This part is taken from Brahma, Vishnu, Siva in “Spiritual Stories” as Told by Ramana Maharshi

Sri Bhagavan was looking into the Siva Purana and related, “Siva has the transcendental and immanent aspects as represented by His invisible, transcendental being and the linga aspect respectively. The linga, manifested as Arunachala originally, stands even to this day.

“In the sphere of speech, Pranava (the mystic sound AUM) represents the transcendental (nirguna), and the Panchakshari (the five-syllabled mantra), represents the immanent aspect (saguna).” To illustrate this Sri Bhagavan recounted the anecdote of Parvati testing Rama.

Rama and Lakshmana were wandering in the forest in search of Sita. Rama was grief-stricken. Just then Siva and Parvati happened to pass close-by. Siva saluted Rama and passed on. Parvati was surprised and asked Siva to explain why He, the Lord of the Universe, being worshipped by all, should stoop to salute Rama, an ordinary human who having missed his consort was grief- stricken and moving in anguish in the wilderness looking helpless. Siva then said, “Rama is simply acting as a human being would under the circumstances. He is nevertheless the incarnation of Vishnu and deserves to be saluted. You may test him if you choose.”

Parvati considered the matter, took the shape of Sita and appeared in front of Rama, as he was crying out the name of Sita in great anguish. He looked at Parvati appearing as Sita, smiled and asked, “Why Parvati, are you here? Where is Sambhu? Why have you taken the shape of Sita?” Parvati felt abashed and explained how she went there to test him and sought an explanation for Siva saluting him.

Rama replied, “We are all only aspects of Siva, worshipping Him at sight and remembering Him out of sight.”