Stories Behind Why Lord Shiva Wears Snake Around His Neck?

Why Lord Shiva wears a snake around his neck? There are many stories and symbolic reasons associated with why Lord Shiva wears a snake in his neck as a necklace. Lord Shiva snake name is Vasuki, the king of snakes.

Snakes are venomous  creatures. Many people around the world are afraid of snakes. But Lord Shiva wearing snakes symbolically shows that he is absolutely fearless and immortal.

  • It is believed that the snake around Shiva’s neck represents the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. Snakes shed their skin when the old skin is outgrown, regularly during their lifetime. This symbolically represents the cycle of birth, death and rebirth.
  • Some believed that the snake has three rounds around Lord Shiva’s neck where each round represents past, present and future. This indicates that he is beyond time and controls it. That’s why Lord Shiva is also known as “Mahakaal” – the one who is above and beyond Kaal (time).Also, the snake is shown looking towards his right side. It signifies that the Lord’s perpetual laws of reason and justice preserve natural order in the universe.
  • Some believed that symbolically snake represents ego. But when it is controlled, it can be worn as an ornament which Lord Shiva does.
  • Symbolically snakes stand for all the passion and desires. By wearing the snake around his neck, Shiva conveys to all his devotees that he has overcome all his desires. Also, he is in full control of Prakriti or Maya (Illusion).

Stories Associated with Shiva wearing snakes around his neck:

Once when snakes species were on the verge of extinction, they approached Lord Shiva for protection.

He provides them with shelter by allowing them to stay in Kailasa. But due to cold weather in Kailasa mountain, snakes used to approach his body for warmth.

Another popular story associated with this is during the Samudra Manthan (or churning of ocean).

When devas (gods) and asuras (demons) churn the ocean using Vasuki (king of snakes) as a rope around Mandar mountain, many things came out of it.

One of them was Halahala, the deadly poison. This terrified both gods and demons and they were confused that who will consume this lethal poison. The poison was so powerful that it could destroy the whole creation.

Then everyone approaches Lord Shiva for protection. In order to protect the universe, he drinks the poison himself.

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