Parvati is the Deity of the Moon. Although not a planet — actually a satellite of the Earth — the Moon is counted as one of the nine planets, the navagrahas. Moon is presiding deity of the Mind; Parvati is the deity of the Moon, and as we discover in the teachings of Sathya Sai Baba, is also the Deity for wisdom. Wisdom, Sophia, is a form of Mind-Management.
Sathya Sai Baba speaks about the Moon, the Mind, and Parvati
The Moon is the presiding deity of the mind; it must shine cool and comforting, eternally, in fullness, in the Hrudaya-akasha. The external material Moon waxes and wanes but the mind should be trained to stand up against modifications and moods. The internal Moon has no marks on it; it is ever full, it is always Full Moon for the victorious spiritual aspirant.
The mind spins a cocoon for the jeevi to be imprisoned in karma, which is the activity of maya, encloses the individual in its grip; it is the husk that makes the paddy seed grow and yield more paddy plants and more grains of paddy. Remove the husk and there is no more sprouting. The husk, karma, makes the jeevi (the individual) sprout and undergo the penance of vasanas and samskaras. You reward and punish yourself as the result of your own activities; you are here because you wished to come here; you gravitate to the level to which your deeds drag or lift you. You make your own future by your thoughts and desires and deeds.(17 July 1962)
Spiritual endeavour is an inescapable task for all
So too, you should accept your names, not as labels or means of identification or distinction, but as guides for conduct, as focuses for spiritual endeavour. Endeavour. That is the main thing, that is the inescapable task for all mortals. Even those who deny God today will have one day to tread the pilgrim road, melting their hearts out in tears of travail. If you make the slightest effort to progress along the path of liberation, the Lord will help you a hundred-fold. Shivaratri conveys that hope to you. The Moon, which is the presiding deity of the mind of man, wanes, until on the fourteenth day after Full Moon, it is just a tiny curve of glimmering glow. The mind too must be starved into that condition, so that man becomes free.
Spend all your days with Shiva and the conquest of the mind is easy. Spend the fourteenth day of the waning moon with Shiva, reaching the climax of spiritual effort on that final day, and success is yours. That is why all the Chaturdasis (Fourteenth days of the dark half of every month) are called Shivarathris (Shiva’s nights); that is why the Chaturdasi of the Magha month is called Maha Shivaraathri. This is a day of special dedication to Shiva, and since so many of you here and elsewhere pray to Shiva. The Linga is emanating from Me for you all to receive the grace and bliss of the great moment of Lingodhava (Bliss witnessing the emergence of Lingam from the Sai form). Prashanthi Nilayam, 4-3-1962
The affinity between the mind and the moon
Well, the night is dominated by the Moon. The Moon has 16 kalas or fractions; and each day when it wanes a fraction is reduced, until it is annihilated on Ncw Moon Night. After that, each day a fraction is added, until it completes itself on Full Moon Night. The Moon is the presiding deity of the Mind; “Chandramaa manaso jaathah”, (out of the Mind of the Purusha, [Godhead] the Moon was born). There is a close affinity between the manas (mind) and the Moon; both are subject to decline and progress. The waning of the Moon is the symbol for the waning of the mind; for the mind has to be controlled, reduced and finally destroyed. All Sadhana (spiritual effort) is directed towards this end. Manohara, the mind has to be killed, so that Maya (the veil of delusion) may be rent asunder and the reality revealed.
Every day during the dark half of the month, the Moon, and symbolically its counterpart in man, the manas, (mind) wane, and a fraction is diminished: its power declines. Finally, on the fourteenth night, Chathurdasi, there is just a wee bit left, that is all. If a little extra effort is made that day by the Sadhaka, even that bit can be wiped off and Manonigraha (mastery of the mind) completed. The Chathurdasi of the dark half is therefore called Sivarathri, for that night should be spent in the japa and dhyana of Siva, without any other thought either of food or sleep. Then success is assured, And, once a year, on Mahasivarathri night, a special spurt of spiritual activity is recommended, so that what is Shavam (corpse) can become Shivam (God) by the removal of this dross called Manas (mind).
Parvati is not fooled by appearances and has seen through duality
We are born out of and dependent upon anna (food). We cannot live for a moment without food. From where does this food come? It emanates from Lord Shankara, whose nature is infinite, who is unique, and whom neither the words can describe nor the mind can comprehend. All the objects that we see in this world are the creation of God. All that is visible — in the past, present and future — is God’s creation. Mother Parvati is the only individual who realised this truth. Before she married Shankara, all the Devatas (celestial beings) approached her and questioned her,
You are very young and Sambashiva is old;
He rides a bull and is constantly on the move;
He is adorned with snakes;
How did you court Him?
