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HINDUISM

UMA-PARVATHI

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                   Sati, Dakshayani
 
In later Hindu tales, one of Daksha's daughters (often said to be the youngest) was Sati or Dakshayani, who had always wished to marry Shiva. Daksha forbade it, but she disobeyed him and did so anyway, finding in Shiva a doting and loving husband. Daksha disliked Shiva intensely, calling him a dirty, roaming ascetic and reviling the great yogi's cohort of goblins and ghouls.

From then on, he distanced himself from his daughter and his son-in-law. This enmity culminated in a great sacrifice he had been hosting, one to which he invited all and sundry, family and allies, gods and rishis, courtiers and subjects. Consciously excluding Sati from the list, he also set up a statue of Shiva, which he defiled and mocked, at the entrance to his hall. Sati, ebullient at the thought of such a great event, and assuming that the daughter of the king was welcome no matter what, attended the festival. Snubbed by her father and treated with disdain, Sati nonetheless maintained her composure. Indeed, even her father's refusal to invite Shiva, her husband and thus a traditionally honored member of any Hindu family, was to some extent borne.

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However, on seeing the shameless insult to her husband in his absence, and the repeated slights King Daksha and his courtiers railed at Shiva, she committed suicide in grief for her beloved. Hearing of the news Shiva attendents rushed inside the ceremony hall and started to attack all the guests present there, however, the demons invoked by Bhrigu defeated Shivas attendents and they retreated back to his abode.

 

Sati/Dakshayani later incarnated as Parvati in her next life and remarried Shiva, thenceforth never to part with him again. It is for this reason that Shiva, while monogamous, has had two wives in reality, but the same soul in two incarnations.

Dakshayani committed suicide in grief for Shiva
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PARVATI
 
Parvata is one of the Sanskrit words for "mountain"; "Parvati" translates to "She of the mountains" and refers to Parvati being born the daughter of Himavan, lord of the mountains. Parvati's parents are Himavat, the personification of the Himalaya mountains, and the apsara Menā. Parvati is especially worshipped by married ladies to seek the health and longevity of their husbands, a hoary tradition in Hinduism.
 
Goddess Parvati is the wife of Lord Ishwara. She has several names, each with a special significance. In many interpretations of the scriptures, Parvati is also regarded as a representation of Shakti or Durga, albeit the gentle aspect of that goddess.   
 
Since Ishwara or Shiva is also called 'Bhava' his wife is known as 'Bhavani.' She is 'Parvati', being the daughter of the king of mountains, Parvataraja. With the  same connotation she has two other names - 'Girija' and 'Shailaja'. As she I the source of all good things to all those who have faith and follow the  path of virtue, she is 'Sarvamangala.'Since her childhood days she was a devotee of Lord Shiva. She would constantly engage herself in meditation and worship of Shiva, without even   changing the posture. So her mother Mena would out of exasperation say "Parvati, don't do this tapas (meditation)." In Sanskrit ‘u’ is a word of address and 'ma' means 'don't' or 'not wanted’ Hence she got the name 'Uma'. After she grew up, she perforrmed a severe penance in the forest with the  purpose of securing Lord Shiva as her husband.

Who would not be thrilled by the story of the life of Parvati who, though born human, became, through hard penance the consort of Shiva and became Mahadevi, the great goddess?

Affection for and obedience to the  elders, loyalty to tradition, determination steady devotion to Shiva, kindness towards those in trouble, perseverant effort till the completion of a good deed-these are the traits Parvati had. Her story is narrated in Sanskrit by Vyasa in the Shiva purana. The great poet Kalidasa has narrated it in the poem Kumara-Sambhava. The Kannada poet Harihara has dealt with the story  in Girija-Kalyana, a mixture of verse and prose.

Parvati thus symbolises many different virtues esteemed by Hindu tradition: fertility, marital felicity, devotion to the spouse, asceticism and power. It is said in the Saundarya Lahiri, a famous literary work on the Goddess, that She is the source of all power in this Universe and that because of Her, Lord Shiva gets all His powers. She is occasionally depicted as half of Lord Shiva.

    The Story of Parvati

The chief of all the Himalayas, called 'Himavantha’ or 'king Parvataraja', was a devotee of Shiva. He was also called Giriraja and Shailaraja. His wife was Menadevi and they both had a son by name Mainaka.

Later Menadevi developed a great desire to have a daughter - who would be Lord Shiva's wife. With that as her aim she decided to undertake a penance to please Shiva's wife, Gowridevi. She performed her meditation with severe concentration and obtained the favour of Dakshayani who stood before Mena and promised that she would be born as daughter to her. Soon afterwards Mena became  pregnant with Parvati.

As the days and months passed, the first sound Parvati uttered was the name of Lord Shiva. The infant closed her eyes frequently as if she felt the presence of Shiva in her mind. Now all the knowledge and qualities of her previous birth as Dakshayani automatically appeared in Parvati. So she became learned in no time. Being also very beautiful, she shone with her youth. Parvataraja's mind directed that he should give his daughter in marriage to Lord Shiva only, as she had such great piety. But how to do that, without the bridegroom's people asking for it? Should he ask Shiva himself if he would marry her? What if he refused? At that time Shiva was not in his palace on Kailasa. He was in a pensive mood as his wife Dakshayani had given up her life. He had become an ascetic.

Now engaged in making Shiva stop his meditation and marry Parvati, the Gods called upon Manmatha, who is also known as Kama, the God of Love. Kama realized the importance of his role. He now thought of aiming his floral arrow at Shiva and thereby ending his tapas. Even if he had to lay down his life in this venture, he would never mind. Would he not have done a great deed for the welfare of the world? So thinking, Kama arrived with Rati at Shiva's penance-grove.

No sooner did Kama approach Shiva, than did his ally, the king of spring, also come there. The grove around Gangavatara was charged with the charm of spring. The penance-grove of Lord Shiva looked a hypnotic realm. All this was Manmatha's influence. He then stood before Shiva. A little away stood Rati. She prayed to God that no evil should befall her husband.

Just at that time Parvati had also come as usual with fruits and flowers to worship Shiva. Kama decided that was the most opportune moment and got ready to make Shiva fall in love with Parvati. Unafraid of the eye of fire on Shiva's forehead, he shot five of his arrows of flowers at his heart. Shiva's tapas were broken.

This made Shiva terribly angry. He opened the fiery eye on his forehead. With a frightening noise a fierce blazing flame burst forth. It seemed the fire of final destruction had struck the body of Kama. As he stood, he was reduced to ashes. Shiva, smearing his body with the same ash, disappeared. 

For any effort to gel its proper reward, the effort has to be evaluated. Such evaluation depends on the test. The moment approached for testing the strength and essence of Parvati's penannce. Her tapas had this effect: kindness did blossom in Shiva. His mind was softened. Still he tested her mind many times more. Then Shiva realized the true devotion and love Parvati feels for him. The wedlock of Shiva and Parvati opened as it were the portals of the world's bliss. Shiva is the world's father. Having married him, Parvati became the mother of the universe. The son born to her later was Kartikeya. He as commander of the army of the angels attacked the Rakshasas, killed them and reestablished the path of virtue and righteousness. Tarakasura was killed. The other son of Parvati is Ganesha or Gajamuka. He places obstacles to the wicked deeds of bad men and removes impediments in the way of good men. He also gives knowledge and wisdom.

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Lord Ganesha and Lord Murugan, Uma-Parvati's children


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