The Sanatana Dharma attitude and approach to life looks at everything as divinity. Sarvam Vishnu Mayam. Everything is inherently divinity only. God is. Period. The word God can be replaced by anything and everything – it really does not matter. But the “is” in “God is” is always is. This “IS”ness is divinity.
[http://thenextweb.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2012/11/MilkyWay.jpg][Markings by author]
It can be experienced by everyone as love on a personal level.
[http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_ECb2yn-oSS4 /TKppWPkbOmI/ AAAAAAAACfY /dNZ0j32mohg /s1600/samadhi.jpg]
Since everything is divinity only, whatever is seen, heard, smelt, tasted or touched is an aspect of divinity, of love, only. A life in the company of sanatana dharma is a constant reminder and experience of this truth that we are all love only.
Since we don’t keep company of love always, even though love always keeps our company, elders have left behind several worship practices for us to do to keep its company. These, when done properly, remind us of the truth that God is, that Love is. With the passage of time, these spiritual practices have become largely rituals. As a result, an understanding of their significance and efficacy has declined. Sometimes, wrong understanding has crept in also.
One of these is the Naivedyam that we do at the conclusion of worship.
However grand or simple a worship may be, sans the feeling of offering oneself completely to Bhagavan, it is not of much benefit. The Naivedyam part of worship facilitates this “offering oneself completely” to Bhagavan.
Naivedyam means “report submission”. It is not food, as generally understood today. What is the report that is being submitted?
You are the primordial sound Aum. You are the consciousness in my physical and mental worlds. You are the most beneficent. You are the self-creating power in me. You are incomparably great. I meditate on your effulgence. Strengthen my discriminating power.
Let me beget your effulgence. Let me soak in Love and sprinkle it.
My out-going breath is you only. What a blessing! Hail to you!
My incoming breath is you only. What a blessing! Hail to you!
My breath pervading through my body is you only. What a blessing! Hail to you!
My last-breath leaving my body is you only. What a blessing! Hail to you!
After leaving my body, my breath becomes one with everything. What a blessing! Hail to you!
In oneness, I am Brahman, the most expansive, itself. What a blessing! Hail to you!
Aum | bhurbhuvassuvah | tat savituh varenyam bhargo devasya dheemahi | dheeyo nah prachodayaat ||
devasavitah prasoova | satyam tvarthena parishinchaami ||
praanaaya svaah | apaanaaya svaah | vyaanaaya svaah| udaanaaya svaah | samaanaaya svaah | brahmane svaah||
Naivedyam also means “an offering’. Lovingly, I offer fruits etc and say “I offer without any ownership”, “samarpayaami”.
[https://aahaaram.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/navratri-2015-naivedyam-and-colours-to-wear-vijayawada-kanaka-durgamma.png][http://www.chinnajeeyar.org/main/content/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/1265794_644210418945197_1010558940_o.jpg] [https: //www.google.com /searchq=anudinam+naivedyam+image&espv=2&biw=1152&bih=588&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0CDcQ7AlqFQoTCO61lbvxvcgCFcfVgAoddU8O8Q#imgrc=k81oHoaaSUg1AM%3A]
Since I would take sips of water while I eat, I offer the same saying “I offer water in between”, “madhye madhye paaneeyam samarpayaami”.
Then, at the end, I say “amritaapitaa namasi”, “ Let my feeling of separation from you dissolve in the Immortality you are. May it be this way”
This is the beautiful report written and bequeathed to us by elders singing the song of selfless Love. They experienced and became one with the Love within and without. If I recite this report well and submit it as prescribed, then I get a good report card in the halls of divinity.
With every naivedyam I do, I then become less selfish and more loving.