The is a story based on the true ancient Hindu myth of Goddess Parvati & Lord Shiva.
Parvati was born into a rich and royal family. From the moment she was born, her parents had the relief that she would be well taken care of for the rest of her life and would never have to worry about money. On top of that, she was the cutest child that one had ever seen. Everywhere she went, people stared at her in awe. With each passing year she became even prettier.
Her parents knew that finding the perfect husband someday would never be an issue for their blessed daughter. Yet of course, they couldn’t help but feel anxious about her future. So one day, they had a priest come to their home in order to give insight about what laid ahead for their precious child.
Excited and wide-eyed, Parvati let the priest examine her from head to toe. He paid close attention to the birthmarks and her body and the line patterns on her palm.
The priest explained, “the body is a roadmap to your past — just as the sky and the stars are the roadmap to our futures.”
Parvati nodded with wonder. She could not wait to hear his conclusions about her destiny.
“I can see here that you are clearly the reincarnation of a great goddess. And you shall marry a great lord.”
Parvati raised her eyebrows in exhilaration. Her parents were incredibly pleased.
The priest continued, “you are reincarnation of goddess Sati, the deceased wife of Lord Shiva, and back to Lord Shiva you shall return.”
“Wow!” Parvati gushed, “I must be with him!”
Her father, struck with disillusionment, objected, “Lord Shiva?! Any lord, but Lord Shiva! For, he is an ascetic!” He cried out in anger, “he will never be able to provide you with the material pleasures you deserve! Never be able to take care of you! All he does is sit cross-legged all day — that’s no way to live!”
Parvati defended, “Father, I don’t care about any of that! He is very handsome, with a brilliant heart! He is unlike any other lord who is only concerned with war and violence and greed!”
And her father struck back, “you are forbidden from pursuing him! I won’t stand my princess with a hobo!”
“I’m sorry to have upset you, sir,” the priest cut in, “but I see what I see. Although I must add, nothing is set in stone. This will be a difficult challenge if you choose to overcome it.”
“You’re dismissed!” he replied.
Many years later, and Parvati would never forget the news she’d been told. She prayed to her creator every day, hoping her destiny would come true, and that she would be with Shiva without anyone else getting in the way. Which each passing year, she waited for Shiva to show up at her doorstep and sweep her away. But he never did. And this frustrated her immensely.
Far enough into adulthood, Parvati became so impatient that she sought out her priest.
“As princess, I demand you tell me where my husband is!” Parvati wept to him. “Why hasn’t he come for me?”
“I can tell you where he is,” the priest nodded, “he is far in the mountains.” He handed Parvati a map with directions.
“He should be coming for me! Why did you lie to me as a child?”
“I told you that this would be a great challenge. Lord Shiva is still in deep mourning over the loss of his previous wife. She sacrificed herself for him because of her father’s wrath, and Shiva has never been able to recover.”
“But it’s me, I am Sati!”
“He is so heartbroken that he does not want to bother with love, or any other worldly things for that matter.”
“But you said we were meant to be together!”
“You misunderstood. What I meant is, you are the only one who could ever reach him. There is no hope for anyone else. It is beyond your beauty, but you fierce determination that will get through to Lord Shiva.”
“Aha,” Parvati finally comprehended.
And so, Parvati headed to the mountains to find her true love. Of course her parents attempted to stop her but failed miserably. No one could stop her.
Looking at her map, Parvati quickly became lost. She never really had a knack for following directions. In exasperation, she ripped the map to shreds and instead relied on her own intuition. And that’s when she saw him.
Lord Shiva was sitting so peacefully in a dark cave. His appearance was unkempt and dirty, yet he was still shining magnificently. Parvati’s heart fluttered.
“Hello!” she greeted enthusiastically.
“Lord Shiva? It’s me! Parvati!”
“I am the reincarnation of Sati. You don’t have to be heartbroken anymore.”
And still, nothing.
“HELLO?!” she screamed in vexation.
All she heard back was the rustle of the wind. Lord Shiva was mute, and would not even open his eyes. He did not acknowledge her at all. Parvati knew he was living his life in deep meditation, but she was so sure that the sound of her voice would snap him out of it — especially after revealing her identity. And yet, nothing…
Parvati described her looks to Shiva, sure that he would fall in love with her the moment he laid his eyes upon her, “I have been described as the most beautiful lady of all! My eyes are piercing and dreamy, my face and my body is voluptuous, and my smile is absolutely heavenly!”
