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Seshnag : The King of Snakes

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At a glance

Description
Origin Indian Mythology
Classification Demigods
Family Members Kashyapa (Father), Kadru (Mother). Takshaka, Vasuki, Iravati (Siblings)
Region India
Associated With Snakes

Sheshnag

Introduction

In Hindu mythology, the large serpent known as Seshnag is regarded as the king of serpents. Although it is not evil, its depiction is a bit strange. According to the Hindu mythology, the universe’s planets are all located on the serpent’s heads. It is said that when he uncoils, time moves forward and creation takes place. When he coils back, the universe ceases to exist.

Vishnu‘s form known as the Narayana is often depicted resting on Shesha with his consort, known as Lakshmi. Another deity known as Adishesha is regarded as one of the mounts of Vishnu along with Garuda. He is believed to have come into Earth in various human forms, including Lakshmana, the brother of Rama, and Balarama, the brother of Krishna.

Physical Traits

Sheshnag is depicted as a massive serpent that can be found floating through space or in the Ocean of Milk, and it forms the bed upon which Vishnu is resting. It can be depicted as a ten-headed or five-headed serpent, or it can be as many as a million-headed serpent. Each head of this deity has an ornate crown.

Family

The Mahabharata states that Adishesha was created by Kashyapa and his wife, Kadru. Shesha was the eldest among the serpents that Kadru gave birth to, and after Shesha, Takshaka, Iravati, and Vasuki were born, many of her brothers were cruel, especially towards humans, including her brother, Garuda.

Disgust for his brothers’ cruel acts, Shesha left his family and lived in air. He also meditated in various places, such as the Himalayas, Gokarna, and Badrikashrama. His skin, muscles, and flesh would eventually merge with his frame due to his severe penances.

Other names

Sheshnag is often commonly referred to as Adishesha or Shesh. It is believed that Adisesha has taken multiple forms on Earth. During the Satya Yugas, he came down as a creature that was created to serve as Vishnu’s avatar of the Narasimha, who was incarnated to kill the evil Hiranyakashipu. In the Treta Yuga during which Sesha became Lakshmana, he was the brother of Rama. In the Ramayana, Lakshmana is often depicted as a character alongside Hanuman and Sita. According to the Dvapara Yuga in the Dasavatara, he was resurrected as Balarama, who was also Vishnu’s sibling. This is often disputed by other versions of the Ramayana.

The Sri Vaishnava tradition states that during the Kali Yuga, he was born as a creature called Patanjali Maharishi, as well as other lesser-known ones such as Mandavana Mamunigal and Ramanujacharya. He incarnated as a peaceful incarnation and spread devotion to the people. According to Sri Vaishnavism, Balarama is the offspring of Adishsha and Vishnu. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna states that he is Ananta, which indicates the importance of Shesha. 

Powers and Abilities

After Shesha’s will was fulfilled, Brahma asked Shesha to request an opportunity to receive a boon. Shesha told Brahma that she wanted to keep his mind focused on performing penances. Brahma then granted Shesha’s request and asked him to help stabilize the world. Shesha did this by going beneath the earth and balanced Bhumi on his head making Patala his perennial home.

Modern Day Influence

This particular boat, which is known as the Palliyodam, is a snake boat that is used by the Aranmula Parthasarthy Temple in Kerala for its annual water processions. Legend has it that it was made to resemble Shesha and was designed by Krishna.

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