Vasuki, Vāsuki, Vāsukī: 32 definitions


Vasuki means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

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In Hinduism

Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Source: Google Books: Cultural History from the Vāyu Purāna

Vāsuki (वासुकि):—One of the Nāgas that dwell on the Niṣadha mountain, according to the Vāyu-purāṇa.

Source: Puranic Encyclopedia

Vāsuki (वासुकि).—One of the famous Nāgas (serpents). Birth. The uragas and nāgas (serpents) were born to Prajāpati Kaśyapa by his wife Kadrū. Vāsuki, the eldest son of Kadrū spent his childhood with his parents. (See full article at Story of Vāsuki from the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani)

Source: Shiva Purana - English Translation

Vāsuki (वासुकि) refers to King of the Nāgas (who is said to adorn Śiva’s neck), according to the Śivapurāṇa 2.4.5 (“Kārttikeya is crowned”).—Accordingly, after the Kṛttikās spoke to Kārttikeya: “[...] At the bidding of Śiva, Kumāra in the company of his Gaṇas came to Śiva’s abode. He felt very happy in the company of jubilant gods. The couple shone simultaneously being saluted by the sages and surrounded by the important gods. Kumāra delightedly played about in the lap of Śiva. He teased Vāsuki round Śiva’s neck with his hands. [...]”.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

1a) Vāsuki (वासुकि).—A son of Kadru: a chieftain of the Nāgaloka. He was used as the rope in the amṛtamathana. Identified with Hari.1 A friend of Indra: the milkman of the Nāgas for milking the earth: moving with the sun for two months;2 in the Vaiḍūrya śālā of Lalitā;3 his aid to Tripurāri;4 an ear ornament of Śiva; shaken by Hiraṇyakaśipu: sports in Amarakaṇṭaka;5 heard the viṣṇu purāṇa from Dhṛtarāṣṭra the Nāga and narrated it to Vatsa.6

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa V. 24. 31; VIII. 6. 22 and ch. 7 (whole); XI. 16. 18; Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 7. 32 and 444; 8. 13; 36. 15; IV. 9. 51, 56-9; Matsya-purāṇa 6. 39; 8. 7; Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 9. 77 and 84; 21. 21.
  • 2) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 17. 34; 20. 41; 23. 3; 36. 213; Viṣṇu-purāṇa II. 10. 3.
  • 3) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa IV. 20. 53; 33. 36.
  • 4) Matsya-purāṇa 114. 83; 126. 3; 133. 25 and 42.
  • 5) Ib. 154. 444; 163. 56; 188. 92; 193. 35; 249. 64.
  • 6) Viṣṇu-purāṇa VI. 8. 46.

1b) The Nāga presiding over the month of Madhu.*

  • * Bhāgavata-purāṇa XII. 11. 33.

1c) A son of Surasā and Kaśyapa and a King of the Nāgas; the hundred headed snake in Sutalam;1 with the sun in the spring.2

  • 1) Vāyu-purāṇa 50. 39; 70. 12.
  • 2) Ib. 52. 3.

1d) A Nāga living in the Niṣadha hill.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 46. 34; 62. 180; 69. 69.
Source: JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places

Vāsuki (वासुकि) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. I.33.1, I.31.5, I.35) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Vāsuki) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

Vāsukī also refers to the name of a Tīrtha (pilgrim’s destination) mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. III.83.30).

Source: Shodhganga: Kasyapa Samhita—Text on Visha Chikitsa (itihasa)

Vāsuki is the name of a Serpent (sarpa) mentioned in the thirty-fifth chapter (verses 4-17) of the Ādiparva of the Mahābhārata.—Accordingly, Sauti, on being implored by Śaunaka to name all the serpents in the course of the sarpa-sattra, tells him that it is humanly impossible to give a complete list because of their sheer multiplicity; but would name the prominent ones in accordance with their significance [e.g., Vāsuki].

Purana book cover
context information

The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Natyashastra (theatrics and dramaturgy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Nāṭya-śāstra

Vāsuki (वासुकि) is the Sanskrit name for a deity to be worshipped during raṅgapūjā, according to the Nāṭyaśāstra 3.1-8. Accordingly, the master of the dramatic art who has been initiated for the purpose shall consecrate the playhouse after he has made obeisance (e.g., to Vāsuki).

Natyashastra book cover
context information

Natyashastra (नाट्यशास्त्र, nāṭyaśāstra) refers to both the ancient Indian tradition (shastra) of performing arts, (natya—theatrics, drama, dance, music), as well as the name of a Sanskrit work dealing with these subjects. It also teaches the rules for composing Dramatic plays (nataka), construction and performance of Theater, and Poetic works (kavya).

