Friday, February 6, 2009
Shesha Naga or Shesh Shaiya (Hindu King of all Nagas)
In Hindu (Vedic) tradition, Shesha (Śeṣa in IAST transliteration, Devanagari: शेष) is the king of all nagas, one of the primal beings of creation, and according to the Bhagavata Purana, an avatar of the Supreme God known as Sankarshan. In the Puranas, Shesha is said to hold all the planets of the Universe on his hoods and to constantly sing the glories of Vishnu from all his mouths. He is sometimes referred to as "Ananta-Shesha" which means "Endless Shesha" and as "Adi-shesha", which means First snake.
Shesha is generally depicted with a massive form that floats coiled in space, or on the universal ocean, to form the bed on which Vishnu lies. Sometimes he is shown as five-headed or seven-headed, but more commonly as a many hundred-headed serpent, sometimes with each head wearing an ornate crown.
He is closely associated with Vishnu. His name means "that which remains", from the Sanskrit root śiṣ, because when the world is destroyed at the end of the kalpa, Shesha remains as he is. Shesa