ANNAPURNA MATA



Annapurna Mata is Hindu Goddess who represents food. The word Annapurna is derived from two words i.e. Anna means food and Purna means complete or abundant. So Annapurna literally means “who is abundant [purna] with food [anna],” Goddess Annapurna is considered a form of Parvati Mata, wife of Lord Shiva. Annapurna Mata has two hands. She holds a bowl in one hand and a spoon in another. She is shown standing on a lotus or sits on a throne. She often saw giving food to Lord Shiva. For Hindus she is a protecting deity. She blessed her devotees with abundance of food and other worldly possessions of this word.

The most extravagant festival to Annapurna takes place in Varanasi in the fall, when she is celebrated as the sustainer of life. She is also celebrated there in the springtime during the annakuta or “food-pile” festival, in which a heap of food fills her temple in worship to her. In the spring, she is worshipped in association with the new sprouts of rice in the fields; at that time her temple is decorated with rice sprouts.

There is a story of Annapurna Mata and Shiva in the Linga Purana.  Once when Shiva was unable to do his usual begging to support his family as a result of marijuana intoxication, there was nothing in the house to eat. Shiva there upon went out to beg. In anger  Mata Durga his wife left the house for going to her father. Narada Muni met her on her way. Narada told her that in her aspect as Annapurna she should make it impossible for Shiva to get food by begging. She did this and went home, still in her aspect as Annapurna. When Shiva returned home she offered him food. Shiva was so pleased that he merged his being with her, creating Ardhanarishvara “half-man, half woman.”

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