Shiva had once gone on a visit to a city named Shonitapura. He was accompanied by many gandharvas and apsaras. Parvati was left behind in Kailasa and Shiva felt lonely without her.
He called Nandi and said, Go to Kailasa and ask Parvati to come here.
Nandi went to kailasa and told Parvati that Shiva wanted her. Parvati said that this would take a little time, since she wanted to get ready first. Nadi went back and reported to Shiva what Parvati had said. Shiva waited for a little while, but Parvati did not come. He therefore sent Nandi again to Kailasa with the injuction that he should not come back without Parvati.
The apasaras meanwhile decided that they would play a trick on Shiva. One of them would disguise herself and pretend to be Parvati. An apsara named Chitralekha agreed to do this. Another apsara named Urvashi diguised herself as Nandi. Other apsara disguised themselves as companions of Parvati.
So good were their disguises that it was impossible to detect them as being false.
The false Nandi then brought the false Parvati to Shiva and said, Parvati has come. Her companions, the other goddesses, have also come.
Shiva was delighted. He was not able to detect that this was a false Parvati. While they were having great fun, the real Parvati, the real Nandi and the real goddesses turned up and there was utter confusion. No one could tell the real ones from the false ones. Finally the mess was sorted out when the apsaras adopted their real forms.
Neither Shiva nor Parvati were angry at this practical joke.
This is an incident from the time when Parvati went away to do tapasya so as to become fair. Before going away to meditate, she called Nandi to her and said, My husband does not know the difference between real Parvatis and false ones. Keep careful guard at the gate and do not let any false Parvatis enter.
There was an asura named Adi. He performed tapasya and wanted a boon from Brahma which would make him immortal. Brahma refused to grant him this, but granted him the boon that Adi would be very strong. Happy with this boon, Adi wandered around the Himalayas and discovered Nadi standing guard at the gate to Shiva’s palace.
What are you doing here? the asura asked Nandi.
Nandi reported the conversation that had taken place with Parvati.
The demon went away. But he soon returned, this time disguised as Parvati. Lest Nandi not let him pass, he slimed through the gate disguised as a snake. And once inside the palace, he resumed his form of Parvati. He then went to meet Shiva. Shiva did not realize that this was a false Parvati and he came forward to embrace Adi. But no sooner had Shiva embraced him, than the asura adopted his own form and tried to kill Shiva. The two fought and Shiva killed Adi. But before dying, the asura played another trick.
He told Shiva, I have a brother who is stronger than me. He will return here in the form of Parvati and will kill you. This was a blatant lie. Adi had no brother.
The real Parvati returned after finishing her tapasya. But Shiva thought that this was demon disguised as Parvati. He created many beings from his body so as to kill Parvati. But Parvati also created many beings from her own body and these swallowed up Shiva’s beings. When this had gone on thousands of times. Shiva realized that this must be the real Paravati.
Shiva and Parvati were united.
There were not more false Parvatis.
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