O Mother Annapurna, who is Mother Earth, Governess of all beings, Divine Mother who grants bountiful nourishment and sustenance, whose dark tresses are arranged in braids, who ever nourishes, verily the great Deliverer and bestower of eternal welfare, Presiding Deity of the city of Kashi, O renderer of the support of compassion, grant me alms! ~ Annapurna Ashtakam
The Hindu Goddess Annapurna is said to be an emanation, a form, of beloved Shakti Goddess Parvati. Her name means anna (food, grains) and purna (filled completely). She is the Giver of Food, Goddess of nourishment and cooking, Ruler of the Kitchen, as well as the sustainer of prosperity.
In Annapurna’s hands, she has a jeweled, sacred container of food and a spoon showing her offering of food to the people. In front of her are many plates, symbolic of her promise to provide. Many Hindu homes, restaurants, and food businesses have altars for Annapurna and she is vital in Hindu beliefs and customs since food is an integral part of society and worship.
Invoke Annapurna while you are preparing meals. Food may be prepared with mindfulness, holiness, imparting the blessing of the Gods (and the preparer!) through the alchemy of the prepared food. Annapurna is not just the physical food, but she is nourishment in action.Through Annapurna’s grace, we become Goddess breathing nourishment, wisdom, sustenance, love into the food we prepare. The bounty of Annapurna sustains our “temples”, our bodies, on a daily basis. By consuming food with divine awareness, we invite the sacred energy of Annapurna to fill us inside and out. Annapurna removes lack both in the emotional world and physical world.
Annapurna’s day is Monday, although you may offer prayers and invite her nourishment before every meal. Generally, the food prepared and offered for Annapurna is vegetarian and can include rice or even sweets. She also likes fragrant, bright flowers.
Prayer to Annapurna before eating:
Annapurna Sada Purna
Shankara Prana Vallabhe
Jyana Vairakya Sowbagya Sidhyartham
Biksham Dehicha Parvati
Oh Annapurna Complete in All Things
In the breath of Lord Shiva sheltered
For perfect wisdom I am Your beggar
To You Parvati give me Alms
Annapurna Jayanti is the Goddess Annapurna’s birthday and occurs on the ‘Purnima’ (full moon day) of the ‘Margashirsha’ month in the traditional Hindu calendar. For 2019, Annapurna Jayanti is celebrated on December 11 and this changes every year. Annapurna is also celebrated on the fourth day of Navratri, Durga Puja which begins on October 3, 2019.
May Annapurna nourish you each and every day!
THE STORY OF THE GODDESS ANNAPURNA
Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati used to play the game of dice. Once they were playing and the game became very interesting. They started betting. Parvati kept her jewels and Shiva kept his trident. Shiva lost the game and he lost his trident. So in the next game he bet his snake to get back the trident. He lost in this game too. He played more and bet more and kept on losing. Eventually he lost everything including his begging bowl.
Shiva felt very humiliated and went to Deodar forest to meet Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu approached Shiva who told him everything about what had happened. Lord Vishnu then told Shiva to play the game again. He told him that he will win back everything he had lost in the next game. Shiva took Lord Vishnu’s advice and went back to play the game again.
Goddess Parvati became suspicious of Shiva’s sudden turn of fortunes that led him to win back everything. She called him a cheat. This led to an argument between the two of them. Finally, Lord Vishnu appeared as he could not take the fight anymore. He told them that the dice in the game had moved according to his wish and they were only under an illusion that they had been playing.
To this Shiva added that everything materialistic was just an illusion or Maya. Everything that we possessed was an illusion. Even the food we ate was Maya. This made Goddess Parvati angry. She did not agree that food was an illusion. She said that calling food an illusion was equivalent to calling her an illusion. So in order to show Lord Shiva and the world her importance she disappeared saying that she wanted to see how the world would survive without food.
Her disappearance meant that Nature came to a standstill. There were no changes in seasons. Everything became barren. The lands became infertile. Nothing grew anymore. This led to severe drought and a huge shortage of food.
The Gods, humans and demons all kept praying for food. Goddess Parvati heard the prayers and she could not see her children perishing out of hunger. So she appeared in Kashi (Varanasi) and started distributing food.
Shiva realized his mistake and the fact that he was incomplete without Shakti. So he appeared before Goddess Parvati in Kashi with a begging bowl in his hands. He said her that he had realized his mistake that food could not be dismissed as an illusion and it was required to nourish the body as well as the inner soul. Since then Goddess Parvati is worshipped as the Goddess of food – Annapurna Devi. It is believed that if the food is cooked with a spirit of holiness it becomes sacred as Annapurna blesses it. ~ Temple Purohit
MANTRAS OF THE GODDESS ANNAPURNA
‘Om Annapurnayai Namaha’
‘Om Sadapurnayai Namaha’
‘Om Hrim Namo Bhagavati Maheswari Annapurne Swaha’
‘Om Hreem Shreem Kleem Namo Bhagwatye Maheshwari Annapurne Swaha’
Annapurna Gayatri Mantra
‘Om Bhagwatye Vidmahe
Tanna Annapurna Prachodayat’.