Parvati - Rise To Prominence

Rise To Prominence

Parvati herself does not explicitly appear in Vedic literature, though the Kena Upanishad (3.12) contains a goddess called Uma-Haimavati. She appears as the shakti, or essential power, of the Supreme Brahman. Her primary role is as a mediator who reveals the knowledge of Brahman to the Vedic trinity of Agni, Vayu, and Indra, who were boasting about their recent defeat of a group of demons. But Kinsley notes: "it is little more than conjecture to identify her with the later goddess Satī-Pārvatī, although later texts that extol Śiva and Pārvatī retell the episode in such a way to leave no doubt that it was Śiva's spouse.." Both textual and archaeological evidence suggests Sati-Parvati appears in the epic period (400 BC–400 AD), as both the Ramayana and the Mahabharata present Parvati as Shiva's wife. However, it is not until the plays of Kalidasa (5th-6th centuries) and the Puranas (4th through the 13th centuries) that the myths of Sati-Parvati and Shiva acquire more comprehensive details. Kinsley adds that Parvati may have emerged from legends of non-aryan goddesses that lived in mountains.

Prof. Weber suggests that like Shiva is combination of various Vedic gods Rudra and Agni, the Puranic Parvati is a combination of Uma, Haimavati, Ambika and earlier Parvati, identified as wives of Rudra; of others like Kali, who could be a wife of Agni and of Gauri and others inspired by Nirriti. Tate suggests Parvati is a mixture of the Vedic goddess Aditi and Nirriti,and being a mountain goddess herself, was associated with other mountain goddesses like Durga and Kali in later traditions.

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