Vasuki (Sanskrit: वासुकी, वासव) 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.
Legends of Vasuki
Vasuki is famous for coiling around the neck of Shiva. Shiva blessed Vasuki and wore him as an ornament.
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.
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.
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.
- Social History of Kerala: The Dravidians By L. A. Krishna Iyer p.003
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- Dictionary of Hindu Lore and Legend (ISBN 0-500-51088-1) by Anna L. Dallapiccola
- Indian Mythology, by ApamNapat
- Stories from the Ramayana
- Hachi Bushu - The Eight Legions, Buddhist Protectors
- Dragon in China and Japan (ISBN 0-7661-5839-X) by M.W. De Visser
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