Friday 7 August 2020

Brahmarpanam ( food prayer ) word to word meaning and commentary

This is a very powerful shloka which finds place in the Bhagavad Gita. When recited, it changes food to prasadam.

Brahmārpaṇam brahma haviḥ

brahmāgnau brahmaṇāhutam

brahmaiva tena gantavyam

brahma karma samādhinā

aham vaiśvānaro bhūtva

prāṇināṁ deham āśritaḥ

prāṇāpāna samāyuktaḥ

pacāmyannaṁ catur vidham

( Bhagavad Gita Chapter IV,Verse 24 & Chapter XV,Verse 14 )

brahma = Brahman ( absolute consciousness - God )

arpaṇam = the act of giving

havihi = material that is given ( in a yajna )

agnau = agni ( Fire )

brahmaṇāhutam = the physical act of giving aahuti to Brahman.

*aahuti is the offering given in a yajna*

brahma + eva + tena + gantavyam :

brahma = Brahman

eva = only

tena = all those mentioned above

gantavyam = destination

Overall meaning and commentary : 

The truth of Advaita - everything is consciousness. Everything is Brahman. The very act of offering (of food )is Brahman. The material ( food ) offered into the fire of the yajna is brahman. The very fire of the Yajna ( digestive juices and enzymes of the alimentary canal ) is brahman in the form of Lord Agni. The final destination of the offerings ( food ) into the fire ( digestion ) is also brahman.

Everything is consciousness. Everything is energy. The very act of digestion is equated to a fire sacrifice. Every morsel of food we put into our body is an offering to Lord Agni. Therefore, we should only offer sacred food.


karma = action

samādhinā :

sam = equal

ā + dhinā = subservient

aham = I am

vaiśvānaraha = The form of Lord Agni in the stomach ( in the form of digestive juices and enzymes )

bhūtva = having become

prāṇinā = of the prāṇi.prāṇi refers to those with prāṇa ( life force ).It generally refers to animals.

deham = body

āśritaha = residing in a place.

Overall meaning and commentary :

One who realises that every action is brahman in momentum, realises that he is verily brahman. He centralises in the truth of the Vedas - tat tvam asi : I am THAT

Vaishvaanaraha, who is brahman in the form of Agni in the alimentary canal reside in the body of the beings who eat.

prāṇa = the incoming breath

apāna = the outgoing breath

samāyuktaha :

sam = equally

aa + yuktaha = to join

pacāmi = I digest

annam = food

catuhu = four

vidham = types

Overall meaning and commentary :

This verse speaks about respiration. The incoming breath completes the process of deriving energy from digested food. Carbon dioxide is excreted through exhalation. The equal ingoing and outgoing breath join together to find completion to the digestion of the four types of food.

What are the four types of food ?

carvya = chewable food ; rice

cūṣya =  suckable food ; sugarcane

lehya =   lickable food ; honey

peya  =   drinkable food ; milk

*Here, we can see how advanced the Vedic Civilisation was. Today, we can be nourished through nasogastric feeding, intravenous path, or sublingual absorption. The tablets and medications we swallow do not come under food. Not all that nourishes is food.