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Lord Shiva, who is among the Holy Trinity i.e., Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh (Lord Shiva), is often seen with a bull. The bull is known as Nandi. Nandi is generally shown sitting with his legs folded, in front of meditating Lord Shiva. On this Maha Shivratri i.e., on 21 February 2020, read about Nandi, the sacred bull of Lord Shiva.
In Hindu mythology, bulls are believed to be the symbol of sincerity. Also, a bull is considered, to be honest, brainy and hard-working. Though a bull is usually seen peaceful, it can be fierce when angry. Probably considering these qualities of a bull in his mind, Lord Shiva made Nandi his mount.
It is after Nandi that all the bulls are considered sacred and associated with Lord Shiva. But how did all this happen? Here is an interesting story behind the birth of Nandi and how he became the mount of Lord Shiva. Read on.
Maha Shivratri 2020: The Story Of Sacred Bull Nandi
A story mentioned in Vayu Purana says Rishi Kashyap was childless. He and his wife Surabhi wanted to have a child who would carry the name of the clan. It was only after the dedication and devotion towards Lord Shiva that Rishi Kashyap and Surabhi were blessed with a baby. Happiness and joy spread in the house with the coming of a boy. So they named the child Nandi which means joyous and happy.
Lord Varun And Nandi Visit Sage Shilaad
However, according to some texts, it was sage Shilaad who had asked Lord Indra for an immortal and strong child. Lord Indra then suggested Shilaad that he should seek the blessings of Lord Shiva.
Lord Shiva, eventually blessed sage Shilaad as the sage found a baby in the fields and adopted him.
A few years later, Lord Varun and Lord Mitra appeared before Shilaad pleased with his worship. They blessed him with long life but also told that his son Nandi would die at the age of 8 years. Nandi was 7 years old then.
Nandi Worships Lord Shiva
When Nandi came to know this, he could not see his father in grief and therefore, started penance in order to please Lord Shiva. The lord listened to his prayers, appeared before him and gifted him the bell necklace as a blessing. While he removed the curse of early death for him, Lord Shiva also told that Nandi would now be a half-man, half-bull.
It is said that Shilad and Nandi went to the abode of Lord Shiva after this. Nandi was made the head of the Ganas of Lord Shiva and the mount of Lord Shiva.
Nandi Revered As A Deity
Today, Nandi is worshipped as a deity in the temples of Lord Shiva. The Mahanandiswara temple at Kurnool is one of the few temples dedicated solely to Nandi. The biggest statue of Nandi is located here.
Powers And Qualities Of Nandi
Nandi symbolises justice, faith, honour, wisdom and virility and anybody with these qualities can become dear to Lord Shiva. It is said that Nandi plays the music when Lord Shiva performs the Tandava. He had even killed the demon elephant Airavat while being the commander of the army of Lord Shiva. Nandi is the protector of Dharma and the giver of boons.