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Sheshnag – The mighty serpent

Sheshnag or Adishesha is one of the oldest beings of this Universe. As the name suggests Shesha means remains. Hence when everything in this Cosmos is destroyed, it is Shesha who remains.

Shesha or Adishesha is depicted as a five-headed serpent king who is the king of all nagas. He is primarily a devotee of Lord Vishnu and is always seen accompanying him. Shesha forms a bed for Vishnu in the cosmic ocean of time and space. Lord Vishnu is seen resting or sleeping on him. Shesha carries all the planets on his hood. Some pictures depict Shesha having millions of heads as well.

According to the Puranas. Shesha was born to sage Kashyap and Kadru. Kadru was the daughter of Daksha. Kadru gave birth to the entire Naga clan and was the mother to other prominent nagas like Vasuki, Takashaka, and many others. Shesha was the eldest of all. He was a noble one and was disgusted by his other brothers who tortured and tormented other beings. He decided to leave his family and undergo severe austerities. Lord Brahma pleased with his worship asked Shesha to seek a boon. Shesha demanded to stay near Vishnu and the power to control his own mind always. Brahma accepted his wishes and asked Shesha to go underground and hold the Earth or Prithvi on his head to provide her stability. Shesha agreed and is still considered to hold the Earth on his head.

Shesha took many incarnations along with Lord Vishnu on Earth. Of all the incarnations three were very prominent.

In the satyuga he incarnated in his original form along with Lord Vishnu as Narasimha. Lord Narasimha after killing demon Hirankashipu to save his devotee Prahlad sat on Shesha and left for his abode.

In treta yuga when Vishnu incarnated as Rama, Shesha accompanied the Lord as his younger brother Lakshmana who is one of the most popular characters of the epic Ramayana

In dwapar yuga when Vishnu incarnated as Krishna Shesha took birth as his elder brother Balrama.

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