Shiva and Parvati ~ Love Story

ShivaShaktiThis is a love story of Shiva and Paravati – that I love! Their love is legendary and their union offers deeper understanding and freedom, into our own relationships with  our Self and other relationships.

Before I go into this love story, here’s why I tell the stories: My love for the myths of the Hindu Pantheon lead me to create mythical yoga flow where I weave the mythical stories of the gods and goddesses into my yoga teachings. The myths behind yoga’s spiritual tradition have the power to help you to awaken, transform and realise your fullest potential.

This potential lies dormant until you bring it to light – Just like Kundalini Shakti lies dormant until you awaken, or Shiva is still beneath the feet of Kali Ma. The myths reveals deeper truths, to transform, to heal, to illuminate. Myths invite you to interpret your own meaning, their story becomes your story on the mat with the asana as the vehicles for your transformation…then you take that transformation, embody it and take it off the mat into your life!

I will offer you many keys during the story, to open the door to your awareness, but first I wish you to  remember;

You are every character in the story…and in this story at the end you see what they represent…

Now get yourself truly comfortable, plump the pillows and create a sumptuous scene in your mind… this is like any true Tantra session, it’s long, that builds you up towards a climax, then seduces you deeper slowing down. Then builds you up again towards another climax where the revelations emerge… over and over and again and again, like a delicious full body orgasm or kundalini awakening. So are you willing to take it slow with me and enjoy the ride?

The legendary Shiva and Parvati Love Story

Once upon a time long long time ago in a faraway land, and not that so long ago as  it’s happening right now within each and every one of us… there lived many gods and goddesses of the Hindu Pantheon. There are the trinity of Gods, in which the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction are personified by the god forms of Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer

 Now one day Brahma, the Creator looked around the universe and realises that Shiva who is the destroyer, and also the meditator and pure consciousness is not playing his part in the drama of everyday life. Shiva is supposed to be bringing about endings and from that ending in the fertile darkness it creates new beginnings to sprout forth and that is the cycle of life. However these days Shiva has dissolved himself into deep deep meditation. He seems to be less concerned with what is going on in the cosmos. are you playing your part in your life or have you fallen asleep as if in meditation?

This happened because he had removed himself from life after his first wife Sati died. Sati means “she who is”. It was a tragic love story as both He and Sati own story was one of deep love. Until one day Sati’s father Daksha barred them both from a ceremony which every other god, goddess,  nature,  elements, every thing in the universe had been invited to. There is another story about that as that is when Virabhra is birthed, the warrior pose of Virabhdrasana in yoga. – I’ll write you that story too. But just know Shiva was broken hearted, his pain unbearable and so he removed himself from life.

Shiva and Parvati Love Story continues with the Gods and Demons

So back to this ancient yet modern day love story!

So Daksha had chosen not to invite Sati and Shiva, because he didn’t think Shiva was good enough for his daughter!– does this sound familiar for modern day daughters who parents do not approve?

In protest Sati was so so upset about this she immolated herself within her own yoga fire. And after this day Shiva had immersed himself in this on shakable state of deep absolute meditation, known as samadhi.

So the centuries rolled on and on, soon the gods realised that something had to be done to stir Shiva so that he would really engage in the world play.
Why? Because like most stories in the Hindu pantheon usually the gods and the Demons are in a battle and more often than not the Demons are winning.

The Demons = represent aspects of the self that create conflict or competition or separation and insight the negativity within so ultimately they attack, pain, suffering.

The Gods = represent aspects of self that the more awake, loving, kind, compassionate, patience, fearlessness and liberating,  and seek union.

The darker aspects of ourselves that contract and limit tend to work quite hard. Now in the Hindu Pantheon when you do a lot of practice whether you are a god or a demon you go to Brahma, the creator and ask for a boon, which is your reward having done such a strong practice called Tapas. Do you see? the demons are clever and this is something to be aware of, they do their practice, they make you believe them and you constantly think this way or that or habitually do something that may be detrimental.  They work hard at deceiving you, bringing the negative so you contract. The gods however that lighter aspect of ourselves, tend to be a little bit slow because they are having fun, sleeping, singing, meditating,  generally being nice and much slower than the Demon, so you maybe don’t listen,  because more often than not the positive side of us doesn’t constantly speak – do you understand?

