She is a form of Parvati, the inseparable shakti of Lord Shiva. She is the Mother Goddess, the sustainer of all life. The Annapurna Stotram is an exquisite hymn in praise of the goddess. On this auspicious day, recite the words of the Annapurna Stotram with the intention that everyone in the world receive the nourishment Annapurna Devi bestows.
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She is the goddess who holds in one hand a jeweled vessel containing food and in the other a golden spoon to distribute the food among her devotees. She has the power to distribute food to an unlimited amount of people. Maa Annapurna is an incarnation of Parvati. In some depictions, Lord Shiva is shown standing to her right with a begging bowl, begging her for alms and also asking to Annapurna to provide unlimited food that people can get energy and achieve the knowledge and enlightenment.
In the Hindu pantheon, Maa Annapurna is the symbol of divine aspect of nourishing care. In south India you often find images of Annapurna anywhere people eat. It is a yajna, a sacrifice. Food should not be eaten during moments of anxiety or emotional upheaval. It is considered a medicine for the illness of hunger and for sustenance of life. Grabbing and eating food in an undisciplined manner is a mark of disrespect to the Source.
The idol of Maa Annapurna Bhavani is made in solid gold and carries a cooking pot. The Goddess is believed to be the mother of all the three worlds, heaven, earth and hell and is said that her devotees never suffer from starvation. The temple complex has a small sanctum that enshrines the idol of Goddess Annapurna.
During the Autumn Navaratri, food is distributed on a larger scale. During the annual Annakuta festival, just after Diwali, mountains of fruits, sweets and cereals are laid out before the Goddess and then distributed to the poor.
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