The story of birth of Kartikeya and his crowning – Shiva Purana
In Chapter 1 to 6 of Kumara-Khanda (Rudra Samhita) of Shiva Purana, the story of birth and crowning of Kartikeya, son of Shiva & Parvati is narrated.
After marrying Parvati, Shiva went to a delightful brilliant, isolated place. Shiva indulged in dalliance with Parvati for a thousand years. Because of the dalliance of Shiva and Parvati, the earth quaked with the weight along with Sheṣa (the serpent) and Kacchapa (the tortoise). Then, Vishnu along with Brahma & gods went immediately to the mountain Kailasa and desired to see Shiva. Vishnu & other deities eulogised Shiva and asked to save them from Taraka, being harassed by him.
Birth of Kartikeya:
On hearing that, the great lord, an expert in Yogic theory, though free from lust, discharged the semen which fell on the ground. Agni became a dove and swallowed it with his beak which caused him burning sensation. Agni eulogised Shiva to get relieved from burning sensation. Hearing the words of Agni, Shiva the great lord spoke delightedly to Agni. Shiva said: --
“An improper action has been committed by you in swallowing my semen. Deposit carefully that semen in the womb of some good woman. You will become happy and particularly relieved of the burning sensation.” Then, Narada said: -
“O Agni, taking recourse to the following expedient you will be relieved of the burning sensation and be happy. You shall deposit this semen of Shiva in the bodies of the ladies who take their morning baths in the month of Magha.”
Meanwhile the wives of the seven celestial sages came there desirous of taking their early morning bath in the month of Magha with other observances of rites. After the bath, six of them were distressed by the chillness and were desirous of going near the flame of fire. Arundhati of good conduct and perfect knowledge saw them deluded and dissuaded them at the behest of Shiva. The six ladies stubbornly insisted on going there to ward off their chillness because they were deluded by Shiva’s magical art. Immediately the particles of the semen entered their bodies through the pores of hairs. The fire was relieved of their burning sensation. The women became pregnant and were distressed by the burning sensation. They went home. The wives of the sages cast off their semen in the form of a foetus at the top of Himalaya. They felt then relieved of their burning sensation. Unable to bear that semen of Shiva and trembling much, Himalaya became scorched by it and hurled it in the Ganga. The intolerable semen of lord Shiva was deposited by Ganga in the forest of Sara grass. The semen that fell was turned in a handsome good-featured boy, full of glory and splendour. He increased everyone’s pleasure. On the sixth day of the bright half of the lunar month of Margashirsha, the son of Shiva was born in the world. Out of joy, milk exuded from the breasts of Parvati. There was great jubilation everywhere.
The boyhood sports of Kartikeya
The powerful sage Visvamitra came and was delighted on seeing the unearthly splendour of that brilliant boy. He bowed him.
Shiva’s son said: --
“O great one of perfect wisdom, it is due to the will of Shiva that you have come here by chance. O dear, perform my purificatory rites in accordance with Vedic injunctions. From now onwards you remain my priest conferring your love on me.”
Vishvamitra said: --
“Listen, O dear, I am not a brahmin. I am a Kshatriya, son of Gadhi, famous as a servant of brahmins.”
Shiva’s son (Guha, Kartikeya) said: --
“O Vishvamitra, thanks to my favour, you now become a Brahminical sage. Vasishta and others will for ever regard you with respect. Hence, at my behest you shall perform my purificatory rites. Keep this as a great secret. You shall not mention it anywhere.”
Kartikeya was glad and conferred divine wisdom on the sage. Form that times onwards he became a great brahmin. Agni gave him a miraculous weapon, spear. Kartikeya took the spear and ascended the peak. He hit the peak with his spear and the peak fell. Ten thousand billion of heroic demons came there to attack him but were killed on being hit with the spear. There was great hue and cry.
The Earth, the mountains and the three worlds quaked. Indra the lord of gods came there. The four of great heroic strength including Skanda rushed to attack Indra. Afraid of Guha, Indra with all the gods went away to his region agitatedly. He did not know his secret. That boy remained there itself as fearless as before. Meanwhile the six ladies named Kṛttikas came there for bath, and they saw the lordly boy. All of them desired to take and fondle him. As a result, a dispute arose. To quell their mutual dispute, the boy assumed six faces and drank milk off their breasts. They were all satisfied. They took him to their region joyously. Feeding him with their breast milk they nursed and nurtured Śiva’s son who was more refulgent than the sun. Feeding him specially on the choicest delicacies day by day they brought up the boy prodigy. Once Kartikeya went to the celestial assembly and showed wonderful feats. The boy of wonderful miracles showed his rare splendour to the gods including Vishnu.
On seeing him, the gods and sages including Vishnu became surprised and asked the boy “Pray, who are you?” On hearing it he did not say anything in reply. He returned to his abode and remained concealed as before.
One day Parvati asked Shiva about her son. Shiva informed that the boy was taken by the Kṛttikas. “They are feeding him with their own breast milk they nurtured your son, as refulgent as the sun. Now, he is the son of the Kṛttikas in the forest. In their eagerness they named him Kartikeya lovingly.” On receiving the news of her son, Parvati was delighted. The lord sent his Gaṇas as his emissaries to the place where his son was staying. All the emissaries of Shiva went and haughtily encircled the abode of the Kṛttikas with various miraculous weapons in their hands. On seeing them the Kṛttikas were extremely terrified. They spoke to Kartikeya blazing with divine splendour. Kartikeya assured them to be out of fear.
In the meantime, Nandishvara the commander-in-chief informed Kartikeya:
“You are the son of Shiva, the annihilator of the universe. Shiva will be crowning you in the company of the gods. You will get miraculous weapons and will slay the demon, Taraka. You are brilliant enough to illuminate the universe.”
Kartikeya said: --
“I am fostered son of Krttikas. I am not severed from Parvati who is virtually my mother just as these ladies based on virtuous rites. You have been sent by Shiva. You are like a son unto Shiva. I am coming with you. I shall see the gods. After saying so and hurriedly taking leave of the Kṛttikas, Kartikeya started along with the attendants of Shiva.”
In the meantime, he saw an excellent, lustrous, and wonderful chariot, made by Viśvakarman. It was a commodious with a hundred wheels. It was beautiful and had the quickness of the mind. It had been sent by Parvati and was surrounded by the excellent attendants of Shiva. He got into the chariot along with them. Kumara reached the foot of a Nyagrodha tree at Kailash in the fast chariot along with Nandi seated to his right. Then all the gods, sages, Siddhas, Caraṇas, Vishnu and Brahma announced his arrival. Shiva, and Parvati highly delighted and jubilant came there and saw their son. On seeing his son, the great lord Shiva along with the great goddess Parvati was filled with pleasure and love.
