Paintings/Realistic · The story of Shiv Parvathi

Austerities – Autumn and Winter

Austerities - Autumn and Winter


Arches HP 300gsm half sheet, Schminke Artists watercolors.


The following lines are written by Kalidasa and translated by Arthur W Ryder:


Scorched by the fury of the noon-tide rays,
And fires that round her burned with ceaseless blaze,
Summer passed o’er her : rains of Autumn came
And throughly drenched the lady’s tender frame.



There as she lay upon her rocky bed,
No sumptuous roof above her gentle head,
Dark Night, her only witness, turned her eyes,
lied lightnings flashing from the angry skies,
And gazed upon her voluntary pain,
In wind, in sleet, in thunder, and in rain.
Still lay the maiden on the cold damp ground,
Though blasts of winter hurled their snows around.
Still pitying in her heart the mournful fate
Of those poor birds, so fond, so desolate,
Doomed, hapless pair, to list each other’s moan
Through the long hours of night, sad and alone.

Chilled by the rain, the tender lotus sank :
She filled its place upon the streamlet’s bank.
Sweet was her breath as when that lovely flower
Sheds its best perfume in still evening’s hour.
Red as its leaves her lips of coral hue :
Red as those quivering leaves they quivered too.

Of all stern penance it is called the chief
To nourish life upon the fallen leaf.
But even this the ascetic maiden spurned,
And for all time a glorious title earned.
Aparna Lady of the unbroken fast
Have sages called her, saints who knew the past.
Fair as the lotus fibres, soft as they,
In these stern vows she passed her night and day.
No mighty anchoret had e’er essayed
The ceaseless penance of this gentle maid.

There came a hermit : reverend was he
As Brahmanhood’s embodied sanctity.
With coat of skin, with staff and matted hair,
His face was radiant, and he spake her fair.
Up rose the maid the holy man to greet,
And humbly bowed before the hermit’s feet.
Though meditation fill the pious breast,
It finds a welcome for a glorious guest :

Flowers · Paintings/Realistic · The story of Shiv Parvathi

Beginning of Parvathi’s Austerities


Half sheet Arches HP 300 gsm. Schminke Artist’s watercolors.

Poinciana pulcherrima (orange red) – Fire  (does not fear any obstacle)

Poinciana pulcherrima (bright yellow) – Fire in the mind (an ardour that sets ideas ablaze!)

   God Indra sends the god of love, Kama to ensnare Shiva but Shiva opens his third eye and burns him to ashes and disappears from the spot. Parvathi, in grief vows to undergo penance to win him over. This is when she gets the name of  ‘Uma’ meaning ‘Oh! donot’, her mother’s exclamation after learning about her vow.


      Translation by Sri Aurobindo describing the rising of the demon Taraka:

But now in spheres above whose motions fixed

Confirm our cyclic steps, a cry arose

Anarchic. Strange disorders threatened Space.

There was a tumult in the calm abodes,

A clash of arms, a thunder of defeat.

Hearing that sound our smaller physical home

Trembled in its pale circuits. Fearing soon

The ethereal revolt might touch its stars.

Then were these knots of our toy orbits torn

And like a falling leaf this world might sink

From the high tree mysterious where it hangs

Between that voiceful and this silent flood.

For long a mute indifference had seized

The Lord of all; no more the Mother of forms

By the persuasion of her clinging arms

Bound him to bear the burden of her works.

Therefore with a slow dreadful confidence

Chaos had lifted his gigantic head.

His movement stole, a shadow on the skies,

Out of the dark inconscience where he hides.

 Breaking the tread of the eternal dance

Voices were heard life’s music shudders at,

Thoughts were abroad no living mind can bear,

Enormous rhythms had disturbed the gods

Of which they knew not the stupendous law,

And taking new amorphous giant shapes

Desires the primal harmonies repel

Fixed dreadful eyes upon their coveted heavens.

