As you can see in many pictures of Shiva, he wears a naga wrapped around his neck.

Lord Shiva Credits for Image

So is there any reason behind keeping that naga around his neck, or is that a vahan for lord Shiv just like lord Ganesha has a rat or like the goddess Mata Ji who has a tiger?

I know that he is known as Pasupathinath, which means "lord of all creatures", and that he controls all the animals. Since snake is feared by most of us, is that the reason he wears them around his neck?

Also, does he wear just one, or there are multiple?

  • Nagas were very first Shiva linga worshippers – Parmod Sharma Jun 7 '15 at 5:50
  • I think the ultimate god is the goddess (only Devi not durga,parvathi,sathi etc) In devipurana or devi bagavatha it is written that shiva played sivatandava after the death of sathi with her body rotated in his neck,hands,legs,hip wherever he rotated that places decerated by nagas or snakes. – user3403 Jul 27 '15 at 8:24

There are many stories related to "Shiva wearing snake as necklace".

Snakes are meant to be dangerous reptile and is feared by many of us. Lord Shiva show us that he controls fear and death by wearing snake as ornament.

It is also said that the snake three rounds around Lord Shiva's neck depicts future, present and past. That states that Lord Shiva is Independent of Time and controls time.

There is a story that when the snake species were in endangered, they approach Lord Shiva for Shelter. Lord Shiva gave them shelter by letting them stay in Kailasa. But due to cold weather, the snakes used to approach Lord Shiva for warmth of Body. Thus, He as a protector used to wore these snakes as ornament to provide warmth.


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A snake is also very sensitive to certain energies. Shiva has the snake around his throat. It is not just symbolic. There is a whole lot of science behind it. There are 114 chakras in the energy body. Out of these 114, people are usually talking about the seven fundamental chakras in the system. Among these seven fundamental ones, the vishuddhi chakra is located in the pit of your throat. This particular chakra is very strongly associated with the snake. The vishuddhi is about stopping poison, and a snake carries poison. All these things are connected.

The word vishuddhi literally means “filter.” If your vishuddhi becomes powerful, you have the ability to filter everything that enters you. Shiva’s center is supposed to be vishuddhi, and he is also known as Vishakantha or Neelakantha because he filters all the poison. He doesn’t allow it to enter his system. Poisons are not necessarily that which you may consume through food. Poisons can enter you in so many ways: a wrong thought, a wrong emotion, a wrong idea, a wrong energy or a wrong impulse can poison your life. If your vishuddhi is active, it filters everything. It saves you from all these influences. In other words, once vishuddhi is very active, that person is so powerful within himself that whatever is around him does not influence him anymore. He is established within himself. He tends to become a very powerful being.

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    Welcome to Hinduism.SE! You should cite sources. – Keshav Srinivasan Mar 23 '15 at 17:27
  • From the content, I see you are a fellow follower of Sadhguru Jaggi, at least you should mention him as the source. – Eswara Reddy Adapa Nov 6 '15 at 8:51
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    Shiva's center is Sahasrara chakra. – Pinakin Dec 13 '15 at 11:55

Lord Siva is know as Pasupathinath, the lord of all creatures. Being a lord of the animals he has complete control on their behavior. Since a snake is one of the most feared and dangerous animals in the world, the garland of snakes around the neck firmly establishes this fact even the snakes fear Him and remain under his control.

The snake stands for all the evil and demonical nature in the world. By wearing the snake around his neck, Lord Siva gives us the assurance that no evil can touch us or destroy us once we surrender to him, seek his protection and worship him with deep devotion.

The snake also stands for the power of kundalini, which is described as a coiled serpent lying dormant in the muladhara chakra of all human beings and descends upwards when one starts ones spiritual journey and becomes increasingly divine oriented. The snake around the neck of Siva conveys the meaning that in him the kundalini not only has arisen fully but is also actively involved in the divine activity by keeping an eye on all the devotees who approach Siva with their individual problems.

The snake also stands for all passions and desires. By wearing the snakes around his neck, Lord Siva conveys the message to all his devotees that He has overcome all desires and is in full control of Prakriti, or maya and its various machinations.

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Lord Shiva doesnit wear snake. Vasuki surrendered to Shiva, by yogic control the naga clan learned to convert poison (venom) and turned into diamond (mani). the heat from poison in Shiva's throat is again channeled into body of vasuki. Likewise there are other snakes that form anklets and bracelets of Shiva out of respect.

In same way anata sesha bears the burden of earth on his hood and also bears vishnu. This anata is none other than patanjali yogi who transformed into snake for sake of lord vishnu.

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Kundalini is in serpent form .One gets ashta siddhis when kundalini raises up. All those maha siddhis are dangerous like the serpents. Since Shiva keeps keeps sidhis under his control and uses them for the welfare of world,it is represented as his abharana. Reference

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    I think you should write your answer in bit detail else it seems like a comment. – Mr. Alien Aug 7 '15 at 6:23

There is also deep symbolism in this as a snake is also associated with awareness:

A state of samadhi where there is nothing, just the inner sky of consciousness, is Shiva; where there is alertness and no action. To describe this alertness they put a snake around Shiva’s neck. So the serpent is a symbol of alertness.

In the state of meditation when the eyes are closed, it gives the impression that the person is sleeping, but he is not asleep, he is alert. To express this state of consciousness, a snake is shown around Lord Shiva’s neck.

Excerpts from a talk by Sri Sri Ravi Sankar: https://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/17184919/.../understandingshiva.pdf

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Snake in shiva's neck and whole body means naga clan lived in through out india and vasuki surrounded mount kailash which symbolised to shiva's neck Shesha need to understand that sumeru to smudra snakes coiled indian oceans which symbolised by vishnu where sri in South same as Brahma in centre to east

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    Hello @Parmod and welcome to SE, it would help a lot if you could support your answer with citation of source/scriptures – Pratik Bhat Jun 7 '15 at 16:00

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