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Navrathri - Day 5 (Sat Oct 1, 2011): Devi Annapoorani Alankaram

  • Location Parashakthi (Eternal Mother) Temple
    551 W. Kennett,
    Pontiac, Michigan 48340
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  • Description Day Five: Devi Annapoorani – Hundreds thronged the Eternal Mother Parashakthi temple at Pontiac on the fifth day of the nine nights. The temple was filled with incomparable energy as devotees chanted mantras with spiritual fervor. Navratri celebrations at the temple have been the most attended event for several years as devotees participate and celebrate together in the festivities. Goddess Annapoorna, an aspect of goddess Parvati is the presiding deity of the city of Kasi (now known as Varanasi), the city where moksha (freedom from the cycle of birth and rebirth) could be attained. In Sanskrit 'Anna' means food and 'purna' means complete; together the term Annapurna signifies nourishing with food to the fullest. The Devi Annapurna is the goddess of food and harvest and is believed to be the one who fills the stomachs of the hungry with her noble powers. In Hindu belief she is the one endowed with the powers to supply food in a limitless form.
    One of the mythological versions explain that once Shiva told his consort Parvati that the world is an illusion and that food is a part of this illusion called maya. The Divine Mother, who is worshipped as the manifestation of all material things, including food, became angry. To demonstrate the importance of her manifestation of all that is material she disappeared from the world. Her disappearance brought time to a standstill and the earth became barren. There was no food to be found anywhere and all the beings suffered from the pangs of hunger. There was no wealth, knowledge, liberation for generations. Seeing all the suffering, Mother Parvati was filled with compassion and reappeared in Kasi in human form and set up a kitchen always filled with a delicious feast. Hearing about her return, Shiva ran to her and presented his bowl in alms saying, "Now I realize that the material world, like the spirit, cannot be dismissed as an illusion." Since then Parvati is worshipped as Annapurna, the Goddess of Nourishment. Rightfully, sage Vyasa mentioned that “Kasi is the best place to live because one can get food and liberation at the same time”.
    The idol of goddess Annapurna is shown with a bejeweled bowl which is always filled with grain, representing the bountiful of food she has to offer to her children. In some depictions (as was seen at the Parashakthi Temple, Pontiac), Lord Shiva is shown standing to her right with a begging bowl, begging her for alms. Devi Annapoorani is known in Kasi as Bhavani, the female shakti of Bhava, "Being," one of the names of Shiva.
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