The news channels got another agenda Varanasi’s Gyanvapi Mosque court case to fetch viewership ratings. Debate, discoveries, reasoning everything is on all news platforms. On one of the channels, I heard the argument that Nandi always sits in front of Shivalinga. Whether it is there or not let the Supreme authorities of the country decide. However, like me, you too must be inquisitive to know the connection between Nandi and Shivalinga as per Vedas. Especially when the Shravan month is approaching.
Who was Nandi?
He was the son of Sage Shilada. After the sage carried a severe penance to Mahadeva, Shilada got the boon of a strong and intelligent Son. He named his son Nandi, however soon Shilada came to know that he has a very short life. And when Nandi saw his father in pain, he started praying to Lord Shiva. Finally, when Mahadeva came in front of him, he got so mesmerised by Shiva's presence that he said “I wish to be with you always”. Lord Shiva pleased with his devotion, told him that he removes his early death curse. And since Mahadeva lost his bull so he can stay with him as his bull. He transformed Nandi into half bull and half-human form. And thereon he stayed on the Kailash with Lord Shiva as his Vehicle, gatekeeper, companion and head of all his Ganas. According to ancient texts he was amongst the 8 commanders of Shiva. There is one more very interesting tale about him. Once when Ravana had come to Kailash to see Shiva. Nandi got into conflict with him because of Ravana’s resentful behaviour like a monkey. In anger, Nandi cursed Ravana that a monkey would burn his Kingdom. Then later on, when Hanumaan the monkey God went to Lanka in search of Lady Sita he burnt his city of demons. Shaiva Siddhanta's text mentions Nandi as the chief Guru of 8 disciples Sanaka, Sanatana, Sanandana, Sanatkumara, Tirumular, Vyagrapada, Patanjali, and Sivayoga Muni. To all of them, he had imparted the knowledge acquired from Shiva and Goddess Parvati. And these disciples were sent in 8 different directions to circulate what they learnt from Nandi. Brahaddharma Purana too refers to him as the commander of Lord Shiva's army who killed the elephant demon Airavata.
How did Nandi and Shiva become inseparable?
It is believed that after Samudra Manthan Nandi became very dear to Lord Shiva. During Manthan's or Churning of ocean time when Lord Shiva was drinking the poison, a few drops fell on the ground. Nandi immediately licked these drops, upon seeing his unconditional devotion Shiva chose him as his highest devotee. And he was given the boon that he will sit in front of Lord Shiva in the temple and all Shiva worshippers will bow in front of him also. However, there is one more belief attached to it. That after drinking Samudra Manthan poison Shiva always felt a burning sensation in his throat. He could feel it more while sitting for meditation. So he asked Nandi to sit in front of him and blow air on his throat, to relieve him from the burning sensation. Since then he always sits in front of Shiva whenever he goes into deep meditation. Thus together they symbolise righteousness and stability. His devotion to Lord shiva teaches us that human beings should keep away all the distractions in life and guide their energies toward Supreme power. Which is the ultimate path to enlightenment and Moksha.
Do you know customs to be followed before worshipping Shivalinga?
- Before entering the temple worshipper must look at Shivalinga through Nandi horns.
- Devotees should tell their wishes in his ears
- The third most important thing is never ever come in between Nandi and Shivalinga while worshipping inside the temple.
Due to the fact that Nandi is very close to Lord Shiva, in ancient text lot of emphasis was laid to seek his blessings. So all Lord Shiva devotees always pray to him to complete their prayers. In fact, to appease him there is a Nandi Gayatri Mantra
Om Tatpurushay Vidmahe Chakratunday Dheemahi Tanno Nandih Prachodayat.
Om. Let me meditate on that great living being, Oh, Lord of devas, give me higher intellect, And let the God Nandi illuminate my mind.
Chant Nandi Gayatri Mantra atleast 9 times or 11 better would be 108 times. While ardent devotees of Lord Shiva chant this mantra 1008 times. It is believed that this Mantra takes you closer to Lord Shiva and gives wisdom, health, and peace. For blessings of Nandi and Lord Shiva to end all the miseries in your life you must perform Nandi Puja and Shiva Sahasranam and bring happiness, peace, success and divinity home.