According to the legend, Sambandar frequently accompanied his father to the temple. When his father took a ritual bath, the child was left alone and began to cry. One day, upon his father's return, the child was happily playing with a golden cup and had trickles of milk running down his chin. In response to his father's concerned questions about the source of the milk, Sambandar raised his hand and pointed toward the temple and the image of the goddess seated beside Shiva. Having drunk this cup of divine milk, the child is said to have burst into song and dance, praising Shiva and Parvati.
The iconography is very closely related to dancing Krishna, but Sambandar always has one finger of one hand pointing upward, gesturing toward the divine couple. This merging of depictions likely evolved out of the conceptual similarity between Krishna delighted with the ball of butter and Sambandar satiated with Parvati's milk.