Essay on Goddess “Parvati”
Shiva seeing this change opened his eyes and at that moment Kamdev shot an arrow of love at Shiva — but Shiva woke up and sent a lightning streak from his third eye towards Kamdev. Kamdev’s body got immediately burnt; he remained alive in his spirit form. This was terrible for his wife Rati. She could do nothing about it, but made Shiva promise that Kamdev will regain his body as Pradyuman, the son of Lord Krishna in ‘Dwapar Yug’. Shiva went back to his meditation.
Uma fell more and more in love with Shiva as she grew up to be a beautiful young woman. On the advice of sage Narad and others, she decided to do tapasya to obtain Him. She started living a life of austerity and worship of Shiva to convince Him of her love.
Lord Shiva in the meantime had been convinced by the sages and devtas that he must marry as without a consort his shakti would vanish, and no one was better suited than Uma, the daughter of Himavant — so one day He came to test her and on seeing her worshipping Him, he in the guise of a mendicant told her horrible tales of Shiva and his way of life and his associates, but Parvati was adamant. Lord Shiva came into his own form then and offered to marry her and live with her forever.
Narad and other sages were sent to ‘Himavant’ who called Parvati and asked her in front of all of them if she agreed to marry Shiva. She looked down at the lotus in her hand and started counting the petal in her shyness — Himavant consented to the marriage.
The baraat came in the style of Shiva on the appointed day. Maina the mother was taken aback when she saw the baraat but did the ‘arta’ and accepted Shambhu (as Shiva was also called) along with his snakes and frightful companions. Shiva and Paravati — the eternal couple — then went to Kailash in happiness and love.
Parvati soon became the symbol of worship of all unmarried and married women of the world. She was a very benevolent Goddess and was particular in bestowing boons to unmarried girls as they prayed to her for husbands of their choice or dreams, also to married women who prayed to her to give long life to their husbands on whom depended everything after their marriage. The women chose Parvati, who was loved very very much by her husband and gave her the name of ‘Gauri’ or Gaura, to whom they prayed to on ‘Karva-Chouth’ with much devotion.
Parvati became the custodian of women and was equated to all the Goddesses that were to come later ‘Shakti’ was another name of the Goddess as she and Sati or Shakti are the same essentially — but Shakti is usually used as a name for Sati. Shakti is power — and the consorts of the Gods are their power. Therefore, without Shakti, all Gods are static.
Ambika or Durga is supposed to be born of the body of Parvati and thus Parvati became the essence of all forms of the mother Goddess like Ishani, Aparna, Gauri, Gaura, Durga, Tara, Kali, Vaishnav Devi, Ambika, Chaumandi, Annpurna, etc., etc. They were attributed with different temperaments and forms.
The stories connected to their doings and to their appearance at different times depending on situations — are all absorbed very naturally, by the Hindus. She is the power of the Gods which can manifest itself in any form and at any time. This again is in the genius of the Hindu faith to manifest the unmanifest for the sake of getting it accepted by all and sundry in forms which they had somehow already accepted due to fright or love.
Parvati, therefore, is as complex as her spouse ‘Lord Shiva’. She can be fearsome being as Kali or most benevolent as Durga or Gauri. The temples of Parvati alone are never there; she is always with Shivji, but in the form of Durga, Kali and others. She stands alone and is worshipped as such all over the country. More people seem to have faith in Her than in the male Gods.
Parvati also got mixed up with Yogmaya whom Krishna had given a ‘Vardan’ to be worshipped as Devi in all her manifestations during the end of Dwapar. They are essentially the Unmanifest power of the universe, so they are really one in their different manifestations and with Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh who are the functioning deities, Devi became the ‘power’ that gives them the drive to do so, yet all is One.
Shiva and Parvati had no children as a couple, although Kartik and Ganesh are accepted as Shiva’s and Parvati’s sons. Their birth is attributed to strange circumstances, in which only one of them was involved. The details I shall put in the chapter concerning these two.