The sages adored Kumara with the Vedic chants, the musicians by singing songs, and others by playing upon musical instruments. Then Shiva following the worldly convention delightedly placed Kartikeya on a beautiful gem set throne. Vishnu gave him a crown, a coronet and bracelets moulded and set in gems, his own necklace Vaijayanti and the discus. Shiva gave him the trident, the bow Pinaka, the axe, the arrow Pasupata, the weapon of destruction and the greatest lore. Brahma gave him the holy thread, the Vedas, the mantra Gayatri, the vessel Kamaṇḍalu, the arrow Brahmastra and the lore that destroys the enemy. Then Indra gave him a lordly elephant and a thunderbolt. The lord of the waters, Varuṇa, gave him a white umbrella and a necklace of gems to wear. The sun gave him a chariot as fast as the mind and a coat of mail with great equipments; Yama his own staff: the moon a vessel full of nectar. Agni lovingly gave him a spear; Nirṛti his own weapon and the wind his own weapon. Kubera gave him a mace; Shiva a spear; the gods different kinds of weapons and implements. The delighted lord of Kama gave him the weapon of love, a club, and his own lore with great pleasure. The ocean of milk gave him valuable gems and a splendid anklet set with gems. Himalaya gave him divine ornaments and garments. Garuḍa gave him his own son Citrabarhaṇa; Aruṇa a powerful cock Tamracuḍa. Parvati gave him power and prosperity smilingly and joyously. She gave him longevity too with great pleasure. Lakshmi gave him divine wealth and a great and beautiful necklace. Savitri gave him the entire Siddhavidya with joy. The other goddesses too who had come there gave him their respective presents. The Kṛttikas too did the same. There was great jubilation there. Everyone was delighted, especially Parvati and Shiva.
In modern world today also, Artificial Insemination is one way to give birth of a child.
In chapters 38 to 53 in Parvati Khanda of Shiva Purana, the story of wedding of Parvati with Shiva is explained.
After Shiva consented for marriage with Parvati, auspicious rites were started by the Himalaya on an auspicious day. The mountains Mandara, Malaya, Nisadha, Gandhamadana, Nila Trikuṭa, Citrakuṭa, Venkaṭa, Shrigiri, Gokamukha, Vindhya, Kalanjara and Narada came. The brilliant rivers, Shoṇabhadra, Godavari,Yamuna, Venika, Narmada and others came delightfully to be present at the marriage of Shiva and Parvati.
Himalaya requested Vishvakarman to decorate the entire city. He erected a large and spacious dais beautiful with side rostrums, altars etc. There were artificial lions. There were rows of storks. There were artificial peacocks, but very beautiful in appearance. Elephants with their mahouts and horses with their riders were so natural that none would say that they were artificial. The statue of Nandi was a prototype of the real Nandi. A brilliant abode of Vishnu called Vaikuṇṭha, with wonderful features, was created in a trice. Similarly, he erected Shiva’s mansion of various shapes and of great brilliance.
Invitation for Shiva’s wedding:
On reading the auspicious letter with joy, Shiva duly accepted the proposal. Then the delighted Shiva said: --
“O Narada, the marriage will take place after seven days from today. O sage, on my behalf, invite all the gods beginning with Vishnu, and sages, Siddhas, and others.”
Narada invited all of them approaching everyone severally. Vishnu and other gods who had arrived there desired to make Shiva’s procession to start. Then all the gods, demons, Nagas, Patangas, Apsarasas, sages and others approached Shiva.
Authorised by Shiva, Brahma performed all the rites conducive to prosperity, assisted by the sages. The sages Kashyap, Atri, Vasiṣṭha, Gautama, Bhāguri, Bṛhaspati, Kaṇva, Sakti, Jamadagni, Parasara, Markaṇḍeya, Silapaka, Aruṇapsla, Akṛtasrama, Agastya, Cyavana, Garga, Siasda, Dadhichi, Upamanyu, Bharadvaja, Akṛtavraṇa, Pippalada, Kusika, Kautsa, Vyasa, with his disciples, and other sages came to Shiva. Urged by Brahma, they performed the sacred rites duly.
The Marriage Procession of Shiva:
Then Shiva called Nandi and other Gaṇas and ordered them to accompany Him. A thousand crores of Bhutas aud three crores of Pramathas went. Virabhadra went with sixty-four crores of Gaṇas and three crores of Romajas. Behind the Gaṇas, the enthusiastic gods, the Siddhas, the guardians of the quarters and others followed. Vishnu, seated on Garuḍa, Brahma with the Vedas, Shastras, Puraṇas and Agamas personified and along with sons, Prajapatis, Sanaka and other Siddhas, seated on the elephant Airavata in the midst of his armies, Indra, Shakinis, Yatudhanas Vetalas, Brahmarakṣasas, Bhutas, Pretas and Pramathas, Tumburu, Narada, Hāha, Huhu, Gandharvas and Kinnaras went ahead playing on their musical instruments with great delight. The Mothers of the universe, the celestial virgins, Gayatri, Savitri, Lakshmi, the celestial maidens, the wives of the gods, the mothers of the worlds went ahead with great joy.
Description of Shiva’s wonderful sport:
Mena desired to see the bridegroom of Parvati first. Then Shiva, realising her false pride in herself, spoke to Vishnu and Brahma that both of you go one by one accompanied by the gods to the threshold of the mountain. I shall follow afterwards. Every time, she saw processions passing one by one with beautifully dressed heads and splendid vast armies and exclaimed delightfully – “O this is Shiva”. But each time, Narada said “No”.
Then the army of Shiva came there consisting of wonderful arrays of Bhutas, Pretas and Gaṇas. Some were in the form of violent gusts of wind, producing hissing sounds with waving flags. Some had crooked faces. Others were deformed. On seeing the innumerable Gaṇas, Bhutas and Pretas, Menaka was terribly frightened instantaneously. On seeing Shiva in their midst, the mother of Parvati trembled. She saw Shiva who though devoid of attributes was better than those who had all the attributes, He was seated on the Bull. He had five faces and three eyes. He had ashes smeared over the body. He had matted hair with the crescent moon on His head. He had ten hands with the skull in one of them. His upper cloth was tiger’s hide. He held the bow Pinaka in one of his hands and the Trident in another. He had odd eyes, ugly features utterly dishevelled and untidy. He wore the hide of an elephant.
She was stunned, tremulous agitated and confused. You said to her “This is Shiva” and pointed Him out to her. On hearing words of Narada she fell on the ground.
On regaining consciousness, Mena lamented with great agitation and began to rebuke everyone. In faltering words, she frequently censured her sons at first and then scolded her daughter. Mena said: --
“I the innocent woman have been cheated. What shall I do? Where shall I go? Who will dispel my sorrow? My family is wrecked. My life is doomed. Where are those so-called celestial sages? I shall pluck out their beards. Where is that mischievous woman who came here by herself in the guise of the wire of one of them? By whose guilt have I been ruined now?” Saying this she turned to her daughter and began to say harsh words.”
Narada said: --
“The real handsome form of Shiva is not known by you. This form is assumed by Shiva in a sportive mood. It is not the real form. Hence, O chaste lady, cast off anger. Be calm. Leave off your obduracy. Do what is proper to be done. Give Parvati to Siva.”
On hearing Narada’s words, Mena spoke him — “O wicked one, get up and go away. You are base”.
The seven sages, Vasishta and others, came there and said: --
“We have come here to achieve a purpose. In this important affair how can we entertain opposite views? The very vision of Shiva is the greatest gain. He has come to your palace as the suppliant for your gift”. Though advised by them, Mena did not accept their proposal. Weak in knowledge she spoke to the sages in anger.
Then Himalaya himself came there extremely agitated. To convince her he spoke lovingly pointing to her the reality of the situation. Himalaya said: --
“You do not know Shiva. Shiva has many names and many forms. Seeing a peculiar, distorted form you have become excited. He has been realised by me. He is the protector of everyone. He is worthy of worship of the most adorable. He can bless and countermand. Do not be obstinate. Do not be grief-stricken. Get up. Hasten. O virtuous one, carry on your duties. Let me remind you of a former incident when Shiva came to our place in a hideous form and exhibited his sports. But on seeing his greatness we both consented to give our daughter in marriage to him. O beloved, keep that promise.”
