Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
See there are two kinds of Earthly forces, one is Centripetal force and the other is Centrifugal force. The movement of these forces is not straight but they have a snake like movement. This fact was known to our ancestors. The Earth is not resting on a snake but by snake they mean Centripetal power, and that which is known as Centrifugal power. So, that fact has been explained by them in this form.
For example, Lord Shiva is sitting with a snake around his neck – what this implies is the state of meditation, where the eyes are closed giving the impression that the person is sleeping; but he is not asleep, he is alert within. To express this, a snake is shown around Lord Shiva’s neck. Otherwise, why would Lord Shiva wear a snake around his neck? He is the lord of the universe; could he not find anything else to wear? The Lord of the universe could wear a necklace of all different kind of things, why would he have a snake hanging from his neck? No, whatever our ancestors said, there are such profound mysteries hidden behind it.
In the same way, the Earth on Shesh Naag – naag implies Centripetal force. A snake never moves on a straight course, it makes curves as it slithers forward – this is known as Centripetal force. Centripetal force means that which will not go straight; and the Earth rotates on its axis and around the sun. So these are the 2 kinds of forces Centripetal and Centrifugal. This is what the ancient people have expressed in the form of a cobra.
And what is the cobra standing on? It is standing on a turtle, and a turtle symbolizes stability. This is very interesting!
Now it is also said that if the planet Jupiter (Guru) did not exist, the Earth could not have survived. What the planet Jupiter (Guru) does is, all the meteorites that come from outer space the planet Jupiter (Guru) draws them towards itself, giving protection to the Earth. There is such bombardment going on from outer space on Earth - meteorites, tiny celestial bodies – and what Jupiter does is, it draws them all towards itself and saves the Earth.
NASA has created a very beautiful illustration of this.
We had said that Guru is the guardian of the entire universe. So the planet was also given the same name Guru (Jupiter) because it protects the Earth.