Deva who is the destructive aspect of the supreme Trinity. His abode is Kailasa Parvata where He is depicted with his consort Parvati and sons – Subrahmanya and Ganesha.
Bull – symbolizes purity and justice. Nandi is also a symbolism of eternal seeking and patience.
Sage Shilada, who was childless, prayed to Lord Shiva for a blessed child. The sage’s intense prayers were answered when Shiva appeared and said he will get a child soon. Next day, as Shilada was ploughing the field on his farm, he found a beautiful baby who was very bright. Also Shilada heard an invisible voice saying, take this baby home and bring him up.
Shilada named the little boy Nandi and brought him up with great care, love and affection. The little boy was devoted to Lord Shiva from a young age. He was also taught Vedas, fighting, dancing, singing and the knowledge of medicine. Few years later, Sage Mitra and Sage Varuna came to visit Shilada. They were duly honoured and given warm hospitality by the father-son duo. Nandi served the sages very well and the guests were very happy.
As the sages continued on their journey, they blessed Shilada, a happy and long life. However, they were hesitant while blessing Nandi the same. All the same, the sages blessed Nandi to be a good son to his parents and teachers! Shilada noticed the hesitation and in the pretext of dropping the sages a little far from the hut, walked with the sages. Once out of sight of Nandi, Shilada enquired the sages the reason for hesitation in blessing his child a long life. The sages sadly said that Nandi does not have a long life.
Shilada was heart-broken to hear this. Slowly he walked back home but was unable to hide his sorrow from his dear son, Nandi. Nandi heard his father and said, there is nothing Lord Shiva can’t undo. Let me pray to him, Father. Shilada looked at his son’s calm face and got confidence in his words. The father blessed victory to his son and sent him for the tough penance.
Nandi went off to the banks of River Bhuvana and began his meditation. Lord Shiva was immensely pleased with the little boy’s concentration and devotion. He appeared in front of Nandi and called out tenderly to the child. Nandi opened his eyes and could not believe his eyes. What he was seeing was the most beautiful view and he found Lord Shiva the most pleasant person he had ever seen in his life. Nandi went on looking at his Lord. Finally when the Lord himself asked him what he could give Nandi, Nandi asked if he could stay forever with the Lord himself.
Shiva was very happy to bestow what Nandi asked for. He made Nandi a half bull – half man and gave him a necklace with a bell, blessed Nandi to be His vehicle from then and the head of His Ganas. Sage Shilada and Nandi got a permanent abode in Mount Kailasa from then.
Thus, Nandi became Shiva’s companion, vehicle and friend, always!!