Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Goddess Parvati: The Divine Consort of Lord Shiva

Goddess Parvati is the consort of Lord Shiva and the mother of Ganesha and Kartikeya. She is a well known goddess in the Hindu mythology, who is considered as a representation of Shakti. She is beautifully presented in the Hindu scriptures as being beautiful. She has a charming personality. She is worshipped by married women for a happy married life. The word Parvati has been derived from a Sanskrit word "Parvat", which means mountain. So, the name Parvati suggests that she is the daughter of Himavan and Mena.

Goddess Parvati is believed to be one of the many forms of the ‘Divine Shakti’. She is also known as goddess Kali, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Durga etc. Goddess Durga and goddess Kali are the two fierce but very powerful forms of Parvati. Goddess Parvati symbolizes noble virtues admired by the Hinduism. She married Lord Shiva, the most innocent and the fiercest lord in Hinduism. There are legends behind the marriage of Lord Shiva and Parvati, being a great devotee of Lord Shiva, goddess Parvati did a long penance in order to get Lord Shiva as her husband. Her dedication was really true which made Lord Shiva to marry her.

Origin of Goddess Parvati

According to the Puranas, Lord Brahma created a beautiful maiden Sati who was born to a king called Daksha. Lord Shiva married her. One day, however, Sati heard that a major religious function was being celebrated in her father’s house. King Daksha did not like Lord Shiva therefore, he did not invite Shiva and Sati. She was a little upset that her parents had not invited her or her husband. So, she decided that she would go to his father’s religious function even if she was uninvited. Shiva did not want her to go uninvited. There, in her father’s home, Sati was insulted and Daksha also insulted Shiva. She could not bear the insult and jumped into the sacred fire of yagna. Lord Shiva was enraged after the death of Sati. He just could not bear the loss. As he carried her body across the country, different parts of her body are believed to have fallen off in many places and even today these places are sacred in Hindu mythology.

After the death of Sati, Lord Shiva renounced the world and went into deep meditation in the snow-covered peaks of the Himalayas. Meanwhile, the demons lead by Taraka, a powerful demon, rose from the netherworld, defeated the gods and took the heaven under his control. The gods wanted a warrior who would help them to regain the heaven. Lord Brahma advised them, only Shiva can father such a warrior, but he is unaware of the world. At the persistence of the gods, Sati agreed to take a rebirth as Parvati, the daughter of Himavan (the King of the Himalayas) and his wife Mena. It was only after performing intense austerities that Goddess Parvati succeeded in pleasing Lord Shiva and making him accept her again as his consort. Later, she became the mother of Lord Ganesha and Kartikeya. Kartikeya killed the demon Taraka and restored the heaven to the gods.

 The divine motherly love of Parvati is visible with her two children Ganesha and Kartikaya. She is usually represented as a fair and beautiful woman. The color of her clothes is milk-white, the color of enlightenment and knowledge. She is generally depicted with Lord Shiva and two of her children Ganehsa and Kartikeya. The family of Lord Shiva, Parvati and their sons Ganesha and Kartikeya is an ideal example of family unity and love.

Goddess Parvati - Other Names

The word Parvati has been derived from a Sanskrit word "Parvat" meaning mountain. So, "Parvati" means "she of the mountains" and suggests that Parvati is the daughter of Himavan (the personification of the Himalayas) and the apsara (fairy) Mena. Lalita, Uma, Gauri, Kali, Durga, Haimavati etc are the other names for Parvati. Amba is the other name of Parvati being the mother of the universe and Ambika, being the 'mother'. As Lalita, she represents the aspect of beauty and magnificence. Lalita Sahastranama contains a thousand of her names.

Parvati - Her Symbolism
Goddess Parvati symbolizes noble virtues admired by the Hindu religion. Parvati is the better half of Lord Shiva, the most innocent and the fiercest god in Hindu tradition. The couple together symbolizes both power of renunciation and asceticism and the blessings of marital felicity. There are legends behind the marriage of Lord Shiva and Parvati, being a devotee of Shiv-Shambhu. Parvati did a lot of tap in order to get Shiva as her soul mate. Parvati's dedication was really true which made Lord Shiva to marry her.

Fertility, marital felicity, devotion to the spouse, asceticism and power are different virtues symbolized by Parvati. These virtues are highly valued by the Hindu tradition. As per a famous literary work on the goddess, Saundarya Lahiri, Parvati is the source of all the power in this universe and Lord Shiva gets all his powers from her.All paintings are courtesy of Art of Legend india.

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