The Kitchen In Santana Dharma

The Kitchen In Santana Dharma

Indian Kitchen in Sanatan Dharma

Our kitchen in Sanatan Dharma is next to the temple in sanctity. Much care is given to the management and maintenance of our kitchen place. All food/meals prepared in the house are first offered in the temple of the house or photos of Gods in our temple.

The food so prepared is prepared in the name of God. First, the food is offered to God, and then the family members take meals. In Sanatan Dharma, whatever food is cooked in the kitchen is in God’s name. In marriages and social functions, the first plate of food is offered to Shree Ganesh ji Maharaj, then mixed with the whole as Prasad. The female or male family member first bathes in the morning and starts daily work in the kitchen. Food is also known as BHOG, PRASHAD, or PRASHADAM as per dialect. There are tithis (dates) in Sanatan Dharma, like GYARAS, AMAVASYA (new moon), and POORNIMA (full moon) as per the lunar calendar. Many people observe fast on the eleventh day of our lunar calendar, that is, GYARAS, food, and donations are offered to the poor in memory of departed souls. Many families across the Indian sub-continent donate food like KHEER POORI and SWEETS. POORNIMA is the full moon day on which we pray to Goddess LAXMI JI AND SHREE VISHNU BHAGWAN, the creator of the universe, with KHEER and a lamp of pure ghee lighted in front of them.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that many medicinal herbs are part of our daily meals, like turmeric, chilies, coriander, basil, cardamom, lemon, cumin, and bay leaf; the list is endless as per the region. And they continue to be handed over from one generation to the next. Not only the quality of food or the dishes counts in Sanatana Dharma, but the mood or BHAV (happiness, joy, cheer, laughter) of the female or male person cooking the food is also in consideration. Females are considered DEVI ANNAPURNA in Hindu homes when preparing food in our kitchen.

The cooked food is supposed to be taken as a gift of God and Prashad. We are supposed to have meals in total sanctity and silence. Our daily routine includes chapatti, pulses, salad or curd, rice, etc., for lunch and roti, poori, parantha sabzi, and some sweets for dinner. All dishes vary from season to season. Indian cuisine is full of varieties from rice, wheat, pulses, jowar, bajra and corn, sugar, jaggery, juices, and vinegar. Vegetables and fruits find a great place around the year. They have become part and parcel of our life.

Thereby kitchen becomes the lifeline, and taste matters the most. The unique feature of SANATAN culture is food is not tasted, even for a level of sugar or salt. First, the food is presented to God. Indian females are so accurate that they put salt, sugar, and spices as per the taste and need of
the dish. Their measurements are so sharp. We don’t have fixed prescriptions for what to use or what not to use. Everything in our country changes as per the region, weather, and preferences of the populace.

The Indian mother cooks Indian food in INDIAN STYLE, Arunachal Pradesh, or Kerala. In many Indian homes, you must put off shoes and footwear outside the house. Many times a small temple is also kept in the kitchen. In many places, the person must bathe before entering the kitchen to cook. The kitchen is not just a collection of fridges, ovens, gas stoves, water, or other equipment. Even modern gadgets have to become part of sanctity, so this is the holy place of the house.

Previously we had CHULHAS (made of bricks and plastered with sand and cow dung by hand), wood was used as a fuel, the chapattis, the pulses, and other dishes had a unique taste compared to the modern era. The fragrance of food cooked on old CHULHAS was incomparable. The fire from wood was adjusted as per the need. The milk used to boil, and to keep it warm, the milk container was kept in burnt woods and on some ashes in PATILI or BHIGONA. In the olden days and now in rural India, people used to sit around and enjoy the delicacies then and there in the kitchen, sitting on the floor.

In Mehsana of Gujarat state, a village called SANKAPURA (tehsil Vijapur), where 45 families cook their food in one kitchen. All enjoy lunch, dinner, tea, etc., in one place. A year ago, 15 couples started this social sentiment to fight loneliness. Now it has become a scene of 45 families in a single kitchen. A good thing about this village’s community kitchen is that 116 families and their members return to the village to enjoy summer vacations and festivals. People return to the village for engagement ceremonies, marriages, and birthday celebrations to enjoy the kitchen.

In Mahabharat, Goddess DRAUPADI(Panchali), wife of Yudhishtir, Bheem, Arjun, Nakul, and Sahdev, had the power to prepare any food meals she desired. She was supposed to think of the dish, which was ready in her pan. This divine power was given to her by GOD SHRI KRISHEN BHAGWAN. And it carried only one condition no sooner Goddess Draupadi started her meals, the food in a pan would last for her. One day Shree Krishen came, just after Goddess Draupadi had her meals, and there was only ONE rice in her pan. But Shree Krishen Bhagwan asked to serve that one grain of rice, which would suffice for him. This gives us teaching to respect our food. In Shriganganagar town of Rajasthan, we have a practice of SANJHA CHULHA in which females come together at a TANDOOR, which belongs to the community, chapattis are prepared (TANDOORI ROTI), the females sing songs and have a chit chat, conversations take place about daily life, and it becomes a great social gathering to know the welfare of the members.
More to share in upcoming write-up on Sanatan Dharma.