Sri Matre Namaha
Bhavani – The One Hundred & Twelfth name in Lalitha Sahasranamam.
Bhuvan (mahadevam samsaram kamam va) anayati (=jiva-yati) iti
She who is the consort of Lord Shiva
She who gives life to either SIva or Samsara or Kama
Bhava = Mahadeva or it may mean samsara or kama, i.e., God of love, viz., Cupid, she gives life to all these three.
Bhavam (= jivarnarupam jalam) anayati (=jivayati) iti
She is the giver of life to Bhava, as water form of Siva is called Bhava.
Bhavani also means the wife of Bhava. By grammatical rule ‘Indravaruna’, etc., here ‘anuk’ agama takes place and dipa also takes place in the sense of feminine gender. So it becomes Bhavani. Bhavani is said to be the presiding deity of one of the pithas, namely, Sthanesvara.
Beginning from this nama till 131 the aspect of blessing Her devotees is described. Bhava means Shiva (particularly his form of Mahadeva) and ana means infusing life. She, the wife of Shiva gives life to all. Always remember that She is Sri mata. Since She gave back life to Manmata (Manmata is also known as Bhava) she is called Bhavani. Shiva is known as Bhava because, the universe was created from Him and He also sustains the universe. Though in terms of grammer Bhava and Bhavani may differ, but the actions of both Bhava and Bhavani remain the same. Please go through the posting ‘the Divine Mother’. The famous verse of SL 22 “Bhavani tvam” addresses Her as Bhavani. “When you are addressed as Bhavani, immediately you grant him the status of oneness with you”. That is why this nama is compared to the maha vakya (the great saying) “Tat tvam asi” (you are that) quoted in Chandogya Upanishad. Bhavani is considered as one of the powerful namas of Lalithambigai.
This fusion of Shiva and Shakthi representing the male and female halves transcends the distinction between and limitation of male and female and takes the Lord to the level of beyond-gender manifest Brahman, realization of which means liberation.
Shakthi part is golden, while Shiva part is snow-white. She is substrate and He is substance.. Shiva is static; Shakthi is dynamic and creative. Shiva is Being and Shakthi is Becoming. He is One; She is many; He is Infinite and She renders the Infinite into finite; He is formless and She renders the Formless into myriad forms; But both are one. Shiva and Shakthi exist in Nirmala Turiya state (Stainless Purity).Shiva is viewed as the Holder of Power, though he is inert. Shiva is Shava (dead body) without Shakthi. All that power in creation, maintenance, and dissolution rests with Shakthi. But the Great Mother does not exist without Shiva.
When they become one Ardhanarishvara becomes a being of generative and constructive force. Ardhanarishvara it seems shows us just what can be done when we embrace the opposite in ourselves.
Philosophically, this form portrays the boundless Grace of God. The formless God is called parashiva. On Its own free-will for the benefit of pashus (souls), which are drowned in pAsha (bondage), It thinks to create the worlds. Its dynamism of creation thus springs out of It, which is called Shakthi. Now Shiva and Its power Shakthi create everything. This is the form of their togetherness that makes every existence active. Shiva and Shakthi are one and the same Supreme may also act independently. They are associated like the person and the action of the person. They are one and the same like the ice and the water – one becomes the other. Poet Kalidasa hails them as inseparable like the word and its meaning, the letter and pronunciation!!
“VAk arthA viva samprakthau vAkartha pprathipathayae jagatha: pithrau vandhe parvathi parameshwarau “
A variety of images and metaphors are used to express the harmonious interdependence and close identity of Parvati as sakti and Siva as saktiman, the possessor of sakti.
Siva is said to be the male principle throughout creation, Parvati the female principle,
Siva is the sky, Parvati the earth,
Siva is subject, Parvati object,
Siva is the ocean, Parvati the seashore,
Siva is the sun, Parvati, its light,
Parvati is all tastes and smells,
Siva the enjoyer of all tastes and smells,
Parvati is the embodiment of all individual souls,
Siva the soul itself,Parvati assumes every form that is worthy to be thought of,
Siva thinks of all such forms,
Siva is day, Parvati night,
Parvati is creation, Siva the creator,
Parvati is speech, Siva meaning.
There are various stories which tell us about the origin of Siva as Ardhanarisvara. Appar, a great devotee of Siva in one of his hymns, tells us about the circumstances under which Siva became Ardhanarisvara. The daughter of Himavan, Himavati did severe penance when she was separated from her Lord. Siva married her and incorporated her as part of his body, as the rare form of “arum thirumeni”.
There is a story in the Siva Purana that when Brahma first begot a number of Prajapatis and commanded them to create various other beings, they were unable to do so, and Brahma, feeling uneasy at the slow pace of creation contemplated on Maheshwara. The latter appeared to him in the composite form of male and female, as Ardhanarisvara and asked him to cease feeling distressed. Till now it did not occur to Brahma to create females, and the sight of Maheswara, in the form of Ardhanarisvara made him realise his error. Thereafter he prayed to the female half of Mahesvara, Uma, to give him a female to proceed with the act of creation. Brahma’s request was complied with and the process of creation started ever since.
