(Last Updated on : 06/12/2017)
Parvati is also known by the names of Uma, Lalita, Gauri, Shivakamini, Aparna and the consort of Lord Shiva
. Lord Ganesha
and Lord Kartikeya
are her sons. Parvati is also regarded as a representation of Shakti
. Parvati epitomizes many noble virtues esteemed by Hindu
tradition like fertility, martial felicity, devotion to the spouse and power. She is considered as the supreme Divine Mother and all other goddesses
are referred to as her incarnations. She is the embodiment of universe
consider her to be the sister of Lord Vishnu
and mother of Goddess Lakshmi
and Goddess Saraswati
. Parvati is the Goddess of power as she is the one who gives power to all. However in the Vedas
there is no mention of Goddess Parvati.
Etymology of Parvati
Parvata is one of the Sanskrit
words for mountain
. Parvati receives her name from being the daughter of king Himavan and mother Mena. Other names which connect her with mountains are Shailaja (Daughter of the mountains), Adrija or Nagajaa or Shailaputri (Daughter of Mountains), Haimavathi (Daughter of Himavan), Devi
Maheshwari and Girija or Girirajaputri (Daughter of king of the mountains).
Myths of Parvati
The word Parvati does not clearly emerge in Vedic literature
. As an alternative, Ambika
and others are found in the Rig Veda
. She appears as the shakti, or indispensable power, of the Supreme Brahman. Her most important responsibility is as a mediator who discloses the information of Brahman
to the Vedic trinity of Lord Agni
, Lord Vayu, and Lord Indra
, who were boasting about overpowering of a group of demons
Parvati appears in the epic era (400 BC-400 AD), as both in the Ramayana
and the Mahabharata
present Parvati as Lord Shiva's wife. Parvati and Shiva acquire more comprehensive details in the plays of Kalidasa
during the 5th-6th centuries and in the Puranas during the 4th to the 13th century. According to the Puranas
, in her first incarnation was Sati
or Dakshayani, the daughter of King Daksha
and was married to Lord Shiva. Once, Daksha performed a great yagna and insulted Lord Shiva in the yagna by not inviting him or Sati either. Even at that time, Sati went to attend the yagna. To her great distress, Daksha did not accept her presence and did not present prasad for Lord Shiva. Absolutely dejected by the action meted out to her, Sati ended her life by igniting herself in the fire
After the death
of Sati, Lord Shiva became very sad and disheartened. He abandoned the world and went into deep meditation
s. Meanwhile, the demons lead by Taraka, rose and drove devatas out of the heaven
. The devatas sought a warrior who would help them to get back the celestial kingdom. Lord Brahma
said, only Lord Shiva can father such a warrior. At the perseverance of devatas, Sati agreed to take a re-birth as Parvati.
Symbolism of Parvati
Parvati and Lord Shiva are often symbolized by a yoni and a lingam
respectively. In ancient literature
, yoni means womb and place of growth; the yoni-lingam metaphor symbolizes the origin, source or regenerative power. When Parvati revealed along with Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati has only two hands, the right one holding a lotus flower
and the left hand is hanging loosely by the side. Sometimes Parvati is revealed with four hands
, two hands holding red lotuses and the other two displaying the varada and abhaya mudras. Parvati's right hand in abhaya
symbolizes do not fear anyone or anything, while her varada
mudra symbolizes wish fulfilling. Married women
worship Parvati for a happy married life. Image of Lord Shiva, Parvathi and their sons Ganesha and Kartikeya represents an ideal example of family
harmony and love. Parvati is sometimes shown in gold
en or yellow complexion as goddess Gauri symbolizing her as the goddess of fully grown harvests.
In some expressions, mainly as angry, fierce features of Parvati such as Durga or Kali
, she has eight or ten arms, and is astride on a tiger or lion
. In compassionate demonstration such as Kamakshi or Meenakshi, a parrot
sits close to her right shoulder, symbolizing a happy love talk, seeds and fruitfulness. A semi-circular moon
is incorporated near the head of Parvati particularly the Kamakshi icons symbolizing her being half of Shiva. In South Indian legends, her union with the parrot began when she won a bet with her husband and asked for his loin cloth as success payment. Lord Shiva kept his word but first transformed her into a parrot. She flies off in the mountain ranges of south India
appearing as Meenakshi.
In Hindu mythology
, she is an active negotiator of the universe, the power of Lord Shiva. She is articulated in fostering and kindness with harsh and ferocious aspects. She is the voice of support, motivation, freedom and strength with struggle, power, action and justice. This irony symbolizes her willingness to realign to Pratima (reality) and adjust to the needs of circumstances as the universal mother. She identifies and destroys evil to defend (Durga), and also generates food
and wealth to cultivate (Annapurna
Ten Aspects of Parvati
Following are the ten aspects (Dasamahavidyas) of Parvati:
The first is Kali who is the goddess of time that demolishes the whole thing.
The second one, Tara is the power of golden seed from which the universe develops. She also stands for emptiness or the unlimited space.
The third one Sodasi literally means 'one who is sixteen years old. She is the epitome of extensiveness and excellence.
The fourth, Vidya Bhuvanevari symbolizes the forces of the material world.
The fifth one, Bhairavi stands for needs and persuasions leading to the devastation and death.
The sixth Vidya Chinnamasta symbolizes the continual state of self-sustenance of formed world. She is a naked deity holding her own severed head in hand and drinking her own blood.
Dhumavati, the seventh one symbolizes the demolition of the world by fire, when only smoke (dhuma) from its ashes lingers.
The eighth, Vidya Bagala is a crane - headed goddess. She symbolizes the ugly side of living creatures like anxious, hatred and nastiness.
Matangi, is the personification of the power of authority.
The tenth and the last Vidya Kamala is the pure realization of the self, bestowing boons and relieving the fears of the activists. She is identified with Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of Fortune.
Worship of Parvati
is an important festival
for worshipping Parvati by Hindu women, mostly in northern and western states of India
. It celebrates married life and family binds along with monsoon
. The Gowri Habba
or Gauri Festival is celebrated on the seventh, eighth and ninth of Shukla paksha where Parvati is worshipped as goddess of crop
and protector of women. This festival, observed in Maharashtra and Karnataka is closely connected with the festival of Lord Ganesha. In Rajasthan
Parvati is worshipped in the Gangaur
festival that begins on the first day of Chaitra
, the day after Holi
and continues for 18 days. Another popular festival to worship Parvati is Navratri
where all her signs are worshiped over nine days.
Temples of Parvati
Some temples of Parvati are as follows:
Maanikyambika Bhimeswara Temple (Andhra Pradesh).
Mookambika Devi Temple, Annapurneshwari Temple, and Banashankari Temple (Karnataka).
Cherukunnu, Attukal Bhagavathy Temple, Chakkulathukavu Temple etc. (Kerala).
Parvati Temple (Madhya Pradesh).
Tulja Bhavani Temple (Maharashtra).
Nartiang Durga Temple (Meghalaya).
Meenakshi Temple, Kamakshi Amman Temple etc. (Tamil Nadu).
Tripura Sundari Temple (Tripura).
Vishalakshi Temple, Vishalakshi Gauri Temple and Annapurna Devi Temple (Uttar Pradesh).
Parvati is mentioned expansively in ancient Indian literature, and her statues and iconography poise the Hindu temples
all over South Asia and Southeast Asia. She is regarded as the power and Godly consort of Lord Shiva - the Destroyer.