Shri Shiva and Shri Parvati
Shri Shiva had since long renounced the world and was dwelling on Mount Kailash, alone, always in meditation, after His wife Sati gave up Her life: She could not stand the dishonour of the offence that Her own father caused to Her husband.
But, after some time, Shiva’s wife returned to life as the daughter of the King of Himalayas (Himavat), Parvati. She was, of course, a beautiful and lovely girl, but as soon as She reached an adult age, Her parents started worrying about Her marriage. Just then sage Narada arrived in that kingdom and predicted that She was destined to marry just the Almighty Lord Shiva.
King Himavat was immensely rejoicing at the news, because he knew the Narada’s prophecies always realised, but also he knew very well that Shri Shiva was living a life of abstinence and keeping far from mundane life. How to make them meet?
Finally, he decided to send his daughter with a few maids to serve Lord Shiva.
Shri Parvati started serving Shri Shiva with true devotion: She realised the greatness of Lord Shiva in Her heart. At every look of the Lord, She could feel an immense sense of Bliss pervading and nothing else She minded but the caring of the Divine Lord!
In the meanwhile the deities were in trouble because demon Taraka was becoming a menace and nothing could placate his thirst of power and domain. Even Shri Brahma was helpless. But an idea came to Him, a warrior beyond the parties would have defeated the demon: the son of Shri Shiva and Shri Parvati.
So, now, even the deities were eager to marry Parvati to Shiva and to be sure that they fell in love, they charged Kama, God of Love, with this mission.
Kama perfectly accomplished his task centering the heart of the two unaware targets: both Shri Shiva and Shri Parvati started feeling a deep love for each other, but… Shri Shiva could immediately manage his feelings and reveal the trick. Without hesitation, with a quick look He reduced the poor Kama into ashes.
Instead Shri Parvati was truly, deeply loving Lord Shiva and she could not bear that Shri Shiva didn’t consider Her at all. She returned home and announced to He parents that She wanted to retire to a life of prayer and abstinence: if Lord Shiva didn’t appreciate Her for Her beauty and Her lovely care, sure He would have appreciated the value of Her sacrifice! So She left everything and dressed poor clothes and retired into the forest.
She dedicated all Her day to prayer and penances: sleeping on the mother earth, bathing in cold water and eating few berries or even less: as the years were passing, Her faith never came less!
One day, while Shri Parvati was performing the usual rituals, a young hermit approached Her and She humbly bowed to Him.
He started: “How can your tender frame bear such a huge spiritual burden?”. All Her austerity only had enhanced the exquisite beauty of Shri Parvati.
He continued: “Really you proved to the world that beauty and purity do not nullify one in the other. Your action had crowned your father with a glory much grater than what he already had. Noble maiden, why did you have undertaken such severe penances? It is common for a lonely and anguished person living a hermit life. But how is possible that you, so pure, loved and admired by everyone are doing this?
Ah! Is it maybe for a not returned love? No, this should be truly impossible! Such a priceless gem like you is searched and not searches…”.
Shri Parvati asked for her friend’s help, who answered the hermit in this way:”She offered Her heart to win the love of Shri Shiva. She failed in conquering Him with Her beauty and dedication, so She decided to lead a life of penances and austerity. She often calls Him, but Shri Shiva remains deaf to Her pleas.”
The hermit replied, turning to Shri Parvati: ”Is it true? Or is your friend joking?”
Then She talked: “Yes, it is true! I adore Shri Shiva. I am sure that I will win His love with penances and devotion!”
And the hermit: “O my lady, I know Shri Shiva. He is covered with ashes and snakes decorates His body, and dresses smelly hides. How can your sweet and tender Self become His wife? He is rough and poor. His ancestors are unknown. He is not good for you. Let him go and look for someone more worthy…”
“That’s enough!!!” Shri Parvati, truly furious, interrupted Him: ”You need to be a great soul to comprehend a great soul!” and so, full of devotion, talked in honour of Her beloved Lord. All at once, the young hermit revealed Himself: He was just Shri Shiva and at that point there was not doubt: Parvati succeeded in winning the Heart of Shri Shiva!
Every mythological story has a deep meaning. In this story, I see the dedication of the seeker (Shri Paravati) who earnestly desires to awake his/her own Spirit (Shri Shiva) and he/she can bear any sacrifice to reach this aim.
I also see that purity and innocence are priceless virtues and the true beauty of our being, because it is just them to be really appreciated by our Spirit, it is is just when these qualities are fully established that our Spirit manifests in us.
By the way, Shri Kama has been forgiven by Shiva and was brought back to life in the wedding day! 😉
And about the demon… well, this is another story…