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Kavya (poetry)

Source: Wisdom Library: Kathāsaritsāgara

1) Vāsuki (वासुकि) is the name of a king of the Nāgas, according to the Kathāsaritsāgara chapter 6. The son of his brother, Kīrtisena, married Śrutārthā through the gāndharva marriage after seeing her bathe.

Vāsuki (वासुकि) is also mentioned as the king of the Nāgas (nāgarāj) according to the sixteenth story of the Vetālapañcaviṃśati in the Kathāsaritsāgara, 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?’”.

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

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Vāsuki, is a famous Sanskrit epic story revolving around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the vidyādharas (celestial beings). The work is said to have been an adaptation of Guṇāḍhya’s Bṛhatkathā consisting of 100,000 verses, which in turn is part of a larger work containing 700,000 verses.


Source: Wisdomlib Libary: Kathā

Vāsuki (वासुकि).—One of the eight kulas (‘families’) of nāgas mentioned by Soḍḍhala in his Udayasundarīkathā. Vāsuki, and other nāgas, reside in pātāla (the nether world) and can assume different forms at will. Their movement is unobstructed in the all the worlds and they appear beautiful, divine and strong.

The Udayasundarīkathā is a Sanskrit work in the campū style, narrating the story of the Nāga princess Udayasundarī and Malayavāhana, king of Pratiṣṭhāna. Soḍḍhala is a descendant of Kalāditya (Śilāditya’s brother) whom he praises as an incarnation of a gaṇa (an attendant of Śiva).

Source: Shodhganga: A critical appreciation of soddhalas udayasundarikatha

Vāsuki (वासुकि).—Name of a Nāga mentioned by Soḍḍhala.—Vāsuki is said to be the chief of the Pātāla region.

Kavya book cover
context information

Kavya (काव्य, kavya) refers to Sanskrit poetry, a popular ancient Indian tradition of literature. There have been many Sanskrit poets over the ages, hailing from ancient India and beyond. This topic includes mahakavya, or ‘epic poetry’ and natya, or ‘dramatic poetry’.

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Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Source: Wisdom Library: Śaivism

Vāsuki (वासुकि) is the name of a nāga chief, presiding over Paratāla, according to the Parākhyatantra 5.44-45. Paratāla (also called Varatāla) refers to one of the seven pātālas (‘subterranean paradise’). The word pātāla in this tantra refers to subterranean paradises for seekers of otherworldly pleasures and each the seven pātālas is occupied by a regent of the daityas, nāgas and rākṣasas.

The Parākhyatantra is an old Śaiva-siddhānta tantra dating from before the 10th century.

Shaivism book cover
context information

Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

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Ayurveda (science of life)

Source: Ancient Science of Life: Snake bite treatment in Prayoga samuccayam

Vāsuki (वासुकि) refers to one of the eight primordial snakes, according to the 20th century Prayogasamuccaya (one of the most popular and widely practised book in toxicology in Malayalam).—The work classifies viṣa into two groups, viz. sthāvara and jaṅgama (animate and inanimate). This is followed by a brief description of the origin of snakes. A mythological story is narrated in this context. It is said that in the beginning, there were only 8 snakes, Ananta, Gulika, Vāsuki, Śaṅkhapālaka, Takṣaka, Mahāpadma, Padma and Karkoṭaka and that all other snakes originated from these.

Source: Shodhganga: Kasyapa Samhita—Text on Visha Chikitsa

Vāsuki (वासुकि) refers to “snakes with a svastika mark on the head; looks towards left side” and represents a classification of Divine Snakes, as taught in the Nāganāman (“names of the Sarpas”) section of the Kāśyapa Saṃhitā: an ancient Sanskrit text from the Pāñcarātra tradition dealing with both Tantra and Viṣacikitsā—an important topic from Āyurveda which deals with the study of Toxicology (Agadatantra or Sarpavidyā).—The first aspect of the Agadatantra is about the names of the sarpas and their features. The Kāśyapasaṃhitā verse IV.6-19 provide information on divine serpents [e.g., Vāsuki], their characterstic features, origin and other details.

Ayurveda book cover
context information

Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद, ayurveda) is a branch of Indian science dealing with medicine, herbalism, taxology, anatomy, surgery, alchemy and related topics. Traditional practice of Āyurveda in ancient India dates back to at least the first millenium BC. Literature is commonly written in Sanskrit using various poetic metres.

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Vastushastra (architecture)

Source: Brill: Śaivism and the Tantric Traditions (architecture)

Vāsuki (वासुकि) (or Nāga) refers to one of the deities to be installed in the ground plan for the construction of houses, according to the Bṛhatkālottara, chapter 112 (the vāstuyāga-paṭala).—The plan for the construction is always in the form of a square. That square is divided into a grid of cells (padas). [...] Once these padas have been laid out, deities [e.g., Vāsuki] are installed in them. In the most common pattern 45 deities are installed.

