Having heard these unexpected rebukes about Lord Shiva, her Lord, from a Brahmachari who came unsolicited unto her doors, Parvati got extremely annoyed. Parvati with utmost pride and gusto answered:“O seer great and my guest uninvited, I pray you to stop this blasphemy of Lord Shankara, the unblemished. I pity you. I am sorry for your ignorance.”
Having said this, she gave a very sympathetic look to the Brahmachari. She continued: “It is true that he is a pauper. Yet he is the harvest-land of all opulence. He creates all the wealth and riches in the whole worlds, still he is a beggar. He does no visible work, but all works, their causes and results originate and subside with him. He lives in the grave-yard, but the entire worlds dwell within him. He is strange in worldly appearance, but the gods, demi-gods, Yakshas, Kinnaras and Kimpurashas are constantly in search of him. Indra, the King of Gods, Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu salute him and seeks his blessings before commencing their respective activities. He is the greatest of the greats, yet minutest among the atoms. He pervades everywhere yet is invisible even to the Yogis and the Seers. He is incredible and invincible. He is inviolable yet submissive.”
She paused for a while and continued:“Yes. Enough is enough. What use in my discourse to you who cannot apprehend, it seems the greatness of the greatest of Lords?”
Parvati, then peeping inside her hermitage, beckoned to one of her maids. When she appeared, Parvati told her:“This great soul of a Brahmachari, forgetful of his being one, speaks ill of the Lord who is worshipped by the three worlds. Before I may lose my patience, please show him the door.” Saying this Parvati lifted her right leg to go inside in haste. The disguised Brahmachari spontaneously transformed himself into Lord Shiva and prevented her further proceeding. Looking at Him, Parvati, shivering top to toe, in amazement, accidental joy, love, awe and several other unknown feelings stood there with one upraised leg unable to move; like a flowing river prevented by a huge mountain en route.
Lord Shiva beckoned the great seven saints: Atri, Angiras, Pulaha etc. who manifested before Him at once. With the errand of the Lord, they reached the abode of Himavan and sought the hands of Parvati on behalf of Lord Shiva. Parvati, erstwhile Sati, was united with her former husband in a grand celebration with all prescribed rituals of a celestial marriage in the assembly of all the Lords, Gods, Demi-gods, Yakshas, Saints and priests. The marriage was considered to be the most auspicious event they had ever witnessed. According to the old custom, the groom had to stay with the in-laws for a month following the marriage. This is intended for their mutual acquaintance and understanding of the culture and style of living. The bride has so far never seen any man other than her father, except some great saints of rare virtues.
This one month’s stay of the groom in the bride’s house will help them understand each other emotionally and personally. Her love totally devoted to her parent’s so far will eventually shift into the groom as a crescent moon to the full one and like-wise her full love towards her parents’ will decrease as the full moon to the crescent. This divine couple’s love for each other, the congruence in their match and the interest in each other are registered as the most unique in the Purana’s.
One instance is like this: Lord Brahma, due to love overflowing for his spouse Saraswati established her on the tip of his tongue. Observing this, Lord Vishu adorned Goddess Lakshmi, his spouse on his chest. Lord Shiva, is no less a person in love to His wife. He merged their body together into two equal halves and became Ardhanareeswara (half women and half man).
There are many interesting stories making their rounds related to this ideal couple’s marriage. In their uncontainable enthusiasm to witness the once-in-a-life-time event of the marriage of Lord Shiva and Parvati all the great saints, priests, and Brahmins proceeded towards Kailasa. With the accumulated Yogic power of these saints the northern part of the earth; the Kailas tilted and bend down. To put the globe in balance equating with the Yogic power of all of them, saint Agastya stayed put atop the Vindhya Hills at the south and kept the balance. In short, the Yogic power of saint Agastya is equal to that of all other saints put together.
K K Shanmukhan ( To be concluded )
(The writer can be contacted at [email protected])