Hindu mythology is a tapestry of stories, characters, and world ages. These stories are backdrops of different aspects of our own personalities. When we listen to a myth with our heart, the story pulls back any covers we hide behind to reveal to us our true Self.
Many of us suppress our highest potential. Often hurt by past experiences, we shield our emotional body to protect ourselves from further injury. This process of retreat is mimicked by Shiva when he lost his great beloved Sati. In grief, Shiva sat in meditation for thousands of years neglecting his duties of dissolution and destruction.
One day, Brahma, the god of creation, looked around and saw that nature had lost its luster. The world was stagnate. Without Shiva bringing everything to a state of dissolution, Brahma could not create—ideas could not be born, creativity and imagination were blocked. Brahma went to the great feminine force, Shakti, for help. Shakti told Brahma she would be born in a human female form to bring Shiva back into the world.
To ebb and flow through waves of emotion is human. Although at times we sink, we are often able to return to stable ground. Sometimes we go so deep that we get lost in our darkness. Absorbed and hiding in meditation, Shiva represents the times when we become impotent. Whether we are inert due to depression, fear, laziness, or exhaustion, we can become idle. Creativity and imagination don’t flow. There is no luster or shine in our lives because we are not allowing ourselves to transform, take risks, open our hearts, and feel.
Shakti was reborn as Parvati. Her whole life, Parvati had a special love in her heart for Shiva. As a young girl, she sat in the meadow fluttering her eyes at him, placing flowers at his feet, cooing his name, and daydreaming about him opening his eyes, taking her into his arms, and feeling love’s embrace. Yet this never happened. All her daydreaming was not doing anything but frustrating her.
Parvati decided to act. She went to the god of love, Kama, and asked him to shoot an arrow into Shiva’s heart to arouse him. She was sure this would work. Kama, always down for love, shot an arrow into Shiva’s heart and woke him out of meditation. He opened his eyes and feeling the stirring of passion in his body, became enraged that he was brought out of his meditation. With a roar, he opened his third eye, and fire shot out and incinerated Kama. Shiva closed all three of his eyes and retreated inward. Parvati, distraught that her plan failed, sat and thought about what to do next.
Fear arrives cloaked as distraction, procrastination, and dissuasion. When you have to snack, avoid friends, update your social media status, or hide in the dark, you feed fear. The best way to tackle fear is through action. How many times have you begun a project, a paper, a career, or a dream, only to run head-on into a speed bump and give up? Or showed your true self to someone, only to later feel embarrassed at your vulnerability? This is often the place where many people give up, put down their dreams, and retreat back to their comfort zone. Yet this is also where the powers of inner strength begin to rise and the process of dissolution starts. This is where layers of baggage burn away, limiting thoughts diminish, and fear lessens.
Parvati begins to meditate. For thousands of years, she stands on one leg in hot coals. For thousands of years, she stands on the other leg in the cold snow. During these meditations, she builds tapas, inner heat, and her own power grows so strong that Shiva, deep in his meditation, feels her presence and awakens from his meditation. Shiva and Parvati marry and between their love-making, discuss yoga.
Parvati doesn’t gain Shiva’s attention because she is beautiful. She gains his attention because her inner light was brilliant. Parvati, unable to rely on wishing and hoping, has to go on an inner journey. Each of us has this journey to go on. Along the way, we fall down, tip over, get twisted, and arrive wiser. Parvati represents that part of us that doesn’t give up. She shows us that hard work and inner discipline are necessary for growth.
Whenever we desire something that makes us feel alive, we must travel to our heart center to find it. We look at people who seem to be living our dream and wish for their attention, their money, their love, their luck, or their life. This story shows us we can manifest our desires into reality, but we have to be willing to do the work. Let go of expectations and get in the dirt. Parvati did not raise her vibrations by placing flowers dotingly at Shiva’s feet, but rather by standing on her own. Connect to the dazzling brilliance within, believe in your own inner strength, continue to develop your inner power, and experience how everything unfolds for you.