Shiva as a Bangle Seller

Once Lord Shiva wanted to expunge the ignorance of sages of Tharugavanam (deodar/pine forest) and lead them to true knowledge, and also to show the limits of chastity of their wives. With sacred ashes smeared over His body, He disguised Himself as a mendicant (Bhikshatana), he reached the forest. The wives of the sages came out of their homes to give alms. They were overwhelmed by the charm of the mendicant. With melting desire in their hearts, their bangles loosened and fell down into the mendicant's bowl, and their dress slipped down as they gazed at him in awe and longing. As the mendicant moved away taking away their bangles, the women realized the impropriety of their actions and begged Him in vain to return their bangles.

The sages saw this and cursed their wives that they be born as vaisya women in Madurai. When they asked how this curse would be lifted, they replied that when the Lord Somasundaram touched their hands, the curse would be lifted. The wives of the sages were born as vaisya women. When they were grown up, the Lord appeared as bangles seller in their street.

Needless to say, the women were mesmerised by the attractive looks of the bangle seller. He displayed to them all the bangles that he had taken from them during their previous birth. The women pretended to try different bangles and extended their hands repeatedly so they could experience the Lord's touch. His one touch absolved them of their curse and they all become sin free. The Lord went away, promising to come the next day for collecting the money. The women followed the mendicant into the Somasundara temple and found Him merge into the Shiva Linga. They realized that the bangle seller was none other than the lord.

Because of the touch of the Lord, all the vaisya women became pregnant, and gave birth to brave and dignified children.

The following lines fron the song kattimundakara refer to story of Shiva selling bangles in Madurai and is one of the Thiruvilaiyadals mentioned in the Thiruvilaiyadal Puraanam.

செட்டி யென்றுசிவ காமி தன்பதியில்
கட்டு செங்கைவளை கூறு மெந்தையிட
சித்த முங்குளிர நாதி வண்பொருளை    நவில்வோனே

செட்டி யென்றுவன மேவி யின்பரச
சத்தி யின்செயலி னாளை யன்புருக
தெட்டி வந்துபுலி யூரின் மன்றுள்வளர்    பெருமாளே.

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