meaning of "annam"

elmec elmec at GIASBG01.VSNL.NET.IN
Tue Jul 25 23:28:59 CDT 2000

Hari Om,

I have gathered some more info on the above subject. Kindly ignore this
if the idea has already been discussed without my noticing it.

The word ' annam ' generally means food. " adyatE  atti  cha
bhootaani    tasmaat annam taduchyatE ". That which is eaten by and that
which eats the creatures is called annam. We eat the food to maintain
our bodies and as we are digesting it and growing up, we are also
proceeding everyday towards old age and death. Thus the annam is also
eating us up !

But there is also one more interesting upanishadic interpretation.
In taittariiya upanishad , saptama anuvaaka and shloka no 1, it is
written like this :

annam na nindyaat . tatvratam . praanO vaa annam . shariiramannaadam .
praane shariiram pratishtitam . shariire praana.h pratishtita.h  .
tadEtadannamannE pratishtitam . .....................

The meaning here is : the food should not be insulted ( by wasting it ).
This is a vrataa of brahmajnaas. The praana ( the life breath ) is
annam. Because our body exists inside praana ( ie, our body is supported
by praana ). Also the praana exists inside our body ( the body supports
praana ). Thus the annam exists inside the other annam !
Each one is supported by the other. When praana supports the body praana
is called the anna and body is called the annaada. When body supports
the praana body is called the anna and the life breath the annaada. Thus
each one is the annam of the other and annaada of the other. One who
learns this secret becomes the anna and the annaada .

Here the advaitic significance is that the Brahman supports the
jiivaatma - thus brahman is the annam. The jiivaatma  also supports
brahman ( because he pervades the jiivaatma or he is the one who is
present in jiivaatma ). Thus Brahman and jiiva are the anna and annaada
of each other ! One who learns this secret becomes both the anna and
annaada , ie, he becomes both the brahma and the jiivaatma - the
EkamEvAdvitIya.h  !

Latha Vidyaranya

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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