Parvati is the wife of Shiva, the destroyer. Parvati is the goddess of fertility, devotion, and love. She is also the goddess of divine strength and power. Parvati is an aspect of Shakti, a peaceful aspect. She is one of the Tridevi, along with Saraswati and Lakshmi. Parvati lives on Mt. Kailash with Shiva and her sons.
- Father: Himavat
- Mother: Mena
- Brothers: Mainaka, 99 others
- Husband: Shiva
- Sons: Ganesha, Kartikeya
Once the devas prayed to the Goddess Shakti. The Goddess presented herself before them and said, “Oh devas, what is it that you want.”
The devas responded, “In the past, you incarnated on this Earth as Sati, the wife of Shiva. But Sati sacrificed herself in her father’s yagna and now she is no more. Lord Shiva has become very depressed. Please take birth on Earth and become the wife of Shiva.”
The Goddess assured, “I will surely take birth on Earth. Ever since I cast off my body as Sati, Lord Shiva has been very anguished. As Sanatkumara said, I will become the daughter of Mena and Himavat. I will perform a lot of penance and become the wife of Shiva.”
The devas rejoiced and went to the abode of Mena and Himavat. Himavat greeted them lovingly and then asked them why they had come. The devas told them about what had happened and instructed Mena and Himavat to perform penance to please the Goddess.
Mena and Himavat performed penance for 27 years. They would fast and worship clay idols of the Goddess. Finally, after 27 years, the Goddess Shakti was pleased and presented herself in front of Mena. “Mena, whatever it is that you desire, I will grant you,” the Goddess said.
Mena praised the Goddess. She then said, “Oh Goddess, if you desire to grant me a boon, I shall ask for one. First, let me have a hundred brave sons. Also, please incarnate on this Earth as my daughter. Please marry Shiva and satisfy the wishes of the devas.”
The Goddess Shakti granted the boons and then vanished. Mena joyfully went to her abode and told Himavat about the boon. Both of them were overjoyed.
Soon, a son named Mainaka was born to Mena and Himavat. After that, Mena became pregnant again. After ten months, at midnight, a daughter was born to Mena. This daughter was the incarnation of the Goddess. Himavat then came there with his chief priest and learned Brahmins. He was very happy to see his daughter. She was named Parvati. All the devas assembled and rejoiced.
In her childhood, Parvati used to always play with her friends along the banks of the river Ganga. When she got older, Parvati got a proper education from a respectable teacher.
Once, Narada came to Himavat’s kingdom. Himavat asked him about the future of his daughter. Narada predicted that she will marry Shiva and live with him in Mount Kailash. He also told him that Parvati had been Sati in her past life. Himavat was overjoyed by hearing all of this.
Parvati once told her parents about a dream she had had. In the dream, a sage had told her to perform penance to please Shiva. Himavat also had a dream in which Parvati was worshipping Shiva.
After the death of Sati, Shiva decided to perform penance. He took a select few Ganas with him to Gangavatarana. On hearing that Shiva had come to Gangavatarana, Himavat decided to visit him. Soon, Himavat and Parvati started going every day to worship Shiva during his penance. Shiva soon accepted Parvati into his service. Every day, Parvati and her maids would come and show their devotion to Shiva in different ways.
Meanwhile, an Asura named Taraka came to power. He had a boon that only the son of Shiva could kill him. Taraka knew that Sati had just died, which meant that Shiva had no son. So, Taraka was invincible. Tarakasura started to invade the gods. He soon captured Swarga loka and threw the devas out of Swarga. The devas approached Brahma for advice. Brahma told them about the boon he had given to Tarakasura and said, “As you all know, Sati has been reborn as Parvati. Currently, Parvati is serving Shiva on the Himalayas during his meditation. You must get Shiva and Parvati to have a child. That is the only way in which Taraka can be killed.”
Indra decided to send Kama, the god of love, to create love between Shiva and Parvati. As soon as Kama reached the place where Shiva was meditating, flowers started to grow everywhere. Parvati then came there with two of her maids and brought flowers to offer to Shiva. Kama shot his flowery arrow of love at Shiva. When Shiva saw Parvati, he was enamored by her beauty. He started staring at her and starting undressing her. But, Shiva immediately came out of this lustful state and went back to being detached. Shiva looked around and saw Kama on his left side. He was enraged and opened his third eye. A great fire originated from his third eye and reduced Kama to ashes. Later, Shiva assured that Kama would be resuscitated.
Parvati was frightened by the incineration and hurriedly returned to Himavat’s palace. She became very unhappy because she couldn’t see Shiva anymore. Once Narada came to Himavat’s palace. When Himavat told him about Parvati’s state, he went to secretly talk to Parvati.
