What is a nivedhyam and what is its significance?
A nivedhyam is an offering made to the deities. Even though the idols of the deities are made of stone, five metals or any other material, they are not mere inert objects, but are considered active matter imbibed with energies that can connect and resonate with human life forms. They have manifested in various forms on Earth, thus making themselves available to influence and elevate the lives of those who are willing to connect with them. While offering delicacies like sweets and fruits is a good way of expressing our gratitude to the divine forms, there is a much higher and practical intelligence involved in this form of worship. Of the six tastes, only sweet is considered generally satwic. Satwa is a pure, light, clear, calming and harmonizing energy that opens the mind and promotes wakefulness. Fruits themselves are natural sweets which are pleasant in taste and are nourishing for the body. Similarly, brown rice, nuts and seeds, milk, honey, raw sugar and jaggery are also satwic foods, and when consumed in balance, they provide a better power of perception, as they nourish both the brain and the heart. Thus, these offerings come from the practical logic to encourage the use and consumption of satwic foods as a healthy body-and-mind-building mechanism. Such foods allow the mind to stay clear and focused. It can be easily observed that behind all the practices that are performed as remedies, like nivedhyam, there is a clear understanding of the mechanics of body-mind consciousness and their relatedness. Understanding this underlying principle helps to appreciate and approach the remedies with better focus and reverence.
What is an appam?
An appam is a sweet rice cake prepared with rice flour and jaggery. Traditionally cooked in a bronze pan called an appakara, this crisp delicacy is in the shape of a small, very thick roti, the Indian bread, with a bulge in the middle. An appam is offered as a special nivedhyam in a large number of temples all over South India, especially in Kerala. Here, an appam is offered to Lord Ganapathi, the remover of obstacles.
What is the importance of Lord Ganapathi?
Ganapathi is an important God in the Hindu pantheon. Regarded as the son of Lord Shiva, he is hailed as a remover of obstacles and a harbinger of success, and is both loved and venerated. He has an elephant face, but also has a primordial form with a human face. He is celebrated as a hero of strength, as a happy dancer, as a sweet child and many more. It is considered a good and essential custom to seek his blessings while starting any endeavor. Lord Ganapathi remains the presiding deity of this worship.
How is the nivedhyam of appam made and what are the benefits of doing it?
In this worship, a ceremonial offering of an appam, the sweet cake, is made reverentially to Lord Ganapathi as a nivedhyam. This will get for the devotees the blessings of the Lord and will help to clear obstacles. This will also aid the devotees to overcome feelings of loneliness and depression, and to become energetic and outgoing.