Smeared in white, with good omen in eyes, fingers with grass to the right, with shUla and kapAla in the left lands, nice wear (pAduka) in feet, with dangling red matted hair, moon on the head, deer (mR^igam) in the right hand, a vessel for alms in the left, with bulged belly, that God, on bhikshAtana, we pray.
bhikshAtanar : The mUrti who asks for alms
The R^ishis in dArukAvanam forest, once thought that only the karma(deed, performing rituals) is supreme and it is not required to pray God at all. They stopped worshipping God. Whatever be the deeds, isn't there One Who provides the doer with the fruits ? How can the inanimate deeds automatically give fruit ? Not realizing these facts the R^iShis pursued their dogma of karma. To teach them the importance of worship Lord Shiva took the form of bhikshAtanar (begger) and mahA vishNu the form of mOhini (glamorous girl). In this form the Lord is naked and quite enchanting. So was the mohini. The Naked Lord came to the streets of the R^iShis to get alms. (Does the God, Who is the provider of all wealth, need to beg ? The playful Lord, while providing the supreme wealth for those who worship, went to beg as if He has nothing !) At the charm of the naked Lord Shiva the wives of the R^ishis lost their heart. They forgot what they were doing and started simply following the Naked God. Meanwhile the R^ishis also forgot the karmathey were strongly advocating and followed the glamorous mOhini.
When they got to see their wives - the followers of karmic discipline, lost their virtue and following a Naked Beggar, they got angry with Lord Shiva and vishNu and started targeting their power of the karmas towards the Lord, by performing the abhichAra yAgam which will produce bad effects. They directed the snakes, demon, tiger, fire and drum that came out of the fire against the Lord. What can hurt the Supreme Who is the Source of everything. He coolly made them his ornaments! Now the R^iShis realized their stupidity and realized that God is the supreme and not the karma.