Again the gods met in conclave. They
were now engaged in making Shiva stop his meditation and marry Parvati. So they
sent Brihaspati to Kusumapura to fetch Manmatha (Kama - the god of love). Manmatha went to them with his sugarcane bow
and flowery arrows along with his consort Ratidevi, and asked them, "What
do you want me to do? Please tell me."
|PARVATI IN PENANCE
"Lord Kama," Indra replied, "Now you have to confer a great benefit
on the world. Taraka's wickedness has become intolerable. The one to kill him
is Shiva's son, who is not yet born. But Shiva has not ended
his penance. Without ending it his marriage cannot take place. Parvati who is to be his wife is near
him but Shiva does not so much as look at her. Now he must
be made to fall in love with Parvati. And that, only you can do."
Kama realized the importance of his role. He now thought of aiming his floral
arrow at Shiva and thereby ending his tapas. Even if he had to lay down his life
in this venture, he would never mind.
Kama arrived with Rati at Shiva's penance grove. No sooner did Kama approach
Shiva, than did his ally, the king of spring, also come there. The grove around
Gangavatara was charged with the charm of spring. The mango trees blossomed.
The Ashoka trees were in sprout. The cuckoo burst into melodious music. There
was a pleasant breeze and the scent of flowers spread around. The moonlight was
captivating. The penance grove of Lord Shiva looked a hypnotic realm. All this
was Manmatha's influence. He then stood before Shiva. A little away stood Rati.
She prayed to God that no evil should befall her husband. Just at that time Parvati
had also come as usual with fruits and flowers to worship Shiva. Her friends
were also there. Parvati stood with folded hands singing
in praise of Shiva. Pleased with her devotion and delighted with her sweet voice,
Shiva just for a moment stopped his meditation and looked at her once. Kama decided
that was the most opportune moment and got ready to make Shiva fall in love with
Parvati. Unafraid of the eye of fire on Shiva's forehead, he
shot five of his arrows of flowers at his heart. Shiva's tapa was broken. This
made Shiva terribly angry. He opened the fiery eye on his forehead. With a frightening noise a fierce blazing
flame burst forth. It seemed the fire of final destruction
had struck the body of Kama. As he stood, he was reduced to ashes. Shiva, smearing his body with
the same ash, disappeared.
Seeing Kama burnt to ash by the third eye of Shiva, Rati fainted. When she regained
consciousness, she was in tears and rolled on the ground in great grief. She
implored Parvati to give back to her husband as alms. She begged the gods. Parvati
in kindness caressed her and consoling her, said, "Rati, don't weep. I will
help you. I will beg Shiva and see that your husband comes back to life. You
will have him as husband again. As I now get the one who was my husband in the
previous birth, so your husband also will get another birth and have you as wife." She
gave the assurance. The gods also consoled Rati.
Parvati was greatly pained at the way in which Shiva had
treated her. She told
her companions, "The merciful lord Shiva has not shown any kindness to me.
Alas! He has gone away rejecting me. While I was coming here to the spot of his
meditation every day and rendering service to him, He has disappeared without
speaking a word to me. I know that he cannot be won over by mere beauty or charm
but will yield only to devotion. I won't give up my devotion.
I will please him with the hardest penance and draw him to myself." When Parvati told her
mother of her resolve, Mena said, "My dear daughter, you need not go out
and perform penance. You have such a delicate body. Penance is a hard thing.
Do stay at home and do your tapas." Mena thus tried to dissuade her. But
she could not succeed.
Just then the sage Narada came there. Parvataraja told him about his daughter.
The sage said, "It is not proper to come in the way of her tapas." He
saw Parvati separately and told her to undertake her penance in the same place
where Shiva was meditating. He taught her the great 'PANCHAKSHARI'
the five lettered mantra (incantation) to please Shiva, "OM NAMAH SHIVAAYA" and