Vāsuki as a doorway deity is associated with the Nakṣatra called Svāti and the consequence is kandarpa. [...] The Mayasaṃgraha (verse 5.156-187) describes a design for a 9-by-9-part pura, a residential complex for a community and its lead figure. [...] This record lists a place for flowers at Nāga, Mukhya and Bhalvāṭa (ahitraye).

Vastushastra book cover
context information

Vastushastra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vāstuśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian science (shastra) of architecture (vastu), dealing with topics such architecture, sculpture, town-building, fort building and various other constructions. Vastu also deals with the philosophy of the architectural relation with the cosmic universe.

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Pancaratra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)

Source: Shodhganga: Kasyapa Samhita—Text on Visha Chikitsa (p)

Vāsuki (वासुकि) refers to one of the eight Divine Serpents visualized as the decorations (nāgābharaṇa) of Garuḍa, according to the second chapter of the Kāśyapa Saṃhitā: an ancient Sanskrit text from the Pāñcarātra tradition dealing with both Tantra and Viṣacikitsā (Toxicology).—Accordingly, text text dictates that a Garuḍa-upāsaka, the aspirant, must meditate on Garuḍa of the following form—[...] He shines with his head adorned with a crown, bedecked with jewels, handsome in every limb, with tawny eyes and tremendous speed, shining like gold, long-armed, broad-shouldered and adorned with the eight divine serpents or Nāgas [e.g., Vāsuki form his sacred thread]. Vāsuki form his sacred thread.

Pancaratra book cover
context information

Pancaratra (पाञ्चरात्र, pāñcarātra) represents a tradition of Hinduism where Narayana is revered and worshipped. Closeley related to Vaishnavism, the Pancaratra literature includes various Agamas and tantras incorporating many Vaishnava philosophies.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Source: Apam Napat: Indian Mythology

Vasuki is a giant snake, the king of all serpents. Some stories put the name of the king of serpents as Takshaka, who was the snake who was responsible for Parikshit's death.

The most famous story in which Vasuki appears is the incident of churning the ocean of milk to obtain Amrit. 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 Shiva who swallowed the poison, turning his throat blue and earning him the sobriquet - Nilakanta (blue-throated).

Source: WikiPedia: Hinduism

Vasuki : King of the Nagas or serpents who live in Patala. He was used by the gods and Asuras for a coil round the mountain Mandara at the churning of the ocean.

In Buddhism

Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism)

Source: Wisdom Library: Tibetan Buddhism

Vāsuki (वासुकि) is the name of a Nāga mentioned as attending the teachings in the 6th century Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa: one of the largest Kriyā Tantras devoted to Mañjuśrī (the Bodhisattva of wisdom) representing an encyclopedia of knowledge primarily concerned with ritualistic elements in Buddhism. The teachings in this text originate from Mañjuśrī and were taught to and by Buddha Śākyamuni in the presence of a large audience (including Vāsuki).

Source: Google Books: Vajrayogini

Vāsuki (वासुकि).—Serpent deity (nāga) of the eastern cremation ground.—In the Śmaśānavidhi 5, Vāsuki is white, with a blue lotus on his hood. He makes the añjali, bowing before the lord before him.

Source: Wisdomlib Libary: Vajrayogini

Vāsuki (वासुकि) is the name of a serpent (nāga) associated with Caṇḍogra: the eastern cremation ground (śmaśāna) according to the Vajravārāhī-sādhana by Umāpatideva as found in te 12th century Guhyasamayasādhanamālā. As a part of this sādhana, the practicioner is to visualize a suitable dwelling place for the goddess inside the circle of protection which takes the form of eight cremation grounds.

These nāga-kings (e.g., Vāsuki) are variously known as nāgarāja, nāgeśa, nāgendra and bhujageśa and are depicted as wearing white ornaments according to Lūyīpāda’s Śmaśānavidhi. They have human tosos above their coiled snaketails and raised hoods above their heads. They each have their own color assigned and they bear a mark upon their raised hoods. They all make obeisance to the dikpati (protector) who is before them and are seated beneath the tree (vṛkṣa).

Source: The Structure and Meanings of the Heruka Maṇḍala

Vāsuki (वासुकि) refers to one of the eight serpent king (nāgendra) of the Guṇacakra, according to the 10th century Ḍākārṇava chapter 15. Accordingly, the guṇacakra refers to one of the four divisions of the sahaja-puṭa (‘innate layer’), situated within the padma (lotus) in the middle of the Herukamaṇḍala. Vāsuki is associated with the charnel grounds (śmaśāna) named Caṇḍogra; with the tree (vṛkṣa) named Śirīṣa; with the direction-guardians (dikpāla) named Indra and with the cloud king (meghendra) named Garjita.

