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Ananta literally means “without end,” “infinite.” It was a descriptive term used of Vishnu and other gods. It was also used as a name of Vishnu’s serpent.
Ananta was the giant serpent that floated upon the Milky Ocean and formed the bed for Vishnu as he slept during the involution of the universe (pralaya). Ananta (also known as Sesha) was the son of KasSyapa, the grandfather of all beings, by his wife Kadru. Other serpents, such as Vasuki, Takshaka, and Karkkotaka, were his brothers. Bala-Rama was a partial incarnation of Ananta.