So back to the story; a Demon at this time seems to be invincible and is taking over the universe because his boon was to only be killed by the son of Shiva.  So as Brahma is realising that Shiva’s desire needs to be rekindled to destroy the demon and the only way to rekindle Shiva is with a woman! Now What sort of woman would content of the great Yogi?

Brahma concludes that he’s going to have to go to the Divine feminine and ask for help. So off he goes and sings her praises, inviting her to come forth

“O Goddess, o radiant, luminous one who is so so beautiful and the power of the universe. Praise to you. You who lives within everything as the form of power, you who are wisdom….’ He goes on and on and eventually MahaDevi comes forth shining brightly, seated on her lion smiling with radiant allurement resting in her feminine power ‘ make your wish Brahma, the fact i am present guarantees its fulfilment’ Brahma explains about Shiva,  that he has lost himself in meditation and without his involvement the world cannot go on. MahaDevi smiles oh so attractively and tells him that she will take the form of  woman that will beguile even the likes of Shiva.

Now there is a key here in this part of the story. The Divine Feminine, MahaDevi needs to be asked, ~ you need to call her forth, not necessarily with flattery, yet if you as a Yogini or a Yogi wish to succeed you need to call forth the power within in order to succeed. MahaDevi, the Divine Feminine, is the power of the universe, another name is Shakti and Shakti means power; Shakti is the power to give life, she dances in the breeze, sprouts the hairs that grow, the seeds that blossoms and is the throb and pulse of life…

Who is this woman to beguile Shiva?

parvatiThe legendary Parvati, the supreme yogini! She is born the beautiful daughter of Himavat the deity of the Himalayas. She is the mountain Goddess and like a mountain she stood strong, rooted in love, unwavering she commits. She is born with Shiva in her heart. When she is 14 she takes herself daily to the Himalayan Grove where Shiva sits in meditation, she takes flowers and she often sits for an hours just to stare at him.

At this time Parvati is the archetypal maiden just awakened to love and is infatuated with an unobtainable male. She is naive, not yet self-empowered even though a goddess and doesn’t truly understand her infatuation or what a truly takes to enter into a partnership with a masculine figure to upholds the truth and has a strong internal passion for the truth. At this stage Parvati love is fantasy.

So as Parvati sits in the groves, Brahma sees this infatuation and summons his son Kama, the god of love and desire along with his wife  Rati, whose name means delight. Brahma orders Kama to go and shoot his arrows of desire into Shiva’s heart. Kama begins to protest as he knows the risk to be at the end of formidable anger of Shiva. Yet he cannot say no to his father and knows the demon needed to be destroyed by the likes of Shiva to restore balance in the universe.

So desire and delight in the form of Kama, his wife Rati and their friend Spring tiptoe in the grove and with them they bring a cloud of erotic fragrance so much so the flowers bloom with love and their intoxicating scents fill the air, and brightly coloured birds appear in the trees singing to one another with a magical love songs. Love is in the air…the whole atmosphere full of new spring day and love. Parvati is enchanted. The spiritual love that she has Shiva suddenly ignites her desire and her body becomes moist and rosy,  her eyes softened and she gazes at her beloved who is still so deeply lost meditation. At this moment Kama raises his flowery bow with his sugarcane arrows and sends them into Shiva heart….
Shiva feels his awareness contract from the formless void back into the sense of his surroundings, he feels the caress of the breeze on his face, he inhales the fragrant intoxicating smell of spring and begins to partially open his eyes and he sees Parvati…. He feels a familiar stirring arising in his heart and then this stirring begins to move down to his groin and divine lingham. oh la la la!
Shiva realises what has happened! He roars ‘Who has stirred sexual desire in me?’ Shiva thunderous tones fills the air and with out hesitation he opens his third eye, sending out a beam of fire that incinerates Kama!

