Nag panchami is one of the festivals in India. It is celebrated on fifth day of the bright fortnight in the month of Shravan (July-August). Snake worship, no doubt, owes its origin to man’s natural fear of these reptiles. In India, snakes are so revered that temples have also been erected in their honor.
According to the Bhavishya Purana, when devotee bathe the snakes Vasuki, Takshaka, Kaliya, Manibhadra, Airavata, Dhritarashtra, Karkotaka and Dhananjaya with milk, on the fifth day of the bright fortnight of Shravan, they ensure freedom from danger for their families.
The temples dedicated snakes (sarpa) are flocked by devotees, who carry milk and turmeric powder as offerings for the deity. In fact, in some part of the country, Nag Panchami is called ‘snake day’.
There are a number of legends associated with Naga pancahmi. One legend says Lord Krishna was playing with the other cow boys near river Yamuna, when the ball got entangled in the high branch of a tree. Krishna volunteered to climb the tree and fetch the ball. Below the tree, a terrible snake Kaliya used to live in the river. Suddenly Krishna fell from the tree into the water. The terrible snake came up with anger, but Krishna started jumping on its head. Finally, Kaliya said sorry to Lord Krishna and He forgave the snake and let it go free. Since then, on Nag Panchami day, the victory of Krishna over the Kaliya snake is commemorated.
In some regions, live cobras are given a ceremonious bath in milk and offered rice, because it is believed that by treating them properly, one could get immunity from their bites. Women also take part in the celebrations. They would get up early in the morning, take bath and head to the nearest Snake temple, carrying pots of milk and flowers to the deity. According to the legends, if a snake drinks milk, then it is a symbol of good luck.
There is a Sanskrit shloka(verses) to remember important nine Nāgas as under:
- “Anantam Vāsukim Shesham Padmanābham cha Kambalam
Shankhapālam Dhārtarāshtram Taxakam Kāliyam tathā
Etāni navanāmāni cha mahātmanām”
- Anantha, vasuki, Shesham, padmanabh, kambala, shankhapaal, dhartaraashtra, takshak and kaaliya- these nine are the great ones.
Wish You A Happy Nag Panchami…….. Nag Panchami (July 26,2009)
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