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Bhagavad Gita - Vasuki and the Ocean of Milk



Type of Spiritual Experience


Just as the serpent may occasionally be symbolic of just the destructive forces - dissolution, it may also be symbolic of only the constructive forces – the forces of coalescence.

Vasuki, for example,  is one of the serpents of Buddhist and Hindu mythology. He is a great King of the nagas  - in effect a Creator spirit.  Just as we saw in the section on Mother and Father symbolism, Vasuki has a sister with whom he created the world.

In the legends of creation, Vasuki allows the devas and the asuras to bind him to Mount Mandar [mountain] and use him as their churning rope to extract the ambrosia of immortality from the ocean of milk. The ocean of milk is symbolically the same as water in this context, the serpent is being used as the means of creating functions. The symbolism is quite apt as from the milk of chaos is derived the butter of form and the spirit of buttermilk!

A description of the experience


Of weapons I am the thunderbolt; among cows I am the surabhi. Of causes for procreation I am Kandarpa, the god of love, and of serpents I am Vasuki.

Mount Mandara, with Vasuki wrapped around it, during Samudra manthan, the churning of the ocean of milk. ca 1870

The source of the experience

Bhagavad Gita

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