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KARAH PRASAD

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KARAH PRASAD. Kardh, soft sweetened food made of Hour or semolina and ghee, which placed before the Guru Granth Sahib as offering gets transub-stantiatcd for Sikhs into prasdd, i.e. a mark of AkalPurakh`s grace.Kardh Prasdd is thus the sacrament which is distributed among the sangat after ardds at all Sikh religious services and ceremonies. The word kardh is derived from Sanskrit katdh which means a large boiling pan, and what is cooked therein by the specific formula has, by transference of meaning, come to be called kardh. In Sikh parlance, this communion food is also known by several other names such as deg, tihdvalor iribhdvali (lit. made of three ingredients of equal quantity, viz.

ghee or clarified butter, wheat flour and sugar) and panchamrit (most blessed sacrament). Kardh is common to some other religious traditions as well. Muslims, who call it halvd, prepare it in large quantities on the occasion of Eid. Kardhwas also offered among the ancient Aryans to the deities and idols as Idpasi. For kardh prasdd meant for offering at a Sikh assembly, its main ingredients, ghee, wheat Hour and sugar, must be weighed out in equal measures.

The cooking place or kitchen must be cleaned to ensure sanctity as well as hygienic standards, and a person cleanly dressed should be ready to take charge of the proceedings in the prescribed manner. Reciting the holy hymns, water, four times the weight of one of the ingredients, will be heated and sugar poured into it to dissolve and the mixture brought to boiling point in an open pan, called kardhlor kardhd, more ceremonially, deg; then ghee is heated and the wheat flour is fried and roasted brown in it. The syrup of sugar is then poured down into the pan and stirred.

The preparation, properly made, will show ghee floating around the sweet substance.It is then transferred to some other pan, generally a large salver, and is covered with a clean white piece of linen, and taken to the presence of the Guru Granth Sahib in gurudwara or site of the assembly, before the service is concluded with ardds. The kardh prasdd is touched with the tip of a kirpdn or sword before it is distributed. Then, the granthi, or any other pious Sikh, puts in a saucer, the symbolic `shares` of Panj Piare, i.e. the Five Beloved and distributes it among five amritdhdn Sikhs of approwd standing from among the assembly.

After this, some volunteers, generally led by the granlhi, distribute the holy sacrament among the sangat, without any distinction of status or caste.Every one, whatever his worldly position or station, must receive prasdd while sitting on the floor, with both hands piously cupped. 11 is partaken of as a mark of receiving divine grace. This tradition of offering kardh prasdd in a gurudwara is traced back to Guru Arjan, who himself went to the Harimandar to offer prasdd on certain occasions.

Ordinarily, kardh prasdd is prepared in the gurudwara itself, but people are free to prepare it, in the prescribed manner and with due care, at home and bring it to be offered at the gurudwara.In the larger gurudwaras which arc under the control of the Shiromam Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Amritsar, there arc set counters from which readymade kardh prasdd is available on cash payment, generally in multiples of one and a quarter of a rupee. The devotees then carry it reverentially into the sanctuary. The deg or kardh prasdd is compulsory offering at all Sikh ceremonies and observances.

However, on less important occasions or if the devotee at whose instance the divan takes place cannot afford it, other and less expensive types of prasdd can be offered. These substitutes are limited to four commodities, viz., paldsds (sugar crystals), gur (unclarificd sugar), phal (fruit) and makfuinas or Idchiddnd (sugar plums). Other sweets are not ordinarily offered as prasdd, but are not forbidden.

References :

1. Sikh Rnhit. Maryadd. Amritsar, 1975
2. Kahn Singh, Bhai, Gnrmnt Sudhnkar. Amritsar, 1922
3. Prakash Singh, `/`he Sikh Gums find the Tfinplf of Hrrud. Amritsar, 1964
4. Teja Singh, Sikhisrn: It`i Ideals and In`stiliilions. Bombay, 1937
5. Cole, W. Owen, and Piara Singh Samblii, `I`hv Sikhs: Their litigious Beliefs and Prncl.iccs. Delhi, 197!"!

More in this category: « KAR BHET GURU KA LANGAR »

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