Panchamrit- the drink of Gods
Traditions and cultures are important aspects of our life. They are the rituals that had been passed to us from generations. Some of these rituals had started thousands of years ago according to history and mythologies. Many things represent a ritual and the tradition that possesses those rituals. They may have a specific cloth that they wear for the tradition, specific food that they eat, and a specific day of the year for that ritual. Hinduism also has made its mara as it is very rich in cultures and traditions.
They have many special food items for special rituals. Also, as there are more than 2 billion Hindus living in various parts of the world, they all have various unique traditions unique to their own region. Panchamrit may be the ritual food that may be common for almost all of them. In some places, the ingredients may slightly differ for panchamrit but it is a compulsory item required in Yagya and puja.
What is Panchamrit?
Panchamrit is made by the combination of two words, the first one is Pancha and the second one is Amrit. In Sanskrit, Pancha means five and Amrit is the special nectar that the gods drink in heaven which keeps them immortal and gives them divine strength.
Panchamrit like the divine nectar of the gods does not provide the immortal life but it is named so because it is made by the combination of the foods that are considered extremely healthy and are the source of great energy.
Ingredients for Panchamrit
Panchamrit is made for prasad in most of the pujas. Almost all Hindus make this prasad in various Yagya and pujas. The number of Hindus in the world is huge and most of them reside in the southern part of Asia, in the countries like Nepal and India. Due to the regional difference and variations in the culture people living in the various parts of the place use various types of ingredients.
In Nepal, people make Panchamrit as Prasad and use the ingredients milk, curd, ghee, honey, and sakkhar.
In Northern India, people make Panchamrit by using Jaggery (Tulsi) in the place of Sakkhar while other ingredients milk, curd, ghee, and honey remain the same.
Also, the variation of ingredients occurs in other parts of India also. In Tamil Nādu Panchamrit is made of banana, ghee, honey, Tulsi, and cardamom.
There are some variations in the making of panchamrit but the key ingredients like milk, ghee, honey, and curd are almost compulsory in all of the regions. Whatever the ingredients may be, their prime quality is that they are natural ingredients that are made from natural processes and not from industrial processing. Another quality that the ingredients share is that they are full of healthy nutrients, vitamins, and high in energy.
Let’s know about the 5 elements of Panchamrit in detail. They each play a key role in the life of people. The five elements are as follows:
Milk is an extremely rich nutritious liquid that is produced by mammals through their mammary glands to feed their young ones. When the mammal gives birth to their young ones their mammary gland also goes through a lot of changes as so do their bodies. From the moment of birth, they start to produce milk for their young ones. They consume no other food for some time and are only dependent on their mother’s milk.
In this world, there is almost no human that does not know the role of milk in their life. They are very nutritious and are consumed by all mammals. Human children consume the milk of their mothers while adults consume the milk of animals like cows, Buffaloes, goats, and some other animals. Milk has various elements that give it the first spot as a nutritious food. Nowadays, milk is also available in powder form and goes through various processing techniques. However, it still cannot match the nutritional value of the fresh milk from the mammary gland of the mammals.
Milk is not just for little infants but is very healthy for adults also. People consume the milk of various mammals and get various essential nutrients and minerals from them. Also, it is the chief ingredient in the formation of Panchamrit. For the making of Panchamrit, only cow milk is used. While the milk of buffalo and other mammals is also very nutritious and healthy for the making of Panchamrit only cow milk is used. This is because in Hinduism a cow is the holiest animal, and its milk is also considered as sacred. In the Hindu family, if they have a cow, they are worshipped each day in the morning, that is how holy cows are to them and their milk is also very sacred.
In simple terms, curd is one of the products that is made from milk. It went through the process where it transforms and gains new qualities that are different from milk in general. It is the final product of the transformation of milk if the goal is making curd. However, it is the first step in making ingredients like cheese and paneer. Milk goes through the process of coagulation to form the curd. In this process, the protein and minerals of milk come together to form coagulation and come together to form the solid mass which we know as the curds.
The process can be done by adding external elements such as old curd, or other mediums to promote the process. However, this process also completes naturally even if you leave the milk for 1 to 2 days. To make better quality curd people add external agents as just leaving it overnight may decrease its quality.
The second element of Panchamrit is curd. It has a different quality than milk and gets some major change. For instance, unlike milk, which is a perfect liquid, it is a semi-liquid as it is a coagulated mass. It is good for bones and skin and provides good digestion for the people who consume it.
