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Penance of Devi Parvati

(Ref: Shiva Purana - Rudra Samhita - Parvati Khanda - 22 & later)

Penance of Devi ParvatiMeditation: I meditate on the penance of Devi Parvati in the Shringi Tirtha which later came to be known as Gauri Shikhara; Who performed penance reciting the Panchakshara mantra for sixty thousand years; Who was tested by the Saptarshis during Her penance; and Who finally became united with Lord Shiva.

Devi Parvati takes permission for penance: After Shiva burnt Kamadeva and vanished from the place, Devi Parvati decided to win Shiva through penance. She went to her parents with maids Jaya and Vijaya to get permission for penance. Father Himavan agreed but mother Mena initially refused. Since Mena initially refused, Parvati got the name Uma. However later, seeing Her sorrowful, Mena agreed to her tapas.

Devi Parvati prepares for penance: Maids Jaya and Vijaya accompanied Parvati to the place of penance. Parvati took off her ornaments and wore bark garment, deer skin and girdle of munja rope. She went to the place where Ganga had descended and where Shiva burnt Kamadeva. She started performing penance at Shringi Tirtha which later came to be known as Gauri Shikhara. To test the result of her tapas, She planted various auspicious plants. Performing Bhoomi Shuddhi (purification of ground), She created a Vedi (platform for tapas).

The penance: Restraining mind and all the senses, She started performing tapas. During grishma (summer), She lighted fire all around and sitting in the middle continuously performed japa. During varsha (rainy season), She performed tapas sitting on bare rock which was drenched. During shita (winter), She sat within the water and continued Her tapas with great devotion day and night without taking food. Like this She continued to perform tapas reciting the Panchakshara mantra. During leasure, She watered the plants and trees along with Her maids and extended hospitality to others. Her mind was peaceful amidst all variations of climate and events. Initially She consumed food and later leaves. Then, She stopped consuming even leaves and continued tapas by fasting. Since She discarded even leaves and continued to exist, hence the devas called her as Aparna. Then standing on one leg She continued to recite the Panchakshara mantra. Thus three thousand years elapsed in the tapovana, in the place where Hara performed tapas for sixty thousand years. All the sages reached there to see Her tapas and praised Her.

Himavan tries to dissuade Devi Parvati: In the meantime Himavan tried to dissuade Parvati from continuing Her tapas, but Parvati was firm. She made Her tapas more severe.

The effect of Her penance: Due to Her severe tapas, all beings became heated and suffered. The devas and other celestial beings went to Brahma to know the reason. Lord Brahma told them the cause. Knowing that the entire universe will be burnt by Her tapas, Brahma and other devas went to Vishnu, and they together went to Shiva. Shiva agreed to marry Parvati.

Saptarshis test Devi Parvati: Shiva sent the Saptarshis to test the firmness of Parvati. The Saptarshis tried to dissuade Parvati in various ways, but found that She was firm in Her resolve.

Shiva tests Devi Parvati and reveals Himself: Then Shiva taking the form of an old brahmana tested Parvati in various ways. Finally Shiva revealed His true form to Parvati, bringing the penance to fulfillment.

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Meditation on Earth and Life: >>

Om, May there be Peace in Heaven,
May there be Peace in the Sky,
May there be Peace in the Earth,

(Shanti Mantra of Upanishad)

Preserve Nature,
And Nature will preserve Us,
Simplify Life,
And help Nature thrive,
Plant Trees,
And make our planet Green.

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Last updated on Dec-2021

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