Awhile they found no form could clothe their strength,

No spirit who could brook their feet of fire

Gave them his aspirations for their home.

Only in the invisible heart of things

A dread unease and expectation lived,

Which felt immeasurable energies

In huge revolt against the established world.

But now awake to the fierce nether gods

Tarak the Titan rose; and the gods fled

Before him driven in a luminous rout.

Rumours of an unalterable defeat

Astonished heaven. Like a throng of stars

Drifting through night before the clouds of doom,

Like golden leaves hunted by dark-winged winds

They fled back to their old delightful seats,

Nor there found refuge. Bent to a Titan yoke

They suffered, till their scourged defeated thoughts

Turned suppliants to a greater seat above.

There the Self-born who weaves from his deep heart

Harmonious spaces, sits concealed and watches

The inviolable cycles of his soul.



Translation by Arthur W. Ryder; Brahma’s reply to the Gods’ adress,

Were Bkahma’s words : “Gods, I have heard your grief;

Wait ye in patience : time will bring relief.

‘Tis not for me, my children, to create

A chief to save you from your mournful fate.

Not by my hand the fiend must be destroyed,

For my kind favour has he once enjoyed ;

And well ye know that e’en a poisonous tree

By him who planted it unharmed should be.

He sought it eagerly, and long ago

I gave my favour to your demon-foe,

And stayed his awful penance, that had hurled

Flames, death, and ruin o’er the subject world.

When that great warrior battles for his life,

0, who may conquer in the deadly strife,

Save one of Siva’s seed ? He is the light,

Eeigning supreme beyond the depths of night.

Nor I, nor Vishnu, his full power may share,

Lo, where he dwells in solitude and prayer !

Go, seek the Hermit in the grove alone,

And to the God be Uma’s beauty shown.

Perchance, the Mountain-child, with magnet’s force,

May turn the iron from its steadfast course,

Bride of the mighty God ; for only she

Can bear to Him as water bears to me.

Then from their love a mighty Child shall rise,

And lead to war the armies of the skies.

Freed by his hand, no more the heavenly maids
Shall twine their glittering hair in mournful braids.”

He spake, and vanished from their wondering sight ;
And they sped homeward to their world of light.


Indra goes to love-god:
But Indra, still on Brahma’s words intent,
To Kama’s dwelling-place his footsteps bent.
Swiftly he came : the yearning of his will
Made Indra’s lightning course more speedy still.
The Love-God, armed with flowers divinely sweet,
In lowly homage bowed before his feet.
Around his neck, where bright love-tokens clung,
Arched like a maiden’s brow, his bow was hung,
And blooming Spring, his constant follower, bore
The mango twig, his weapon famed of yore.


Kama replies:

Lay, Indra, lay thy threatening bolt aside :
My gentle darts shall tame the haughtiest pride,
And all that war with heaven and thee shall know
The magic influence of thy Kama’s bow ;


Kama and Rati speed to Shiva:

On came the Archer-God, and at his side
The timid Rati, his own darling bride,

In his left hand a branch of gold he bore.
He touched his lip for silence : ” Peace ! be still !
Nor mar the quiet of this holy hill.”
He spake : no dweller of the forest stirred,
No wild bee murmured, hushed was every bird.
Still and unmoved, as in a picture stood
All life that breathed within the waving wood.

As some great monarch when he goes to war
Shuns the fierce aspect of a baleful star,
So Kama hid him from the Hermit’s eye,
And sought a path that led unnoticed by,
Where tangled flowers and clustering trailers spread
Their grateful canopy o’er Siva’s head.
Bent on his hardy enterprise, with awe
The Three-eyed Lord great Penitent he saw.


There sate the God beneath a pine-tree’s shade,

Where on a mound a tiger’s skin was laid.

Absorbed in holiest thought, erect and still,

The Hermit rested on the gentle hill.

His shoulders drooping down, each foot was bent

Beneath the body of the Penitent.

With open palms the hands were firmly pressed,

As though a lotus lay upon his breast.

