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The mother of Lord Ganesha, Parvati is also known as Gauri or Shakti. She is considered the most powerful Goddess in the Hindu religion. All the other goddesses are considered either avatars of Parvati or manifestations of her. Her famous and most worshipped incarnations include Durga, Kali and Chandi.

Parvati is the daughter of the king of Himalayas and the second wife of Lord Shiva. She is a reincarnation of Lord Shiva’s first wife- Shakti. Legend has it that after Shakti killed herself; Shiva went on a destruction rampage. He destroyed those responsible for Shakti’s death and then went to the Himalayas to meditate. On insistence of Narada, the king of Himalayas- Himavan, ordered his daughter Parvati to take care of Lord Shiva. Goddess Parvati fell in love with Shiva. With Manmatha’s help, Shiva fell in love with her. With Shiva, Parvati is depicted with two arms but when alone her idol is shown with four to eight arms. Her vehicle is the tiger or the lion.

The name Parvati literally means “She of the mountains” (since she is the daughter of Himavan). She is also known as Shailaja, Haimavathi and Shailaputri, which mean the same. According to the Durga Saptashati, Parvati has 108 names. The Lalita sahasranama lists over 1,000 names of Parvati. The contradictory names Parvati is known with Uma (the fair one) and Kali (the dark one) reflects her birth as Shakti and subsequent re-birth as Parvati. The opposite colours also depict the opposing nature of Parvati. One form of her is the placid and patient Uma while the other form, Kali, is capable of donning the destructive hat to remove obstacles.

Since Shakti was the goddess of power, Goddess Parvati also shares the attribute. She is the physical manifestation of Adi Parashakti. It is this quality that makes her omnipresent among all beings. Whether it is gods, the animals or the humans, power is necessary. She is worshipped by even the holy trinity (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva).
There is no explicit mention of Parvati in the Vedic texts or a dedicated scripture for her. There is a mention of Parvati in the Kena Upanishad, the Puranas and the poems of Kalidasa.

Parvati is also the mother of one of the most powerful and important deities in the Hindu religion, Lord Ganesha. Lord Ganesha may be the son of Shiva and Parvati but the Shiva Purana, Skanda Purana and the Mudgala Purana, credit the birth of Lord Ganesha to Parvati only. Lord Ganesha was created by Parvati out of turmeric paste to guard the gates while she took a bath. After spending considerable time with the boy she got attached to him and considered Lord Ganesha as her son. After Ganesha was beheaded by his father it is believed that Parvati turned to Kali in her anger. It was because of her wrath that Shiva resurrected Lord Ganesha by giving him the head of an elephant. Ganesha is also known as Umaputra (Son of Uma) and Heramba (mother’s beloved).

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