Vasuki

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Vasuki (वासुकि) or Basuki (वासुकि)is a naga, The king of Patalloka, born in nagavansh. He is the 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" (八龍王 Hachi Ryuu-ou), amongst Nanda (Nagaraja), Upananda, Sagara (Shakara), Takshaka, Balavan, Anavatapta and Utpala.

Vasuki and churning the ocean of milk

The most famous legend in Hinduism that Vasuki takes part in the incident of churning the ocean of milk. He agreed to allow the devas (gods) and the asuras (demons) use him as the churning rope, bound with Mount Meru when they churned the ocean of milk for the ambrosia of immortality. While Vasuki was being used as a rope, he was feeling a lot of strain and pain. This strain caused him to exhale Halahala, the most potent venom in the universe. There was the danger that the Halahala could destroy all living beings and perhaps the universe itself. Then Shiva, in order to prevent the destruction of the cosmos, he decided to swallow the poison himself. He had lot of inflammation while swallowing venom, turning his throat blue and 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 (Ch.10, Verse 28), in the middle of the battlefied "Kurukshetra", Krishna explaining his omnipresence, says - "Of seperants(sarpa), I am Vasuki" indicating the importance of Vasuki.

In Buddhist mythology, Vasuki and the other Naga Kings were amongst the audiences of many of the Buddha's sermons. Their duties as Naga Kings included leading the protection, worship and honoring of the Buddha (amongst the Naga) and also to see that other enlightened beings are protected when in danger.


Vasuki Naga in India

Vasuki Naga in Kashmir is regarded as the presiding deity of the village, and there are temples in little town of Bhadarvāha and in two village, Bheja-uprālā and Nālti.[1] [2]

Most probably Nagas moved from Kashmir valley and settled in different valleys of Haimachal Pradesh. Still today these nagas can be seen taoday in temples and heard in legends throughout the modern province of Haimachal Pradesh. Basuki Naga is worshipped in ex-hill state of Chamba. Basuki naga has also a temple of Himgiri. [3] [4]

Kathiavar, the peninsula or western portion of Gujarat is great centre of Naga worship. There are temples of Basuki and his brother Vanduk locally called Vasang ji and Bandia Beli respectively, at Thān and Mandhogarh. The two naga brothers are said to have settled here after having rid the country of dangerous demon, Bhimasur, at the request of five famous rishis. [5] [6]

Vasuki in Indian epics

The Mahabharata Book 9: Shalya Parva, Chapter 44, Kisari Mohan Ganguli, tr. 1883-1896] mentions about the warriors who came to the ceremony for investing Kartikeya with the status of generalissimo. Vasuki have been mentioned along with Nagas and other Jat Gotras in shloka 48 and 56 as under:

जयं महाजयं चैव नागौ जवलनसूनवे
परथथौ पुरुषव्याघ्र वासुकिः पन्नगेश्वरः।।48।।
अजॊदरॊ गजशिराः सकन्धाक्षः शतलॊचनः
जवाला जिह्वः करालश च सितकेशॊ जटी हरिः ।।56 ।।


The Mahabharata Book 2: SECTION IX Sabha Parva Kisari Mohan Ganguli, tr.1883-1896 mentions names of following naga kings who attended the Sabha of Yudhishthira:

Vasuki and Takshaka, and the Naga called Airavata; Krishna and Lohita; Padma and Chitra endued with great energy; the Nagas called Kamvala and Aswatara; and Dhritarashtra and Valahaka; Matimat and Kundadhara and Karkotaka and Dhananjaya; Panimat and the mighty Kundaka, O lord of the Earth; and Prahlada and Mushikada, and Janamejaya,--all having auspicious marks and mandalas and extended hoods;--these and many other snakes. These have been described from shloka 8 to 11 as under:

वासुकिस तक्षकश चैव नागश चैरावतस तदा
कृष्णशलॊहितश चैव पद्मश चित्रश च वीर्यवान ।।8।।
कम्बलाश्वतरौ नागौ धृतराष्ट्र बलाहकौ
मणिमान कुण्डलधरः कर्कॊटक धनंजयौ ।।9।।
परह्लाथॊ मूषिकादश च तदैव जनमेजयः
पताकिनॊ मण्डलिनः फणवन्तश च सर्वशः ।।10।।
एते चान्ये च बहवः सर्पास तस्यां युधिष्ठिर
उपासते महात्मानं वरुणं विगतक्लमाः ।।11।।

Ramayana Kishkindha Kand Sarg 41 mentions about the directions to southward search party prepared by Sugriva under the leadership of Angad, in which several important Vanar were included - Neel, Hanuman, Jamvanta, Suhotra, Shararita, Shargulma, Gaja, Gavaksha etc. and told them about the impassable countries and difficult path and said ....

Next you will see Kunjar Parvat. Here Vishwakarmaa built a place for Agastya Muni. This place is one Yojan wide and 10 Yojan high. Here there is Bhogvati city where snakes live, that is why it is impossible for human beings to go there. Here lives the king of snakes - Vasuki Naga. Many terrific snakes guard him. This place is studded in numerous gem stones. Go in this place very carefully and search for Seetaa. This has been mentioned in shlokas 34 to 38 as under:
मधूनि पीत्वा जुष्टानि परम् गच्छत वानराः
तत्र नेत्र मनः कांतः कुंजरो नाम पर्वतः ॥४-४१-३४॥
अगस्त्य भवनम् यत्र निर्मितम् विश्वकर्मणा ।
तत्र योजन विस्तारम् उच्छ्रितम् दश योजनम् ॥४-४१-३५॥
शरणम् कांचनम् दिव्यम् नाना रत्न विभूषितम् ।
तत्र भोगवती नाम सर्पाणाम् आलयः पुरी ॥४-४१-३६॥


विशाल रथ्या दुर्धर्षा सर्वतः परिरक्षिता ।
रक्षिता पन्नगैः घोरैः तीष्क्ण दम्ष्ट्रैः महा विषैः ॥४-४१-३७॥


सर्प राजो महाघोरो यस्याम् वसति वासुकिः
निर्याय मार्गितव्या च सा च भोगवती पुरी ॥४-४१-३८॥

Jat Gotras originated from Vasuki

References

  1. Dr Naval Viyogi: Nagas – The Ancient Rulers of India, p.19
  2. Vogel J. PH. "Indian Serpent lore", p. 252
  3. Dr Naval Viyogi: Nagas – The Ancient Rulers of India, p.20
  4. Vogel J. PH. "Indian Serpent lore", p. 252
  5. Dr Naval Viyogi: Nagas – The Ancient Rulers of India, p.28
  6. Vogel J. PH. "Indian Serpent lore", p. 268
  7. Mahendra Singh Arya et al.: Ādhunik Jat Itihas, Agra 1998, p.258

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