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Shakti Home -› Hindu Trinity -› The Destroyer -› Shakti
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Devi - shakti - durga
[himavati - daughter of himalaya]
Bhavani - goddess of the universe
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.

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.

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