Nandikeshvara, aka: Nandikeśvara, Nandika-ishvara; 13 Definition(s)


Nandikeshvara means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

The Sanskrit term Nandikeśvara can be transliterated into English as Nandikesvara or Nandikeshvara, using the IAST transliteration scheme (?).

In Hinduism

Shilpashastra (iconography)

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1) Nandikeśvara (or Adhikāranandin): At the entrance into many an important temple of Śiva in Southern India one meets with a pair of images, of which one is a male figure and the other a female one, the consort of the former. The male figure is shaped exactly like that of Śiva in the aspect of Chandraśekharamūrti. It is seen standing upon a padmāsana and carrying in its back hands the paraśu and the mṛga; but, unlike the figure of Chandraśekharamūrti, which keeps its front hands in the varada and the abhaya poses, that of Adhikāranandin has them folded on the chest in the añjali pose. The figure of Adhikāranandin is sometimes mistaken by the less informed person for that of Śiva.

2) The name Nandikeśvara, ‘the tawny coloured dwarf’ and a follower of Śiva occurs in the Rāmāyaṇa (V. 17, Sec. 16 of the Uttara-kāṇḍa). There he is stated to be another manifestation of Śiva (apara tanuh) and that when he was keeping guard over the Kailāsa, Rāvaṇa, the lord of Laṅkā and of the Rākṣasas, came driving in his ærial car and wanted to cross the abode of Śiva. But he was promptly stopped by Nandikeśvara. Upon this Rāvaṇa made contemptuous remarks concerning the mokey-face of Nandikeśvara. Incensed at the insult offered to him, he cursed Rāvaṇa that beings possessing the same shape as himself and of similar energy (that is, monkeys) would destroy the race of Rāvaṇa.

3) Nandikeśvara is mentioned also in the Bhāgavata-purāṇa. During the yāga that Dakṣa/prajāpati was performing, he spoke tauntigly of Śiva. Nandi grew angry at the insult offered to his lord Śiva and pronounced maledictions against Dakṣa and the other revilers of Śiva.

4) The Viṣṇudharmottara gives the following description of Nandikeśvara. He should have three eyes and four arms and a red complexion. His garments should be made of tiger’s skin; in one of his hands there should be the triśūla and in another the bhindi; a third hand should be held over his head and the fourth held as though he is commanding a host of people. His gaze should suggest that he is seeing objects at a great distance and regulating the large crowd of devotees resorting to offer worship to Śiva.

Nandikeśvara is more often represented as a bull than as a bull-faced human being or as a duplicate of Śiva. The former is kept lying in front of the central shrine of all Śiva temples.

Source: Wisdom Library: Elements of Hindu Iconograpy
Shilpashastra book cover
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Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

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Nandikeśvara (नन्दिकेश्वर) is the name of a Liṅga (symbolical manifestation of Śiva) that is associated with the Nandī-tīrtha (a sacred bathing place). It represents the twenty-first of the sixty-four siddhaliṅgas mentioned in the Nepalese Tyasaphu (a folding book or leporello). At each of these spots Śiva is manifest as a Liṅga. Each of these liṅgas (eg., Nandika-īśvara) has its own specific name, mantra, set of rituals and observances, auspicious time etc.

The auspiscious time for bathing near the Nandikeśvara-liṅga at the Nandī-tīrtha is mentioned as “caitra-kṛṣṇa-aṣṭamī / vaiśākha-pūrṇimā” (latin: caitra-krishna-ashtami / vaishakha-purnima). This basically represents the recommended day for bathing there (snānadina).

Source: Wisdom Library: Śaivism

Nandikeśvara (नन्दिकेश्वर).—Nandikeśvara, popularly known as Nandīsar or Nandi is considered as the chief attendant of Lord Śiva. In the northern tradition, he is known as Rṣabha. According to Śiva Mahāpurāṇa, Ṛṣabha and Bhṛgu were the first who initiated into the great Śivayoga.

Tirumūlar in his Tirumandiram paid homage to Nandi in more than ten verses claiming that he belongs to the spiritual lineage of Nandi. Due to the grace of the Nandi, he entered into the body of the Mūlan. By his grace, he became the Sadāśiva. By his grace, he attained all kinds of physical knowledge and because of his grace Tirumūlar remained in the world.

Source: DSpace at Pondicherry: Siddha Cult in Tamilnadu (shaivism)

Nandikeśvara (नन्दिकेश्वर) or Nandikeśvarāgama refers to one of upāgamas (supplementary scriptures) of the Candrajñānāgama which is one of the twenty-eight Siddhāntāgama: a classification of the Śaiva division of Śaivāgamas. The Śaivāgamas represent the wisdom that has come down from lord Śiva, received by Pārvatī and accepted by Viṣṇu. The purpose of revealing upāgamas (eg., Nandikeśvara Āgama) is to explain more elaborately than that of mūlāgamas (eg., Candrajñāna-āgama) and to include any new idea if not dealt in mūlāgamas.