A double rosary in each ear, behind

With wreathing serpents were his locks entwined.

His coat of hide shone blacker to the view

Against his neck of brightly beaming blue.

How wild the look, how terrible the frown

Of his dark eyebrows bending sternly down !

How fiercely glared his eyes’ unmoving blaze

Fixed in devotion’s meditating gaze !

Calm as a full cloud resting on a hill,

A waveless lake when every breeze is still,

Like a torch burning in a sheltered spot,

So still was He, unmoving, breathing not.

So full the stream of marvellous glory poured
From the bright forehead of that mighty Lord,
Pale seemed the crescent moon upon his head,
And slenderer than a slender lotus thread.
At all the body’s nine-fold gates of sense
He had barred in the pure Intelligence,

To ponder on the Soul which sages call
Eternal Spirit, highest, over all.

How sad was Kama at the awful sight,
How failed his courage in a swoon of fright !
As near and nearer to the God he came
Whom wildest thought could never hope to tame,
Unconsciously his hands, in fear and woe,
Dropped the sweet arrows and his flowery bow.

But Uma came with all her maiden throng,
And Kama’s fainting heart again was strong ;
Bright flowers of spring, in every lovely hue,
Around the lady’s form rare beauty threw.
Some clasped her neck like strings of purest pearls,
Some shot their glory through her wavy curls.
Bending her graceful head as half- oppressed
With swelling charms even too richly blest,
Fancy might deem that beautiful young maiden
Some slender tree with its sweet flowers o’erladen.
From time to time her gentle hand replaced
The flowery girdle slipping from her waist :
It seemed that Love could find no place more fair,
So hung his newest, dearest bowstring there.
A greedy bee kept hovering round to sip
The fragrant nectar of her blooming lip.
She closed her eyes in terror of the thief,
And beat him from her with a lotus leaf.

The angry curl of Rati’s lip confessed
The shade of envy that stole o’er her breast.
Through Kama’s soul fresh hope and courage flew,
As that sweet vision blessed his eager view.
So bright, so fair, so winning soft was she,
Who could not conquer in such company .?

Now Uma came, fair maid, his destined bride,
With timid steps approaching Siva’s side.
In contemplation will he brood no more,
He sees the Godhead, and his task is o’er.
He breathes, he moves, the earth begins to rock,
The Snake, her bearer, trembling at the shock.

Due homage then his own dear servant paid,
And told him of the coming of the maid.
He learnt his Master’s pleasure by the nod,
And led Himalaya’s daughter to the God.
Before his feet her young companions spread
Fresh leaves and blossoms as they bowed the head,
While Uma stooped so low, that from her hair
Dropped the bright flower that starred the midnight there.
To him whose ensign bears the bull she bent,
Till each spray fell, her ear’s rich ornament.
” Sweet maid,” cried Siva, ” surely thou shalt be
Blessed with a husband who loves none but thee ! ”

Her fear was banished, and her hope was high :
A God had spoken, and Gods cannot lie.

Kash as some giddy moth that wooes the flame,
Love seized the moment, and prepared to aim.
Close by the daughter of the Mountain-King,
He looked on Siva, and he eyed his string.


While with her radiant hand fair UmA gave
A rosary, of the lotuses that lave
Their beauties in the heavenly Ganga’s wave,
And the great Three-Eyed God was fain to take
The offering for the well-loved suppliant’s sake,
On his bright bow Love placed the unerring dart,
.The soft beguiler of the stricken heart.

Like the Moon’s influence on the sea at rest,
Came passion stealing o’er the Hermit’s breast,
While on the maiden’s lip that mocked the dye
Of ripe red fruit, he bent his melting eye.
And oh ! how showed the lady’s love for him,
The heaving bosom, and each quivering limb !
Like young Kadambas, when the leaf-buds swell,
At the warm touch of Spring they love so well.
But still, with downcast eyes, she sought the ground,
And durst not turn their burning glances round.

