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Lord Shiva is known for many things. His matted hair, snake around His neck, His trident, three eyes and the destruction the third eye causes when the Lord is angry. Another spectacular attribute of Lord Shiva is His blue throat. Ever wondered why is Shiva depicted as having blue throat? It is because Lord Shiva consumed a deadly poison for the benefit of all living beings! Let’s know the story of him being called “Neelkanth”, meaning, blue throat.
The Hindu scriptures are filled with numerous miracles of Lord Shiva. But among these many miracles, drinking of the poison is extremely significant for all human beings. It is not just a story of how Lord Shiva protects us in every way but also a lesson for us. The blue-throat of Shiva signifies that we do not always need to suppress or react to the vices. We sometimes need to modify the negativities and make them ineffective.
Before we come to the significance of the blue-throat of Lord Shiva, let us have a look at that splendid story of Neelkanth or the blue-throated God. One must be familiar with the story of Samudra Manthan or churning of the ocean. To get the elixir or nectar from the bottom of the ocean, once the Gods and the demons came together to churn the ocean. While the churning was in process many things emerged out of the ocean. Precious gems, animals, gold, silver, Goddess Lakshmi, Dhanvantri etc. were some of the things which emerged from the ocean which were divided among the Gods and the demons.
Among the many things which came out of the ocean, a deadly poison named Halahala was also one of them. This poison was extremely deadly and soon all the beings who came in contact with it began to perish. Even the Gods and the demons were asphyxiated and were on the verge of dying. This is when Lord Brahma and Vishnu prayed to Lord Shiva for help.
Only Lord Shiva had the power to control and digest the poison which was so deadly. Since He had the power, Lord Shiva took the responsibility to drink the deadly poison. He drank the poison which started spreading in His body. Soon the deadly poison started affecting Lord Shiva and His body started turning blue.
Parvati Saves Lord Shiva from the Poison
But did you know of Goddess Parvati’s role in this?
Alarmed by the fast spreading of the poison, Goddess Parvati entered Lord Shiva’s throat in the form of a Mahavidya and controlled the poison to His throat. Thus, Lord Shiva became blue-throated and came to be known as Neelkanth.
What is the Spiritual Significance of Neelkanth?
It is believed that the blue colour of the poison signifies the negative thoughts and vices in our lives. The poison contained in the throat of Lord Shiva signifies that the poison can neither be drunk nor spitted out. But it can be controlled and made ineffective over time. Hence, Neelkanth signifies that we need to control all our negative thoughts and keep working towards achieving our goal.
Like many other gods, Lord Shiva has very specific stories associated with the names that he bears. Most of the times, he has sacrificed himself to save humanity or to do good to others. Thus, Neelkanth has a similar tale, which we read earlier.
How Lord Shiva came to be known as ‘Neelkanth’ also has a similar tale of self-sacrifice. He is beyond comparison in this field. Let’s see it, pointwise.
- The churning of the sea. Or, the Samudra Manthan with all its moral significance.
- In the search of the nectar, devas and rakshashas were engaged in the churning of the sea. Both of them were prompted by the desire to get nectar and be immortal.
- The typical process of churning requires to have a rope that can be wound around the churning rod. In this case, Mount Mandara was used as the rod while Vasuki Naag was used as the rope.
- The by-products of churning. Philosophically, it is said that if you churn things, you will get both bad and good products. This is what happened with this samundra manthan too. A vicious poison named as Halahala emerged. It seemed fatal and totally unbearable for anyone present.
- It is best to take resort in Lord Shiva’s feet
- To be safe from this poison, it was suggested that Lord Shiva should be propitiated. Thus all the devatās prayed for his intervention. He being Bholenath, easily pleased, agreed to help.
- The task was not simple! Without doubt, managing such a poison was not easy. Lord Shiva, out of his infinite love for the creation, decided to gulp the poison. He did so. But it could have its effect, and so, he kept it in his throat.
- It is believed that the poison was so lethal, it did not even spare Lord Shiva – it colored the neck blue. However, everyone was saved and nobody was heart.
- The protector of the universe then got hailed as Neelkanth, the one having a blue neck. Since then, devotees propitiate this name whenever they want to seek divine protection from Lord Shiva.
The significance of this incident – This incident shows that we should keep the bad things at bay and should not allow them to get inside us. They are lethal and can hurt us, but Lord Shiva shows how overcoming these bad things, we can avoid damage to ourselves.
Thus, it teaches us a lesson that you should take a note of the negativity around you but yet not let it affect you as you continue your work and activities.
Also,did you know of this interesting(non related to topic),fact? Such is the essence of this name that even some type of bird in India is named as Neelkanth just because it has a blue neck. This name is not just a symbol but also very much a legend.
Have you prayed to Lord Shiva today?
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