Source: Shodhganga: Iconographical representations of Śiva
Shaivism book cover
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Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

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Rasashastra (chemistry and alchemy)

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Nandikeśvara (नन्दिकेश्वर) is the name of an Ayurvedic recipe defined in the fourth volume of the Rasajalanidhi (chapter 2, dealing with jvara: fever). These remedies are classified as Iatrochemistry and form part of the ancient Indian science known as Rasaśāstra (medical alchemy). Nandikeśvara is an ayurveda treatment and should be taken with caution and in accordance with rules laid down in the texts.

Accordingly, when using such recipes (eg., nandikeśvara-rasa): “the minerals (uparasa), poisons (viṣa), and other drugs (except herbs), referred to as ingredients of medicines, are to be duly purified and incinerated, as the case may be, in accordance with the processes laid out in the texts.” (see introduction to Iatro chemical medicines)

Source: Wisdom Library: Rasa-śāstra
Rasashastra book cover
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Rasashastra (रसशास्त्र, rasaśāstra) is an important branch of Ayurveda, specialising in chemical interactions with herbs, metals and minerals. Some texts combine yogic and tantric practices with various alchemical operations. The ultimate goal of Rasashastra is not only to preserve and prolong life, but also to bestow wealth upon humankind.

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Kavya (poetry)

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Nandikeśvara (नन्दिकेश्वर) is the name of an important person (viz., an Ācārya or Kavi) mentioned in Rājaśekhara’s 10th-century Kāvyamīmāṃsā.—(or Nandi) One of the eighteen disciples of Kāvya-puruṣa. In the Kāmasūtra of Vātsāyaṇa refer him as the first propounded of Kāmasūtra (1.1.8).

Source: Shodhganga: The Kavyamimamsa of Rajasekhara
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Kavya (काव्य, kavya) refers to Sanskrit poetry, a popular ancient Indian tradition of literature. There have been many Sanskrit poets over the ages, hailing from ancient India and beyond. This topic includes mahakavya, or ‘epic poetry’ and natya, or ‘dramatic poetry’.

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Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar)

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Nandikeśvara (नन्दिकेश्वर).—An ancient grammarian who has written a short work in verses on grammar in general, which is named नन्दकेश्वरकारिकासूत्र (nandakeśvarakārikāsūtra). There is a scholarly commentary upon it written by उपमन्यु (upamanyu).

Source: Wikisource: A dictionary of Sanskrit grammar
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Vyakarana (व्याकरण, vyākaraṇa) refers to Sanskrit grammar and represents one of the six additional sciences (vedanga) to be studied along with the Vedas. Vyakarana concerns itself with the rules of Sanskrit grammar and linguistic analysis in order to establish the correct context of words and sentences.

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

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Nandikeśvara (नन्दिकेश्वर) is one of the attendants of Śiva.

Source: Siva Purana - English Translation
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

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The bull of Shiva is hence also called the joyful (Nandi), correspondingly Shiva himself is known as the lord of joy (Nandikeshvara).

Source: Exotic India: Nandikeshvara Shiva

Nandi is well known as the "Vahana" (vehicle) of Lord Shiva. In ancient times, the bull was called "Nandikeshvara" (Lord of Joy) and head of bulls symbolizes a strong man. For a time the Nandikeshvara were known as "Rishi" (Wise Man) who defended the doors of Shiva's residence and so became divine. In the opinion of some Shaivite scholars, Nandi was connected to Lord Shiva because both represent masculine power and control power of them. The Nandi symbolizes internal strength which can be obtained by controlling physical strength and aggression.

Source: Kamal Kapoor: Parad Idols

Nandikeśvara: नन्दिकेश्वर “Lord of Nandi.” A name of Śiva. Also another name for Nandinatha, the first historically known guru of the Nandinātha Sampradāya. See: Kailāsa Paramparā, Nātha Sampradāya.

Source: Kauai’s Hindu Monastry: Dancing with Siva

Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Nandikeshvara in Sanskrit glossary... « previous · [N] · next »

Nandikeśvara (नन्दिकेश्वर).—

1) Name of one of Śiva's chief attendants.

2) Name of Śiva.

Derivable forms: nandikeśvaraḥ (नन्दिकेश्वरः).

Nandikeśvara is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the terms nandika and īśvara (ईश्वर). See also (synonyms): nandikeśa.

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Relevant definitions

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