How Lord Shiva Came to be Known as Neelkanth

Monday is the most auspicious day to worship Lord Shiva, who is also fondly addressed as Bholenath. Lord Shiva is depicted with matted hair or Jata, a torso covered with ashes, three eyes, a crescent of the moon on His jata, a cobra around His neck and blue neck due to which He is also addressed as Neelkanth. Today, let us recollect how the great Lord came to be known as Neelkanth.

Legend

Long time ago, Lord Indra behaved in a very haughty manner towards the great Sage Durvasa. In a fit of rage, Sage Durvasa cursed Lord Indra and all other Devas to lose their powers. Unfortunately, the Asuras attacked Indralok at the same time and drove all the Devas, including Lord Indra, from Indralok. A worried Lord Indra and other Devas then rushed to Lord Brahma Dev to explain their predicament and seek a solution. Lord Brahma Dev directed Lord Indra and other Devas to Lord Vishnu, who advised the Devas to churn the cosmic ocean for obtaining Amrita. The great Lord further advised Indra and the other Gods to seek help of the Asuras for churning the ocean and to use mountain Mandara as the churner and Vasuki, the snake God, as the rope. While churning the great ocean, Halahal, a very deadly poison emerged from the ocean and mushroomed into a large cloud. The Halahal suffocated both the Devas and the Asuras. A worried Indra then prayed to Lord Shiva to remove the poison from the world. Lord Shiva immediately appeared and drank the poison in one gulp. A concerned Maa Parvati grasped the great Lord’s throat, thereby arresting the poison in his throat. However, the great Lord’s throat turned blue due to the effect of the poison. Hence, Lord Shiva is since then addressed as Neelkanth or the one with a blue throat.

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