The Hindu god Shiva gives a sacred mango fruit, brought by the sage Narada, to his elder son Vinayaka as a prize for outsmarting his younger brother Muruga in a competition. Angry with his father, Muruga (dressed as a hermit) goes to Palani. He meets Avvaiyar, one of his devotees along with way. Despite her attempts to convince Muruga to return to Mount Kailash, he remains adamant about his decision to leave his family. His mother, the goddess Parvati, arrives there and tells the stories of four of Shiva's divine games to calm Muruga.
The first story is about the opening of Shiva's third eye when he visits Madurai, the capital city of the Pandya Kingdom. Shenbagapandian, the king, wants to find the answer to a question posed by his wife (whether the fragrance of a woman's hair is natural or artificial), and announces a reward of 1,000 gold coins to anyone who can come up with the answer. Dharumi, a poor poet, desperately wants the reward, and starts to break down in the Meenakshi Amman Temple. Shiva, hearing him weeping, takes the form of a poet and gives Dharumi a poem containing the answer. Overjoyed, Dharumi takes the poem to Shenbagapandian's court and recites it; however, the court's head poet Nakkeerar claims that the poem's meaning is incorrect. On hearing this, Shiva argues with Nakkeerar about the poem's accuracy and burns him to ashes when he refuses to relent. Later, Shiva revives Nakkeerar and says that he only wanted to test his knowledge. Realising it was Shiva's will that Dharumi should get the reward, Nakkeerar requests Shenbagapandian to give it to Dharumi.
The second story focuses on Shiva marrying Sati against the will of her father, Daksha. Daksha performs a Mahayajna without inviting his son-in-law. Sati asks Shiva's permission to go to the ceremony, but Shiva refuses to let her go because he feels that no good will come from it. Sati disobeys him and goes, only to be insulted by Daksha. She curses her father and returns to Shiva, who is angry with her. Sati says that they are one; without her, there is no Shiva. He disagrees, and burns her to ashes. He then performs his Tandava, which is noticed by the Devas, who pacify him. Shiva restores Sati to life and Sati is reborn as Parvati and accepts their oneness.
In the third story, Parvati is banished by Shiva when she is momentarily distracted while listening to his explanation of the Vedas. Parvati, now born as Kayarkanni, is the daughter of a fisherman. When she is playing with her friends, Shiva approaches in the guise of a fisherman and tries to flirt with her. The fishermen are troubled by a giant shark who disrupts their way of life, and Shiva says that he alone can defeat the shark. After a long battle, Shiva subdues the shark (who is the bull deity Nandi in disguise) and marries Parvati.
The last story is about Banabathirar, a devotional singer. Hemanatha Bhagavathar, a talented singer, tries to conquer the Pandya Kingdom when he challenges its musicians. The king's minister advises the king to seek Banabathirar's help against Bhagavathar. When the other musicians spurn the competition, the king orders Banabathirar to compete against Bhagavathar. Knowing that he cannot win, the troubled Banabathirar prays to Shiva—who appears outside Bhagavathar's house in the form of a firewood vendor the night before the competition, and shatters his arrogance by singing "Paattum Naane". Shiva introduces himself to Bhagavathar as Banabathirar's student. Sheepish at hearing this, Bhagavathar leaves the kingdom immediately and leaves a letter for Shiva to give to Banabathirar. Shiva gives the letter to Banabathirar, and reveals his true identity; Banabathirar thanks him for his help.
After listening to the stories, Muruga realises that this too was one of Shiva's divine games to test his patience; he then reconciles with his family. The film ends with Avvaiyar singing "Vaasi Vaasi" and "Ondraanavan Uruvil", in praise of Shiva and Parvati.