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Know why Goddess Parvati asked Lord Shiva’s sister Devi Asavari to leave Kailasha!

Hindu Mythology is full of incidents and stories that one can relate to their own life even today

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Lord Shiva. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

September 2, 2016: India is a multi-diversity country and despite people belonging to different castes, classes, traditions, ideas, values, and religions, they leave in harmony. Hindu Mythology is full of incidents and stories that one can relate to their own life even today. This shows how modern Hindu faith is. Amid all the stories, there is one about Lord Shiva and her unnamed sister, who he later named as Devi Asavari and that she was created by Shiva on his wife’s insistence.

India is a land where various legends and myths existed since, the very beginning. The same is applied for the Hindu Mythologies as people believed that these tales were only stories and they have no real life significance attached to it. What most of us missed is that apart from teach us the art of living, these texts also exposed the harsh realities of the dominant Patriarchal society, where people were exploited and discriminated on the basis of caste or gender. Here are few stories that will explain this better-

Lord Rama was not the first child born in the Kingdom of Ayodhya. In reality, he had an elder sister named Shanta who was abandoned and left by her father as she was a girl and not a boy. Thus, gender discrimination existed in the Indian civilisation from the beginning. – Ramayana

As according to Shiv Puranas, Lord Shiva had a sister too. Devi Asavari was created by Shiva on his wife’s insistence. As she used to miss her family madly when they were settled in Kailasha. Therefore, she requested her husband to give her a sister-like companion with whom she could share her feelings and emotions when she was lonely. She demanded this, as she was the only woman in the entire clan in Kailasha which was filled with men. Hence, Lord Shiva followed his wife’s plea on one condition that she would take care of her ‘sister -in -law’ very happily. To which, Parvati agreed.

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Soon, he created a woman similar to him with all his knowledge and power. According to various books, Devi Asavari was a very plump woman with long hair. She had cracked feet and thus, she used to wear nothing except animal skin.

After some time, Lord Shiva took his wife to his sister Devi Asavari and Parvati was overwhelmed with emotions to meet her for the first time. Devi Asavari used to eat a lot due to which the entire food storage of Kailasha was getting affected. Hence, Parvati became totally helpless and depressed as she could not meet the needs of Devi Asavari.

Devi Asavari was hard to control and very soon, Parvati got fed up with the increasing demands and rudeness of Asavari that she decided to break her promise of taking care of her sister-in-law forever. She asked forgiveness for the same from her husband.

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Therefore, Lord Shiva decided to instill his sister with some good etiquettes and then, marry her off. To which Parvati said, she has no problem with Asavari if she would behave properly with her. But, this time, her husband dismissed her suggestion saying that ” If you cannot have someone at their worst then, you must not have them at their best.” This shows that Lord Shiva was an epitome of righteousness since, he believed in giving a chance to his sister to change herself to have a better future, unlike his wife who desperately wanted a companion but, could not handle the difficult situations courageously.

– by Namra Zahid of NewsGram 

  • Antara

    Wow! Intriguing info!

  • Aakash Mandyal

    Our scriptures are rich in knowledge and as well as facinating too. They are not only the stories but have deep hidden meaning behind this

Next Story

Christmas and Controversies

The Christmas tree came from Germany, Christmas card from England, Santa from the USA, and secular celebrations started all over the world.

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Christmas was invented to convert people by appropriating pagan’s original practices with Christmas.

-By Bharti Raizada

Bharti Raizada
Bharti Raizada

To my knowledge, no other festival is as universal and controversial as Christmas.

As per M-W dictionary, the definition of Christmas is as follows:

“A Christian feast on December 25 or among some eastern orthodox Christians on January 7 that commemorates the birth of Christ and is usually observed as a legal holiday.”

Christ- Mas: is the church service that celebrates the birth of Jesus.

X- Mas: X is the Greek letter Chi that is a short form of the word Christ. In Greek, Christ’s name is Xristos. Therefore, X- mas is the same as Christ-mas. For some, X removes the religious aspect of Christmas by replacing Christ with X and this celebration then becomes more secular to them. You can fill X with anything you like.