After saying thus, the lord of the mountains stopped. On hearing it Mena said: --
“O lord, let my words be heard. You can carry out what I say. Take your daughter Parvati, tie her up and cast her down into a deep abysmal chasm. Or drown her in the deep sea and be happy. I am not going to give her to Shiva. If you give your daughter to him who is of hideous features, O lord, I shall certainly leave off this mortal frame.”
The, Parvati voluntarily spoke in a sweet voice:
“O mother, your noble intellect has become perverted. Why do you forsake virtue, you who ought to depend on virtue alone? This Shiva has no one else greater than him. He is Shiva. the source of everything. He is beautiful, pleasing and eulogised in all the Vedas. Shiva is the benefactor. He is the lord of gods. He is self-ruler. O mother, He is of many forms and names. He is served by Vishnu, Brahma and others. He is the support of everything. He is the creator and annihilator. He is free from aberrations. He is the lord of the three deities. He is indestructible and eternal. O mother, give me to lord Shiva. O mother, agree to my humble entreaty. I request you. If you do not give me to Shiva, I am not going to woo anyone else.”
On hearing these words of Parvati, Mena lamented much. She became angry.
Then Brahma came there quickly and narrated to her the principles of Shiva which ought to have dispelled her perverted knowledge.
But Mena continued to cry again and again. Then, Sanaka and other Siddhas came there and spoke lovingly. Siddhas said: --
This Shiva is the supreme being, the bestower of supreme happiness. Out of His sympathy He has granted His vision to your daughter. Then Mena said to them after sobbing frequently— “My riches are not to be given to Shiva of hideous form. Why are you Siddhas collectively attempting to make her exquisite beauty futile?”
All the gods, Siddhas, sages and human beings were bewildered. In the meantime, on hearing of her persistent obduracy, Vishnu a favourite of Shiva came there and spoke as follows.
Vishnu said: --
“You are the beloved mental daughter of the Pitṛs. You are endowed with all good qualities. You are wife of Himalaya himself. Yours is the excellent race of Brahma. Your well-wishers in the world are also like him (Brahma). You are really blessed. What more can I say? You are reputed to be a patron of virtue. Why do you then eschew virtue? May this be pondered over by you yourself. Can anything against you be mentioned by the gods, sages, or Brahma or by myself? You do not know Shiva. He is both possessed and devoid of attributes. He alone, during his divine sport, has incarnated himself in divine form. It was by the fascination of Parvati’s penance that He has come to your threshold. Hence, O wife of Himalaya, eschew your sorrow. Worship Shiva. You will have great pleasure. All pain will be quelled.”
When instructed by Vishnu, Menaka’s mind was somewhat softened. But she did not give up her obduracy. She did not consent to the proposal of giving her daughter to Shiva. Mena was deluded by Shiva’s magic. On hearing the pleasing words of Vishnu, the beloved of the mountain, the mother of Parvati became slightly enlightened and spoke to Vishnu. If He assumes a lovely form and body my daughter may be given to Him and not otherwise even if you attempt, it a thousand times. This is my firm decision. After saying thus Mena of steady resolve kept quiet. She was induced by Shiva’s will whose magical power deludes all.
Brahma pleaded with Shiva to assume the comely form. Shiva joyously assumed a wonderfully excellent and divine form and showed His mercifulness. Mena saw Shiva’s form. It was as refulgent as that of a thousand suns. Every part of the body was exquisite. The garments were of variegated colours.
On seeing Him in that form Mena stood stunned and said: - “O great lord, my daughter is indeed blessed, she by whom the great penance was performed. It is by virtue of that penance that you have come to my threshold. Pardon me for the heap of repulsive words.
After performing the conventional rites in accordance with the Vedic injunctions and the social customs they decorated Parvati with the ornaments provided by Shiva. Priest Garga solemnized the marriage of Shiva & Parvati.
The concluding ceremonies of the wedding of Shiva and Parvati were carried out joyously by the sages. The ceremonial ceremonies include head-bath, respect paid to the Pole star Dhruva, the rite of Hṛdayalambhana (husband touches the heart of the bride), Svastipaṭha, application of red powder by Shiva on the head of Parvati and the rite of Saṃsrava Prasanna. Then the sixteen celestial ladies - Sarasvati, Lakshmi, Savitri, Jahnavi, Aditi, Sachi, Lopamudra, Arundhati, Ahalya, Tulasi, Svaha, Rohiṇi, Vasundhara, Satarupa, Saṃjna and Rati, arrived to pay respect to the couple and to guide Parvati post marriage duties & techniques.
The resuscitation of Kama:
At that time, thinking that the hour was favourable, Rati requested Shiva to resuscitate her husband. Sarasvati and other celestial ladies said: --
“Obeisance to you, O lord, you are friend of the distressed, storehouse of mercy. Resuscitate the cupid. Make Rati jubilant.” On hearing their words, lord Shiva was delighted. Thanks to the nectarine glance of the Trident bearing lord, Kama came out of the ashes.
In morning, Vishnu and the other gods got up with joy, remembered the lord of gods and excitedly got ready. They got their vehicles ready for the departure to Kailasa and sent Dharma to Shiva. Shiva then, in accordance with the worldly customs, went through his morning routine. He took leave of Mena and the mountain. Shiva took leave of her and the mountain and set on journey with the gods jubilantly. The gods with the lord and His Gaṇas started on their journey silently.
Shiva by playing sports, educated the people that whatever seen is mortal, whether beautiful or ugly.
The Story of Anaraṇya and his daughter – Shiva Purana
In the chapter 34 & 35 of Parvati Khanda in Shiva Purana, the story of Anaranya and his daughter is narrated. The story revolves around Padma, a chaste woman.
The king Anaraṇya hailed from the race of the fourteenth Manu Indrasavarṇi. The great king Anaraṇya, born of Maṅgalaraṇya was very strong. He was a special devotee of Shiva and ruled over the seven continents. Having Bhṛgu as his priest, he performed a hundred sacrifices. He did not accept the position of Indra even when offered by the gods. Hundred sons were born to him and a beautiful daughter Padma who was equal to Lakshmi.
He was fonder of his daughter than of his hundred sons. He had five queens who were endowed with great qualities and fortunes and were loved by him over and above his life. The girl entered the prime of her youth in her father’s palace. The king issued letters of invitation for the requisition of good bridegrooms.
In the meantime, the sage Pippalada eagerly hastening back to his hermitage saw a certain Gandharva in an isolated place in the penance-grove. The Gandharva was an expert in the science of erotic. He was in the company of a woman. He was therefore completely submerged in the ocean of pleasure, sexual dalliance and was lusty. On seeing him the great sage became very lustful. He lost interest in penance and began to think of acquiring a wife. Thus, the good sage spent a long time with his mind utterly agitated by pangs of love.
Once while the good sage was on his way to the river Puṣpabhadra for taking his bath he happened to see the young maiden Padma who was as charming as goddess Lakshmi. The sage asked the persons standing by — “Who is this girl?” The people, afraid of the curse bowed to the sage and replied.
The people said: --
“This excellent lady, the repository of all good qualities, is the daughter of Anaraṇya and is called Padma. She is another Lakshmi (goddess of fortune). She is being wooed by great kings.”
On hearing the words of the people who spoke the truth, the sage became much agitated in the mind and was eager to possess her.
The sage took bath and worshipped his favourite deity Shiva duly. The lustful sage went to the council-chamber of Anaraṇya for the sake of alms. Immediately after seeing the sage, the king was struck with awe and bowed to him. He offered him homage (Madhuparka) and devoutly worshipped him. Out of love, the sage accepted everything and ultimately requested for the hand of his daughter. The king kept quiet, being unable to give any decisive reply. The sage repeated his request saying— “O great king, give me your daughter. Otherwise in a trice I will reduce everything to ashes”.
