Goddess Parvati is so known because she is the daughter of the Himalayas, and the word for mountain in Sanskrit is ‘parvat’. She is universally worshipped by young girls for the specific purpose of obtaining a suitable husband. We find such instances in the Shrimad Bhagavata Purana, where the gopis made an image of goddess Katyayani (another name for Parvati) out of the sand spread out on the banks of river Yamuna. Their motive for doing so? To obtain Lord Krishna as their husband. So did princess Rukmini worship an image of goddess Parvati with Ganesha in her lap, hoping to marry Krishna. The same is narrated in the Ramacharitmanas (Ramayana of Tulsidas), where Sita Ji goes to the temple of devi Parvati, just before her swayamvar.
Further, Parvati Ji is also venerated for maintaining love between a husband and wife. In all these cases we see goddess Parvati acting as a deity of marriage and commitment. This is not surprising considering that her devotion towards her husband Lord Shiva is both legendary and exemplary; so much so that she is often represented in art through composite images which show the couple as an inseparable entity. An example of such an icon is that of Ardhanarishvara.
Not only after marriage, but even her commitment towards Lord Shiva before their betrothal is immensely inspiring. In order to have him as her husband, she resorted to the highest mountain ranges and performed sever austerities. When she was setting out from her house to do so, her mother tried to dissuade her, calling out ‘U Ma’, ma meaning no in Sanskrit. This gave Parvati the name Uma. During her asceticism, she gave up all food and subsisted only on leaves. Eventually she gave up even the leaves, earning the epithet of ‘Aparna’, ‘parna’meaning leaves, and the prefix ‘a’ negating it.
As the scriptural tradition has it, Lord Shiva was often away and a lonely Parvati was as often occupied by thoughts of a son who could by his company relieve her of her loneliness. One day, when bathing and absorbed in similar thoughts, Parvati inadvertently moulded the herbal paste she removed from her body into a tiny anthropomorphic figure. The idol in hand Parvati wished it had life, and the other moment the idol transformed into a living child. Not born of Parvati but produced by sharing her, and her alone, every inch – the body and the mind, and all playfully, and by sharing the nature : the herbs the paste of which composed his figure, besides the subsequently added elephant trunk, this strange origin shapes Ganesha’s basic character – essentially a mother’s son. Read more...
Goddess Parvati for your Home
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Parvati Plays Vina for Shiva
Miniature Painting on Paper
The Ultimate Parents
Kadamba Wood Sculpture
The Holy Family
Oil Painting on Canvas
This beautiful portrayal of the young mother Parvati with her son Ganesha cajoling his mother for some favour takes the viewer back to India's classical age when her ever the greatest poet Kalidasa in his Kumarasambhava, while portraying the youthful beauty and bewitching charms of the world mother Parvati, traverses beyond the son-mother relationship in describing her youthfulness and romantic charms. Different from this visualisation on canvas Kalidasa's Parvati has been portrayed doing penance on a Himalayan peak for winning Shiva's love. Read more...
Strangely, this figure of the goddess is all alone without her spouse and is yet normally armed. Though there are a number of Parvati temples across the land dedicated to her singly dating back to early centuries, in most of them her enshrining images are multi-armed, mostly with four arms. As such, this image seems to represent her in her pre-marital days when every of her thought was devoted as to how she could win Shiva’s love who desperate by Sati’s death was unable to see that Parvati was none other than Sati herself in her new birth. This affords reason to her being with normal two arms even when alone, and for the gesture of her fingers and demeanour of eyes. Read more...