Nandi


Nandi
/nahn"dee/, n.
a town on W Viti Levu, in the Fiji Islands: airport.
/nahn"dee/ n. Hinduism.
the bull companion of Shiva.
/nahn"dee/, n., pl. Nandis, (esp. collectively) Nandi for 1.
1. a member of an agricultural people of southwestern Kenya.
2. the Nilotic language spoken by the Nandi.

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▪ Hindu mythology
      bull vāhana (mount) of the Hindu god Śiva. Some scholars suggest that the bull was originally the zoomorphic form of Śiva, but from the Kuṣāṇa (Kushan) age onward (c. 1st century AD), he is identified as the god's vehicle.

      Every Śiva temple has the figure of a white, humped bull reclining on a raised platform and facing the entrance door of the shrine so that, according to tradition, he may perpetually gaze on the lord in his symbolic form, the liṅga (phallus). Nandi is considered to be one of Śiva's chief attendants and occasionally is depicted in sculpture as a bull-faced dwarf figure. Nandi is known also in a wholly anthropomorphic form, called variously Nandikēśvara, or Adhikāranandin. Sculptures of him in human form, found at the entrance door of many Śiva temples in South India, are frequently confused with images of the deity because they are alike in such iconographic features as the third eye, crescent moon in the matted locks, and four arms, two of which hold the battle-ax and an antelope. Usually a distinguishing feature is that Nandi's hands are pressed together in adoration. The respect shown the bull in modern India is due to his association with Śiva. In sacred Hindu cities such as Benares (Vārānasi), certain bulls are given the freedom to roam the streets. They are considered to belong to the lord, and they are branded on the flank with the trident insignia of Śiva.

people
      Kalenjin-speaking people who inhabit the western part of the highlands of Kenya. Their dialect of Kalenjin is classified in the Nilotic (Nilotic languages) branch of the Nilo-Saharan language family; they are distinct from the Nandi of Congo (Kinshasa) (Congo), whose language is classified as Niger-Congo (Niger-Congo languages).

      The Nandi of Kenya are primarily intensive cultivators; their major crops are millet, corn (maize), and sweet potatoes (yams). Cattle serve many functions, providing food and bride-price payments and holding great ritual significance.

      The people are divided among 17 patrilineal and exogamous clans dispersed throughout Nandi territory. The most important traditional social groups are the age sets (age set), to one of which every male belongs from birth. The Nandi age grade system is of the cyclical type, with seven named grades covering approximately 15 years each, a single full cycle being 105 years. Men advance through the warrior grades and, upon entering the grade of elder, hold political and judicial authority. No political authority transcends this local council of elders.

      General polygyny is the rule, with substantial bride-price in livestock expected. Nandi society was traditionally egalitarian.

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Universalium. 2010.

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