The king and his attendants were overwhelmed by the splendour of the sage. Staring at the old emaciated brahmin, they began to cry. The queens, knowing not what shall be done, lamented. The chief queen, the mother of the girl, fell unconscious in the excess of her grief. The brothers of the girl were agitated with sorrow. Everything and everyone connected with the king was overwhelmed with grief. In the meantime, the wise brahmin, the excellent preceptor of the king, as well as his intelligent priest came there.
The king bowed to them and paid homage. He cried before them. He explained to them everything and asked them what the proper step was to be taken immediately. The brahmin, the preceptor of the king and the scholarly priest were experts in sacred lore and polity. They advised the king in that matter. The preceptor and the priest said: --
“O wise king, listen to our beneficial words. Do not be anxious. In the company of your kinsmen turn your good attention to the sacred texts. O king, whether today or after a year, the princess is to be given to a deserving person, a brahmin or anyone else. In the three worlds we do not see more deserving person than this brahmin. Give your daughter to this sage and save your riches. O king, if all riches face the danger of destruction due to one object or person, the wise man saves everything by abandoning that object or person unless it be that who has sought refuge.”
On hearing the words of the wise, the king lamented again and again but ultimately offered his daughter fully bedecked in ornaments to the excellent sage. Accepting and marrying the beautiful maiden Padma, on a par with goddess Lakshmi, in accordance with holy laws, the delighted sage returned to his abode.
After giving his daughter to an old man, the king was much dejected in mind. Abandoning everything he went to the forest for performing penance. When the king went to the forest, the queen, passed away, due to the pangs of separation from her husband and daughter. Without the king, the respectable sons and officers of the king became unconscious. The other people thinking that the king was dead lamented much. Anaraṇya went to the forest, performed great penance, and worshipped Shiva with devotion. In the end, he attained Shivaloka free from all ailments.
The eldest son of the king, Kirtiman, virtuously ruled over the kingdom and tended the subjects like his own children. Thus, Anaraṇya saved his race and his wealth by offering his daughter to the sage.
After hearing the story of Anaraṇya including the anecdote of the offer of his daughter, the lord of mountains again asked Vasishta to narrate the story of his daughter. Vasishta narrated the story of Padma after the marriage with Pippalada.
The very old and venerable sage Pippalada returned to his hermitage along with his wife Padma and passed time in pleasure. He was not too much sensuous. He continued to perform his penance and holy rites in the forest and on the mountain. The daughter of Anaraṇya served the sage devoutly physically, mentally and verbally like Lakshmi serving Vishnu.
Once Dharma (Virtue) assumed the guise of a king by his magical power and seated in a beautiful chariot, happened to see on the way that lady of gentle smiles going to the celestial river for her holy dip. He was in the prime of fresh youth, glorious and lustrous like the cupid. On seeing Padma, he spoke thus, in order to know the innermost feelings of the sage’s wife. Dharma said: --
“O beautiful woman, you are Lakshmi herself; you are charming, you are worthy of a king; you are in the very prime of youth; you will be ever young; you are a lovely, sweet lady. You lack lustre and colour in the presence of the sage Pippalada who is old and weak. Cast off that ruthless old brahmin always engaged in penances. Look up to me a great king, heroic in sexual dalliance and agitated by Kama. A beautiful woman acquires beauty because of the merit of a previous birth. The beauty becomes completely fruitful only after embracing a man of aesthetic taste. I am the lover of a thousand beautiful women. I am an expert in the erotic science and literature. Abandon that husband and make me your slave.”
Saying this, he got down and was eager to catch her hands. Padma, the chaste lady then said: --
“Go away you sinful king. If you cast your lustful ogles at me, you will be doomed in a moment. How can I resort to you, lecherous and mad after women, after forsaking the excellent sage Pippalada whose body is sanctified by austerities? By the very touch of a person under the influence of women all merits are destroyed. He is a great sinner. His very sight promotes sins. Even if he performs holy rites, a person succumbing to the viles of women is always impure. The manes, the gods and all men despise him. Of what avail is knowledge, penance, repetition of sacred mantras, sacrifice, adoration, learning and charitable gift to him who is henpecked? Since you spoke to me viewing me with the feelings that I am your wife although I ought to have been viewed as your mother, you will have a gradual decline because of my curse.”
On hearing the curse of the chaste woman, Dharma cast off the guise of a king and assumed his real form. Dharma said: --
“O mother, know me as Dharma elderly and venerable to men of wisdom and preceptors. O chaste lady, I always consider other’s wives as mothers. It was to know your innermost feelings that I approached you. I knew your mind, still I was urged by fate. Only proper suppression, not the contrary, is carried out by you. Obeisance to Shiva who distributes happiness, misery, boons, prosperity, or adversity on all. Obeisance to Shiva who can make people enemies or friends, create affection or quarrel, to generate or destroy things. Obeisance to Shiva, by whom the primordial nature, the principles Mahat etc, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and others are created.”
After saying thus Dharma, the most venerable god in the universe stood in front of her, stunned but delighted at her chastity. But he did not say anything. Princess Padma was surprised on realising that it was Dharma and said: -
“O Dharma, you are the ever-present witness of all activities. O lord, why did you deign to deceive me to know my mind? What has been done already does not amount to any guilt on my part. You have been cursed in vain by me, but it was due to my ignorance and innate nature of woman. This sky, these quarters and the winds may get destroyed but the curse of a chaste lady will never be destroyed. In the Satya yuga you shine with all the legs. In the Treta yuga, one leg shall be defunct, O excellent god. Another leg too shall be defunct in Dvapara and the third one in the Kali age, O lord. In the latter half of Kali, all the legs will be chopped off. Again, in the Satya Yuga you will attain perfection. In the Satya Yuga you will be all-pervasive and in the other Yugas partially so. Let these words of mine be true and pleasing to you. I am now going to serve my husband. “
On hearing her words Dharma became delighted. Then Dharma, the son of Brahma, spoke to the chaste lady who had been speaking to him. Dharma said: --
“O chaste lady, you are blessed, you are devotedly attached to your husband. Take this boon. Your husband is the cause of your great protection. Let him be a young man with sexual vigour and righteousness. He shall be comely in appearance, good in conduct, eloquent in speech and perpetually stable in youth. Let him enjoy more longevity than Markaṇḍeya. Let him be richer than Kubera. Let him enjoy more prosperity and power than Indra. Let him be a devotee of Shiva on a par with Vishnu. Let him be a greater Siddha than Kapila. Let him vie with Brihaspati in intelligence and with Brahma in equanimity. You will be blessed with all the fortunes of your master as long as you live. Also, you will be perpetually young. Undoubtedly you will become the mother of ten sons who will be greater than your husband, they will have all good qualities and live long. Let your abode be endowed with all riches, brightly illuminated always and superior to even the abode of Kubera.”
Bestowing blessings upon her, Dharma returned to his abode. She sported about in secret with her husband who became a young man. She gave birth to sons who surpassed her husband in their good qualities. All kinds of riches were granted to the couple increasing their happiness. They were conducive to the prosperity here and hereafter.
A chaste woman brings prosperity, power and well-being.
The story of divine sports of Shiva to test Parvati’s Parents – Shiva Purana
In Chapters 30 to 36 of Parvati Khanda of Siva Purana, Shiva, prone to divine sports, assumed the guise of a dancer and then of a Brahmin to test Parvati’s parents.
