Sri Matre Namaha
Shankari – The One Hundred & Twenty Sixth name in Lalitha Sahasranamam.
sam karoiti sankarah, tasya stri sankari
The wife of Sankara who brings benevolence.
Or, She who is the consort of Sankara
Sam (sukhasya) karah tasya stri
Sankare yasya va sankaraha tasya stri sankari
Wife of that (i.e., Sankara) in whose hand lies happiness
Wife of Shankara, a form of Shiva is known as Shankari. Sham means happiness and kara means doer. Therefore Shankara is known to give happiness and his wife Shankari has the same quality. That is why Shiva and Parvathi are known as father and mother of this universe.
Shiva and sakthi marriages are celebrated in different ways in different parts of India. The concept of marriage is stressed.
Parvathy wanted to marry Shiva in an earthly marriage with all religious rites on the earth; To bless the devout multitude on earth Lord Shiva and Parvathi got married in five different types. The celestial wedding that took place and was performed according to the sastras followed by human beings.
When Shiva and Parvathi were in a happy mood in their abode in MT Kailash a strange idea struck Parvathi. Instead of the usual fight that separates the couple after which they unite in wedlock , Parvathi thought it correct and logical to request Shiva to marry her another time.Parvathi requested Shiva to marry her again which he accepted with joy and also informed the time of their wedding. Parvathi became impatient as there was a fairly long time for the marriage. She became callous and cold shouldered Shiva. Shiva watched her behavior and in a fit of anger cursed her to be separated from him and take the form of a cow. Parvathi incarnated as a cow and roamed in the jungle. She was always thinking of her spouse while loitering in Asukadau( forest) he divine cow -Parvathi spotted a Lingam and showered it with milk from its udder. Shiva was overjoyed to see the devotion of his consort. Shiva happy with Parvathi’s (cow)deeds and granted Mukthi to her Thiruvavaduthurai. He was contemplating as to how Parvathi could be born on earth so that he can marry her quickly.
Bharatha Maharishi was conducting a yaga and Shiva thought it apt to make Parvathi appear from the yaga kundam. Thus a divine damsel emerged from the yaga kundam and the sage Bharatha was happy to see her and considered as a holy girl. He was worried about finding a suitable groom for her. The Lord appeared in his dream and assured him that he -Shiva would marry her as she is none other than Parvathi. Shiva also wished that the sage should perform the wedding in a grand manner Lord Shiva appeared in the dream of Sage Bharatha, that he will enter into wedlock with the celestial who appeared from Sage Kundam.Thus the Sage meticulously looked after the wedding arrangements. The divine wedding took place in Thirumananjeri which was witnessed by celestial beings. Since the Thirumanam (Wedding) took place at Thirumananjeri, this place is called Thirumananjeri.
Once Devendra (King of Gods, also known as ‘Indra’) had killed a demon name “Vruddha’ when he was in ‘samadhi’state of yoga. Though this demon had not harmed in any way or troubled anyone, Devendra killed him just to earn name and fame of killing demon, and just to add number to his list of killing demons. One should not kill or speak or disturb those who are in meditation or yoganidra. Even those who are asleep, one should not wake them suddenly. Nidra (sleep) is a gift.
Because ‘indriyas’ get tired and hence they sleep to relieve the tension. It is good to sleep only during night times and not in the afternoon. Because Indra killed this demon who was in yoganidra, he became accursed, lost his ‘tejas’ and becoming a sinner he came down and kept wandering .Indra, wandering here and there he comes to a forest viz. Kadamba in the country of Pandya. He sees a tree. As soon as he came to the shelter of that tree, the trouble/the suffering he was having in his body left him immediately, he became alright and all sins got destroyed. He was wondering at this and looked around and he sees a Shivalinga and he prays to Shiva. Swamiji sings ‘Namah Parvathi Pathaye Hara Hara Mahadeva Shambho’.
After worshipping Shiva, he builts a small temple for that Shivalinga, in gratitude for getting his sins destroyed at the sight of that Shivalinga. Then he leaves. Seven miles away from this place, a small city called’Manavur’ Pandya king was ruling. A rich merchant who belonged to that Manavur, named Dhananjaya on his business tour passes through this forest and sees this special Shivalinga and wondering how this new shivalinga came there, he comes and tells about it to Pandya King. The King’s name was Kulashekara. As the King was thinking of this, he had a dream and Lord Shiva gives Darshan in the dream and asks him to build a big temple for that Shivalinga in Kadambavana.
