Shiva and Parvati’s wedding is deemed as a royal affair, quite the iconic one in scriptures. It is a well-known fact that renowned deities were invited to the wedding. However, Lord Shiva is worshipped by both Gods as well as demons. In fact, he is also known to be a just ruler, and he treated them all equally. For his wedding with Princess Parvati, he invited both sides of his family to the ceremony, thereby being fair to everyone.
Interestingly, everyone beginning from demons, scavengers, reptiles, including deities, were welcome with open arms at this wedding! He also directed sage Narada to invite all sages and celestial entities.
However, it wasn’t until the ceremony commenced that Maina (Lord Shiva’s mother-in-law) expressed her desire to catch a glimpse of her son-in-law. Lord Shiva, who saw through her conceit, sent handsome Ganas ahead of him — who Maina mistook as Lord Shiva one after the other. On the other hand, he decided to walk into the ceremony wearing the fresh bark of an elephant, dripping with blood and smeared in ash. On looking at his dreadlocked, matted hair and unappealing get-up, Maina fell unconscious at his sight!
Parvati witnessed her mother’s plight and approached Lord Shiva, saying, “I will accept you the way you are, because all I want is you. But for the sake of my mother, could you please show a little more pleasant side of yours?”
To this, Lord Shiva agreed and then transformed himself into his most beautiful form. He put on an elegant attire and then proceeded to the marriage again. He was then christened Sundaramurti — meaning the most beautiful human being anyone had ever seen. Lord Shiva was approximately nine feet tall. This appearance awe-inspired everyone present at the wedding.
The ceremony proceeded, and there came a moment where the traditions demanded to know the bride and groom’s ancestry, where they hail from, if their blood is pure, and trace back through their entire family tree. Parvati could trace back through her royal lineage, and several wonderful things were said about her father, Himavat, who was the King of the Himalayan mountain region.
However, when it came to Lord Shiva, he sat in silence. Those who accompanied him weren’t able to communicate in any particular recognisable language. Parvati’s father was humiliated by this.
He got up in anger and said, “A man without predecessors. How can he dare marry my daughter, a Princess? Nobody knows where he hails from, who his progenitors are, and what his lineage is. How can a man give away his daughter to such a person?”
Sage Narada walked in with an ‘ektara’, which angered the King even more. “Why have you brought in this instrument?” he roared. “This is his antecedence. He has no father, mother or family,” Narada replied. “So, what does this ektara signify?” the King questioned.
To this, sage Narada simply smiled and replied, saying, “His basis is the mere sound and vibration. Reverberation was his birth. He has no origin, no forerunners, no ancestors. He is swayambhu – self-created, a being without antecedents.”
Aghast by this answer, the King went silent. However, despite challenges, Lord Shiva and Parvati did end up getting married in a regal ceremony.