Vīrabhadrāsana II ~ Once upon a time, the father of the Goddess, Daksha, threw a great party (yajna). He invited everyone: all the gods and goddesses & kings & queens. However, he did not invite his daughter, who he was good with, nor his son-in-law, who he was not so accepting of. This was a big mistake… He had never quite approved of his daughter’s choice of partner and given her her autonomy and supported her freedom to choose. Nor had he warmed up to his son-in-law, who hung out in cremation grounds, with ghosts and jackals, was mostly naked, smeared in ash with long matted dread locks and was currently going around with half of Brahma’s skull in his hand demanding blood sacrifice from everyone he found. His son-in-law is called Bhairava, or Shiva. Oops.
Sati goes to Shiva to express her upset at this insult. Shiva, in meditation, says something like “Good, I don’t want to go anyway.” Somehow, this was not satisfying to Sati, and she goes to the party to confront her party. She has a fairly major melt down at dad and ends up throwing herself into the fire as if it was her funeral pyre. When Shiva hears this, he too crashes the party, rips out several of his matted locks and throws them to the ground. From the earth arises the ferocious and powerful Virabhadra and destroys the whole place and be-heads Daksha. Shiva returns to the mountain. Sati is reborn as the daughter of Himalaya (who stands for the healthy father/parent), Parvati, and again seduces the ascetical yogin Shiva. Daksha is gone.
Possible lessons…(1) Fathers, not just fathers, but parents; you will have to let your daughter,not just daughters, but sons too, make their own choices and live their own lives at those appropriate thresholds. You cannot control them. The best you can do is prepare them for the world. Letting go is hard. (2) If you are throwing a big party, invite Shiva. Duh. (3) If your lover is really upset, come out of meditation and engage your empathy. Show up for what’s important to your partner. This is what you signed up for in engaging the sensual world and entering into relationship. (4) If your daughter is really, really pissed off; don’t let her immolate herself. Examine yourself and do your necessary work to be a healthy parent. (5) If you are really pissed off, don’t immolate yourself. There are probably better choices than turning that rage on yourself. (6) Anger is not something the yogi vanquishes. It is natural and essential. Once it is fully unleashed, it is hard to control. Use it sparingly; a little bit of that fire goes a long way. (7) Actions have consequences. Clean up may be required. No do-overs. No take-backs. You will have to live with your choices.