What Is Prashad in Sikhism?

Thousands of Sikh pilgrims get free meals at the Langar of the Golden Temple

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Prashad can be spelled a number ways. The various meanings are often used interchangeably and may encompass any of these:

  • Parsad, parsaad—food.
  • Prasad, prasaad—sweetened confection.
  • Prashad, prashaad—a food offered to God or to Guru, a favor or kindness.

Gur prashad means the Guru's kindness, favor or grace.

Karah prashad, a kind of sacred pudding like sweet, is considered a delicacy, and is made following a particular procedure. It is served to sangat at the close of any worship service. Prashad is made from equal parts of wheat flour, butter and sugar, while reciting scriptures. At a gurdwara, prashad is prepared in the langar kitchen. Prashad is blessed by offering of Ardas, a prayer, often before reading a hukam from the Guru Granth Sahib.

Pronunciation: par saad (aa sounds like o in sod) pra shaad (aa sounds like o in shod)

Prashad Blessings

To perform the blessing during the recitation of Ardas:

  • Prashad is covered by a clean cloth and placed on a low clean platform in front of the the Guru Granth Sahib.
  • The first five and last stanza of the scripture Anand Sahib are recited or sung aloud in the presence of the Guru Granth Sahib and the congregation.
  • A Sikh removes a kirpan, a ceremonial short sword, from its sheath.
  • The Sikh stands facing Siri Guru Granth Sahib and holds the handle of the kirpan between folded hands.
  • The Sikh touches the kirpan to the prashad, passing the steel through it, at the appropriate moment of Ardas, just prior to its conclusion.

Distribution of Prashad

  • Five shares of prashad, representing each one of the five beloved panj pyara, are taken out of the main bowl and distributed.
  • One share is taken out and placed in a small bowl for the Sikh attending Siri Guru Granth Sahib.
  • The remainder of prashad is distributed to sangat, the congregation, without discrimination or regard to rank social status, caste, color or creed.

Anyone offering prashad to Siri Guru Granth Sahib should also make a small cash donation.

Prashad is served:

  • To those who attend a gurdwara, or kirtan program when entering or apon request.
  • At the conclusion of a gurdwara or kirtan program.
  • To anyone who visits or listens to an akhand paath, the continous unbroken reading of the scripture Guru Granth Sahib.
  • At the conclusion of special occasions such as a wedding or Amritsanchar ceremony of Initiation.
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Your Citation
Khalsa, Sukhmandir. "What Is Prashad in Sikhism?" Learn Religions, Feb. 16, 2021, learnreligions.com/prashad-an-offering-2993072. Khalsa, Sukhmandir. (2021, February 16). What Is Prashad in Sikhism? Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/prashad-an-offering-2993072 Khalsa, Sukhmandir. "What Is Prashad in Sikhism?" Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/prashad-an-offering-2993072 (accessed June 3, 2023).