Parvati is one of the Trinity of Goddesses of Hinduism and is believed to be the goddess of love, fertility, and devotion. Goddess Parvati is the daughter of the Mountain King Parvat and Queen Mena. She is the mother of two Hindu gods, Ganesha and Kartikeya. Parvati has been reincarnated into various other goddess forms, which is why she is also known as the Divine Mother. She is one of the many forms of universal feminine energy that in Hinduism is called Shakti, the unknowable and life-giving feminine force of the universe.
How does Parvati fit into Hinduism?
She is the reincarnation of Sati, the first wife of Shiva who died during a yajna (offering in front of fire). With Shiva, Parvati is a central deity in the Shaivism sect (those who believe that Shiva is the almighty god). In Hindu belief, she is the recreational energy and power of Shiva, and is the cause of a bond that connects all beings and a means of spiritual liberation from him. Her name comes from Parvata, one of the Sanskrit words for “mountain”. Parvati derives her name from being the daughter of King Himavan (also called Himavat Parvat) and his mother Mena. King Parvat is considered the lord of the mountains and the personification of the Himalayas and from there, Parvati implies “she of the mountain”. She is the mother of the famous elephant god Ganesha and Kartikeya.
From Sati to Parvati
The Puranas tell the story of Sati’s marriage to Shiva against the wishes of her father Daksha. The conflict between Daksha and Shiva reaches a point where Daksha does not invite Shiva to his yagna (fire sacrifice). Daksha insults Shiva, and when Sati comes on her account, she blows herself up in the ceremony. This surprises Shiva, who is so distressed that he loses interest in worldly affairs, retreats and isolates himself in the mountains, in meditation and austerity. Sati is later reborn as Parvati.
Parvati’s love for Shiva
Shiva, even in meditation, made his access difficult, since no one wanted to disturb him. Parvati then began her devotion to Shiva. Her penance was so strong that after a few days she stopped eating. For 3,000 years she stood on one foot, with her face towards the sky and chanted the name of Lord Shiva. The forest grew around her and even the animals realized her adoration. They gathered around her. Her parents visited her, even then she didn’t stop. The gods were in awe of Parvati and went to Shiva asking him to visit Parvati.
But Shiva wanted to test her devotion. He called the Saptrishi (seven sagesy) and asked them to visit Parvati and test her. The saptrishi after reaching her, insulted Shiva on purpose and even offered her the hand of the god Vishnu. Parvati said that she would die a virgin if Shiva did not marry her!
Even after so many years when Shiva did not visit her, she thought that her worship had failed and decided to throw herself into the fire and commit suicide. When she was about to do so, Shiva finally visited her in the form of an old man. Parvati as a good person, welcomed him. When the old man asked her the reason for her penance, she told him. The old man said that Shiva did not deserve it. He also added that Shiva lives on a mountain with his ganas (tribe) and does not care about anything, not even the worship that she was doing.
He added that while she was a princess, wearing precious jewels and clothes, Shiva wanders half naked and eats whatever he gets. She has no guru, no education, no parents, and looks horrible with matted hair and snakes around his body.
Parvati was now very angry with the old man and asked him to leave immediately. She turned her back on him, since she didn’t even want to look at his face. The old man grabbed her by the sleeve and she immediately turned and gasped because she now saw Shiva in his true form.
He told her that he was just testing her and that he was very impressed with her. He asked her to ask him for a blessing. Parvati immediately said that she wanted him as her husband, to which he agreed. Shiva dedicates the following hymn in honor of Parvati,
I am the ocean and you the waves,
You are Prakiti (earth) y yo Purusha(space)”.
Kartikeya, the first son
Parvati is the mother goddess of Ganesha, the elephant god, but Ganesha has an older brother, Kartikeya, who played an important role in destroying the demons that haunted the earth.
In the narrative, Indra and the gods are suffering at the hands of the demon Tarakasura, who cannot be defeated except by the son of Shiva. Brahma advises that Parvati make a “holy prayer” with Shiva, as his offspring could defeat Taraka. Indra assigns Kamadeva (god of love) to break Shiva’s meditation. To create a pleasant atmosphere, Kamadeva creates an untimely spring. He eludes Shiva’s guard, Nandini, taking the form of the fragrant southern breeze and enters Shiva’s abode.
After he awakens Shiva with a flower arrow, Shiva angrily opens his third eye, which instantly incinerates Madana and turns him to ash. However, Shiva notices that Parvati is present and asks how he can help her. She orders him to resurrect Madana, and Shiva agrees to let Madana live, but disembodied; hence Kamadeva is also called Ananga (without physical manifestation). The spirit of love embodied by Kama now spreads throughout the cosmos: afflicting humanity with the creation of a different atmosphere. Shiva agrees with Parvati’s proposal, and her “puja” results in the birth of Lord Karthikeya. His son Kartikeya continues to defeat Taraka.
If you are looking for some luck in your love life, try asking the Hindu Deity Parvati, she will definitely have some pointers and set in stone the meaning of true devotion.