It is said that when Parvati was born into a royal family, they consulted a priest to examine marks on her as a way to predict the future life of their daughter. However, the priest did not tell Parvati's family what they wanted to hear; instead of telling them that Parvati would marry a wealthy prince, the prince instead revealed that Parvati would marry a great yogi.
The story of how Parvati met that great yogi, who turned out to be none less than Lord Shiva, is one of the most well loved tales in Hinduism.
According to legend, Shiva had become despondent over the death of his wife, so he turned to the life of a hermit. He sat concentrating his energies until he turned into a pillar of fire. The gods became worried over this, and begged the mother goddess Shakti for help. In response, the goddess took the form of Parvati, princess of the mountains, and sought to win Shiva's heart with the help of Kama, god of love. But when Kama shot his love-dart at Shiva, Shiva opened his third eye, let loose a fiery missile and reduced him to ashes.
Parvati then took on the life of a hermit as well, and mortified her body through austerities that won his admiration, and he accepted Parvati as his consort. Inspired by Parvati's beauty, he made music and began to dance. Parvati also cajoled Shiva to reveal the secrets of the cosmos locked in his mind. It is believed many seers were enlightened when they overheard their conversation between the two lovers. Parvati is highly revered for her ability to transform the austere ascetic into an amorous householder.
Depictions of Parvati in Statues and Artwork
The goddess Parvati is often shown in statues as being quite beautiful, and is sometimes depicted with her family (Parvati is the mother of Lord Ganesh - and can be shown sitting with him).
Parvati, like all Hindu deities, is referred to by different names, with some of the most popular being Uma, Shakti, and Guari.