We have already seen that there are three Nandis in my Father’s temple.
- Dvārapāla Nandi accompanied with Mahākāla
- The Adhikāra Nandi and
- The Bull Nandi
We have seen the legend and iconography of Nandi and Mahākāla. Now we can see about Adhikāra Nandi.
1.1. Previous birth
Vīraka was a chieftain of gaṇas of Kailāsa. He was very active and successfully made the arrangements for the wedding ceremony of my Father with Pārvatī. After the marriage, Pārvati was asking about the gaṇas with so many forms. My Father was explaining each and every gaṇa. At last, she could see the young and energetic boy who was engaged in arrangements. She was attracted towards him and asked my Father that we should have a son like Vīraka. My Father told her that Vīraka himself can be adopted as their son. They adopted him and she nurtured him with tons of love.
Once during the love talk with Pārvati my Father teased her by saying “your dark complexioned hand on my fair shoulder looks like a black serpent on sandalwood tree”. Since she was told as dark-complexioned, she got angry and scolded him with so many words. My Father was at pathetic position and fell down at her feet to say sorry. But she was not convinced and she started to go her father’s home ie. Himālayas. While moving, she ordered Vīraka to watch the Kailāsa so that no lady could enter to her husband. She also requested Kusumamodinī, maid of her mother to do the same work.
After she left, Āḍi, a demon and son of Andhakāsura entered in the form of serpent and changed his form to that of Pārvatī to take revenge of his father’s death. Vīraka, didn’t know this and allowed him. She went to my Father, and asked him to have a intercourse with him. My Father knew his form and fixed Raudrāstra in his genital and destroyed him during the intercourse.
After his destruction, Kusumamodinī sent Vāyu as her messenger to Pārvatī to inform that some lady entered Kailāsa. Knowing this, Pārvatī got angry and cursed Vīraka to take birth in the earth. After the curse, her dark complexion went as a separate form in the name of Kauśikī. She after getting fair complexion went to Kailāsa. Vīraka cried at the feet of Pārvati. She was pleased told him that You will born as the son of śilāda and will reach Kailāsa after doing penance with the name “Nandi”. This story is told in Skanda Purāṇa in the 28th Chapter of Kaumārikā khaṇḍa of Maheśvara khaṇḍa of Skandapurāṇa. The same story is there is Matsya purāṇa also.
But Nīlamata purāṇa gives another version that Nandi was Nadikeśvara himself before incarnating to śilāda.
Liṅgapurāṇa contradicts both the views and informs that my Father himself incarnated as Nandi.
1.2 Śīlāda Maharṣi
The following story is found in Skānda purāṇa. There was a sage śilāda, son of śālaṅkāyana. He was eating śilās (stones) so he was called as śilāda. He made a tough penance towards my Father to get a son since his forefathers were in hell. My Father pleased by penance, told him that he will get a son but not from the womb of a lady. While digging stones he found a child who was calling him as “Father, Father”. (Liṅga and Nīlamata Purāṇas tell that he was found in the Sītā (way paved by the plough) Vāyudeva gave the child to him saying that he will be his son. He gave the name “Nandi” since he made him happy (Nandikara). He taught him Vedas, Dhanurveda, āyurveda and Gāndharva veda.
Once the sages Maitrāvaruṇa came there and they told that Nandi has a short span of life. Śilāda got shocked and asked them the remedy. They told that only my Father can save him.
After hearing this, Nandi went to Arbudāraṇya and made a tough penance. He made rudra japa for crore times. My Father pleased and asked him what does he want?. Nandi told that he wants to do japa one more crore. Then he did the same for third time too. After his Koṭitraya rudra japa, My Father, came there with all the gaṇas. He told Nandi that he can provide the posts of Viṣṇu, brahma, āditya and rudras. But Nandi didn’t want anything except devotion. My Father made a new river with the name Jaṭodā. Then he gave Nandi to Pārvatī by saying that take your son. She showered water by which another river “Oghavatī” came. By seeing these Nandi made a noise and a new river was born by his noise with the name “ḍitkarikā”. Then they gave so many ornaments by which a new river came with the name “Svarṇōdakā”. Then from his kirīṭa, a new river born with the name “Jambunadī”. With these five rivers, the place was called as “Pañcanadas”.
Then my Father and Pārvatī made efforts to coronate Nandikeśvara as the chief of all Gaṇas. Gaṇas made grand arrangements with Simhāsana and other things. Viśvakarma gave his axe and śūla. He gave all the ornaments. Then all the devas collected holy waters and coordinated the rituals. Viṣṇu praised him with hymns.
