Parvati took birth in Himalaya’s home, and She grew up to be a beautiful young lady, and all She could think about was Shiva. And She started performing tapasya, and meditation on Shiva, and in every way She tried to propitiate Shiva so that He would take her as His bride.
Well, Shiva didn’t want a bride at that time. He was practicing meditation very, very sincerely. And Sati would go everyday and drop flowers at his feet, and annoint him with sandalpaste. And she would worship him and adore him with the most respect that she possibly could.
And the Gods said, “He’s not even opening His eyes. He’s not even aware that She’s coming to see him. We have to find a way to awaken anurag, the spirit of love and attachment in Shiva so that He’ll want to marry Parvati.”
And they called Love. They said, “Love, Kama Deva, you go right behind Parvati. When She goes to Shiva to drop the flowers on Shiva’s feet, you shoot Shiva with your flower tipped arrow. Awaken Him to the delight of love, and make Him fall in love with Parvati so that we can have our son of Shiva to defeat the Illuminator of Duality.”
Kama Deva said, “Gods, this is an extremely dangerous task, I’m very much afraid to incur the wrath of Shiva.” And all the Gods said, “Kama Deva, only you have the capacity to awaken the feelings of love within beings, and we are so oppressed by this asura who has conquered the earth and made us all burdened with the burdens of terrorism! His oppression is unfathomable, so you go and do this as a seva for the Gods. Take your wife Rati, the spring, create the conducive environment and shoot your arrow at Shiva.”
In obedience to the Gods, Kama Deva followed Parvati to where Shiva was sitting in meditation. And when Parvati dropped the flowers on Shiva’s feet, and bowed down in worship and adoration, Kama Deva drew the bow (his flower tipped arrow inserted in the bow) and he let that arrow fly — whoosh– and the arrow struck Shiva.
And Shiva was adorned with flowers, and the spring sprung and the environment was totally conducive to love. And Shiva opened His eyes and saw Kama Deva, the God of Love, and He looked around and said, “You dare to disrupt the meditation of a yogi.” And from his third eye came a blaze of fire and immediately burned Kama Deva, the God of Love, to ashes.
And the Gods said, “Oh, we are doomed, now He’ll never fall in love, there’s no more love.”
Rati, Kama Deva’s wife, the spring, she started to cry, “My husband, you’ve made me a widow, Shiva. We came here to do the work of the Gods and now I’ve become a widow. What a horrible thing for my life, to lose my husband in our prime. We were just awakening the spirit of love in all of creation so that creation can procreate. And now you’ve done this terrible thing.”
Shiva said, “Why did he shoot an arrow at me?”
“Because we want you to marry Parvati.”
“Well why didn’t you just tell me that? If I marry Her to save creation that’s totally different than marrying Her from love and attachment. If creation needs my son in order to destroy the asuras, gladly I will marry. But if you want me to marry from attachment, and only from emotion, that marriage won’t be successful. Give me the object of my sankalpa and gladly I will marry.”
Well, everyone was ashamed.
And Rati said, “But my husband is no more, Shiva, please give me my husband back.” And Shiva said, “Spring, Rati, because of your devotion I’m giving you a boon, your husband will be eternal, and he will be unmanifest, he will be Ananga. Everyone will fall to the power of love, and everyone will rise to the power of love, but they won’t ever be able to see him. Everyone will be affected by love, he will be the strongest of the Gods, he can subdue anyone, but he remains Ananga (without a body, can’t see him).”
Well Rati was very pleased that she got her husband back, but she said, “Shiva, that’s not quite enough, I’d like to see my husband again.”
And there are two versions of the story here. One version says that Shiva gave her the boon that He would come back as Pradyumna, and that she would marry him again in the Dwapara Yuga, he would be the son of Krishna. And another version of the story says he would come back as Abhimanyu, and she will come back as Uttara, and again she will marry the son of Arjun.
There are two versions of the story, but Love became Ananga. And now were going to worship the Anga, the body of the Goddess, which we happen to be wearing.