Parvati - Association With Shiva

Association With Shiva

Parvati's legends are intrinsically related to Shiva. It is only in goddess-oriented Shakta texts, that she is said to transcend even Shiva, and is identified as the Supreme Being. Just as Shiva is at once the presiding deity of destruction and regeneration, the couple jointly symbolise at once both the power of renunciation and asceticism and the blessings of marital felicity.

Parvati thus symbolises many different virtues esteemed by Hindu tradition: fertility, marital felicity, devotion to the spouse, asceticism, and power. Parvati represents the householder ideal in the perennial tension in Hinduism in the household ideal and the ascetic ideal, re

presented by Shiva. In classical Hindu mythology, the "raison d’être" of Parvati, and before that of Sati, is to lure Shiva into marriage and thus into a wider circle of worldly affairs.

Parvati tames Shiva, the "great unpredictable madman" with her presence. When Shiva does his violent, destructive Tandava dance, Parvati is described as calming him or complementing his violence by slow, creative steps of her own Lasya dance. In many myths, Parvati is not as much his complement as his rival, tricking, seducing, or luring him away from his ascetic practices. Again, Parvati subdues Shiva's immense sexual vitality. In this context, Shiva Purana says: 'The linga of Shiva, cursed by the sages, fell on the earth and burnt everything before it like fire. Parvati took the form of a yoni and calmed it by holding the linga in her yoni'. The Padma Purana also tells the story of Parvati assuming the form of yoni to receive lingam of Shiva, who was cursed by sage Bhrigu to be the form of the lingam.

Three images are central to the mythology, iconography and philosophy of Parvati:

  1. The theme of Shiva-Shakti
  2. The image of Shiva as Ardhanarishvara (the Lord who is half-woman)
  3. The image of the linga and the yoni

These images that combine the two deities, Shiva and Parvati, yield a vision of reconciliation, interdependence and harmony between the way of the ascetic and that of a householder.

The couple are often depicted in the Puranas as engaged in "dalliance" or seated on Mount Kailash or discussing abstract concepts in Hindu theology. Occasionally, they are depicted as quarrelling. In stories of the birth of Kartikeya, the couple are described as love-making generating the seed of Shiva. Parvati's union with Shiva symbolises the union of a male and female in "ecstasy and sexual bliss". In art, Parvati is depicted seated on Shiva's knee or standing beside him (together the couple is referred to as Uma-Maheshvara or Hara-Gauri) or as Annapurna (the goddess of grain) giving alms to Shiva.

Shaiva approaches tend to look upon Parvati primarily as the Shiva's submissive and obedient wife and helpmate. However, Shaktas focus on Parvati's equality or even superiority to her consort. The story of the birth of the ten Mahavidyas (Wisdom Goddesses) of Shakta Tantrism. This event occurs while Shiva is living with Parvati in her father's house. Following an argument, he attempts to walk out on her. Her rage manifests in the form of ten terrifying goddesses who block Shiva's every exit.

As the scholar David Kinsley explains,

The fact that is able to physically restrain Shiva dramatically makes the point that she is superior in power. The theme of the superiority of the goddess over male deities is common in Shakta texts, so the story is stressing a central Shakta theological principle. ... The fact that Shiva and Parvati are living in her father's house in itself makes this point, as it is traditional in many parts of India for the wife to leave her father's home upon marriage and become a part of her husband's lineage and live in his home among his relatives. That Shiva dwells in Parvati's house thus implies Her priority in their relationship. Her priority is also demonstrated in her ability, through the Mahavidyas, to thwart Shiva's will and assert her own.

Read more about this topic:  Parvati

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... Parvati's legends are intrinsically related to Shiva ... only in goddess-oriented Shakta texts, that she is said to transcend even Shiva, and is identified as the Supreme Being ... Just as Shiva is at once the presiding deity of destruction and regeneration, the couple jointly symbolise at once both the power of renunciation and asceticism and the blessings of marital ...

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