Shiva approached Menaka. In the guise of a dancer with the skill of dancing and singing, he danced well and sang many songs in sweet voice. Shiva was bearing trident and other symbols. He had smeared the ashes all over His body. He was wearing a garland of bones. He had the sacred thread of a serpent. Mena took gems and jewels in gold vessels to give them to Him. But the dancer did not accept the gifts. He requested for the hand of Parvati and began to dance and sing again. Mena was surprised on hearing his words and she was furious. She rebuked the mendicant and wished to drive him out.
In the meantime, Himalaya (father of Parvati), the lord of mountains returned. He saw the mendicant in the human form in his courtyard. On hearing the details from Mena, he became very angry. He ordered his attendants to drive out the dancer. But none of them could push him out as he was hot to the touch like a blazing fire and very brilliant. Then the mendicant who was clever at diverse sports showed his endless great power to the mountain. The mountain saw him immediately transmuted into the form of Vishnu the four-armed, with crown earrings and yellow garment. Then the lord of mountains saw the four-faced deity, the creator of worlds, red in colour and reciting the Vedic hymns. Then the lord of mountains saw the form of the sun, the eye of the universe, much to his enthusiastic amazement. Then he saw him in the wonderful form of Shiva accompanied by Parvati. He was smiling and shining beautifully. Then he saw him in the form of a mass of splendor of no specific shape. It was unsullied, free from peculiar attributes and desires. It was wonderfully formless. Thus, he saw many forms and features there. He was surprised and delighted much.
Then the chief of mendicants begged of Himalaya and Mena the hand of Parvati as alms. He, the source of great enjoyment did not accept anything else. The lord of mountains deluded by Shiva’s magic did not accede to this request. The mendicant too did not take anything. He vanished from the scene. Then Himalaya and Mena realised that Shiva had deceived them and gone to His abode. After some pondering, they developed a feeling of devotion to Shiva who is the cause of salvation, the bestower of divine bliss.
Then Indra and other gods, went to Brihaspati’s abode, and asked him to go to the abode of Himalaya for the fulfilment of our task. He did not accept the proposal of the gods. Then remembering lord Shiva, Brihaspati rebuked the gods again and again and said: -
“All of you gods seem to be selfish in nature. You want to destroy other’s interests. Indeed, I will go to hell by disparaging Shiva. O gods, one of you shall go to the mountain. Let him urge the lord of the mountains and achieve the desired object. Afterwards the seven celestial sages will properly persuade the mountain. Except Shiva, Parvati will not marry any other person. Or, O gods, all of you go to Brahma’s region taking Indra with you. Tell Brahma all your details. He will get your work done immediately.”
On hearing it and consulting among themselves the gods went to Brahma’s Assembly. On hearing the words of the gods, Brahma said:
“Dear children, I am incompetent to decry Shiva. It is unbearable. It destroys all riches. It is the seed of all adversities. O gods, all of you go to Kailash and propitiate Shiva. Make Him go to Himalaya’s abode quickly. Rebuking others is conducive to destruction. Rebuking oneself is conducive to fame”.
On hearing Brahma’s words, all the gods went to Kailash. Going there and seeing Shiva they bowed to Him with bent heads and palms joined in reverence. The gods eulogised Shiva and said - “O Shiva, the merciful, we seek refuge in you. Be sympathetic. Obeisance be to you. You are the uplifter of the distressed, and an ocean of mercy. You save us from all our miseries and distresses.”
Shiva as Brahmin:
On hearing the words of the gods, lord Shiva agreed to the proposal. He made the gods return after assuring them smilingly. Hastening to their abodes, the gods rejoiced much considering their work fully fulfilled and praising Sadashiv. Then the lord Shiva, the lord of magic and free from aberrations went to the lord of mountains.
When the lord of the mountains was seated in his royal assembly along with Parvati and kinsmen, Sadashiv came there, in the meantime bearing a staff and an umbrella. He was dressed in divine clothes and had a shining mark on the forehead. He was in the guise of a saintly brahmin. He was repeating the name of Vishnu with devotion. He had the garland of crystal beads in his hand and the Salagrama stone round his neck. On seeing that extraordinary guest, Himalaya with his attendants stood up in reverence and prostrated before him with devotion. Parvati bowed with devotion to her dear lover in the guise of a brahmin. On realising him mentally the goddess eulogised him with great joy. The lord of mountains asked him “Who are you, please?” Immediately the chief of brahmins, spoke to the lord of mountains thus. The chief of brahmins said: --
“O foremost among mountains, I am a brahmin devotee of Vishnu, and a great scholar. My occupation is that of a matchmaker. I roam about on the earth. I go where I wish. I go everywhere. By the power of my preceptor, I am omniscient. I am simple-minded and by nature I help others and I am sympathetic and quell aberrations. I have come to know that you desire to give your daughter to Shiva, this daughter so tender like a lotus flower, of divinely excellent form and endowed with all accomplishments. To Shiva—who has no support, who is devoid of associations, who is deformed, who is without attributes, who resides in the cremation-ground, who has the form of a snake-catcher, who is a Yogi, who is naked, who has deficient limbs, who wears snakes as his ornaments, whose name and pedigree are unknown, whose conduct is bad, who has no sport, whose body is smeared with ashes, who is furious, who lacks in discrimination, whose age is not known, whose matted hair is ill worn, who supports all who roam about, who has garland of snakes who is a mendicant, who is engaged in following wrong-paths and who tenaciously discards the Vedic path. O mountain, this inclination of yours is not at all conducive to auspiciousness. O foremost among the wise, born of Narayana’s family, learn sense. For the marriage of Parvati, He is not at all a deserving person. On hearing of this, the public will smile in derision. O lord of mountains, see for yourself. He has not a single kinsman. You are the storehouse of great gems and jewels. He has no assets at all. O lord of mountains, you shall consult your kinsmen, sons, wife and wise counsellors, except Parvati.”
Saying this, the brahmin stopped. He took food and left the place with pleasure for his abode. Shiva is one who quietly indulges in His divine sports.
On hearing the words of the brahmin, Mena spoke to Himalaya with tears welling up in her eyes, due to grief. Mena said: --
“O lord of mountains, please listen to my words conducive to happiness. Please consult important devotees of Shiva regarding what has been mentioned by the brahmin. Many disparaging remarks about Shiva have been made by this Brahminical devotee of Vishnu. On hearing these words, my mind is very much dejected. I shall not give my daughter endowed with all good accomplishments to Shiva with ugly features, ignoble conduct and defiled name. If you do not accede to my request, I shall undoubtedly die. I will immediately leave this house or swallow poison. With a rope I shall tie Parvati round my neck and go to a thick forest. I would rather drown myself in the great ocean. I shall never give my daughter to him. Saying thus with great grief, Mena entered the chamber of anger. Casting off her necklaces she lay down on the ground sighing and sobbing.”
Shiva’s request to the celestial sages:
In the meantime, all those seven celestial sages were remembered by Shiva whose mind was agitated by the pangs of separation from Parvati. All those seven sages, as soon as they were remembered by Shiva, came there in person. Standing in front of Shiva and bowing to and eulogising Him, the seven sages of great austerity considered themselves blessed. They addressed Shiva: --
“O most excellent of all, formerly we had performed three kinds of penance; we had studied the excellent Vedas; we had made offerings in the fire, we had visited many holy centres; thus, whatever merit we have acquired verbally, mentally and physically that entire merit has now accrued to us by your blessing in remembering us. A man who worships you always shall be blessed. How can that merit be properly described, the merit of those whom you yourself remember? O Sadashiv, we have become the most excellent of all people by your remembering us. Usually, you never even come across the path of ambitions and aspirations of ordinary people. O lord, your vision, very difficult to be acquired. By seeing you today we have become the most respectable sages worthy of the worship of all the worlds. We have reached the highest position. If any duty is assigned to us, it will be a favour to us.”
