Goddess Matha Annapurna Devi is worshipped as the Goddess of fourth day during Durga Navaratri Puja. Annapurna Matha is worshipped as one of the Navadurga forms or manifestations during Durga Navaratri Puja.
Goddess Annapurna Matha is the Hindu Goddess of food and cooking. Annapurna is empowered with the ability to supply food to an unlimited amount of people. Annapurna means in sanskrit ‘Anna’ means food and ‘Purna’ means complete. So, Annapurna signifies the fullest food. Food is one of the basic necessities of life, that we say “Annam Para Brahma Swarupam”. Food is God. Annapurna is an incarnation of Parvathi, the consort of Lord Shiva. She is depicted with a jeweled vessel containing food in one hand and a spoon in the other to distribute the food to her devotees.
According to Hindu legend Shiva told Parvathi, his wife that the material world is nothing, but “Maya” or “Illusion”. Devi was quite upset with the casual opinion of Shiva had about food. She wanted Shiva to realize the value of nourishment and thus disppeared to prove her point.Since then there was no food to be found and all the beings including the Devas, Manavas and Asuras were suffering from hunger. Time too stood still. Even the saints cried “Spirituality can’t be appreciate on an empty stomch”.
Seeing this, the very kind Devi Parvathi manifested her self as Matha Annapurna and set up a kitchen in Varanasi. Shiva ran to her with the other very hungry beings and accepted that the material world can’t be dismissed off, so easily as a Mereillusion. Devi smiled and fed Shiva and everyone else. Since, then Devi Parvathi is worshipped as Matha Annapurna Devi. Her idol is always the ever smiling, peaceful Goddess with a bowl and laddle ready to dole out nourishment and food for her children. She is often seen giving food to her husband Shiva. Shiva is seen Begging with skull begging bowl as Annapurna doles to her lover Shiva.
Sri Matha Annapurna Astakam composed by Adi Sankaracharya is devoted to this Goddess of Hindu religion.
Annapurna Gayatri Mantra
“Om Bhagwatye Vidmahe
Tanna Annapurna Prachodayat”.
Today Goddess Annapurneswari Devi Naivedyam