Posted by Art Of Legend India [dot] Com On 4:03 AM
Goddess Annapurna is the Hindu Goddess of food and nourishment. In Sanskrit 'Anna' means food and 'purna' means complete and perfect; together the term Annapurna signifies nourishing with food to the fullest. She is a form of goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. She is considered as the sustainer of prosperity. She is believed to be the one who fills the stomachs of the hungry with her noble powers. In Hindu beliefs, she is the one endowed with the powers to supply food in a limitless quantity. It is believed that by worshipping her, one will never be out of food anytime in life.
Goddess Annapurna is the Supreme Goddess and Queen of Kashi (Varanasi). She is the Goddess for the fourth day of Durga Navratri. She is depicted with a jeweled pot containing food in one hand and a ladle in the other to distribute the food to her devotees. In some depictions, she is depicted in sitting posture and Lord Shiva is usually depicted as begging for food to her with his skull begging bowl. She symbolizes the divine aspect of nourishing care. The images of goddess Annapurna are also placed in kitchens, restaurants and near dinner tables, where the food is prepared and served only after getting the blessings of the goddess Annapurna.
In Hindu households if people waste food, it is said that they in turn make goddess Annapurna angry. Therefore grains of food are not wasted after taking food. Goddess Annapurna is also referred to as the goddess of fertility and agriculture, who is also reasonably popular in South India with separate shrines dedicated to her. The most renowned temple dedicated to goddess Annapurna is in Kashi (India). She is regarded as the queen of Kashi alongside her husband Vishweshwara (Lord Shiva), the King of Kashi. The idol of goddess Annapurna is always depicted with a bowl which is always filled with food grain, representing the abundant of food she has to offer to the devotees.
The Annapurna Sahashtranam presents her one thousand names and the Annapurna Shatnama Stotram contains 108 of her names. 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 as a prayer for nourishment, wisdom and renunciation. She is variously described as the goddess:
1. who is full, complete and perfect with food and grains
2. who nourishes world
3. who is the grantor of knowledge
4. who is the Supreme welfare
5. who manifests truth and efficiency
The origin of Goddess Annapurna
Once, Lord Brahma and Vishnu being became worried about the extinction of food from earth resulting in perishing of many human beings. They decided to awaken Lord Shiva from his ritual sleep, who invited the goddess Annapurna to earth and begged for food from her. Lord Shiva distributed the food received from the goddess Annapurna and since then promised her that she should continue to nourish the people of earth and in turn he would give salvation (moksha) to the people of Kashi where the goddess resides.All paintings are courtesy of Art of Legend India