He didn’t even flinch.
“I see,” Parvati thought out loud, “you think I’m simply here to distract you. Let me prove to you my dedication!”
Parvati began by cleaning up his cave. She swept away the dirt and placed the rocks in organized, symmetrical patterns. She spent the entire day making it look nicer, until sunset, when she was forced to return home. She thought, surely once she left, he would open his eyes to see how wonderful his space looked now, and he would be impressed.
Returning the following day, Lord Shiva sat still in the same exact location, eyes still remaining closed. Parvati frowned.
“It looks quite nice now, don’t you think?”
With a heavy sigh, she said with defeat, “not nice enough, I suppose.”
So Parvati returned with decorations. She hung pinecones and freshly-smelling herbs all around the cave. But it still wasn’t good enough. Then she came back with silver and gold and other riches to lavish his environment with. Still nothing. So then she continued coming back with delicious food offers she was convinced he couldn’t turn away. Nothing.
Exasperated, Parvati concluded — if I can’t win him with appearance, surely I can win him with intelligence…
Parvati thought hard and schemed out a plan. She called upon Kama to help her. Kama was a young boy with angel wings who was known for playing tricks on lovers. His bow and arrow held magical powers that made one fall in love with another in an instant, beyond their control. Kama was happy to help Parvati — it was decided that he would shoot Lord Shiva with his arrow, prompting him to open his eyes, as Parvati would stand in front of him and he’d fall in love with her.
So, Kama snuck up behind Shiva and shot his arrow with all his might.
Shiva, completely startled, instantly turned around to face Kama — yet instead of opening his two eyes, he opened his third eye placed between his eyebrows. And the power of his third eye shot out fire and instantly turned Kama to dust.
Parvati was astounded. Absolutely nothing would work… it was hopeless…
Parvati returned home to her parent’s delight, yet instead of staying, she gathered all her belongings and bursted out the door.
“Where are you going?!” her father asked.
“I’m selling all of my belongings!” she exclaimed.
“Why in the world would you ever do that?! I can give you money if that’s what you need! Did Lord Shiva put you up to this?”
“No! He won’t even talk to me!”
“Oh, that’s wonderful to hear,” her mother sighed with relief, “surely we can find you a much richer, more suitable husband.”
“No!” Parvati resisted, “I need to do what I need to do!”
“You walk out that door and there’s no turning back!” her father threatened.
And out the door she went. She gave all her items away. And for those who insisted on paying her, she donated all the money to the poor.
Parvati then retuned back to the mountains, but not to find Shiva. She found her own quiet, little cave. She sat down cross-legged on the cold ground, closed her eyes, and began to meditate.
Hours passed before Parvati’s stomach began rumbling. She tried her best to ignore it, but it became too much. Desperately, she opened her eyes again and saw a luscious green plant growing in front of her. With resistance, she closed her eyes again, until she could no longer bare the pain, and ultimately let herself take a nibble of the grass. She chewed as slowly as possible.
Days went by before Parvati’s hunger returned with an angry force. Again, she let herself take tiny and slow nibbles of the grass. A few hours later it began to rain and Parvati opened her mouth to let the water fall inside of her, wretched for her thirst.
More days passed, which turned into weeks, of deep meditation. Parvati explored her inner world like never before, traveling through new dimensions of the mind. Worldly temptation persisted but she continued to deny them. With each hurdle came a wave of strength like never before.
Suddenly Parvati felt a sensation tingling down her spine. Her heart was jumping up and down. Something had shifted in her surroundings. Yet she refused to give in, leaving her eyes shut.
“Hello,” said a voice as soothing as an angel.
Parvati’s breathing became heavier but she continued resisting.
“It is I, Lord Shiva.”
And then, completely losing control, Parvati’s eyes opened faster than the speed of light as her body rushed towards Shiva like a tsunami.
“You came for me!” she cried out in tears of joy.
“You have won my heart. Now may I take you as my bride?”
“Yes!” she exclaimed in bliss.