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Author: Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)

Vasuki (वासुकि) is a naga, The king of Patalaloka, born in nagavansh. They created Vasuki Tal and Vasuki Ganga.



Vasuki 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.

Nagas in Kashmir

Dr Naval Viyogi[1] writes....Basuki Nag, who is regarded as the presiding deit of the village, has temples in the little town of Bhadarvaha and in two villages, Bheja-uprala (ie upper Bheja, the lower village being called Bheja Jaklā) and Nālti.[2]

More details of snake worship in Kashmir has already been given in chapter-I on Pages 5 and 6.

There are several towns in Kashmir having,their name after some Naga, such as Veri Nag, Anant Nag, Shesh Nag etc.

Neela[3], the lord paramount of the Nagas or serpents of Kashmir, was believed from early times, to dwell in the main source of the Vitasta (River). Hence this fine spring was known as Neela-Naga or Neela-kunda, "The deep blue colour of the water", as Sir A. Stein observes, "which collects in the spring-basin, may possibly account for the location of the Neel Naga in this particular fountain". It goes by the

[p.20] name of Ver Naga and is surrounded by a stone embankment and to its east are temples of stone. Neelanaga is still worshipped in Kashmir and fairs related to him are also held even today.[4]

In the district of Nāgām (Ancient Nāgrām) which is watered by the Dudhganga (Milkganga) a small stream which joins the Vitasta at Srinagar, there is a small lake, likewise, known by the name of Neelanaga.

Nagas in Himachal Pradesh

Dr Naval Viyogi[5] writes....Most probably Nagas moved from Kashmir valley and settled in different valleys of Himachal Pradesh. Still today these Nagas can be Seen in numerous temples and heard in legends throughout the modern province of Himachal Pradesh.

Basuki Naga is worshipped in the ex-hill state ot Chamba,[6] which comprises the Ravi valley and a portion of the valley of the upper Chinab. It is said that the cult of Basuki was introduced from Bhadravah in the beginning of the nineteenth century because a disease ad spread among the cattle of the state. For some time, the Naga had a temple at the capital likewise, named Chamba, but unfortunately it was burnt down. Evidently the means of his devotees were insufficient to have it rebuilt; the Naga with his vazeir found refuge in a small shrine of the goddess Hirma or Hidimba, which belongs to the ancient temple of Champavati Devi, the family goddess of the king of Chamba. In the temple, the statue of Basuki Nag, the smaller one of the two, wears a royal crown surmounted by an eleven fold hood. In his right hand he holds a sword marked with a snake, and in his left hand a Damaru or hand-drum on each side of his feet is a cobra in an erect attitude. Basuki Naga also has a temple of Himgiri[7].

There is also another Naga in Chamba state called Indru Naga. This is the same as Nahusha whose story is told in the Mahabharata. Indru Naga is worshiped at several paces : at Kuārsi on the road leading to Dharmasala, at Samra in Ranhun kothi, at Chinota and Trehta. There is also another temple of Indru Naga at Kanhiarā in Kangra. [8]

Among the numerous other serpent deities found in Chamba we wish to mention only Mul Naga and Stūhr Naga. The shrine of Mul Naga is immediately above a very fine fountain at the village of Brehi.

The Stuhr or Satuhr Naga is worshipped at the village of Tur on the road to the Baleni pass by wich the Dhaolā Dhār is crossed[9].

This is to be noted[10] that Pujari and Chela attached to the Naga temples of Chamba commonly belong to the agricultural caste of the Rāthī, but in good many cases only the Pujari is a Rathi and the Chela is

[p.21]: a Hali. Naga temples are also found in the valley of the Chinab. At Kilār in Pāngi, there is a shrine Det Naga. It is said that he was originally located in Lahul and human sacrifices were offered to him. There is also a temple of Kalihar Naga (Kelang Naga) at (Dughi]], it is famous about this Naga that he also hailed from Lahul[11]. Similarly Eighteen Nagas or serpents are also worshipped in Kulu [12] valley.

