Who Is Parvati?

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Pārvatī (‘mountain’, also a Hindu goddess – ‘daughter of the mountain’)

Parvati Definition

In Hindu mythology, the ethereal figure of Parvati stands as a symbol of beauty, power, and nurturing love.

Revered as the ‘Daughter of the Mountain,’ Parvati’s story is an enchanting saga of determination, spiritual quest, and ultimately, union with the divine.

This article will delve into the divine persona of Goddess Parvati, exploring her character and significance in yogic philosophy and how we can apply the lessons of her story into our lives.

a river in Parvati Valley, Himalayas
Parvati Valley, Himalayas

Parvati Deep Dive

The story of the goddess Parvati is a captivating and multifaceted tale that unfolds across various Hindu scriptures and mythological texts.

Parvati, also known as Gauri, is the divine consort of Lord Shiva, and her story encompasses love, determination, and profound devotion. Here is a condensed version of the enchanting narrative:

The Birth of Parvati

Parvati was born as the daughter of King Himavan and Queen Mainavati, rulers of the Himalayas. Her beauty, grace, and purity were unparalleled, captivating the hearts of all who beheld her.

As she grew, it became evident that she possessed a divine aura and an innate sense of spirituality.

The Tapasya (Austerities) of Parvati

From a young age, Parvati developed a deep yearning to be with Lord Shiva, who lived as an ascetic in the Himalayas, renouncing all worldly attachments. To win his love and make him her consort, Parvati resolved to perform intense tapasya (austerities) and penance.

For years, Parvati meditated with unwavering determination, enduring severe weather conditions and surviving on meager offerings. Her tapasya was so profound that it moved the heavens and drew the attention of the gods.

white statue of parvati and shiva in nature
Parvati and Shiva

The Test of Lord Shiva

Impressed by Parvati’s devotion and unwavering resolve, the gods sought to test her commitment. They sent Kamadeva, the god of desire, to arouse romantic feelings in Lord Shiva’s heart.

However, Shiva, lost in deep meditation, was unperturbed by Kamadeva’s arrows. Upon learning of this, Parvati was filled with compassion for Kamadeva and pleaded with Lord Shiva to grant him life once again.

Touched by her selflessness, Shiva revived Kamadeva, but as a presence without a physical form.

The Union of Shiva and Parvati

Parvati’s tapasya continued relentlessly until finally, Lord Shiva revealed himself before her. Despite her desire to be with him, Shiva initially rejected her advances, stating that he was a hermit, and their union would be difficult.

Undeterred, Parvati vowed to live as an ascetic and prove herself worthy of Shiva’s love. She adopted the austere lifestyle of Shiva, dwelling in the forests, wearing animal skins, and practicing rigorous penance.

a colourful sculpture of parvati and shiva
Parvati and Shiva

The Marriage of Shiva and Parvati

Impressed by Parvati’s dedication, Lord Shiva eventually accepted her as his consort. Their celestial marriage was a grand affair, attended by gods, sages, and celestial beings.

Parvati’s union with Shiva symbolizes the harmony of the divine masculine and feminine energies and the cosmic dance of creation and destruction.

Parvati as Mother and Nurturer

Parvati and Shiva’s union brought forth their two sons – Ganesha and Kartikeya. As a mother, Parvati embodies boundless love and nurturing care for her children and all of existence.

The Multifaceted Goddess

Parvati is celebrated in various forms and avatars, each reflecting different aspects of her divine nature.

She is revered as Durga, the fierce warrior goddess who vanquishes evil, and as Kali, the embodiment of raw power and destruction. As Annapurna, she is the provider of nourishment and abundance.

The story of Parvati serves as a profound symbol of devotion, determination, and the power of love. Her unwavering dedication to Lord Shiva and her role as a mother and nurturer make her an eternal source of inspiration and reverence in Hindu mythology.

a statue of parvati

Parvati In Your Life

Embracing Parvati’s Grace in Everyday Life:

Integrating the essence of Parvati into daily life can profoundly impact one’s spiritual journey:

1. Balancing Opposites

Parvati’s relationship with Shiva symbolizes the union of opposites – the masculine and feminine, the ascetic and householder. In yoga, finding balance between effort and surrender, activity and stillness, is key to aligning the body and mind.

2. Self-Discovery

As Parvati embraced various forms to win Shiva’s love, yoga teaches us to explore different aspects of ourselves. Through self-inquiry and introspection, we can unveil our true nature and divine potential.

3. Nurturing Love

Parvati’s motherly love for all beings reminds us to approach our yoga practice with kindness and compassion. Cultivating self-love and extending it to others fosters a nurturing environment for growth.

4. Resilience and Devotion

Parvati’s unwavering devotion to Lord Shiva despite challenges exemplifies perseverance. In yoga, dedication to regular practice and a connection to the divine empowers us to overcome obstacles.

a colourful sculpture of parvati and shiva
Parvati and Shiva

5. Honoring the Feminine

Acknowledge and appreciate the feminine aspects of life – nurturing, creativity, and intuition – both within yourself and in the world around you.

6. Cultivating Balance

Strive for balance between work, family, and personal time. Embrace both your strengths and vulnerabilities, recognizing that both are essential for growth.

7. Seva (Selfless Service)

Emulate Parvati’s compassion by engaging in acts of kindness and selfless service towards others, recognizing the interconnectedness of all beings.

8. Yogic Practice

Dedicate time to yourself for regular yoga and meditation practice. Set intentions for your practice such as, connecting with the divine energy within, and experiencing the oneness of existence.

Final Thoughts

  • Parvati’s significance as a Hindu goddess and a yogic concept illuminates the path of self-realization and spiritual evolution.
  • By embodying the essence of love, balance, and resilience, Parvati guides practitioners on a journey towards unity and enlightenment.
  • By embracing the teachings of Parvati, we can find a deeper connection with ourselves and the world.
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To go deep and expand your yogic knowledge, access our free Yoga Terms Encyclopedia, where we host a profound wealth of ancient and timeless yogic wisdom in an accessible modern format.

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Amy is a yoga teacher and practitioner based in Brighton.

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