Tuesday, March 8, 2022




Shesh Naga and Vasuki Naga are brothers born to Rishi Kashyapa and Kadru. While Shesh Naga is linked with Vishnu, Vasuki Naga is seen around Shiva's neck. Vasuki  serpent is famous for coiling around Lord  Shiva’s neck. Vasuki is a Serpent King in the Hindu and the Buddhist scriptures that also  finds mention in  Ramayana and Mahabharata . The most famous story in which Vasuki appears is the incident of churning the ocean of milk to obtain Amrita. Vasuki was used as the rope with which mount Meru was bound to churn the ocean. The strain caused him to exhale Alahala, the most potent venom in the universe. There was the danger that this poison could destroy all living beings, which was averted by  Lord Shiva who swallowed the poison, turning his throat blue and earning him the sobriquet - Nilakantha (blue-throated).

Vasuki Purana comprises of 500 Slokas .  And Vasuki Naga is the presiding deity of Bhaderwah region falling in Jammu division of  J&K .This Purana  also provides  some  details about the sacred places of  Bhadrashram or Bhadravkaash or   Bhaderwah.  Soma Deva, the author of this Purana mentions that he is talking about Bhadravkaash area which according to him is  like Kashmira.  Two scholars, Dr Ananat Ram Shastri and Dr Pritam Krishan firmly believe that the author of  Vasuki Purana is none other than Somadeva , the author of Kathasaritsagara or the court poet   of King Harsha of Kashmir.This being so , one can conclude that Vasuki Purana was written in the 11th century . The style and  approach of Vasuki Purana resembles Kathasaritsagara .It also bears influence of the Sanskrit  drama ‘Naganand’ written  during the rule of King Harsha of Kashmir. Vasuki Purana informs us about the various  abodes of Vasuki Naga . These places are :-

(1) Kalinga province
(2) Mount Kailasa 
(3) Chitrakoot
(4) Sangam of Vitasta and Sindhu ( Shadipora ) in Kashmir
(5) Bhadrashram ( Bhaderwah )

 Apart from Vasuki Naga , this Purana also mentions Garuda , Shiva ,Ganesha , Parvati, Vishnu , Lakshmi , Gandharvas , Vidhyadhar  and many other Devas and Devis. It has been written as a conversation between Shiva and Parvati. Vasuki  Purana also mentions the importance of  Daana ( charity ) Vrata ( fasting )  Pooja ,Shraada , Homa  and many other sacred duties .
Vasuki is repeatedly mentioned by Somadeva in his Kathasaritsagara . I quote :-

(a) Vāsuki ,  the king of the Nāgas (Nagraj) finds mention  in  the sixteenth story of the Vetālapancaviṃsati in the Kathsaritsagara Chapter 90.  Accordingly, as Mitrāvasu said to Jīmūtavāhana: “... when Vāsuki, the king of the snakes, saw that, he feared that his race would be annihilated at one fell swoop, so he supplicated Garuḍa, and made a compact with him, saying: ‘King of birds, I will send you one snake every day to this southern sea for your meal. But you must by no means enter Pātāla, for what advantage will you gain by destroying the snakes at one blow?’”

(b) Vāsuki  ,  the name of a king of the Nāgas,  finds mention in  the Kathāsaritsāgara chapter 6 . The son of his brother, Kīrtisena, married Srutartha through the Gandharva marriage after seeing her bathe.

(c) Vāsuki is the name of the eldest brother of Udayana, according to the Kathasaritsagara  chapter 11. Udayana is the King of Vatsa born to king Sahasrānīka and his wife Mṛgāvatī. Vāsuki is mentioned as having given, once upon a time, a melodious lute.

(d) The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentions Vāsuki in the   story revolving around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the Vidyadharas (celestial beings). 

( Avtar Mota )

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