Pradosham that occurs on the Shukla Paksha Thrayodashi of Aani month falls on June 21. During Pradoshamkalam, we worship Lord Shiva and give equal importance to the worship of Nandi Bhagavan who is seated in the form of a bull before the shrine of Lord Shiva. Special poojas are conducted to Nandi Bhagavan also during Pradosham. In fact, many devotees of Shiva pray to Nandi before entering the main shrine of the deity in temples.
1. Nandi means ‘happiness’ and ‘growing’. NandiBagavan gives happiness to the devotees of Lord Shiva.
2. He is the gatekeeper of the abode of Lord Shiva (Kailash) and no one can enter the place without the permission of Nandi.
3. He is the vahanam of Lord Shiva and it is a blessing obtained by Nandi from Shiva that he would stay with the Lord forever and remains as his mount, helper, and friend forever.
4. Nandi is the guru of 8 disciples -Sanaka, Sanatana, Sanatkumara, Sanandana, Vyagrapada, Tirumular, Sivayoga Muni and Patanjali. He preached the doctrines of spiritual wisdom and Shaivism to his disciples and sent them to the eight directions of the world to spread Shaivism.
5. In temples where Lord Shiva is the main deity, we have Nandi in the form of a bull facing the shrine of Shiva. After getting his permission, one can worship the God.
6. There are famous legends related to Nandi.
Ravana’s kingdom of Lanka was burnt by Hanuman due to the curse of Nandi (Nandi cursed Ravana that his kingdom would be burnt by a monkey).
It was Nandi who appeared as a whale when Goddess Parvathi took the avatar of a fisherwoman’s daughter. Goddess Parvathi got separated from Shiva due to her lack of concentration on listening to Vedas recited by Shiva. So, she was born as the daughter of a fisherman and was waiting for getting united with Shiva. Nandi took the form of a whale and was troubling the fisherman’s people with the intention of uniting Parvathy and Shiva. Lord Shiva appeared as a fisherman, killed the whale and married the Goddess.
7. Dhurva grass and neivedhyam made of red rice are the favourites of Nandi Bhagavan.
8. Nandi is a master of arts like music, dance and also introduced Ayurveda, Aswaveda and Kamaveda. Those who want to master dance and music should worship Nandi Bhagavan.
9. Nandi is the son of Shilada, who got him through severe penance to Lord Shiva.
10. Nandi in his sitting posture in front of the shrine of Shiva represents the Jeevathma that is focused towards the Parmathma or Parameswara. Just like Nandi sits with a focus towards the shrine of Shiva, souls should be focused towards their union with Absolute Self.