We all are aware of the fact that Lord Rudra ( Śiva ) drank the Kālakūṭa poison which came out of the ocean during the Samudra Manthana and his throat became blue.

But did it really become blue?

In the Vayu Purāṇa(one of the oldest Purāṇas) we see that -

पिबतो मे महाघोरं विषं सुरभयंकरम् ॥ कण्ठः समभवत्तूर्णं कृष्णो मे वरणिनि

Here , it is told that after drinking the poison , Mahādeva's throat turned into Kṛṣṇa Varṇa which is Black colour.

Also , in the Mārgabandhu Stotram by Śrī Appayya Dīkṣita , the 4th Śloka reads -

kandarpadarpaghnamīśaṃ kālakaṇṭhaṃ maheśaṃ mahāvyomakeśam .    kundābhadantaṃ sureśaṃ koṭisūryaprakāśaṃ bhaje mārgabandhum .                           

Here , the world Kālakaṇṭha is used for Lord Śiva , which means Black-Throated.

As we also find the Epithet Nīlagrīva for Rudra in the Vedas , Does Nīla Also mean Dark or Black?

Please answer.

Namaha Śivāya

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  • Poetic freedom allows them to imagine the shades from darkest blue to black. Even Sri Vishnu is called NikameghaShama. (Blue clouds) Commented Apr 30 at 16:29
  • Thanks but my main concern is actually with the meaning of the word "Nīla" , even in the Chhāndogya Upaniṣad , Nīla is equated with black. In texts like Chhāndogya Upaniṣad , there's no question of "Poetic Freedom" as they are Śruti. Can you tell me about the real meaning of the word "Nīla" , I've asked this again and again on this platform but I've got everything but a satisfactory answer with references from Scriptures. And what about the reference that I gave from Vāyu Purāṇa @SanatanaDhara
    – Vom
    Commented Apr 30 at 17:09
  • all Vedic literature is metered in a poetic construct for mnemonics, it may not be the romantic imaginative poetry style. But Nila when attributed to color is Blue or Dark Blue. Here is an article that describes various colors and its relations to Rudra in Vedas, hope this will help what you are looking for. namahshivaya.net/appearance-of-rudra-visvarupam Commented Apr 30 at 19:16
  • @SanatanaDhara thanks! Is the tale of Rudra destroying the Yajña in which he was not invited present in any other recension of the Yajurveda? We know that this tale is present in the Taittirīya Samhitā 2.6.8 , in the Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa 1.7.3 and also in the Uttara Bhāga of the Gopatha Brāhmaṇa. But is it found in any other recension of the Kṛṣna Yajurveda (like maitrayani , Katha and Kapishtala ).
    – Vom
    Commented May 1 at 6:27
  • its a slight misunderstanding that arises from reading Puranas first and then the Vedic Brahmanas. its not that Rudra come to destroy Yajña, its more of Rudra emerging as an aftermath. And its not just in one vedic śākhā. The aftermath of an Yajña can be because of: 1. wrong chant, 2. Pāpa (consume negative outcome) like Prajapat's Yajña, 3. Omission or overlooking some thing or Rudra himself gets overlooked, So there are many exploits between Prajapati and Rudra. Here is a link that shows why and many Vedic references namahshivaya.net/rudra-the-vedic-enforcer-punisher Commented May 1 at 13:56

1 Answer 1


The glorifications written by the various sages who are favored by Lord Shiva may have some differences as they're based on their personal vibhavana (divine imagination). It is stated in the Bhagavata Purana (3.9.11):

त्वं भक्तियोगपरिभावितहृत्सरोज आस्से श्रुतेक्षितपथो ननु नाथ पुंसाम् । यद्यद्धिया त उरुगाय विभावयन्ति तत्तद्वपु: प्रणयसे सदनुग्रहाय ॥ ११ ॥

O my Lord, Your devotees can see You through the ears by the process of bona fide hearing, and thus their hearts become cleansed, and You take Your seat there. You are so merciful to Your devotees that You manifest Yourself in the particular eternal form of transcendence in which they always think of You.

The descriptions of the Lord being transcendental or beyond the three gunas cannot be perceived through the senses alone as told in the Kaṭha Upaniṣad (1.2.23).

nāyam ātmā pravacanena labhyo na medhayā na bahunā śrutena yam evaiṣa vṛṇute tena labhyas tasyaiṣa ātmā vivṛṇute tanūṁ svām

“The Supreme Lord is not obtained by expert explanations, by vast intelligence, nor even by much hearing. He is obtained only by one whom He Himself chooses. To such a person He manifests His own form.”

Similarly, the 2nd verse of the Rudrashtakam states:

गिराज्ञानगोतीतमीशं गिरीशम् । करालं महाकालकालं कृपालं गुणागारसंसारपारं नतोऽहम्

He is the Lord Who is Beyond the Knowledge which Speech can express and Beyond the Perception which Sense Organs can perceive; He is Girisha (another name of Sri Shiva literally meaning the Lord of the Mountains) Taking the Terrible form of Mahakala He can tear apart Kala (Time) himself; at the same time He is an embodiment of Compassion to His devotees, I Bow down to Him Who helps in Crossing this Samsara (delusion of worldly existence) which is like a Dwelling Place made of Gunas.

Hence, all the authorized glorifications of Lord Shiva though having some differences are equally correct.

Hope this helps.

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