Nandi – The Meditative Bull

- July 15, 2022


By Komal Narwani

Long ago, in a small village, lived Sage Shilada. He sat in deep meditation, praying to Shiva for a child. Years later, Shiva appeared before him and blessed him. The next day, Sage Shilada found a little boy lying in the field near his ashram. Thanking Shiva for his boon, he picked up the boy and named him Nandi. 

Script: Sanjana Kapur; Illustration: Durgesh Velhal

Nandi grew up to be a bright child with unparalleled wisdom. One day, two sages, Mitra and Varuna, visited Shilada’s ashram. They received a warm welcome from the sage and Nandi, who made their stay very comfortable. When it was time to leave, the sages blessed Shilada with a long life and Nandi with a happy life. The evident difference in blessings got Shilada curious. When questioned by Shilada, they revealed the bitter truth of Nandi’s short lifespan. Shilada was in tears. When Nandi learnt of this, he assured his father that Shiva would not let anything harm his true devotees. 

Script: Sanjana Kapur; Illustration: Durgesh Velhal

With his father’s blessings, Nandi left to embark on a deep devotional journey. He sat on the banks of river Bhuvana and chanted verses in honour of Shiva. Later, when Shiva asked for Nandi’s wish. He said, “O Shiva! Give me strength to chant verses in your honour for another year.” Shiva blessed him. However, after the first year, when Shiva appeared before him the second time, Nandi sought the same boon, which Shiva granted happily. The cycle repeated and formed a continuous loop until, one day, Shiva said, “Open your eyes, Nandi, you do not have to do this anymore. You are already immortal. Ask for any other wish.” Delighted, Nandi replied, “All I wish is to be at your side forever.”

Script: Sanjana Kapur; Illustration: Durgesh Velhal

Transforming the boy into a divine bull, Shiva said, “So be it. You will be my vahana and my closest aide. Let’s head to our home, Mount Kailash.” Since then, Nandi has been Shiva’s most loyal and trusted ally. Every Shiva temple has a statue of Nandi directly in front of the main sanctum sanctorum. Nandi sits there guarding his lord through eternity. Legends say it was Nandi who taught Hanuman the hymns to praise Shiva.

Learn more about the mythological divine creatures. Read our title Divine Beings, now available on Kindle, Amazon, Flipkart and with other major e-tailers. 

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