|Nandi Temple in Khajuraho|
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. Nandi is not expecting Shiva to come out tomorrow.* He is not anticipating or expecting anything. He is just waiting. He will wait forever. That quality 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 simply sit.
|Some Nandis have one leg ready as they wait|
People have always misunderstood meditation as some kind of activity. No – it is a quality. That is the fundamental difference. Prayer means you are trying to talk to God. Meditation means you are willing to listen to God. 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, not sleepy. He is not sitting in a passive way. He is sitting, very active, full of alertness, full of life, but just sitting – that is meditation.
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 that 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’m a part of it” is meditativeness. Nandi is the symbolism of that. He just sits and reminds everyone, “You must sit like me.”
*NOTE from Jana: Nandi is Shiva's "vehicle," and is traditionally found at Shiva temples. His qualities are related to the qualities of Shiva, who is often portrayed as the master yogi sitting in meditation. Nandi is also considered a deity in his own right.