Shiva is one of the main Hindu Gods of the Holy Trinity which includes Vishnu and Brahma. Shiva has always been associated with Parvati, his consort but not many know that Parvati is Shiva’s second wife, his first wife being Sati.
Both Sati and Parvati are the two forms of Adi Parashakti, according to Hindu mythology Adi Parashakti is regarded as the Supreme Being or the eternal limitless power, together Shiva and Adi Parashakti are known as ‘Ardhanarishwara’.
Sati and Parvati were the human forms of Adi Parashakti, when Brahma wanted to create the universe he couldn’t do it without the help of Shakti, he requested the Goddess to separate from Shiva and help him in the creation of universe, the Goddess obliged to his request and separated from Shiva in order to help in the creation of universe.
After the creation of universe, he decided to reunite Shakti and Shiva, And the opportunity came in the disguise of Daksha and his wife Prasuti. Daksha, the son of Brahma as well as a king, desired for a daughter. Brahma advised the couple to meditate upon Goddess Adi Parashakti. The couple renounced their royal lifestyle. Amidst nature, in the jungle they meditated until the goddess appeared before them and asked them for a boon. They requested if the Goddess could take birth as their daughter, to which the Goddess gladly obliged. Soon after Daksha and Prasuti was blessed with Sati.
Since childhood, Sati was fascinated by the tales and legends of Shiva which was beautifully narrated by Sage Narada, even though she was aware of the fact that her father was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu, Sati grew up as an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva.
As she embraced womanhood, the thought of marrying anybody else except Shiva was as good as blasphemous and she gave up her luxurious life and adopted the life of an ascetic in order to please Shiva.
She performed rigorous austerities in order to please the Mahadeva to such an extent that eventually she gave up food and water, pleased by her devotion Shiva finally appeared before her and decided to fulfil her only wish of marrying him.
An elated Sati returned to her palace awaiting the arrival of her groom, but her father was not pleased by the turn of events. Sati paid no heed to her father’s disapproval. Sati married Shiva and went to live with him on Mount Kailash. Daksha was an arrogant king and the thought of accepting the marriage of his beloved daughter with an ascetic on the mountains was unbearable for him. He decided to cut family ties with her, for not obeying his commands of leaving Shiva.
Daksha decided to perform a yagya ritual and invited all the Gods and Goddess except Shiva. When Sati finds out Shiva has not been invited to the yagya, she decides to confront her father. Lord Shiva tried to make Sati reconsider her decision but Sati was firm about her decision, Shiva did not accompany her but he sent his ganas along with her to the yagya.
Daksha was fuming with anger when he saw Sati in the palace. Very rudely he reminded her she had not been invited. Sati questioned him about his decision to keep her family away from such an event. Daksha coldly replied saying he no longer had anything to do with her.
Daksha’s dislike for Shiva never ceased and Sati made peace with the fact that her father was incapable of seeing the greatness in Shiva. She was convinced that her uninformed decision of marrying Shiva had fueled her father’s dislike for her husband, and felt responsible for her husband’s dishonour.
Consumed by rage and loathe for her father’s disgusting mentality, Sati takes the celestial form of goddess Adi Parashakti and cursed Daksha to be killed at the hands of Shiva. She prayed to be born to a father who respects Shiva, in her next life. And with this last wish she immolates herself in the yagya fire. When Shiva learnt about the death of his beloved wife he was devastated, he rendered a terrible ‘Tandav’ or ‘the dance of destruction’.
When he reached Daksha’s palace and found the burnt body of Sati, his anger knew no bounds, he used his Trishul and beheaded Daksha but the soft hearted and all forgiving God later forgave Daksha when Prasuti fervently apologised to Shiva on Daksha’s behalf and requested him to restore her husband’s life.
Arrogant and culpable Daksha was restored both his life and his kingship and his head was substituted for that of a goat. A grief stricken Shiva took the body of Sati in his arms and wandered the universe with her. Seeing Shiva in this state, the other Gods went to Vishnu and requested him to help Shiva get back to normalcy.
Vishnu used his Sudarshan chakra and dismembered sati’s lifeless body into 51 pieces which fell on various places at Earth and these places are known as Shakti Peeth. Shiva was rendered back to normalcy and he went back to his yogic life performing meditation waiting for Sati to be reborn.
Thus Sati was reborn as Parvati, daughter of Himavat who was the king of the mountains and his wife Mena. This time, she was born to a father who not only respected Shiva but also was an ardent devotee. She too grew up to be his devotee and just like her previous birth performed austerities and married Shiva and the two were reunited again but this time for eternity.
EDITED BY - DIYA MATHEW