Encyclopedia for Epics of Ancient India

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NANDISA, NANDISWARA. [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] 'Lord of Nandi.' A title of Siva.

It is related in the Ramayana that Ravana went to the Saravana, the birthplace of Karrtikeya, and on his way through the mountains he beheld a formidable, dark, tawny-coloured dwarf called Nandiswara, who was a follower of Mahadeva, or rather that deity himself in another body. This being desired Ravana to halt, as Siva was sporting in the mountain, and no one, not even a god, could pass.

Ravana asked derisively who Siva was, and laughed contemptuously at Nandiswara, who had the face of a monkey. Nandiswara retorted that monkeys having the same shape as himself and of similar energy should be produced to destroy Ravana's race.

In reply to this menace, Ravana threatened to pull up the mountain by its roots and let Siva know his own danger. So he threw his arms round the mountain and lifted it up, which made the hosts of Siva tremble and Parvati quake and cling to her husband.

Siva then pressed down the mountain with his great toe, and crushed and held fast the arms of Ravana, who uttered a loud cry which shook all creation. Ravana's friends counseled him to propitiate Siva, and did so for a thousand years with hymns and weeping.

Siva then released him, and said that his name should be Ravana for the cry (rava) which he had uttered.

The origin of this story is sufficiently manifest, it has been built up on the name Ravana, to the glory of Siva, by a zealous partisan of that deity.

Modern Languages MLLL-4993. Indian Epics. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. The textual material made available at this website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. No claims are made regarding the status of images used at this website; if you own the copyright privileges to any of these images and believe your copyright privileges have been violated, please contact the webmaster. Page last updated: October 16, 2007 12:22 PM