8 – ∞
August 8th, 8-8 is observed as the Infinity Day. It is interesting to note that 8 placed horizontally is similar to infinity ∞.
The concept of “infinity” comes from the Samskrt word “Anantha”. Anantha means infinite.
Narayana is a primordial divinity, whose name means “that One who is moving in equilibrium in the waters”. Waters here denote the Cosmic waters, the form and nature of the cosmos prior to manifesting as the Universe we know. Narayana is depicted in literature, sculpture and all other art forms, as floating in the cosmic waters, reclined on a bed called Anantha Sesha, Adi Sesha.
Narayana lying on Anantha Sesha
Anantha is popularly depicted as a coiled snake called Anantha Sesha or Adi Sesha.
Adi means beginning and Anantha means no end, endless, infinite.
Anantha and Infinity
Anantha Sesha denotes the infinite number of cycles of Creation, Dissolution and Recreation once again of the Universe. The endlessness of these cycles have been brought forth through the form of a snake called Anantha Sesha, Adi Sesha.
Anantha Sesha, Coiled Serpent à Infinity
Anantha, the symbol of the coiled serpent in the ancient Indian thought perhaps goes to form the basis for the symbol ∞ for infinity and the root for the word “infinite” too.
Why these names for this coiled snake? Is there any scientific purport to this naming?
To unravel this enigma we should go to the understanding of the root of the word Adi Sesha. “Adi” means prior or beginning and “Sesha” means remnants.
Adi Sesha denotes the remains that were at the beginning. In an endless cycle of Creation, Dissolution and Recreation, Adi Sesha denotes the remnants of the previous creation. Adi Sesha as a coiled serpent also represents the endlessness in the cycles of creation and dissolution of the Universe through its ability to uncoil, lengthen and coil back again or withdraw.
Symbolic of state of Creation
Adi Sesha and Narayana in Indian thought are symbolic of the state of the cosmos between any 2 successive cycles of creation.
It seems that along with trade, the Indian concept of Anantha, infinity and its depiction as a coiled snake too travelled to the west. The result is perhaps the symbol we see for infinity.