Sri Mahaprasad

MAHAPRASAD is the main offering of rice in
Jagannath Temple.
In most temples of India, devotees may take "PRASAD", holy food that has been offered to the deities. But only here in Jagannath Puri is this blessed food called "MAHAPRASAD''. "MAHA" has two meanings here. First, it means great. Lord Jagannath is described as MAHA BAHU, the Lord with the great arms. MAHA PRABHU. So this word MAHAPRASAD itself gives us the impression of something great.


The second meaning of MAHAPRASAD is MA-PRASAD". for the main thali must be taken to Mother Bimalas temple and returned and mixed in all the other pots offered before it is considered fit to be "eaten" by Lord Jagannath. Only then can it be distributed to all, without distinction of caste or creed.
Only MAHAPRASAD can be eaten by all together, whatever the religion or race, even on the same banana leaf. Daily 5,000 may be fed. but on big festival days, one to ten million. The temple kitchen of Lord Jagannath is considered to be the biggest hotel in the world, serving all without reservation or previous notice.
the taste of MAHAPRASAD cannot be duplicated outside the temple. It is also the direct experience of devotees inside that when cooks carry the BHOG from the kitchen to the temple, it has no VASANA, no fragrance, no sweet aroma. But after offering, when they carry it from the temple to ANANDA BAZAAR for sale, it smells divinely sweet. In the process of puja, it is blessed by all the gods and goddesses, and by Lord Jagannath Himself. At the time of food offering, only the three priests doing the puja are allowed to be inside. It is felt Lord Jagannath is actually "taking His food" at this time.


In the 1800"s one British Collector of Puri by the name of Armstrong questioned a worshipper about this. He gave 108 Magajaj Ladus to oiler in the temple. The sevaka returned later, but all' 108 were still there. So the British collector doubted Lord Jagan-nath even more. The worshipper suggested that the weight of] the offering be taken next time. When it was returned, the weight was 4 or 5 kg. less, and Armstrong became a great believer after-wards.Actually MAHAPRASAD is cooked by no one but Mother Lakshmi Herself; all are felt to be Her servants.As she is not attentive to the cooking on the days when Lord Jagannath is said to be sick before RATH YATRA, the food is less tasty. During RATH YATRA, when Lord Jagannath is in another temple, called GUNDICHA TEMPLE, she is said to have no mind to cook and the food is totally tasteless.The kitchen fire is called VAISHNAVA AGNI, because it is the fire in the kitchen of Lord Jagannath, and used to serve Vishnu Himself. If is never put out. Charcoals are kept burning day and night by one worshipper, called AKHANDA MEKAPA. It is considered to be a great blessing to be a worshipper of Lord Jagannath in the temple. When one dies, the relatives take fire from the! temple kitchen itself to bum the body in the cremation ground. He is considered a member of the Lord's immediate family.MAHAPRASAD is a intimate part of the day to day life of the worshipper community. It is taken and distributed at the time a child is born. at every holy ceremony throughout his life, and at the time of death.
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