Vasuki

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Vasuki
King of the Serpents[1]
Idols under construction in Kumortuli 02.jpg
Statue of Vasuki
Venerated inShaivism
AffiliationNaga
AbodeKailasha
SymbolsNagamani
Personal information
ParentsKadru (mother), Kashyapa (father)
SiblingsManasa, Shesha
ConsortShatashirsha[2]

Vasuki (IAST: Vāsuki) is the second king of the serpents in Hinduism. He is described as having a gem called Nagamani (serpent's ornament) on his head. Adishesha, the first king of the serpents and the mount of Narayana, is his elder brother,[3] and Manasa, another naga, is his sister. Vasuki is Shiva's snake, depicted around his neck. He is known in Chinese and Japanese mythology as being one of the "eight Great Dragon Kings" (八大龍王 pinyin: Bādà lóngwáng; Japanese: Hachidai Ryūō),[4] amongst Nanda (Nāgarāja), Upananda, Sāgara (Shakara), Takshaka, Balavan, Anavatapta, and Utpala.

The multi-hooded Vasuki wrapped around the Mount Mandara, during Samudra Manthana, the churning of the ocean of milk. ca 1760

Legends[edit]

Vasuki is famous for coiling around Shiva's neck, who blessed and wore him as an ornament.

Vasuki took part in the incident of Samudra Manthana by allowing both the devas and the asuras to bind him to Mount Mandara, so that they could use him as their churning rope to extract the amrita from the ocean of milk.[5] Vasuki is also mentioned in other Hindu scriptures, such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

Buddhism[edit]

In the Buddhist religion, Vasuki and the other Naga Kings appear in the audience for many of Gautama Buddha's sermons. The duties of the naga Kings included leading the nagas in protecting and worshipping the Buddha, as well as protecting other enlightened beings. Vasuki's naga priest is Tatig Naga.

In popular culture[edit]

Vāsuka/Vāsuca temple is found near Haripad, Mannarasala Illom in Kerala and also Visakha district in Andhra Pradesh. The very powerful Kukke Subramanya temple in Karnataka, is where Lord Subramanya offered protection to Vasuki from the attack of Garuda, who is the king of birds and also Lord Visnu's disciple. They claim that their ancestors were Nāga serpents spared when the Khandava Forest (modern day Delhi) was burnt and cleared by Krishna and the Pandavas to make way for their capital Indraprastha.[6]

See also[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Handa, Om Chanda (2004), Naga Cults and Traditions in the Western Himalaya, Indus Publishing, ISBN 978-8173871610

References[edit]

  1. ^ Handa 2004, p. 91.
  2. ^ "The Mahabharata, Book 5: Udyoga Parva: Bhagwat Yana Parva: Section CXVII".
  3. ^ Jones, Constance; Ryan, James D. (2006). Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Infobase Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8160-7564-5.
  4. ^ "Eight great dragon kings - Tibetan Buddhist Encyclopedia".
  5. ^ Jones, Constance (2007). Encyclopedia of Hinduism. New York: Infobase Publishing. p. 300. ISBN 978-0-8160-5458-9.
  6. ^ Social History of Kerala: The Dravidians By L. A. Krishna Iyer p.003