Encyclopedia for Epics of Ancient India

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NIMI. [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] Son of Ikshwaku, and founder of the dynasty of Mithila.

He was cursed by the sage Vasishtha to lose his corporeal form, and he retorted the imprecation upon the sage. Both abandoned the bodily condition.

Vasishtha was born again as the issue of Mitra and Varuna, but "the corpse of Nimi was preserved from decay by being embalmed with fragrant oils and resins, and it remained as entire as if it were immortal." The gods were willing to restore him to bodily life, but Nimi declined, declaring that the separation of soul and body was so distressing that he would never resume a corporeal shape and become liable to it again.

"To this desire the gods assented, and Nimi was placed by them in the eyes of all living creatures, in consequence of which their eyelids are ever opening and shutting." - Vishnu Purana.

A wink of the eye is called nimisha, and the legend was probably built upon the resemblance of the two words.

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