Annadan in Sai Spirituality

The following description is given about annadan in Chapter XXXVIII of Shri Sai Satcharita.Of all the charities, giving food is the best one. We are much perturbed, when we get no food at noon. Other beings feel similarly under such circumstances. After knowing this, he, who gives food to the poor and hungry, is the best donor or charitable person. The Taittiriya Upanishad says that “Food is Brahma, from food all the creatures are born and by food they live, and after having departed, into food again they enter.” When an Atithi (guest) comes to our door at noon, it is our duty to welcome him by giving him food. Other kinds of charities, viz. giving away wealth, property and clothes etc. require some discrimination but in the matter of food no such consideration is necessary. If anybody comes to our door at noon, he should be served forthwith; if lame, crippled, blind and diseased persons come, they should be fed first and the able-bodied persons and our relations afterwards.

Annadan was one of the priorities in Sai Baba`s humanity. He was often distributing food to all making all preparations Himself. He depended on nobody and troubled none, in this matter. He was going to the bazar and buying all the things, corn, flour, spices etc., paying cash. He was serving food with His own hand to all the poor and helpless people.

Annadan is provided to the poor, needy and devotees yearly on four occasions viz.Guru Purnima, Maha Samadhi Divas, Datta Jayanti and Akhanda Sai Nama Japa Day in Shri Shirdi Sai Baba Anand Ashram, BTM Layout Bangalore managed by Sri Sadguru Sainath Seva Samithi. Monthly food expenses of two Anathashrams located in Bangalore are also managed by the Samithi every month out of funds donated by devotees for annadan.

Shri Satchidananda Sadguru Sainath Maharaj Ki Jaya.

Dr.Mahesh Chandra Panda
Shirdi Sai devotee
BTM Layout Bangalore

About drmcpanda

Dr. Mahesh Chandra Panda, M.B.B.S.,M.D. Date of Birth:29.02.1948 Retd. (29.02.2008) Chief District Medical Officer Bargarh Orissa India
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17 Responses to Annadan in Sai Spirituality

  1. I seek blessings of Sai Baba
    on the occasion of our 36th marriage anniversary.

    The other day while I was drafting the article Annadan in Sai Spirituality, my wife Sailasuta told me: You are a Shirdi Sai Baba devotee. You regularly visit Shri Shirdi Sai Baba Anand Ashram, BTM Layout Bangalore to attend arati and darshan. You had also been to Shirdi for Sai darshan. You read and refer Shri Sai Satcharita as the wonderful life and teachings of Sai Baba. I want clarification about one thing: you casually eat non-veg. Is there no restriction of your eating non-veg. as a Shirdi Sai devotee!

    I replied: It is also mentioned in Chapter XXXVIII of Shri Sai Satcharita referred to in my article that Sai Baba sometimes cooked ‘Mithe Chaval’(sweet rice) and at other times Biryani’( mutton dish) as per Islamic rites. Those who were accustomed to non-vegetarian food, were given non-vegetarian food from the Handi as Prasad and those who were not so accustomed were given vegetarian meal.

    • Dear Panda Sir,

      Many happy returns of the day.

      Taking veg or non-veg food is a personal choice that does not mean that, people who take veg food are not necessarily true devotee or vice versa. We should keep our heart clean.

      Om Sai Ram

    • Santhosh says:

      Sai Ram Uncle,
      A very nice article.

      It is very much true and we should also always remember Mrs.Tharkhad’s story given in Sri Sai Satcharithra that Sai lives in all the Beings and we should always give the food to the hungry (May be Animals or Human Beings) and also while some beggar comes and begs for food and money, if we are not willing to give them, we have to tell very politely that we are not able to give; should never shout at them.

      “Annam Para Brahma Swaroopam”

      Sri Satchidhananda Samartha Sadguru SaiNath Maharaaj Ki Jai

      Om Sai Ram

      Santhosh KV
      Hewlett Packard India Global Operations,

  2. Dear Panda Sir,

    Thanks for publishing such a great post on donating food.

