Nandi – A Sign For God Within?

Now this is Nandi 🙂 The Gatekeeper of Lord Shiva by Geethmala via Flickr

In Hindu mythology, Nandi is generally seen as the sacred bull that acts as Siva‘s gatekeeper and mount.

But Nandi is much more than Siva’s mode of transportation. He is also a guru and sage who acts at Shiva’s behest.

According to Saivitesiddhantic tradition, he is considered as the chief guru of eight disciples of Nandinatha Sampradaya – Sanaka, Sanatana, SanandanaSanatkumaraTirumularVyagrapadaPatanjali and Sivayoga Muni who were send to eight directions to spread the wisdom of Shaivism¹

Psychologically and spiritually, modern Hindus relate to Nandi as a symbol for the experience of their understanding of the divine.

The white color of the bull symbolizes purity and justice.. Symbolically, the seated Nandi towards sanctum in Siva temples, represents an individual jiva (soul) and the message that the jiva should always be focused on the Parameshwara. From the yogic perspective, Nandi is the mind dedicated to Lord Siva, the Absolute. In other words, to understand and absorb Light, the ‘experience and the wisdom’ is Nandi which is the Guru within.¹

To compare to Christianity, the only animal we know that Jesus rode was a donkey. This symbolizes the desire for humility as Christians seek to imitate the living example of Christ in their own lives.

In contrast to this Christian ideal, Nandi the white bull symbolizes the divine within.

Does this mean that Christians put the desire for humility before their thirst for spiritual experience? One could argue this point but I think that generally speaking, the two different animal symbols point to a subtle difference between these two religions.


² Ibid.


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