Story of a daughter as Firm as Rock (Shail or Shila) and as Soft as the Daughter (Putri) of the Mighty Himalaya
Prof (Dr) Shalini Verma ‘Lifoholic’
Today 7th of October, we enter into Shardiya Navratri 2021 – the nine-day celebration of truth, perseverance and valour – celebrated widely across India in the honour of the divine feminine power – Adi Shakti Devi Durga.
Navratri holds a special place among millions of devotees and is also one of the most anticipated festivals each year. During this festival, devotees worship the nine forms or avatars of Goddess Durga, which then culminates on the tenth day with Dussehra or Vijaya Dashmi.
Maa Shailaputri is invoked on the first day of the Navaratri. She carries a lotus in one hand, a trident in the other and mounts on a bull (Nandi). As her mount is a bull, she is also known as Vrisharudha (वृषारूढ़ा).
या देवी सर्वभूतेषु माँ शैलपुत्री रूपेण संस्थिता।
नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः॥
Ya Devi Sarvabhuteshu Maa Shailaputri Rupena Samsthita।
Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah॥
As per the legend, Maa Shailaputri is an incarnation of Devi Sati – the daughter of King Daksha Prajapati, the son of Lord Bramha.
In her previous birth as Devi Sati, she had married Lord Shiva against her father – King Daksha’s wishes. As he did not consider Lord Shiva to be worthy groom for his beautiful and divine daughter.
Once, King Daksha hosted a grand religious congregation (Maha Yagna) and invited all Gods to attend but did not invite his daughter Sati and her groom – Lord Shiva.
When Sati got to know about this Maha Yagna, she decided to attend it. Lord Shiva tried explaining that King Daksha did not want them to be present for the Yagna, but Devi Sati insisted on attending the ceremony.
But as soon as Devi Sati reached her parents’ home, she realized that she was an unwelcome guest who none of the relatives were happy to see.
As that was not enough, King Daksha made some derogatory comments about Lord Shiva in front of all the guests.
Devi Sati could not bear this insult and immediately jumped into the sacrificial fire meant for the Maha Yagna and immolated herself.
As soon as this news reached Lord Shiva, he grew angry and immediately invoked Veerhadra – a ferocious form of Lord Shiva himself also held as a Shiva Gana.
Lord Shiva proceeded towards the Maha Yagna and beheaded King Daksha. Later, Lord Vishnu intervened and King Daksha was brought back to life with a goat’s head attached to his body.
Lord Shiva was still grief-stricken and carried Devi Sati’s half-burned body on his shoulders. He was unable to part with her and wandered endlessly about the world.
Lord Vishnu used his Sudarshan Chakra to severe Devi Sati’s dead body and parts of her body fell at different places. These places came to be known as Shakti-Peethas.
In her next birth, Devi Sati was born as the daughter of the God of Mountains – Himalaya. She was named Shailputri and was also known as Parvati in this incarnation.
In this incarnation Shailputri was resolute to get Lord Shiva back as her husband who she had lost in her previous birth as Devi Sati
With her passion, perseverance and prolonged path of penance, she could re-unite with Lord Shiva.
It is believed that the Moon, the provider of all fortunes, is governed by Maa Shailputri and any bad effect of the Moon can be overcome by worshipping this form of Adi Shakti.
वन्दे वाञ्छितलाभाय चन्द्रार्धकृतशेखराम्।
वृषारूढां शूलधरां शैलपुत्रीं यशस्विनीम्॥
Vande Vanchhitalabhaya Chandrardhakritashekharam।
Vrisharudham Shuladharam Shailaputrim Yashasvinim॥