    It’s also a wise idea to donate food to needy people at noon. But I think most of the devotees may not be able to manage that, that’s why we suppose to give some donation in the HUNDI at the time of DARSHAN.

    Now-a-days it seems to be we are bluffed by the Charitable Trusts; some bad people of the trust are treating it as their personal property. We can witness it in recent news that some charitable trusts have so much of belongings; I would say that the devotees are emotionally exploited. There should be a code of conduct of these charitable trusts & they also need to show the movable & immovable property details in each financial year; the audited receipts & payments accounts of the trust should also be disclosed to the public through website. The people behind the trust are much vulnerable, because we might not have an idea that what’s going on?

    I appeal all the devotees that we have got the right to know the donation goes to the right persons. We should be more vigilant.

    May Sai Baba bless all.

    Om Sai Ram.

  3. Vinod Varma says:

    Despite all progresses that we have made as a country, unfortunately, many of our brethren still go hungry. Program like these helps to reduce this, and hence commendable. It is service to poor, service to country and service to god.

  4. Nice expression on ‘Annadan’.

  5. Chandra Kumar Panda says:


    The article on “Annadan” not only in Sai Charita but also in the whole mythology is prescribed and widely accepted.Dana Dana Mahadana is so called Annadan.

    We have come naked to this world and will go naked from this world.Whatever we are getting and enjoying in this worldy life that is by virtue of the direction of the Almighty and accordingly we receive the skill and innate power. So man with haves should always have a look to the have-nots.

    The article is a nice one.
    Yours Sincerely
    Chandra Kumar Panda

  6. Prakash Padhan says:

    Congratulation on your 36th marriage anniversary.

    From your article I could know about Annadan of Sri Sri Sai Baba.
    First time I knew that Baba was non-vegetarian.

    Thanks for your article as well as comment.

  7. All charities including offering of food is a good tradition.
    Charities can be misused by people and trustees.
    All actions including charity need adequate caution.

  8. The Rig Veda hails the man who cares for the poor and the hungry,and asserts that not only will he really enjoy his food but his charitable and philanthropic acts will confer on him plenty of wealth and friends who would offer help in times of need.

    *Excerpt from the article ‘On human conduct’ published in ‘Religion’ columns of ‘The Hindu’ on June 24, 2011.

  9. Madhusudan Mahunta says:


    As per your article, Annadan is really a high philosophical thought and noble work of Bhagwan Shirdi Sai Baba.To serve food to hungry,to serve water to thirsty animal at the time of their need is more more essential than other things in the universe.Many many thanks to you for your collection of this type of article and advise to the people.

    Your Shishya
    Madhusudan Mahunta
    Public Health Extension Officer (Retd.)

  10. KEDARNATH SAHU says:

    Really it is a great article.

  11. Give Food to hungry, Water to thirsty and clothes to naked then .. God will be pleased-Shirdi Sai Baba..

    Sachchidanand Sadguru Shree Sainath Maharaj ki Jai ho

    Om Allah Ram Sai Nanak Jesus Muhammad Kalki Mahaveer Buddha Vishnu Hussain Shiva Ali Hanuman Durga mata…Om Allah

  12. V.Nageswara Rao says:

    Dear Sir,
    First of all Many Hearty Wishes and Congratulations on your Marriage Anniversary.God bless u both to celebrate many more Marriage Anniversaries.

    The Article Annadan in Sai Spirituality is really very eye catching article for any human being.We all know that Annadan is Mahadan, there is no any kind of donation equivalent to Annadan.Since my child hood,I heard this message from my elders and also known from many books related to almost all religions in which it was clearly mentioned that Annadan is Mahat-dana to get punya and giving food to Poor and Needy People is same as Shirdi ki Maharaj Sainath mentioned.

    Here the question comes how far and how many people or responsible persons in the community are providng Food through donations or with direct help?There are many people living in Rural Villages and Urban Slums as Hungry and most of us know every day some people are suspected to be dying due to hunger and lack of food in our country.