‘No no no!’ Rati cries.

Parvati also begins to cry ‘ would you have desire leave this world? She begs ‘without him no creatures mate and generations will die out’

In on e version of the story, Shiva grudgingly agrees and returns Kama to form, yet Kama the god of love and desire is restored out of Shiva’s anger... and this leads to another story for another time….about how sacred sexuality has been lost to a more distorted view of desire and love. This is a story all about the invocation of Lalita, who comes to save the day! Back to this story…

Yet though this event occurred, infatuated Parvati is even more desperately in love with Shiva and she also senses that he has been touched by her. However his actions revealed that he is not willing to give in to his feelings. Something else is required and she cannot merely look divinely beautiful. Shiva is a formidable force and does not trifle with maidens but only with the raw strength of a devoted Warrior Goddess. So Paravati reflects and realises she will need to earn his love through the power of yoga, after all he is the Lord of Yoga.

This is also a symbolic key for you, it is in the moment of a creative projects when we first glance that it will possibly be fulfilled, yet also recognise that something else needs to emerge for it to work. have you ever had this?

This is likened to your spiritual life when you first awaken to something else and experience what it is like to become one with the Beloved or the Divine. The spiritual awakening when you’ve been looking outside of yourself for the answers and maybe also listening too much to those demons within your own head, when..for a moment the Divine is present, within you, touches you so intimately you recognise your own essence as one with the divine. And then in that recognition that moment passes and we are left with this emptiness or this degree of separation and that is the quest to seek the union, much like the Shiva and Parvati love story.

So back to the Shiva and Parvati love story… Commitment Parvati realises she needs commitment. Oh how I love this C word – the word commitment! For me on the journey of life, yoga, love, commitment is the most vital key to cultivate. If we truly desire something we need to do 108% to it. and Parvati realises she needs this!

Parvati realises that she needs to do something else and in that moment she makes a decision as the individual, the girl who is in love with God and she decides to commit to the practice of yoga in order to capture Lord of yoga Shiva. Devoted practice is abhyasa as I mentioned earlier it cultivates Tapas which in Sanskrit also means devoted practice and heat, the constant practice of abhyasa and tapas churns and produces heat, that melts the ego, the demons and ignite the power of shake within.

 Her mother, however didn’t want her to go as she felt these austere practices were for men, but Parvati says a defiant no! Is in this moment that Parvati, the maiden steps into her power, she is so moved by love. Parvati focused intention is to unite with her beloved, because her intention is non-egoic, she knows her mission, her purpose in life is be be union with Shiva for the greater good of the universe. Parvati’s yoga is not focused on personal attainment, it’s about Love, not infatuation love, but Divine Love.

Parvati Deep Truths

Another key :: Parvati’s story shows us a deeper truth about our spiritual life, if you are willing to make the necessary sacrifices you can have it all. You can experience enlightenment and intimacy together because they are already present within you. There are not separate from you as we are told. You can also experience absolute or divine bliss-self in everyday life. Or you can also realise this within a passionate relationship. This is Tantra, this is the householders path in Tantra, nothing is separate. This is the Shiva and Paravati Love story.

Bukti Mukti Pradayini – bukti is fulfilment of being alive in the world, Mukti is spiritual freedom. as a householder we get to experience fulfilment in life in all diversity as a mother, father, lover…

The secrets Parvati shares are for us to realise our true self, as we are. We just need to put the practice in, just like the demons do. For her to win over Shiva she needs to cultivate her own powers of Shakti,  like Shiva embodies stillness. She needs stamina and devotion and to embody love requires absolute commitment, radical courage and rigorous self cleansing – this is tapas. Tapas is committed devoted practice and this cultivates a churning that ignites the internal fire that cooks you from within so you can withstand the heat of  the sadhana and succeed.
parvatisadhanaSo Paravati, as the maiden, goes through austere practices for years and years, the fire of the practices of yoga cultivate the strength and the power for the maiden to transform into a all-encompassing goddess.