“Parvati, you worshipped Shiva. But because of the incident with Kama, he has become completely detached and left you. But if you perform penance, then Shiva will be pleased and accept you as his wife,” Narada advised. Narada then taught her the five-syllabled mantra of Shiva.
Parvati went to ask permission from her father, who reluctantly agreed. But her mother instantly said no. She didn’t want Parvati to leave. Thus Parvati also became known as Uma, which means “not allowed by mother”. But, seeing Parvati’s disappointment, Mena eventually gave in.
Thus, Parvati wore the clothes of an ordinary woman and went to do penance at Gangavatarana. Her penance was really severe and she survived on leaves. Soon, she even stopped eating leaves. Her penance went on for three thousand years. Many people came there and praised her. Once, Himavat, Mena, and Parvati’s 100 brothers all came to the Gangavatarana. They had come to try to persuade Parvati to stop her penance. Himavat, Mena, Mainaka, Mandara (another brother of Parvati) and others all tried, but all of them were unsuccessful in convincing her, so they had to leave.
Because of Parvati’s penance, the universe started becoming scorched. Indra and the devas decided to go to Brahma for help. Brahma took them to Vishnu, who said, “It is because of Parvati’s penance.” Vishnu, Brahma, and all the devas went to Shiva. After a lot of effort, they finally convinced Shiva to marry Parvati so that Tarakasura would be killed.
After Brahma, Vishnu, and the devas left, Shiva decided to test Parvati. He called the Saptarishis and told them to conduct a test of Parvati’s resolve. The seven sages arrived at the place where Parvati was immersed in penance.
“Oh daughter of the mountain, why do you perform such a penance. Who are you trying to appease?” the Saptarishis questioned.
“Oh great sages, listen to my purpose. On the advice of the celestial sage Narada, I am performing this penance to become the wife of Shiva. May Lord Shiva fulfill my desire,” Parvati answered.
“Oh Parvati, you do not know the ways of the sage Narada. He appears spiritual, but he is deceitful. You must know what Narada did to Daksha and his sons. He led them all away from his father and on a spiritual path. And after the death of Sati, Shiva will never marry. We will arrange your marriage with Vishnu, a husband fit for you. Please abandon this penance,” the Saptarishis insisted.
“Narada has led me to Shiva and I will not discard the advice of a celestial sage. If Shiva doesn’t marry me, I will remain unmarried,” Sati said.
On hearing this, the Saptarishis were impressed and blessed Parvati. They then went to Mount Kailash and told him what had happened. After hearing this, Shiva was impressed but still wanted to test Parvati. He took the form of an old ascetic Brahmin with matted hair and approached Parvati. Parvati respectfully worshipped the Brahmin and then asked why he had come.
“I am an aged Brahmin roaming about. But who are you?” the Brahmin asked.
“I am the daughter of Himavat. In my previous birth, I was Sati and I had cast off my body. Currently, I am doing penance to marry Shiva, but he is not pleased. I was just about to burn myself in a fire when you came,” Parvati said.
Saying this, Parvati tried to leap in the fire, but the Brahmin repeatedly stopped her. The Brahmin then inquired for details about her penance and goal. Parvati’s maid Vijayaa told him everything that had happened. The Brahmin then started heavily insulting Shiva. Parvati was enraged and countered back, praising Shiva and disproving the Brahmin. Suddenly, the Brahmin turned back into Shiva.
Shiva expressed his new desire to marry Parvati. Parvati was overjoyed and they decided to get married.
Parvati went home and told her parents about the news. A great celebration was held at Himavat’s city. In the midst of the celebration, Shiva took the form of a dancer. Parvati immediately recognized that he was Shiva. The dancer told Parvati to ask for a boon. Parvati asked the dancer to be her husband. Shiva granted the wish and disappeared.
Meanwhile, the devas were having a meeting in Swarga. They had realized that if Parvati married Lord Shiva, Himavat’s devotion will cause him to be transported to Shivaloka. This will be detrimental for Earth. To solve this issue, they approached their guru Brihaspati, who advised them to seek Brahma’s help. Lord Brahma said that they must pray to Lord Shiva to solve this issue.
Accordingly, the gods went to Shiva for help. Shiva said, “I shall go to Himavat’s city and rebuke myself. I will then send the Saptarishis to go convince Himavat and Mena of the marriage. Thus, they will accept the marriage, but with a little hesitation. Because of this hesitation, Himavat won’t reach Shivaloka.”