In the local language of this area of Himalayas, 'Kir' or 'Kiri' means serpent, and the people of above area are called 'Kirata', a word used for the people of internal part of Kashmir. in Rajtarangini. Hence Kirat is another form of Kir[13]. Varahamir also has cited this word Kir. Similarly, in the copper plate, published by Prof Kilborn, this word also occurs.[14]

There is mention of the word Kirgrama the inscription of Baijnath temple of Kangra valley. This shows that Kirgram would have been local name of this place.[15] In the local language, the meaning of 'Kirgram' is "The village of serpent or Naga race". Till today serpent is the most loving deity of Baijnath. Not only this, the venerable deity of people of surrounding area of Baijnath is also serpent. It means that in ancient time this town was inhabited by the Naga people. Kir is synonymous of Nag or serpent and it is apparent these Naga worshipping Kir people of Himalaya are near relatives of Dravidian Cher, Ker or Keral of South.

According to Vogel-"The hilly area of Uttarpatha and Nepal is also a homeland of numerous snake shrines and temples and snake worship is a basis of religious life of people."

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.

मंदार पर्वत

मंदार पर्वत (AS, p.688) का उल्लेख पौराणिक धर्म ग्रंथों में हुआ है। समुद्र मंथन की जिस घटना का उल्लेख हिन्दू धार्मिक ग्रंथों में हुआ है, उनके अनुसार देवताओं और असुरों ने मंदार पर्वत पर वासुकी नाग को लपेट कर मंथन के समय मथानी की तरह प्रयोग किया गया था। सदियों से खड़ा मंदार पर्वत आज भी लोगों की आस्था का केन्द्र बना हुआ है। इस पर्वत को 'मंदराचल' या 'मंदर पर्वत' भी कहा जाता है।

यह प्रसिद्ध पर्वत बिहार राज्य के बाँका ज़िले के बौंसी गाँव में स्थित है। इस पर्वत की ऊँचाई लगभग 700 से 750 फुट है। यह भागलपुर से 30-35 मील की दूरी पर स्थित है। जहाँ रेल या बस किसी से भी सुविधापूर्वक जाया जा सकता है। बौंसी से इसकी दूरी क़रीब 5 मील है।

पौराणिक महत्त्व: हिन्दू धर्म में मंदार पर्वत का बड़ा ही धार्मिक महत्त्व है। माना जाता है कि जब देवताओं और असुरों ने समुद्र मंथन किया, तो मंदार पर्वत को मथनी और उस पर वासुकी नाग को लपेट कर रस्सी का काम लिया गया था। पर्वत पर अभी भी धार दार लकीरें दिखती हैं, जो एक दूसरे से क़रीब छह फुट की दूरी पर बनी हुई हैं। ऐसा लगता है कि ये किसी गाड़ी के टायर के निशान हों। ये लकीरें किसी भी तरह मानव निर्मित नहीं लगतीं। जन विश्वास है कि समुद्र मंथन के दौरान वासुकी के शरीर की रगड़ से यह निशान बने हैं। मंथन के बाद जो कुछ भी हुआ, वह एक अलग कहानी है, किंतु अभी भी पर्वत के ऊपर शंख-कुंड़ में एक विशाल शंख की आकृति स्थित है। कहते हैं भगवान शिव ने इसी महाशंख से विष पान किया था।

पुराणों के अनुसार एक बार भगवान विष्णुजी के कान के मैल से मधु-कैटभ नाम के दो भाईयों का जन्म हुआ। लेकिन धीरे-धीरे इनका उत्पात इतना बढ गया कि सारे देवता इनसे भय खाने लगे। दोनों भाइयों का उत्पात बहुत अधिक बढ़ जाने के बाद अंतत: इन्हें खत्म करने के लिए भगवान विष्णु को इनसे युद्ध करना पड़ा। इसमें भी मधु का अंत करने में विष्णुजी परेशान हो गये। हजारों साल के युद्ध के बाद अंत में उन्होंने उसका सिर काट कर उसे मंदार पर्वत के नीचे दबा दिया, किंतु उसकी वीरता से प्रसन्न होकर उसके सिर की आकृति पर्वत पर बना दी। यह आकृति यहाँ आने वाले भक्तों के लिए दर्शनीय स्थल बन चुकी है।

