What appeals to me the most about Hinduism is that one is allowed to doubt and question. In fact you will be surprised to learn that most of our scriptures are entirely conversations And discussions between Master and disciple.
The Bhagavad Geeta would not have been a Scripture of such excellence, in terms of knowledge and wisdom if, Arjun would not have challenged and questioned and questioned Krishna’s word over and over again. It is only in the last Chapter that Arjun asserted: ‘Nashto Mohaa…’ Arjun stated that his delusion was destroyed through the Lord’s Grace, He claimed that his doubts were now gone and he professed that he would now act according to Krishna’s advice. Note, that not once did Krishna express His displeasure at Arjuna’s constant arguments.
The Ramayan starts with Sati , the consort of Shivji wondering and questioning. She said to Shivji that she could not agree that Shri Ram was the Lord God Himself in whom Shivji had such intrinsic faith. How could Shri Ram be so disconsolate, when he lost Seeta and could not find her? How could he tearfully ask every tree and shrub where Seeta was? Sati scoffed and wondered aloud.
Though Shivji explained that that was the (Leela) sport of the Lord, Sati wanted to test it out for herself. So Sati impersonated Seeta and planted herself near Shri Ram. The latter addressed her as ‘Ma’ Sati had not managed to deceive the Lord Shri Ram. When Shivji asked Sati about her whereabouts, she lied to him.
It is said that Shivji , when he learnt that she had impersonated Ma Seeta, Could not accept her as a sexual mate. Shivji had nothing against the fact that she doubted or that she questioned. He was against her impersonation. The above is what we are mostly guilty of. We pretend to be that which we are not. That leads to lies, to those who we love And who have so much trust in us. We not only deceive others but ourselves. It is the above trespass that makes us incarnate again for another try.
That is the point that I am trying to make. The above is one of the reasons why Sati had to return as Parvati in her next incarnation. As Parvati, she again showed a desire to learn about the feats and greatness Of Shri Ram. Shivji, this time round was happy to comply with Parvati’s Divine Desire. That is how the Great Narration of the Ramayan began.
Once again there was a Divine Plan in action. One more time for the benefit of Humanity.
Allow me to first narrate to you the story of Sati. This story appears in the Shiv Puraana.
Sati’s father, King Daksha performed severe penance for 3000 years. The pleased goddess manifested before him and promised to take birth as his daughter Herself. When Sati or Gauri as she was named, grew up, she performed intense penance to attain Shivji as her husband.
Daksha was not very happy at Sati’s choice of husband. So Daksha did not invite Shivji and Gauri (Sati) to a great Yagna (Spiritual sacrifice) that he was about to perform. Sati, noting that all the celestial vehicles were headed towards her father’s place, felt peeved at the fact that she had received no invitation. She insisted on attending the function anyway, despite the disapproval of Shivji.
When Sati entered her parental palace, her father Daksha ignored her. To add insult to injury, Daksha proclaimed that his other daughters and their husbands were finer and more distinguished than Sati and Shivji and as such were more worthy of honour than Sati and Shivji.
The Goddess Sati approached the Sadas (The area of the site of sacrifice where the main priests sit.) She thundered: “Let all those who sit here give ear to the Mistress of the Universe. My husband, the Lord of Lords has been insulted for no good reason. No fault exists in Him. It is claimed in the Scriptures that those who steal knowledge, those who betray a Teacher and those who defile the Lord are great sinners and ought to be punished”.
After uttering these words, the offended Goddess threw herself in the glowing sacred fire. Daksha’s Yagna had been desecrated. A celebration turned into a funeral. The invitees disappeared afraid that they could be avenged. Shivji was enraged on learning that his wife had sacrificed herself. He created a being called Veerbhadra by tearing a lock of his hair. Mighty Veerbhadra tore off King Daksha’s head and tossed it into the same sacrificial fire.
However because it was proclaimed that the Yagna should not be left incomplete, the head of a sacrificial goat was placed on Daksha.
Lord Shiva was very sad at the death of Sati. He began to wander in the three nether worlds carrying the dead body of Sati in his arms. So violent was his stride that the universe began to tremble and there was suffering everywhere. In order to break this attachment of Shivji and to save the universe, Vishnu shot some arrows from his bow and cut the corpse of Sati into fifty one pieces. The pieces fell in 51 different parts of the country. These are known as Shakti Pithas.
Nine of these seats of the Deity have become very popular. It is believed that if these places of worship are visited with devotion, desires are fulfilled.
THE NINE SHRINES
1) Where the eyes of Sati are believed to have fallen is called: THE NAINA DEVI.
2) The feet of Sati fell in a place called Bharvain near Chintpurni. The shrine is called: THE CHINTAPURNI
3) The place which contains the tongue of Sati is called THE JWALAMUKHI. The Goddess in the Jwalamukhi temple appears as flames (Jyotis) These flames burn continuously. It is said that the Emperor Akbar and/or his soldiers tried to put off the fire So that these Hindu places of worship would be vanquished. Iron pans were affixed over the holy flames, but the fire lights burst through them. A canal was routed towards the shrine and water poured over the fire lights, but The flames remained unaffected. I myself have visited Jwalamukhi and seen the iron pans with a hole through which the flame burst through. I saw the eternal flame that boils the water and cooks the rice within an enclosure. Yet I touched the water and it was cold! I truly felt the Shakti of Ma in that place, together with the conviction that She is everywhere!
4) Where both the breasts of Sati are believed to have fallen is called: THE VAJRESHWARI DEVI
5) Where the left arm of Sati fell when Lord Vishnu shot an arrow is called: THE VAISHNO DEVI. (See The Story of Maa Vaishno Devi for more on this.)
6) The place where Goddess Durga killed 2 demons called Chanda and Munda is called:THE CHAMUNDA DEVI.(See Kali Maa for more on this.)
7) Where the forehead of Sati fell is called: THE MANSA DEVI.
8) The place where the head of Sati is believed to have fallen is called: THE SHAKUMBHARI DEVI.
9) The place which contains the hair of Sati is called: KALIKA DEVI