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Kara Parshad or Guru Parshad is a sweet vegetarian*1 pudding, which is offered to all visitors to the Darbar Sahib in a Gurdwara. Kara Parshad is made from equal parts, by weight, of flour, ghee (clarified butter) water and gur (raw sugar) and is understood and experienced as a blessing from the Guru and should not be refused.
Those who prepare it bathe beforehand and recite hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib as they make it. When cooked, it is covered with a white cloth which is sprinkled with water as a symbol of cleanliness. It is then placed near the Guru Granth Sahib. During the Ardas at the end of worship it is stirred with a small kirpan(sword). It is then given to all who are present as a sign of their equality and unity. Offering kara parshad also makes sure that no one leaves the Guru's presence empty handed.
The recipe was given by Guru Gobind Singh and the experience of receiving the Guru's Parshad is a reminder that all blessings come by Guru's kirpa (grace) and that everything we receive in life is sweet to us because it comes from the Guru.
The ingredients for Kara Parshad are donated by members of the Sangat (congregation) often to commemorate special events in their family life. When you are offered Kara Parshad, you should accept it sitting down with cupped hands raised high to make it easy for the Sewadar to serve you. The Parshad is then transferred to the palm of one hand and eaten with the other hand. It is a good idea to take a “Napkin” to wipe any excess ghee off your hands.
It has a very high sugar and oil content, if these ingredients are not suitable for you, ask the Sewadar to give you a very small amount of “Parshad”– Say “very small portion” (or "sa-vah-yah") to the Sewadar (volunteer) as the approaches you and before you put up your cupped hands. You should take a small plastic bag (or ask for one from the Sewadar (volunteer) serving the Kara Parshad) to save your Kara Parshad to give to another later, or perhaps offer it to a child who is present if it is not to your taste – Please do not refuse it or throw it away as this is considered disrespectful to the Guru.
- 1: Kara parshad does contain a dairy product called "ghee" which is clarified butter. It is a pure oil with no milk solids.
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