The Legend of Bhringi

- July 25, 2020


According to the Indian epics, Bhringi was an ancient sage and ardent devotee of Shiva. Every devotee of Shiva also bowed down to Parvati but Bhringi defied the norm. Every day after his prayers, he would circumambulate Shiva but not Parvati. Noticing this, one day, Parvati sat close to Shiva. Adamant, Bhringi transformed himself into a snake (some versions mention it as a rat) and went in between them.

Shiva and Parvati are two halves of the same whole. Wanting to make Bhringi aware of this, Shiva took half of Parvati’s form into his own as Ardhanarishwara. Unrelenting, Bhringi turned himself into a beetle (some versions mention it as a black bee). He bore his way through, encircling only Shiva’s head! Enraged, Parvati cursed him,

“O Bhringi, you are too adamant. We tried to explain to you that we are two halves of the whole but you refused to understand. May you lose all parts of your body received from your mother.”

Thus, Bhringi lost all his flesh and blood. According to traditional beliefs, a human receives bones and nerves from the father and the flesh and blood from the mother. While modern genetics says otherwise, this belief highlights the importance of the contribution from both parents in the physical characteristics of the child.

As just a skeletal frame within, Bhringi collapsed to the ground. Shiva, feeling sorry for his devotee, gave him a third leg that he could support his body, similar to a tripod. Bhringi realised his folly and bowed down to both Shiva and Parvati, realizing that they both were indeed two halves of the same truth.

Read the second part of our latest title, ‘Mahadeva – Stories from the Shiva Purana’ to learn more about the divine union of Shiva and Shakti, now available on the ACK Comics app.