In Hinduism, Goddess Annapoorna, or Annapurna Devi, is the Goddess of food. She is an incarnation of Goddess Parvati; in essence one of the numerous forms of Shakti. In this incarnation she nourishes all living beings and therefore Hindus consider ‘ Annam ’ (food) as holy. There is an interesting incident involving Lord Shiva and Goddess Annapoorna, which explains that even Moksha (salvation) is not possible on an empty stomach.
In Sanskrit Language the word ‘Anna’ means food and grains and ‘Purna’ means full or complete. It is believed that by worshipping this goddess one will never be out of food anytime in life. Mata Sri Annapurneshwari Devi is the Goddess for the fourth day of Durga Navrathri. She is a form of the Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. She is depicted with a jeweled vessel containing food in one hand and a spoon in the other to distribute the food to her devotees. The Sri Annapurna Ashtakam composed by Shankaracharya is devoted to this goddess of Hindu religion.
In this sese, Aannapurna DEVI is a true MOTHER-beacause she “nourishes” her devotess and looks after her devotees just like a mother looks after her children.
We all know we cannot live without food -so by giving us food, in fact, moter Annapurna devi is keeping us alive- she supports us- food is indeed “brahman” says the CHANDOGYA upanishads.
THUS, ANNAPURNA PROVIDES US THE LIFE-GIVING “FOOD”! BUT, she also nourishes our soul ! “BUKTI-MUKTI Pradayini! ”
To get back his trident, Shiva betted serpent and this time too he lost the game. Finally, when the game ended, Shiva lost all that he had including his begging bowl.
A humiliated Shiva left for the Deodar forest. Lord Vishnu approached Shiva and asked him to play again to win back all that he had lost.
Taking advice from Vishnu, Shiva played again and won all that he had lost in the previous game.
Goddess Parvati grew suspicious about Shiva’s sudden turn of fortunes and called him a cheat. This led to a verbal duel between the couple. Finally, Lord Vishnu intervened and revealed that the dice moved as per His wish and they were under the illusion that they were playing.
Symbolically, life is like a game of dice – unpredictable and beyond control.
Verbal duel soon turned to philosophical discussion and Lord Shiva said that possessions are temporary…everything is Maya (illusion)…even the food we eat is Maya.
Goddess Parvati did not agree that food is illusion. She argued that if food is illusion I am also an illusion. She wanted to know how the world would survive without food and disappeared.
Her disappearance meant Nature came to a stand still. There were no seasonal changes. Everything remained barren. There was regeneration or birth. Soon there was severe drought and shortage of food.
Shiva soon realized that he is incomplete without Shakti.
Gods, humans and demons all kept praying for food. Goddess Parvati could not see her children perishing out hunger and appeared in Kashi ( Varanasi ) and started distributing food.
Shiva appeared before her with a begging bowl and Goddess Parvati fed Shiva. Shiva said that food cannot be dismissed as mere illusion as it is required to nourish the body in which resides the Atma.
Since then Goddess Parvati is worshipped as the Goddess of food – Annapoorna Devi.
Goddess Annapurna Puja is observed in Shukla paksha of Chaitra month as per the traditional Hindu (Bengali) calendar.
Annapurna Puja festival is mainly observed by women. The important rituals and customs during Annapoorna Pooja day include – recitation of Annapurna Devi Stotram and observance of fast. In some places people worship Annapoorna Mata by installing idols and by setting up pooja mandap. All other rituals and customs are performed as per traditions.
Devotees who worship of Goddess Annapurneshwari will be blessed with prosperity and health. Women worship Annapurneshwari Devi for their better married life. They also perform Annapurneswari Pooja for their children’s health and better growth.
Annapoorne sadaa poorne Shankarah Praanavallabhe
Mother Annapoorna, You who are Eternally Complete, You, The very life of Lord Shiva,Give me food (in alms) So I can sustain my body To achieve the Supreme Knowledge.