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Tattoo designs - N >> Nandi

NandiNandi Tattoos - In most mythologies, the bull is an embodiment of male potency, strength, virility and power. This does not apply to Nandi, however, the bull of the Hindu god, Shiva. Unlike the charged and rampant bulls associated with many other deities - particularly in the Middle-East and the West - Nandi is the embodiment of surrender to the divine, and is considered one of the main symbols of Shiva.

A humble and respectful powerhouse - such a tattoo motif may be deeply in tune with the changing times we live in.

Nandi the bull, beloved mount of Lord Shiva, was described in legend as becoming too prideful in his role as Shiva's vahara (vehicle). To teach Nandi a lesson in humility, Shiva placed a lock of his own hair on the bull's back. Suddenly too weak to carry the load, Nandi dropped to his knees. Prostrating himself, he asked Lord Shiva's forgiveness. Nandi was subsequently initiated into divine wisdom, and from that day onwards he was not only Shiva's vahara but also his chief disciple.

In the Hindu religion, Nandi became revered as the symbol of the renewal of fertility, correct motivation, and religious aspiration. Only by perpetuating these personal attributes can every aspect of divine law flourish.

Nandi's devotion to his master went all the way - to the point of sacrificing his own life. The myth tells of Shiva ingesting the 'poison of human Karma' as a display of self-sacrifice. Seeing his master prepared to lay down his life, Nandi was willing to do the same. Shiva, realizing that his beloved vahara could not withstand the effects of the poison as he could, Shiva protected Nandi from his fate. After that, Nandi never left Shiva's side, becoming his ever-present guardian and the source of devotion for followers of Shiva.

Lord Shiva, by riding such a powerful symbol of sexual energy and fertility, demonstrates his control over those very forces. Nandi, the constant companion of Lord Shiva, symbolizes the metaphysical ideal in the natural, physical form.

The image of Nandi can be seen in Hindu homes throughout India. Statues of the sacred bull - usually with legs bent beneath him in passive mode, ready to heed the call of Lord Shiva - appears outside temples and shrines where Shiva is revered. The believer asks for Nandi's blessing before passing the threshold to the place of worship. Sometimes Nandi is portrayed as pure white, the colour worn by initiates, although he is often depicted as black, symbolizing the earth. Popular paintings and carvings show him carrying Shiva and his consort, Parvati, on his back.

In long-ago India and Sri Lanka, the bull was a primary god in his own right among farmers and herdsmen. Coins inscribed with the image of Nandi date back more than a thousand years, indicating that the bull was both a sacrificial and sacred animal. Nandi was depicted by those ancients as being bull-faced with a human body. Bull worship was prominent in cultures that made an early transition from hunter-gatherer economies to agriculture. It follows that cattle would be among the very first animals to be domesticated. As such, the bull was no longer used in ritual sacrifice, nor was it eaten by devout Hindus.

Nandi Inspiration Gallery - Click here to get inspired!In Sri Lanka in 1948, the lion as symbol of the Tamil nation was replaced on their flag by Nandi, the bull of Shiva. It reflected the people's link with farming and cattle, and their long association with the veneration of the bull. The bull is still revered in Sri Lanka, although without the political associations, only religious.

In the Tamil language, Nandi means 'one who blocks the way', making him an appropriate guardian of Shiva's shrine.

Get inspired by some really great images and photos in our Nandi Inspiration Gallery

See also: Bull Tattoo Designs, Taurus Tattoo Designs, Shiva

Tattoo designs - N >> Nandi

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