Though Bhagavan Shiva is extremely benevolent towards all, it was not easy for Devi Parvati to please him and have him accept her marriage proposal. After obtaining the panchakshara mantra [1] from Devarishi Narada, the Mother Goddess started her tapasya for Shiva in a forest of the Gangotri region. Meditating full time, she ate only fruits from the surrounding trees in the first year and accepted only leaves in the second year. A few years later, she even renounced leaves. Due to her austerity, this forest became an equal of Kailasa [2], as the Shiva Purana tells us, where all jivas had turned spiritual. The fauna, blessed by her presence and surprised by her brilliance, developed friendliness towards each other, and new species of flowers and beautiful plants appeared near her ashram.

After thousands of years passed, the glow released from her dedicated tapasya began to create distress for the gods and the world. The gods took the shelter of Lords Brahma and Vishnu so that Shiva could be convinced. Shiva, out of his grace on all souls, got ready for marriage but designed a couple of tests for Parvati before accepting the proposal. First, the saptarishis [3] were sent by Shiva to test her bhakti. In the second test, Shiva disguised himself as a Brahmin and tried to discourage her from thinking about him. But Parvati’s determination for Shiva was unyielding; she aspired for nothing but Shiva. As a result, we all get to celebrate the Shivaratri.

Happy Mahashivaratri!

[1] the five-lettered mantra for Shiva
[2] the abode of Shiva
[3] the seven sages

Categories: Spirituality


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