4. Ada Pakhal – Rice, Ginger and water
5. Thali Khechedi – Lentil, Rice with Sugar and Ghee
6. Ghea Anna – Rice mixed with Ghee
7. Khechedi – Rice mixed with Lentil
8. Mitha Pakhal – Rice , Sugar and water
9. Oria Pakhal – Rice, Ghee, Lemon and Salt Sweets
10. Khaja – Made of wheat
11. Gaja – Made of wheat, sugar and Ghee
12. Ladu – Made of wheat, sugar and Ghee
13. Magaja Ladu
14. Jeera Ladu
15. Jagannath Ballav – Wheat, Sugar and Ghee
16. Khuruma – Made of wheat, Sugar and Salt
17. Mathapuli – Made of Ghee, Ginger and a kind of beans ground in to a thick paste
18. Kakara – Made of Ghee and Wheat
19. Marichi Ladu – Made of Wheat and Sugar
20. Luni Khuruma – Made of Wheat, Ghee and Salt (Onreturn of Bahuda Yatra during Suna Vesha, Rasagolla are offered as Bhogas but on no other day Rasagollas are allowed for Bhog) Cakes, Pancakes and Patties
21. Suar Pitha – Made of wheat and Ghee
22. Chadai Lada – Made of Wheat, Ghee and Sugar
23. Jhilli – Rice Flour, Ghee and Sugar
24. Kanti – Rice Flour and Ghee
25. Manda – Made of wheat and Ghee
26. Amalu – Made of wheat, ghee and sugar
27. Puri – Made of wheat and Ghee and deeply fried like a small thin pan cake
28. Luchi – Made of Rice, Flour and Ghee
29. Bara – Made of Curd, Ghee and a kind of beans
30. Dahi Bara – Cake made of a kind of a beans and curd
31. Arisa – A flat cake made of Rice flour and Ghee
32. Tripuri – Another flat cake made of Rice, Flour and Ghee
33. Rosapaik – A cake made of wheat and Milk Preparations
34. Khiri – Milk, Sugar with Rice
35. Papudi – Prepared from only the cream of milk
36. Khua – Prepared out of Pure Milk slowly boiled over many hours to a soft custard like consistency
37. Rasabali – Made of Milk, Sugar and Wheat
38. Tadia – Made of fresh cheese, sugar and Ghee
39. Chhena Khai – Made of fresh Cheese, milk and sugar
40. Bapudi Khaja – cream of milk, sugar and ghee
41. Khua Manda – Made of milk, wheat and Ghee
42. Sarapulli – This is the most famous and most difficult milk dish to prepare. It is made of pure milk boiled slowly for hours and spread in to a large pizza shaped pan. Curry with Vegetables
44. Biri dali
45. Urid Dal
46. Muga Dal
47. Dalama – This is one of the typical dishes in Oriya Home. It is a combination of Dahl and Vegetable. Usually eggplant, beans, sweet potato and tomatoes, although tomatoes are not used in Temple preparations. Coconuts and a dried root of vegetables known as Bodhi which looks like a mush room and is high in protein are added.
50. Sag – A spinch dish
51. Potala Rasa
52. Goti Baigana
54. Raita – a yogurt like dish with curd and radish.
Mahaprasad consolidates human bond, sanctifies sacraments and grooms the departing soul for its journey upwards.