Vishnu with Sesha Naga — ancient statue in government museum Mathura (Image contributed by Biswarup Ganguly to the public domain)

Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

Previous Post: Sesha Naga Performs Ascetic Penances to Get Away From His Siblings

Note: In the previous post, we read about how Sesha Naga performed ascetic penances to get away from his brothers. However, Brahma Deva intervened in Sesha’s penances and guided him to work for the welfare of all creatures by stabilising the earth.

In this post, we will read about how Sesha stabilised the earth.

When commanded by Brahma Dev to steady the earth, Sesha said, “O Divine Lord of all creatures, O bestower of boons, O Lord of the universe and of everything created in the universe, I will certainly do as you say. O great one, please place the earth on my head.”

Brahma Dev replied, “O best of snakes, that will not help. Go to the southern side of the earth. There, she will give you a crevice to pass through, and passing through that crevice, hold the earth steadily. By doing this you will have done the work that’s most important to me.”

Note: The Mahabharata translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli doesn’t use the phrase “southern side of the earth.” I’ll quote the exact passage below:

“Brahman said, ‘O best of snakes, go underneath the Earth. She will herself give thee a crevice to pass through. And, O Sesha, by holding the Earth, thou shalt certainly do what is prized by me very greatly.’

As shown in the passage above, Brahma Deva says “underneath the earth,” however, his point of reference is heaven, therefore, when he says ‘underneath’, it refers to the southern tip of the earth that was wobbling.

Following brahma Deva’s words, Sesha went to the southern side of the earth where we entered a crevice and passed through the entire earth to emerge on the other side. Thus, Sesha held Goddess Earth and her belt of seas that circled her, steadily on his head.

Note: Essentially, Sesha entered the earth at the south pole and came out at the North pole, exactly following her axis and used his strength to prevent earth from wobbling.

Brahma Deva was very pleased to see his work completed. He said to Sesha, “O best of snakes, you are like the God Dharma himself because you have single-handedly supported the earth with all her mountains, rivers , oceans and forests.”

After praising Sesha, Brahma Dev appointed Garuda to help Sesha with his work of keeping the earth steady.

Note: By pleasing Brahma Deva and supporting earth, Sesha was freed from his mother’s curse. His siblings, however, were not free. In the next post we will read about the meeting held by Kadru’s sons to find a way to neautralize her curse.

Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

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