The Shiva Purana
by J. L. Shastri | 1950 | 616,585 words
This page relates “seven celestial sages test parvati” as found in the Shiva-purana, which, in Hinduism, represents one of the eighteen Mahapuranas. This work eulogizes Lord Shiva as the supreme deity, besides topics such as cosmology and philosophy. It is written in Sanskrit and claims to be a redaction of an original text consisting of 100,000 metrical verses.
Chapter 25 - The seven celestial sages test Pārvatī
[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]
1. When Brahmā, Viṣṇu and other gods had gone along with the sages what happened thereafter?
2. O dear one, what did Śiva do? Within what time did He go to grant the boon? How? Please tell me for my pleasure.
3. When Brahmā and other gods had gone back to their respective abodes, Śiva entered into spiritual contemplation in order to test her penance.
4. He meditated upon His own soul within Himself, the Ātman that is greater than the greatest, free from illusion and obsessions and stationed within itself.
5. The bull-bannered lord Śiva, the object of the expression That, whose movements are unknown, is the cause of enjoyment and protection. Śiva is the lord Supreme.
6. O dear then, Pārvatī was engaged in great penance. Even Śiva wondered at that.
7. He became distracted from spiritual contemplation. A deity subservient to His devotees cannot be otherwise. Śiva, the cause of great enjoyment and protection remembered the seven celestial sages, Vasiṣṭha and others.
8. Immediately on being remembered, the seven sages came there with faces beaming with delight and praising their good fate.
9. Bowing to Him with folded arms and bent shoulders they eulogised lord Śiva with extreme pleasure by means of words choked with devotional feelings.
The seven sages said:—
10. “O great God, lord of gods, O lord, O ocean of mercy, we have become very well blessed since we have been remembered by you now.
11. Why have we been remembered? We may kindly be commanded. O lord, have pity on us as on your own slaves. Obeisance be to you.
12. On hearing the words of the sages, lord Śiva, the storehouse of sympathy spoke lovingly and laughingly with eyes beaming like full-blown lotus.
Lord Śiva said:—
13. O dear seven celestial sages, listen to my words. You are all my benefactors. You are clever and perfectly wise.
14. The great Goddess Pārvatī, the daughter of the mountain is performing a penance now in the mountain called Gaurīśikhara, with a steady mind.
15. O brahmins, she is desirous of attaining me as her husband. She is being served by her maids. She has discarded all other desires. She is determined in her resolve.
16. O excellent sages, you go there at my bidding. With love in mind, conduct the test of her resolve.
17. O virtuous ones of good rites, at my bidding, you need not hesitate to employ even deceitful and critical remarks.
18. Thus commanded those sages quickly went there where the mother of universe, the brilliant daughter of the mountain, shone with refulgence.
19. There she was seen as the personified achievement of penance itself. She was shining brilliantly with great splendour.
20. Mentally bowing to her, the seven sages, of good rites, humbly spoke to her after being warmly welcomed and worshipped by her.
The sages said:—
21. O daughter of the mountain, listen. Why do you perform this penance? Which god do you wish to propitiate? For what purpose? Please tell us now.
22. Thus addressed by the brahmins, the goddess Śivā, daughter of the lord of mountains, replied truly before them though it was a great secret.
23. O great sages, listen to my words with hearty affection. I am saying only what I thought in my own way.
24. On hearing my words you will laugh at me considering my proposal impossible. O brahmins, I hesitate in revealing it but what can I do?
25. This mind of mine is resolute helplessly attempting at a great task. Verily it is trying to erect a high wall on the surface of water.
26. At the bidding of the celestial sage I am performing this steady penance with the desire that Rudra be my husband.
27. The unfledged birdling of my mind flies up tenaciously. May lord Śiva, the storehouse of mercy fulfil its desire.
28. On hearing her words, the sages honoured Pārvatī mentally with pleasure but spoke these deceptive false words laughingly.
The sages said:—
29. O daughter of the mountain, although you are wise and intelligent, you are not able to see through the conduct of that celestial sage who professes to be a great scholar but who is cruel-minded.
30. Nārada is a quibbler. He misleads others. If his words are paid heed to, you stand to lose in every respect.
31. Now listen to a true anecdote that sheds light thereon, with keen intellect. We are enlightening you out of love and affection, take it to heart.
32. Dakṣa, the son of Brahmā, at the bidding of his father, begot ten thousand sons of his wife. He dearly loved them and employed them in performing a great penance.
33. The sons went to the holy lake Nārāyaṇasaras in the western zone for performing penance. Nosing it out, Nārada too went there.
34. Sage Nārada misled them with his deceptive instructions. At his instance, they never went back home to their father.
35. On hearing this, Dakṣa was infuriated but his father consoled him. Thereafter he begot a thousand other sons and engaged them in penance.
36. The sons too went to the same place for penance at the bidding of their father. Nārada too went there, a self-appointed instructor for them.
37. He gave them the same instruction and they went the way of their brothers. They never returned to the parental abode. They were engrossed in the avocation of mendicants.
38. O daughter of mountain, the good conduct of Nārada is thus well-known. Now hear about another activity of his in making men detached.