Shiva took the form of a Vaishnava devotee and reached Himavat’s city. He went to Himavat’s court and greatly criticized Shiva. Himavat and Menu were discouraged and cancelled the marriage. But then the Saptarishis arrived and convinced them to accept the marriage. Thus, Himavat accepted the marriage and sent the letter of betrothal to Shiva. A huge marriage procession formed, and it included the devas, Gandharvas, Apsaras, rishis, mountains, and everyone else.
When the marriage procession approached Himavat’s palace, Mena became curious to see Shiva because she had never seen him before. She stood on the terrace and told Narada to show her Shiva. Mena first mistook Vasu, the king of the Vasus, for Shiva. She then mistook Manigriva, the son of Kubera, for Shiva. Mena then mistook Agni, Yama, Nirrti, Vayu, Kubera, Indra, Chandra, Surya, Brihaspati, Brahma and Vishnu for Shiva, but each time Narada said no. Finally, when Shiva arrived, Narada pointed her out. She was horrified at his appearance. He had snakes around his neck and body, and ash smeared on his body. She screamed, “Kill me! I cannot let my daughter marry Shiva.” Her maids tried to calm her down, but she wouldn’t listen and soon fainted.
When Mena awakened, she started cursing everyone, including Shiva. She could not bare to see her daughter marry Shiva. Narada, Brahma, the devas, Himavat, Parvati, the Siddhas, and the 4 Kumaras all tried to calm her down, but she wouldn’t listen. Vishnu then arrived and told her about Shiva’s greatness. Finally, she agreed to the marriage if Shiva would take a more handsome form.
Narada told Shiva to take a more handsome form. Shiva agreed. When Mena saw Shiva in his handsome form, she was awed and said, “O Lord. Forgive me. Please marry my daughter.” The marriage rites then commenced and ended successfully. Happiness crowded the environment.
During the marriage, upon Rati’s begging, Shiva joyously resuscitated Kama. After many days, the wedding was complete and Shiva and Parvati went to Mount Kailash.
Birth of Kartikeya
The devas were waiting impatiently for the birth of a son to Parvati from the seed Kama had made since they wanted to be liberated from the rule of Tarakasura.
However Shiva did not want to have a child, so he did not let the seed produce a child. The threat of Tarakasura was still going on so Vishnu went to tell Shiva. When Shiva got up to greet Vishnu the seed fell to the ground.
However, Agni dev turned into a bird and swallowed the seed before it could touch the ground. However, the seed burned him so much, he went to Indra as fast as he could. Indra told him to deposit the seed in the Ganga river so the seed would not remain as burning.
Agni did as per Indra’s advice. The devi Ganga then could not bear the seed so she deposited it near her bank. All of a sudden the wound turned into a beautiful boy. When this happened the Krittikas were passing by to take a bath in the Ganga river.
When they saw the boy they were attracted to him. They started caring for him. The boy even sprouted six heads.
Meanwhile, Shiva and Parvati wondered what had happened to the seed. Shiva sent his ganas to search for the boy. After the ganas found the seed as a boy they told the Krittikas to give them the boy. The Krittikas agreed. The shivaganas then went back to Shiva and Parvati. Parvati put the boy (their son) in her lap. Thus, Kartikeya became the son of Parvati and Shiva.
Birth of Ganesha
One day, at the home of Shiva and Parvati on Mount Kailash, Parvati went to take a bath. She kept Nandi as guard and told him to let nobody in. She then went inside to take a bath. After a while, Shiva arrived at the house. Nandi let him in since it was Shiva’s house. When Parvati saw Shiva, she got annoyed. Nandi had disobeyed her.
She wanted a gana who would listen to only her and be loyal to only her. She talked to her friends about this. One of them had an idea. She said,”Why don’t you create a gana that will only listen to you.” Parvati replied,”Good idea!” She created a statue of a valiant human boy out of saffron. After uttering a few incantations, the statue became alive. She decked the boy with ornaments. She then told him to stand guard. He followed his command. After a while, Shiva came to enter the house. The boy did not let Shiva enter. Shiva said,”You know who I am! Let me in!” The boy refused and hit Shiva with his staff. Shiva approached his ganas and said,”Bring this boy to me.”
Then ganas approached the boy and said,”Who are you.” The boy replied,”I am Parvati’s son.” The ganas became doubtful. Parvati was Shiva’s wife. They didn’t know if they should attack him or not. They went back to Shiva and informed him that the boy was Parvati’s son. Shiva told them to attack him. The ganas came back and attacked. The boy defeated most of them along with Nandi and the rest ran back to Shiva.
