Incarnation of Shiva as Jatila – Shiva Purana
In the chapter 33, Section 3 of Satarudra Samhita of Shiva Purana, the story of incarnation of Shiva as Jatila (Student-ascetic) is mentioned.
After abandoning her body when she was insulted by her own father in the sacrificial hall, Sati, the daughter of Daksa, was born of Mena and the mountain Himavat. Desiring to attain Shiva as her husband, she went to the dense forest and performed a pure penance. She was attended upon by two of her friends. In order to test her penance, Shiva an expert in various kinds of sports sent the seven sages to the penance grove of Pārvati. The sages went there and thoroughly tested her. As she was strenuous in her effort they could not dissuade her from her penance. They returned and bowed to Shiva. After mentioning all the details to him and obtaining his permission they returned to heaven eagerly.
When they had gone to their abodes, lord Shiva, the cause of excellent sports, desired to test Shiva’s activity himself. Then the lord assumed the pleasant, self-controlled and wonderful form of a student-ascetic. He looked very old and had assumed the body of a Brahmin. He was shining with brilliance. He had a staff and an umbrella. He was mentally delighted. Assuming this form of a Jaṭila (one with matted hair), the delighted Shiva, favourably disposed to his devotees went to the penance-grove of Parvati. There he saw the goddess Parvati, seated on the dais surrounded by her friends. She appeared like the pure digit of the moon.
On seeing the goddess, Shiva who had assumed the form of a student-ascetic approached her eagerly and lovingly. On seeing the Brahmin visitor of wonderful splendour, quiet with hairy limbs, bearing the staff and hide of deer, the aged bachelor with matted hair and the water-pot, she welcomed and worshipped him with all the articles of worship.
The goddess Parvati enquired after the health of that aged bachelor respectfully after worshipping him with great joy. “O most excellent one among the knowers of the Vedas, who are you, please, in the guise of a student-ascetic and whence have you come illuminating this forest?
On being asked thus by Parvati, that Brahmin replied immediately with great pleasure in order to test the feelings of Parvati. The student-ascetic said:
“I am a Brahmin bachelor going about here and there as I please. I am a saint pleasing and helping others undoubtedly.”
After saying this, the bachelor Shiva stood near her concealing his real form. The student-ascetic said:
“What shall I say, O great lady? There is nothing to be mentioned. A great calamity seems to have happened, extremely confusing. In your fresh youth, the means of good enjoyment and the cause of happiness through all requisite articles of pleasure, you are performing this penance in vain. Who are you? Whose daughter are you? Why are you performing a penance in this desolate forest? Your penance is such as cannot be outdone even by sages of elevated souls.”
On hearing his words, Parvati laughed and spoke to the excellent student ascetic with reverence. Parvati said:--
“O Brahmin bachelor, listen to the details of my wife. I am born in Bharata in the house of Himavat. Formerly my birth was in the house of Dakṣa. I was then Sati, the wife of Shiva. On account of my father’s insulting my husband I cast off my body by means of Yoga. O Brahmin, in this birth too, Shiva came my way due to merit but he reduced Kama to ashes, abandoned me and went away. When Shiva went away I was overwhelmed with grief. A bit ashamed, I came away from my house to this place for performing penance after being initiated by the statement of my preceptor. Mentally, verbally and through activities too, Shiva has been chosen by me as my husband. I am telling you the truth and not falsehood. I know that this is an extremely inaccessible object. How can I achieve it? Still, thanks to the great zeal, this penance is being pursued by me now. Leaving off Indra and other gods, Vishnu and Brahma I wish to obtain Shiva as my husband really.”
On hearing these firm words of Parvati that Jaṭila Rudra laughingly spoke again. Jaṭila said:--
“O gentle lady, O daughter of Himavat, what is this idea that has struck you? You are performing this great penance for obtaining Shiva after leaving off all the gods. I know that Shiva. Listen. I shall tell you that bull-bannered Shiva wears matted hair and is ill-mannered. He is an isolationist for ever. Particularly he is a detached fellow. Hence it does not behove you to get mentally entangled with him. O gentle lady, your features etc. and those of Shiva are ill-matched. I do not like this. But do as you please.”
After saying this, Shiva in the guise of a student-ascetic rebuked himself in her presence in order to test her. On hearing his intolerable words, Parvati replied extremely infuriated at him who was engrossed in insulting Shiva. Till now I thought that you would be some one fit to be killed. But now it is quite clear that you are not to be killed. You are some foolish knave in the guise of a student-ascetic. O fool, Shiva has been insulted by you. Hence, I am infuriated. You do not know Shiva. You are averse to Shiva. Since I had already welcomed and honoured you I am now distressed. The accumulated merits of the person who insults Shiva without knowing reality are reduced to ashes. One should perform expiation after touching a Shiva-hater. Shiva alone is the great lord. Assuming many guises through his Maya, Rudra may appear in any form. But the beloved of the good, having no aberrations, lavishly bestows all desired things on me.
After saying this, Parvati expatiated on Shiva’s principle, where Shiva was explained as attributeless and unchanging performing the penance of Brahman. On hearing her words, the Brahmin began to say something; but by that time, Parvati whose mind was attached to Shiva and who was averse to Shiva being insulted, immediately spoke to her friend Vijaya.
“Friend, this base Brahmin must be prevented. He is going to speak again. He is sure to insult Shiva. It is not only the censurer of Shiva who becomes sinful but also him who listens to such insults. A rebuker of Shiva shall be slain by all means by Shiva’s attendants. If he happens to be a Brahmin he shall be abandoned. He shall go away from that place immediately. Let us leave this place and go elsewhere. Do not delay, lest there should be any further talk with this ignorant man.”
After saying this Parvati was just to walk away when Shiva revealed himself and caught hold of her cloth. After assuming that divine form which Parvati was meditating upon, Shiva spoke to her as she stood face downwards. Shiva said:--
“O Parvati, where are you going, leaving me? You cannot be forsaken by me. You have been tested by me O faultless one, you are really steady in your devotion to me. Desirous of knowing your feelings I have approached you in the guise of a student-asectic and spoke these diverse words. O Parvati, I am delighted at your steady devotion. Mention the boon that you have cherished in your mind. There is nothing that cannot be given to you. I have been made your slave from now onwards by means of your penance. Due to your beauty, even a moment seems to expand into Yoga. Leave off your bashfulness. You are my eternal wife. O beloved, come on, I shall go to my hilly abode along with you.”
When the lord of gods said thus, Parvati rejoiced much. Whatever misery she experienced in performing the penance, she cast off immediately. On seeing that divine form of Shiva, Parvati replied to the lord with face lowered due to bashfulness. Parvati said:--
“O lord of gods, if you are delighted, if you have pity on me, be my lord and husband.”
Thus requested by Parvati Shiva took her hand duly and went to Kailasa along with her. On getting him as her lord, she carried out the task of the gods. Thus, the incarnation of Shiva in the form of a student-ascetic was to test the feelings of Parvati.