Tag Archives: parvati
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).
Lord Ganesha was a by product of the dirt and perspiration of Goddess Parvati. The reason Parvati breathed life into Ganesha was because she wanted a companion who shall drive away her boredom. After spending significant time with him, she became as fond of him as she would have been with her own son. Goddess Parvati wanted to take a bath and asked her son Ganesha to guard the doar. As Lord Shiva attempted to walk in after days of meditation, Lord Ganesha obeyed his mother’s instruction and didn’t allow Shiva to enter. In a fit of anger, and not knowing who Ganesha really was, Shiva beheaded Ganesha. After Parvati’s explanation, Lord Shiva gave Lord Ganesha an elephant’s head and brought him back to life.
According to mythology, the initial interaction doesn’t depict a strong parent-son bond between Lord Shiva and Lord Ganesha. It is depicted that the bond between Parvati and Ganesha developed over a period of time and became stronger with time. Shiva was oblivious of the existence of Lord Ganesha. After witnessing his grief stricken wife, Lord Shiva realized the bond that Parvati had developed with her son. In his quest to revive Lord Ganesha, Shiva developed affection for his son. Although many versions of the birth of Lord Ganesha exist, this story is the most popular one and shows the evolving nature of the bond the Shiva-Parvati share with their son Ganesha.
According to the scriptures, a competition between Ganesha and his brother Skanda was held to see who shall win the divine sweet of wisdom- the Modaka. Goddess Parvati asked her sons to encircle the world three times. The one who shall be the fastest will be declared the winner and get the sweet. Skanda went off on a journey to cover the three worlds while Ganesha simply went around his parents three times. When asked the reason behind his action, Lord Ganesha answered his parents Shiva and Parvati constitute the three worlds for him. This depiction of sincerity and devotion won him the sweet of wisdom.
One day, Parashurama, an avatar of Vishnu, went to pay a visit to Shiva. He met Ganesha along the way and was asked to explain his purpose to meet Lord Shiva before he proceeded further. Known for his short temper, Parashurama hurled his axe at Ganesha. Lord Ganesha knew that the axe was a gift given by his father to Parshurama. Out of respect for his father’s gift, Lord Ganesha allowed himself to be struck by it and in turn lost one of his tusks. The respect for his father’s gift made Lord Ganesha endure pain.
The above stories strengthen the fact that Ganesha shared a strong bond with his parents that was built on respect and affection. These are two of the most popular instances that reflect this relationship in an apt manner. For the God of wisdom and knowledge, it was indeed all about loving his parents…
PARVATI CREATES THE BOY
Ganesha, one of the most influential Gods in the Hindu history, had a shockingly unique and surprisingly humble birth. This tale is of the way his mother, Goddess Parvati, literally “made” her own son. Shiva Parvati, and Ganesha are known as one happy family, but it was not desired to be this way initially by Shiva. Driven by a want typical of a married, caring woman, Parvati was very keen on having a son of her own. She broached the topic a number of times before her husband, but Shiva kept denying based on the logic that He did not need a successor as he was eternal, that He was God and thus did not feel that a son was required to carry forward His lineage. Thus Parvati’s constant pestering was to no avail. Now, Shiva who had to meditate in isolation would disappear from time to time. This would always leave the poor wife feeling lonely and sad. One day while the Goddess was sitting at Her ablutions (bath), she became thoughtful. She was extremely pensive and a little depressed as her yearning for a son had now deepened. So she prepared a lepa (mudpack) of a mixture of turmeric, beneficial mud and flowers and as was the way in the earlier world devoid of soaps, began to cleanse her body with it. She gathered this dirt and fashioned a little boy, like a male doll. Being a goddess she breathed, insufflated, infused it with her own breath and therein a son was born to her. Needless to say, she was overjoyed at her little experiment bearing such lovely fruit, as she clung the child to her bosom. This child was Ganesha. We see how this infant who had such a humble birth grew up to become one of the most revered Gods.
PARVATI WITH GANESHA
The above story is a direct lesson on how passionate desire for something leads us towards the way to achieving it. In other words, to acquire something, the foremost and most relevant need is the “will” to acquire it. In normal circumstances, it is biologically impossible to conceive a child without the involvement of both the parents. But Parvati’s boundless yearning for a son was strong enough to achieve a feat of such seemingly impossible proportions. This finely elucidates how the path of achieving something is inevitably kick-started only by strength of will. In both the personal and professional realm as well, we see the relevance of a proactive will to accomplish something as the most important pre-requisite to actually doing the same. An entrepreneur is seen as a daring person who decides to tread on the lesser trodden path. Needless to say, he requires the desire to make it big in his new venture as the first thing on his way towards success. This desire not only encourages him to move forward, it also infuses a passion in him that enables him to overcome all hardships that he will be faced with in his path full of ups and downs. Similarly, in an individual’s life post marriage, the will to make the alliance work is the most important thread that is needed to hold it together. If that will is there, all problems become mere exercises in getting to know each other better. Put in a different way, the presence of a determination to make it work creates solutions to even the most improbable issues that may surface in the relationship.
Hence this tale makes us realize the significance of a persistent, profound will to accomplish our goals. Not only that, it tells us that if the will is there, so is the way. We need to be sure of our own intentions and if we work single-mindedly towards our motive, we will definitely achieve it. We need to eliminate the restrictive word “impossible” from our daily dictionary and once we empower ourselves to do that, we will start perceiving a method to the madness of life. This will lead to promotions in every sphere in living and lead to a happier spirit.