What does Parvati, Shiva’s wife have to do with cats and dogs and what does PawPurrfect mean
Shodashi is Parvati’s name. It is supposed to be her most innocent and yet the third most powerful form of Adishakti. Some say that it refers to her as a young 16 year old. In a mythological story this form comes into play much later in her life as Shiva’s wife. Saying more would give the story away right at the beginning. Hinduism allows us our own personal versions which are our best guides and this interpretation is the one which inspires me. So here goes.
One day Shiva and Parvati were sitting on Kailash Parbat, surrounded by the usual gaggle, in myriad shapes and forms, some of which would not be seen anywhere else. Parvati is the perfect foil to Shiva, the reluctant householder. Always graceful and the perfect wife. Shiva was pulling her leg and in merriment he called her Kaali. Kaali is Parvati’s most ugra roop, which is to say her most ferocious form. Once furious, Kaali went on a rampage destroying the worlds and needed Shiva to lie at her feet whom she stepped on, then realised what she had done and finally calmed down. She doesn’t carry a machete and wears a garland of bleeding heads for nothing.
Parvati however did not take to being reminded of her tongue biting moment with the same sense of humour. She stormed off, telling Shiva that she would turn herself into the most beautiful woman Shiva had ever seen, just to prove that she was nothing like that form, unless of course when she was, which couldn’t be denied. Shiva brushed her off, assuming that his hot tempered wife was in her Durga form and would turn into Annapurna once she had cooled off and dinner would be served on time.
Parvati was however triggered and she went into deep tapasya. This was highly inconvenient for Shiva who missed his wife and after a period of what he considered holding his end of the argument long enough, sent his minions to call her back. They came back instead with tales of the severity of her tapasya. Finally Shiva could take it no more and called Narad Muni. What couldn’t be done with simplicity would need to be done by guile and no one was better at it than Narad Muni, the eternally mischievous one. This wise but wiley sage quietly spread the rumour that Shiva was tired of waiting for Parvati and was on the lookout for a new wife.
Word of course reached Parvati who had her share of wellwishers. What was the point of a shadhana if the person you were proving a point to didn’t care. She rushed to Shiva who of course was sitting cosy as if he was unaware of the mischief he had wrought. As Parvati charged at Shiva in her sense of betrayal, Shiva asked her to stop and look him in his eyes. What do you see he asked? Parvati took a moment to compose herself before looking and saw a beautiful perfect young lady looking back at her.
Shiva told her, in my eyes you are always the perfect woman who at the cusp of youth can achieve all she wants. The world is your oyster so to say. In all your forms of gentleness and aggression, you will always be perfect to me because in those moments, that is who you need to be. It is however you who needs to realise that you are good enough not for just me, but for your own self too. This perfect form of Parvati is called Shodashi.
Shiva is Pashupatinath or the lord of all animals and Kaal Bhairav whose vahan is a black dog. He is the perfect foil, as needed when Durga has her moments, just as she is to him, else he’d only find himself wandering without a mooring or doing a tandav.
Incidentally Shashti Devi is a form of Durga or Adishakti who is the goddess of neonatal women and new borns. She rides on a cat and hence cats are always around houses protecting the young and their mothers.
Sutras means strings which hold things together, or the palm leaves on which tales were written and also oral teachings.
We are called Shodashi Sutras which I interpret as tales of Shodashi or the adventures which this organisation, trying to be perfect undertakes, as it works to achieve its ultimate goal of being there for pets and their families.
Shiva had told Parvati, who you are is enough and no one can take it away from you. Hence whatever that you do is always going to be perfect or every karm from your hand is perfect. Since we deal with animals we are PawPurrfect.