Parvati is the reincarnation of Sati, the first wife of Shiva. She is the consort of Shiva and the sister of Vishnu. She is the mother of Ganesha, Lord of Beginnings and Lord of Obstacles, and Kartikey, the War God.

Parvati's legends are intrinsically related to Shiva. Just as Shiva is at once the presiding deity of destruction and regeneration, the couple jointly symbolize at once both the power of renunciation and asceticism and the blessings of marital felicity.

Parvati thus symbolizes 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 between the household ideal and the ascetic ideal, represented by Shiva and Parvati. 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 lingam 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 lingam 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.

One of the incarnations of Parvati is Chandeshwari. The mother goddess Parvati defeated the demon Chanda. The demon was a plague to the world since Shiva gave him a boon that made him unbeatable except by women. The desperate gods asked Brahma for advice and he sent them to the forest around Banepa where the mother gods lived in those days. In the mean time Narada went to Chanda and provoked him to come to Banepa to fight the gods. When Chanda arrived with a big army of demons, all the gods took the forms of different birds and flew. The mother goddess quickly disappeared in a tree but Chanda saw that and cut down the tree with his sword. Now the goddess appeared on a big lion and a terrible fight between her and Chanda started. But Chanda had no chance and was killed by the mother goddess.

Parvati, when depicted alongside Shiva, generally appears with two arms, but when alone, she is depicted having four or eight arms, and astride a tiger or lion. She is generally considered a benevolent Goddess. Her benevolent forms are Kathyayini, Mahagauri, Kamalatmika, Bhuvaneshwari, and Lalita. Parvati also has wrathful incarnations, such as Durga, Kali, Shitala Devi, Tara, Chandi, and the Mahavidyas.

You can find more information on the Parvati page on Wikipedia.

Parvati and Shiva are sometimes depicted as Ardhanarishvara, a composite of Shiva and Parvati. Ardhanarishvara is depicted as half male and half female, split down the middle. The right half is usually the male Shiva, illustrating his traditional attributes, the left half is Parvati.

You can find more information on the Ardhanarishvara page on Wikipedia.

All pictures are © Dr. Günther Eichhorn, unless otherwise noted.

Images of Parvati

Painted Tile Picture
Painted tile with picture of Parvati in Dhulikhel. (822k)
Painting Parvati
Painting of Parvati. (903k)
Statue Parvati Dhulikhel
Statue of Parvati in Dhulikhel. (787k)
Ardhanarishvara Statue
Bronze statue of Ardhanarishvara, half Shiva, half Parvati. (502k)

Symbols of Parvati

Tiger Carrier Parvati
The tiger is the carrier of Parvati, at the Chandeshwari temple. (603k)
Statue Tiger Vehicle
A statue of a tiger, the vehicle of Parvati, at the Bangalamukhi Temple in Patan. (715k)

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Page last updated on Tue Sep 24 18:19:03 2019 (Mountain Standard Time)


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