Saturday, September 12, 2009

Annapurne Visalakshi

“Annapurne Visalakshi”

Ragam : Sama

Composer : Sri Muthuswami Deekshitar



Annapurne Visalakshi
Akhila Bhuvana Saakshi Kataakshi


Unnata Gartta Tira Viharini
Omkarini Duritaadi Nivaarini
Pannagabharana Raajni Puraani
Paramesvara Visvesvara Bhaasvari


Paysannapurita Manikyapatra Hemadarvi Vidhrutakare
Kayajaadi Rakashana Nipunatare
Kanchanamaya Bhushana Ambaradhare
Toyajaasanaadi Sevitapare
Tumburu Naaradaadi Nuta Vare
Trayaatita Mokshaprada Chature
Tripada Shobhita Guruguhasaadare



Annapurne – Oh Goddess Annapurna
Visalakshi – One with large eyes
Akhila Bhuavana Saakshi – Who is the witness for all the happenings in the world
Kataakshi – Please protect me.


Unnata Gartta Tira Viharini - One who resides in the famous kuzhikkarai
Omkarini – She is of the form of Omkara
Duritaadi Nivaarini – One who alleviates once afflictions
Pannagabharana - one who adorns with serpents
Raajni – consort of Lord Siva
Puraani – one who is ancient
Paramesvara Visweswara Bhaasvari – She is the luminosity of Lord Parameswara/Visweswara


Paysannapurita Manikyapatra Hemadarvi Vidhrutakare Kayajaadi Rakashana Nipunatare Kanchanamaya Bhushana Ambaradhare Toyajaasanaadi Sevitapare Tumburu Naaradaadi Nuta Vare Trayaatita Mokshaprada Chature Tripada Shobhita Guruguhasaadare

Paysannapurita Manikyapatra Hemadarvi Vidhrutakare – She holds in one hand a gem studded vessel brimming with sweetened rice

Kayajaadi Rakashana Nipunatare – She is adept in protecting Cupid and other devas

Kanchanamaya Bhushana Ambaradhare – She is adorned with ornate golden jewels

Toyajaasanaadi Sevitapare – She is worshipped by Brahma and eminent sages

Tumburu Naaradaadi Nuta Vare – Like Tumburu and Narada

Trayaatita Mokshaprada Chature – She is skilful in bestowing salvation

Tripada Shobhita - which is above the Dhrama Artha and Kama

Guruguha saadare – She is the beloved mother of Guruguha

Reference: Sri T.K. Govinda Rao’s book on Sri Muthuswami Deekshitar

Legend of Goddess Annapurna

Annapurna or Annapoorna is the Hindu Goddess of nourishment. Anna means food and grains. Purna means full, complete and perfect. Annapurna is the respected Supreme Goddess who is full, complete and perfect in food and grains. She is the symbol for the One who grants nourishment on every level. She is called the Supreme Goddess of the city of Kasi (now known as Varanasi, U.P., India). Kasi is the City of Light. Ka means the cause, a means the manifestation of consciousness, sa means peace and I is the causal body. Kasi is also the place which causes consciousness to manifest the highest peace of the causal body. And She is the Supreme Goddess of the City of Kasi. She is the consort of Shiva.

Once Shiva told his consort Parvati that the world is an illusion and that even food is just part of this illusion (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. Seeing all the suffering, Mother Parvati was filled with compassion and reappeared in Kasi and set up a Kitchen. Hearing about her return, Shiva ran to her and presented his bowl in alms saying, "Now I realise that the material world, like the spirit, cannot be dismissed as an illusion." Parvati smiled and fed Shiva with her own hands. Since then Parvati is worshipped as Annapurna, the Goddess of Nourishment.


Annapurna has many names. The Annapurna Sahasranam presents her one thousand names and the Annapurna Shatanama Stotram contains 108 of her names. She is variously described as:

She who is full, complete and perfect with food and grains
She who gives nourishment
She who is the strength of Shiva
She who is the grantor of knowledge
She who takes away all fear
She who is the Supreme welfare
She who manifests truth and efficiency
She who is beyond Maya
She who is the cause of creation and dissolution


Physically, Goddess Annapurna is described as holding a golden ladle adorned with various kinds of jewels in her right hand and a vessel full of delicious porridge in her left. She is seated on a throne and in some depictions Lord Shiva is shown standing to her right with a begging bowl begging her for alms. It is said that she does not eat a morsel unless all her devotees have been fed in her temple.


She is worshipped through the recitation of her thousand names and her one hundred and eight names. The Sri Annapurna Ashtakam composed by Shankaracharya is chanted by several devout Hindus around the world as a prayer for nourishment, wisdom, and renunciation. Before partaking of any food, Hindus chant the following prayer: “Oh Annapurna, who is always full, complete, and perfect. Beloved energy of Lord Shiva, for the attainment of perfection in wisdom and renunciation, give me alms, Parvati. My mother is Goddess Parvati, my father is the Supreme Lord Maheswara. My relatives are the devotees of Lord Shiva, and the three worlds are my Motherland.” The Annapurna Vrat Katha containing stories of her devotees are also recited by her devotees.


The most well-known temple dedicated to Goddess Annapurna is in Varanasi, U.P., India. Adjacent to the Sanctum of the Goddess is the Kasi Viswanath temple. The two are separated only by a few yards. Annapurna is regarded as the queen of Varanasi alongside her husband Vishweshwar (Shiva), the King of Varanasi. In the temple, at noon time, food offerings to the Goddess are distributed to the elderly and disabled daily. During the Autumn Navaratri food is distributed on a larger scale. The other famous temple is situated at Horanadu in the pristine western ghats of Karnataka,a short drive from Kudremukh and Sringeri,where evening prayers are held after the devotees are fed.