Hotels in India » Religion-culture in India » Goddess Parvati - Feminine Power

Goddess Parvati - Feminine Power

Of Goddesses, one stands above all: Parvati. In certain texts she is even called the Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi, and the Goddess of Learning, Saraswati, in addition to being idolized as the Goddess of power.

The daughter of the snowclad mountains. The consort of Shiva. The one who is incarnation of all energy, she is A Parvati, also called Uma, Gauri, Durga, Kali and so on.

As a deity Parvati has the unique distinction of being thought of as the only goddess. All other goddesses are referred to as incarnations or manifestations of Parvati. As a woman Parvati has the distinction of one who had the most devoted husband and as a form of energy, Parvati, also called Shakti, is the embodiment of the total energy in the universe. As a mother, Parvati is looked upon as the mother, Parvati is looked upon as the mother of all creation; the Mother Goddess.

She, Sati, Parvati, Gauri is the consort of the magnificent Shiva. She, Kali, is also the consort of Time, as Shiva himself is the embodiment of time in his form as Mahakal.

For a deity with such a profile, Parvati is rather unassuming. Of course as Durga or Kali she is portrayed as ferocious, but therein too lies a story painted in the live colours of the indignation of the wronged.

A long, long time ago, Brahma created a beautiful maiden called Sati who was born to a king called Daksha. Siva married her. Years of conjugal bliss followed. One day, however, Sati heard that a major religious function was being celebrated in her father’s house. She was a little upset that her parents had not invited her or her husband. After tossing and turning in bed for many a night, one morning she decided she would go even if she were uninvited.

After all it was only to her father’s house, Siva, however, cautioned her. He did not want her to go uninvited. Sati thought a while, but eventually left because she just wanted to go to her parents. There, as Siva had predicted, Sati was insulted. She jumped into the sacred fire burning for the ceremony for she could not bear to go back and tell her husband her parents had insulted her.

Siva was enraged. He was deeply grieved. 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.

The Gods were, however, anguished. Siva had been mourning too long and his grief and wrath was almost harming the people. So Sati was reincarnated as Parvati and born to the King of the Himalayas, Himavat.

As Parvati grew into a young woman, her subconscious guided her towards penance. She had to reunite with Siva. Years and years of penance finally brought Siva before her one day, just for a second. Parvati was only more besotten afterwards. Very soon afterwards, Siva came to Parvati in the guise of an old man and asked why a beautiful woman such as her should waste her time dreaming of a man who wore leopard skin and smeared his body with ashes. Surely there are more handsome men in the world!

Was Parvati offended! She blew up the old man for saying such things about her beloved. Her objection convinced Siva of her love for him and he showed her his true form.

A happy marriage lasted many years, and guess where the problem came when it did? Siva and Parvati were playing around when Siva called her, “Kali, Kali”. Now Kali means black and Parvati was very dark complexioned. Brahma had in fact made a deliberate decision to make her so because he did not want the world to know that Sati was being reincarnated. Now Parvati was deeply offended that her husband should think of the colour of her skin to hail her with. He could have called her any number of endearing words instead.

So she told him that she was going. That she would not meet him again till she was fair complexioned. Bewildered Siva was left ruing his tongue while Parvati went into the forests to do severe penance.

Another thousand years of penance, and Brahma appeared before Parvati. She asked for golden coloured skin. Brahma granted her the boon. Thereon Parvati came to be called Gauri or the one with skin the colour of gold.

Of Durga and her ferocious form, the story is told as this:

Once upon a time there was a demon called Mahishasura. He was troubling the people on earth. No God could subdue him. All the gods came together and their energies together formed the goddess called Durga. The Gods then empowered her with their weapons which epitomized their strength. Thus armed and blessed, Durga went to tackle Mahishasura. She vanquished him and thereupon came to be called Mahishasura mardini or the killer of Mahisha the demon.

This month, all over India, Dusshera is being celebrated. Dusshera celebrates this story of how Durga conquered Mahishasura. In the eastern part of the country, Dusshera is called Durga puja or praying to Durga.