39. There was a Vidyādhara named Citraketu. The sage instructed him and made him detached from his house.
40. He bestowed his instructions on Prahlāda and made him suffer much at the hands of Hiraṇyakaśipu. He is definitely a person who splits others’ intellect.
41. Whomsoever this sage advocates his philosophy, very pleasing to the ears, generally the same person discards his hearth and home and begins to beg for alms.
42. Nārada has a dirty soul though he is endowed with a white brilliant complexion for ever. We know him particularly because we are his associates.
43. People from a distance may describe a stork as a gentle bird that does not prey on fish. But in fact an associate knows the conduct of his associates.
44. You too who are honoured by the wise have followed his advice and thus become a fool. That is why you are performing this severe penance.
45. O young lady, He, for whose sake you are performing this elaborate penance is a perpetually indifferent person of no emotional disturbance. Undoubtedly He is an enemy of Kāma.
46. The trident-bearing Śiva has an inauspicious body, is free from shame and has no home or pedigree. He is naked and ill-featured. He associates with ghosts and goblins and the like.
47. That rogue of a sage has destroyed your discretion with his deception. He has deluded you with apparently good arguments and made you perform this penance.
48. O great Goddess, daughter of the mountain, you alone think within yourself how much pleasure could be derived by getting such a bridegroom.
49. At first he married Satī, the chaste daughter of Dakṣa, eagerly but the fool that he was he could not maintain the household even for a few days.
50. He accused her and forsook her Himself. The lord went on meditating on His own form, free from stains and sorrows and sported happily.
51. He is single without a second and without attachment. He is after salvation, O gentle lady, how can a woman put up with him.
52. O blessed one, even now, at our bidding, return to your house. Cast off this foolish intention. You will benefit thereby.
53. A befitting bridegroom for you is lord Viṣṇu endowed with all good qualities. He is a resident of Vaikuṇṭha, lord of wealth and is skilled in sports.
54. O Pārvatī, with him we shall fix your marriage that will confer all happiness on you. Leave off this obduracy. Be happy.
55. On hearing these words, Pārvatī, the mother of the universe, laughed and spoke to the wise sages.
56. O excellent sages, what you have said may be true according to your light and wisdom; but O brahmins, my tenacity cannot be affected.
57. Being born of a mountain, toughness is congenital to my body. Pondering over this with a short intellect you will please desist from preventing me.
58. I shall never discard the wholesome advice of the celestial sage. Vedic scholars know and affirm that the advice of a preceptor is wholesome.
59. Those who firmly believe that the advice of the preceptor is true will experience great happiness here and hereafter. They will have no unhappiness anywhere.
60. Those who distrust the maxim in their heart of hearts that the advice of preceptors is true will experience nothing but misery here and hereafter, no happiness anywhere.
61. O brahmins, the advice of the preceptors is not to be eschewed at all. Whether it leads to the attachment of a household or otherwise, my tenacity will remain pleasing to me for ever.
62. O excellent sages, what you have just spoken shall be interpreted in another way. I shall explain it in brief.
63. When you glorify Viṣṇu as the abode of noble qualities or as a sportive deity I do not contradict. As to your statement that Sadāśiva is devoid of attributes I shall tell you the reason.
64. Śiva is Brahman, unchanging and without aberration. He assumes shapes and forms for the welfare of his devotees. He does not make a show of worldly lordship.
65. Therefore he assumes the attitude and behaviour of great Yogins. Śiva is a supreme bliss personified and an Avadhūta in form.
66. Interest in embellishment and ornaments shall be found in those who are deluded by illusion and who are not in unison with the Brahman. The lord is devoid of attributes, unborn, free from illusion, of invisible movement and a cosmic Being.
67. O brahmins, Śiva does not shower His blessings on the ground of faith, caste etc. I know Śiva truly only through the blessings of the preceptor.
68. O brahmins, if Śiva does not marry me I shall remain for ever a virgin. Truth, I tell you the truth.
69. Even if the sun were to rise in the west, even if the mountain Meru were to move; even if the fire were to be cool and even if the lotus were to bloom on a rock at the top of a mountain, my stubbornness cannot be nullified. I am telling you the truth.
70. After saying thus and bowing to those sages, the daughter of the mountain stopped and remembered Śiva with an unruffled mind.
71. On realising the resoluteness of Pārvatī, the sages hailed her and bestowed excellent blessings upon her.
72. O sage, after bowing to the goddess, the sages who wanted to test her, were delighted. They immediately returned to Śiva’s abode.
73. Having reached the place they informed Śiva of all the details. Taking leave of Him with respect, they went to the heaven.
Footnotes and references:
It refers to the formula “that are you”, identifying the soul with the supreme soul.
The seven sages viz. Marīci, Atri Aṅgiras, Pulastya. Pulaha, Kratu and Vasiṣṭha are represented by a group of seven stars called Ursa Major.
The Nārāyaṇa lake has not been identified. Probably it is a lake of the Nārāyaṇa hill, near Badrinath in Garhwal.
Vaikuṇṭha, also called Vaibhra, is the abode of Viṣṇu variously described as situated on the eastern peak of Mount Meru or in the Northern ocean.