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.
Avil is roasted, beaten rice flake, and malar is flower. Avil, the roasted rice flakes, and malar, the flowers, together form a special offering called Avilum Malarum, and they remain a popular oblation made to the deities in many of the Kerala temples. Here, this Avilum Malarum oblation is made to Lord Vishnu.
What is the importance of Lord Vishnu?
Lord Vishnu is the God of preservation, the one who protects and sustains the universe. One among the holy trinity of supreme Gods, he is said to be the physical manifestation of spiritual consciousness. He guards all the living beings on Earth and blesses the devotees with long lives, prosperity, peace, happiness and success. This Lord remains the presiding deity of this Avilum Malarum Nivedhyam.
How is the Avilum Malarum offering made and what are the benefits of doing it?
In this worship, a ceremonial offering of avil, the roasted, beaten rice flakes, and malar, the flowers, is made reverentially to Lord Vishnu as a nivedhyam. Performing this worship and offering prayers to the Lord will get for the devotees his divine protection. This will help them to succeed in endeavors and have overall welfare.