After his coronation, my Father ordered maruts to give their daughter “Suyaśā” (su – good, yaśas – fame) to his son “Nandikeśvara”. They gave with great pleasure. The marriage ceremony was started in a grand manner with the sages like Kaśyapa and Atri. Music programme was done by Nārada, Tumburu, Hāhā and Hūhū. Celestial girls danced. Then My father asked him to get a boon. Again Nandikeśvara told that he wants strong devotion on him. Then Pārvati asked Suyaśā to get a boon. She also uttered the same words. My father gave them a good bungalow by name Vaibhrāja in śrīparvata.
Then all the gaṇas asked to be a pleaser of them. He praised the Bhūtagaṇas with hymns. Then they both went to their bungalow.
Thus the story of Nandikeśvara is explained in Skanda, Kūrma, Liṅga, Matsya and Nīlamata Purāṇas.
Other stories like Garuḍa garvabhaṅga are well known. He had monkey’s face due to the curse of Rāvaṇa.
In Liṅgapurāṇa, Nandikeśvara himself explains his form with four hands and other weapons.
मां दृष्ट्वा कालसूर्याभं जटामुकुटधारिणम् ।
त्र्यक्षं चतुर्भुजं बालं शूलटङ्कगदाधरम् ॥ १,४२.१७ ॥
वज्रिणं वज्रदंष्ट्रं च वज्रिणाराधितं शिशुम् ।
वज्रकुण्डलिनं घोरं नीरदोपमनिःस्वनम् ॥
He was like black complexioned sun and was adorned with Jaṭāmakuṭa. He had three eyes and four hands. He had śūla, ṭaṅka, Gaḍa and vajra. He had diamond kuṇḍalas and made sound like clouds.
Śivārcana Candrikā written by the great scholar Appayya Dīkṣita further gives other details.
रक्तवर्णं त्रिणेत्रं चन्द्रकलालङ्कृतजटामकुटं मृगपरशुनमस्कारमुद्रान्वितकरचतुष्टयं बाहुमूले वेत्रं कट्यां क्षुरिकांच धारयन्तं भस्मरुद्राक्षधारिणं वानरास्यं नन्दिकेश्वरं पूजयामीति द्वारस्याभ्यन्तरदक्षिणे पार्श्वे पूजयेत्
Nandi is red complexioned and adorned with crescent moon on his Jaṭāmakuṭa. He wears antelope, Axe and Añjali mudras. He has a shaft on his shoulder and sword at his hip level. He wears Vibhūti and rudrākṣa. He has monkey face.
श्यामवर्णामुत्पलालङ्कृतदक्षिणकरां सुयशादेवीं पूजयामीति द्वारस्याभ्यन्तरे सुयशादेवीं पूजयेत्।
Suyaśa is adorned with Utpala flower and can be worshipped near to the doors.
Another dhyānaśloka is given in śivadhyāna ratnāvali
दक्षिणद्वारपार्श्वस्थं संस्मरेन्नन्दिकेश्वरम् ।
अनेकरुद्रप्रमथभूतसङ्घैर्निषेवितम् ॥ ३॥
शिवधर्ममहाध्यक्षं शिवान्तः पुरपालकम् ।
चामीकराचलप्रख्यं सर्वाभरणभूषितम् ॥ ४॥
बालेन्दुमुकुटं सौम्यं चतुर्बाहुं त्रिलोचनम् ।
चन्द्रबिम्बाभवदनं हरिवक्त्रमथापि वा ॥५॥
Nandikeśvara should be worshipped near the southern gate. He is worshipped by rudras and gaṇas. He is the lord of śiva dharma and the savior of Antaḥpura of my Father. He is golden-complexioned and adorned with all ornaments. He may be protraited with a face like moon or of monkey’s face.
उत्तरद्वारपार्श्वे तु तत्पत्नीं मरुतस्सुताम् ।
सुयशां सुव्रतामम्बापादमण्डनतत्पराम् ॥६॥
Near the northern door, his wife Suyaśā, daughter of Marut and engaged in decorating the holy feet of Pārvatī, can be worshipped.
Thus the iconography of Nandikeśvara and Suyaśā are explained. The following pictures were taken from the Net. These pictures follow the above said description. Nandikeśvara is portrayed with man’s face or of Monkeys. He has Jaṭāmakuṭa and four hands. Upper hands are adorned with antelope and Axe whereas the lower in Añjali. One picture has sword in his bāhumūla instead of Vetra.
The story is related with Tiruvaiyāṙu in its sthalapurāṇa. I think, the five river concept referred in the purāṇa is connected with the Aiyāṙu and the story is attributed to the place.
Nandikeśvara is the supervisor of all activities of a śiva temple. Hence a stick is given to his hands.