People observe or celebrate Christmas in many different ways: religiously, in a secular way, or as a holiday. Some people do not pay any attention and become part of the Christmas in a mixed way.

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Christmas is celebrated every year to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ

Those who do not celebrate are either indifferent or wage a war against it.

Pagans are unhappy for Christianization of Saturnalia. Christians are complaining about paganization or secularization of Christmas. Some Christians believe that it is not their festival at all.

Actually, if we dig deep into it, we come to know that Christ’s birthday and life have been surrounded with assumptions. There is controversy whether he was Jewish or Christian; and whether Jews or Romans crucified him.

Contrasts between Hinduism and Christmas

Now, before we go further into the roots of this topic, let us take a glance at Christmas from the Hindu point of view. Here is how I would summarize a few contrasting points.

  1. Trees are sacred to Hindus. We worship them and believe that Devi, Devtas, or Bhagwan (God) live in them. We do not believe in cutting trees at mass level and bring cut trees inside our home for decoration purposes. We do not believe in the sacrifice of living beings/trees.
  2. We have all four kinds of weather and many varieties of trees but the Christmas tree is typically not found in India.
  3. Chimney is not a common architectural entity in Indian households. Hindu children typically touch the feet of elders, in morning, and get gift of blessings every day. The focus of secular Christmas celebration is expectation of a gift by Santa. Materialism and expectation of gift is not a central part of any Hindu celebration. Hindus give gifts on many occasions but expecting a gift from someone is not a primary theme of any celebration.

    Christmas
    The tree has pagan origins but now it represents Christian beliefs.
  4. Hindus go by facts. Hindu scriptures have a birth date for Ram and Krishn. Christmas celebration is based on an assumption- the assumption that December 25 is the birthday of Jesus.
  5. In Hinduism, one is not a sinner by birth and therefore does not depend on Jesus to save him or her. We all are part of the supreme divinity.
  6. Jesus died in place of all other humans so that they can live, i.e., he rescued humanity. We believe inkarma and therefore do not need Jesus for salvation. Someone else cannot own our sins and give us Moksha. Moksha is attained individually.
  7. Vegetarianism is a common theme in Hinduism. Christmas feasts in church typically include meat and alcoholic beverages.
  8. Hindus have so many festivals. It is not an exaggeration to say that every day is an occasion or festival for Hindus. We do not need more from other religions.

Christmas was invented to convert people by appropriating pagan’s original practices with Christmas. We know, the birth of Christ is not that important to Christians as his Resurrection. Protestants/Puritans do not even consider Christmas as their festival. Initially, the agenda of this celebration was conversion by assimilation.

 When we adopt festivals and traditions, which are not our own, it dilutes our own traditions and festivals and slowly our celebrations are replaced and become obsolete. Additionally, it does not take long (takes only a few generations) to lose our own practices.

Why do some Hindus celebrate Christmas?

  1. While Hindus do not believe in Jesus and Christianity, they get attracted to the holiday by the decorated trees, lights, and Santa. They take pictures, share them on social media, and may inadvertently give the false impression that they believe in Jesus.
  2. Some celebrate it just to show that they are secular and tolerant of other religions.
  3. Some who live in Christian dominated societies celebrate it for the inadvertent fear of exclusion, or to become a part of the process.
  4. Some do not think about it much and take it in a neutral/secular/holiday way. They believe in going by the flow.

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    Puritans worked hard to stop Christmas celebrations.

Questions/ Observations:

  1. In USA, the Church and State are separate. Still, Christmas trees shows up in all public places, schools, and government buildings. Is there any explanation for this? If almost all government offices celebrate Christmas, then how are the State and Church/religion separate?

How is it democratic and gives equal rights when non-Christian children also have to do Christmas activities in schools?

How can one avoid this festival in Christian dominated areas? There are decorations, trees, Santa everywhere, in public places, official buildings, schools, malls, zoos, movie theaters, hospitals, parks.

You can choose not to celebrate it in your own home but you cannot close your eyes when you go out.

