23 March 2011

Game of Dice and Annapoorna

The legend of Shiva and Parvati’s Game of Dice, explains the creation of the phenomenal world in that before they begin to play, they are the androgyne, Ardhanarisvara and locked in union; with no distinction between consciousness and its contents, and no world.

To learn more about the role of Siva-Sakti go to this link here:

There are many subtleties and esoteric meanings connected with the mythology and legends of Arunachala. One of the most famous being that of Ardhanarishvara - a form of the divine which is particularly celebrated at Arunachala and not more so than during the festival of Deepam and on the day of Bharani Deepam. To read more go this link here:

The game of dice between Shiva and Parvati symbolises the beginning of manifestation.When Parvati takes the dice and begins to play, she separates herself from Shiva so that they become two different players thus initiating fragmentation and the creation of the phenomenal world. Shiva represents consciousness, and Parvati represents prakriti.

At first Shiva beats Parvati, but then more is wagered and Shiva loses all his attributes to Her. After losing the game, and seemingly losing his powers, Shiva accepts the defeat with a shrug of his shoulders and withdraws into the forest to meditate. Symbolising that consciousness can detach itself from its experience and from its own contents, and withdraw into a peaceful state.

In the forest Shiva meets Vishnu who offers to help. Afterwards Shiva wins back all he previously lost and causes Parvarti to accuse him of cheating. Vishnu reveals to Parvarti the secret of Shiva’s victories. “My spirit entered the dice. The dice moved not according to your moves but according to my wish. So neither has Shiva really won nor have you really lost. The game was an illusion; your quarrel a product of delusion.”

Shiva tells Parvati that the world is an illusion, nature is an illusion, matter is a mirage, and even food is just maya. Parvati, mother of all material things including food, loses her temper, saying; "If I am just an illusion, let's see how you and the rest of the world get along without me," and disappears from the world. Her disappearance causes havoc in the cosmos. Time stands still and in the grip of a terrible drought, the earth becomes barren. Seeing such suffering, Parvati's heart melts and she appears at Kashi to give relief.

Hearing of her return, Shiva presents himself to Parvati with other hungry mendicants. The Goddess feeds him, and Shiva admits that food cannot be dismissed as mere illusion as it is required to nourish the body in which resides the Atma.

Since that time, Parvati is worshipped as Annapoorna Devi, the Goddess of food and sustainer of prosperity. Legend has it that Shiva made an agreement with Goddess Annapoorna that she look after life before death, ensuring that no one goes hungry in the sacred city of Kashi, while he will ensure they receive liberation.

In 2011, the date of Annapoorna Puja is April 11 and is mainly performed by women. For more details of Annapoorna Puja observances go to this link here:

To listen to the Annaporna Strotram with English translation watch the video below.

Or go direct to this link here:

1 comment:

God Mantras said...

Om Namah Shivaya. Hara Hara Maha Deva.Shambo Shankara.Thank you for sharing the informative blog. It is indeed wonderful to read and useful.The maha mrityunjaya mantra is a prayer to Lord Shiva to help them overcome the Death. Read hanuman chalisa.