“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well”
– Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own.
Food is the driving force behind everyone’s lives. Our thoughts, our actions, and our levels of energy throughout the day are all shaped by what type of food we eat. Special types of cuisines have shaped and sculpted civilizations and have been the ethnic part of our existence.
However, sometimes we belittle the importance of diet and nourishment. Our ignorance induces us to downplay the significance of our diet or preventing the wastage of cooked meals. If you are also one of them, then this story of mighty Shiva-Annapurna legend from Livelovetalk is a must-read for you-
Lord Shiva is a primordial destroyer of evil, slayer of demons, protector, and the omniscient observer of the universe. His essential counterpart was his wife Parvati who is the agent of energy, growth, and transformation on Earth. They’re divine union, known as Ardhanarishvara maintained the equilibrium of thought and action and brought fertility and connection to all living beings.
Goddess Parvati was worshipped far and wide as the mother of the natural world. She oversaw humanity’s material comforts and ensured the emotional and spiritual bonding of fellow humans. Her efforts made sure that the world remains in motion and Lord Shiva becomes an involved observer of the universe.
What was the rift which caused the Mighty Shiva – Annapurna legend?
However, Lord Shiva began to doubt his wife’s role in the operation of the universe and tried to test her patience. He insisted on her to quarrel about their positions in the universe sparking a rift between the two formidable forces.
Shiva argued that the creator of the world, Brahma had conceived the material plane out of his fancy. He outrightly rejected all material happiness and well-being as mere distractions and cosmic illusion, termed as ‘Māyā’.
Goddess Parvati always had a firm belief in the importance of material well-being in human survival. However, she tried to avoid any conflict. For millennia, she merely smiled and absorbed all arguments against her august creations.
However, upon the latest rebuke by Lord Shiva, she too lost her patience. She understood that she had to prove the importance of her work, for once and for all.
She withdrew her half of the cosmic energy that kept the world in motion and took a flight from the world. As soon she disappeared, Mother Earth faced its worst terrifying nightmare silencing all its joy in eerie silence with sudden and all-encompassing scarcity.
Without the blessings of Goddess Parvati, the lands lost all its vigor. Crops shriveled in the fields and rivers shrank as the worst form of drought-hit humankind. Hunger descended on humanity. Children died out of starvation and the parents watched them helplessly with their own grumbling stomachs.
There was nothing to eat and all giggles of laughter and harmony withdrew and shrank in the darkening world.
Lord Shiva too suffered from profound emptiness as his wife left with his rebukes questioning her work. Lord Shiva noticed with great shock and awe that even His supreme power was not immune to the need for sustenance and His yearning for His complete self felt bottomless and unbearable.
Shiva understood that the material world could not be so easily dismissed and it is more than being a mere illusion. It is a cycle of life that must be cherished at all costs to maintain the equilibrium of the earth. Feeding open mouths and rumbling bellies cannot be a futile fancy.
This was enough for Goddess Parvati. She had watched her countless devotees wasting away and her mighty Lord in despair and distress. Now, it was her time to restore the mother Earth with her original fervour.
To walk among the mortals and restore their health, she took the form of a new avatar – Annapurna, the goddess of food and nourishment. She carried a golden bowl of porridge and was equipped with a jewel-encrusted ladle. With the arrival of Annapurna, the world blossomed anew.
It is believed that Annapurna first appeared at the sacred city of Kashi or the place of Freedom on the banks of Ganges. She opened a kitchen and started feeding the grumbling bellies until they could eat no more. People rejoiced at the community and food and combined to give thanks to the all-new form of the primordial mother of the Earth.
However, the feast served in Kashi didn’t feed the mortals alone. Humbled at the scenes of earthly pleasure blooming all around, Lord Shiva himself approached the divine goddess with an empty bowl begging for forgiveness. This completes the Mighty Shiva-Annapurna legend which highlighted the importance of food and sustenance in our day to day life.
This legend lets the Supreme Shiva earn the epithet of a poor beggar who is at the mercy of Annapurna, begging for food. He held a golden bowl in his left hand while his right hand formed the Abhaya Mudra, the gesture of safety and assurance.
Prevent wastage of food. Enjoy the little joys in life every day. Cherish your cuisine. Happy Shivratri in advance!
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