After many years her tapas, her sadhana began to awaken the upper worlds.  Shiva also feels the heat, whilst in his meditation he senses the unwavering devotion of this young woman and then remembers her immense beauty and indeed his response to it  🙂 . He then recollects the bliss he once had known with his consort Sati and recognises that  whilst solitary mediation brings its own rewards and joys, there is another kind of bliss that only a relationship brings forth.

This is a another key for the householder like us. You find union within a relationship with a partner or the union within yourself, which is what the symbolism of the Shiva and Parvati love story is about.

Shiva Tests Parvati 

So Shiva decides to test her. Shiva takes the form of a Brahmin boy, dressed in white, with his sacred thread and he appears by the stream. Parvati stands there completely still, deep in meditation on the mantra ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ the radiance around her nearly takes Shiva breath away.
Parvati receives him and ask what he would like. He says “ the gods have noted your efforts and have decided to reward you with a boon, but they asked me to make you aware that you are focusing your attentions on the wrong deity. why are you doing all of this for Shiva? don’t you know he’s an outcaste, a wild-haired man who hangs out with ghosts and hangs around cremation grounds covered in ashes. he has no lineage, no family and the is no partner for a beautiful maiden like you. Instead they suggest you take the hand of Vishnu, nows there’s a deity any maiden would love, he’s the preserver, committed, handsome, a master of the art of love, he would offer you a great life”
Parvati begins to shake with rage, her yoga fire blazes around her that even Shiva in his disguise is a bit awed.

My own experience of the tests… 

I love this, I resonate with Parvati so much! and when I hear that she allows her anger to surface, It helps me to embrace my own fiery nature. Reaction for a truth is activism, other types of reaction from an ego are in another lesson in the Virabhdra story.

Shiva and Parvati are known for the passionate relationship whether it is love or tempestuous. It’s about embracing all aspects of yourself to reveal the truth and both these honour the Truth!

back to story….
ShivaParvati“ Shiva is my cosmic husband, my love and my lord” Parvati roars “ if he is no lineage it is because he is the source of all lineages and since you come here and insult him i ask you to leave!”

At this moment Shiva throws off his disguise appearing naked in his glory, ash smeared and in his blue throated beauty “ be my wife” his sultry voice soothes “you have won me”

ahhh a happy ever after… ever the romantic I am!

Now Shiva is the ultimate unconventional deity and wants to whisk this beauty away right there and then and make up for lost time in marathon Tantra session that these two lovers are also known for, but Parvati thinking of her mothers feelings insists on a formal wedding to consummate their love….their union and that’s where this story ends, for now… 

What does the Shiva and Parvati Love story represent?

Shiva and Parvati love story ultimately takes place in the human soul and it’s search for union. The Soul is longing for union and the spiritual journey demands commitment to the path, which requires strength, awareness, practice and love. It is not looking outside of yourself or listening to the demons we all have within.

The love conquers fear, love is the god/goddess, fear is the demon. you are the god, the goddess, you experience love and fear in life. When you choose to commit to the journey, the sadhana, through tapas you begin to look within, this is where you touch embodiment and this is a powerful stage of enlightenment.

This is the divine romance the Shiva and Parvati love story. This inner marriage is the meeting of the lovers and it is legendary! it is what yoga is about, the union.

Do you seek the marriage, the union of opposites within you? ::

  • the union of the masculine ~ Shiva and the feminine ~ Shakti of Parvati,
  • stillness ~ Shiva and power ~ Parvati,
  • strength ~ Shiva and softness ~ Parvati.

I could go on, yet I think you get my point!

This love story maybe a myth of long long ago of ancient times, yet it is happening right now right here in modern times if you so seek…  Do you?

If you practice Yoga, and even the Tantra Yoga I teach then I already know you do seek this. Everyone I meet is seeking Love and happiness, the legendary Shiva and Parvati Love Story I use to empower them and you, I hope to seek the inner marriage within you.