Sadhguru and Shekhar Kapur discuss the significance and symbolism of Nandi, Shiva’s vehicle.

Shekhar Kapur: I understand Nandi is Shiva’s vehicle. Is he waiting for Shiva to come out and say… what? Tell me more about the Nandi.

Sadhguru: He is not waiting for him to come out and say something. He is in waiting. Nandi is a symbolism of eternal waiting, because waiting is considered the greatest virtue in Indian culture. One who knows how to simply sit and wait is naturally meditative. He is not expecting Shiva to come out tomorrow. He will wait forever. That quality is the essence of receptivity.

Nandi is Shiva’s closest accomplice because he is the essence of receptivity. Before you go into a temple, you must have the quality of Nandi – to simply sit. You are not trying to go to heaven, you are not trying to get this or that – you go inside and simply sit. So, just by sitting here, he is telling you, “When you go in, don’t do your fanciful things. Don’t ask for this or that. Just go and sit like me.”

Shekhar Kapur: And waiting and anticipation are two different things, I assume, right?


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Sadhguru: He is not waiting in anticipation or expectation. He is just waiting. That’s meditation – just sitting. That’s his message for you. Simply go inside and sit. Alert, not sleepy.

Shekhar Kapur: So, the bull is sitting in what we would call meditation?

Sadhguru: People have always misunderstood meditation as some kind of activity. No, it is a quality. That is a fundamental difference. Prayer means you are trying to talk to God. You are trying to tell him your vows, your expectations, or whatever else. Meditation means you are willing to just listen to existence, to the ultimate nature of creation. You have nothing to say, you simply listen. That is the quality of Nandi – he just sits, alert. This is very important: he is alert. He is not sleepy or sitting in a passive way. He is sitting very active, full of alertness and life, but no expectation or anticipation. That is meditation. Just waiting, not for anything in particular.

If you just wait without doing your own thing, the existence will do its thing. Meditation essentially means the individual person is not doing his own thing. He is just there. Once you are simply there, you become aware of the larger dimension of the existence, which is always in action. You become aware that you are a part of it. Even now, you are a part of it. But becoming aware that “I am a part of it” is meditativeness. Nandi is the symbolism of that. He reminds everyone, “You must sit like me.”

Nandi at Dhyanalinga

Shekhar Kapur: What is the Nandi at Dhyanalinga made of? I can see this is metal, is it steel?

Sadhguru: He is probably the only Nandi made in this very unique way. Small pieces of metal, each one not more than six to nine inches in size, were put together to form the surface. Inside, it is filled with sesame seeds, turmeric, vibhuti the sacred ash, certain types of oils, some sand, and certain other types of soil. It took some 20 tons of material to fill it. Then it was sealed. The whole concoction has been prepared in a certain way. This makes the bull radiate a certain field of energy.

Editor’s Note: Download Sadhguru’s ebook, Shiva – Ultimate Outlaw, for more wonderful insights into Shiva and the symbolism behind various aspects.

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A version of this article was originally published in Isha Forest Flower.