Shiv Jee | Stories-10
Given below is a story from he Kalki Puraan. It is about how Lord Shiv became Ardh-naareeshwar.
Ardh-Naareeshwar is Shiv's half male and half female Roop. Shiv is on the right side and Paarvate is on his left side. Here Paarvatee sees another woman in Shiv's heart, but then she realizes that the other woman was none other but herself.
Once Gauree, the story tells us, spent many years in severe austerities in order to please Shiv and get his blessings. In the end Shiv appeared and asked her what she wanted. What mother Gauree wanted was what every woman wants – the unwavering love of her husband, his total and complete love, love that she won't have to share with any other woman, so she said - "If you are pleased with me, give me the boon that you shall have no wife other than me." Shiv, as he always did with his devotees, was immensely pleased with this greatest of his devotees, his beloved Gauree, and readily agreed to her desire. "So be it," he said. "I shall not have even a thought of any other woman in my heart." Gauree flung herself at Shiv's feet, tears of joy drenching her cheeks. Shiv lifted her up and held her tightly to him, rejoicing in her joy, rejoicing in her presence.
And then it so happened one day that Shiv was sitting on a rock in Kailaash and Gauree was sitting right in front of him, her heart dancing ecstatically because she was with him. Nothing more pleased Gauree as being with her Shiv. She knew eternities could come and go as she sat in his presence, her eyes intent on him, and she wouldn't know a moment has passed, she wouldn't want to know a moment has passed. But all of a sudden a shudder passed through Gauree's body – her whole body was trembled with fear, with disbelief, with deep, wordless anguish. The Mother of the Universe felt all strength draining away from her, her body growing limp, a weakness possessing her as she had never known in the past. There, right in Shiv's heart, was a woman - another woman.
Gauree looked at her forgetting to blink her eyes, her heart forgetting to beat. Who was she? Who was that woman in Shiv's heart? Who had crept into his heart unaware of her? Whom had Shiv taken into his heart so heartlessly betraying her, betraying her love? The woman was beautiful, Gauree's eyes told her - more beautiful than any other woman she had known. And she was young and desirable. And she seemed to be lost in an ecstasy that was not difficult for her to understand. She had known that ecstasy for ages. The ecstasy of Shiv's love. Love that made time cease. Love that made eternities fly away in a twinkle. Love that made her light and float weightlessly. Love that filled her heart so overflowing that she wept.
That love was now that woman's. The woman whose name she did not know, but who had taken possession of Shiv's heart ousting her from there, making her homeless, making her unwanted, making her life no more worth living. Tearing her into shreds, sending a million arrows into her heart all at once. Pushing her down mercilessly into the darkest depths of a bottomless ocean, keeping her down there relentlessly so that she felt suffocated, her body desperately thirsted for air, for a single breath. And yet she would move not a muscle to save herself, for living was now worthless, life had lost all its meaning, she wanted to live no more.
An eternity passed. When was it that she had seen that woman in Shiv's heart? Was it a moment ago? Was it ages ago? When had she, Gauree, ceased to be? The woman stared at her from Shiv's heart, her eyebrows now curled. Oh, how Gauree hated her.
And then she suddenly knew. She knew what she had to do. Once she had done penance and won a vow from him. A vow that no more existed. She would do Tapas again. She would win her Shiv back. She would drive that woman away from her Shiv's heart. No, she did not want to live with another woman in Shiv's heart. Shiv's love was hers, and she shall have it. She alone was the woman Shiv loved. And she shall be the only woman in Shiv's life. She and Shiv – they were meant for each other. They were one and they shall remain one. Gauree got up and left Shiv. She knew where she had to go. She knew what she had to do.
And Shiv's heart writhed in unspeakable agony. Gauree was not just his woman, Gauree was he himself. They were one, inseparably one. His heart wouldn't beat without Gauree. He couldn't breathe without Gauree. He wouldn't survive a day, a moment, without her love. He needed her, as the fish in the sea needed water, as the birds in the sky needed air. If he was the day, she was his light. If he was the night, she was his coolness. He couldn't exist without her.
Shiv found Gauree on a remote peak. She sat in a world of darkness. Streams of tears were flowing down her cheeks. There was no light in her eyes, only gloom, unutterable, ineffable gloom. No laughter in them. It looked as though she had never once laughed in her life. There was no glow on her cheeks, the glow he loved so much. And it looked like she did not breathe. Was she his Gauree, or was she his Gauree's ghost?
