Nivedhyam - Kozhukattai/Modakam
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 satvic. Satva 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 satvic 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 satvic 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 kozhukattai or modakam?
Kozhukattai, or modakam, is a tasty eatable made principally of rice flour. This popular delicacy, which can be termed a “dumpling,” is prepared both as a sweet and also as a savory. The sweet variety of this item is made generally by stuffing jaggery, coconut scrapings, etc. in a ball of rice dough, while black gram is steamed, broken and tempered with mustard seeds and filled into the rice ball in the case of a savory. The stuffed ball of rice flour is then boiled, fried or baked to prepare kozhukattai. Lord Ganapati himself is called Modakapriya, a lover of modakams, as this delicious item remains his great favorite. It can even be said that there can be no Ganesha Chaturthi worship without these delicacies.
Here too, this Kozhukattai Nivedhyam is made to Lord Ganapati only.
What is the importance of Lord Ganapati?
Ganapati 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 Ganapati remains the presiding deity of this worship.
How is the nivedhyam of kozhukattai/modakam made and what are the benefits of doing it?
In this worship, a ceremonial offering of kozhukattai, or modakam, is made reverentially to Lord Ganapati as a nivedhyam. This can please the Lord immensely and get for the devotees his complete blessings. This can remove impediments and help them achieve success in endeavors. This can also provide the necessary impetus for their spiritual elevation.