|DEVI / SHAKTI / DURGA
Parvati or Durga or Shakti, the consort of Shiva, is perhaps
the most important goddess of Hindus. She is a multi-dimensional goddess. She has so many names,
so many personalities and so many facets. She is worshipped by millions of people
allover India and a sizeable number of them give her an importance more than
god Shiva himself.
|HIMAVATI - DAUGHTER OF
|BHAVANI - THE GODDESS
OF THE UNIVERSE
Durga has a variety of forms with different attributes. In her
milder form she is PARVATI (the mountain-girl), UMA (the
light), GAURI (the yellow-complexioned
beauty), HIMAVATI (daughter of Himalaya), JAGATMATA (mother
of the world) and BHAVANI (the goddess of the universe); in her
terrible form she is DURGA (the
inaccessible), KALI or SHYAMA (the black complexioned), CHANDIKA
or CHANDI (the
fearful one) and BHAIRAVI (the terrible). All these
are broadly included under the name of DEVI or MAHADEVI (the great goddess).
Shakti's various names have a special significance. Since Ishwara
or Shiva is also called 'BHAVA' his wife is known as 'BHAVANI'. She
is 'PARVATI', being the daughter of the king of mountains, PARVATARAJA. With the same connotation she
has two other names, 'GIRIJA' and 'SHAILAJA'. As she is
the source of all good things to all those who have faith and follow the path
of virtue, she is 'SARVAMANGALA'.Since her childhood days she was a devotee of Lord Shiva. She would constantly
engage herself in meditation and worship of Shiva, without even changing the
posture. So her mother Mena would out of exasperation say "Parvati, don't
do this tapas (meditation)." In Sanskrit 'u' is a word of address and 'ma'
means 'don't' or 'not wanted'. Hence she got the name 'UMA'.
She was first born in the house of DAKSHA, one of the progenitors
of mankind and was named as SATEE. She was married to Shiva but sacrificed her life by self-immolation
on a pyre. The story says that Daksha instituted a massive sacrifice and in the
ceremonies apportioned no share to Shiva. Satee, his daughter, had come to this
ceremony against the advice other husband, Shiva, who was not invited by the
latter's father-in-Law. Satee could not bear this insult and entered the sacrificial
fire. Hearing the news Shiva flew in a rage and reached there with his blazing
trident. He pierced the sacrificial altar with great violence. He ran up to the
gods sitting there and knocked out all things at the spot. Many powerful demi-gods
in attendance to Shiva attacked the place together with their lord. The mountains
tottered, the earth shook, the winds roared and the depths of the sea were disturbed.
The catastrophe is thus described in Purana, "Indra is knocked down and
trampled on, Yama has his staff broken, Saraswati and Matris have their noses
wounded, Bhag has his eyes pulled out, Pushan has his teeth knocked down his
throat, Chandra (the moon) is pummeled, Agni' s hands are broken, Bhragu's beard
is crushed, Prajapatis are beaten and the gods are running around scared." In
the end Vishnu intervened and propitiated the wrath of Shiva. Daksha acknowledged
Shiva's supremacy and apportioned a due share to this god.