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.
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