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Annapurna: The Goddess of Compassion and Prosperity



Goddess Annapoorna or Annapurna Devi is the Goddess of food and an incarnation of Goddess Parvati. She is the symbolism of providence, prosperity and charity.

The word “anna’ in Sanskrit means grain or food and “purna” means to be complete. The Goddess’ symbols are corn and grain. The ear of grain also refers to spiritual maturity. The seed planted in the darkness of the ground grows up towards the Sun until it ripens in maturity.

In this incarnation of Goddess Parvati, Annapurna nourishes all living beings. It is believed that she watches over both our food supply and our’s soul’s nourishment when we are almost depleted in either. Without food, no spiritual life is possible, for if the body is not well nourished, the mind cannot nourish the spirit within. Food is therefore considered as holy and sacred in Hinduism and praying to the Goddess ensures that a person will never be out of food in their life.

Goddess Annapurna is depicted with a jeweled vessel containing food in one hand and a spoon in the other to distribute food to her devotees. In this form, she is the true mother because she looks after her devotees as a mother does to her child. She is the Goddess worshiped on the fourth day of Navratri.

Legend has it that Lord Shiva once told Parvati that the world is an illusion and that food is a part of this illusion called Maya. Goddess Parvati, on the other hand, believed that the world was quite real and everything depended upon her to sustain them.

To demonstrate Her importance, the Goddess disappeared from the world, bringing time to a standstill and the earth became barren. Nature became silent. There were no seasonal changes, no regeneration or birth and no food was to be found anywhere. This brought drought and shortage of food and all beings suffered from the pangs of hunger.

Greatly affected by the Goddess’ disappearance, Lord Shiva soon realized that he was incomplete without Shakti.

Seeing all the suffering in the world, Goddess Parvati was so overwhelmed with compassion and reappeared in Kashi (Varanasi), establishing a kitchen to distribute food to everyone who arrived.

Hearing about her return, Lord Shiva appeared before the Goddess with a begging bowl, saying, “Now I realize that the material world, just like the spiritual one, cannot be dismissed as an illusion.” Smiling, Goddess Parvati fed Shiva with her own hands.

Food cannot be dimissed as a mere illusion as it is one of the most vital elements to nourish the body in which the Atma resides. Since then, Goddess Parvati is worshiped as Annapurna, the Goddess of Nourishment.

Annapurna is the reigning deity of Kasi (Varanasi) along with Lord Shiva and it is here that the most well-known temple dedicated to her is located, only a few yards away from the famous Kasi Viswanath Temple. Daily offerings of food to the Goddess are distributed to the elderly and disabled. Food is distributed on a larger scale during the Autumn Navratri.

The other two famous Annapurna temples are Annapoorneshwari Temple, Karnataka and Cherukunnu, Kerala. There are many other temples all aross India that freely serve food to everyone on a daily basis.

Annapurna Ashtakam is a stotra written by Sri Adi Shankracharya in praise of the Mother Goddess:

नित्यानन्दकरी वराभयकरी सौन्दर्यरत्नाकरी
निर्धूताखिलघोरपावनकरी प्रत्यक्षमाहेश्वरी ।
प्रालेयाचलवंशपावनकरी काशीपुराधीश्वरी
भिक्षां देहि कृपावलम्बनकरी मातान्नपूर्णेश्वरी ॥१॥

O, Mother Annaprneswari
Who is The Goddess of Kasi
Who helps others with kindness,
Who makes all days deliriously happy,
Who gives boons and shelter to all,
Who is the epitome of all beauty,
Who cleans up all sorrows from life,
Who is the ever-visible Goddess of the world,
Who is the star of the family of Himavan,
Please give me alms,
Ocean of kindness and compassion.

नानारत्नविचित्रभूषणकरी हेमाम्बराडम्बरी
मुक्ताहारविलम्बमानविलसद्वक्षोजकुम्भान्तरी ।
काश्मीरागरुवासिताङ्गरुचिरे काशीपुराधीश्वरी
भिक्षां देहि कृपावलम्बनकरी मातान्नपूर्णेश्वरी ॥२॥

O, Mother Annapurneswari,
Who is The Goddess of Kasi,
Who is adorned with jewels of variety,
Who is dressed in golden silk,
Who has a beautiful chest,
Adorned with golden chains full of gems,
Who is the epitome of all beauty,
Please give me alms,
Ocean of kindness and compassion..

योगानन्दकरी रिपुक्षयकरी धर्मार्थनिष्ठाकरी
चन्द्रार्कानलभासमानलहरी त्रैलोक्यरक्षाकरी ।
सर्वैश्वर्यसमस्तवाञ्छितकरी काशीपुराधीश्वरी
भिक्षां देहि कृपावलम्बनकरी मातान्नपूर्णेश्वरी ॥३॥

O, Mother Annapurneswari,
Who is The Goddess of Kasi,
Who gives bliss through Yoga,
Who destroys enemies,
Who makes dharma and wealth permanent,
Who shines like moon, sun and fire,
Who takes care of all the three worlds,
Who gives all the wealth,
Who fulfills all wishes,
Please give me alms,
Ocean of kindness and compassion..

कैलासाचलकन्दरालयकरी गौरी उमा शङ्करी
कौमारी निगमार्थगोचरकरी ओङ्कारबीजाक्षरी ।
मोक्षद्वारकपाटपाटनकरी काशीपुराधीश्वरी
भिक्षां देहि कृपावलम्बनकरी मातान्नपूर्णेश्वरी ॥४॥




O, Mother Annapurneswari,
Who is The Goddess of Kasi,
Who lives in a cave in Mount Kailasa,
Who is also called Gauri, Uma, and Sankari,
Who is an ever-blissful maiden,
Who is known only through meaning of Vedas,
Who is personification of “OM”,
Who opens the gates of Moksha,
Please give me alms,
Ocean of kindness and compassion..

