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Tm: contradictions which pervade all the parts of the Hindu mythology are so strongly opposed to every thing in the shape of a consistent relation, that the farther we proceed, the more perplexed we become to reconcile every fresh legend with the fables already related. In the account of the creation, I have mentioned that the goddess Bhavani (or nature) divided herself into three females, for the purpose of marrying her three sons, Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva; to the last of whom she united herself under the name of Parvati. Other accounts make Parvati the daughter of Brahma, in his earthly form (or avatar) of Daksha, named Suti.
After her marriage with Siva, a dispute arose between that god and Daksha; who not only refused to invite his son-in-law to a feast given in honour of the immortals, but reviled him in terms which roused the indignation of Siva, and pierced the tender and affectionate bosom of Suti, who first resented, and then sank under the contumely; for, on hearing Daksha term him a wandering mendicant, a bearer of skulls, a delighter in cemeteries, a contemner of divine ceremonies and unfit for the society of the gods, she took the part of her husband; and true to the Hindu creed, that when a virgin marries she leaves for ever her father’s house, gave Daksha a memorable lecture in return, which would be too long to insert here, and might moreover prove a dangerous specimen of eloquence to some new-married ladies; who, in their zeal, might not always wait for proper occasions to
exercise themselves in the recitation of it. I must, therefore, content myself with simply noticing the incident.
Having defended her lord against parental slander and malignity, the sorrowful Suti retired to the banks of the sacred waters of the Ganges, and yielded up her life on the altar of domestic affliction. Siva was inconsolable for the loss of his lovely and affectionate wife. On beholding her lifeless form his senses forsook him; frequent fainting fits ensued; he clasped her to hisbosom, pressed his lips to hers, called on her in the bitterness of his anguish to reappear to him, doubted the reality of her death, till again too fatally convinced of his inevitable loss, he became overwhelmed with grief and despair, and finally sank down overcome by anguish and fatigue. In this state he was found by Vishnu, Brahma, and the other gods, who were not a little astonished at such an exhibition of godlike and intolerable woe. The immortal Vishnu shed tears, and attempted to console him, by telling him that nothing was real in this world, but that every thing was altogether maya, or illusion. Siva, rejecting this consolatory admonition, joined his tears to those of Vishnu; and thus united, they formed a lake, which became a celebrated place of pilgrimage.‘ At length the beauteous form of Suti reappeared before them, and with a heavenly smile exhorted the now delighted Siva to be comforted, as she had been again born as the daughter of Himavan, the ruler of the mountains, and Mena, and would never more be separated from him. The transitions from the bitterness of insupportable grief to unexpected happiness are at first tumultuous: but exhausted nature soon seeks that soft and halcyon repose, whose charm is throned in the heart, far beyond the sacrilegious reach of either the tongue or the hand of man. I must, therefore, content myself with saying, that after some due preparations, Siva and Suti, as Parvati, were reunited, and appear to have lived as happily together as married folks usually do : that is, sometimes in a state of inexpressible bliss, sometimes in inefi'able indifference, and sometimes involved in a matrimonial thunder-cloud, the veil of which we ought not, if we could, to attempt to penetrate. On the first of these occasions they spent their time in heavenly dalliance on Mount Kailasa,‘—
* Colonel Vans Kennedy's Researches.
“ Above the stretch of mortal ken,
On bless’d Kailasa"s top, where every stem
Glowed with a vegetable gem,
Mahesa sate, the dread and joy of men.
While Parvati, to gain a boon,
Fix’d on his locks a beamy moon,
And hid his frontal eye, in jocund play,
With reluctant sweet delay.
All nature straight was lock’d in dim eclipse,
Till Brahmans pure, with hallowed lips
And warbled prayers, restored the day;
\Vhen Gunga from his brow, by heavenly fingers prest,
Sir William Jones’s Hymn to Gunga.
Had Siva been content to have remained, like the exemplary benedicts of this thrice felicitous and favoured isle, becomingly at home, and not have wandered abroad at unseasonable hours, things would have gone on between them as they should have done, and the portentous clouds to which I have alluded (which often alarmed even the gods), would not, in all probability, have appeared. But such matters are considered by the rulers of the universe of very slight importance, and both the reader and myself must be satisfied to take them as we actually find them, without adopting the Quixotic undertaking of attempting to make them better.
Before going farther into the life of Parvati, I must observe, on the authority of Mr. Patterson, that when Vishnu beheld Siva dancing about franticly with the deceased form of Suti in his arms, he cut it into fifty-one pieces; which Siva, who still continued in his frenzy, scattered in different parts of the earth. These spots he afterwards ordained to be places of worship, to his own and his energy’s peculiar emblems. Daksha, who had been slain by Vira Badra, in consequence of the death of Suti was restored to life, but with the head of a goat, on condition of his adopting the doctrines of Siva.
'* The terrestrial abode of Siva and Parvati is the Himalaya mountain. M