On hearing their words, Shiva the great lord, said: --
“Sages are always to be adored and particularly you all. O brahmins, it was for a specific reason that you have been summoned here. My attitude of being helpful is known to you. That must be achieved, especially in the interest of the fulfilment of the desires of the world. Cause for great misery has arisen for the gods at the hands of Taraka the wicked. Boon has already been granted. He is invincible. What shall I do? A great penance has been performed by Parvati. That cannot be performed even by great sages. I must give her the great fruit thereof. Indeed, my vow is to render delight to my devotees. The fruit I bestow on her shall be conducive to her welfare. Hence, I wish to marry her.
At the request of Parvati, I went to the abode of the mountain in the guise of a mendicant. Clever in divine sports I thereby sanctified her. On hearing to know that I am the supreme Brahman, the couple were desirous of giving me their daughter with great devotion in accordance with the Vedic manner. On the inducement of the gods, to reduce the quality of devotion (of Himalaya and Mena) I took the guise of a devotee of Vishnu and rebuked myself. On hearing it they were dejected and have now lost interest in me and do not wish to give their daughter to me. Hence you all go to the abode of Himalaya and urge the excellent mountain and his wife. Speak out the words as venerable as the Vedas. Do everything necessary to get the matter straightened out and settled. I have agreed to marry her and have already granted her that boon.”
Visit of celestial sages to Himalaya:
The celestial sages bowed to Shiva and went by aerial path in the direction of the city of Himalaya. On seeing those seven sages, resplendent like the sun, coming along the aerial path from a distance, Himalaya was surprised and said: --
“The seven venerable persons, resplendent like the sun, are approaching me. These sages shall be worshipped by me now. We householders are really blessed, to whom great men like these, bestowing happiness on all, pay their visit. On seeing them Himalaya advanced to welcome them with due reverence.
Himalaya said: --
I am blessed. I am contented. My life is fruitful. I am the best person worthy of being seen in the three worlds. I am as pure as any of the holy centres. All this is because you, verily in lord Vishnu’s forms, have come to my abode. Perfect ones such as you, what special purpose can there be in visiting poor persons like me? Still, I am your servant. Some tasks there may be to be entrusted to me. Mercifully may it be spoken out. May my life be fruitful.”
The sages said: --
“Shiva is the father of the universe. Parvati is the mother of the universe. Hence your daughter shall be given to Shiva, the supreme soul. O Himalaya, by this activity your life will be fruitful.”
On hearing these words of the seven sages, the lord of the mountains bowed to them with joined palms and spoke thus. Himalaya said: -
“O, you seven sages of great enlightenment, what you have just now said has been already cherished by me by the will of Shiva. Now, a certain brahmin professing Vaishnava cult came here and spoke very critically about Shiva. Ever since, the mother Parvati has gone out of sense. Hence, she does not wish her daughter’s marriage with Shiva. She has entered the chamber of anger. I too am, you can say, out of sense. I am telling you the truth. I do not wish to give my daughter to Shiva who is apparently a mendicant.”
The seven celestial sages praised the magic of Shiva and sent Arundhati to Menaka. Arundhati said: --
“O Menaka, get up. I, Arundhati, have come to your house. The seven sages of sympathetic nature have also come. On hearing Arundhati’s voice, Mena got up quickly and bowed to her who was on a par with Lakshmi in her brilliance.”
Mena said: --
“We are blessed. Arundhati, the daughter-in-law of the Creator of the universe, the wife of Vasishta, has come here. O gentle lady, what for is your visit now? Please tell me specifically. My daughter and I are your slaves. Be merciful to us.”
Arundhati advised her in various ways and returned to the place where the sages were seated.
The sages said: --
“O lord of the mountains may our words, the cause of everything auspicious, be heard. Give Parvati to Shiva. Become the father-in-law of the world-destroyer. For the destruction of Taraka, formerly Brahma requested Shiva who is the lord of all and who does not beg of any one, to strive for this alliance. Shiva, the foremost of Yogis was not eager to marry. But since requested by Brahma, the lord agreed to take your daughter. Parvati performed a penance and the lord promised her. Thus, for these two reasons the lord of Yogis wishes to marry her.”
On hearing the words of the sages, Himalaya laughed but he was a little frightened. He spoke with humility. Himalaya said: --
“I do not see any royal paraphernalia with Shiva, He has none to support him. He has no assets. He has no kinsman. I do not wish to give my daughter to a Yogi who is extremely detached. If a father were to give his daughter in marriage to an unsuitable person, out of love, delusion, fear or covetousness, he is doomed. He will go to hell. Out of my own free will, I will not give her to the trident-bearing Shiva. O sages, whatever arrangement is befitting here, may kindly be carried out.
On hearing these words of the mountain Himalaya, Vasishta, the most eloquent among them replied: --
“O lord of mountains, listen to my words in every respect conducive to your welfare; they are not against virtue. They are true and shall bring about your joy here and hereafter. Statements, in ordinary language and in the Vedas, are of three forms.
Taking the firm decision on seeing her innumerable sufferings He came to the place of your daughter’s penance in the guise of a brahmin. After consoling her and granting her the boon He returned to His abode. It was for complying with her request that Shiva requested you for the hand of Parvati, O mountain. Both of you had accepted the proposal as you were drawn by devotion to Shiva. O lord of mountains, how is it that your mind has taken a somersault now? Please tell me. On being requested by the gods, the lord has sent us, the sages and Arundhati to you. O mountain, we instruct you plainly. By giving Parvati to Shiva, you will meet with great bliss. O lord of mountains, even if you do not give Parvati to Shiva out of your own free will, their marriage will take place because of the inexorable workings of fate. Shiva has already granted Parvati the boon at the time of her penance.
When danger was imminent at the hands of a brahmin, the chief of kings, Anaraṇya, saved his entire asset by giving his daughter to him. When he was threatened by the curse of brahmin his preceptors, wise kinsmen and people well-versed in the science of polity advised him hastily. O king of mountains, you too save your kinsmen by giving your daughter to Shiva. You can claim thus the gods too to your side.”
On hearing the words of Vasishta, Himalaya, with a dejected heart but laughing outwardly asked him about the details of the story of the king. Vasishta narrated the story of Anaranya and Padma to the lord of mountains and said: -
“After a week there is a very auspicious hour very rare to meet with. The presiding planet of the lagna is in the lagna. The moon is in conjunction with his son, Mercury as well as the constellation Rohiṇi. The moon and the stars occupy pure positions. The month is Margashirsha, and the day is Monday free from all defects. All the planets are in auspicious conjunction. They are not impacted by the evil planets. The Jupiter is in a position that is conducive to the birth of a good child and all good fortune to the bridegroom. O lord of mountains, give your daughter Parvati, the mother of the universe, the primordial Being to Shiva, the father of the universe. You will then get quiet and contentment.”
The mountains, Meru & others said: --
“Of what avail is a long discussion and deliberation now? She is born only for the purpose of the gods. Incarnating for the sake of Shiva, she shall be given to Shiva. Shiva has been propitiated by her and Shiva has also spoken to her.”
