1 . History
The history of this festival is associated with various interesting stories. The worshipping of the snakes is known to be in practice from the Naga clan. The Naga clan is observed to be in existence since the ancient times, and was known to be a highly developed clan. Evidence of worship of snakes has been found in that period of time as well. Traces of worshipping snakes can also be seen in the times of Mahabharata. Shesh Nag, Lord Vishnus resting couch is also associated with the festival of Nag Panchami. Lord Shiva keeps a snake around his neck another association of god with snakes. The Indian culture has uncountable numbers of mythological stories attached to the history of celebrating Nag Panchami.
2 . Mythological significance of the festival Nag Panchami
This festival has rich mythological overtones, starting from the tremendous victory of Lord Krishna over the huge Kaliya in the Yamuna River. We have a further reference to Seshnag, the king of serpents, who was tamed by Lord Vishnu, as pictured in Ananda Padmanabha temple in Trivandrum of Kerala. The deity in the temple is Lord Vishnu, sleeping on the body of Seshnag. No wonder, the Keralites deem Nag Punchami as a huge festival and adore snakes on the day with piety. It is also considered as paying homage to Manasa, the serpent Goddess sister of Vasuki, the Snake who was used as a rope by the Devas and Asuras to churn the Milky Ocean. Nag Puja is carried out in Assam, Bengal, Jharkhand and Orissa in reverence of all snakes which have such a magnificent role in mythology. In Punjab, people celebrate Manasa Devi Ashtanag Puja (Guga Navami) by making a huge snake from flour and worshipping it.
It is not only with Lord Vishnu, the greatness of snakes is associated it is also with Lord Shiva which is a very clear transparent concept, since it is the snake around the neck of Lord Shiva which inspires awe and piety on the very first look of the deity. Moreover in the Puranas, there is a reference to Brahma son wife as the mother of all nags.There is also a mythological story about a goddess Sathyeshwari, whose brother Sathyeshwar died before the day of Nag Panchami. She grieved over the death of her brother without eating anything. She saw her brother in the form of a cobra and believed that it was her brother. So, Nagdev promised her that he would protect any woman who deems a cobra as her brother and worships it. Hence, it became the habit of Hindu women to worship snakes for the longevity and safety of their brothers on this day.
3 . Celebration
Nag Panchami holds a very important place in the hearts of devotees. The festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm all across the country and in Nepal. There are various temples where Nag Panchami is celebrated with devotion. People are seen offering (Bhog) food and milk to pictures or idols of snakes. Many people also offer milk directly to snakes in order to make them happy and receive their blessings. People are witnessed dancing and carrying snakes, kept in pots, on their heads. A strong belief is that by keeping the Snake God happy one can seek his blessing and stay safe from his demonic anger.
4 . Nag Panchami A mix of faith and superstition
NAGPUR The myths may have been busted and laws grown more stringent, but worship of snakes on the fifth day of Shravan month remains mandatory for the believers. The reason for this is that snakes occupy a very significant space in Hindu mythology. The scriptures treat snakes as a community as there is a mention of nag lok, says astrologer and economist KapilChandrayan. Being residents of patallok they are considered to be part of shrishti and have been worshipped by Hindus for protection of their kul (family), he adds. Being part of the ornamentation of Shiv who is extensively worshipped in the month of Shravan, snakes are also worshipped during the sarvaangpuja offered during this period.But most significantly worship of snakes gets prominence in modern astrology because they are considered as rahu and ketu. The head of a snake is rahu and the tail ketu. If all other planets are caught between the head and the tail in a horoscope then it is termed as kaal sarp yog, says Chandrayan and adds that Nag Panchami is the most significant day for performing a kalsarp yog puja.
5 . Special Pujas
Prayers are offered at Naga temples, sacred places with idols of Nagas and at anthills. Almost all villages in India have a sacred place for snakes with a small grove and numerous idols of the Nagas. Prayers are also offered at the shrines of Shiva. In West Bengal and Orissa, Mansa, the queen of serpents, is worshipped on this day.
