“Annadanam Samam Danam Trilokeshu Na Vidhathe”
These are the verses from the Vedas, meaning Annadanam is supreme and incomparable to any charity. Food is the basic requirement for all humans. Thus according to Vedas, the one who does annadanam to devotees, attains heaven (Punya Loka) in this Universe (Brahmanda) itself. In this whole universe, the creation and its progression depends on food. Hence giving food to the devotees is more than attaining heaven.
In Sanskrit the word “Annam” means food and “Daanam” means to donate. Thus “Annadanam” means feeding the hungry.
Annadanam is Mahadanam or the greatest donation in Hindu religion and is an essential part of Sanatana Dharma tradition. The food donation is not limited to feeding a human being but it encompasses all living beings. There are numerous stories in Hindu scriptures that extol the glory of Annadanam – prominent being Goddess Parvati appearing as Goddess Annapurnaeshwari and feeding Shiva. Another instant is that Karna taking rebirth as he had performed all types of donation except food donation.
Annadanam is a unique scheme among all donations. Nothing predominates it. By donating to Annadanam, people get moksha. ‘Annam Para Brahma Swarupam’. Food only can support the body to attain Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha. Anyone who participates in this sacred Annadanam, will be blessed by divine Gods. Creatures cannot live without food, hence the donors of Annadanam are also considered as donors of pranadanam. Pranadanam means to offer all things as donation, accordingly they are blessed. Annadanam is a sacred activity. It is said that the sacred works done by the people with the energy acquired by food bestows half of its effect to the donor of food and the rest is to that person. Many positive results like this can acquire from the Annadanam.
The importance of food is stressed in ancient scriptures including the Vedas, Upanisads, Dharma Sastras, Dhamma Padas and others. Taittiriya Upanishad declares, ‘All life force comes from food.’ (“Annam vai pranah”) and “Let food be produced in plenty” (“Annam bahu kurveet”). In Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna declares, “From food all beings are evolved” (“Annad bhavanti bhutani”). Manu Dharma Sastra declares, “Regard the guest as a deity” (“Atithih devo bhava”) plainly expresses this worldwide tradition among ancient societies that deities can move upon the earth in human guise, and that one should therefore regard them with the utmost courtesy and respect and hospitality–including offering them food. Annadanams are conducted with this very principle in mind, for among the hungry crowd there may also be the anonymous genuine devotee, saint or even a deva or deity. Indeed, each and every poor person is regarded in this way, as expressed in the Sanskrit saying “Daridra Narayana” (“God dwells in the poor person”).
“Gaja turaga Sahasram Gokulam koti danam
Kanaka Rajatha patram Methini sagarantham
Upaya kula vishuttam Koti kanya pradanam
Nahi nahi bahu danam Annadanam samanam”
Donating 1000 elephants & horses, donating 10 million cows, donating any number of vessels of silver and gold, donating the entire land till sea, offering the entire services of the clan, helping in the marriage of 10 million women, all this is never ever equal to Annadanam, the feeding of hungry and needy.
Adi Sankaracharya in his stotram praising Annapurna, the godof plentiful food, says:
“Annapurne sadapurne sankara-pranavallabhe gyanavairagya siddhyartham bhiksham dehi cha Parvati”
Annapurna Devi, Goddess of Plentiful Food, you are Lord Shiva’s eternal Consort, give us alms together with wisdom.’
“Give food, Give food. Give food”, this is what Lord Krishna advises Yudhishtira in the Bhavishya Purana in his discourse on ‘daanam’ or the discipline of sharing, Yudhishtira asks Lord Krishna to enlighten him about the essence of Bhishma Pitamaha’s erudite discourse on dharma in the santi parva of the Mahabharata. Lord Krishna says: “The World, both animate and inanimate, is sustained by food. The giver of food is the giver of life and indeed of everything else. Therefore, one who is desirous of well-being in this world and beyond, should make special endeavours to give food. Also food should be offered with venerable hospitality to the old, the child, and the tired traveler”.
Srivaraha says in the Varaha Purana, “One who gives food, gives all that is worth giving in this world”. The Taittriya Upanishad says, “Do not send away anyone who comes to your door, without offering him food and hospitality”. This is the inviolable discipline of mankind. Have an abundance of food and direct all your efforts to ensure that abundance. The Aswameda Yagna of Dasarathas, the Rajasuya Yagna of the Pandavas, and all the great yagnas described in the Ramayanam, Mahabharatham and all the other Puranas testify the importance of sharing food in abundance.
Taittiriya Upanishad declares:
“Annad bhavanti bhutani”
meaning, “From food all beings are evolved”.
A popular saying among Kailas pilgrims, Baba Amarnatha barfani bhukhe ko anna pyase ko pani , exhorts listeners to offer food to the hungry and water to the thirsty in the name of Lord Siva. Among all gifts of charity, providing food to the hungry is the greatest of all gifts as food gives life, longevity, light and energy. Therefore if you offer food to even an enemy who had come to kill you, the Gods will be pleased and bestow their boons upon you. We can define the merit of all other charities, but even the creator, Brahma, cannot describe fully the merit of gifting food. Therefore, when a guest arrives at lunch or dinner time, always offer him or her food on a leaf or plate. There is no greater merit in this world than feeding the hungry. Even the Gods appreciate the deed of regular annadanam. Annadanam improves strength, sharpness of brain and divinity to both the donor and receiver. Food is to be served to all the inmates and visitors irrespective of caste, creed, race, sex or age three times a day.
Serving food to the hungry is equal to effect of performing ritual yagna. Human beings can only be satisfied with food but not with gold, dress and other things, as they desire to have them more and more. But in case of food a man wholeheartedly says that the food is ‘enough’ for him. It is said that glory, strength and fame will be acquired in Trilokas by Annadanam. The donor of Anandanam will get first entry in the heaven. For this noble cause, SKAIFOUNDATION started “Annadanam”to all devotees , followers, and visitors every weekends and special occasions like festival days throughout the year through CHAR DHAM HINDU TEMPLE, Annadaana Sponsors will have archana done on their behalf on the selected Annadaan date and receive prasadam & special aseervadam.Celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, or any other special occasion through sponsoring anAnnadaan Mahaprasad.Sponsorship Available. Please feel free to contact the temple forany further information.
Sponsors will be supporting the divine Annadaan effort through their sponsorship