Story of Nandi becoming devotee of Shiva
There was a sage named Shilada. He once saw that his ancestors were being tortured in hell. When he tried to find out why this was so, he was told that this was because Shilada did not yet have a son.
To obtain a son, Shilada began to pray to Shiva. He prayed for a thousand years. At the end of the tapasya, Shiva appeared and offered to grant Shilada a boon. Shilada wanted the boon that he might have a virtuous son.
A few days later, when Shilada was ploughing the land, he discovered a baby boy on the blade of the plough. The boy was as bright as the sun and the fire. Shilada was frightened and started to run away. But the boy called after him, Father, stop. Father, stop. A voice was then heard from the sky. This voice told Shilada that this was the son he had wanted. Since this son would make everyone happy, he was to be named Nandi.
Shilada brought nandi home to his hermitage. He taught his son the Vedas, the arts of the medicine and fighting, dancing and singing and several other sacred texts. All this Nandi mastered within fifteen days.
When nandi was seven years old, two powerful sages arrived in Shilada’s hermitage. Their names were Mitra and Varuna. Shilada worshipped them and presented Nandi before them. The sages blessed Nandi with the words, Be learned, be faithful to your teacher.
Shilada said, Sages, why didn’t you bless my son with a long life?
We couldn’t, replied the sages. Your son is going to die when he is eight years old. That is written in his stars.
Shilada was crestfallen to hear this, but Nandi consoled his father. He promised his father that he would do something so that this fate would have to be rewritten. He would pray to Shiva. And when he met Shiva, he would ask of him a boon.
Meeting Shiva, exclaimed Shilada. I had to meditate for a thousand years before I could get to meet Shiva. How do you expect to meet Shiva in the one year that is left to you?’
Wait and see, father, replied Nandi. Shiva is difficult to meet if you only perform tapasya or thirst for knowledge. The secret lies in faith and devotion. I will manage.
There is a river named Bhuvana. Nandi entered this river and began underwater prayers to Shiva . His efforts pleased Shiva so much that Shiva appeared before him.
What boon do you want? asked Shiva.
Please grant me the boon that I may be devote to you, replied Nandi. I don’t want to be born become old and die.
Shiva granted Nandi the boon that he and his father would get to live in Shiva’s residence in Shivaloka. Shiva’s companions are known as ?ganas. Shiva made Nandi ganapati, the chief of the ganas and retained him as a perpetual ? companion. Shiva also gave Nandi a wonderful garland to wear. As soon as he put this garland on, Nandi became resplendent with three eyes and ten hands.
OM NAMO NARAYANAYA