Adisesha, the Cosmic Serpent, heads all the celestials in the land of bliss. He serves the Divine Couple at all places, at all times and in all states, ceaselessly. SESHA possesses intuitive, telepathic understanding of the Lords desires at all times and transforms himself suitably to be of service to the Lord. When the Lord stands, the mighty serpent becomes the canopy above. When the Lord is seated, the serpent coils up into a regal throne and the numerous gems encrusted in his hoods shed a radiant glow that illuminates the chamber. When the Lord walks, SESHA becomes a pair of sandals (PADUKA-s) and gently covers the holy feet. When the Lord reclines, the serpent turns into a cool, plush, silky, soft, luxurious and fragrant bed. The devoted CESHA is thus inseparable from the Lord. POYGAI AZHVAR describes this in his CHENRAL KUDAlYAAM verse in the MUDAL TIRUVANDADHI (53). SESHA also accompanies the Lord in all His Incarnations. LAKSHMANA, SRI RAMA’S younger brother was the incarnation of ADISESHA. He followed the Lord like a shadow from the cradle to the forest and to LANKA. ADISESHA enjoys the unique privilege of observing from close quarters the infinite auspicious attributes and the glory of the union of the Divine Couple. These experiences fill his heart and overflow in the form of words of praise, gushing through his thousand mouths. This boundless joy can surely not be sung with a single mouth. He is endowed with boundless knowledge, wisdom and strength. He is strong enough to effortlessly support the Almighty. ADISESHA elaborately expounds astrology (jyotish saastra) which describes the transits of Stars and Planets. ‘I have learnt from your serpent ADISESHA, who unravelled the mysteries of Astrology’ (taaraa ganappor virittu uraitta vem ndagdthu Unndi-NANMUCAN TIRUVANDADI – 63). ADISESHA’S radiant form outshines the glow of luminous objects like the Sun, Moon and the stars, which appear pale in comparison to Him.
Acts as Bodyguard to the Lord
The mighty SESHA’S intense devotion to the Lord makes him anxious about the Lord’s safety and welfare. SESHA is well aware that the Lord is the Almighty who protects the entire universe. The Lord does not need to be protected, especially in SKIVAIKUNTA where, He is surrounded by loving devotees. Yet ADISESHA’S immense love makes him fear for the Lord’s safety. In the ancient past, the Lord incarnated as the Dwarf Child and asked MAHABALI for three feet of land. He then grew into the Cosmic TRIVIKRAMA, spanned the three worlds in two steps and took them away from MAHABALI.
LAKSHMANA, SRI RAMA’s younger brother was the incarnation of ADISESHA.
All the devata-s watched this mind- blowing grand spectacle and spontaneously sang the Lords praise. This loud humming in chorus reached SRIVAIKUNTwHhAer, e the Lord was reclining on ADISESHA. SESHA, mistaking the resounding chant to be some threat to the Lord, hissed and spat poisonous fumes from his mouths. TIRUMAZHISAI AZHVAR describes this enchanting tale of devotion. The Lord reclines in the middle of the roaring ocean on a fire-spitting serpent-bed (Aangu aaravaaram adu kkettu, azhal umizhum poomkaar aravu NANMUCAN TIRUVANDADI (10)).
A Facilitator for the Lord’s Devotees
The scriptures point out two important attributes of the PARAMATMA, that enable us to recognize Him. The first attribute is that He has SRI MAHALAKSHMI as His Consort (SRIYAPATITVAM). The second attribute is that He has SESHA as His couch. As pointed out by Svami NAMMAZHVAR, the Holy Feet of the Lord who reclines on ADISESHA are our only refuge. The jiva-s in this world perform bhakti (devotion) or prapatti (surrender) and attain liberation. The liberated soul reaches the celestial abode and approaches the Lord, seated high in the ornate chamber. Here ADISESHA serves as the stepping-stone and ladder for the mukta-s to climb on to reach the Lord. SESHA thus acts as a facilitator to attain the Lord and serves as a shining example to all of us who desire to serve the Lord.
Sri Nrusimha Priya