There is no better puja and ritual in Hindu religion than
feeding a hungry living being. 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.
A mistake many Hindus make while performing Annadanam is to
feed only priests. This is wrong. Annadanam should be offered to all living
being – there should not be any consideration of position, authority, religion
or caste or nationality.
In Hinduism, Annadanam is performed for redemption of sins,
to attain piety, to get speedy recovery from illness and also to attain
There is a Hindu belief that sins committed in previous
birth follows a person in successive births – Annadanam is performed to put an
end to this.
The glory of family, popularity of institution, holiness of
a temple increases with each Annadanam.
Above all we become good human beings when we are willing
to share our food with one who is hungry.