6 . Nag Pachami Pujan
The Nag Panchami pooja is performed with great devotion throughout the country with certain regional variations. South India is seen to organize a grand celebration on this day. On Nag Panchami, people refrain from digging their fields. It is believed that by doing so, they disturb and can even hurt the snakes living under the ground. Devotees, on this day, fast till evening. The fast prohibits intake of salt and any fried eatable. Various eatables such as kheer are made to serve as offering to the Snake God. In certain places the rituals include making a rangoli of a snake with five heads. A bowl of water with a lotus in it is then kept in front of the rangoli. Later, the devotees offer their prayers to God and wish to get his blessings. On this day, the Shivling and picturesidols of snakes are given a bath with milk and water after which bhajans and mantras are recited and food is offered as Bhog. People, especially farmers, also worship their agricultural tools to seek blessings on their medium of livelihood.
7 . Reason behind celebrating Nag Panchmi
It is believed that Krishna, a Hindu God had saved the lives of people from the harassment of Kaliya, the snake. It is believed that one day, when Krishna was still quite young, was playing by the side of river Yamuna and his ball got stuck in the branches of a tree that was just by the side of the river. While trying to get that ball, Krishna fell into the river. When Kaliya, the snake attacked him, he fought and after some time the snake understood that he was not an ordinary child. This was when he pleaded Krishna not to kill him and Krishna spared him by taking a promise that he will not harass the people anymore. Nag Panchmi is celebrated as the victory of Krishna on Kaliya, the most dangerous snake.
8 . Ways of worshipping in various states of India
People do not dig the earth this day and offer cows milk, fried paddy, rices breed and durva (tip of a special grass) in front of the pictures of Nag or make its idol of mud and sand and worship it. This festival is celebrated all over India and more or less the way of worshipping is same.People believe that Lord Shiva, a Hindu God, loves and blesses snakes and so by worshipping the snakes they also try to please him. Lord Shiva is believed to be one of the most short tempered Gods and can even ruin your life if he gets angry.
Some people even worship live cobras on the Nag Panchmi day and offer them milk and other offerings as feed.India is a country with different cultures and so the celebration varies from one state to state. In Maharashtra, a group of people asks alms and clothing by taking a dormant cobra in a plate and visiting as many houses as possible. In kerela, people prefer visiting the snake temples and worship the stone or metal icons of snakes and pray so that they and their families are saved from any snakebite throughout the year.There are many different kinds of belief behind offering milk and flowers to the snake God and the names also vary.Young girls pray and offer milk to cobras with the intention of getting married to a good person so that they live their lives happily. It is believed that snakes remember the faces and they take revenge with the whole family even if one of the member harms it. So, married women pray to save their families from any kind of harassment that can happen due to the snakes.
9 . Naag Panchami Festival and Kal Sarpa dosha
Nag panchami and Kal Sarpa dosha are associated with each other. According to Hindu Astrology Nag Panchami day is very auspicious to do pooja for serpents (Nag) and to remove Kaal Sarpa dosha in kundali. (KalSarpa dosha happens when all planets come in the axis of Rahu and Ketu). This dosha casts adverse results in ones life, incurs pain and put hindrances in all the works of the native.This is a proven fact that one in whose kundali all planets come in Rahu Ketu axis, it makes Kal Sarpa dosha and such native life in indifferent to other person. The results are unexpected in both the terms good or bad. Kal Sarpa dosha affected person is either a failure who face frequent ups and downs in life. The other side, he or she may achieve height of success and acquire high position, rank, name and fame and success in life.That is the reason, KaalSarp dosha cant be termed as completely malefic or mark of sufferings, in ones life. Those who have this dosha in their kundali, must perform some pooja on Nag Panchami, day to cast off the malefic effects caused by this dosha.Get this pooja done by an experienced astrologer on this Nag Panchami day which is falling on 4th August in this year to remove the negative effects of Kal Sarpa dosha. This is the best way to bring peace and harmony in life by releasing all negative energies in the areas of finances, mental and physical health by worshipping lord Shiva and Nag Dev on this auspicious occasion.
10 . Naag Panchami Vrat
Fasting and worshipping the Nagas (Serpent) and lord Shiva on this day brings auspiciousness in life and one gets rid off all the sins and wrong deeds done in the previous birth. Generally fasting for Nag Panchami is done by housewives, the easy method of fasting on this day is as follows