Around this time, Shiva decided he wanted a change of place. Perhaps he got tired of Indra and other devas appearing there and disturbing him with their litany of problems. Or perhaps the place still reminded him too much of Sati. Whatever be the reason, when one day, the ganas woke up, Shiva, their Lord and Master, had vanished and along with him, his trusted aide Nandi.
The ganas were distraught; they felt orphaned. When an hour later the devas arrived there with their usual complaint about Tarakasur, they were greeted with an empty Kailash. “Vanished, O Devendra, vanished”, cried an anguished gana. “Where could he have gone?” tried to think Indra, scratching his head.
Himavan’s capital, Oushadhiprastha was a charming place, nestled in a valley between two Himalayan peaks. It derived its name from the thousands of medicinal plants and creepers that grew over there. The fragrance of the flowers and shoots made the air fresh, pure and invigorating. It was to such a place that Shiva decided to migrate and accordingly sent his aide Nandi as his messenger to formally seek permission from King Himavan.
“It would be an honour, Nandi “ replied Himavan.
“There is one more request my Lord wants to make to you, King” said Nandi
“We will comply with every request of his, Nandi Dev”, replied Himavan, overwhelmed by the thought that he would be able to have Shivji’s darshan everyday.
“Lord Shiva’s request is – he should be allowed total privacy. No one should come anywhere near him- on pretext of darshan, audience or whatever. He should be allowed to meditate in peace.” said Nandi
“Very well Nandi Maharaj” replied Himavan, crestfallen.
Thus Shiva took up his abode in a grove in Oushadhiprastha, undisturbed by anyone, his needs looked after by Nandi. Nandi’s duties were very simple- to sweep the place and keep it neat, to ensure that fresh fruits were available, should his master ask for them and - above all to make sure no being, mortal, or otherwise, comes anywhere near the grove.
It was clear to Nandi he was failing miserably in his last duty.
Someone was visiting his master’s sanctuary, that too before daybreak, when Nandi was still asleep. And the mysterious visitor, Nandi noted, would not only sweep and clean the place but decorate with colourful rangoli patterns. Exotic flowers –jati, champaka, vilva patra were also placed at his master’s feet. This would not do, thought Nandi. If his master came to know, he would be severely reprimanded. Nandi decided to remain awake the whole night to catch the intruder.
It was in the wee hours of the morning when Nandi espied some coming through the entrance of the grove. Nandi hid himself in the bushes. The visitors turned out to be Parvati, the royal princess with her two attendants and a few soldiers. The soldiers remained outside the entrance while the Princess and her companions began sweeping and cleaning the place with a quiet feminine efficiency. One of her attendants held forth a basket of flowers out of which Parvati chose a few and placed it near Shiva’s feet. After doing pradakshina and namaskara ,the trio left the place- as quietly as they had come. Nandi shook himself and ran after them.
“Princess” he called out.
Parvati turned around and placed a finger on her lips, indicating with her eyes, the meditating Shiva. “Shoo, softly, the Lord’s Samadhi will be disturbed.”,she said.
Nandi was mortified. He was his Lord’s trusted aide and who was she to advise him? He drew himself up to his full height and explained that she had to stop coming since Mahadev himself had forbidden anyone to come in his presence.
Parvati smiled sweetly and said simply,“this injunction is not for me”. She turned to leave adding, “Don’t worry, he will not know I am here. He is not even aware of my presence, there won’t be any problem”