From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

  1. grain, cereal, rice, food, matter.
  2. earth and water

Anna as food[edit]

Anna or food seems to be a favourite topic dealt with in the scriptures. The Upaniṣads have used the word many times not only in the sense of physical food but also to signify anything that is consumed or enjoyed. It stands for matter in general. In the long process of creation it is the lowest manifestation of the Ātman.

Anna nourishes not only the body but also the mind. Hence there is a stress on purity of food. The dharmaśāstras consider even eating as a religious act and give several rules concerning it.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore