Annapoorna devi

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For surbahar player, see Annapurna Devi.
Annapurna Devi
Annapurna devi.jpg
Affiliation Devi, form of Parvati
Abode Himalayas

Annapurna or Annapoorna (Devanagri: अन्नपूर्णा, from Sanskrit meaning the giver of food and nourishment) is the Hindu goddess of nourishment. Anna means "food" or "grains". Purna means "full, complete and perfect". She is an avatar (form) of Parvati, the wife of Shiva. Annapurna is eulogized in Annada Mangal, a narrative poem in Bengali by Bharatchandra Ray.

City of Kashi[edit]

Annapurna is the Goddess of the city of Kashi (now known as Varanasi, U.P., India). Kasi is also known as the City of Light. Ka means the cause, a means the manifestation of consciousness, sa means peace and i is the causal body. Kashi is also the place which causes consciousness to manifest the highest peace of the causal body.

Story of Parvati[edit]

Goddess Parvati was told by her consort Shiva that the world is an illusion and that food is a part of this illusion called māyā. The Divine Mother who is worshiped as the manifestation of all material things, including food, became angry. To demonstrate the importance of her manifestation of all that is material, she disappeared from the world. Her disappearance brought time to a standstill and the earth became barren. There was no food to be found anywhere, and all the beings suffered from the pangs of hunger.

Seeing all the suffering, Mother Parvati was filled with compassion and reappeared in Kasi and set up a kitchen. Hearing about her return, Shiva ran to her and presented his bowl in alms, saying, "Now I realise that the material world, like the spirit, cannot be dismissed as an illusion." Parvati smiled and fed Shiva with her own hands.

Since then Parvati is worshiped as Annapurna, the Goddess of Nourishment.

Epithets[edit]

Annapurna has many names. The Annapurna Sahasranam presents her one thousand names and the Annapurna Shatanama Stotram contains 108 of her names. She is variously described as:

  • She who is full, complete and perfect with food and grains
  • She who gives nourishment
  • She who is the strength of Shiva
  • She who is the grantor of knowledge
  • She who takes away all fear
  • She who is the Supreme welfare
  • She who manifests truth and efficiency
  • She who is beyond Maya
  • She who is the cause of creation and dissolution
  • She who is adi sakthi


Additional names and attributes of Goddess Annapurna as given in Annapurnashtakam Adi Sankaracharya who is also called Jagat -guru ( teacher of the World) in his famous hymn entitled Annapurnashtakam describes Goddess Annapurna in wonderful words. Additional names and attributes given to the Goddess in this Ashtakam describe not only Goddess Parvati but also the other Goddesses like Saraswati, Lakshmi and also Goddess Durga or Kali. It can also be mentioned in this context that Goddess S’akambari Devi also appears to be another name (perhaps the original name) of Goddess Annapurna. A classified list of these names and attributes as mentioned in the Annapurnashtakam is presented below.

 A=   Saraswati ( the Goddess of Voice, Language and Literature)  - Purifier of all poisonous thoughts, one who bestows enough Knowledge and skill to understand and interpret the meaning of the Veda, who is the fundamental Syllable – “ Ohm “ - the main sound that   reverberates  throughout  the cosmos  and from  which all other syllables have  evolved-  which is called the sacred’ Pranava’   Syllable  ‘Ohm’,  who wears a lengthy  garland of white shining  pearls , Who  is the manifestation of  all the letters of the alphabet ,
     B:  Lakshmi :   (Attributes) -Who is an ocean of beauty, who always stays fragrant with the application of –Ayurvedic  spices, that give  great  smell,  who wears  jewellery decked with  multi coloured diamonds/gems,   
     C:  Parvati with her husband Shiva:      Parvati is inseparable from Lord Shiva because she occupies   half  of the body of Shiva. Poet Kalidasa in his salutation to them said, “   I salute Mother Parvati and Lord Parameswara   who are the first parents of the universe and who are inseparable as a word and its meaning I.  Names and attributes that refer to Goddess Parvati (Annapurna) are as follows-

Names of Parvati : Maaheswari ( thr great Ruler),daughter of the king of the mountains( Himalaya), one who lives on Mount Kailas, Gauri

( the golden coloured Lady),Uma, Shankari, Tri Lahari, daughter of Daksha  the Prajapati ( spiritual and temporal head of a community

Attributes- Mistress of the holy city of Kasi , producer of the primordial egg that has evolved in to the Universe, who is capable of opening the doors of heavenly bliss, who fills the mind of Lord Shiva with joy, whose left breast showers sweet milk that nourishes the new-born .