On hearing the words of Meru and others, Himalaya was greatly pleased, and Parvati laughed within herself. Arundhati too convinced Mena with reasoned statements and examples from various mythological legends. Then the wife of the mountain too was delightedly convinced. She entertained Arundhati, the sages and the mountain with a grand feast and then took food herself. Then the chief of mountains, freed from wrong notions and spoke with mind extremely delighted. Himalaya said: --
“O fortunate sages, please listen to my words. All my bewilderment has vanished since I have heard the story of Shiva. Everything that I possess, my body, wife, Mena, sons, daughter, assets and achievements and other things belong to Śiva and not otherwise. After saying so, he bedecked his daughter with various ornaments. Then he took them all and placed them on the lap of the sage saying, “These are the presents I have to give her.”
The sages said: --
“O mountain, you are the donor, Shiva is the mendicant, and the alms goddess Parvati. What else can be better than this?”
After saying thus, the sages of pure mind offered their blessings to the girl— “Be pleasing to Shiva.” They touched her with their hands and continued— “Everything will be well with you. As the moon in the bright half of the month, may your qualities increase.” After saying thus and offering fruits and flowers to the lord of mountains, the sages made him believe that the alliance was a settled fact.
After fixing the auspicious Lagna for the marriage and congratulating and complimenting one another the sages came to Shiva’s abode on the fourth day. After reaching the place, Vasishta and other sages bowed to Shiva and eulogised Him with different hymns. They then spoke to lord Shiva.
The sages said: --
“O lord Shiva, the lord of mountains and Mena have been urged with different kinds of statements and examples from mythological legends. Undoubtedly, he is enlightened. Parvati has been betrothed to you by the lord of mountains. It is not otherwise. Now please start for the marriage with your attendants and the gods. O great god, go to the abode of Himalaya and marry Parvati in accordance with the customs for the sake of a son.”
On hearing their words, lord Shiva who was delighted.
The Story of Parvati-Jatila dialogue – Shiva Purana
In Chapter 26 to 29 of Parvati Khanda of Siva Purana, there are dialogues of Shiva and Parvati whence Shiva came in guise of Jatila (an ascetic with matted hair) to test the penance of the goddess. He went to the forest of penance of Parvati. He took the form of a very old man with the body of a brahmin.
On seeing that brahmin of wonderful refulgence come, goddess Parvati worshipped Him with all the articles of worship.
Parvati said: --
“Who are you and whence have you come in the guise of a Brahmachari? You are making this forest refulgent by your splendour.”
The brahmin said: --
“I am an aged brahmin roaming about as I please. I am an intelligent ascetic bestowing happiness and helping others. Who are you? What is your parentage? Why do you perform penance in this isolated forest? Your penance cannot be surpassed even by the sages of eminent status. You are neither a small girl nor an old woman. You appear to be an auspicious young woman. How is it that you are performing this penance even when you are unmarried? O gentle lady, are you the wife of an ascetic who does not provide you with food and shelter and so leaving you has gone to another place? Tell me, in which family are you born? Who is your father? What are your undertakings? You are very fortunate. Futile is your interest in penance. Are you the mother of the Vedas? Are you Lakshmi or Sarasvati? I dare not guess who you are?”
Parvati said: --
“O brahmin, I am not the mother of the Vedas, nor Lakshmi nor Sarasvati. I am the daughter of Himalaya, and my name is Parvati. Previously I had been born as Sati, the daughter of Dakṣha. By Yogic means I cast off my body since my husband was insulted by my father. Even in this life, Shiva came to me but due to ill luck, He reduced Kama to ashes, left me and went away. O brahmin, when Shiva went away, I came out of my father’s house, being greatly dejected, to perform this steady penance on the banks of the celestial river. Even after performing this severe penance for a long time, I could not attain Him. I was just to consign myself to fire but on seeing you, I have stopped for a while. Now you can go. I shall enter fire since I have not been accepted by Shiva. Wherever I take birth I shall woo only Shiva.”
“After saying so, Parvati jumped into the fire in the presence of the brahmin although she was forbidden by Him again and again. Even as she jumped into the fire, it became as cool as sandal paste due to her ascetic power. The brahmin stopped her standing on her way as she was trying to go away and asked her laughingly. O gentle lady, I cannot understand anything. Your penance is wonderful. Your body is not charred by the fire. Still your desire remains unsatiated so far. Let me know about your desire; I am a brahmin who can bestow pleasure upon everyone. Please tell me everything truly and methodically. Since we have become friends, nothing should be kept a secret from me. I wish to ask you now. Whom do you wish to have as your husband? It is in you that the fruit of penance is seen. If your penance is for others or for the supreme object, wherefore should you perform it at all? You had a jewel in your hand, you cast it off and have taken up a base metal instead. Hence tell me the reason, truthfully, for this penance.”
Thus, asked by him, Parvati urged her maid. She of good rites made everything narrated to him through her maid.
The maid informed: -
“This my friend is the daughter of Himalaya, lord of mountains. She is the daughter of Menaka named Kali but famous as Parvati. She is not married to anyone, nor does she desire any other than Shiva for her husband. She has performed this penance for three thousand years. My friend has been performing severe penance at the bidding of Narada to make her beauty fruitful, to embellish her father’s race and to bless Kama. She has directed this penance to lord Shiva. O holy ascetic how is it that her desire is not fulfilled.”
The ascetic said: --
“The maid has said something, but I deduce only a huge joke therefrom. If it be true, let the gentle lady herself speak out.”
Parvati said: --
“I am telling you the truth and not a lie. Shiva has been wooed by me, by mind, speech, and action as well as by means of ascetic feelings.”
The brahmin said: --
“So long I had been desirous of knowing what our gentle lady craves for that she performs this great penance. I have now known it through your own words. I am now going away from this place.”
After saying these words to her when he proposed to go, goddess Parvati bowed to and spoke to the brahmin.
Parvati said: --
“O excellent brahmin, why do you go? Stay and tender me wholesome advice”.
When she said thus, the staff-bearing brahmin stopped and spoke. The brahmin said: --
“If you are stopping me with devotion, truly desirous of hearing then I shall explain everything whereby you may gain some wisdom. I know Shiva through and through with all His weighty attributes. I shall tell you the truth. The great lord is bull-bannered. His body is smeared with ashes. His hair is matted. He is clad in the hide of a tiger. He has covered His body with the hide of an elephant. He holds the skull. Serpents twine round His limbs. Poison has left a mark on his neck. He eats even forbidden stuffs. He has odd eyes and is awful. His birth and pedigree cannot be traced. He is devoid of the enjoyment of a householder. He has ten arms. He is mostly naked and is ever accompanied by ghosts and goblins. What is the reason whereby you wish Him to be your husband? O gentle lady, where has your wisdom gone? Think well and tell me.
You are a jewel among women. Your father is the king of all mountains. Why do you crave for a husband like this and that too by means of a severe penance? Discarding the life at home you yearn for a life in the forest. There is no matching beauty between you both. Your friend Kama was burnt by Shiva. He insulted you also by leaving you off and going elsewhere. His caste is not recognised. He has no learning or wisdom. His assistants are the ghosts. Poison is seen even in His throat. He also moves about in isolation. He is detached from everything particularly. Hence you cannot fix your mind in Him. Where your necklace and where the garland of skulls that he wears? Where your rich divine unguent and where the ash from the funeral pyre that He has on His body?
