Goddess Sri Annapurna Devi is a special form of Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. She is the maternal giver of all kinds of nurturing and sustaining energies both dense, as in food and wealth, and subtle, as in liberation from the weary round of birth and death. She is the supreme Goddess of Benares, Lord Shiva’s city of liberation, and her most celebrated temple is found there. Typically in modern times she is depicted with golden skin because her most famous statue is of golden metal. However her traditional iconographic sadhana states that she is he color of a red rising sun and bedecked in multicolored clothing. Her other attributes are a bejewelled ladle and pot containing nectar which she holds in Her lap and this placement is reminiscent of Amitabha, the red hued Buddha of infinite life. In India the pot that contains food or water is considered a manifestation of the Goddess and is even used as a substitute of an actual sculpted image when invoking the Goddess. During death rituals a pot containing scented water is shattered indicating the release of life energies.
Shri Adi Shankaracharya, the renowned enlightened Master of Advaita, wrote a famous hymn invoking the Goddess—the Annapurna Stotram. In that invocation he states:
You are the cause of eternal Bliss,
you grant the boon of freedom from fear,
you give the most beautiful jewels.
You are unshaken,
you purify the mistakes of humanity,
you are the actual perceivable form of the Great Goddess.
Supreme Goddess of the City of Kashi,
Be gracious without delay and grant me alms, Supreme Goddess, Mother Annapurna.
In the painting Annapurna is accompanied by her son, the infant Ganesha. His “Bal” form (Child) is especially beloved as it invokes a sweet mood of innocence and compliments the nurturing energies of Annapurna. Anna means “grain as well as giving” and Purna means full and complete. Grain itself esoterically in singular form represents the seed point or Bindu of all physical manifestation. This seed form is the domain of the Goddess.
Triveni Retreat Center
Annapurna print | 30 inches x 18 inches | $195