Once upon a time, two demons Shumbha and Nishumba performed severe penances in order to please Lord Brahma. After performing austere meditation, they could please Brahma who blessed them saying that no males will ever be able to slay them. Later on, the demons puffed by such divine powers began devising their immoral schemes to lord it over the world at any cost. As a result, the entire earthly planet came under their ruthless laws that oppressed the innocent. However, this act of subduing the world proved to be insufficient, they then started for celestial planets where the demigods resided. Upon reaching there, they challenged the demigods and threatened to drive them out; indeed Shumbha and Nishumba did what they declared. Seeing their divine abodes deserted by the demons, the demigods went to Lord Brahma at once.
Upon hearing their grievances, Lord Brahma became aggrieved and immediately went to Lord Shiva who was in deep meditation at the Kailash Mountain.
Brahma informing Lord Shiva on the demons' divine powers that made them invincible against male powers asked him to find a way to kill them. Brahma suggested that a female power be born of Goddess Parvati's body that can slay the demons at once.
'Yes I will.' replied Shiva.
Later, when Shiva addressed Parvati as Kali, she felt enraged as kali means black or dark. She said: Why did you marry me if you thought I was so dark? Why do you pretend to love me? Cursed is the woman who is not loved by her husband. I am going to perform an austere tapasya (penance) so that I may become fair. I am going to pray to Brahma.
For years, Goddess Parvati performed her penance faithfully in a secluded glade in jungle. One day, a tiger emerged out of the dense forest and saw her in deep meditation. He was of evil nature. Hoping to have a meal from her, he stationed himself right in front of her.
Goddess Parvati through her divine powers sensed the presence of a tiger and thought that the tiger, being one of her devotees, is guarding her from dangerous beasts. With mystic powers, she entered his soul, vanishing all of his animalistic thoughts. Meanwhile, Brahma arrived to find out where Parvati was meditating. Parvati said that she wanted to become Gouri; someone who was fair. She was sick and tired of being addressed as kali. Brahma finally granted the boon.
Parvati shed off all the dark cells (kosha) from her body became Gouri. From the cells emerged a dark-hued goddess named Koushiki. Parvali handed over Koushiki to Brahma. Endowed with weapons by Brahma, Koushiki killed Shumbha and Nishumbha, saving the heavens of demigods. Parvati returned to her husband as Gouri. When she inquired from Lord Shiva about the tiger, Shiva said that He turned the tiger into a man who was then employed by Nandi as one of the guards, naming him. Somanandi.
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Article Written by Neeta Singhal
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