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Nandī, the vehicle mount (vāhana) of Śhiva, is commonly referred to as "Nandī baila" (नंदी बैल), in the popular hindi jargon.

However, there's a difference between a Bull (सांड) and an Ox (बैल). A bull is a natural male counterpart of a cow, while an ox is an unnaturally made (castrated) cattle.

So, the question is, Śhiva is many a times shown mounted on Nandī, What form does he assume as a vāhana, a bull or an ox?

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From the Shiva Shadakshara Stotram of the Rudra Yamala Tantram:


वाहनं वृषभो यस्य वासुकिः कंठभूषणम् ।
वामे शक्तिधरं देवं वकाराय नमो नमः ॥५॥

Vaahanam Vrssabho Yasya Vaasukih Kamttha-Bhuussannam |
Vaame Shakti-Dharam Devam Vakaaraaya Namo Namah ||5||

Meaning:

5.1: (Salutations to Him) Who has a Bull as His Vehicle, Who has the snake Vasuki as the Ornament of His Neck, 5.2: Who has the Divine Mother Shakti on His Left. Salutations to that Shiva, Who is represented by syllable "Va", The fifth syllable of the Sadakshara mantra "Om-Na-Ma-Shi-Va-Ya".

So, Nandi is a Vrishabh which is translated above as a bull. However, dictionary states that Vrishabh can mean bull as well as ox.


वृषभ m. vRSabha ox
वृषभ m. vRSabha bull
वृषभ adj. vRSabha vigorous

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  • 1
    The doubt still remains though. Why we call Nandi baila, and not Nandi Saand, in hindi atleast.
    – peace
    May 19 at 5:26
  • 1
    @Vivikta Not sure why but as the dictionary shows Vrishbh can mean an ox too
    – Rickross
    May 19 at 5:35
  • Isn't it a bit surprising Rickross, that we generally have so many words for a single concept in sanskrit, that counting is impossible. Yet for Bull vs Ox, there seems to be an apparent dearth?
    – peace
    May 19 at 5:38
  • The Sanskrit dictionary, gives ña (ञ) and usra (उस्र), and Go (गो), etc., as words for ox though,. Maybe these words find mention specifically somewhere?
    – peace
    May 19 at 5:50

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