D:        Goddess Kali: In addition to the above the author had obliquely referred   to another pre- Aryan Goddess who is called Durga or Kali. Her names and attributes are as follows-  Kumari ( the  eternal  Virgin),Nityankusa  ( a warrior Goddess who always holds a spear in her hand s),S’arvari ( the Goddess of night )-the  Goddess who is worshipped  at  night.
 E:      Devi   S’akambari  ( whose dress is made up of vegetables and edible leaves only : There is another Goddess who is almost identical to Goddess Annapurna. She is called S’akambari, who is an incarnation of Goddess Durga. Once when there was a   severe draught and the people were starving she appeared before her devotees dressed only in different types of cereals, vegetables, fruits and medicinal herbs. It seems s that she wept for seven or nine days as a result of which her tears developed into a river which quenched the thirst of the people2.  She is worshipped especially on the fourth day of the Nava- Ratri festival. On this day Goddess   Durga  is dressed in vegetables and leaves in all the  temples of Goddess  Durga.  Navratri festiva l is celebrated for nine nights starting from the first day after the New moon day in the month of September.  It looks as if   during the   accommodation and assimilation of all native, non-Aryan Gods into the pantheon of Hinduism, attempts have been made to identify Goddess Kali /Durga   with Parvati (the wife of Shiva).  But  it is very  difficult   to erase the memory of a powerful  and  fearsome  Goddess  like  Kali and hence  the practice of worshipping  Goddess   Durga  for nine continuous  days  as a separate entity continues  even to-day.  People sacrifice animals and offer   pots of country made liquor to the Goddess  especially on the eighth and ninth day of the festival. Thus Goddess Annapurna appears to be a milder version of Parvati or Durga. Durga is the Goddess of night,  addressed  as S’arvari  in this Ashtakam. No worship of Hindu Gods is allowed in Hindu temples after Sunset( or at least after 7-00 p.m )..

Annapurna Devi is also called the presiding deity of hearth3, cooking, food4 and nourishment5.

Reference:

1. Raghuvansa Mahakavya 1.1 ( the starting Shloka)-by Poet Kalidasa 2. Wikipedia – Goddess Sakambari 3. Mistress of the hearth-word press./2013/01/04 4. www.spiritual living360.com 5. http://goaarticles.com/articles- Annapurna-Goddess of Nourishment

                                                                                                banda Krishna satyanarayana

Iconography[edit]

Physically, Annapurna is described as holding a golden ladle adorned with various kinds of jewels in her right hand and a vessel full of delicious porridge in her left. She is seated on a throne. In some depictions, Lord Shiva is shown standing to her right with a begging bowl, begging her for alms.

It is said that she does not eat a morsel unless all her devotees have been fed in her temple.


Worship[edit]

She is worshipped through the recitation of her thousand names and her one hundred and eight names. The Sri Annapurna Ashtakam composed by Shankaracharya is chanted by several devout Hindus around the world as a prayer for nourishment, wisdom, and renunciation. Before partaking of any food, Hindus chant the following prayer:


Translation-

Oh Annapurna, who is forever complete and beloved energy of Lord Shiva. Oh Parvati give me the alms of Your grace to, awaken within me spiritual knowledge, attain freedom from all worldly desires and attain spiritual goal of my life.

My mother is Goddess Parvati, my father is the Supreme Lord Maheshwara (Shiva). My relatives are the devotees of Lord Shiva, and the three worlds are my Motherland.

The Annapurna Vrat Katha containing stories of her devotees are also recited by her devotees.

Temples[edit]

The most well-known temple dedicated to Goddess Annapurna is in Varanasi, U.P., India. Adjacent to the Sanctum of the Goddess is the Kasi Viswanath temple. The two are separated by only a few yards. Annapurna is regarded as the queen of Varanasi alongside her husband Vishweshwar (Shiva), the King of Varanasi.

In the temple, at noon time, food offerings to the Goddess are distributed to the elderly and disabled daily. During the Autumn Navaratri food is distributed on a larger scale.

The other famous temple is Annapoorneshwari Temple, situated at Horanadu in the Western Ghats of Karnataka, where evening prayers are held after the devotees are fed.

In Kerala there is temple in Chalappally village by the name Kunnam Annapoorneswari Devi Temple. Another famous temple of the goddess is situated in Cherukunnu, Kannur, Kerala. In Thodupuzha town, there is Thachukuzhikavu Annapoorneswari-Bhadrakali-Navagraha Temple.

A temple for Annapoorna has been constructed near Watrap, on the way to Saduragiri. The temple is in the shape of eight-sided pyramid.

One more Annapurna Devi temple is under construction at Pathikonda, Kurnool Dist, Andhra Pradesh. In Hyderabad, her temples are found in Jafferguda. Her temples are there in Jalandhar and Bhatinda in Punjab.

In Maharashtra her tempes are found in Bhandara and Akola. There is also a famous temple in Indore, Madhya Pradesh.

Her temples are also found in Gujarat. In Unjha, Gujarat, she is worshipped in as Umiya Mata. Some people in Gujarat and Rajasthan also consider Ashapura Mata as an incarnation of Annapoorna Mata.

In Rajasthan, her temples are found in Mishroli village in Jhalawar district, Kagdara village in Pali district, There is one temple of Annapoorna Mata in Chittorgarh Fort. It was built by Maharana Hamir Singh. There are other temples in the fort near the Annapoorna Mata temple which are dedicated to Baan Mata, Charbhuja and Lakshmi-Narayan.

Ramgarh Mata ji-

Ram Garh Mata ji - by H.N.Singh

On the top of the Ramgarh hill, Rajasthan, Kisnai and Annapurna Devi temples are situated in the natural cave. About 750 stairs were constructed by Jhala Jalim Singh for reaching the temple on the hill top. The main speciality of this temple is that one Devi is worshiped with Meva and another is with Mas- Madira. At the time of Parshad, curtain is raised between the two Devis. Fair is also organised during Kartik Purnima.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]