Who Is Lord Shiva First Devotee?

In the vast and intricate tapestry of Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva, the Destroyer and Transformer among the Holy Trinity, holds a place of profound reverence and mystery. His devotees span across millennia, encompassing gods, demigods, humans, and even demons.

However, identifying his very first devotee requires delving into the ancient scriptures and legends that have shaped Hindu beliefs over the ages.

Nandi: The First and Eternal Devotee

Nandi, the bull, stands as one of the most prominent and earliest devotees of Lord Shiva. In Hindu mythology, Nandi is not merely a vehicle for Shiva; he is a symbol of unwavering devotion and service. According to ancient texts, Nandi was born from the union of the sage Shilada and the divine cow Surabhi. From a young age, Nandi exhibited a deep sense of spirituality and devotion towards Lord Shiva.

His dedication was so profound that he performed intense penance to please Shiva. Impressed by his devotion, Lord Shiva appeared before Nandi and granted him the boon of becoming his eternal attendant and mount. This divine relationship is beautifully captured in numerous temples across India, where statues of Nandi sit facing Shiva’s sanctum, symbolizing constant vigilance and devotion.

The Story of Sage Markandeya

Another legendary figure often cited as an early devotee of Lord Shiva is Sage Markandeya. The story of Markandeya is a testament to the power of devotion and the benevolence of Shiva.

Born to the sage Mrikandu and his wife Marudvati, Markandeya was destined to die at the age of sixteen. Forewarned of his fate, Markandeya immersed himself in the worship of Lord Shiva from a very young age.

On the destined day, when Yama, the god of death, came to take him, Markandeya clung to a Shivalinga and continued his prayers with intense fervor. Lord Shiva, moved by his devotion, intervened and blessed Markandeya with immortality, thus establishing him as a paragon of unwavering faith and devotion.

Ravana: The Devotee with a Complex Legacy

Ravana, the king of Lanka and the primary antagonist in the Ramayana, is another intriguing devotee of Lord Shiva. Despite his villainous portrayal in the epic, Ravana’s devotion to Shiva is well-documented.

A scholar and a mighty warrior, Ravana’s dedication to Shiva was profound. He is said to have composed the Shiva Tandava Stotram, a powerful hymn extolling the greatness of Shiva.

Ravana’s devotion reached such heights that he attempted to lift Mount Kailash, Shiva’s abode, to bring it to Lanka. Shiva, however, subdued Ravana by pressing the mountain down with his toe, trapping Ravana’s hands beneath it.

Realizing his folly, Ravana sang praises to appease Shiva, who, impressed by his devotion, released him and granted him boons.

Parvati: The Consort and Devotee

While discussing devotees of Lord Shiva, it would be remiss not to mention Parvati, Shiva’s consort, who exemplifies the ideal of divine love and devotion. Parvati’s journey to becoming Shiva’s consort is a saga of relentless devotion and penance. Born as the daughter of King Himavan and Queen Mainavati, Parvati was the reincarnation of Sati, Shiva’s first wife who had immolated herself.

Determined to win Shiva’s love again, Parvati undertook severe austerities and penances. Her devotion and perseverance eventually won Shiva’s heart, leading to their celestial union. Parvati’s devotion to Shiva transcends the roles of wife and consort, representing a spiritual bond that is both deeply personal and universally significant.

The Eternal Appeal of Shiva Bhakti

The stories of Nandi, Markandeya, Ravana, and Parvati illustrate the diverse forms that devotion to Lord Shiva can take. Each devotee, whether through penance, prayer, or acts of faith, highlights a different facet of bhakti (devotion). Lord Shiva’s appeal as a deity who is both accessible and mysterious continues to inspire millions around the world.

In contemporary times, Shiva bhakti transcends regional and cultural boundaries, resonating with individuals seeking a personal connection with the divine. Temples dedicated to Shiva, from the ancient Kashi Vishwanath in Varanasi to the iconic Kedarnath in the Himalayas, stand as testaments to his enduring legacy and the timeless appeal of his devotees.


The journey to discovering Lord Shiva’s first devotee is a journey through the heart of Hindu mythology and spirituality. It is a journey that reveals the multifaceted nature of devotion and the profound impact of divine love and grace.

Whether through the steadfast loyalty of Nandi, the unwavering faith of Markandeya, the intense dedication of Ravana, or the divine love of Parvati, the essence of Shiva bhakti remains a powerful force that continues to inspire and transform.

Also Read: What Does Lord Shiva Represent

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