From about the age of six, girls are taught to identify with Gauri by praying this prayer to her every day:

Waving branches and bringing garlands of sandalwood,Gauri comes.You keep the garland and just give me suhag.

Why? Everyone says the same thing when asked: young girls worship Gauri to bring them a husband like Shiva. A major event at the wedding rites is when the bride brings her husband to Gauri, and does Gauri Puja again, showing Gauri the husband she is responsible for bringing.

Two representations of the goddess Gauri: a painting on paper, and a clay figurine. In each representation, Gauri is the betelnut that rides in a bowl on the head of Hati, the elephant.

"Parvati [has] her complexion made lighter, to please her light-skinned husband; she does this by sloughing off her old dark persona (the man-eating Kali, who disappears conveniently into the Vindhya mountains until she is needed again) and returning as Gauri, the Golden Girl--the pretty wife, the acceptable consort."
Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty, 1980. Women, Androgynes, and Other Mythical Beasts, p. 93. Chicago.

 

Among the many small rites of the marriage ceremonies is the worship of Gauri by the bride and groom. After years of prayer to Gauri to bring her a "groom like Shiva," the bride takes the groom to Gauri's abode in her family shrine to thank the goddess for answering her prayer. . . . and to show the goddess the groom.
 

The real life Gauri Puja and an artist's representation of it. The bride worships gauri with sinder, her groom seated behind her. At a later moment in the wedding ceremony, the groom will put sindur in his bride's hair, just as the bride has worshipped Gauri with sindur. From that moment throughout the rest of her married life, the bride will wear the red powder in the part of her hair as a sign of her status as a married woman with a living husband.


Gallery | Home