Himavanta repeated his request in a variety of ways. At
last Shiva had to agree that Parvati could attend on him. With cause for the mind to deviate, those who
still keep their minds firm are really great men. Shiva had this grit and continued
with his penance.
|SATEE REBORN AS UMA OR
- THE DAUGHTER OF GIRIRAJA
Parvati got up at dawn every day and with her companions Jaya and Vijaya went
from Oushadhiprastha to Gangavatara where Shiva sat. She took
with her all articles of worship. With the water from the river Ganga, she washed
Shiva's feet, offered worship and rendered all needed services. She was very beautiful. But Shiva's
mind did not falter. He did not consider her as his wife.
Long ago there was a sage by name Kashyapa. From Diti, who was one of his wives,
ensued the Rakshasa race. Her son Vajranga married Varaangi and their son was
the Rakshasa Taraka. Taraka performed severe penance to please Brahma, the Creator,
and obtained two boons from him. The first boon was that there should be no one
more powerful than he himself was. The second boon was that his death could come
only from a son born to Shiva, who would, on the seventh month itself, fight
with him as commander. Taraka was very bold and confident because Shiva was already
deeply lost in penance and had no wife. So no son could be born.
Taraka was ruthless and wicked. He hated sacrifices, charity, benevolence and
righteousness. He was intolerant of people given to penance. Only Shiva could
go on meditating, because it was his own advantage. Taraka felt that nobody in
the world should acquire knowledge or become intelligent. But they may drink,
to any extent. The gods were afraid of his arrogance and shivered with fear.
They behaved like his slaves.
Taraka killed all kings who ruled over their subjects righteously. He drove away
the deities guarding the Cardinal Directions and oppressed the gods. He destroyed
the hermitages of the sages and had the homes and hearths of good men set fire
to. He pitilessly put to death all pious people and all the three worlds were
full of pained cries.
Unable to bear Taraka's harassment, sages and gods, all pious persons and Goddess
Earth herself, went to Brahma and prayed for help.
Brahma said, "It is impossible for me to kill Taraka. Even Hari (Vishnu)
and Hara (Shiva) cannot do it. Only a son of Hara can kill him. If Hara has to
get a son, he must marry Parvati. He is now, in penance. Parvati goes to him
every day to attend upon him. But Shiva does not even open his eyes and see her.
So how can this marriage come about? Of course I myself gave Taraka the boons
he wanted. So I'll try to tell him not to cause unnecessary harm."
Out of respect for Brahma's words Taraka remained in his Shonitapura without
attacking the gods for a while. It gave the gods a little respite to meet sometimes
and discuss what their course of action should be. Brahma, Vishnu and Indra met
together. Brihaspati, the preceptor of the gods, was sent to Taraka, to negotiate
an agreement. But the Rakshasa did not yield to plain good words or promises
of gifts or even the attempt to create a dissention among his group. So there
was war and the gods were defeated.