Then with strong effort, Siva lulled to rest,
The storm of passion in his troubled breast,

And seeks, with angry eyes that round him roll,
Whence came the tempest o’er his tranquil soul.
He looked, and saw the bold young archer stand,
His bow bent ready in his skilful hand,
Drawn towards the eye ; his shoulder well depressed,
And the left foot thrown forward as a rest.

Then was the Hermit-God to madness lashed,
Then from his eye red flames of fury flashed.
So changed the beauty of that glorious brow,
Scarce could the gaze support its terror now..

Hark ! heavenly voices sighing through the air :
” Be calm, great Siva, be calm and spare ! ”
Alas ! that angry eye’s resistless flashes
Have scorched the gentle King of Love to ashes !

But Rati saw not, for she swooned away ;
Senseless and breathless on the earth she lay ;
Sleep while thou mayst, unconscious lady, sleep !
Soon wilt thou rise to sigh and wake to weep.

E’en as the red bolt rives the leafy bough,
So Siva smote the hinderer of his vow ;
Then fled with all his train to some lone place
Far from the witchery of a female face.

Sad was Himalaya’s daughter : grief and shame
O’er the young spirit of the maiden came :

Grief for she loved, and all her love was vain ;
Shame she was spurned before her youthful train.
She turned away, with fear and woe oppressed,
To hide her sorrow on her father’s breast ;
Then, in the fond arms of her pitying sire,
Closed her sad eyes for fear of Siva’s ire.
Still in his grasp the weary maiden lay,
While he sped swiftly on his homeward way.


Parvathi laments:

Now woe to Uma, for young Love is slain,
Her Lord hath left her, and her hope is vain.
Woe, woe to Uma ! how the Mountain-Maid
Cursed her bright beauty for its feeble aid !
‘Tis Beauty’s guerdon which she loves the best,
To bless her lover, and in turn be blest.

Penance must aid her now or how can she
Win the cold heart, of that stern deity ?
Penance, long penance : for that power alone
Can make such love, so high a Lord, her own.

But, ah ! how troubled was her mother’s brow
At the sad tidings of the mourner’s vow !
She threw her arms around her own dear maid,
Kissed, fondly kissed her, sighed, and wept, and prayed

” Are there no Gods, my child, to love thee here ?
Frail is thy body, yet thy vow severe.

The lily, by the wild bee scarcely stirred,
Bends, breaks, and dies beneath the weary bird.”

Fast fell her tears, her prayer was strong, but
That prayer was weaker than her daughter’s will.
Who can recall the torrent’s headlong force,
Or the bold spirit in its destined course ?

She sent a maiden to her sire, and prayed
He for her sake would grant some bosky shade,
That she might dwell in solitude, and there
Give all her soul to penance and to prayer.
In gracious love the great Himalaya smiled,
And did the bidding of his darling child.
Then to that hill which peacocks love she came,
Known to all ages by the lady’s name.


Parvathi begins her penance:

Alas ! her weary vow has caused to fade
The lovely colours that adorned the maid.
Pale is her hand, and her long finger-tips
Steal no more splendour from her paler lips,
Or, from the ball which in her play would rest,
Made bright and fragrant, on her perfumed breast.
Eough with the sacred grass those hands must be,
And worn with resting on her rosary.
Cold earth her couch, her canopy the skies,
Pillowed upon her arm the lady lies :
She who before was wont to rest her head
In the soft luxury of a sumptuous bed,
Vext by no troubles as she slumbered there,
But sweet flowers slipping from her loosened hair.
The maid put off, but only for awhile,
Her passioned glances and her witching smile.
She lent the fawn her moving, melting gaze,
And the fond creeper all her winning ways.


The trees that blossomed on that lonely mount
She watered daily from the neighbouring fount :
If she had been their nursing mother, she
Could not have tended them more carefully.
Not e’en her boy her own bright boy shall stay
Her love for them : her first dear children they.
Her gentleness had made the fawns so tame,
To her kind hand for fresh sweet grain they came,
And let the maid before her friends compare
Her own with eyes that shone as softly there.