    If We thought that, We are real devotees of Sainath; then it’s high time to do something to provide food to the needy directly or indirectly with some kind of Training and Capacity Building to generate their income sustainability to solve their food problem forever.This is same as the difference between to make aware and train the needy “How to Catch Fish instead of How to Eat Fish”.

    Sachhidanada Samaartha Sadguru Sainath Maharaj ki Jai

    V. Nageswara Rao

  13. Dr.Binod Bihari Naik says:

    Respected Sir,

    To recall the dated 10-12-2012 on the events of your Odisha tour on your way and entry of your feet to my sweet home is a great and remarkable opportunity availed by me to learn internet exposure vividly about World Wide Web views and comments on your blog ‘Yoga & Spirituality’. Really it gave a good lesson and pumped a lot to lessen my inertia and put forth enthusiasm spiritedly just after your departure from my home. What, is it not an adaptability to Yoga & Spirituality.

    On the same day I put on the internet and accessed to your topic of missionary adventure and paused my view at Annadan in Sai Spirituality. Its two wards strike me much that Annadan means Punyadan and Sai Spirituality is the torch bearer of modern era. Because it signifies the top most virtue of Sai Spirituality, imparts knowledge from age to age to cultivate peace and pleasure; a generous gift of Anna(Food) to needy, cripple, diseased, orphans of any age and observed their satiety and shared with their love and affection. This is called; Service to Man is Service to God. The same affair also started by Parthi Sai who is not other than Shirdi Sai as Narayan Seva (Distributing food to destitute). More highlightedly when a devotee is spontaneously engaged with service of cooked food to an esteemed orphan on day to day basis then it is called Maha Narayan Daridra Seva. As Sai Baba exhorted unconditional service to needy when relished to them, it brings realization and blossoms salvation on donors. He added; serve all, love all: help ever, hurt never: a simple dictum to understand, but a great significance to practice and no iota of doubt to reach spirituality. Satya Sai Baba further explained Annam Brahmam and also in Ashtanga Yoga Anna (Food) is totally needed for Annamaya Kosha where Pranamaya Kosha pulsates and reverberates , Manamaya Kosha waves in and exaggerates to Gyanamaya Kosha to imbibe all events from space for analysis and implementation; then these four Koshas are tuned in and streamed line with Annandamaya Kosha that floats. In this stage one individual feels ecstasy of abode of Bishnumaya. So much is the importance of food in one`s life. Hence follow the dictum: As is the food so is the mind. As is the mind so is the thought. As is the thought so is the action. As is the action so is the result. So food conceptualizes fate of one to start with vegetarian for subtle energy and non-vegetarian for active energy. Thus former comes under sattwic whereas later under Rajasic and Tamasic . Hence I appeal here to feed only sattwic food is Annadan and when prepared with love to distribute to destitute is Punyadan. Here I would like to say no Govt. renders such services with spirituality and thinks for unity in diversity.

    Thanking You,
    Your Divine Brother
    Dr Binod Bihari Naik
    Bargarh Odisha

  14. Purnima Panda says:

    Pranam Kaka,

    A very nice article about the importance of giving.The joy of giving is a wonderful experience whether it is in form of food, cloth or money. Who have experienced it, they know it’s value. Every person should contribute towards giving to poor, disabled and helpless people.The “Dana” should always given to the needy person.

    Thank u for a worthy and learning article shared by me.

  15. 98th Maha Samadhi Day of Sri Shirdi Sai Baba was observed in Shri Shirdi Sai Baba Anand Ashram BTM Lay out Bangalore on October 11, 2016(Dasara). I had Darshan of Shri Sai Baba and donated funds towards Annadhana provided to poor, needy persons and devotees on the occasion in addition to donation of funds towards Ashram and Charitable Medical & Dental Clinic Management.

    Maha Samadhi Divas of Shirdi Sai BTM Layout Ashram 2016

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