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Brahmarpanam Brahma Havir
Prayer before eating

This prayer is said before each meal in the three canteens/cafeterias at Prasanthi Nilayam.

mp3 file of the prayer

Brahmarpanam Brahma Havir
Brahmagnau Brahmanaahutam
Brahmaiva Tena Ghantavyam
Brahmakarma Samadhina

Phonetic spelling
brahmaarpaNam brahma havir
brahmaagnaou brahmaNa aahutam
brahmaiva tEna gantavyam
brahma karma samaadhinaa

ब्रह्मार्पणं ब्रह्म हविर्ब्रह्माग्नौ ब्रह्मणाहुतम् ।
ब्रह्मैव तेन गन्तव्यं ब्रह्म कर्म समाधिना ।।

The act of offering is God, the oblation is God
By God it is offered into the Fire of God
God is That which is to be attained by him
      who performs action pertaining to God

Word-for-word translation:
brahma: spiritual in nature.   arpanam: contribution.   brahma: the Supreme.
     havih: butter
brahma: spiritual.   agnau: in the fire of consummation.
      brahmana: by the spirit soul.   aahutam: offered.
brahma: spiritual kingdom:   eva: certainly.   tena: by him.  gantavyam: to be reached.
brahma: spiritual.  karma: in activities.   samadhina: by complete absorption.

Aham Vaishvanaro Bhutva
Praninaam Dehamaashritaha
Pranapana Samayuktah
Pachaamyannam Chaturvidham

Phonetic spelling
aham vaisvaanarO bhootvaa
praaNinaam dEhamaaSritaH
praaNaapaana samaayuktaha
pachaamyannam chaturvidham

अहं वैश्वानरो भूत्वा प्राणिनां देहमाश्रितः ।
प्राणापान समायुक्तः पचाम्यन्नं चतुर्विधं ।।

Becoming the life-fire in the bodies of living beings
mingling with the subtle breaths,
I digest the four kinds of food.

Word-for-word translation:
aham:   I. vaisvanarah: My plenary portion as the digesting fire.   bhutva: becoming.
praninam: of all living entities.   deham: in the bodies.   asritah: situated.
prana: the outgoing air.   apana: the down-going air.   samayuktah: keeping in balance.
pachami: I digest.   annam.   foodstuff.    catuh-vidham. the four kinds.

The two verses are from the Bhagavad Gita:

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter IV, verse 24,
Bhagavad Gita, Chapter XV, verse 14.

Swami's explanation of this prayer

We should partake food with a sathwic (pure, serene) mind. Our ancestors recommended the offering of food to God before partaking. Food so partaken becomes prasad (consecrated offering). Prayer cleanses the food of the three impurities caused by the absence of cleanliness of the vessel, cleanliness of the food stuff, and cleanliness in the process of cooking. It is necessary to get rid of these three impurities to purify the food, for pure food goes into the making of a pure mind. It is not possible to ensure the purity of the cooking process because we do not know what thoughts rage in the mind of the man who prepares the food. Similarly, we cannot ensure the cleanliness of the food ingredients because we do not know whether it was acquired in a righteous way by the person who sold it to us. Hence, it is essential on our part to offer food to God in the form of prayer so that these three impurities do not afflict our mind.

The prayer:

Brahmaarpanam Brahma Havir
Brahmaagnau Brahmanaahutam
Brahmaiva Tena Gantavyam
Brahma Karma Samaadhinaha

Aham Vaishvaanaro Bhutva
Praaninaam Dehamaashritha
Praanaapaana Samaa Yuktaha
Pachaamyannam Chatur Vidam

Harir Daatha Harir Bhoktha
Harir Annam Prajaapatih
Harir Vipra Shareerastu
Bhoonkte Bhojayathe Harih.

"The food thus offered to God is digested by 'Vaishwanara" in the digestive system. Since God exists in the form of fire as Vaishwanara, He digests the food along with the impurities. So, man will not be affected even i the impurities enter the food."

Sathya Sai Baba
Summer Showers in Brindavan 1993, Page 86

Potency of Brahmaarpanam Mantra

"When I was in Brindavan in May this year, I had the opportunity to attend the morning talks at Sai Krishan Kalyana Mandap. On one of the days, Uncle Prahlad Rao gave a talk and he covered the potency of the food mantra stated below.

In the early days (70s if I recall), Swami had asked all the Brindavan campus college boys to join Him for lunch. At that time, only about 100 boys were there. Kirlian photographer Dr Baranowski was also there and was invited for lunch. The sumptuous food was laid out on plates in front of the boys. The boys were waiting for Swami to come and join them. Dr Baranowski then used his Kirlian camera and took photos of the food laid out on the plates. No aura was found around the plates of food.

Later, Swami arrived and joined the boys for lunch. The boys recited the Brahmaarpanam mantra before partaking the food. After the mantra was recited, Dr Baranowski again took pictures of the food. This time, a blue aura was found around the plates of food. He was excited, but, having a scientific mind, asked Swami for the reason for the blue aura around the food. Swami said that the Brahmaarpanam mantra is a very powerful mantra and that after recitation, the food is converted to prasadam, since it has been offered to God. It further purifies the food and all items around it. That is why the blue aura was found around the plates of food after the mantra was recited.

The mantra and its meaning is given below.

Brahmaarpanam Brahma Havir
Brahmaagnau Brahmanaahutam
Brahmaiva Tena Gantavyam
Brahma Karma Samaadhinaha

The whole creation being the gross projection of Brahman,
the Cosmic Consciousness itself; the food too is Brahman,
the process of offering it is Brahman; it is being offered in the fire of Brahman.
He who thus sees that Brahman is action reaches Brahman alone.

Aham Vaishvaanaro Bhutva
Praaninaam Dehamaashritha
Praanaapaana Samaa Yuktaha
Pachaamyannam Chatur Vidam

I, the Supreme Spirit, abiding in the body of living beings
as the Fire (Vaiswanara) in their stomach I am associated
with their Praana and Apaana, digest the four type of foods
(solids, fluids, semi-fluid and liquid) which they eat.

Reference: Daily Prayers to Bhagwan, compiled by Smt. Kausalya Rani Raghwan.