Shiv took his beloved in his arms, held her tightly to him, pressing her hard to his heart. And then only he felt he could breathe. Holding her a little away from him, he looked at her face, into her eyes, into the face and the eyes of the woman who was once his Gauree. What might have happened to his Gauree to send her into such chasms of torment? Shiv covered her face with his kisses. Her eyes, her forehead, her cheeks, her lips, her head. And then he called out her name. Gauree, Gauree. Again and again and again. The Mother of the Universe heard the sound coming from a distance, the distance of eons away. As if he was calling her from the other end of the Universe. From beyond the farthest stars. There was worry in his voice, a pain in his voice, a deep agony, a sense of bottomlessness, despair, desperate urgency.
Her Shiv was in pain. Gauree felt like a wounded bird. Like a bird that has been pierced in the heart by a cruel arrow of a heartless hunter. Her soul writhed in agony. She opened her eyes. Terrified eyes. Eyes filled with endless pain. She clung to her Shiv. Clung to her Shiv for her dear life, for her life's breath. Pressed him close to her heart, to her aching heart. Her arms pained as she pressed him tightly to her. There was terror in her heart. The terror of losing him.
How had she been separated from him? And then she remembered. That woman. That woman in his heart. That cruel, heartless woman, who had ensnared Shiv's heart, made it her home. The beautiful woman who had driven her away from her home, made her homeless, rendered her life meaningless, destroyed her. Pushing Shiv violently away from her, she held him by his shoulders. She looked at his heart again. There was no woman there. Gauree drew Shiv to herself again and collapsed against him. And then she wept and wept as she had never wept before. Not even when she had seen that other woman in Shiv's heart. Tears flowed endlessly from her eyes. Torrents of tears. The tears of the Mother of the Universe. The tears of every woman's torment. Every woman's grief.
Shiv's tears also joined the tears of the Mother of the Universe. He held her tightly to him, allowing all her sorrow to melt and flow away. And felt his own heart growing light as she wept. Heaviness was draining out of him. Violent tremors shook Gauree's body. Again and again and again. The world had begun to grow lighter again. "Why, Gauree, why?" Shiv asked, words refusing to come out of his throat that was still choked. "What happened, O my dearest one?"
And Gauree, once again breaking out in a torrent of tears, told him of the woman she had seen in his heart. The woman who was not there now but was there when she had left him. The beautiful woman, beautiful as she had seen no other woman. The woman who had allured him, ensnared him, taken her place in his heart.
Shiv sat confused for a moment. And then he burst out laughing. "Oh that woman!" he said, still laughing. "Let's go to the place where we were when you had seen her," he said, as he gently led to her to the rock on which they were sitting earlier. When was it? A while ago? Ages ago? Light fell on Paarvatee's face as she sat facing him exactly as they had sat then. The light of the setting Sun made her face glow, multiplying her endless beauty myriad times.
Shiv felt his heart melting in love for this beautiful woman who loved him with all her heart and all her body, with all her soul. With a love that was as powerful as the forces that held universes together. Maybe, more - his Gauree, his love, his life. "Look again into my heart," Shiv said. And Gauree looked. And felt all the pain that had so cruelly burnt her blazing up again in her heart, the waters of the seas that had drowned her rushing at her again, suffocating her, making it impossible to breathe. A scream escaped her, a piercing scream, a wail of endless torment. Gauree closed her eyes. No, she did not want to see her.
"Open your eyes, Gauree," Shiv said to her. "Open your eyes and look." Shiv held her by her shoulders and forced her to look at him, at his heart. And, slowly, very, very slowly, Gauree opened her terror-filled eyes. And then, her face flushed. She blushed with embarrassment. A smile appeared on her face. A smile that was timorous at first, coy and bashful, a smile that soon blossomed into the most beautiful smile that Shiv had seen on his beloved's face. And the woman in Shiv's heart smiled back at her. With a timorous smile at first, coy and bashful, a smile that soon blossomed into the most beautiful smile possible.
And Gauree knew how beautiful she was. How beautiful her smile was. Far more beautiful than she had ever known herself to be. The Gauree she saw in Shiv's heart was a million times more beautiful than she had seen herself in any mirror. And Shiv looked at his beloved and said, "No more shall you suffer such pain. From today, you and I shall not be two bodies and one heart, but a single united body, a single heart that beats with our love, a single soul glowing in that love."
And Shiv gathered Gauree in his arms and held her so tightly to him that the two united and became one. One body, one heart, one soul, a single being, half male, half female, the Ardh-naareeshwar.
Created and Maintained by Sushma Gupta
Created on March 15, 2003 and Updated on February 12, 2013