दृश्यादृश्यविभूतिवाहनकरी ब्रह्माण्डभाण्डोदरी
लीलानाटकसूत्रभेदनकरी विज्ञानदीपाङ्कुरी ।
श्रीविश्वेशमनःप्रसादनकरी काशीपुराधीश्वरी
भिक्षां देहि कृपावलम्बनकरी मातान्नपूर्णेश्वरी ॥५॥

O, Mother Annapurneswari,
Who is The Goddess of Kasi,
Who is the vehicle of the seen and unseen,
Who is carrying the universes inside her,
Who cuts of attachment to this world,
Who is the beacon of light for all science,
Who makes the Lord of Universe happy,
Please give me alms,
Ocean of kindness and compassion.

उर्वीसर्वजनेश्वरी भगवती मातान्नपूर्णेश्वरी
वेणीनीलसमानकुन्तलहरी नित्यान्नदानेश्वरी ।
सर्वानन्दकरी सदा शुभकरी काशीपुराधीश्वरी
भिक्षां देहि कृपावलम्बनकरी मातान्नपूर्णेश्वरी ॥६॥

O, Mother Annapurneswari,
Who is The Goddess of Kasi,
Who is the Goddess of earth and its beings,
Who is the knowledge, wealth and valour of the world,
Who is the ocean of compassion,
Who has lustrous blue hair,
Who gives happiness to all,
Who is personification of happiness,
Please give me alms,
Ocean of kindness and compassion..

आदिक्षान्तसमस्तवर्णनकरी शम्भोस्त्रिभावाकरी
काश्मीरात्रिजलेश्वरी त्रिलहरी नित्याङ्कुरा शर्वरी ।
कामाकाङ्क्षकरी जनोदयकरी काशीपुराधीश्वरी
भिक्षां देहि कृपावलम्बनकरी मातान्नपूर्णेश्वरी ॥७॥

O, Mother Annapurneswari,
Who is The Goddess of Kasi,
Who is described by all alphabets,
Who gives Shambhu the three powers,
Who is Kashmira the Goddess of three cities,
Who is the intoxicant in three forms,
Who gives rise to daily existence,
Who is the enemy of all sorrows,
Who fulfills the desire of every one,
Who is dawn in life of all,
Please give me alms,
Ocean of kindness and compassion.

देवी सर्वविचित्ररत्नरचिता दाक्षायणी सुन्दरी
वामं स्वादुपयोधरप्रियकरी सौभाग्यमाहेश्वरी ।
भक्ताभीष्टकरी सदा शुभकरी काशीपुराधीश्वरी
भिक्षां देहि कृपावलम्बनकरी मातान्नपूर्णेश्वरी ॥८॥

O, Mother Annapurneswari,
Who is The Goddess of Kasi,
Who is adorned with all precious gems,
Who is the daughter of Daksha,
Who is the epitome of beauty,
Who feeds all the world her milk of song and writing,
Who is the Goddess of all,
Who is the fortune of all,
Who fulfills the wishes of devotees,
Who always does good,
Please give me alms,
Ocean of kindness and compassion.

चन्द्रार्कानलकोटिकोटिसदृशा चन्द्रांशुबिम्बाधरी
चन्द्रार्काग्निसमानकुन्तलधरी चन्द्रार्कवर्णेश्वरी ।
मालापुस्तकपाशासाङ्कुशधरी काशीपुराधीश्वरी
भिक्षां देहि कृपावलम्बनकरी मातान्नपूर्णेश्वरी ॥९॥

O, Mother Annapurneswari,
Who is The Goddess of Kasi,
Who is like billions of moon, sun and fire,
Whose smile is like the rays of the moon,
Whose hair has the luster of moon, sun and fire,
Who is coloured like the moon and the sun,
Who has a chain of beads and a book in her hands,
Who has a spear and rope also in her hands,
Please give me alms,
Ocean of kindness and compassion.

क्षत्रत्राणकरी महाऽभयकरी माता कृपासागरी
साक्षान्मोक्षकरी सदा शिवकरी विश्वेश्वरश्रीधरी ।
दक्षाक्रन्दकरी निरामयकरी काशीपुराधीश्वरी
भिक्षां देहि कृपावलम्बनकरी मातान्नपूर्णेश्वरी ॥१०॥

O, Mother Annapurneswari,
Who is the Goddess of Kasi,
Who protects the duties of kings,
Who gives great protection,
Who is the great mother,
Who is the ocean of mercy,
Who gives perennial salvation,
Who always does good,
Who is the goddess of all universe,
Who has all the wealth in the world,
Who insulted Daksha,
Who gives great health,
Please give me alms,
Ocean of kindness and compassion.

अन्नपूर्णे सदापूर्णे शङ्करप्राणवल्लभे ।
ज्ञानवैराग्यसिद्ध्यर्थं भिक्षां देहि च पार्वति ॥११॥

O, Mother Annapurneswari,
Who is the darling of Sankara,
Please give me alms,
Of knowledge and renunciation.,
For me forever.

माता च पार्वती देवी पिता देवो महेश्वरः ।
बान्धवाः शिवभक्ताश्च स्वदेशो भुवनत्रयम् ॥१२॥

My mother is Goddess Parvati,
My father is God Maheswara,
My relations are the devotees of Shiva,
And my country is the universe.

~ Artists, Ravidra Sathe, Devaki Pandit

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One Response to "Annapurna: The Goddess of Compassion and Prosperity"

  1. neelaparanjpe  July 12, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    very nice.must listen every morning before starting the day.

    Reply

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