Lord Shiva and Parvati lived at the top of the Himalayas. Sometimes they stayed on Mount Kailash and sometimes they stayed on another mountain named Mandara. One day Parvati said to her consort, ‘My Lord, everybody has a house. Can we not also have a house? When the weather is hot here on the top of the mountain, I suffer so much. You are in your trance, but I cannot enjoy trance as you do, so I suffer un-bearably. Please give me a house to live in.’
Shiva was in his own world, and he paid no attention to his wife’s request. A few years passed by and Parvati brought up the matter once more. ‘My Lord, please let us have a house,’ she begged.
‘I am so poor,’ Shiva replied. ‘How can I give you a house? Let us go and take up our abode at the foot of a tree. There you will find shade. The tree will protect us.’
‘Yes,’ said Parvati, ‘a tree can give us shade and shelter to some extent. But when it rains heavily, what can a tree do? When there are hurricanes or cyclones or monsoons, what will happen? The rain will come and destroy every-thing.’
‘I am very, very poor. What can I do?’ an-swered Shiva.
‘Indeed, you are poor!’ responded his wife. ‘But you have made so many people rich. How is it that you have made others rich while you yourself have remained poor? They are lucky. They can get anything they want from you because they are your devotees. But when I want to have something for myself, you refuse me – and I am your wife!’ Parvati started weeping pitifully. Then she continued, ‘I beg you, my Lord, please provide us with a house. Otherwise, I cannot escape from the rain. I can toler-ate the heat but not the rain.’
Shiva’s heart melted. He said to his wife, ‘Because I am so poor, I cannot give you a proper house. But since I have prayed and meditated for so many years, I can do you this favour. Let us change our abode. Let us move away from this tree on the mountaintop. We shall no longer stay on Kailash or Mandara. We shall enter into the clouds. From now on, the clouds will be our home. We shall remain inside them and we will not be on earth at all. We will not touch the ground. Therefore the rain will not affect us; nothing will affect us.’
So Shiva and Parvati entered into the clouds to live. One name of Shiva is Jimutabahin, meaning ‘one who is inside the cloud.’ Lord Shiva and Parvati still live inside the clouds because Shiva could not afford to have a house.
from The Earth-Illumination-Trumpets of Divinity’s Home (Stories from the Indian Scriptures: the Puranas)
by Sri Chinmoy