For any effort to gel its proper reward, the effort has to be
evaluated. Such evaluation depends on the test. The moment approached for testing the
strength and essence of Parvati's penannce. Her tapas had this effect: kindness did
blossom in Shiva. His mind was softened. Still he wanted to test her mind. He sent the
seven sages known as the 'Saptarishis' to find out her firmness.
Parvati saluted the sages who went to her. Her friends Jaya and Vijaya rendered
hospitality. The sages asked of Parvati the reason for her tapas and who herpreceptor was.
She narrated everything.
And 'the sages replied "Well, listening to the words of Narada, you went the wrong
way. Don't do this penance for Shiva. Nor should you marry him." But she did not heed
their words.She had already decided that qualities mattered more than appearance. She told
them of her resolve thus - "I feel that I am already married to Shiva. If he does not
accept me, I'm not going to marry any other person. There cannot be two marriages for
The sages were pleased with her firmness. They blessed her by saying "May your
wish succeed!" and went to Kailasa. They narrated all this to Shiva. They said
that it would not be proper to subject her to any more pain with the pretext of testing
her mind. But Shiva thought that he should himself test her firmness.
He changed his real form for that, purpose. He disguised himself as a young student and
went to Parvatis penance- grove. He sat in the shade of a small mango tree near her.
Thinking that a Brahman youth had come as a guest, Parvati's friends went to him and made
inquiries about his welfare. They gave him water to wash his feet and then some good
fruits to eat. Then the youth pointed at Parvati and asked them, "Who is she? Why is
she performing this penance though so young? Is there none to stop her tapas? None to
check her and advise her?" Hearing these words of his, Parvati became angry.
She stopped her meditation, put aside the rosary, and stared at the youth.
Then the young man, pretending to be sympathetic, began asking several questions.
"At the prime of your youth, why are you engaged in this tapas in this forest,
ignoring cold and heat and rain, hunger and thirst?" he asked. With a sign of her eye
from Parvati, Vijaya told himeverything and said, "My friend thus desires to wed
Shiva and hence this tapas." Thedisguised youth laughed loudly and said. "O, I
understand. What more can I say? It's your will and pleasure. So let me go."
When he started to go, Parvati went near him and saluting him, asked thus "Please
wait. Can you not give good advice to me in this matter? Can you not guide me as to how I
can win Shiva's favour?"
"Listen then," the youth said. "You are innocent. Though a young maiden
you have no wisdom. Why do you wish to marry that three-eyed person? What an ill-starred
person you are! His home appearance, nature are all peculiar. He lives in the
burial-ground. His ornament is the snake! The garland he wears is of skulls. His weapon is
a trident and he wears only animal skin. Most of his hairs are s catered in the sky and
the rest are matted locks. Poison in his neck and ash all over the body! With Ganga
and the moon fixed on his head he is severely cold. He moves about on an ox, with demons
and spirits as his companions. He is also a beggar. You are beautiful and tender, whereas
he is ugly and austere.. Don't you think of him and don't marry him."
Hearing these words, Parvati was in an unbearable anger. Her brows were knit in a frown
and eyes were red. Not able to hear this abuse of Shiva, with trembling lips she said,
"Vile man, you do not know anything about Shiva. Of course the conduct of great
persons will not be like that of the common men. Witless persons who cannot understand it
criticize like this. Shiva's glory cannot be had by anyone else. Those who trust Him
escape from sins. Though Shiva looks a destitute, he can confer upon others all the
riches. What if he lives in the burial-ground? He is the lord of all three worlds. His
looks may be awkward, but he is the giver of felicity. He is the universal Lord. Though he
sits on a bullock, his feet are touched by Indra mounted on his elephant, Airavata. There
is no need for so much talk. My mind is firmly rooted in Shiva. None can change it. I am
fully aware of Shiva's form, qualities and greatness. He has neither deformity nor any
Even as Parvati was speaking-thus, the young man's lips moved as if he would again
speak. Parvati called her friend and said, "Even as those who revile great ones are
sinners, people who listen to that abuse become sinners too. This wicked man is about to
speak bad words. Send him away. Or I myself will leave this place." So saying,
Parvati started to go away. Suddenly the youth in disguise assumed Shiva's form and held
Parvati's hand. She bowed her head. Shiva told her, "0 thou bowed beauty, I am
pleased with your penance and your love. You have won over my mind. I have caused you much
pain in testing you in many ways. You must pardon that. Now come, let's go to my palace on