Thursday, August 7, 2014

Whispering in the Ears of Shiva's Nandi Bull this Shraavan


As I lean forward to softly hum my wishes in His ears, I feel myself detaching from the chaos of the world outside. It is like stepping into a quiet room – filled with peace, pin drop silence. Like Meditation or chanting a mantra. When your mind loses sight of itself and begins to transcend, gradually tapping the core zone of fanatical happiness. It’s in those silent moments, I feel His power… and a connection is established - me with the divine, me with myself…

And, me with the Nandi!

Who is Nandi?

Nandi is the divine bull, the vehicle of His Master, Lord Shiva and His primary devotee. He reveres His Master, and He adores Him. So much that the two are inseparable. His appearance is full of charm, His demeanor – authoritative. Oh well, He is a God in His own right! Like a security sentinel, He guards the entry gate to the abode of Shiva - devotees always seek His blessings before proceeding to Shiva.

Nandi Bull of ancient Tungareshwar temple in Mumbai
Hello, Nandi!
Like one drop in a huge ocean, I have merged with a swarm of devotees gathered at the local Shiva temple to seek His blessings. In spite of the crowd, I can feel Lord Shiva’s presence around during this point in time. He is on a journey, from His abode in the Himalayas to mine, the earth.

I walk a small distance, barefoot, to join the queue of the faithful, brimming with devotion and joy. The queue moves in an unhurried manner. And, so do I. Restless, with bilwa patra in my hands and a prayer on my lips, waiting for my meeting with the Lord.

In this holy month of Shraavan, I am on my road to The Shiva and as always, it shall pass through The Nandi.

Bilwa patra leaves and flowers offered to the Nandi Bull
Bilwa patra, leaves offered to the Lord
Finding Nandi

You don’t really find Him. He is simply there, everywhere. Like a swirling orb of shadow clinging to the sun’s light. Like a celestial star dancing in the twinkle of the night. Ardently following His master - Shiva.

Shiva temples with the Nandi Bull in tow
Shiva temples in my travels: Can you find Nandi? 
Attributes like size and color can vary though. Take for example, The Bull temple in Bangalore – one really has to go to this temple to see how the giganticity of the deity of Nandi breathes life in the mythical stories that do the rounds there.

Here, He is life-like, one of the largest in the world, born out of a single granite monolith measuring 4.5 m in height and 6.5 m in length and black in color. The temple tallies as one of the oldest in the country drawing a large number of believers all round the year. The Nandi Bull of Chamunda Hills in Mysore is another such example.

Nandi Bull of the Bull Temple in Bangalore
Nandi Bull in Bangalore: Isn't He HUGE?
(image courtesy: Clara Arnold @ thesoulandeye.wordpress.com)
Finally, somewhere along the line, I meet Him – The Nandi.

He is sitting facing the main shrine venerating Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, in a regal manner. I notice His leg, right one, raised slightly. I remember someone telling me, this signifies the value of Dharma in today’s era (Kaliyuga). I follow his gaze - it is fixated firmly on His master - one snap of His Master’s finger and He is alert enough to get up and get moving. I stand in awe and admiration of His principles and faithfulness. I place a bilwa patra in His feet, and bow my head in devotion.

Standing upright again, I cup my lips with one of my palms and lean forward this time. I whisper a wish. I try to pour my heart. For I know, depending on my sincerity, the wish shall be carried it to the Lord. 

Nandi in the Puranas

Besides the temples, one can find Nandi in various Hindu Puranas and Sacred Hindu Texts as well. One of my favorite stories revolving around Nandi takes us back to a dice game between Shiva and Parvati. Parvati had won the game but following a disagreement, Nandi was asked to intervene. Surprisingly, He declared Shiva as the winner. This unfair judgement infuriated Parvati and she cursed him to suffer from a deadly disease.

Nandi apologized and confessed to His doing along with a justification that He could not bear declaring His Master as a looser. It was against loyalty.

This explanation warmed Parvati’s heart and she decided to lift the curse off Nandi. She asked Him to offer something that was most dear to him to His son Ganesha, next Chaturdashi as a way out of the curse. Nandi did as suggested. On the next Chaturdashi, He offered green grass (the staple of a bull) to Ganesha and was relieved of his disease. The practice of offering durva (green grass) to please Lord Ganesha continues till this date.

No matter where you find Him... in lesser known temples or the more celebrated ones or even the puranas, all you need to do is take cover in His shadow and He holds an assurance to enlighten you in a certain way. Let go of your worldly desires, confess your sins and appreciate the lessons he holds – of uprightness and purity, of loyalty and wisdom, of tamed desires and resulting unrestrictive joys – and you realize how these are the very keys to getting close to Shiva, His Master, the consciousness, the eternal creator. ‘The Lord of Joy’, He inspires us to embrace a path that promises liberation from the material world.

As I speak in His ears… the concentric vibrations of my whisper and echo that emanates, can be felt, almost seen filling the directions all around with an animated power. It is as if He has released an acknowledgement of pushing forward my case with a desired purpose. It happens each and every time I whisper in His ears. Each and every time we connect.

Whispering in the ears of the Nandi Bull in Shraavan month of Shiva
Whispering in the ear of the Nandi
What do you wish for, Arti? … they ask,
… What all have you achieved?

Nothing. I shrug.

Infact, I have lost a bit of everything –

... annoyance, frustration, apprehensions and impatience.

And for that, I thank The Nandi.

...............................

"Om Mahakalyam Mahaveeryam,
Shiva Vahanam Outatmama
Gananamtwa pratham vande 
Nandishwaram Mahabalam"




Would you like to share this article with your friends?

