The association between Parvati and Shiva represents the perennial tension in Hinduism between the ascetic ideal and householder ideal. Parvati, for the most part, represents the householder. Her mission is to lure Shiva into the world of marriage, sex, and children, to tempt him away from asceticism, yoga, and otherworldly preoccupations. In this role Parvati is cast as a figure who upholds the order of Dharma, who enhances life in the world, who represents the beauty and attraction of worldly, sexual life, who cherishes the house and society rather than the forest, the mountains, or the ascetic life. Parvati civilizes Shiva with her presence; indeed, she domesticates him. Of her role in relation to Shiva in the hymns of Manikkavacakar, a ninth-century poet-saint from South India, it has been said: "Shiva, the great unpredictable 'madman', is rendered momentarily sane (i.e. behaves in a socially acceptable manner) when in the company of the goddess. . . Contact with his properly cultured spouse seems to connect him with ordinary social reality and temporarily domesticates him."
On the right palm of Parvati can be seen inscribed OM, the mystic syllable.
This description by Nitin Kumar, Executive Editor, Exotic India.
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