Goddess Parvati or Shakti – Mother Goddess of Hindu Mythology
Parvati is the daughter of the king of Parvatas, Himavan and the consort of Lord Shiva. She is also called Shakti, the mother of the universe, and variousl
y known as Loka-Mata, Brahma-Vidya, Shivajnana-Pradayini, Shivaduti, Shivaradhya, Shivamurti, and Shivankari. Her popular names include Amba, Ambika, Gauri, Durga, Kali, Rajeshwari, Sati, and Tripurasundari.
The Story of Sati as Parvati
Parvati’s tale is told in detail in the Maheshwara Kanda of the Skanda Purana.
How Shiva Married Parvati
How Parvati Became Kamakshi
One day, Parvati came from behind Lord Shiva and closed his eyes. The whole universe missed a heartbeat – lost life and light. In return, Shiva asked Parvati to practice austerities as a corrective measure. She proceeded to Kanchipuram for rigorous penance. Shiva created a flood and the Linga which Parvati was worshiping was about to be washed away.
She embraced the Linga and it remained there as Ekambareshwara while Parvati stayed with it as Kamakshi and saved the world.
How Parvati Became Gauri
Parvati had a dark skin. One day, Lord Shiva playfully referred to her dark color and she was hurt by his remark. She went to the Himalayas to perform austerities. She attained a beautiful complexion and came to be known as Gauri, or the fair one. Gauri joined Shiva as Ardhanarishwara by the grace of Brahma.
Parvati as Shakti – Mother of the Universe
Parvati ever dwells with Shiva as his Shakti, which literally means ‘power.’ She sheds wisdom and grace on her devotees and makes them attain union with her Lord. The Shakti cult is the conception of God as the Universal Mother. Shakti is spoken of as Mother because that is the aspect of the Supreme in which she is regarded as the sustainer of the universe.
Shakti in the Scriptures
Hinduism lays a lot of emphasis on the motherhood of God or Devi. The Devi-Shuktaappears in the 10th mandala of the Rig-Veda. Bak, the daughter of sage Maharshi Ambrin reveals this in the Vedic hymn addressed to the Divine Mother, where she speaks of her realization of the Goddess as the Mother, who pervades the whole universe. The very first verse of Kalidasa’s Raghuvamsa says that Shakti and Shiva stand to each other in the same relationship as the word and its meaning. This is also emphasised by Sri Shankaracharya in the first verse of Saundarya Lahari.
Shiva & Shakti are One
Shiva and Shakti are essentially one. Just as heat and fire, Shakti and Shiva are inseparable and cannot do without each other. Shakti is like the snake in motion. Shiva is like the motionless snake. If Shiva is the calm sea, Shakti is the ocean full of waves. While Shiva is the transcendental Supreme Being, Shakti is the manifested, immanent aspect of the Supreme.