Real Form of Shiva explained by Ma Parvati:
On hearing these words of that brahmin, Parvati said angrily to the brahmin who discredited Shiva. Parvati said: --
“So long I have been thinking that someone else has come. Now everything has become clear. You are a person who cannot be killed. You have now come in the form of a student ascetic for the sake of deceiving me. Using false arguments, you have spoken fraudulent words. I know the real form of Shiva very particularly. I shall therefore explain Shiva’s reality. He is in fact devoid of attributes- But for some reasons He takes up attributes. How can He have a birth, he who is really attribute less but takes up attributes? Of what avail is learning to Him who is perfect and the supreme soul? At the beginning of the Kalpa, all the Vedas were given by Shiva to Vishnu in the form of breath. Who can be a good lord equal to Him? How can He be measured in age, He who is primordial to everything and everyone? Even primordial nature (Prakriti) is born of Him. Of what avail is then Energy to Him? With the threefold Energies, Shiva blesses those who worship Him always as the lord of Energies. Every individual soul becomes fearless and conquers death by worshipping Him. Hence His designation ‘the conqueror of death’ is famous in all the three worlds. Vishnu attains and retains his Vishnu-hood by His favour. Similarly, Brahma his Brahma-hood and the gods their godhood. Whenever the lord of the gods wants to see Shiva, he has to propitiate His gatekeepers, the ghosts etc. What is deficient in that lord? Does Sadashiv like me? Even if a person is perpetually poor for seven lives, after serving Shiva, his prosperity becomes unhampered. How can he find benefit inaccessible—he in whose presence the eight Siddhis (Superhuman faculties) dance always for the sake of propitiation with speechless mouths or with lowered faces. Although Shiva resorts to inauspicious things yet by thinking on Him everything becomes auspicious. His worship fulfils all desires. How can there be aberration in Him who always remains in an unmodified state. If, as you say, the ash from the funeral pyre is unholy, how is it that the same transferred to Shiva’s body is taken thence and worn on the head by the gods? How can He be easily realised, He who is the deity that creates, sustains, and annihilates the worlds, all the same who is devoid of attributes and is termed Shiva? The form of Shiva, the supreme soul, is that of Brahman, devoid of attributes. You have censured Shiva of immeasurable splendour and I have worshiped you, hence I have become sinful. On seeing a person who hates Shiva one should take bath along with one’s clothes. On seeing a person who hates Shiva one should perform expiatory rites. O wicked one, you profess knowledge of Shiva. But you should know that the eternal Shiva is not known at all. Whatever may be the form or feature of Shiva, He is still He is my favourite. He is without aberration and beloved of the good. Neither Vishnu nor Brahma can equal that noble soul. How can then the gods and others be? They are always dependent on Time and are not eternal. After realising this with my sharp intellect factually, I have come to this forest and am performing the elaborate penance for attaining Shiva. My ambition is to attain the supreme lord who is favourably disposed to His devotees and who blesses the distressed.”
After saying this, Parvati, the daughter of the mountain, stopped and meditated on Shiva with unaffected mind. On hearing the words of the goddess when the brahmin ascetic began to say something, Parvati whose mind was fixed on Shiva and who was averse to hear any disparaging remarks about Shiva spoke immediately to Vijaya, her maid.”
Parvati said: --
“This base brahmin must be prevented strenuously. He is inclined to say something again. He will surely censure Shiva. Not only does he who disparages Shiva incur sin but also, he who hears the same. A person who disparages Shiva is worthy of being killed by Shiva’s attendants. If it is a brahmin he must be dismissed, or the hearer shall go away from that place immediately. Let us leave this place at once and go elsewhere. Let there be no more talk with this ignorant man.”
Saying this, even as Parvati was about to step ahead, the brahmin manifesting as Shiva clasped his beloved. After assuming the handsome form in the manner Parvati had meditated upon and manifesting it to Parvati, Shiva addressed her while she stood with her lowered head.
Shiva said: --
“Where will you go, leaving me? You are not to be discarded again by me. I am delighted. Tell me what boon I shall grant you. There is nothing that cannot be given to you. From today I am your slave bought by you by performing penance. I have been bought by your beauty. Even a moment appears like a Yuga. O Parvati, O great Goddess, you are my eternal wife. Let this shyness be eschewed. You please ponder with your keen intellect. O steady-minded one, you have been tested by me in various ways. Let my guilt be excused in following this worldly game. Even in the three worlds I do not see a beloved like you. O Parvati, in every respect I am subservient to you. You can fulfil all your desires. O beloved, come on near me. You are my wife. I am your bridegroom. I shall immediately go to my abode—the excellent mountain, along with you.”
When the lord of the gods spoke in this way, Parvati rejoiced. Whatever distress she had felt during penance she cast off as something old. In fact, when the fruit is realised, the exertion felt during the process of undertaking perishes.
Shiva (in real form)-Parvati dialogue:
On hearing the words of Shiva, the great Soul and on seeing His pleasant form and features Parvati was delighted much. Goddess Parvati replied: -
“O lord of gods, you are my husband. Has it been forgotten by you why you destroyed the sacrifice of Dakṣa formerly with great tenacity? I am born of Mena for the achievement of the task of the gods terrified to the quick by Taraka. If you are delighted, if you are sympathetic, O lord, become my husband. With your permission I am going to my father’s abode. Let your pure great glory be made well known. O lord, you will please go to Himalaya. Be the mendicant and beg of him, me as your alms. Thus, you start your householder’s life. There is no doubt that my father with his kinsmen will accede to your request as he has already been urged by the sages lovingly.
Formerly as Dakṣa’s daughter I was offered to you by my father. But the marriage rites were not duly performed then. The planets were not worshipped by my father. Therefore, a great defect occurred in our marriage in regard to the planets. Hence, O lord, you will celebrate marriage in accordance with the rules for the fulfilment of the task of the gods.”
On hearing these words, Sadashiv was highly delighted. Laughingly and lovingly, He spoke to Parvati. Shiva said --
“See that our marriage rites are performed in the proper manner without deficiency. All the living beings Brahma and others are non-eternal. All these visible things are perishable. The attribute less took over the attributes. That which is self-luminous had other lights imposed on it. O gentle lady, I, the independent, have been made subservient by you. You alone are the great illusory power, the Primordial nature that creates. This entire universe has been made of illusion; it is held by the supreme soul with His great intellect. It is united and enveloped by the Gaṇas of the nature of pervading souls of meritorious deeds, akin to the nature of supreme soul. We two have created the universe different in attributes and actions for the sake of the devotees and with a disposition favourable to them. You are indeed the subtle primordial nature consisting of Rajas, Sattva and Tamas. You are capable of perpetual activity. You are both possessed and devoid of attributes. Of all living beings I am the soul without aberration without yearnings. I take up bodies at the requests and wishes of my devotees.
O daughter of the mountain, I will not go up to Himalaya your father. I will not become a mendicant and beg of him for you.
O daughter of the lord of mountains, even a weighty person endowed with great qualities, even a noble soul, is considered base immediately after uttering the words— “Please give me”.
Parvati said: --
“You are the cosmic soul, and I am the cosmic nature. There is nothing to deliberate on this. We two are independent and subservient to the devotees. We two are both possessed and devoid of attributes. O lord Shiva, with effort, you will please do according to my request. O Shiva, beg of Himalaya for me. O great lord, be sympathetic. I am your devotee for ever. I am your wife for ever in ever birth. You are Brahman, the great soul, devoid of attributes greater than primordial nature, without aberration, free from yearnings, independent, great lord. Still, you are possessed of attributes too and enthusiastic in the uplift of the devotees. You sport about in your own soul engrossed in it and you are clever in your different sports. Take pity on me.”
Thus, addressed by her, Shiva of the noble soul, just to follow and imitate the worldly conventions thought that it should be so. Being desirous of doing so he rejoiced. Then Shiva vanished. With a great delight He went to Kailash.