The Vamana Purana, Part 13
BY: SUN STAFF
Carved stone stele, 11th-12th c., Pala period
Dec 26, CANADA (SUN) A serial exploration of the Vamana Purana by Srila Vedya-vyasa, excerpted and categorized into various subject areas.
BIRTH OF UMA AND HER MARRIAGE TO SHIVA
Mena Gives Birth to Uma
"Mena gave birth to three daughters and a son. The eldest daughter- Raagini was red complexioned and had red eyes. Kutila was fair complexioned and had beautiful eyes like that of lotus petals. The youngest daughter- Kali was dark complexioned and had beautiful eyes like the petals of blue lotus. Mena also had a son named Sunaam.
When all three of them were of six years, they started to do penance. The deities saw these beautiful girls and were enchanted by their beauty. Aditya and the Vasu Ganas took Kutila to Brahma loka and asked Lord Brahma- "O lord! Will this girl give birth to a son capable of killing Mahishasura?"
Lord Brahma told them that she was incapable of bearing the effulgence of Lord Shiva and hence she should be released. Kutila was dejected by Lord Brahma's rejection and challenged him that she would try every means so as to attain the capability of holding the effulgence of Lord Shiva. Lord Brahma became angry with her arrogant utterances and cursed her to become a river. In a very short period, the furious current of Kutila over-flooded the whole Brahma loka but Lord Brahma managed to control her current. In this way, Kutila remained in Brahma loka in the form of a river.
When the deities saw Raagini doing penance, they took her to Lord Brahma. Even she was cursed by Lord Brahma in the same manner as her sister had been cursed. Due to Lord Brahma's curse, she became Sandhya (evening) and started for the auspicious yoga of Kritika.
After losing her two daughters, Mena tried to dissuade Kali from doing penance. But Kali was not to listen. Reacting to her mother's advises, Kali pronounced 'U' 'Ma' and as a result she was named Uma by her mother. Uma commenced her severe penance to please Lord Shiva. When Lord Brahma came to know about this, he instructed the deities to bring her along to Brahma loka but the deities were unsuccessful in their attempt as Uma's radiance was unbearable for them. They returned to Brahma loka and narrated the whole story to Lord Brahma. Lord Brahma was convinced that Uma was worthy of being Shiva's consort. One day, Himalaya, Uma's father brought her back home.
Once, Lord Shiva went to Himalaya Mountain to do penance. When Himalaya came to know of his arrival, he was extremely happy. He made all necessary arrangements for Lord Shiva. One day, while Lord Shiva was engrossed in meditation, Uma arrived there. Lord Shiva was pleased to know that Sati had re-incarnated as Uma. But his joy was momentary as he went back into deep meditation. Uma paid her obeisance by touching Shiva's feet. Lord Shiva wanting to test Uma's devotion went into hiding.
Uma sought her father's permission to do penance with the objective of having Shiva as her husband. Himalaya agreed and gave his permission. She started her penance after creating an earthen idol of Lord Shiva. She worshipped that idol with total devotion. Lord Shiva became pleased with her devotion and appeared before her in the guise of a mendicant. On being enquired by Uma, Lord Shiva told her that he was on his pilgrimage to Prithudak. "I am used to all these austerities as I have been practising it since my childhood. But why are you torturing yourself in such a tender age?", asked Lord Shiva.
Lomaprabha, Uma's companion was also present there. She told the mendicant about the objective with which Uma was doing her penance. "She wants to have Lord Shiva as her husband", said Lomaprabha. Hearing this, the mendicant laughed loudly and made fun of Shiva. He tried to dissuade Uma from marrying Lord Shiva. Uma became extremely angry and asked the mendicant to keep mum. But when the mendicant continued with his abuses, she got up and tried to move away from the side. Lord Shiva became pleased by her total devotion and appeared in his real form. He assured Uma to go back home and said- "I will send the sages to your house with a marriage proposal. The idol which you have been worshipping with such deep devotion would become famous as Bhadreshwar.
Uma returned home and Shiva proceeded on his way to Prithudak.
Lord Shiva Sends Marriage Proposal
After paying a visit to Prithudak Tirtha, Lord Shiva returned to his abode. At that time, he was living at Mandaar Mountain. After Lord Shiva's contemplation, the Saptarishis arrived. After the formal salutations, Lord Shiva told the sages that his wife- Sati has re-incarnated as Uma. "All of you must go to Himalaya and request him to marry his daughter to me", said Lord Shiva. The Saptarishis abided by his instructions.
All of them went to Himalaya with Shiva's proposal. When Uma came to know about this, she was quite pleased but did not reveal her emotions. Himalaya was in a dilemma. He did not know whether to refuse or accept the marriage proposal. The Meru Mountain advised him to go ahead with the marriage as it would not be proper to refuse the Saptarishis.
Mena, Himalaya's wife said- "O lord of the mountain! The dead ancestors gave Uma to me on the condition that I would get her married with Shiva. The son born to her would kill the demons- Mahishasura and Tarakasura. At last Himalaya agreed. The Saptarishis were pleased and chose an auspicious moment for the marriage ceremony. They said- "Shiva would marry your daughter on Maitra Muhurta- the third day from today when the Moon will enter the Uttar Phalguni Nakshatra." After saying this, the Saptarishis returned to Mandaar Mountain and gave the good news to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva became pleased and worshipped the Saptarishis. The Saptarishis then went to inform all the deities about Shiva's marriage.
Uma Marries Lord Shiva
Lord Vishnu, Brahma, the deities and the Ganas were pleased to hear about Shiva's marriage. Lord Shiva went to his abode- Kailash Mountain to make preparations for the marriage ceremony.
Lord Shiva's marriage procession proceeded towards Himalaya Mountain. His appearance was quite terrifying with a tiger skin around his waist and Gorochan Tilak on his forehead. He had a garland of skulls around his neck. Snakes were coiling all around his body. His mount- Vrishabh (ox) was walking in a majestic way. The marriage procession comprised of the deities, Yakshas, demons and his Ganas. Lord Vishnu had Goddess Laksmi by his side and was mounted on Garuda (eagle) while Lord Brahma was mounted on Hans (swan).
When the marriage procession reached its destination, Himalaya received his esteemed guests with great honour and guided them to his palace. The womenfolk envied Uma as they glanced at the handsome appearance of Lord Shiva. Uma was looking divinely beautiful in her white coloured silken apparel. At last, both the bride and the bridegroom entered the canopy where the marriage ceremony was supposed to be performed.
Himalaya placing Uma's hand in Shiva's, requested him to accept her as his wife. Lord Shiva said- "O king of the mountains! Despite being homeless, I agree to accept your daughter as my wife." After that, both Shiva and Uma tied the nuptial knot and circumambulated the sacred fire for three times. Both of them made offerings to the sacred fire. As Uma touched Shiva's feet, Lord Brahma got a chance to have a glimpse of her beautiful face. He was so infatuated by her divine beauty that he ejaculated. Nobody except Lord Shiva was aware of this incident. Lord Brahma tried to conceal his ejaculated sperms (Veerya) under the soil. But Lord Shiva prohibited him from doing so and said- "Don't destroy this Virya. From it would manifest 80,000 Baalkhilyas.
Lord Shiva's prophesies came true and in a very short time, 80,000 Baalkhilyas appeared there. Lord Shiva then returned to Mandaar Parvat accompanied by his consort, Uma."