Then came the hermits of the holy wood
To see the votaress in her solitude ;
Grey elders came ; though young the maid might seem,
Her perfect virtue must command esteem.
They found her resting in that lonely spot,
The fire was kindled, and no rite forgot.
In hermit’s mantle was she clad ; her look
Fixt in deep thought upon the Holy Book.
So pure that grove : all war was made to cease,
And savage monsters lived in love and peace.
Pure was that grove : each newly built abode
Had leafy shrines where fires of worship glowed.


Many thanks to SunnyJon for the reference of the deer contributed in the RIL of

Paintings/Realistic · The story of Shiv Parvathi

Parvathi offering flowers to Lord Shiva

Shiv Parvathi


So had they met on the summits of the world.

Like the still spirit and its unawakened force

Near were they now, yet to each other unknown,

He meditating, she in service bowed.

Closing awhile her vast and shadowy wings

Fate over them paused suspended on the hills.


               Painted on Arches 300gsm HP half sheet; Schminke Artists watercolors.

               The story continues like this…  Lord Shiva is mourning the loss of his wife, Sati devi and the poet asks ‘He who gives the fruits to all austerities, with what deep desire is He in meditation yoked?’ 

               Meanwhile,  Sage Narada fortells that Parvathi would be wedded to the Almighty God, Shiva; hearing this, her father’s (Himaloy’s) heart leaps with joy but he dares not approach Him for such a boon. So he sends his daughter to the Lord to serve him. She goes along with her maids/friends and offers him flowers and holy water morn, noon and eve; plucks and heaps the sacred kusha grass and sweeps the altar of the divine fire.


The sages ranging at their will the stars

Saw her and knew that this indeed was she

Who must become by love the beautiful half

Of the Almighty’s body and be all

His heart. This from earth’s seers of future things

Himaloy heard and his proud hopes contemned

All other than the greatest for her spouse.

Yet dared he not provoke that dangerous boon

Anticipating its unwakened hour,

But seated in the grandeur of his hills

Like a great soul curbing its giant hopes,

A silent sentinel of destiny,

He watched in mighty calm the wheeling years

She like an offering waited for the fire,

Prepared by Time for her approaching lord.


But the great Spirit of the world forsaken

By that first body of the Mother of all,             

Not to her second birth yet come, abode

In crowded worlds ascetic, stern,

And passionless and unespoused,

The Master of the animal life absorbed

In dreamings, wandering with his demon hordes,

Desireless in the blind desire of things.

At length like sculptured marble still he paused,

To meditation yoked. With ashes smeared

Clothed in the skin of beasts

He sat a silent shape upon the hills.

Below him curved Himadri’s slope; a soil

With fragrance of the musk-deer odorous |         

Was round, and there the awful Splendour mused.

Mid cedars sprinkled with the sacred dew

Of Ganges, softly murmuring their chants

In streams subdued the Kinnar minstrels sang.

Where oil-filled slabs were clothed in resinous herbs,

His grisly hosts sat down, their bodies stained

With mineral unguents; bark their ill-shaped limbs

Clad and their tremendous hands

Around their ears had wreathed the hillside’s flowers.

On the white rocks compact of frozen snow

His great bull voicing loud immortal pride

Pawed with his hoof the argent soil to dust.

Alarmed the bisons fled his gaze; he bellowed

Impatient of the mountain lion’s roar.

Concentrating his world-vast energies,

He who gives all austerities their fruits

Built daily his eternal shape of flame,

In what impenetrable and deep desire ?

The worship even of gods he reckons not

Who on no creature leans; yet worship still

To satisfy his awe the mountain paused

And gave his daughter the great Soul to serve.