Source: OSU Press: Cakrasamvara Samadhi

Vāsuki (वासुकि) is the name of a Kṣetra (i.e., Vāsukikṣetra—‘land of Vāsuki’), according to the Guru Mandala Worship (maṇḍalārcana) ritual often performed in combination with the Cakrasaṃvara Samādhi, which refers to the primary pūjā and sādhanā practice of Newah Mahāyāna-Vajrayāna Buddhists in Nepal.—Accordingly, “[...] On the Bharata continent, in northern Pāñcāla, at the feet of the Himalayas, In the land of Vāsuki (vāsukikṣetra), the seat of Upachandoha, in the holy land Āryāvarta, In the home of Karkoṭaka king of serpents, In the great lake Nāgavāsa, Site of Śrī Svayambhū Caitya, inhabited by Śrī Guyeśvarī Prajñāpāramita, In the land of the Nepal mandala, in the form of the Śrī Saṃvara mandala, In the same land of Sudurjayā, [...]”.,

Tibetan Buddhism book cover
context information

Tibetan Buddhism includes schools such as Nyingma, Kadampa, Kagyu and Gelug. Their primary canon of literature is divided in two broad categories: The Kangyur, which consists of Buddha’s words, and the Tengyur, which includes commentaries from various sources. Esotericism and tantra techniques (vajrayāna) are collected indepently.

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Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Bulletin of the French School of the Far East (volume 5)

Vāsuki (वासुकि) is the name of a Nāgarāja appointed as one of the Divine protector deities of Cīnasthāna, according to chapter 17 of the Candragarbha: the 55th section of the Mahāsaṃnipāta-sūtra, a large compilation of Sūtras (texts) in Mahāyāna Buddhism partly available in Sanskrit, Tibetan and Chinese.—In the Candragarbhasūtra, the Bhagavat invites all classes of Gods and Deities to protect the Law [dharma?] and the faithful in their respective kingdoms of Jambudvīpa [e.g., the Nāgarāja Vāsuki in Cīnasthāna], resembling the time of the past Buddhas.

Mahayana book cover
context information

Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

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Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit dictionary

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Vāsuki (वासुकि).—Name of a celebrated serpent, king of snakes (said to be a son of Kaśyapa); सर्पाणामस्मि वासुकिः (sarpāṇāmasmi vāsukiḥ) Bhagavadgītā (Bombay) 1.28; Kumārasambhava 2.38; (hence vāsukeyasvasā means 'the sister of the snake-god', an epithet of the deity Manasā; L. D. B.).

Derivable forms: vāsukiḥ (वासुकिः).

See also (synonyms): vāsukeya.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Vāsuki (वासुकि).—m.

(-kiḥ) The serpent Vasuki, sovereign of the snakes and worn by Siva on his person. E. vasu a jewel, ka the head, or vasuka here said to be a name of Kasyapa, aff. of descent iñ .

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Benfey Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Vāsuki (वासुकि).—m. The serpent Vāsuki, sovereign of the snakes, [Bhagavadgītā, (ed. Schlegel.)] 10, 28.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Cappeller Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Vāsuki (वासुकि).—[masculine] [Name] of a genius & a serpent-king.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary

1) Vāsukī (वासुकी):—[from vāsuka] f. Name of a woman, [Hemacandra’s Pariśiṣṭaparvan]

2) Vāsuki (वासुकि):—m. ([from] vasuka) Name of a divine being, [Gobhila-śrāddha-kalpa; Kauśika-sūtra]

3) of a serpent-king (one of the three chief kings of the Nāgas, the other two being Śeṣa and Takṣaka; the gods and demons used the serpent Vāsuki as a rope for twisting round the mountain Mandara when they churned the ocean, [Religious Thought and Life in India 108, 233]), [Mahābhārata; Rāmāyaṇa] etc.

4) of an author, [Pratāparudrīya [Scholiast or Commentator]]

5) of another man, [Pravara texts]

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Yates Sanskrit-English Dictionary

Vāsuki (वासुकि):—(kiḥ) 2. m. The serpent Vāsuki, king of serpents.

Source: DDSA: Paia-sadda-mahannavo; a comprehensive Prakrit Hindi dictionary (S)

Vāsuki (वासुकि) in the Sanskrit language is related to the Prakrit words: Vāsui, Vāsugi.

[Sanskrit to German]

Vasuki in German

context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family (even English!). Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Kannada-English dictionary

Source: Alar: Kannada-English corpus

Vāsuki (ವಾಸುಕಿ):—[noun] one of the three mythological serpent kings.

context information

Kannada is a Dravidian language (as opposed to the Indo-European language family) mainly spoken in the southwestern region of India.

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