37 comments:

  1. Loved the Post.
    Keep on doing the great work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, AB. Nandi Bull has always captured my fascination in any Shiva Temple I have been. I thought Shravan was a good time to write about Him, finally! Glad you liked the post, thanks a lot for the motivation, means a lot and do keep visiting!! :)

      Delete
  2. Ah I love nandi too, i feell all cow is special, how they give many benefit to human life, keep update with my blog Arti, i take a lot of pic of cow around india and nepal in my last journey

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure Mareta, you are one of my favorite bloggers. :) You are so right, cows occupy an important place in our life cycle and though Nandi is a bull, I find the lessons He strives to teach as Lord Shiva's vehicle are equally significant and very liberating.

      Delete
  3. Arti, Great to read your new post. Thanks a lot for sharing.
    Keep posting.

    ReplyDelete
  4. My son loves whispering his wishes into the Nandi's ears :) Nice write up

    ReplyDelete
  5. Lovely writing Arti. May Nandhi and his master bless you and your family. Have u been to the Tanjore Brigadeeswara templ e ? The Nandi there is huge too

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not yet been to the Tanjore Temple - but I am off to do a quick google search on it right away. Since we are the topic of the Nandi, this intrigues me even more. Thank you so much for your wishes, Jaish. :) And a very joyous and blessed holy month of Shravan to you as well.

      Delete
  6. Such a wonderful tribute to the Nandi Arti! He is new to me, but your words make him come alive, make his presence felt. Am sure you get a wish granted, if he reads this - or feels your devotion! Hope you have a happy weekend ahead!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Very beautiful write up Arti! Loved reading it as well… you got a great devotion for him. Liked the picture you whispering on the ear’s of Nandi. There’s also a huge Nandi around the foothills of Nandi Hills on the outskirt of Bangalore.

    ReplyDelete
  8. A lovely post. I am also an admirer of Nandi. His faithfulness for his Master is exemplary.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh wow - yes, that is one huge Nandi...! Would like to go and see now... So enjoyed your wonderful tale, dear Arti ... So beautiful use of words - as always ... Thanks for taking us along:-)

    ReplyDelete
  10. What a beautiful post, I really enjoyed reading this. Very informative. Thanks Arti

    ReplyDelete
  11. thanks for sharing awesome update..keep sharing more updates

    ReplyDelete
  12. I got the chance to whisper in ear of Nandi at Lingraj Temple - Bhubneshwar (odissa) while my official trip.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Very well written post--oozing with spirituality.I hope your wish is granted.
    love n blessings.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Lovely, Arti.
    Hope Nandi grants you your wishes :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. i like your writing, it is charming!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. This was a great read. Very informative too. :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Great post! I thoroughly enjoyed it :) Now that's one wish granted :P

    ReplyDelete
  18. As always wonderful and truly relevant post for all the symbolic interpretations...as I had already mentioned I love Nandi too. The biggest Nandi I have come across is the one in Brihadeeswara temple in Tanjavore (Tamil Nadu). I enjoy whispering into his ears all my wishes hoping it will be granted :) Hope all yours are granted too :D

    ReplyDelete
  19. Amazing post. An eye opener, I just knew his name "Nandi" but you really made him alive!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Nandi and Jagannath were my playmates in my childhood days, when my mother used to take me out on Shiva Ratris.

    ReplyDelete
  21. It's such a wonderful write-up Arti...:-) especially the last lines lifted my soul... :-)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Good Read. Its good to have fate and be a spiritual person.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Could not have been a better day to see the capture and read the post today...thank you Article for sharing

    ReplyDelete
  24. The stories from mythology as retold by you are fascinating Arti!Also the pics were lovely!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Enjoyed reading your post, Being a Bangaloorean, I often visit the famous Bull temple and that place always fascinates me. :-)

    Happy Blogging
    --

    ReplyDelete
  26. The Nandi's are quite fascinating and the big bull of Bangalore is one such living example. There are many big Nandis found across south India. Lovely post !

    ReplyDelete
  27. thanks for sharing this valuable information .. Nice pictures . OM NAMAH SHIVAY

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi Arti,

    I enjoyed reading about Nandi and seeing your lovely photos. Have never heard of this before, so thanks for sharing. Do hope that your wish was granted.
    Hope you are enjoying the week
    Carolyn

    ReplyDelete
  29. love the way you have written about nandi!!

    http://www.myunfinishedlife.com

    ReplyDelete
  30. and also whispering in the ear of chuha mama (mouse) vahan of gamapati bappa :P
    nice blog :p

    ReplyDelete
  31. In Tamil Nadu we have a pooja, twice a month for the Nandi. There is this temple in Thiruvanamalai where they have a big statue. Thanks to the stories from my Grandma, I read about the info you had shared, but informative nonetheless :-)

    ReplyDelete
  32. What an amazing post, as interesting as it was informative and, oh, those pictures. What can I say apart from they were wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Very informative and interesting post on Nandi - the loyal and royal celestial carriage of Shiva. Your descriptions are inspiring and joyous.Gives a feeling I am virtually there on the spot standing next to Nandi. The massive bull at Basavangudi is awesome. The last picture really conveys the ecstatic devotion - the girl with her green dupatta covering her head and whispering secretly in Nandi's ears !

    ReplyDelete
  34. Lovely...and have you visited the big temple at Tanjore?...the Nandi is huge and really awesome!

    ReplyDelete

Delighted u stopped by... Your suggestions, feedback are really appreciated. Thanks a lot! Hope you visit again!

If you have asked a question, please give me at least 2 days to reply back. Thank you :)

Blogger Widgets