When Brahma, Vishnu and Indra heard about this, they approached Shiva. Shiva told Brahma to go with some sages and try to reason with the boy. When the sages approached, the boy immediately attacked them. Brahma and the sages ran back to Shiva.
When they told Shiva what had happened, Shiva became furious. He told Kartikeya, his son, and Indra to lead the devaganas and devas to battle against the boy. Indra and the devas with Kartikeya and the devaganas and shivganas furiously attacked the boy. When Parvati heard about this, she sent two Shaktis named Kali and Durga to attack the devas. The entire army was routed by Kali and Durga. The devas, Kartikeya, and the ganas retreated and ran to Shiva. Shiva got even more angry. He himself went to battle with the boy along with Vishnu, Brahma, Kartikeya, Indra and the devas, the devaganas, the shivaganas and Nandi.
Shiva and Vishnu watched as the boy defeated everyone else. They declared that the only way to kill the boy would be to use trickery. Vishnu approached the boy on Garuda. The boy threw his mace. Vishnu deflected the mace with his own mace. Shiva attacked the boy from his back with is trident, but the boy punched the trident out of Shiva’s hand. Shiva took up his bow, but it was destroyed by the boy’s mace. Vishnu then cut the boy’s mace in half with his Sudarshan Chakra. The boy threw the fragment of the mace at Vishnu, but Garuda caught the fragment in his beak. The boy picked up his staff to hit Vishnu. Immediately Shiva threw his trident at the boy, thus killing the boy.
The devas and ganas became really happy. When Parvati got to know about her son’s death she became really angry. She summoned thousands of Shaktis and instructed them to attack the devas and ganas. The Shaktis started to eliminate devas and ganas. Vishnu and Brahma ran to Parvati. They pleaded her to stop the Shaktis. Parvati made the Shaktis disappear. She told Brahma and Vishnu to make her son alive. Brahma and Vishnu went to Shiva. Shiva instructed them to go north and bring the head of the first animal they found. They found an elephant. They brought the head back and Brahma fitted the head with the body. The boy immediately sat up.
They brought the boy to Parvati. Shiva apologized and said,”You shall be called Ganesha. You will be worshipped forever and at the begginning of any ritual, you shall be invoked. You will also be called Vigneshwara, remover of obstacles.” Gandharvas showered flowers on Ganesha. Vishnu and Brahma also blessed Ganesha.
Parvati is Born as a Fisherman
One day, Shiva started to tell Parvati about Brahmadayan (the mysteries of the universe). He kept explaining for years and Parvati listened with attention. But once, just for a moment, Parvati turned to look at the scene. Shiva saw this and he got really mad.
“Ungrateful women. Do you know how precious this knowledge is. You shall be born as a fisherman so you can learn about hardwork,” Shiva roared.
Parvati immediately disappeared. Instantly, Shiva regretted his decision. Parvati was born as a baby girl under a tree. The chief of the fisherman clan Paravar found her. He decided to take her as his daughter and named her Parvati.
Parvati grew up to a lovely girl and all the fisherman adored her. She mastered the art of fishing at a young age.
Meanwhile, Shiva was unable to stand being without Parvati anymore. He came into a state of despair. When Nandi saw this, he asked, “Lord, why don’t you just bring Goddess Parvati.”
“Nandi, I can’t. As per the laws of the world, she will have to marry a fisherman,” Shiva said in sadness.
Nandi was determined to bring Parvati back. He turned into a shark and swam to the coast near the Paravar clan. For the next few days, he wrecked the Paravar ships.
The Paravar chief announced, “Whoever can capture this shark will marry my daughter.”
Many fisherman tried, but they all failed. The chief became distraught and prayed to Lord Shiva. Shiva disguised himself as a young fisherman and came there.
“I have heard that a shark is wrecking your ships. I have come to capture the shark,” the young fisherman said.
The young fisherman took a net and caught the shark. Nandi realized it was Lord Shiva and let himself be dragged onto the shore. All the Paravar fisherman rejoiced. The young fisherman earned Parvati’s hand in marriage. After the wedding, Shiva and Nandi resumed their true forms and took Parvati back to Kailash. At Mt. Kailash, Parvati became her true self again.
Parvati as Kamakshi
Once, Parvati playfully behind her husband Shiva and closed his eyes. As a result, the entire world lost its light and life. Shiva was really angry at Parvati and told her to practice austerities as compensation. Parvati went to Kanchipuram and began meditating on a Linga. To test her devotion, Shiva sent a flood to wash away the Linga. Parvati saved it and stayed with it as Kamakshi. Soon, the world’s light and life returned and Parvati could return to Mt. Kailash.
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