Don’t you know all this?
He has no house of His own and sleeps in the burial ground.
They confronted Parvati with these discouraging arguments and tried to dissuade her from marrying Lord Shiva.
Parvati replied, “You are all seeing the outward appearance of Lord Shiva and are deluded to think that it is His real form. You are not able to realise His true nature which is abhouthika (beyond the physical form), aloukika (other than worldly), and saswatha (eternal). You are concerned only about the beauty of the physical body and the wealth and prosperity in the worldly sense. Your vision is limited to the body, mind, and intellect. Hence, you are able to see only the physical aspects of Lord Shiva. You are not able to visualise His subtle nature immanent in Him, namely, Divinity. He is neither the body, nor the mind. He is Lingakara (His form resembles that of a Linga). However, that Linga is not visible to anyone. It is located in His kantha (throat). I am the only one who has seen His true form. That is why I want to marry Him. You are able to see only the physical form, that too to a certain extent. But God is not limited to this form. He is Anoraneeyan mahato maheeyan (subtler than the subtlest and vaster than the vastest). When you are able to visualise that cosmic form, you will not at all think about the physical form. You will not be concerned with His age. Lord Shiva, whom I am going to marry, is not the one begging for alms; in fact, He gives alms to all!”
Exactly at that moment, Lord Shiva manifested before her. He appeared as very beautiful and young. In fact, more youthful than Gowri. Lord Shiva and Parvati are a perfect match to each other. The Devatas were dumbfounded.
Thus, people are deluded to think something, but what ultimately happens is altogether different. Not all people can realise the inner Truth.
Worldly people aspire for physical beauty and happiness. But a truthful nature is essential to recognise the embodiments of Truth. No one can describe the nature of Divinity as this and that.
Is it possible to limit the One to a temple who pervades the entire cosmos?
How can one hold a lamp to the One
who shines with the brilliance of a billion suns?
How can one attribute a form to the One whom even
Brahma, the Creator, cannot comprehend?
How can one give a name to the One who is present in all beings?
How can one offer food to the One who has the entire cosmos in His belly?
God’s form is the subtlest. It is verily a minute form. (16 August 2006)
Why, even Pundits and men learned in the Sastras acquire their Jnana through the reverential homage they pay to the Feminine Deity, Saraswathi. The patron Deity of Vidya, as well as of Wealth and Jnana are all three feminine. They are Saraswathi, Lakshmi and Parvathi. Even in customary correspondence, when women are addressed, they are referred to as, “To … who is equal to Lakshmi” etc. You always speak of Mata-Pita, Gowri-Shankara, Lakshmi-Narayana, Seeta-Rama, Radha-Krishna etc. The feminine name comes first and then the masculine. From this itself you can gather how much reverence is paid to women here. (Prasnottara Vahini)
Body is Parvati and Atma is Easwara
There was a spiritual aspirant who used to repeat the mantra Sivoham as commanded by his guru. One day someone asked him the meaning of the mantra he was chanting. He said Sivoham meant “I am Siva”. But when questioned what his relationship with Parvati was, he slapped his own cheeks and said with a tone of having committed a great sin, “aparaadham! aparaadham!” (blasphemy). If he really had faith in the mantra he was chanting, he would have surely said, “Parvati is a part of my own being.” He could not say so as he was attached to his body. Attachment to the body leads to dualities because of which man is suffering.
Easwara and Parvati are present in every individual. The combination of these two aspects constitutes Manavatwam (mankind). Manava refers to human being. Ma means ‘not’, Nava means ‘new’: So mankind is not new, it is ancient and eternal. But you are not able to understand this truth. Here there are three letters: Ma-Na-Va. Ma means maya (illusion), Na means without, Va means Varthinchuta (to conduct oneself). He is a true human being who conducts himself without being under illusion. But today man is acting in a contradictory manner. At least from today try to understand the truth. Your deha (body) and desha (country) can be compared to object and reflection. Just as you safeguard your body, keep in mind the welfare of the nation too. Understand the true meaning and inner significance of Sivarathri.
Lord Shiva as half male-half female
The Lord of Kailasa has manifested his Divine form
with the crescent moon adorning his head,
with the cool water of the Ganga flowing between the matted locks,
with his radiant third eye in the middle of the forehead, and
with the purple neck gleaming like the sheen of a blackberry.
He wears serpent bracelets and a snake belt;
his entire body is smeared with vibhuti;
his forehead is adorned with a kumkum dot;
his ruddy lips aglow with the juice of the betel.
Diamond-studded gold earrings dangle from his ears, and
his whole body glows with divine effulgence.