Parvati is Jealous of the Ganga

This is a story about Parvati?s jealousy and insecurity. As you know, the
river Ganga descended from Lord Shiva?s matted hair. When it first came down
from the Himalayas, it became entangled in Shiva?s hair. Then it passed through
his hair and became the Ganga.<br>
During the time when the water was entangled in Shiva?s matted hair, Shiva
became very fond of the water. He gave it so much of his attention that his
consort, Parvati, became terribly jealous.<br>
?My husband spends all his time touching his hair,? she said, ?He does not
care for me at all.?<br>
Parvati was consumed with jealousy, and she begged Shiva to somehow get rid
of the water that was trapped in his hair. Shiva did not want to comply with
her request. He enjoyed having the water in his hair.<br>
Seeing that Parvati was utterly miserable, her son, Ganesha, felt sorry for
her. ?I cannot bear to see my mother so sad, depressed, morose and miserable,?
he said. ?I have to do something.?<br>
Ganesha remembered a particular sage named Goutama. Once, during a famine,
there was no food anywhere, either on earth or in Heaven. Only this sage
had provisions, and so the cosmic gods came to his place to eat. They all
loved him and adored him. Ganesha felt that this sage was the only one who
could help him release the Ganga from his father?s head and let it flow down
onto the land. Ganesha decided to go and see the sage.<br>
Before leaving, he approached one of his mother?s assistants. Her name was
Jaya. He said to her, ?Please do me a favour.? ?Definitely,? Jaya assured
him. ?I will do any favour you want.?<br>
Ganesha told her his plan: ?I am going to the ashram of the sage Goutama,
who kept provisions for the gods during the famine. You will kindly take
the form of a cow. In the morning, when the sage takes his cows to graze,
I would like you to destroy all the grain that is growing in the fields near
his cottage. You must destroy all his fields of grain.?<br>
Ganesha went to see the sage and he was received with great kindness and
hospitality. The sage was deeply honoured that a cosmic god had come to stay
at his place.<br>
The next morning, when the sage took his cows out to eat the grass, a strange
cow came and started destroying all the fields of grain. The sage begged
the cow not to destroy the grain, which was his main provision, but this
cow was bent on destroying everything. The sage was unable to stop it.<br>
Finally the sage took a single blade of grass and with it he touched the
cow?s body. The cow fell down and died then and there. Ganesha and others
came running to the spot.<br>
?You are a sage,? cried Ganesha. ?How could you kill a cow? It is the worst
possible sin to kill a cow, especially because you are a Brahmin! You must
pay the penalty for your misdeed!? The sage felt very sorry for his action
and he said, ?I want to make amends for this wrongful deed. I am willing
to pay whatever penalty you suggest. Please tell me what I should do now!?<br>
Ganesha said, ?Invoke Lord Brahma. Whatever advice he gives you will be the
best.? The sage invoked Lord Brahma and Brahma came.<br>
Now, Brahma knew how much Parvati was suffering due to Shiva?s preoccupation
with the Ganga in his hair. Brahma advised the sage, ?If you want forgiveness
for what you have done, then you must release the Ganga from Shiva?s hair.
Let the waters flow down to earth, and then you must take a bath in the river
Ganga. If you can do this, you will be purified and all your sins will be
washed away.?<br>
The sage listened to Brahma. He used his spiritual power to bring the water
down to earth. When the Ganga was flowing properly, he bathed in it and became
purified. Ganesha?s plan worked.<br>
Once the Ganga was no longer entangled in Shiva?s hair, Parvati had Shiva
all to herself again and she was filled with happiness.<br>
Sri Chinmoy

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