Coconut as prasad
Unity in Diversity.
This is one statement that I have read and even experienced in India, my country.
But there are certain things, which are exceptions, which have remained the same since their origin, with a never ending contour. Almost every Indian has visited a temple, and has even taken the Prasad (sweet offering).
This Prasad can be of various kinds, but what is very exclusively common is that every Prasad includes something or the other related to Coconut (Nariyal).
In India, Coconut is one of the most common offering in a temple.
People offer coconut as prasad on special, auspicious occasions as well as festivals. They also offer coconuts at the start of something new and important. What you will notice as excessively common is a pot full of water, adorned with mango leaves and a coconut on top, commonly known as Kalash, is also worshiped on important occasions.
Who does not like the process of breaking a Nariyal at the start of a function? This is a kid’s favorite starter for sure!
The Big Question: Why Is Coconut So Significant In Indian Tradition?
Basically, coconut is offered to please the Almighty or to fulfill our desires. There was a time when animal sacrifice (Bali) was practiced, symbolizing the offering of our animal-like tendencies to Lord. But slowly, this practice faded and people started offering coconut instead. This was done because it was not ethical to kill a living being for literally anything.
The Spiritual Symbolism Behind The Coconut as prasad
The outer covering of the dried coconut is removed all over, except for the tuft on top. The marks on the coconut makes it look like a head of a human being. The coconut is broken, symbolizing the breaking of ego. The juice within, represents inner tendencies, is then offered along with the white part- The Mind, to the Lord. A mind, thus purified by the touch of the Lord, is used as Prasad.
But the tradition does not stop there.
Our traditions have relations with science as well. Coconut trees are mostly found on sea shores, and usually thrive on salty water for their own nutrition. Sea water is salty, not edible and is of zero nutritive value.
However, is this the case with Coconut Water? It is said the Coconut Water is the purest form of water available on this planet. It is sweet, nutritive, and also has medicinal uses.
Now what does this signify?
This signifies our nature & personality. Just as a coconut tree converts salty to sweet, we humans should convert our hatred into love, our despairs into happiness, our pride into humanity and our ego into fade, be positive, show positive, act positive, and spread positivity all over.
It is also said that the marks on the coconut are represent the 3 eyed Lord Shiva. Hence it is used offered to the Lord, and even used as a Prasad.