The King builts a temple around it and also builds a big beautiful city and shifts his residence there itself, naming that city as Madhura. And a few days after worshipping Shiva he gets a child named “Malayadhwaja’. He gives his king dom to his son and he leaves for tapas. Malayadhwaja was a Shiva devotee as well as Shakti devotee. After sometime, as he did not have progeny, Malayadhwaja along with his wife Kanchanamala performs a Yaga. In the middle of that great yaga, a three year old girl comes out of the fire. The child was ‘Ayonija’ (means that which was not born out of the womb) . It had three breasts. An he was afraid seeing this foreseeing something bad for the country. As he was thinking like this, he hears a “Ashareeravani” (words were heard from above the sky) “Don’t fear. Whatever has taken place is for good only. You bring up this child like a man. Whatever education and training is given for a man, all such education may be given to this child.
Whoever sees this girl and when She sees the man who is to be her husband, the third breast will disappear. Everything will be auspicious. You will join the Devathas.” Further nothing was heard. After sometime, since She had the eyes like fish (Meena) she was called Meenakshi. She grew to be a very beautiful young woman. Only three breasts she had. She had great powers. She was a staunch Shiva devotee and worshipped Him daily. Like a man she ruled the country herself after her father’s demise. She protected the country and the people herself. She goes to Himalya and visits Kailasa where she had darshan of Lord Shiva. As soon as she sees Shiva, the third breast will disappear. After the third breast disappeared, she realised that Shiva was her husband. Mother is always fulfiller of wishes. This Mother who is now in the form of Meenakshi, who has come to uplift Pandya king and is looking after the Madhura city, She requests Shiva saying that you are my husband, you are my ‘pati”gati’ and ‘mati’ (i.e. I have surrendered to you and you have to show me way). Then Shiva asks Her to leave to her city and He promised that He would come to Her city within 7 days. And as promised He goes to Madhura on the 7th day. This Shiva is called ‘Sundareshwara’. He is very beautiful. Sundareswara comes to Madhura and the marriage of Meenakshi and Sundareswara takes place in the city of Madhura. All the Devathas were present of the marriage occasion. Vishnu Himself looks after the marriage preparation and He gives Her in marriage to Sundareswara (Lord Vishnu is the younger brother of Devi,Mother Goddess).
In the meantime, Maharshis, Patanjali and Vyghrapada also come to witness the marriage. At the time of serving the food after the marriage, these two yogis refuses to take food. Till they saw the dance in the Chidambara in the Kanaka sabha, they did not want to take food. Then Lord Shiva says that He will show the dance here itself. Then the great wonderful dance of Lord Sundareswara in the Sannidhi (presence) of Meenakshi, take place in that temple. All were happy and blissful. Then after the marriage, food in large quantities are left over. Then Meenakshi asks Shiva as t o what should be done with the left over food. Then Shiva calls one of His Gana called Kundodara. He eats all the food and he says he is still feeling hungry and wants more. For his sake, Shiva creates a river, Ganga river itself. Then Kundodara satisfies with the water of Ganga
Then one day Meenakshi’s Mother expresses her wish to take bath in the 7 seas (saptha samudra). Then Shiva brings the 7 seas here itself. The Shiva says” I will call your father-in-law also and let him also have bath.” The King and father of Meenakshi who had died already, was called by Lord Shiva and the King takes bath in the 7 seas and Shiva bestows ‘Moksha’ on him and her mother.. They both will stay here on the earth in the human form and Sundareswara also rules the Kingdom of Pandya. Lord Kumaraswamy, with his ‘Amsa’ is born to Meenakshi and Sundareswara, but was born as ‘Ayonija’ (not from the womb). He is the first progeny and carries the lineage of Pandya king. After sometime, Lord Sundareswara, merges in the Shivalinga and Meenakshi to bless all the devotees stays there in the idol form. This is the story. In the meanwhile, one Serpent, elephant and a cow come to test them. They were cursed and were transformed as 3 hills around the city of Mdhura. These three hills are called “Anemalai’, “Nagamali’ and “Pashumalai”. So Even today Meenakshi stays there in the idol form blessing all the devotees.
