Parvati is a very important Hindu goddess. To comprehend her story, it helps to understand the Shiva/Shakti energy that is frequently brought up in yogic philosophies. Shiva is the masculine energy, while Shakti is the feminine. All male deities have a female consort or counterpart, in a way providing balance. Parvati is Shiva's consort. But before we delve into Parvati's story, we must back up a few eons (!) and first address Sati.
Sati was Shiva's first wife. She was madly in love with him even as a child and sought to gain his attention and love. When they finally did marry, Sati's father, Daksha, was very upset by this. Sati's father considered Shiva to be a long haired unorthodox vagabond who did as he pleased without rules and organization. So after Sati left with Shiva, Daksha threw a big party inviting all Gods and Goddesses and family and friends but purposely did not include Shiva and Sati. (This probably is starting to sound like some modern day families, right?!) Sati decided to go anyway to try to make amends but when she arrived, Daksha made fun of her and Shiva and defiled her beloved's name. Sati declared she no longer wanted anything to do with the body Daksha had given her and sat down in defiant meditation. She raised such an internal fire that her body combusted and burst into flames. When Shiva heard what had happened, he was inconsolable. He and Sati had been inseparable for eons; their love was so strong. Shiva went into a very dark place within and, tearing all his hair out, turned his dreadlocks into a fierce warrior named Virabhadra. (This may sound familiar to you yogis...Virabhadrasana is warrior pose.) Virabhadra went to Daksha and killed him and all at the party. When Shiva followed soon after, he was upset by the destruction he saw. The Gods asked him to restore Daksha's life so Shiva took the head of a goat and put in onto Daksha's beheaded body thereby bringing him back to life. Daksha was eternally grateful. But Shiva remained in such a dark way that the Gods began following him around trying to bring him out of his despair. They tried chants and mantras and finally appealed to Lord Vishnu for help. Vishnu managed to take Sati's body and cut it into 52 pieces, which he then dropped in various places around the world. Today, these are 52 places of pilgrimage for seekers to visit; Earth is recognized as Goddess Sati. Shiva went into a deep meditation where he finally remembered he and Sati would always be together beyond the physical plain. She came to him and let him know she would return to him as a reincarnation. Her name would be Parvati.
From the moment Parvati was born, even though a baby, she remembered she was there for Shiva. When she was of age to marry, her father kept bringing suitors but Parvati rejected them all. She explained that it was her destiny to marry Shiva. Due to advice of a sage, Parvati's father took her to where Shiva was in deep meditation where they waited for Shiva to open his eyes. Shiva did not recognize Parvati but agreed she could stay and wait on him. For days, Parvati did so with devotion but, finally, the other Gods felt she needed help in attracting his attention. They sent Kamadeva, the God of Love, to strike Shiva with an arrow. He agreed though knowing the disruption from meditation would greatly anger Shiva. When Shiva felt the bow, he opened his eyes and, for the first time, saw how beautiful Parvati was. But he felt guilty, as though he was being disloyal to Sati so he sent Parvati away. And in his rage for being tricked by Kamadeva, opened his third eye and Kamadeva burst into flames.
Parvati went to the hills and began to meditate upon her devotion for Shiva. And years passed. The sage went to Shiva and told him about Parvati's devotion. Shiva disguised himself and appeared where she was meditating. When she opened her eyes, Shiva asked about her dedication to Lord Shiva, even making fun of himself. Parvati defiantly defended her love and Shiva suddenly knew she was Sati reincarnated.
Parvati is known as the Goddess of love and devotion, which is easy to understand after knowing her story. Every other Goddess is a manifestation of Parvati. For example, Parvati's destructive side is known as Durga. When she is prayed to for abundance, it is Kali one is praying to. She has 108 names she goes by. She is the ultimate feminine energy and, without her, Shiva would remain as Shava, meaning corpse (svasana).
Her mode of transportation is the powerful and strong lioness. She carries with her a fully bloomed blue lotus. When depicted with Shiva, Parvati has two arms but when shown alone, she may have four or more. Two of her hands are in abhaya mudra representing fearlessness.
In my opinion, the moral to be taken from this tale is that of how powerful our minds can be. Sati yogically destroyed herself in a powerful mediation, which was her intended goal; Shiva caused earthly destruction when in his deep dark meditition (think about how our bad moods effect those around us). And, Parvati, used her deep meditation as a means of devotion to get what she wanted. The power of your unaccessed mind is beyond imagination. Isn't it time you tried exploring the amazing power you hold within?