It is the third element in making Panchamrit. The ghee for making Panchamrit is also obtained from the cow. As the cow is considered the holiest animal in Hinduism the necessary equipment is made from cow milk. This element is also the product of milk. It is refined butter. The process begins when the milk is turned into curd. At first, butter is separated from the curd, then the butter is heated to separate ghee from butter. After heating for some time, it melts into ghee.
Ghee is one of the ingredients in making food, it can be used in the place of oil or for various culinary purposes. It is believed to be one of the most beneficial ingredients, it is used with proper care and cautiously. It is the final step of the conversion of milk in the direction of ghee. After turning to ghee, the transformation of milk has stopped.
Pure ghee looks yellow in color and is soft. In the winter it turns into a hard solid while in the summertime it may be liquid or semi-liquid depending upon the temperature of the environment.
It is the third element in the making of Panchamrit. Unlike curd and milk, it may not dissolve in the mixture immediately in the making of Panchamrit. After the addition of ghee, we have added more than half of the elements in the process of making panchamrit.
Ghee is one of the important parts of Ayurveda also. Various treatments are done through the medium of ghee. It is also beneficial for consumption. It is a thing that is rich in Vitamin A, Linoleic acid, and omega 3 fatty acid. Ghee is also rich in essential fats that are very beneficial to the body. Too much ghee may make your body obese but the right amount as a medicine can do wonders for your body.
Honey is a substance that is made by bees, and which possesses a sweet taste, and is viscous in nature. Bee stores honey in a wax-like structure after collecting nectar and pollen from the flowers. Honey is the fourth element in the making of Panchamrit. It is very popular among people due to its taste and its various health benefits. At first, honey was only available in the forest and the wild bees collected them. In the process of civilization, people took those wild bees and domesticated them.
Ever since the start of civilization honey has been with us on our journey. It is extremely healthy as it is natural and is made from flowers. Also, the honey possesses the qualities of the flower from which most of the nectar is collected so there are many types of honey with various properties. It when consumed protects from the cold and provides the needed nutrients to the body. It is very easy to consume even by children and it is viscous in nature, and even the digestion of children can easily break it down. Also, the taste makes it the favorite of children.
Honey in panchamrit comes with all its medicinal quality and taste. It gives panchamrit sweet taste and all of its health benefits. Unlike the proportion of milk and curd, honey and ghee are added in less amount. Add honey to the point when panchamrit gives a little bit of a sweet taste, as more than that is not needed.
It is the final element in making panchamrit. After adding it the process of making Panchamrit is completed. Many people may not know what shakkhar is. Let’s first know what shakkar is. It is sugar but unlike the industry manufactured sugar it is homemade ayurvedic sugar. It is made by boiling sugarcane juice. The sugarcane juice is poured into a bowl, and it is heated till the juice solidifies and turns into a semi-solid mass which after cooling turns into a solid mass. It has a dark chocolate-like appearance and is very sweet. It is also an ayurvedic item alongside one of the key ingredients in the process of making Panchamrit.
Many articles say that processed and industry-manufactured sugar is harmful to the body, and we should reduce the amount of industry sugar we consume. Industrial sugar indeed has various disadvantages and in the long term harms the body in many ways. However, Shakkar is not like processed sugar and is different in many ways. The first is that instead of depleting the body of nutrients, it gives the body various nutrients and minerals. It is rich in minerals like zinc, iron, and magnesium.
Like ghee and honey, it is also added in little proportion. It also like honey adds a sweet taste to panchamrit. After the addition of shakkhar to panchamrit the process of making panchamrit is completed.
The process of making panchamrit:
As the recipe of Panchamrit varies according to the region the making of the panchamrit also varies according to the place. However, since the base elements are almost the same so they may not differ that much.
First assemble all the elements that we are going to need to make Panchamrit which are milk, ghee, curd, honey, and shakkar. Then put another empty bowl near it on which the mixture of panchamrit is going to be made. The amount of ingredients that are needed will vary according to the amount of panchamrit we are going to make. However, the proportion of the elements will be the same no matter how much we are going to make. Let’s talk about making a cup of panchamrit.
Add half a cup of Panchamrit to the empty bowl, then add another half cup of curd to the mixture. Then stir for a bit. We are going to stir the bowl with a spoon after the addition of each element to get a better mixture. Then add one spoon of each of the three elements. First, add ghee, then honey, and then shakkar. Also, the mixture should be stirred after the addition of each of these. If you prefer a sweeter taste, then you can add more honey or shakkar to the mixture. After the addition of the final element stir the mixture for some time. This completes the process of making Panchamrit for various puja and rituals.