Vasuki Thy Name

If you ask me why I respect my parents, this one would definitely figure in top five. The name they have given me. :)
Now, there are lots of trivia behind my name.

The tradition in our family is that the eldest son should have the name of Subrahmanya or of the Snake God. Fortunately, my parents did not settle for a Nagesha or a Nagaraja (No disrespect to anyone with those names, its just that they dont define me!) I would have preferred even obscure names like "Sakala Kalaa Vallabha" or "Bhaktha Jana Samrakshaka" to those Naga-prefixed names! ;) While discussing the alternatives, they bumped into the name 'Karthik', but it was dropped (probably feared being called 'Kar-thika' by people - as it does not sound too good in Kannada!)

I dont know who suggested this, but they opted for the name 'Vasuki'. If Vasuki was not unusual enough, my parents decided to name me 'Vasuki Raghavan'. There is an interesting story behind this too. My mother was approached by some woman who had prophesied (Oracle?) that a son would be born to her (she only forgot to mention that - a son who is crazy enough to watch more than 400 movies a year!) and that the child should be named after Raghavendraswamy. So not sure how to fit in Mr. Raghavendraswamy with the serpent God and also fully aware that their son would grow into a lazy person incapable of writing a very long name, my parents decided to truncate Raghavendraswamy to Raghavan (in the process, cheating the linguistically poor Raghavendraswamy - as Raghavan is the name of Rama!) Was it just this or did my parents anticipate the arrival of the Web and knew that people with very common names have to depend heavily on underscores, numbers and hyphens, to get a valid id - I dont know, I need to check with them.

I run into quite a few problems with my unusual name. "Are you a tamilian?", is the most common question I am faced with. No! "Are you Iyengar?" No sir! Then, I get that "why-in-the-hell-you-have-such-a name-then" stare. For a long time, I did not know that the great Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar's wife was named Vasuki (I dont know whats the meaning of the female version or if there is one) and I have had the privilege to disappoint a few new joinees in my company who expected to see a pretty tamil girl (when they'd heard my name, before seeing)

I know many people who have unusual names and quite a few of them have no idea of what their names mean. Not knowing is one thing, but the complete lack of curiosity and inquisitiveness about their own names is something that beats me. Here are a few interpretations I give to my name.

  • Vasuki means the king of snakes ("Sarpanamasmi Vasuki-hi" as told in Shloka 28 of Adhyaya 10 in Bhagavad-geetha)
  • In Indian mythology, Vasuki was the snake used to churn Ksheerasagara (ocean of milk) So, Vasuki is a symbolic representation of the thinking power (Mount Mandara represents the mind and Ksheerasagara represents the data) that makes humans superior to dogs and cats. :)
  • Vasuki, means V(We) comes first and I comes last. So, its symbolic of team mindset, which helps humans improve as a group. :D
  • Vasu means Krishna or Vishnu or 'the supreme lord', and "ki" in Japanese means energy (as in Rei-ki, which means soul-energy) So, Vasuki means the energy of the supreme lord (Okay, stop screaming now!)

I can go on and on, but even self-obsession should have some limits. I will stop!


  1. krupa said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Peridot said...
    You're the first Vasuki I've come accross... interesting to know the various meanings!
    parijata said...
    Nice one...
    Even I have come across a couple of female 'vaasuki's. I think it is just another like savitA (yes, masculine gender!).
    "Vasuki, means V(We) comes first and I comes last. So, its symbolic of team mindset, which helps humans improve as a group"
    Really enjoyed that one! Cool!
    rk said...
    vasuki: there is a touch of japanese in it. (eg: yuzuki, suzuki, misaki, vasuki..) ;)

    the first vasuki i remember is my next door neighbour's cousin. he was a bony fellow who played cricket very well.

    btw, plz read this story. some coincidence i should say.

    “Raghavendra!” exclaimed the Doctor

    Bit Hawk said...
    I did not know that people think you have a male name. Vedu is proved right once again!

    Yeah, Vasuki is a rare name. I am generally the first Vasuki most of my friends know :)

    I am yet to know the meaning of female 'Vasuki' (or if it has a different spelling at least) And regarding Savita, it means sun right? So ideally females should not have the name Savita. Correct me if I am wrong.

    I sometimes say that I am Va-Su-Ki (and these are the three personalities in me :D) A different spelling Wasuqi gives it a more arabic feel I guess!
    I was quite bony sometime back and a legend in gully cricket. I doubt if I was your neighbor's cousin. Did you see that first Vasuki in Mysore by any chance?
    mouna said...
    @parijata, what u say is correct! it probably intills a feeling of belongingness in all of us.

    i've heard of god subramanya. this is the first time that i've come across with the name vasuki. as u say, u like it.
    Anonymous said...
    Lol I am Vasuki too.And a male.
    Legend goes that i was named as i am because my mom dreamt of snakes before i was born.Hardly a reason , to have such a unique name.
    I love the name other than fact that i always have to repeat it twice, and in tamilnadu , where they dont believe a male can be named so.
    Anonymous said...
    " Karthika " ...LOL !! I had a college friend called Karthik and the nick name we gave him was " Silencer" (which according to us was english equivalent of Karthika :). Ur name and the tamil connection makes me wonder what if Vatal Nagaraj had named his daughter as 'TamilSelvi ' !! huh .. Strange thought though . - Pavan
    rk said...
    you are a difft. vasuki (ur pic confirms that). also, the first time i saw vasuki (in bangalore), was in 1981 (he must have been 10 yrs at that time, while you were maybe 2?
    pavan kumar said...
    hehe, seriously I was under the impression that you were Tamilian, and with a name like Sudipta did make me think as expected (yes, he is a male, and many hearts were broken)

    But seriously, your name is unique in the sense that none would say "which Vasuki" :)
    Bit Hawk said...
    'Vasuki' has no relationship with Subrahmanya. My parents had to choose either Subrahmanya or the snake God and they chose the serpent. Thank God!

    @anonymous (Vasuki)
    Thanks for the comment. This is the first time I am meeting another Vasuki in my life!

    I thought Karthik translates better as "Dikkie" than as "Silencer" ;)

    Cricket is so popular here that one can know two people (and good players at that ;)) with the same unusual name!

    @pavan kumar
    Yeah thats right. There was never a situation of "which Vasuki?" and I simply love it! :D
    Raghu said...
    haha! nice one!

    I knew a few Vasukis from my school days. I guess Vasuki is another name of Shesha on which Lord Vishnu eternally reclines and goes into 'yoga nidre'. I have a strong hunch that you are adept at 'yoga nidre' too! :D

    By the way, Raghavendra also means Rama, I think. I think Raghava means one who is born in Raghu kula and the Indra among them is Rama. Unlike you, all through my school/college I had to contend with at least 3-4 persons sharing my name (Raghavendra). In fact, once I was also punished as the teacher mistaked me for the other Raghavendra. :D
    chaitra said...
    Thanks for the enlightment. Haven't known anyone with this name, and when I saw your name, I first thought you were a girl.
    Anonymous said...
    ...that's really interesting because my name's vasuki yet i am a girl. my parents are from sri lanka....

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