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Story of Parvati Becomes Gouri

There were two asuras named Shumbha and Nishumbha. They meditated a lot and pleased Brahma. Brahma thereupon gave them the boon that they could not be killed by males. Having obtained the boon, the two demons started to oppress the world. They drove the gods out of heaven and the gods went to Brahma so that a solution might be found to the problem.

Brahma went to Shiva. You have to help the Gods, he told Shiva. I have given Shumbha and Nishumbha the boon that they cannot be killed by males. Find a way so that a female is born out of Parvati's body. She will kill Shumbha and Nishumbha.

I will try, replied Shiva.

When Shiva next met Parvati, he addressed her as Kali. This angered Parvati, since kali means black or dark.

Why did you marry me if you thought I was so dark? she asked Shiva. Why do you pretened to love me? Cursed is the woman who is not loved by her husband. I am going to perform tapasya so that I may become fair. I am going to pray to Brahma.

Parvati went off to meditate. She meditated for many years.

There was a tiger which saw Parvati meditating. It was not a good tiger at all, but an evil one. It thought that Parvati would provide a good meal. It sat down in the front of Parvati to appreciate for a while the treat that was in store for it.

Parvati did not realize that the tiger was planning to eat her. She thought that it had sat down in front of her because it wanted to protect her from other wild beasts. She thought that the tiger was one of her devotees and she therefore entered the tiger's soul. As soon as she did this, all thoughts vanished from the tiger's mind. Now it was indeed one of her devotees.

Meanwhile, Brahma arrived to find out who Parvati was meditating. Parvati said that she wanted to become Gouri, that is, someone who was fair. She was sick and tired of being addressed as kali.

Brahma granted the boon.

Parvati shed off all the dark cells (kosha) from her body became Gouri. From the cells emerged a dark-hued goddess named Koushiki. Parvali handed over Koushiki to Brahma. Endowed with weapons by Brahma, Koushiki killed Shumbha and Nishumbha.

Parvati returned to her husband as Gouri.

What happened to the tiger? Shiva turned him into a man and he was employed by Nandi as one of Shiva's guards. He was named Somanandi.



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