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Vasuki is a Sanskrit name for a naga, one of the serpents of Buddhist and Hindu mythology. He is a great King of the nagas and has a gem (Nagamani) on his head. Manasa, another naga is his sister. Vasuki is known in Chinese and Japanese mythology as being one of the "eight Great Naga Kings" (八大龍王 Hachi Ryuu-ou), amongst Nanda (Nagaraja), Upananda, Sagara (Shakara), Takshaka, Balavan, Anavatapta and Utpala.

Vasuki was also the name of the devout wife of the Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar.

Contents

Legends of Vasuki

Kurma Avatar of Vishnu, below Mount Mandara, with Vasuki wrapped around it, during Samudra manthan, the churning of the ocean of milk. ca 1870.

The most famous legend in Hinduism in which Vasuki took part was the incident of Samudra manthan, the churning of the ocean of milk. In this legend, Vasuki allowed the devas (gods) and the asuras (demons) to bind him to Mount Mandar and use him as their churning rope to extract the ambrosia of immortality from the ocean of milk. During the churning process, the incredible strain caused Vasuki to exhale Halahala, the most potent venom in the Universe. This venom threatened to destroy all living beings and perhaps the entire Universe. Lord Shiva, in order to prevent the destruction of the cosmos, decided to swallow the poison Himself. The venom turned his throat blue, earning him the title Nilakanta (blue-throated).

Vasuki is also mentioned and used as a tightening rope in other Hindu scriptures, such as in each of the Itihasas (Ramayana and Mahabharata).

In the Bhagavad-Gita (Chapter 10, Verse 28), in the middle of the battlefield "Kurukshetra," Krishna explains his omnipresence by proclaiming, "Of weapons I am the thunderbolt; among cows I am the surabhi. Of causes for procreation I am Kandarpa, the god of love, and of serpents I am Vasuki."

In Buddhist mythology, Vasuki and the other Naga Kings appear in the audience for many of the Buddha's sermons. The duties of the naga kings included leading the nagas in protecting and worshiping the Buddha, as well as in protecting other enlightened beings.

Descendants

Vasuka (or Vasuki) is the name of a small Nair clan found near Mannarasala in Travancore. They claim that their ancestors were Nāga serpents spared when the Khandava Forest (in present day Punjab) was burnt down by Lord Krishna and Lord Arjuna.[1]

See also

References

  1. ^ Social History of Kerala: The Dravidians By L. A. Krishna Iyer p.003
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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

English

Proper noun

Singular
Vasuki

Plural
-

Vasuki

  1. The female god of snakes in Hindu mythology.

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