By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Nilakantha, NIlakaNtha, Nilakantha
In the paurāṇic accounts of Samudramanthana or the churning of the ocean of milk, Śiva is said to have gathered the poison hālāhala into his palm and drunk it. Pārvatī, his spouse, pressed his throat so that the poison would not get into his stomach and destroy the worlds there. This poison stuck in his throat rendering his neck blue in color. Hence Śiva came to be known as ‘Nīlakaṇtha’ which means ‘one whose neck is blue’.
Nīlakaṇṭha is also the name of a Śaiva scholar from Maharashtra. He probably flourished in the middle of the 18th century. About six works are attributed to him of which his commentaries on the Devībhāgavata and the Kātyāyanī Tantra are well-known. A few more Nīlakaṇthas have been known to the students of the dharmaśāstras as authors of various topics connected with the same.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore