Annakootam- a heap of rice.
Pujya Swamiji's speech during Annakuta at Jayalakshmi Puram on November 18, 2021
oṁ ayiṁ hrīṁ śrīṁ lalita parameshvaryai namaḥ bālā tripura sundaryai namaḥ rāja rājeśvaryai namaḥ oṁ ayiṁ hrīṁ śrīṁ śiva rāma anagha dattāya namaḥ māta annapurṇeshvari
Jaya Guru Datta.
Today we performed Annakotami, also known as Annakotimi ritual. We pour koti-koti (crores and crores of) rice grains (anna) into a heap for worship. This Annakota worship is very prevalent in Tamil Nadu and is known as Annakutam. And this is also often done near Himalayan regions as well as in Kasi. Some families near Orissa do it. It is not practiced in Andhra, Telangana, Karnataka states. Based on Swamiji’s inspiration, this Pournima Annadaana has been inaugurated. Praying that everyone participating in Pournima Annadaana Seva have plenty of food for seven births, I start this Pournima Annadaana program. Annadana has been a tradition in our lineage for a long time. It slowed down a little in the last 50-60 years.
One week ago, Swamiji asked for the Annapoorna murti that the chief priest at Kasi Annapurna temple worshiped. The Kasi priests adore Swamiji. They want Swamiji to be with them in Kasi. Swamiji received that main moorti.
The original Annapurna murti that was stolen from India in the 15th century was found in a museum in Canada and has been returned and also consecrated in place in the Annapurna temple. So, Mother Goddess is now back in Kasi.
Swamiji insisted that the prevailing moorti of Annapurna be brought here. A devotee brough the murti by Mother’s grace. The devotees say it is Swamiji’s grace. Regardless, we have the beautiful ancient murti of Mother here. It is an incredible miracle that this murti is here.
The Lord has written invisibly on each grain of rice the name of the person who would eat it. When you leave out some food, it means your name is not on those food grains. That food has the name of some smaller creatures and insects on it. Annam – food – is Prana. There is no life without food. Food can take any form such as rice, chapati, puri, sankati etc. No being can live without food. Swamiji has been encouraging “Share Your Food” Tuesdays worldwide for the last ten years. Volunteers also share food in various places. I keep reminding them that Annadaana is not cooking food at home and inviting our dear ones to eat. That is called a party. Annadaana is giving food to the hungry and the needy. We are doing Annadaana now, but you will only get five percent of the merit from this. If you really want full merit of Annadaana, go out today and tell the hungry in your area that they will get food tomorrow. And go feed them tomorrow. 22-28% of the world population is dying due to starvation. I feel very bad. I do not know why they are not getting food. I do not know what sins they committed.
I pray on this day that those people get food somehow.
Jayalakshmi Mata used to donate food generously all her life. She was verily Annapurneshvari.
Swamiji has made the sankalpa to consecrate Annapurna Mata at a raised height behind Jayalakshmi Mata's murti. Tatagaru (Sri Narahari Teertha Swamy) is yateeshvara, He is very present there. But this here is not Mother’s Brindavana. It is her murti made of clay. That is why, we decided to consecrate Annapurna Mata here. May the starving 22% also find food. They should not go hungry. Sometimes, when Swamiji has his meals (Bhiksha), I remember the poor who are starving and I cannot eat anymore. You may think they are paying for their sins but there is also a solution in us sharing our food with them. We can share a morsel with another when we eat. Swamiji made such a prayer today. Tatagaru’s shrine is beautifully made from stone.
Madhusudana Shastri ji and his disciples keep visiting here. He is like a mind-born son of Jayalakshmi Mata. Along with Amara Datta (the priest at Jayalakshmi Puram) is Chidambaram who grew up near Appaji. I gave him freedom to make his own living, he did not want to receive money from Swamiji for his livelihood. He studied in our Ashram and is also here helping out Amara Datta. The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh allocated some land to build a school here. Swamiji also intends that the children of nearby villages learn Sanskrit and English languages here. Swamiji made this Sankalpa here. This will certainly happen in due course.
Crores of rice grains are poured as a heap in Annakoota ritual. In Orissa, two quintals of soaked rice grains are poured over hot cooked rice; and over the soaked rice grains is again poured hot cooked rice. That way, all of the rice gets cooked from the heat. And then crores of people receive Annadaana. We started small today. I bless that everyone that participated in this Seva as well as their families be blessed with food for seven generations. Annadaana is rare and direct Seva because people are receiving and consuming the food. The recipient of your Vastra daanam might discard the clothes you donate after wearing them, but the food you donate mixes with the blood. Next to Annadaana is Vidya daanam. When Annadaana is done, that is when we can do Vidya dana, i.e., share knowledge. It is only when we are alive that we can gain knowledge. Man somehow manages to get clothes. The skin is the clothing given by God. Many Brahmins do not even wear many clothes. They consider their skin their robe. Therefore Vidya daanam is superior to Vastra daanam. And Annadaana is even more superior to Vidya danam. Everyone participate in Annadaana. All beings – humans, animals, birds etc. eat food. Swamiji will offer Bhiksha to Mother Goddess and will receive that as Bhiksha. I read the names of all the Seva kartas. All those who participated in the Seva will get four rice grains. Take it home and mix with your rice grains at home. Eat the Prasadam served here slowly and wholeheartedly. Yesterday up to 4000 people ate here. Do not worry that it is raining, eat to your heart's content. Offer namaskaram to the rice on your plate and pray to Mother Goddess that everyone else in the world eat as you are eating. Your intent and strength of sankalpa will definitely have its influence.
Courtesy : Dattavani