“Srimatsundara Nayikam, Bhayaharam, Jnanapradam Nirmalam Syamambam, Kamalasanarchita padam Narayanasyanujam Veena Venu murdanga vadya rasikam nana viradambikam Meenaksheem Pranathosmi Santhathamaham Karunyavaraam nidhim”
Verses from Scripture on Marriage:
Rig Veda 10.85.26 & 33. VE, 255-256
May the Provident One lead you, holding your hand! May the two Ashvins transport you on their chariot! Enter your house as that household’s mistress. May authority in speech ever be yours! Signs of good fortune attend the bride. Congregate, one and all, to see her! Wish her joy and return to your homes.
Atharva Veda 14.1.17 &42. VE, 259
We offer praise to the Friend, the kindly marriage arranger. Like one who plucks a cucumber, I release you from here, not from yonder. Love, children, happiness and wealth will come to answer your hopes. Devoted to your husband’s needs, be girded for immortality!
Atharva Veda 3.12.1-2. ve, 288-289
Here do I fix my dwelling. May it stand firm, flowing with melted butter! May we approach you, O House, with all our people, sound in heart and limb. Here do you stand, firm dwelling, rich in horses and cattle, pleasantly resounding, wealthy in food abundant, ghee and milk. Stand erect for great good fortune!
Rig Veda 10.85.43-44. VE, 257
May Prajapati grant to us an issue, Aryaman keep us till death in holy marriage! Free from ill omens, enter the home of your husband. Bring blessing to both humans and cattle. Not evil-eyed nor harmful to your husband, kind to dumb beasts, radiant, gentle-hearted, pleasing, beloved by the Gods, bring forth heroes. To menfolk and beasts alike bring blessing. Bless now this bride, O bounteous Lord, cheering her heart with the gift of brave sons. Grant her ten sons; her husband to make the eleventh.
Rig Veda 10.85.46. VE, 257
Act like a queen to your husband’s father, to your husband’s mother likewise, and his sister. To all your husband’s brothers be queen.
Paraskara Griyha Sutra 1.8.8; 19. VE, 263-264
I hold your heart in serving fellowship; your mind follows my mind. In my word you rejoice with all your heart. You are joined to me by the Lord of all creatures. You are firm and I see you. Be firm with me, O flourishing one! Brihaspati has given you to me, so live with me a hundred years bearing children by me, your husband.
Rig Veda 1.1.3 & 9. VE, 329
The Lord brings us riches, food in daily abundance, renown and hero sons to gladden our hearts. So, like a father to his sons, be to us easy of entreaty. Stay with us, O Lord, for our joy.
Rig Veda 10.191.3. RVP, 4739
May our minds move in accord. May our thinking be in harmony — common the purpose and common the desire. May our prayers and worship be alike, and may our devotional offerings be one and the same.
Hiranyakeshi Griyha Sutra 220.127.116.11.; VE, 263
With seven steps we become friends. Let me reach your friendship. Let me not be severed from your friendship. Let your friendship not be severed from me.
Manu Dharma Shastras 3.27. LM, 80
The gift of a daughter, after decking her with costly garments and honoring her by presents of jewels, to a man learned in the Veda and of good conduct whom the father himself invites, is called the Brahma rite.
Manu Dharma Shastras 3.40. LM, 82
Endowed with the qualities of beauty and goodness, possessing wealth and fame, obtaining as many enjoyments as they desire and being most righteous, they will live a hundred years.
Manu Dharma Shastras 3.55-56. LM, 85
Women must be honored and adorned by their fathers, brothers, husbands and brothers-in-law, who desire their own welfare. Where women are honored, there the Gods are pleased. But where they are not honored, no sacred rite yields rewards.
Tirukural 43; 45. WW
The foremost duty of family life is to serve duly these five: God, guests, kindred, ancestors and oneself. When family life possesses love and virtue, it has found both its essence and fruition.
Natchintanai, “All Is Siva” NT, 237
Father and mother are Siva. Dear brothers and sisters are Siva. Matchless wife is Siva. Precious children are Siva. Rulers and kings are Siva. All the Gods are Siva. The whole universe is Siva.