Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Annapurna ~ Goddess of Food & Cooking

Origin(s): Hindu Goddess
Language: Sanskrit
Translation: Anna means 'food' or 'grains', Purna means 'filled completely'
Feast Day(s): Unknown
Goddess of: Food & Cooking
Goddess Type: Mother Goddess
Also Known As: Parvati, Rajarajeshvari, Lalitha Tripura Sundari
Symbols/Offerings: Corn, Grain


It is believed that she is empowered with the ability to supply food to an unlimited amount of people. Annapurna is an incarnation of the other Hindu goddess Parvati, the wife of Shiva. She symbolizes the divine aspect of nourishing care.
Images of this goddess can be found not only in the home kitchen or dining area, but also in restaurants, where food is prepared and served only after receiving Annapurna's blessing. By first getting her blessing, people believe that they will never be without food. Annapurna blessed converts the food into Amruta, a Sanskrit word for delicious, healthy food that grants immortality.

The story of the worship of Annapurna begins in the distant past, when the world's food disappeared. People were in danger of starving to death. The people petitioned Lord Brahma for assistance. Brahma consulted with Lord Vishnu and they decided to awaken Lord Shiva from his ritual sleep and give him the responsibility of restoring prosperity to the land. Shiva invited the goddess Annapurna to earth. He then begged her for rice, which was then distributed throughout the land. Shiva and Annapurna made an agreement. If she would look after the people of the sacred city Kasi and ensure they did not go hungry, Shiva would then grant them moksha (freedom from the cycle of birth and death).

Annapurna promises food to those who come to her. Statues or idols of this goddess are always depicted with a small bowl of food, ensuring a lifetime of food to her worshipers. She is also known as "Mother of the Three Worlds".

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