Shiva stories — Necklace of Human Heads
Devarshi Narad was visiting Kailash, ever curious as he is, wanted to know the mystery behind the human head necklace that God Shiva always wore, but could not summon the courage to ask, so he encouraged Devi Sati to enquire. At first, Shiva tried to avert the question but Devi Sati remained adamant, so Lord told her, “All the heads in this necklace are your heads.” Astonished upon hearing this, Devi Sati asked how it is possible. Shivji said, so far you have been born and died 107 times, and my necklace has 107 heads. This is your 108th birth and later on, this necklace will be completed with 108 heads.
Upon hearing this Devi Sati wanted to know why she has to go through birth and death cycle but the Lord doesn’t have to. God Shiva smiled and said, I know the story of immortality so I don’t have to be in the life and death cycle. Devi Sati wanted to hear the story, Shiva agreed but when he was telling the story of immortality, Devi Sati fell asleep and couldn’t listen to the whole story.
When the time came Devi Sati had to die through self-immolation and Shivji added her head in necklace making it complete with 108 heads. Devi Sati reincarnated as the daughter of Himalaya, Parvati. When the time came, Lord Shiva told her the story of immortality and Mata Parvati became immortal. It is said that a pair of pigeon was there listening to the story and they too became immortal. Lord Shiva narrated the story in Amarnath Cave, now known as Amarnath Pilgrimage.