Yet another story which centres around the concept is from the Sivamahimanastava of Puspadanta, composed in the first century A.D. The 24th verse tells us how Kama, the God of love came to fight with Siva. Kama in order to show his valour, came armed with an arrow of sugarcane and panchpushpa. On his arrival Siva transformed himself into a most beautiful feminine form of Parvati in himself. Seeing the beauty of Parvati, Kama, who was so vain about his beauty, died of shame.
In the Kallika Purana there is another story. The consort of Siva, being Kali, was dark, with Siva being fair. After strict penance she became fair and became Gauri. Then she noticed the reflection of a lady on the left side of Siva’s chest. So inspite of turning Gauri from Kali, she became jealous and angry when she noticed the reflection, at which Siva told her that “you have not realised that I cannot exist without you and it is your reflection that you can see on the left side of my body”. Gauri then asked him to prove it by letting her be one half of his body and he being one half of her body. Gauri [Parvati] agreed to be one half of Siva’s body on the condition that she could leave that half of the body, which was feminine, whenever she wanted to retain her identity.
The Skanda Purana also has a story pertaining to Ardhanarisvara. The demon Andhakasura, being invincible by the boon given to him by Brahma, grew so conceited and vain that he wanted to possess everything which was dear to the Gods. He thought of winning the consort of Siva, Parvati, as his wife and proceeded to Kailasa to take possession of Parvati. Getting to know of the wicked move of the demon, Vishnu quickly spirited away Parvati to Vaikunta, the abode of Vishnu. When the demon reached Vaikunta, after having made a futile search for Parvati in Kailasa, he saw Parvati standing in front of the gateway. She multiplied herself in similar appearance. The demon was confused and bewildered as he could not identify who among the appearances was Parvati herself. The story has it that then Parvati created her Ardhnarisvara form and stood firmly at the gate. The demon seeing an appearance which was neither male or female lost interest and went back. Vishnu who saw the phenomenon was surprised not only at the sight of the form but also that he saw himself represented in the female half of the form.
In the Amrkandeya Purana is a story where Markandeya says that Rudra and Vishnu are the creators of the Universe and they form the Ardhanarisvara aspect of the former deity. Here the allusion is to the Haryardha form of Siva, in which the female generative principle is identified with Vishnu. That the male and the female principles are inseparable and are ever together in cosmic evolution is the real import of the Ardhanarisvara or Haryardha forms of Siva. The same idea is also conveyed in a brief way by the symbols of the linga and the yoni.
In the Vamana Purana, Vishnu is reported to have said to a Rishi that he andsiva were one and that in him resides Siva also. Vishnu then manifests himself to the Rishi in this dual aspect of His, in the Ardhanarisvara form, the left half occupied by the Devi or Prakriti, the right half by Him or Purusha. Purusha and Prakriti are united with each other for the purpose of generating the universe, the same idea represented by the Linga and the Yoni.
The Linga-Purana also has a story about the form of Ardhanariswara. In the Linga-Purana it is said that Ardhanariswara came into existence through the union of the Linga and the Veda and the result was its son Brahma, who has four mouths.
This Ardhanarisvara Siva, who is supposed to be omnipresent and the embodiment of knowledge, bestowed the real knowledge to his newly born son – Brahma.
Then Siva saw the newly born Brahma, or “Hiranyagarbha” and in turn Brahma saw Siva in the form of Ardhanarisvara. Seeing Siva in such a form, Brahma started praying to him in eight-fold speeches. Brahma prayed intensely and requested him to divide his body in two forms, male and female and accordingly Lord Siva created a `goddess’, his wife, from the left side of his body, who was just like him. This primeaval body became the consort of Siva and this very lady became the daughter of `Daksha’ as desired by God i.e. Lord Siva. As a daughter of `Daksha’ she was named Sati and restored to Lord Siva, as husband, and in due course having condemned Daksha, she became Goddess Maina.
There is yet another account of the appearance of Siva in the Ardhanarisvara form. On a certain occasion when Siva was seated with his consort Parvati on the top of the top of the Kailasa mountain, the devas and rishis went there to pay their homage to Him. All of them except the Rishi Bhringi went round Siva and Parvati in their circumambulations and also bowed to both. This Rishi had made a vow of worshipping only one being, that is Siva, and in conformity with his vow, he declined to go around and bow down to Parvati. Parvati growing angry with Bhringi, desired in her mind that all his flesh and blood should disappear from his body and instantly he was reduced to a skeleton covered with only the skin. In this state he was unable to support himself in an erect position. Seeing his pitiable plight Siva gave him a third leg so as to enable him to maintain equilibrium. Bhringi became pleased with his Lord and out of joy danced vigorously with his three legs and praised Siva for his grace. The design of Parvati to humble Bhringi thus failed and that failure caused great annoyance to Parvati who in turn did penance for obtaining a boon from Siva. At the end of the penance, Siva, pleased with his consort, granted her wish of being united with his own body. Thus the Ardhnarisvara form was assumed by Siva, making it difficult for Rishi Bhringi in circumambulating or bowing to Siva alone. But, undaunted by this impediment Bhringi assumed the form of a beetle, pierced a hole through the composite body of Siva and circumambulated Siva alone, to the great wonder and admiration of even Parvati, who became reconciled to his vow and bestowed her grace upon the pious Rishi for his steadfastness to his vow.
Such is the relationship between shiva and sakthi that is why sakthi is referred as Bhavani.