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Goddess Annapurna

Goddess Annapurna is an incarnation of Goddess Parvati and she is the Hindu Goddess of Food. Annapurna means ‘Bestower of Food.’ ‘Anna’, though translated as ‘food,’ has a wider connotation and includes all material objects/wealth, which are food for the five-sense organs. Goddess Shakti as Annapurna symbolizes nourishment without which the universe is dead.

The most popular image of Goddess Annapurna is that of Her serving food to Shiva. There is an interesting story associated with Annapurna serving food to Shiva. Once Goddess Parvati was told by Shiva that all that is here is illusion or Maya including food.

Goddess Parvati was not ready to agree to this and She disappeared from the world taking with her all the food items. Her disappearance caused havoc in the universe. Shiva soon realized that salvation or Moksha is not possible in an empty stomach.

Goddess Parvati then appeared as Annapurna at Kashi and served food to Lord Shiva.

The image of Annapurna is always depicted with a small vessel or a ladle or bowl containing Annam (food). Symbolically, it suggests that her devotees will never go without food.

Images of Goddess Annapurna adorn the walls of traditional kitchens, dining areas and restaurants of India.

There are numerous temples dedicated to Annapurna and in all these temples the devotees are fed all the time and in some temples the Goddess only take her Prasad after all her devotees are satisfied.

One of the most popular prayers dedicated to Goddess Annapurna is composed by Adi Shankaracharya.

Annapoorne sadaa poorne Shankarah Praanavallabhe |
Gnana Vairagya Siddhyartham Bhikshaan Dehi ca Parvati ||

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.

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