Bhringi – The Story of Devotion and Curse



Parangi (The Wanderer), a sage was one of the greatest devotees of Lord Shiva. His Bhakti for the Lord knew no bounds. Every morning he offered prayers to Lord Shiva earnestly at Mount Kailash. He exclusively worshipped Lord Shiva, ignoring goddess Parvathi.  The goddess, who failed to get any attention of any kind from Parangi grew jealous and complained to Lord Shiva. The next day, goddess Parvathi was seen seated on the lap of Lord Shiva by Maharishi Parangi who had then come to offer prayers to the Lord. Parangi was dumbstruck at this situation and using his yogic powers transformed into a snake (some accounts mention this form also as a rat) to circumambulate only the Lord in the gap between him and the goddess, in order to avoid the goddess.
Ardhanareshwara - Badami Cave
Bhringi - Shri Kedareshwara Temple, Nagalapura
 Goddess Parvathi was very hurt at his behavior and complained to Lord Shiva as follows, “When you and I are one, then why should Rishi Parangi ignore me and offer prayers only to you”? The Lord smiled and replied, “His (Parangi’s) behavior should not bother you”. However, to please his beloved, Lord Shiva unites with his goddess to form Ardhanareshwara” (a composite form of Lord Shiva and Parvathi). On seeing this form of the Lord, Rishi Parangi again used his yogic powers and this time turned into a beetle (some accounts mention this form as a bee) to bore hole through the navel of Ardhanareshwara and go around Lord Shiva’s half only, avoiding the goddess again. Thus he gets the name Bhringi, meaning bee/beetle.  Parangi’s devotion only towards Lord Shiva and ignorant attitude towards her added to the goddess’s agony, who was now enraged enough to curse him.  She cursed him to lose the parts of his body received from his mother. According to our Puranic beliefs, the bones and nerves come from the father and blood and muscles come from the mother. Though this may not be completely true as per genetics, it signifies the importance of both parents equally contributing to their child’s physical characteristics. Due to this curse of goddess Parvathi, Parangi (Bhringi) loses all his muscles and blood and falls down at the feet of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva then blesses his ardent devotee with a third leg to provide support to his body, similar to a tripod.
Monkey Faced Bhringi
Lord Nataraja with Nandi, Shri Veerabhadra Swamy Temple, Gangadevanahalli
 Bhringi is usually seen with folded hands, in full devotion standing besides Lord Ardhanareshwara, which is beautifully depicted at Cave No.2 of Badami. Bhringi is also considered as the ‘Dance Master of the Gods‘and is associated with many nritya murtis of Lord Shiva. One such beautiful depiction can be seen at the Natya mandapa of Sri Veerabhadra Swamy temple of Lepakshi.  He is also said to have a monkey’s face, owing to the curse of goddess Parvathi. Bhringi is also classified as a form of Lord Bhairava; the same is depicted on the outer wall of Sri Veerabhadra Swamy temple at Gangadevanahalli. Also, Bhringi is one among the 8 Commanders/Ganas of Lord Shiva, along with Devi, Chandesha, Mahakala, Vrishabha, Nandi, Ganesha and Murugan. He was also entrusted with the administration of Lord Shiva’s troops. He along with Lord Nandi guard the doors of Lord Shiva’s residence at Kailash. 
Dance Master Bhringi, Lepakshi
Nataraja Panel, Mandapeshwar Caves, Mumbai
Master "Dance Master"  -Bhringi
There are many such beautiful stories of devotion/bhakti.

References:
1. Pratima Kosha - A book 
2. Iconography of Shiva - T A Gopinath Rao  

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1. The Great Destroyer - Samharamurtis
2. The Divine beggar - Bhkshatanamurti 
3. Lepakshi Chitra Katha

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