Shiva's marriage to Parvati is an interesting legend and
|SHIVA - PRAVATI
To the north of Bharata (India), there is the Himalayan
mountain range. It is
the highest in the world and occupies thousands of miles from east to west.
From ancient times it has been a choice abode for the meditation of the sages.
It is believed that it is the pleasure haunt of the higher order of beings like
the gods, the Gandharvas, the Yakshas and the Kinnaras. It is the home of different
types of precious stones and rare plants like Jyotirmati, which gives light.
For thousands of years it has been believed that Lord Shiva's realm of Kailasa
is also there. In the plains below the Himalayas there flows the river Ganga
with its clear and holy waters. It is lined on both sides with the hermitages
of sages. Nearby was the hallowed town of Oushadhiprastha ruled by king Parvataraja.
Being the chief of all the Himalayas, he was called 'Himavantha'.
He was a devotee of Shiva. With great respect for good men, saints and sages,
he looked after his people justly and virtuously. He was also called Giriraja
and Shailaraja. His wife was Menadevi. She was truthful and calm, devoted to
her husband. After a while, they had a son by name Mainaka.
Later Menadevi developed a great desire to have a daughter - a daughter with
beauty and character, knowledge and wisdom. It was her ambition to have a
daughter who would be Lord Shiva's wife. With that as her aim she
decided to undertake a penance to please Shiva's wife, Gowridevi. Giriraja was himself a devotee of
Shiva; so, getting his consent for her penance was not so difficult for Mena.
Having obtained his permission, she went to a serene spot. There she performed
her meditation with severe concentration and obtained the favor of Dakshayani
(Gowridevi) who stood before Mena and promised that she would be born as daughter
to her. Soon afterwards Mena became pregnant. On an auspicious
day she gave birth to a female child. Giriraja gave gifts to everybody; his mind was overjoyed and
his hands were tired.
Though a couple of days elapsed after the birth of the child, it would not open
its eyes or mouth. The baby did not even suck milk. Everyone was worried as to
what should be done. Then, as advised by the family preceptor sage Gargamuni,
Parvataraja had an idol of Shiva brought to the child and got the eyes opened
with some treatment. The baby opened its eyes and folded its hands in salutation
to the Lord. Butter, which had been offered to Shiva, was put into the child's
mouth and the baby ate it. Then it began to suck milk from the mother's breast.
Everyone was struck with wonder at this devotion to Shiva noticeable so early
in the child. People thought that she would definitely win the favor of Shiva.
The naming ceremony for the baby was a grand occasion. She
was given the name 'Parvati.' As the days and months passed, the first sound she uttered was the
name of Lord Shiva. The infant closed her eyes frequently as if she felt the
presence of Shiva in her mind. By herself she often laughed, and showed joy and
delight. When she grew up further, she showed great interest in playing with
a ball or in the game of worshipping Shiva on the sandy banks of the river Ganga.
In her previous incarnation she was famous as Dakshayani or Satee, the daughter
of Daksha and the wife of Lord Shiva. Now all the knowledge and qualities of
her previous birth automatically appeared in Parvati. So she became learned in
no time. Being also very beautiful, she shone with her youth.
Parvati attained the age of marriage. Parvataraja's mind directed that he should
give his daughter in marriage to Lord Shiva only, as she had such great piety.
But was at loss as to how to seek Shiva as the groom for his daughter.