Goddess Parvati is the Goddess of Strength, who is one of the three Great Shakti. Devi Parvati is often equated with Adi Shakti and Devi Durga. Parvati is the daughter of a King of the Himalayan Mountains, Himavan and Menavati. She is believed to be the younger sister of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Ganga.

Goddess Parvati is one of the many forms of Shakti, an unknown but animating feminine power in Hindu scriptures, the feminine energy of the universe. Goddess Parvati is a moving force that brings skill, strength, prowess, and genius as she infuses the world with her magic.

Goddess Parvati

Birth of Goddess Parvati

Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma were impressed by Himavan’s devotion so that Lord Vishnu gave him the boon that Himavan would become Lord Vishnu’s Bhakta/Devotee. Meanwhile, Lord Brahma was impressed because Himavan always worshiped the gods and goddesses every day, so Lord Brahma blessed Himavan’s wife to have a lovely baby girl. He also advised that many people would know her Parvati.

That very night, Mena had a dream that she met Adi Shakti, and Adi Shakti said she would be reborn for the world and be an intermediary. Then in her dream, Adi Shakti turned into light and entered Mena’s womb to become pregnant with a baby girl. Devi Parvati was covered in Chhaya (shadow) at the time of birth and was very beautiful. However, in the meantime, Tarakasura told Bahrupa to kill Devi Parvati, and Bahrupa tried to do it, but Bahrupa fell into a mountain slope, but Devi Parvati helped him; instead, she pulled Bahrupa’s hair.

Bahrupa was the Angel of Heaven, who Indra cursed to become a devil. Only Adishakti was capable of revoking Bharupa’s curse, and she did so. Bharupa then apologized to the baby and turned into an angel towards Heaven.

Goddess Parvati is known by Lalita, Uma, Gauri, Kali, Durga, Haimavati, etc. Durga (Goddess beyond reach) and Kali (Goddess of Time or Kala) are two fierce but potent forms.

As the mother of the universe, Parvati is known as Amba and Ambika, which means mother. Like Lalita, she represents the aspect of beauty.

Marriage

Shiva parvati Marriage

Parvati was the reincarnation of Shiva’s former wife, the goddess Sati, who could not bear the insult inflicted on Shiva by her father Daksha, and committed self-immolation. While Shiva plunged into deep meditation from grief, the demon Taraka gained power over the world and the gods. Only the child of Shiva could defeat the demon, and the gods begged the Devi Parvati to be born again and marry Shiva. To win the love of Shiva, Parvati settled next to him on Mount Kailash, but he, immersed in austerity, ignored her. Then Parvati also indulged in severe devotion. Conquered by her devotion and love, Shiva took her as his wife.

Despite passionate love, the marriage of Shiva and Parvati was childless. By the gods’ will, the seed of Shiva did not fall into the bosom of Parvati but into the Ganges. Skanda (Kartikeya), the conqueror of the Asura Taraka, was born on the banks of the Ganges. At the same time, in Hindu Dharma, Skanda is considered the son of Shiva and Parvati and another child – Ganesha, whom Parvati fashioned from the ointment that anointed her body and revived.

Symbolism

Parvati, the gentle aspect of Devi Shakti, is usually symbolized as fair, beautiful, and kind. She usually wears a red dress (usually a sari). When depicted with Shiva, she usually appears with two hands, but she can be depicted as having four when alone. These hands can hold a trident, a mirror, rosaries, bells, crockery, sugarcane stalks, or flowers (such as lotuses). One of her hands in front is in the Abhaya mudra (hand gesture for don’t be afraid).

In ancient temples, statues of Parvati are often depicted near calves or cows – the source of food. Bronze has been the main metal for her sculptures, while stone is the next most common material.

In Hindu Tantrism, Shiva and Parvati are seen as complementary aspects of a single being: Shiva embodies pure consciousness, and Parvati embodies his shakti (energy). Sometimes Shiva and Parvati are portrayed as androgynous (Ardhanarishvara). The tantric symbol of Parvati is the yoni (female genital organ) at the base of the linga, the symbol of Shiva. Along with the blissful hypostases, Parvati is a formidable Durga and terrifying Kali.

In different parts of India, images of local goddesses are associated with Parvati; therefore, she is known under various names: Meenakshi, Kamakshi, Lalita, and others. Often Parvati is understood as the Great Goddess (Devi), or Shakti, feminine energy. She is most revered as a symbol of female beauty, marital fidelity, and family happiness.

Parvati is expressed in many roles, whims, epithets, and aspects. In Hindu scriptures, she is the acting agent of the universe, the power of Shiva. She is expressed in nurturing and benevolent aspects as well as destructive and ferocious aspects. She is the voice of support, reason, freedom, and strength, as well as resistance, power, action, and punitive justice. This paradox symbolizes her willingness to realign to reality and adapt to the needs of the circumstances in her role as a universal mother. She identifies and destroys evil to protect (as Durga) and creates food and abundance to feed (Annapurna).

Parvati thus symbolizes many different virtues respected by the Hindu tradition: abundance, marital happiness, devotion to a spouse, asceticism, and power.

(Last Updated On: August 27, 2021)