Hinduism - Who Is Goddess Parvati In The Hindu Pantheon?


 ("mountain's daughter") Parvati is the Hindu goddess Parvati, who is the wife of the god Shiva and the daughter of the minor deity Himalaya (the Himalaya Mountains personified) and his wife Mena.

Shiva has been lost in monastic seclusion since the loss of his first wife, Sati, and Parvati comes in human form to entice him to father the offspring required to defeat the demon Taraka.

Even as a kid, Parvati swears to have only Shiva as her spouse, according to her legends.

Shiva has made a vow of asceticism and is engrossed in profound meditation on Mount Kailas, so her parents attempt to dissuade her.

Parvati's initial attempt to stir Shiva's passion fails miserably.

Kama, the god of love, attempts to kill Shiva with a desire arrow, but Shiva shoots a torrent of fire from his third eye, burning Kama to ash.

Undaunted, Parvati enters the mountains and starts her own program of extreme physical asceticism (tapas): standing for long periods of time on one foot, suffering the heat of summer and the cold of winter, and practicing severe fasting (upavasa) and self-denial.

Shiva is ultimately awakened by the spiritual strength created by her austerity, and he appears to her dressed as an elderly brahmin.

He attempts to dissuade Parvati by making harsh statements about Shiva's lifestyle and behavior, but Parvati remains steadfast in her decision.

Shiva eventually exposes his actual self to her, and the two marry.

Shiva is the Hindu image for the perfect husband because of his love to his bride, yet their family life is uncommon.

The pair has no stable residence or means of support since Shiva is the metaphor for the ideal ascetic, and Parvati is sometimes shown as lamenting about being an ascetic's wife.

Their marriage, symbolically, marks the ascetic's domestication and entry into social and family life.

Their marriage exemplifies the cultural conflict that exists between the two most fundamental Hindu religious ideals: the householder and the renunciant ascetic.

Shiva and Parvati conceive offspring, but not in the traditional way: Skanda grows from Shiva's semen, which falls on the ground during their interrupted love-making, while Ganesh develops from the invigorated soil from Parvati's body.

Parvati, like other married Hindu deities, is seen as compassionate and gentle.

She may be spiteful in certain legendary myths, but on the whole she exudes a loving and motherly presence.

Her mythology is nearly completely linked to Shiva's, demonstrating her subjugation as the perfect wife, and her devotion is also frequently linked to him.

Parvati has a crucial role in tantra, a secret, ritual-based religious practice, since she is often shown as the one asking Shiva and later as the pupil receiving his instructions in tantric scriptures.

See David R. Kinsley's Hindu Deities, 1986, for further information about Parvati and all the Hindu goddesses.

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