इतिहास: पुरातत्ववेत्ताओं के अनुसार मंदार पर्वत की अधिकांश मूर्तियाँ उत्तर गुप्त काल की हैं। इस काल में मूर्तिकला की काफ़ी सन्नति हुई थी। मंदार के सर्वोच्च शिखर पर एक मंदिर है, जिसमें एक प्रस्तर पर पद चिह्न अंकित है। बताया जाता है कि ये पद चिह्न भगवान विष्णु के हैं। किंतु जैन धर्म के मानने वाले इसे प्रसिद्ध तीर्थंकर भगवान वासुपूज्य के चरण चिह्न बतलाते हैं और पूरे विश्वास और आस्था के साथ दूर-दूर से इनके दर्शन करने आते हैं। एक ही पदचिह्न को दो संप्रदाय के लोग अलग-अलग रूप में मानते हैं, लेकिन विवाद कभी नहीं होता। इस प्रकार यह दो संप्रदाय का संगम भी कहा जा सकता है। इसके अलावा पूरे पर्वत पर यत्र-तत्र अनेक सुंदर मूर्तियाँ हैं, जिनमें शिव, सिंह वाहिनी दुर्गा, महाकाली, नरसिंह आदि की प्रतिमाएँ प्रमुख हैं। चतुर्भुज विष्णु और भैरव की प्रतिमा अभी भागलपुर संग्रहालय में रखी हुई हैं।

संदर्भ: भारतकोश-मंदार पर्वत

चक्रकोट नामकरण

चक्रकोट का नामकरण नागवंशी राजा चक्र के नाम पर पड़ा है. चक्र का उल्लेख सर्पसत्र आदिपर्व महाभारत (I.52.5) [16] में हुआ है, जिसके अनुसार चक्र नाग को वासुकी नाग का वंशज बताया गया है. वासुकी नाग के वंशजों का हिमाचल प्रदेश में चंबा और राजस्थान में नागौर क्षेत्र में भी राज्य था. चंबा में वासुकी नाग के साथ ही इन्द्रु नाग का भी उल्लेख मिलता है जिनके मंदिर कुआरसी, समरा, चनोटा, तरेता, खनियारा आदि स्थानों पर हैं. [17]

चक्र का उल्लेख शल्यपर्व महाभारत (IX.44.33)[18] में कार्तिकेय या स्कन्द को सेनाधिपति नियुक्त करने के लिए आयोजित अवसर पर उपस्थित होना बताया गया है. भीष्म-पर्व महाभारत (VI.10.43)/ (6-9-45a). [19] में भारतवर्ष के भूगोल के वर्णन के अंतर्गत चक्र जनपद का उल्लेख किया गया है.

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.[20] [21]

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. [22] [23]

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. [24] [25]

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


  1. Nagas, The Ancient Rulers of India, Their Origins and History, 2002, pp. 19-20
  2. Vogel J. PH. P-250
  3. Vogel J PH. P-227
  4. Vogel J. PH. "Ibid" P-228
  5. Nagas, The Ancient Rulers of India, Their Origins and History, 2002, pp. 20-21
  6. Vogel P-252
  7. Vogel P-252
  8. 9. (a) Oldham "Sun and Serpent Worship" P-73; 9. (b) Rose H. A., "Glossary of the tribes and caste of Punjab" Vol I, P-154
  9. Vogel P-253
  10. Ibid
  11. Ibid
  12. Vogel P-255
  13. Stein, A. "Rajtarangini" Part VII, P-27-67
  14. Rapson E. J."JRAS" (July 1900) P-533
  15. Jane "JRAS" (1903) P-37
  16. कॊटिकॊ मानसः पूर्णः सहः पौलॊ हलीसकः, पिच्छिलः कॊणपश चक्रः कॊण वेगः प्रकालनः (I.52.5)
  17. (a) Oldham "Sun and Serpent Worship" P-73; (b) Rose H. A., "Glossary of the tribes and caste of Punjab" Vol I, P-154
  18. चक्रं विक्रमकं चैव संक्रमं च महाबलम, सकन्दाय त्रीन अनुचरान ददौ विष्णुर महायशाः (IX.44.33)
  19. वारवास्यायवाहाश्च चक्रा श्चक्रातयः शकाः, विदेहा मगधाः स्वक्षा मलजा विजयास्तथा (6-9-45a)
  20. Dr Naval Viyogi: Nagas – The Ancient Rulers of India, p.19
  21. Vogel J. PH. "Indian Serpent lore", p. 252
  22. Dr Naval Viyogi: Nagas – The Ancient Rulers of India, p.20
  23. Vogel J. PH. "Indian Serpent lore", p. 252
  24. Dr Naval Viyogi: Nagas – The Ancient Rulers of India, p.28
  25. Vogel J. PH. "Indian Serpent lore", p. 268
  26. Mahendra Singh Arya et al.: Ādhunik Jat Itihas, Agra 1998, p.258

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