  1. Christians do whatever the Bible says and the Bible does not give ‘instructions’ to celebrate the birth of Jesus. They have written commandments, everything else is against Christianity. Bible has no Christmas tree and no date for the birth of Jesus. So, is this celebration a violation of the Bible?
  2. Many people greet others using phrases like ‘Happy Holidays’, ‘Season’s Greetings’, Merry Christmas, Jesus is the reason, Happy HOLYdays? Does Christmas become secular by saying Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings?
  3. Are people forgetting the Christ’ birth part or real reason for Christmas and is it all traveling, feasting, gift exchange or gift giving, tree, decorations, Santa etc.?
  4. How is it justified to cut trees for decoration?
  5. If (religious) minorities cannot mingle with the majority and celebrate their festivals, should majority stop celebrating their festivals?
  6. By teaching your children not to celebrate Christmas, are you inadvertently making them more intolerant towards other people’s beliefs? If your own religion has a solid foundation, why are you scared of learning or teaching other religions or beliefs? Are you scared that you will start facing questions, which you cannot answer?
  7. How does Santa get so much money to donate? What does he do to earn? How does he choose good or bad children? What are the criteria? Is he better than parents are, as he gives gifts? Is it okay to cheat children and give them false information that gifts are from Santa? For how long this lie is going to survive and what happens when they come to know the truth? What is the long-term effect on children who do not behave well and still get a gift from Santa/parents? Do they start believing that they can get away with anything with no consequences? Is it discrimination by Santa to give gifts to good children only?

To answer some of these questions we need to know the history and take part in healthy discussions. A clear understanding of the festival and facts can make a solid foundation of the decision to celebrate or not.

Christmas
Saturnalia is a pagan celebration to honor the god Saturn, as the name Saturnalia itself indicates.

What were the ways of Celebrations before Christmas?

Before Chistmas was ‘invented’, people all over the world used to celebrate the coming of long days in different ways. For example, people in Norse celebrated the festival Yuletide. People carried the biggest Yule log to their home and set it on fire. It gave warmth in cold days and sparks of fire represented new lives to arrive in spring. Because of daily sacrifices, food was abundant. Festivities went on for days, until the log kept burning, usually 10 to 12 days. Evil spirits stayed outside in dark and cold weather. Sacred Evergreen trees kept inside were worshiped. Evergreen represented the natural symbol of life when everything else was dead or inactive in dark and cold winters.

Mistletoe is a ceremony in which the Mistle tree is cut to make an elixir, which is supposed to increase life and fertility, and works as an aphrodisiac. Mistle is a magical, sacred plant. It grows on oak trees, symbolizes peace, and wards off evil spirits.

Saturnalia is a pagan celebration to honor the god Saturn, as the name Saturnalia itself indicates. It is a weeklong festival in December when days are very cold, dark, and gloomy. People stay inside and celebrate. They sacrifice many cattle so that they do not have to feed them in winter when it is hard to go out for food. Because of the slaughtering of cattle, there is a lot of meat, so feasting is a major part of the celebration. Holly bushes hung on doors ward off evil spirits. Role reversal occurs. Masters behave like servers; one chosen person from lower status becomes ruler for the duration of the festival. He enjoys all the freedom and good meals and at the end of the celebration, his sacrifice happens. Juvenilia is the same festival for children.

 Saturnalia culminates in Winter Solstice on December 25. It is the birthday of unconquered Sun God Mithra. People honor his strength and power. It represents the end of long, dark nights and beginning of bright days.

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Christmas trees shows up in all public places, schools, and government buildings.

Origin of Christmas:

Initially, Christians celebrated only the Resurrection of Jesus, not his birth. To them, Easter was more important. They believe that Jesus died in place of all other humans so that they can live i.e. he rescued humanity. For them, his work during his life and his death for saving others are more important than his birth.

During financially hard times, in ancient Rome, the Roman king ordered everyone to come to the city and pay taxes. Mary and Joseph (from Lineage of King David) also went there and Mary gave a virgin birth to Jesus. Many believe that it was spring season as days were not cold; shepherds were outside in the field with their livestock, and people from faraway places were traveling to the city. One speculation is that Jesus was born in September; therefore, Mary must have conceived him in December, probably on December 25. As life starts with conception, not at delivery, the Church decided his birthdate as December 25.

The Bible does not mention Jesus’s birthday. It was the Church which decided that