She brought him daily offerings of flowers

And holy water morn and noon and eve

And swept the altar of the divine fire

And plucking heaped the outspread sacred grass,

Then showering1 over his feet her falling locks

Drowned all her soft fatigue of gentle toils

In the cool moonbeams from the Eternal’s head.

Though to austerity of trance a peril

The touch of beauty, he repelled her not

Surrounded by all sweetness in the world

He can be passionless in his large mind,

Austere, unmoved, creation’s silent king.

So had they met on the summits of the world.

Like the still spirit and its unawakened force

Near were they now, yet to each other unknown,

He meditating, she in service bowed.

Closing awhile her vast and shadowy wings

Fate over them paused suspended on the hills.

Paintings/Realistic · The story of Shiv Parvathi

Parvathi in the Himalayas


In the series ‘The story of Shiv Parvathi’

Painting  on half sheet of Arches 300gsm with Schminke Artists watercolors.

        The inspiration to start this series is the almost unimaginable love that they have for each other and for their creation. Kalidasa has narrated a very ancient religious fable beautifully in his last and unfinished epic poem ‘Kumarasambhava’. It starts with the Gods running to Brahma for advice in winning against the demon Taraka who creates havoc in the universe. Brahma tells them that the child born to Shiv Parvathi will be able to destroy him. Meanwhile the wife of Shiva, Sati (the pure one) flings herself into the ceremonial fire because she is unable to bear the insult shown to her husband by her father and family. She is then born as Parvathi (daughter of the mountains) to (the soul of) Himaloy and the goddess Mena. Here are a few stanzas of the first canto which Sri Aurobindo has translated from Sanskrit into English:


For Daksha’s daughter, Shiva’s wife, had left
Her body lifeless in her father’s hall
In that proud sacrifice and fatal, she
The undivided mother infinite,
Indignant for his severing thought of God.
Now in a trance profound of joy by her
Conceived she sprang again to a livelier birth
To heal the sorrow and the dumb divorce.

Out of the unseen soul the splendid child
Came like bright lightning from the invisible air,
Welcome as Fortune to an earthly king
When she is born with daring for her sire
And for her mother policy sublime.
Then was their festival holiday in the world,
Then were the regions subtle with delight:
Heaven’s shells blew sweetly through the stainless air
And flowery rain came drifting down; Earth thrilled
Back ravished to the rapture of the skies,
And all her moving and unmoving life
Felt happiness because the Bride was born.


Wherever her bright laughing body rolled,
Wherever faltered her sweet tumbling steps,
All eyes were drawn to her like winging bees
Which sailing come upon the wanderer wind
Amid the infinite sweets of honeyed spring
To choose the mango-flowers’ delicious breast.
Increasing to new curves of loveliness
Fast grew like the moon’s arc from day to day
Her childish limbs. Along the wonderful glens
Among her fair companions of delight
Bounding she strayed, or stooped by murmurous waves
To build frail walls on Ganges’ heavenly sands,
Or ran to seize the tossing ball, or pleased
With puppet children her maternal mind
And easily out of that earlier time
All sciences and wisdoms crowding came
Into her growing thoughts like swans that haste
In autumn to a sacred river’s shores.
They started from her soul as grow at night
Born from some luminous herb its glimmering rays.
Her mind, her limbs betrayed themselves divine.
Thus she prepared her spirit for mighty life,
Wandering at will in freedom like a deer
On Nature’s summits, in enchanted glens,
Absorbed in play, the Mother of the world.

Then youth a charm upon her body came
Adorning every limb, a heady wine
Of joy intoxicating to the heart,
Maddened the eyes that gazed, from every limb
Shot the fine arrows of Love’s curving bow.
Her forms into a perfect roundness grew
And opened up sweet colour, grace and light.
So might a painting grow beneath the hand
Of some great master, so a lotus opens
Its bosom to the splendour of the sun.
On the enamoured earth at every step her feet
Threw a red rose, like magic flowers they went
Moving from spot to spot their petalled bloom.