Goddess Parvati is regarded as the power and divine consort of Lord Shiva - the Destroyer. Like her consort Shiva, Goddess Parvati is said to have both mild and terrible aspects
Goddess Parvati is known by different names like Lalita, Uma, Gauri, Kali, Durga, Haimavati etc. Two of her fierce but very powerful forms are Durga (Goddess beyond reach) and Kali (Goddess of Destruction). As the mother of the universe, Parvati is known as Amba and Ambika, which means ′mother′. As Lalita, she represents the aspect of beauty.
When shown along with Shiva, Goddess Parvati has only two hands, the right one holding a blue lotus and the left hanging loosely by the side. When represented independently, Parvati Ma is shown with four hands, two hands holding red and blue lotuses and the other two exhibiting the varada and Abhaya mudras.
Goddess Parvati has a charming personality. Married women adore Parvati for her happy married life. Picture of Lord Shiva, Parvathi and their sons Ganesha and Kartikeya depicts an ideal example of family unity and love.
According to Puranas, in her first incarnation, Parvati Devi was Sati or Dakshayani, the daughter of Daksa and was married to Lord Shiva. Once, Daksha performed a great yagna or sacrifice and insulted Lord Shiva by not inviting him or Sati. Even then, Sati went to attend the yagna. To her great disappointment, Daksha did not acknowledge her presence and did not offer prasad for Lord Shiva. Utterly depressed by the treatment meted out to her, Sati ended her life by igniting herself through the fire of yagna.
After the death of Sati, Lord Shiva became very sad and depressed. He renounced the world and went into deep meditation in the snow-covered peaks of the Himalayas. Meanwhile, the demons lead by Taraka, rose from the netherworld and drove devas out of the heavens. The gods sought a warrior who would help them regain the celestial realm. Lord Brahma said, only Shiva can father such a warrior, but he is oblivious of the world.
At the persistence of the Gods, Sati agreed to take a re-birth as Parvati, the daughter of Himavan and Mena. It was only after performing intense austerities that Goddess Parvathi succeeded in pleasing Shiva and making him accept her again as his consort.
With Parvati by his side, Shiva became a family man. Inspired by her beauty, Shiva became the fountainhead of the arts, dance and drama. But he did not abandon his ways as a hermit and continued to meditate. His carefree attitude and his refusal to shoulder household responsibilities sometimes angered Parvati. But then she would come to terms with his unconventional ways and make peace. The consequent marital bliss between Shakti and Shiva ensured harmony between Matter and Spirit and brought stability and peace to the cosmos. Parvati thus became Ambika, Goddess of the household, marriage, motherhood and family.