Goddess Uma came to this earth as the daughter of Himavan, and from the age of five, She did penance, with the aim of uniting with Lord Siva. The Lord appeared before Her in the guise of a mendicant and teased Her.
He wondered why She wanted to marry Siva. She was dressed in silk, and Her dress had a border with the motif of a swan, and She was adorned beautifully. But what did Siva have by way of adornment? Snakes! How could She hold His hands, which had snakes coiled around? As for His vehicle, it was a bull. To make matters worse, it was an old bull! Would not those who beheld Siva laugh at His appearance?
Moreover, Siva lived in a place where corpses were burnt. Was that a suitable place for a lady to live in? At least would She have the consolation that He would provide good food to His Consort? Even that was ruled out, for He was One who ate poison!
But the qualities listed out by the mendicant as drawbacks of Siva were seen by Parvati as His merits, explained D. Gnanasundaram in a discourse. All these external factors, which seem off-putting, are in fact the result of His love for all of us. He gives us good food, but for Himself He is content consuming Halahala poison. He gives us soft clothes to wear, but He denies Himself good clothes. He has given us safe places to live in, but has chosen as His dwelling place a burning ghat. He enables us to have glittering ornaments of gold, but wears snakes and bones as adornment.
Parvati, angered at the mendicant’s words, turned away from Him. She said that it was not only wrong to talk ill of the Lord, but sinful to listen to Him being spoken ill of. When She turned away from the mendicant, He took hold of Her hand. Turning in anger, She saw that the mendicant had disappeared and in his place was a smiling Siva.
Parvati angrily turning away from the Lord, and Her subsequent docility when She beheld the Lord, can be likened to a wave dashing against a rock violently, but retreating gently, after hitting the rock. The matter having been resolved to the satisfaction of both the Lord and Parvati, the next step was the wedding, which Parvati’s father Himavan celebrated in style.