Goddess Annapurna is one of the incarnation of Goddess Parvati who is the wife of Lord Shiva. Annapurna is the Hindu Goddess of nourishment and giver of foodIn the name Annapurna, Anna means food or grains and Purna means complete, full and perfect. In the whole world each and every humans need nourishment for their survival. The forms of nourishment may be of different kinds. Some may be in the form of material such as food, money or possessions and some may be of spiritual such as cultivating a connection with the Divine. Goddess Annapurna is the Goddess of nourishment who is full. Complete and perfect with food and grains.
Goddess Annapurna is well known as the Goddess of the city of Kashi. Kashi is now popularly known as Varanasi situated in Uttar Pradesh in India..
It is also known as the City of Light. Kasha is the place which causes consciousness in order to manifest the highest peace of the casual body. The city of Varanasi is the spiritual capital of India. In Varanasi the most famous and presiding deities are Lord Shiva and the Divine Mother also known as Goddess Annapurna. Shree Maa and Swamiji are invited by the priests of the Annapurna temple in Benares in order to worship Maa Annapurna there on several occasions.
The devotees who worship Goddess Annapurna are blessed with nourishment beyond the gross material things that her devotees desire for. Maa Annapurna also blesses her child with the attainment of perfection in renunciation and wisdom. She teaches and helps her devotees to understand that giving is the true spirituality and also that renunciation will allow all the people to remain in equanimity in all the circumstances of life. It is believed that those who offer her food with prayers before taking their meals is blessed with perfection in renunciation and wisdom and complete nourishment.
There are four seasons in one year namely fall, spring, summer and winter. The auspicious occasion of Navaratri is celebrated four times a year at the temple of Goddess Annapurna, one in each season of a year. During these days devotees chant mantras, participate in homas, perform pujas and fast. On the eighth day of Navaratri puja Swamiji performs the puja of Maa Annapurna and leads the chanting of the thousand names of Annapurna Maa also known as Annapurna Sahasranam. Goddess Annapurna is offered by her devotees with several different kinds of culinary delicacies and prays for her blessings of completeness, renunciation and wisdom.
In Hindu belief once Lord Shiva told Goddess Parvati that the world is an illusion and food is a part of that illusion and this made Parvati angry and she disappeared from the world. Her disappearance made the world barren and time to a standstill. Due to this all the living beings suffered from starvation and hunger as there was no food available anywhere. Seeing the sufferings of her child Goddess Parvati reappeared in Kashi and set up a kitchen. On the return of Maa Parvati Shiva ran to her with a bowl and she fed him with her own hands. Since then Maa Parvati is worshipped as Goddess Annapurna and is popular as the Goddess of Nourishment.