Among all the forms of charity, Annadhanam is considered as an act of highest virtue. All the other human needs like clothes, shelter and education impact only the quality of life but the food impacts the life itself. Annadhanam is a way of viewing the life as precious and aiding its survival. Sharing food is sharing life. This is why Annadhanam is even called jeevandhan.
Feeding the hungry and deprived, offering food to the yatris (pilgrims), to the birds and animals come under the ambit of Annadhanam. It is a gesture of compassion towards fellow living beings.
Fill the stomach, the face lights up and mind is at peace. The food is verily a source of joy. Share it with others, the joy multiplies. The food is a key element in worship which is also called as Naivedya.
Annadhanam has other advantages over other forms of charity. While bhoodhan, godhan, vastradhan and vidyadhan can be performed only by person of wealth, Annadhanam is within every one’s reach. It entails simply sharing one’s meals with the fellow beings. The food is also the easiest way through which a living being can be fully and instantly satisfied. Like the way light dispels darkness, the food drives away the hunger in no time.
The stomach is the home of fire element which is one among the five panchabhutas. This fire is can be doused by food alone. The scriptures add another wonderful dimension to the act of consuming food. They advocate considering the fire in the belly as a yagna and food as the oblation. This way the food consumed by a person becomes aahuti to the Lord who resides within, as the bhokta.
The great visionary and poet-saint Thiruvalluvar echoes this truth in one of his classical aphorisms which says “Fortunate is he who saves men from the devastating curse of hunger, for he has thereby deposited his possession in the well-guarded vault.”
As our prime objective is to spread Shirdi Sai Baba’s teachings and messages, we are serving the needy and the hungry – “Food served to the hungry will be received by BABA – Sai Leela”.
Every day we are serving food prasadham in our temple. Devotees are welcome to donate us by joining hands with us for a good cause –“Helping hands are better than praying lips”.