Snakes play a very significant role in the world of spirituality. Serpents have been symbolic across the world. They are considered semi-divine beings who live in the nether world.
In Hinduism, serpents hold a special position. They are called Nagas. We all have seen Shiva wearing a snake on his neck but do we know what does this signifies or who this snake is. According to the ancient scripts, sage Kashyap had married Daksha's daughter Kadru. Kadru wanted 100 serpent sons from Kashyap. The couple have birth to 100 serpent sons and hence founded the Naga clan.
Vasuki was one of the serpent sons who was an ardent devotee of Shiva. He was a Nagaraja which means a serpent king and ruled a region near the Kailash mountain.
During the famous Samudra Manthan, when gods and demons had to churn the milky ocean together, Vasuki nag had helped them. Vasuki agreed to become the rope that was tied to mount Mandara and churned from both sides. While churning a lot of poison or Halahal oozed out. This poison had the potential to destroy the whole world. To save the world Shiva decided to drink all the poison. Since Vasuki was a Shiva devotee he too drank the poison like his Lord. Pleased with his devotion Shiva decided to wear him on his neck as his ornament. Vasuki is lifeless without Shiva.
Vasuki has also been mentioned io n Mahabharata. Vasuki had given a boon to Bheema that his strength shall be equal to 1000 elephants. Duryodhan had tried kill to Bheema by poisoning him with snake venom. It was Vasuki who came to his rescue. Not only did he suck the entire poison out but also blessed him with immense strength and valor.
Symbolically snakes represent the mind. They also represent desires and all the things evil. Hence Shiva wearing a snake on his neck signifies that he had complete control over his mind and desires. Kundalini Shakti which is the dormant energy residing at the Muladhara or root chakra is also symbolized with a serpent. Once activated this energy like a serpent rises upwards towards the head and leads to enlightenment.
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